Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nile River Explorations

Well, I've thought I'd have at least Tuesday afternoons to make a post on the two blogs, but...hmmm...time is precious lately and blogging gets put at the bottom of the priority list. 
We are into our 4th week of school.  Update on statuses... the two school-agers that were on the waitlist for MVCA were accepted.  We just got the 3rd grade materials Monday evening and we are now waiting for the 4th grade materials.  I'm very excited for my 4th grader...for all the kids for that matter.  They are challenged, they cover a LOT of material and history, science and art is very exciting to them.  A lot different than their past experience at the brick and mortar school.  That being said...there is one downfall.  Yes, we are home and we are schooling but...we aren't technically homeschooling.  So something to consider along the way...if you are making a choice between an online school vs. homeschooling.  So because we have to follow the curriculum set for us...and yes, stay somewhat on the time frame---and we need to include time for MEAP practices and class connect sections...there isn't much time for side trips and let me tell you...there are a lot of opportunities for side trips.  However, we'll also keep in mind that I have a few more children than my own kids and if it was just my own children, perhaps we would have time take all those side trips.  So, right now, we'll keep as we are until I can get a good feel of just how much time we have. 
My boys have been LOVING sitting in on the first grade history lessons.  We have a bit more time to explore with that because we do first grade history in the afternoons that L. stays later.  This is lovely because they didn't learn any of this before so it gives a nice foundation to their own learning.  With L., 1st grade, they are starting with Nomads, the Fertile Crescent/Mesopotamia and now moving to the Egyptian Empire along the Nile River...which a portion of it is in Fertile Crescent.
Today we explored with this idea that in Ancient Egypt, the Nile River would overflow every year and this was a GOOD thing.  This allowed for them to have very fertile land for crops.  The flooding each year would cause the rich soil from the bottom of the river (silt) to overflow onto the areas on either side of the Nile. 
Hands-On History:  Nile River Overflows
(Never thought I'd hear that!  History was always blah and boring when I was in school.  :-0)
Old cake pan (or dollar store aluminum pan)
potting soil
We filled up the pans about half full with sand.  Then they added water so make it damp and moldable.  After they were satisfied, they created the river, also being encouraged to create a delta.  (Delta- Greek letter D, shaped like a triangle...that's how it got it's name.)  Then they filled their river with garden soil.  Then they started to gently pour water at one end until it "flooded". 
Then of course they played with the mixture for quite awhile after the fact.  LOL
FYI:  we used garden soil instead of potting soil and...well, it floated.  The water went under the soil and lifted it up.  They had to use a LOT of water to get it to actually flood.  We might try it again with different soil.  It's a neat concept.
And it just happened that I found a book at the library called...
Very cool book...that covers a lot more than the Nile River...but we did learn that the Nile River does not flood every year now because they have built a dam.  :-)  It was neat to hear my kids telling L. about that.
In the 2nd grade history we are learning about Rome and the Romans and a section was about how the Romans borrowed many ideas from the being gods.  Well it just happens that the Egyptians believed in gods also.  And in the next lesson they will learn that these Ancient Egyptians did not know why the river flooded every year.  They thought it was a god smiling down on them but in reality it was the rain hundreds of miles away causing water to flow down mountains and flood the river all the way to the Meditarraen Sea.  This has also been a good "in" to talk about gods vs. God. 
We are definitely enjoying our journey with schooling at home!

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