We had quite a few hands on experiences in school this week… so I thought I would share about them here… plus it’s been quite a while since I’ve done a week in review.

All of these activities were taken from Adventures in My Father’s World

First of all, in history, we talked about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. To realize the importance of the cotton gin, we “made cotton”

Step One: take a cotton ball and spread it out so it is more flat than round. Squiggle around some liquid glue and sprinkle little green pieces of paper (seeds) onto it. When the glue has dried, ball the cotton back up.

Step Two:

Picking Out the Cotton Seeds

When the glue has dried, have your child pick out the little green seeds. Let them know that it is important to save the cotton and only remove the seeds.

Step Three:

Cotton Gin

Introduce the cotton gin. In the book we read about Eli Whitney, the cotton gin was described as having teeth like a comb. I gave the kids a comb to remove the seeds and let them tell me the difference in doing it by hand and using the comb. We worked on descriptive words. And… by the way… this kept the kids entertained for almost an hour!

We also have been reading about the pioneers moving west. This week, we read a story about a family who traveled down the Ohio River and met Johnny Appleseed on the way. We talked about food preservation and how the pioneers didn’t have refrigerators or coolers. To emphasize this point, I pulled out the dehydrator I bought at a yard sale a few years back and we dried some apples.


As we sampled the dehydrated apples, we talked about how they were the same and different has “real” apples. The kids were not big fans of the dried ones… that’s okay though… just means more for me!

In science this week, we began talking about living things. In the  Usborne First Enclyclopedia of Science, we looked at cells. It was a very brief and simple introduction to a subject I am sure we will spend more time on later.

After reading about cells, we made a very simple model using jello, beans and a grape.

Start with Jello

Make the jello according to the directions and then place in a plastic baggie. Put it into the fridge to let it set for a couple of hours.

Add a grape and some beans

After the jello has set, squish in a grape for the nucleus and some beans for the organelles (cell parts). The baggie represents the cell wall or membrane.

Throw in some math and spelling and there you have it… our homeschool week!

This Week in Homeschool

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