Federal Reserve and Money Museum Tour

Today we joined some of our homeschool group on a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank and Money Museum in Cleveland, OH.

The kids learned about types of money that have been used throughout history. They learned what “fiat” money is and what the role of the Fed is in regulating our money system. There were a lot of neat hands on exhibits in the museum, though they were disappointed to learn they had to visit one of the mints to see actual money being made.



Clay Relief Masterpieces Class 4 of 4

Today was the last of the clay relief classes. The kids finished up by painting their now-dry clay relief sculptures.

O7’s Picasso:

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S8’s Renoir:

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They also had plenty of time to finish their second pieces, too.

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O7’s Hello Kitty:

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After art class, S8 attended the last of her Young Historians Club meetings for the year. They held a mock session of Congress, in which she was a senator from South Carolina. In their congress, the kids learned how to introduce, argue and vote on a bill. They then set forth ideas for next year’s Club theme, and had to convince other students to support their suggestions. Finally, everyone voted and it was decided that World Wars would be next year’s topic.

In the evening, we went to OGI for our gymnastics class.

Next stop: Florida! We leave Saturday.

Lincoln’s Boyhood

We recently visited Evansville, Indiana with DH, who had to go there for work.

Lincoln's Boyhood Brochure

While dad was working, the girls and I made a side trip to Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood National Memorial, just 45 minutes from our hotel. The park was really easy to find, and we ended up being the only ones there that morning.  The ranger seemed kind of shocked to see us pull in, to be honest. It was kind of funny. But he was friendly and helped us get our Junior Ranger booklets. Most national parks have a Junior Ranger program, which is really neat. The kids complete several activities in a booklet (which they get to keep! bonus!), then there are often other activities like attending a ranger program or picking up trash, etc., and then they get pins and/or patches to show they are Junior Rangers for that park. We’ve already earned ones from Gold Rush National Park in Seattle and the Grand Canyon North Rim. The kids think they’re fun and they are a lot more engaged than I remember being when my parents slogged us through national parks ad nauseum.



Here’s the visitor’s center, where we started. We saw a 15 minute movie narrated by Leonard Nimoy about Lincoln’s time in Indiana (he lived here from age 7 until he was 21). It was very interesting.  I didn’t know (or didn’t remember) that Lincoln’s mother died when he was 9, and that his father was remarried to a woman who had three other children.

Also very interesting: Lincoln was homeschooled.  Actually, he was pretty much unschooled.  They only had one book, the bible, until his stepmother brought three more books with her when she moved to Indiana with the Lincolns.  The film said that Lincoln probably had about a year’s worth of “schooling” over his lifetime.

Here is a view of the visitor’s center:


Each of those “panels” on the walls of the visitor’s center are a carved relief with one of Abe’s famous quotations etched above.  Here is one:


The park is not overly large, but much of the important stuff is outside. We decided to walk to the knoll where Lincoln’s mother is buried and then hike the memorial trail that loops past the Lincoln family’s farmsite. First we checked ahead in the books to see if there’s anything in particular we would want to pay attention to on our hike to the Pioneer Cemetery and the Trail of Twelve Stones.


Here we are, looking across the parking lot at the Tallest Flagpole In Indiana. It’s 150′ high.





View of the visitor’s center from the flagpole/knoll:



Bonus: the daffodils were in bloom! Ours at home are still just little shoots.


So first we checked out the cemetery. Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Abe’s mother, is buried here. So are many other pioneers from that time. This area had an outbreak of “milk sickness”, which people got when they drank the milk of a cow who had ingested white snakeroot plants. A toxin accumulated in the cow’s milk and most people who got “milk sickness” died from it. Now that we know what causes it, it’s not as deadly (or common). But back then, it was just a deadly, mysterious illness.




We wrote a few answers in our booklets, then decided to head up the Trail of Twelve Stones.




There are twelve rocks, stones and/or bricks positioned along the trail and each one has some kind of significance in Lincoln’s life. For some reason, I only photographed ten of them. But we found all twelve. We also found the family’s farmsite, which has a little monument on it.





I guess during the summer months, they have people working on the farm and running it just like it would have been in Abe’s time. Today, though, it was just us and some chickens.





O7 found a nice walking stick, though. She carried it the entire rest of the way.


Here’s where the stones begin:





This is the very rock Lincoln stood on when he delivered the Gettysburg Address:


It was pretty chilly out, but the sun felt nice and the cool air was refreshing after the long car ride.


We hiked about a mile total, which was perfect.



Then O7 insisted I photograph her at the flagpole, but with her walking stick this time.


The kids took their books inside and finished the rest of the activities, and then we got our Junior Ranger pins. I let them each pick out a postcard, and we also bought a little souvenir activity book about Abraham Lincoln that they could do in the car.






Trading Cards from Lincoln's Boyhood

BIAA Flexible Glass Sculptures Class 1, Young Historians and Gymnastics 2-20-13

Today was a busy day, as you can probably guess from the title.  We started out with our first of three “Flexible Glass Sculptures” class at the Butler.  The kids learned about a contemporary artist named Dale Chihuly who does some really interesting things with glass. 






They were drawn to Chihuly because (1) he is from Tacoma, where my brother lives (and which we visited in 2011), and (2) he studied in Venice, which we visited last fall.  Amazingly, there is a big exhibit of his work in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Guess where we’re going in April?  Looks like a stop at the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center is in order!

While Dale works with actual glass, Mrs. George needed to improvise (no glass-blowing equipment on hand in our studio, unfortunately).

First, she had the kids create wire forms out of lightweight aluminium.   O7 made a heart and a pile of cotton candy.

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Next, they laid the wire forms on a plastic sheet protector that had been cut open and spread out. They then “filled” their wire form with Pebeo Arti-Stick.

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The arti’stick application requires no water or brush, it is surprisingly simple; depending on the pressure, the nozzle of the plastic tube can easily draw lines or allow for filling in larger, solid areas.

The colors are dry 24 hours after application, and result in a strong, lightfast film once dry which may be applied and repositioned on most slick, non-porous surfaces

Here’s one that Mrs. George did ahead of time, which has dried completely. It sticks to the wire and can be gently repositioned as you like. The kids all said it felt like a Fruit Roll Up.

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Here are O7’s finished (but not dry) heart and cotton candy sculptures:

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S8 made a pretzel wand, a snowman, and a flower:

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For reference, the wire they used:

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After art, we stopped at Peaberry’s for a quick lunch, then the older girls (S8 and A8) went to their Young Historians club meeting.

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Today they were talking about the executive branch and the Cabinet. S8’s homework involves making a poster of the Cabinet and which departments are represented. She also has to make a flip book of the remaining Amendments to the Constitution (14 and up).

In the evening, we went to our gymnastics classes. O7 did a lot of work on floor and the tumble track. S8’s class seemed to hang out on beam for most of their time.

Young Historians Club, Session 2

Today was the second meeting of the 2012-13 “Young Historians Club”.

S8 forgot her folder, which contained all the memory cards she worked on from the last meeting.  She was very upset to discover she had left it on the bar at home.  But it was a good lesson for her about being responsible, and she ended up not really needing it for today’s class.  Fortunately, she had remembered her box of supplies.

Today’s topic was “Our Constitution”, and they focused on the actual document.  (Last month’s program focused on the men who wrote the Constitution.)  They learned about the articles and also the Electoral College.  Their homework is to make a flip book of the Bill of Rights.  I also have to print off a copy of the Constitution for her to put in the folder.

Next month’s topic will be “The Commander In-Chief”.

After Young Historians, we took O7 up to her gym class.  She had a proper leotard to wear tonight and was very eager to go.  I think S8 was a little bit jealous, but she managed to suffer through.  I let her play some Sudoku on my phone as a consolation prize.  She picked it up pretty quickly and now I think she’s hooked- just like her mother.

Young Historians Club

S8 attended her first meeting with the Young Historians Club today.  They meet monthly at the Bond House in Canfield, which is home to the Canfield Historical society and an adorable little colonial museum.

Through critical thinking and cooperative exercises, problem solving activities, mapping, note booking and role play opportunities participants will learn about the people and events that influenced our nation’s government. Programs will enhance understanding of our nation’s government, and lead participants on the path to becoming an informed member of society.

We the People
12:30pm to 3:00pm
the second Wednesday of each month, December through April,
Registration is $10 per class.
Recommended for any home schooled student ages 8 thru 16

December 12, 2012 Framers of the Constitution

January 9, 2013 Our Constitution

February 13 , 2013 The Commander in Chief

March 13 , 2013 Citizens of the United States

April 10, 2013 A Mock Congressional Hearing

The Presidents

Today we are starting a social studies/American history unit on the American presidents. I found a video series on the History Channel and DVRed it. The plan is to watch one video a week, then read some extra books on the presidents covered in each week’s show. The first one is Washington through Munroe.

Interesting things we’ve discovered:

Washington’s horse’s name was Nelson. Washington himself was a very good dancer and loved the arts. He even designed uniforms for the military. Important events: the Whiskey rebellion. He refused when asked to serve a third term.

John Adams, the second president, was very opinionated but very insecure. He was America’s first vice president and one of two presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson being the other). Important events: the XYZ Affair and the Alien and Sedition Acts. However, he avoided war with France via the Treaty of Mont Fontaine. He was also the father of the US Navy.

Thomas Jefferson beat Adams when the latter ran for a second term in a highly contentions election. Jefferson was not a Federalist, but a Democratic Republican. On the day of his inauguration Jefferson walked to the capital to make his speech. He was a widower with 6 children, eccentric and secretive. He kept 2 bear cubs at the White House. He was very informal, did not like to give public speeches, and preferred to work alone than in the public eye. But he was a very strong and effective leader. Important events: the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the Embargo Act of 1807.

James Madison was Jefferson’s Secretary of State. He was a Democratic-Republican, like Jefferson. He is known as the Father of the Constitution. His wife, Dolly, was a very influential First Lady. She loved oyster ice cream. Important events: the War of 1812, after the British began seizing US ships. He was the first president to ask Congress for a Declaration of War. The president’s mansion was burned in 1814 and he was the first and only president to face enemy fire. The war was ended with The Treaty of Ghent. The Star Spangled Banner was written during this war.

James Munroe was the fifth president and the last of the Revolutionary “generation”. He ran unopposed for his second term. Important events: Missouri and Maine became part of the Union, and the Missouri Compromise was signed. He also founded Monrovia in Liberia. The territory of Florida is invaded by Andrew Jackson and leads to negotiations with Spain, who cedes Florida to the US without incident. In 1823 he delivered the Munroe Doctrine, rejecting other countries attempting to colonize the American continent.