Lesson Learned | 2

This week in outlearning: A roundup of some our learning experiences 
  • Review subtraction with regrouping, using numbers up to 100,000,000 
  • Use outlines to organize and improve expository writing.
  • Introduction to 4-H
  • Practice organizing information by date, including presidential birthdays
  • Roller skating (again) 
  • Read expository nonfiction to learn about text features like headings, illustrations, etc.
  • Explore Wolf River Greenway
  • The science of boogers and Fibonacci numbers (free choice, as you might've guessed)
We also added Hermione to our menagerie -- A new friend for Hermes!  
We're still working on the classification.

Happy Birthday to Presidents Clinton & Harrison!

Photo: BrianPOP

Friends from the start!


Lesson Learned | 1

This week in outlearning: A roundup of some our learning experiences 
  • Review place value for multi-digit whole numbers, comparing numbers up to 100,000,000 
  • Practice writing,  using reasons and information to support an opinion 
  • Roller skating and swimming with friends
  • Explore Meeman-Shelby Forest, identifying and classifying local wildlife 
  • Read realistic fiction, emphasizing story sequence and summary of events 
  • Identify reasons and evidence a speaker uses to support points
Opinion piece: My Little Tree Frog



Write, Type, Blog: My Little Tree Frog

This week we explored types of texts and purposes for writing. More specifically, we worked on using reasons and information to write an opinion piece. Though it may not be scientifically accurate and getting her to write (and worse, type!) was no small feat, I'm quite satisfied with the direction this is going. She chose to write about our newly morphed tree froglet, that we brought home from our trip to Missouri.  A little bit of writing, a little bit of typing, a little bit of blogging- a lot of work for my 9 year old!

My Little Tree Frog
Google Images: Green tree froglet
I have a tree frog. His name is Georgie. I found him as a tadpole in Van Buren, Missouri. There are three different kinds of tree frogs that live in Missouri. He could be a Gray tree frog, Green tree frog, or Cope's tree frog. My guess is he's a Cope's tree frog.

Google Images: Gray tree froglet
Georgie could be a Green tree frog if he had golden spots on his back. However, his back is dark green. He could be a Gray tree frog if he had  orange coloring under his hind legs, but his hind legs are grayish green. I don't think Georgie is a Green tree frog or a Gray tree frog. 
Google Images: Cope's gray tree froglet

 After looking at photos of Cope's tree froglets, I think that Georgie looks very similar. He is the same color green and has a black stripe on his upper lip. I believe Georgie is a Cope's tree frog, but I'll have to wait for him to grow to be certain.  



Never Stop Learning!

I want to learn screen printing! 

I first learned screen printing techniques in high school and really loved it. Unfortunately, I haven't really done anything since. I received a screen printing kit for Christmas last year and have yet to make time to use it. It sits on a shelf gathering dust because I always have something more important to do. Also, I wonder how many YouTube videos I'll have to watch in order to use it properly.

As a homeschooler, I'm always practicing a plethora of skills and learning new things. Of course, all this brain food usually revolves around the learning needs of my primary student. As the new homeschool year begins, I am making a commitment to learn things just for me and I'm starting with screen printing!

What "grown folk" things do you want to learn?
Photo: Five in One Social Club, Wine Bottle Wednesdays

I signed up for a workshop at Five in One Social Club. Located on Broad Avenue in Memphis, Five in One Social Club is a self-described "Kindergarten for Grown Folks."  I love browsing the goods from local artists and crafts people that are sold in their storefront and now I'm ready to be a student! I'm so excited! Maybe next I can find someone to teach me how to reupholster furniture.

Check out Five in One's workshop calendar here.  

...And send me a message if you know where I can learn upholstery skills!

4-H Entomology / Beekeeping Project


September 2nd
Learn how bees pollinate food crops and identify the parts of a flower.
October 7th
Analyze our food choices and our dependency on honey bee pollination.
November 4th
Consider how honey bees might be hard at work in your neighborhood.
December 2nd
Discover byproducts of pollination and how we consume them.
January 6th
Evaluate the anatomy of the honey bee.
February 3rd
Explore the taxonomy of bees and other living organisms.
March 2nd
Examine the life cycle of honey bees.
April 6th
Illustrate ways we can help honey bees thrive and survive.


The Buzz About Bees

*This project group will meet on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning September 2nd.

Members who participate in this project will explore the biology and behavior of honey bees and learn about their vital role in our food supply. Upon completion of this project, members may choose to continue investigating honey bees by examining colony structure, the process of rearing bees, and honey production in year two of the 4-H Honey Bee Project.

Participants will practice 
  • Learning through observation, problem-solving, and critical thinking
  • Logical thinking, deductive reasoning, and decision making
  • Relating to others and working together by cooperating and communicating
  • Planning and organizing, gathering information, and keeping records
  • Conducting research, making comparisons, drawing conclusions, presenting results

The project includes activities that connect honey bee biology and behavior to human dependency on bees and participants will keep a project journal detailing what they learn.  All participants will have multiple opportunities to engage in a variety of optional 4-H contests and/or demonstrations, including the Poster Art Contest, Beekeeping Essay Contest, Photo Search Contest, and Demonstration Contest.

Participants will gain an understanding of 
  I.  Human Dependency on Bees 
  • Pollination
  • Monetary value associated with foods aided by bee pollination
  • Healthy and ethical food choices
  • Consumer products associated with bees
  • Energy consumption related to bee-derived products
II.  Biology and Behavior 
  • Scientific classification
  • Anatomy and life cycle of honey bees
  • Health and decline of bee populations
  • Helping honey bees survive and thrive 

Project Completion and Participation Requirements
  • Participants must be 4-H members. 
  • Incentives and recognitions will be awarded for participation/attendance. However attendance at every meeting in not a requirement for participation.
  • Members who complete a minimum of six (6) hours of instruction will achieve project completion and receive a "year stripe."  
  • To exhibit at state or county fairs, 4-H members must complete a minimum of six (6) hours of project instruction. 

Meeting topics can be found here. Please contact me if your child is interested in joining 4-H and/or participating in this project.


The Ugliest Principle of Our Society

I started to write this a year ago.
I was trying to decide how to address with my child the death of Michael Brown and the uprising in Ferguson and was told time and time again, "You shouldn't introduce her to such things. Preserve her innocence." Every time I'd hear these remarks, I'd think to myself, "If my child was black, I'd have no choice but to explain warn her about what was going on. I'd have no choice but to teach her how and why these things happen so that they might not happen to her. How can it be that the innocence of some children is protected, while others have to know the cold hard truth?" I would think these things, but I didn't say them out loud. Parenting is hard, everyone does the best they can and they don't need to feel judged.

I quietly ignored what I felt was naive advice. I pulled back the curtain, revealing to my daughter a glimpse of society that, for most of her peers, is almost always categorized as history. After all, if I left it with what she learned in school, she wouldn't even know the term racism and she'd go on believing that equality is real and the inequities of society died with Dr. King. I share these things with her, but I never share them with others. Parenting is hard, everyone does the best they can and they don't need to feel judged. Who am I to share my teacher-mom, soapbox advice about such things? It fits into the same etiquette box as religion and politics, right?

It's been more than a year since Ferguson... Since answering the question, "Black Lives Matter- What does that mean, Mama?" There have been so many other conversations. So many other perspectives on what is really happening in our country. And still, I privately teach my child the truth that I know. There are people who are filled with hate. And there will always be those who try to excuse it or explain it way. It's a disorder or disease, the product of poor parenting. It's the fault of Big Pharma and the side effects of their drugs. It's the fear instilled in people by the media and entertainment industries. Maybe all these things are true, but the truest of all is that the hate and the excuses can be summed up with one explanation. Racism. The ugliest principle of our society. I identify this for my child, but I do not point it out to others. Parenting is hard and...

Sometimes parents perpetuate racism by ignoring it, by calling it something else, by hiding it from their children. And sometimes we perpetuate it by not confronting it with others, so that our children might be able to do the same.

As I'm once again trying to decide how to address another racist tragedy with my child, I read and hear so many different perspectives. I didn't think I would encounter anything truer than Jon Stewart's monologue following the horror terror in Charleston, but then I read these words from my friend, Lisa Anderson:
"I have to say that to read time after time after time post all over Facebook from white people that cannot stay on the subject of the root issue that caused him to commit these murders would be offensive to me if I were African American and is offensive to me even in my white privileged skin. When I ask myself why we are not making progress it seems to me to be this very thing. People cannot simply sit with the reality of the culture and societal evils that raise persons like this young man so we change the subject to the issues we are comfortable with like the abstract evil in the whole of humanity and what went wrong with his 'raising'. We have raised him by defending him as having free speech to spout hate, we have raised him by declaring that he should have a weapon to defend himself against 'those' people, we have raised him by segregating ourselves from each other and we have raised him with our empty prayers of concern. I have raised him every time I have not spoken up for people who are victims of hate. God help us stop rationalizing and begin to act as Jesus acted in that temple that had lost it's purpose. Praying is part of our very breath but breathing alone will not keep us well and fit for the Kingdom."
Lisa's words helped me acknowledge my own culpability. Her words give me hope that it is possible for people to address racism, in all its forms, in a real and lasting way.


Lisa Anderson is the pastor is at Colonial Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Director at Room in the Inn-Memphis.