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Thursday, August 28, 2008


This is Cooper's lapbook. It is our family's first ever attempt at a lapbook. I am only posting Cooper's lapbook as Carter's book is basically the same. Below are ALL of the websites we used for this lapbook and our Unit Study on the Olympics:











We had a great time doing this unit! We hope you have enjoyed watching us have fun and seeing the fruits of our labor:) Now, on to the business of learning to read and spell and more fun stuff:)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We have learned many wonderful things about China in our study of the Olympics. We have also created several crafts associated with China. One of the boys favorite crafts were chinese lanterns. As you can see, they decorated their lanterns and then we hung them on doorposts and from our chandelier. Carter's lantern is orange. Cooper decided that he would get more creative and added extra elements to his lantern, which was purple. The best thing about these lanterns was that we went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant later that week (home school field trip - haha) and there were lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Carter was so excited when he saw them and recognized them. He then told Tony all about Chinese lanterns. How great is that?!!
In studying the Chinese culture, we learned that they have over 200 different characters in their writing. The boys wrote their name in Chinese, which you will see when we complete their lapbook, and they also wrote the Chinese Numbers from one to ten. We had seen the characters for the numbers on the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and since I had recorded the Opening Ceremonies, we replayed the countdown and they got to see the Chinese numerals before they wrote them. The picture above is an example of both boy's work! I think they did great. I tried to copy the numbers and it was a difficult task!!
I forgot to put this activity on the previous posts and I thought that it was a really neat one. I was struggling to figure out how to explain to the boys the significance and reasoning behind why time is denoted as B.C. and A.D.. In the book, Ancient Greece! 40 Hands - On Activities To Experience This Wondrous Age, I found this activity. You make a chart that details the events before the child's birth. We are lucky, in our case, as Carter and Cooper's initials correspond with B.C.. So, these are the events Before Carter / Cooper. (or B.D. if your child's name begins with a D). You explain that these are some of the events that took place before his or her birth and that is why they are labeled B.C.. Then you explain that in the modern world, all events before the birth of Christ are labeled as B.C. or Before the birth of Christ.
Then, you make a chart that details several key events that happened after the child was born. I made the label read After Delivery (A.D.), but the book did not say to do that. I just thought it was funny! You then explain that all of the events that took place after the birth of Christ are labeled A.D. meaning Anno Domini (In The Year of Our Lord). I told the boys that after Christ was born each year was the year of our Lord and will be until he comes back:) I think this was a really easy (and fun) way of explaining these designations.
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We also had a WATER BALLOON TOSS at the Crazy Smith Olympics. The boys liked this event. Cooper, as you can see by the picture, was really into the water balloon toss. He and Garrett were on a team and they did really great together!
Our last event was an all - out WATER BALLOON FIGHT. Yes, it did take me forever to fill up all the water balloons needed for these activities, thank you for asking:) This was the FAVORITE activity of the day. We gave each team an equal number of the remaining balloons and asked them to please not throw the balloons at each other's faces and they were off! They hit each other every which way but luckily, no one got hurt!! That was good, clean, boy fun!!
This was our final medal ceremony for the Crazy Smith Olympics. Each boy had lots and lots of medals, they had played their hearts out and had a fun day with one another. What else could a boy ask for? I have no clue because I was so worn out when the Crazy Smith Olympics were over, I didn't ask a thing. I took a nap!!
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O.k., so we started school the first week of August. I knew I would feel guilty about making my kids begin school so early - even though we are out early in May for pool weather:) Anyway, I scheduled the CRAZY SMITH OLYMPICS for the end of our second week of study. I did activities like this with my after school kids and they really loved it, so I thought the boys would, too!! We invited the boys friends, Ethan and Garrett over to compete and have fun, too. Our first activity was a WATER CUP RELAY. Each team got a small cup. One at a time, each member had to fill the small cup with water, run SLOWLY to a larger cup and the first team that filled their larger cup won the event!! It was great fun!
Here is our second event. The WET T - SHIRT CONTEST. I know what you are thinking, but no, it was not that kind of wet t - shirt contest. I wet the t- shirts with a hose. One at a time, each team member had to put the shirt on, run to the end of the sidewalk, come back and take the shirt off and give it to their partner. The first team to have both members complete the run and take the shirt off won the event! Let me just say that it was hilarious watching these boys try and put oversize, wet t - shirts on and run in them::):)Notice the logo's on the shirts. Ha! Tony will be happy!!
Ahh, a good old fashioned SIT AND SQUISH! Each team got several balloons. One at a time, each member began at the starting line, took their balloon, sat on it until it squished and then ran back to the starting line so that their partner could go. The team that squished all of their balloons won the event. This was a hilarious one, too, as two of the boys were small and their hineys were rolling all over the balloons but not squishing them!! Too funny!
Carter and Cooper are now professional "sit and squishers". As you can see by the medal around Cooper's neck, we gave out medals to each team that won an event, just as we did when we had the first Smith Olympics. I think that all of the boys really enjoyed the day and the events. They are still talking about how much fun they had! I will do anything for the sake of education:)!!
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Monday, August 25, 2008


The second week of August, we began studying the modern Olympics and their symbols and China. We traced the route of the Olympic flame on a map and the boys created their own Olympic flames. We then had our own torch relay where Carter came down the stairs with his torch and lit Cooper's flame on the bottom step and Cooper proceeded to run his relay route!
The boys and I followed the route online as well and then looked at the great pictures and architecture in each city that the torch passed through. Click on the link to see one of the best web sites I found to trace the
Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Route.
While we did not get into the human rights discussion and the controversy surrounding the Olympics in China, I did think that this was a good opportunity to tell the boys that there were people in some of the torch relay cities who were not happy about the Olympics being in China and they tried to stop the Olympic flame. When they asked why, I just told them that the government in China would not let their people be free to do whatever they want, like we are here in the U.S.A.. I told them that the Chinese people could not go to whatever church they wanted or have as many children as they wanted and that they could not say anything that they wanted without being afraid that someone would hurt them or their family. They understood these facts and then we just talked about how we should pray that the Chinese people will someday be able to do all the things that we are able to do in the Unites States of America!!
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As we studied the Ancient Olympics, we read the book, Ancient Greeks by Daisy Kerr. We learned that the Greeks were pioneers in art and music and drama. So, our next project was an art project. The Greeks used broken pottery tiles to make mosaic designs on their floors. In the book, Ancient Greeks! 40 Hands - On Activities To Experience This Wondrous Age, we found a mosaic activity involving using several different kinds of beans to make mosaic designs. The above picture is Cooper's lion which was cut out from a coloring book we had. As you can see, he did not complete the entire mosaic (he started at the tail), but I think he got the idea!!
This is Carter's mosaic. Carter wanted to make a mosaic out of a card that we had that said, "I love you" and had a flower drawn on it. So, I traced these words on the paper plate and drew a flower next to them. Carter got tired of doing mosaics as well, but I think he got the idea, too!
While studying the Ancient Olympics, we also read a book called Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne. In this book, two children travel back in time to Ancient Greece and meet Plato. They also learn that girls were not allowed to compete in the Olympics and that men, dressed as women, performed in plays because women were not allowed to act in the plays of Ancient Greece. The boys thought this was a bit odd, just as the children in the book did!! So, what could we do but put on our own play. We learned that the Greeks had two kinds of masks for their plays - tragedy and comedy! We had also been reading Aesop's Fables (did you know that Aesop was a Greek?). So, we decided that our play would be one of Aesop's Fables.
The fable that the boys chose was The Eagle and The Tortoise. The moral of the story was "Be Careful What You Wish For". Long story short, the tortoise wishes for flying lessons and says that he is rich and will pay half of his money for flying lessons. So, the eagle picks up the tortoise and takes him flying - and then lets him go. Then the tortoise screams as he is falling through the air that he will give the rest of his money for landing lessons. Anyway, Carter's mask above is the comedy part of the story or the eagle and Cooper's mask in this picture is the tragedy mask or the tortoise. Carter and Cooper LOVED doing this and I even taped them performing their play. I will try and put the video up as soon as possible!
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After the Smith Olympics, each "Greek God" (haha) was awarded with an olive leaf crown (as was customary in the Ancient Olympics) and medals for the sport that he triumphed in!! The boys also got to do victory laps or whatever kind of celebration they wanted to celebrate their acheivement!!
I checked out two really great books from the library called Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Ancient Greece and Rome and Ancient Greece! 40 Hands - On Activities To Experience This Wondrous Age. These books had some really great ideas in them. One of the ideas was to have children write the greek alphabet. I was very nervous about having the boys write the alphabet because I thought it would be too complicated. However, as you can see, they did GREAT!!
The above picture is of Cooper's copy of the greek alphabet and this picture is of Carter's greek alphabet! I am hoping that learning the greek alphabet will help them if they join a fraternity later on in life!! Maybe they will remember a little of it!!
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After learning about the Ancient Greek Olympics, we decided that we would compete in our own Olympics - mainly the sports in the Ancient Pentathalon!! I bought some wooden dowels for javelins and our first even was the javelin throw. The boys lined up behind our chalk line and threw the "javelins". We then measured the distance from our chalk line to the place where each javelin landed. The winner of this event was Carter!!

Our next event was running. We had three different races up and down our sidewalk and Cooper prevailed in all the races but one!! He sure is fast!!

Next, the boys competed in the discus throw. We used a regular frisbee for our discus and after the boys threw, we measured the distance from the start line to where the "discus" landed. We threw the "discus" three times and Carter won all three!!

Lastly, the boys competed in jumping. The boys ran and when they came to our chalk line, they had to quit running and jump as far as possible. As you can see from the picture, Cooper won several times!! After the jumps, we measured the length of each boy's jump!! They really had a great time with these activities! The boys did not compete in the final event of the Ancient Pentathalon, which was wrestling. If you know our children, then you will know why!
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We have started school:) During August, we have been focusing on a broad study of the Olympics, from Ancient Greece to China to an in-depth study of each sport that is represented at the Olympics. I downloaded a great unit study / lapbook from Currclick and then got busy!! Here are the boys preparing their olive leaf crowns after studying about the Ancient Greek Olympics.

As you can tell, both boys are happy with their creations!! Carter is preparing his pose for when he actually competes in the Olympics!

Here is a classic C.M.S. Academy school picture. Carter, dressed in a Savannah St. Patrick's Day t - shirt and Tony's old cub scout shirt and Cooper doing school in nothing but his undies!! Anyway, after learning the significance of the colors of the Olympic rings, we created our own that we hung outside while we competed in the Smith Olympics!!
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