Home Building Lesson Block / Unit Study

Fort buildingThis month we are getting started on our Home Building Block/Unit study.  We will cover social studies, math and science. The less obvious academic subject covered is language arts.  It is important that he, my son, takes away from this project  the ability to work together and respect others ideas.  While the academic subjects are supporting these life values.

Through the year we have been casually talking about what types of houses people lived in.  These have been pointed out while reading books, watching a movie, anytime the topic arises. Some great books are Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Little House on the Prairie to name a few.  I also may make up a story when a moment presents itself.

For this block/unit I have chosen 1 Kings 5 and Luke 6:48 to bring in biblical reference of character and  weight and measurements, types of wood used and stone cutting.  It will be read from the The Living Bible because of the contemporary language such as “gallons” verses “cors”. The story has detailed dimensions of the temple that Solomon built which will cover simple geometry.

After reading the story we talk about the details of how how the temple was built.  I ask him open ended questions to encourage conversation.  Depending on his mood I might have a great talk.  If not that’s fine too.  His father will ask him later on in the day about the story.

“How did you feel about the story?”

“What was your favorite part?”

Luke 6:48 is our backdrop for our drawings of a house standing on rocks and surviving the raging stream.  He will have an opportunity to create his own depiction of the story.  The verse makes for copy work and cursive writing practice.

Here are some words that are for your knowledge or you can use them as vocabulary for your child.

Math Vocabulary

  1. bushel: a unit for measuring an amount of fruit and grain that equal to about 35.2 liters in the U.S. ad to about 36.4 liters in the U.K.
  2. gallon: a unit of liquid measurement
  3. cor: an ancient Hebrew and Phoenician unit of measure of capacity
  4. bath: ancient Hebrew liquid measure corresponding to the ephah of dry measure (ephah is also an ancient Hebrew unit if measure equal to 1/10 homer or a little over a bushel.)
  5. area: the surface included within a set of lines.
  6. square: a four sided shape that is made up of four straight sides that are the same length and that has four right angles.

Luke 6:48

He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.

1 Kings 5:18

So Solomon’s builders, Hiram’s builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.

Now for Some FUN!

We move onto the more exciting part of this study, the fort building.  I will  bring out one of the books on tree houses for him to look at and a basic carpentry book.  This is when we brainstorm ideas on how we are going to accomplish building the his fort.

  • Write a list
  • Create a Mind Map
  • Draw pictures
  • anything else you think of . . .

A suggestion I read  is to visit Habitat for Humanity or a home building retailer.  Assist him to cost out the fort project.  It is also a challenge to find materials for free.  My friend built a chicken coup with free materials from Freecyledotorg.

Basic List of Woodworking Hand Tools

A. Measuring Tape (12′) they make measuring tapes that have the fractions labeled on the tape to make it easier to read especially if your child is just learning about fractions.

B. Ruler (12″) wooden ones are easier to read than the clear or colored plastic ones.

C. Hammer (7 – 10oz for smaller children, 16oz for older children with better hand eye coordination)

D. Screwdrivers: flathead and Phillips

E. Nail set

F. Handsaw (western or Japanese style)

G. Coping saw

H. Block plane

I. Brace Drill (Hand drill)

J. Rasp

K. Sandpaper (100, 120, 150, 180 grits)

L. Glue (white or yellow) water proof for outdoor projects

M. Screws and nails (a box each of 1 ¼” and 1 5/8″ drywall screws and a box each of 3d, 4d, and 6d finish nails will get you through most projects in this book).

N. Clamps (See the lesson on building the step stool for information on clamps).

O. Safety glasses (it may take some extra effort, but find a pair that fits your child. They will become frustrated quickly if every time they start to swing a hammer they have to push their glasses back up on their noses. Manufactures do make child size glasses it just might take some looking around to find them.)

P. Combination square

Q. Speed square

 Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/728003
The project was to be a simple fort but turned out to be a fun family and friend tree house raising.

KRISTINAS - WIN_20140604_180052

The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.

The tree house built with recycled fencing and left over paint.


Additional Resources

Strong as the Weakest Link                            http://www.teachengineering.org/view_lesson.php?url=collection/cub_/lessons/cub_mechanics/cub_mechanics_lesson10.xml

Leaning Tower of Pasta               l


Natureskills.com How to Build a Survival Shelter

How to Build Treehouses, Huts and Forts by David Stiles available on RainbowResource.com



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The Decision to Home School

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt  

Our decision to home school was an easy one. I already knew that public school was designed for a minority of children not for the majority of children. When I was a child I knew that I had been apart of that majority and so had most of my friends. Having that knowledge made it difficult for me to send my children to public school, but at the time I thought that my only choice was the public school system. We were about to do nothing; until one day I discovered home school and that is what we were going to do, home school.

So far we are all very happy and content with the decision we made to home school but you are probably wondering what the motivation was behind the decision.

Freedom is probably the biggest reason to home-school.  But what does that mean, right?

Freedom to:

  • Be with my children when I choose to and now they choose when they want to be with me.  I’m happy to say they actually choose me often.
  • Instill our families values.
  • Be 100% responsible for who they are and what they become.  There isn’t anyone to point a finger at.
  • Choose the books or curriculum with them.
  • Be a family.

The part I love the most is all the wonderful glorious time we have had getting knowing each other.  I am going to get get corny here: the memories that we have collected over the years, the laughter about what ever the boys find funny. All of this has been incredible. I feel blessed that we have had this opportunity to know all three of my boys and to have had this time with them.  That is the best part of homeschooling.  All the rest is icing on the cake.

Take the time right now and write down what your purpose is.  What do you think?

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The Perfectionism Cure

I talk to a lot of home school parents that are frustrated, tired, or just wanting to through in the towel.  What I suggest is what I like to call an Opposite Day or a Yes Day.  This video was posted on a Facebook group and it is just about our need to create perfect children and to be perfect parents.  It does not say that but I saw it as a layer to Opposite Day.  This video says

“it’s good to make mistakes!”  

I challenge you to be free today and let yourself make a mistake or two.  I won’t tell.

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What I Learned in Florida

This is the little alligator that I am afraid of.  It will bite off your finger,

This is the little alligator that I am afraid of. It will bite off your finger,

Where there’s water, there’s alligator’s.

The lake was still. I Poked at the muddy water. Did I scare them away?

The boys played while I kept guard. My stomach became nauseated.

“Time to get out” I said as I pulled them from the water.

They whined

“We’re buying a pool”


This was a great writing lesson.  Thanks for the Fifty.  Check it out http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/#more-72221

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Don’t Let Feeling Disorganized Stop You

Don’t let feeling disorganized stop you from home schooling. I was recently at a home school unschool gathering and a sweet mom said she didn’t think she could home school.  When asked why she said it was because she was disorganized.  My goodness, me and many friends would have to have thrown in the towel a long time ago if that was a prerequisite.  But yet my children are brilliant despite of my organizational nature.
Here is what I suggest to all prospective home schoolers who have this concern.  Start with a program that lays it out for you.   There is a link to Easy Peasy that is all online and free at the end of the list.

My first recommendation is Calvert.  It is a rigorous program and supported primarily by textbooks. Here is a link to the 5th grade course outline : http://homeschool.calverteducation.com/images/grade-pages/2014_gr5_corecourseoutline.pdf

To Calvert : http://homeschool.calverteducation.com/

One of my favorites for a classical education is Veritas Press.  Here you can get a scripted lessons plans.  Here is a sample :http://resource2.veritaspress.com/Resources/Scholars/pdfs/Grammar.pdf

To Veritas : http://www.veritaspress.com/

The above two programs are challenging for some students but keep in mind that you do not have to go by grade level and you can always talk to an adviser for assistance.

Here is a program that is literature based and filled with hands on lessons.  It is Winters Promise.  We have used it and there was something for everyone.  My oldest used it for High School 9th grade without complaint.

To Winters Promise : http://winterpromise.com/

Another popular program is Sonlight.  Another literature based program but has it all planned out for you.   I have never used it but I have friends that swear by it.

To Sonlight : http://www.sonlight.com/

A program I have used is Oakmeadow.  My oldest son did not like it at all.  I thought he would because he likes textbooks but he didn’t like this program.  While I didn’t receive step by step lessons (which I like) but each lesson in the book includeded most areas of study so we worked on one lesson then simple moved to the next.  You can view samples online.  This is a good program because like Winter Promise an artistic child has options and so do children like my son.

To Oakmeadow : http://oakmeadow.com/

All these come at a cost but here is one that is free:  http://allinonehomeschool.com/   (this is Easy Peasy)

I have looked at this and I think it could be a good resource.  I tried to do the math for my 9th grader because he was not working in his math texts but it is not perfected yet.  It is computer based.


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Homeschool to College: An A.A. Degree?

Recently I had lunch with a friend.  We started talking about my thoughts on getting an A.A. degree at a junior college to make transferring into a university easier.  Here is her story.

Her daughter attended public school and participated in the program here in Washington called Running Start.  This is where you can earn credit for high school and earn credit for college.

Her daughter was accepted at Concordia University in Irvine, California.  Keep in mind she is a resident of Washington state.  She has her A.A. in hand.  She actually goes down to the university and is getting the tour of her dorm room when it somehow comes up that she will need to take some additional credits because while she does have an A.A. degree not all off those credits are transferable. WHAT!

The daughter ends up attending University of Washington without a problem.  Her A.A. accepted.  Hmmm . . .

In state sounds like a better idea.  But get this, she earns a degree in communications and is now working as a caregiver because she can not find a job.  Wow.

There is a lot to think about today isn’t there.  This young lady is saddled with student loans and is working for a job that pays close to minimum wage.  Which in Washington, our county, is $9.30.

This video is a little different but I liked his point of view and he brings up some good points.  It’s a bit long but his thoughts may resonate with you.


Any other insights?

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More Thoughts On Spelling

The other day my 9 year found small cards clipped together on the floor.  He asked me what they were as I picked them up off the floor. I explained that they belong with a spelling program.  Then I asked if he thought he would like to use it?
He laughed and said “I already. know how to spell. Why would I need that.”
He’s a dream come true.

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