Fall 2019 – Egypt and Pumpkins

Adi turned five this month! We celebrated by eating cake at the park on a really cold morning.

After her birthday celebrations, we ran to the library in the next town over to pick up some books and got there just as story time was starting. It’s a new program at this library so the girls were the only two in attendance. They danced in bubbles, read three books, learned a couple rhymes and a song, and had a wonderful time.

This month we learned about Egypt and enjoyed the following books. My favorite was Of Numbers and Stars. It’s a story about an Egyptian mathematician and philosopher who lived about 1500 years ago. She was a well-sought after teacher and was brutally murdered due to her religious beliefs, or lack thereof.

Over the last 15 centuries, her story has been fictionalized so many times and used to further certain religious agendas. Through letters from her students, a more accurate picture has begun to emerge about Hypatia and the role she played in shaping mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. I have another book about her on hold that I’m waiting to come in and am looking forward to learning more about her life and work.

After reading this book, the girls and I had a great discussion about revisionist history and how it’s important to remember there are many sides to any story they hear. I was blown away by their insights at five and eight years old and cannot wait to continue having more discussions like this as they get older.

All of the books below were enjoyable and I highly recommend them. How the Sphinx Got to the Museum is about a Sphinx from the Pharaoh Hatshepsut, one of an estimated seven female pharaohs. The items made during her reign were destroyed by her stepson after her death. A damaged sphinx was found and repaired, and currently resides at The Met. We’ll definitely be adding that to our long list of places to visit.

For an Egyptian recipe, we tried out Koshari from Well Vegan. It was delicious and so filling! Definitely something we’ll be adding to our meal rotation.

The girls built pyramids out of sugar cubes. I read that tacky glue works better than Elmer’s white glue because Elmer’s will melt the sugar cubes. I haven’t tested this out since we already had tacky glue.

They also made Egyptian amulets out of clay that would be similar to the ones mummies were buried with for protection and journeying into the afterlife. They both chose to make ladybugs.

We visited a few farms this month to pick pumpkins and apples. It’s always one of our favorite times of the year and we took full advantage of the fall weather to get cozy and drink warm apple cider as we walked around.

We also read many books about fall and pumpkins. After we read Pumpkin Soup we made soup and talked about how important it is to work together and make sure everyone is heard. It’s a super sweet book that I may end up buying so we remember to read it every year.

I thought it would be fun to make Indian Corn out of pipe cleaners and pony beads. As we started making them, the girls decided it would be more fun to make creepy spiders. I made corn and they made spiders, and we all had fun 🙂

Here are some various action shots of book work and reading games!

Adi told me she was worried she didn’t know how the colors mixed together to make new colors so we had an impromptu color lesson with watercolors. Once she started doing it, she remembered she did know, but it was a fun review!

The girls learned about skin and did a silly experiment in front of the mirror to observe how their skin is attached to their muscle movements.

We had several craft days this month, including play doh, a pottery wheel, and making gelatin eyeballs for Halloween that were disgustingly real feeling.

We explored nature, both in an urban setting and out in the woods. The Listening Walk is a wonderful book to get kids interested in observing the world around them. We read it every fall and then try to take a walk where we only listen to the sounds around us. It’s getting easier as they get older 😉

I recently discovered a resource at our library called “Grow a Reader”. It’s a kit that contains several picture books, a DVD, a parent book, and a toy (in this case a puzzle). Each kit covers one topic and the first one we chose was “Our World” to tie into our global learning. I LOVE this idea! We had previously read one of the books in the kit, but the rest were new to us and were a great supplement to what the girls have been learning about. I’m sure we’ll end up checking out every Grow a Reader kit.

We went to a few events at the library this month including a STEAM story time and craft, an informational class about bats, and a Halloween party, complete with a haunted library. Mimi even won a Magic School Bus book about bats during a game of bingo!

Here’s the haunted library:

We watched October Sky and read Fancy Nancy Stellar Stargazer. I was really impressed by the Fancy Nancy book, it was informative and interesting. Plus the cover was glow in the dark! The girls drew pictures of the sky after we read it. The movie was excellent. I know I’m totally behind the times since it came out almost 15 years ago. Mimi was enthralled by it and wants to build a rocket now.

I introduced the girls to Shakespeare this month. We started with A Midsummer Night’s Dream based on SimpleHomeschool.net‘s suggestion on what order to introduce his plays. I read a one page summary of the play first to make the story easier to understand, then we listened to an audio version before bed one night, followed by reading these two books. Ella Bella Ballerina and A Midsummer Night’s Dream mentioned ballet music so I found that on YouTube and the girls danced around like forest fairies while it played. We have a 16 minute CD of a play based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the library that was checked out by someone else at the time so we’ll be listening to that in November.

A few random books we read this month. Because Amelia Smiled is a super sweet book about the ripple effect our actions have on the world. I didn’t like Bedtime at Bessie and Lil’s. Hooray for Babies was super sweet and a book I wish would’ve been around when the girls were a little younger. Mimi thought it was cute and Adi enjoyed it a whole bunch, but I could see them loving it even more a few years ago.

Next up, Latin America!

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