Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mesopotamia Activities - Fishing Nets

Week 1: We colored ancient maps with current countries and made fishing nets.

Mesopotamia, Sumer, Assyria, The Fertile Crescent, Iraq, Babylon, The Cradle of Civilization and Persia are all names which refer countries, cities, land or empires in the same region. The best name to refer to is selected by the time period and the people who were in charge.



The kids were introduced to the area with this 14 minute cartoon.

Ancient Mesopotamia is another video that gives a very good overview of the region.

Blackline Maps Of World History: The Complete Set 5000Bc-Present is a book of ancient blank outline maps from various time periods and regions of the world. Since the land area we are studying for history was ruled by several different peoples, there are many maps in the book referring to this region. We copied the page on Mesopotamia and sketched in the countries that currently are located in that region. Each week we will copy a new map to see how the cities and empires change.

One of the food staples in Mesopotamia was fish. For this reason, the kids were asked to create a fishing net. I handed them a ball of twine and told them to design and build it however they wanted.

My son laid several strands of twine out on the floor and then taped them down. He wove three pieces of twine through his base pieces; one at the top, one in the middle and one at the bottom. Then his net was finished.

He was very proud, but I'm not convinced it will catch any fish. I do think the concept is valid. If he wove more cross threads and had a net which was more square it probably would work. When the weather gets warmer we will have to take a trip to a lake for some testing.

My daughter constructed her net with knots. A few years ago we saw a lady creating a similar basket at a Roman Festival.
She remembered seeing the demonstration and jumped right into tying knots.

Please join us each week as we continue our studies of Mesopotamia. If you aren't already signed-up to receive email notification of new posts, now would be a great time. You can sign-up on the right-hand side of the blog.




Friday, March 29, 2013

Hobbies and Handicrafts - March 29

What do Vikings, bathtubs and spring hats have in common? They were the subjects of three great posts linked to Hobbies and Handicrafts last week.

The family at Life's Adventures is into a Historical Viking Reenactment. While dad was busy at training camp, the rest of the family had the opportunity to make glass beads and try some other Viking Crafts.

I've never heard of bathtub paint, but I know my kids would love it. Find out how to make it at Gift of Curiosity.

This beautiful spring hat is made out of paper. Buggy and Buddy has directions.

If you were featured today or in the past feel free to grab the I've Been Featured button.


Now it's time to see what the kids have been up to this week. Please link your post and a link back here.






Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Square Numbers

Learning about square numbers at first glance may seem like a concept for the upper elementary years, but it can be introduced to children who can count from one to one hundred.

My five year old zoomed through these free printables I created and now can tell me her numbers squared from 1 to 10. All she had to do was count the number of circles and write the number on the line. The last line in the chain was the answer. Feel free to print them for your personal or classroom use.


Sheet 1
Sheet 2
Sheet 3
Sheet 4




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Considering Homeschooling



Are you considering homeschooling but aren't sure you are ready to make that leap? When we were thinking about homeschooling I read many books. There were three books that greatly shaped the way we homeschool, but only one that convinced me to do it. Here are my favorite homeschooling books.

Not sure if you want to homeschool? This is a great book!
Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by Guterson, David


You know you want to homeschool, but aren’t sure what curriculum to purchase?
100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style by Cathy Duffy


You want to Homeschool using the Charlotte Mason Method. This is a great book to get you started.
Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola



Five bloggers are writing for the Homeschool Help series. If you're thinking about homeschooling be sure to check out their reading recommendations too.

With so many homeschooling books available, Chareen at Every Bed of Roses recommends a few that have withstood the test of time.

Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl has found some books to help along the homeschooling journey.

Find out what Savannah at Hammock Tracks considers the Holy Trinity of homeschooling books.

Hwee at The Tiger Chronicle has some recommendations for parents beginning to homeschool at different stages of their children's lives.

To receive email updates of new posts please sign-up to follow Highhill Education by email on the right-hand side of the blog.

Homeschooling has worked very well for our family. The kids are happy, challenged, and best friends. It's a lot of work and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.






This post is linked to:
Tuesday Tots 
Saturday Show and Tell 
A Mama's Story
The Better Mom
The Chicken Chick 
Motivation Monday

This post was featured on:
A Mama's Story 

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them.
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Maintenance Week 2

We finished up this year's History Co-op with our last lesson on Persia and Jemma got to go. Last year she attended all of the lessons except for the last Ancient China unit. At our friends house she chatted and bounced around the entire time. The tennis club held the annual torch walk and Jemma was able to attend that too. While she downed her Wurstchen mit Brot at the tennis torch walk her face held a beautiful smile of satisfaction. This was the first time she has been allowed to leave the house to go somewhere other than the hospital or outside to play in nine months.

As our life takes a step in a more normal direction I feel so much like I have just brought my new baby out of the house for the first time. I want this. We all want this, yet I'm somewhat paranoid for her to touch anything. Armed with hand sanitizer and slow and controlled breathing I watch and cringe hoping she won't catch an illness. As we begin venturing more places and she remains healthy I'm sure this will get easier. For now we are taking baby steps. Maybe in a few weeks I'll be ready for a trip to the grocery store....... or maybe not.

Today we went to the hospital for a blood check and after one week on her new medication Jemma's immune system was a little lower then desired. Compared to how it has been, the numbers looked great. Nevertheless, her dosage was reduced for the week and will be adjusted again next week.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Human Body Unit - Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Activity

Week 1: We modeled the Oxygen-Carbon Dioxide cycle.

Now that we are finished with our Cell Unit Study we are moving onto the rest of the human body following The Way We Work by David Macaulay.

Trees and plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Humans breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. While inside the body red blood cells exchange oxygen molecules for carbon dioxide molecules as they travel through the veins and arteries. This continuous cycle supplies us with the oxygen required for life.

For this week's project I gave the kids some marble and track toys and asked them to make a model of the carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle.

I was super impressed with what they came up with and how fast they did it.

The forest is represented by the green cylinders in the upper left of the model. The blue loop leading from the forest enters the human body and passes through the black and yellow square (lungs) before returning to the forest. This is the track for the oxygen molecules leaving the forest and the carbon dioxide molecules returning to the forest.

The green funnel is the human head, and the red piece is the heart. The black and yellow square is the lungs. The blue tracks  which aren't part of the loop are arms and legs. The black track is meant to represent the veins and arteries inside the human body. It travels around the body and also passes through the lungs where the oxygen and carbon dioxide enter and leave the body. The red cylinders on the track are the red blood cells that deliver the oxygen and pick up the carbon dioxide.

The assignment was simple "use the tracks to create a model of the carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle". I think they liked it because they used creativity and engineering to come up with their own design. I liked it because it was simple and they understood the concept.

We have many more human body science activities coming up. There are three ways to receive notification of new posts; Like us on Facebook, sign up to Follow by Email, Join the blog. There are buttons for all three on the right-hand side.





This post is linked to:
I can teach my child
Teach beside me
Show and Share
Science Sparks
True Aim Education
Hammock Tracks
Hip Homeschool Hop
Trivium Tuesday #50
Tuesday Tots 
Reading Confetti 

This post is featured on:
Reading Confetti

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hobbies and Handicrafts - March 22

Hobbies and Handicrafts is a place for educators to link-up projects and hobbies the kids are working on. Developing hobbies can provide years of entertainment and help children to develop many other skills. For example, a love for sewing can improve reading skills by motivating the child to research and read patterns. My son loves science, so this week I'm featuring two simple science experiments to encourage him and other scientists in the making. Thank you all for sharing motivating projects each week.

If you haven't seen the Homeschool Help Series yet you may want to check it out. Five bloggers from around the world are working together to give their perspectives on various educational topics. Last week's topic was Daily schedule.

Tracey at We Made That introduced a fun water transfer science experiment. Connecting the colored water in the cups with paper towels it slowly mixes together. Visit We Made That for details on how to do this simple experiment.

Buggy and Buddy made their raisins dance. Find out how and if other objects will dance in this special water.

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Here's the button and the featured button.





What have your kids been up to?

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Have you signed up to follow Highhill Education? There are links on the right-hand side to Join the site or Follow by Email. With the start of the new Homeschool Help series now would be a great time.




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Book About Me

One of the few things my mother saved from my elementary school years was a book I wrote about myself. We all laugh when reading this book. I wanted to create a keepsake for my kids as well as create a fun writing assignment. The result is My Book About Me. Please feel free to print it out for personal or classroom use.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Homeschooling Daily Schedule - 2012/13

Welcome to the first post in the Homeschool Help Series. Daily Schedule


In our house most of the schooling is completed in the morning. After lunch we go for a walk. Afternoons are usually spent at music lessons, dance class, doing history or science projects, or playing outside and with friends. Evenings are for free time, computer time, bathing, and reading with mom before heading off to bed.

For the school day I put together a daily task list for each of the kids. The lists are complete several months out for some subjects, and for the entire year in others. This was a huge undertaking, but has helped create a smooth flow to the day. The kids know what to expect and can see upcoming assignments. Because they know what to do they can start their school work as soon as they are ready.

My six year old's tasks are always the same. She has a list taped to the door and chooses five items from the list to complete each day.

  • Silent Reading
  • Reading to Mom (Mom chooses the book)
  • Listening to Mom Read (She can choose any book from her shelf)
  • Listening to one of her siblings read (The older siblings choose the books)
  • Writing (she usually chooses to write a postcard)
  • Math Games/Workbook
  • Listen to Poems from A Child's Garden of Verses
  • Salsa Spanish Video
  • Practice Piano

My nine and eleven year olds get their task list via a spreadsheet. When tasks are completed they are highlighted. Their lists are much more specific. Click here to see a portion of this year's fourth grade spreadsheet which includes;


  • Silent Reading (They can choose any book from their shelf)
  • Silent Reading - History (specific books and chapters are assigned)
  • Silent Reading - Science (specific books and chapters are assigned)
  • Writing (They often spend 20-30 minutes free writing about an assigned topic. Here is one of their assignments. - Pretend you are entering Persepolis for the first time. Describe in detail what you see.)
  • Math - Specific chapters, workbook pages, or activities are assigned
  • Science Videos (They have been watching the Once Upon a Time Life Series in conjunction with our human body study.)
  • History Videos (I attach links to youtube videos related to our history studies)
  • Projects (We try to do a group hands-on history and science project each week.)
  • Spelling (They spend about 15 minutes working on a Spelling Power lesson.)
  • Poetry (Titles of specific poems they read with me are written into the spreadsheet.)
  • Language - German, Spanish, French, Chinese (They both study German and Spanish, and both asked to study an additional language this year.) They have lessons assigned in Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo, Transparent depending on the language. Sometimes they read books in German or copy sentences in a foreign language. Sometimes they watch cartoons in the foreign language they are studying.)
  • Piano and Violin (practice)
  • Cursive (one workbook page per week - 9 year old only)
  • Math Art (one lesson per week - 11 year old only)
  • Cook Breakfast
  • Read to six year old sister

The kids only do a selection of these tasks each day.  Many of their assignments can be completed on their own. Having it all written down in a spreadsheet enables them to begin working without my help. I try to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour with each child doing one-on-one activities each morning, but that rarely happens. Usually I spend 1 hour with two different kids each day.

Scheduling the appropriate amount of activities is a real trick. My main goal is to keep them engaged, challenged and learning each day, while limiting book work to the mornings. Reading, writing and math are the priority subjects. The kids currently work diligently each morning and are slowly getting farther behind on their schedules. The problem is that I have scheduled too many things. In the past I've not scheduled enough. My plan is to leave a blank week or two to get caught up. The kids know that when the list is done for the year, school is done.


If you haven't signed-up to follow Highhill Education by email yet, now would be a great time. Just type your email address into the box on the right-hand side of the blog.

Now it's time to see how the other writers taking part in the Homeschool Help Series manage their day.

See how Savannah at Hammock Tracks handles chore lists, meal planning, school work and extra curricular activities.

Bernadette at Barefoot Hippie Girl uses rhythm to stay focused.

Chareen at Every Bed of Roses has learned to balance tight schedules and flexibility.

Hwee's day at The Tiger Chronicle has evolved from one of formal schedules to loose structure.





This post is linked to:
True Aim Education
A Mama's Story
Trivium Tuesdays 
We are that Family 
The HomeAcre Hop
Desire to Inspire

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leukemia - How is Jemma? - Maintenance Week 1

Jemma's not quite done with all of these pills, but she is another step closer. Today was the beginning of the Maintenance phase of therapy.

She will take 35 mg of the chemotherapy drug Puri-Netol every day, a 10 mg Methotrexate pill every Wednesday, and Kepinol antibiotics every Saturday and Sunday for the next 84 weeks.

The best news is that she was given the OK to begin dancing again today during her visit to receive dose number seven of L'aspariginase.

This is perfect timing because the class is currently on a break. She has new dance shoes and will join up again in April when the class resumes training.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

Colorado Mountains

Before moving to Germany we lived in Colorado.


Although we are near the Alps, we have only skied once since moving to Germany. Hopefully next year the family will be healthy and we can take another ski vacation.

Skiing is a very popular winter recreational activity in the Rocky Mountains. You can see that in the top photo taken in the parking lot there is very little snow. It's amazing how even at that elevation sometimes you must go higher to find snow.

Snail Shells

Snails are abundant in our area of Germany. They can be found all over the trails in May through the summer months after a rain. (We rarely see worms.) They range in size from about 1/2 inch to 3 inches.

The kids love watching the snails and collecting the shells.


The shells can be found on the ground near the base of trees and bushes in the early spring.

To see more of the local wildlife please visit our European Living Page.




This post is linked to: 
Eco-Kids
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