Monday, June 3, 2013

Missouri State Dinner

Finally resuming our state dinners and state studies! This was our Missouri state dinner:

Corn on the cob
Green salad
Ice cream cones
Dr. Pepper

In 1904, St. Louis, Missouri, hosted the World's Fair.  Introduced at that fair were ice cream cones and Dr. Pepper.  Toasted ravioli is a dish unique to Missouri and was also introduced at the fair.  It is ravioli that is breaded and deep fried.  You can eat it plain or serve it with marinara sauce for dipping.  Corn is an important crop for Missouri.  The only state that produces corn cob pipes is Missouri. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Creative Narrations

Narrating is so important to learning but for some reason it is one area where I tend to slack.  My kids have an puppet theater that they rarely use. I had my two younger ones use the puppets to tell back what they learned from their history readings for the day.

The Black Douglas (a leader under Robert Bruce during Scotland's fight for freedom)

The Story of the Mayflower

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Loop Scheduling

I wish I had heard of loop scheduling earlier in our home schooling journey. It makes so much sense that I'm amazed I've gone this long without figuring it out!

The basics: make a list of all the subjects you want to cover during your school year. Then determine how often you want to cover them. This is what our community loop schedule looks like. The community loop is for the subjects that all (or some) of the kids do together.

We start each day with Bible reading and prayer so I put that at the top of the list. Our state study is done irregularly (2-3 times a month) so I put that in the middle. My aim was to get through the schedule once a week. (It doesn't always work out that way but that is the great thing about loop scheduling. We quit missing subjects!) You can see that I've scheduled Zoology twice on the loop since we need to do that more often to cover the material.

Our day works like this: We start at 8 a.m. We all meet at the table at do our Bible reading (we are reading through the Psalms this year) and have prayer together. Then whoever is part of the community subject for that day stays. (Usually it is the older two boys. My second grader does independent reading during this time and my 5-year-old will read or play on Starfall if they are not part of the subject.) We work together until about 9 or 9:30. From there the older two start on their independent schedules while I work with the younger two girls. The idea is to work for a set amount of time and then move on. The next day, just pick up where you left off. Sometimes we make it through the schedule in a week and sometimes we don't. Before I would assign subject to days. For example, geography was slated for Thursdays. If we had a field trip on a Thursday or took the day off, geography wouldn't get done.

After making a community schedule and an independent schedule for each child, I used this form from Donna Young to make a checklist for each child. These checklists are mine and each child also got one (listing both community and independent subjects) for their notebooks. It makes it easy to see at a glance where we left off.

This way of scheduling has been so great for us! Too often at the end of the week we were trying to catch up so subjects like art and classical music were allowed to slide. I never feel behind anymore and we are consistently covering all subjects. Link

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kansas State Dinner

Buffalo Burgers
Chuckwagon Potatoes
Rainbow fruit platter
Rustic Apple Pie

The American buffalo (bison) is the official state animal of Kansas. They once roamed freely all over the Kansas prairie. And they are very tasty! Bison meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef but tastes very similar.

I made a rainbow of fruit as a nod to The Wizard of Oz, which took place in Kansas. (Red - strawberries, Orange - peaches, Yellow - pineapple, Green - kiwi, Blue - blueberries, Purple - grapes)

Lewis and Clark crossed the northeastern corner of the state in 1804, opening the way west.
Many pioneers followed and blazed new trails: the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Chisholm Trail, the Western Cattle Trail, and the Pony Express. Pioneer women served pies frequently. Pie is an adaptable recipe that could make use of regional fruits. A galette is a rustic pie that can be baked on a baking sheet rather than a pie pan.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nebraska State Dinner

Grilled steaks
Baked potatoes
Corn salad
Kool-Aid (official state soft drink)
Sorghum Cookies

If we hadn't just gotten through the holiday season, I would have made the dessert. With all the cookies and sugar we have had lately, I decided to skip it. The kids didn't miss it! In this area I haven't seen sorghum syrup but I have found sorghum flour and we also have sorghum fields nearby. I also served corn salad instead of fresh corn on the cob because it is January! I can't find the link but this is the recipe we used:
1 bag frozen corn, thawed
3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced red onion
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste.
Just throw it all in a bowl and mix!

Sorghum is one of the important crops grown in Nebraska with corn being the number one crop. It is, after all, nicknamed the "Cornhusker State." Much of the corn is used as feed for Nebraska cattle. Beef is also a major product of the state. Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Nebraska, in 1927 and in 1998 the Nebraska legislature named Kool-Aid as the official state beverage. The original six flavors were Cherry, Grape, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Raspberry, and Strawberry. We opted for orange.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Iowa State Dinner

Grilled Pork Chops on a Stick, brined with a dry rub
Salad on a Stick
Grilled corn on the cob
Dutch Letters

The Iowa State Fair is the largest event in the state and is known as "America's Classic State Fair." It was the inspiration behind a novel, three motion pictures and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical, "State Fair."

Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the U.S. The Iowa Pork Producers Association serves up over 6,000 pork chops on a stick each day during the state fair. In order to expand healthier options, vendors at the fair started serving salad on a stick.

Iowa alone produces more corn each year that most other countries in the world. It has produced the largest corn crop of any state for the past 14 years. Most of it is used as animal feed.

Dutch letters are traditionally made into an "S"-shape but any letter can be formed. I made one for each kid in the shape of the first letter of their name as well as some "S"-shaped ones. These treats are popular during Christmas time and can be found in many bakeries.

Friday, August 5, 2011

South Dakota State Dinner

Chislic with crackers
Fry bread (official state bread) with honey
Wild blueberries, plum and cherries
Milk (official state beverage)
Apple kuchen (official state dessert)

Chislic is a food that is apparently unheard of outside of South Dakota. Chislic is chunks of seasoned meat that has been deep fried. I used beef. Other choices include lamb, venison, and elk. Before frying, I sprinkled it with a simple seasoning of garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Fry bread has become a popular Native American treat. The honey bee is the official state insect of South Dakota so we chose to use honey as a topping. Toppings can be savory, like taco fixings, to sweet, like berry syrup or powdered sugar.

Blueberries, plums and chokecherries all grow wild in South Dakota. I don't have access to wild plums or chokecherries so we just cut up some plums and cherries and mixed them with wild blueberries that are readily available frozen at the grocery store.

For the apple kuchen I used the official state recipe. The family loved it! In fact, they loved all the food.