George Washington Carver

A Weed Is A Flower by Aliki

I’m busy sorting through some older school stuff and I keep coming across things that just makes me a little sentimental. This is a page that Zippy narrated five years ago after we read the book A Weed is a Flower by Aliki, which by the way, is a really great little book. And the illustration is really neat too.

This is what it says:

“George Washington Carver was born a very tiny baby to some slaves. His daddy died and some thieves came and stole servants from their owners. One time, one came to the house where they lived and stole his mommy and him. The master sent someone to find George Washington Carver and his mommy. His mommy was never found, but he was.

“He grew up to be a famous man and he studied plants, and he helped the farmers with their crops so they could earn enough money.

“One time some special people came to the school where he worked. He made them a meal. The people were surprised to find out that everything was made of peanuts. He studied until he died.” June, 2009

Her writing has grown up since this. I mean she has grown up, but so did her writing. It makes me happy and sad all the same time.

George Washington Carver Notebook Page


Poetry for Everybody

I attended a seminar at my state homeschool convention this last summer by Andrew Pudewa. I went away from that seminar with all kinds of ideas about how to teach my children to be good writers. Now to carry all of it out.

One of the things, that I was interested in was his thoughts on poetry. I’ve read in different homeschool books about the value of poetry memorization, but we’ve never done much of it. I purchased A Garden of Verses a long time ago, and we read out of it several times, but the kids weren’t much excited with memorizing any of it. I will say that we have been memorizing hymns, so it’s not that I feel negligent in this area, since most hymns are poems set to music. It’s just that I thought it would be a good exercise. Pudewa proposes that it helps children to develop better writing skills and better vocabulary since often times poetry makes use of obscure vocabulary to make the rhyme or rhythm work out. Another thing that Pudewa said is that boys, in particular, oftentimes don’t like poetry because the verses are so flowery. Yep, that rung true with me. My boys aren’t into doing anything that would be the slightest bit girly. So I bought Pudewa’s collection of poems, Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization,┬ásince he promised that it had poetry that would appeal to boys. Well, I have to say, he was right. My boys are having a blast learning this poetry. They don’t even know that it has anything to do with school, because they think it’s so fun.

Here is a video of G’tums saying the first four poems in the book, with a little bonus at the end. Hope you enjoy!

Excuse the poor color of the video.

Spelling Practice

So JD Boy (fourth grade) does not like spelling. After spending too many days demanding that it has to be done the way I say, I decided to try to figure out ways to make it more appealing to a nine-year-old boy.

I finally came up with one way for him to practice his words that he thinks is fun. Plus, it leaves him too worn out to complain. He’s doing jumping jacks while practicing his words. He also has some creative jumping jacks, I have no idea what they are called in real life, but he likes to do those too. Those were his idea, so they’re even better.

Jumping Jacks for Spelling JD Boy practicing his spelling

Another thing that I found is that it is the writing that he doesn’t like. You would think, by fourth grade that wouldn’t be an issue. What I can say–he’s a boy! So we have now switched to doing all spelling verbally. He does have to work on penmanship every day though and is doing a writing class too, so I am making sure that he gets some practice with that pencil. For spelling, he writes the words that he needs to practice, on the white board. So I guess, it’s not completely verbal, but the tests are all verbal. So far, this has improved the outlook on spelling dramatically. Yeah!

In case you’re wondering, we are using Spelling Power for our spelling program, but with a slight adjustment for him.