January 2021: the beginning of a new year, a new semester. At Samson Home School Academy, we started a new unit of American history: American Presidents, Washington through Lincoln. In addition to the the biography of each President, we studied the major events in American history that occurred during each administration. We learned about the Louisiana Purchase, the explorations of Lewis and Clark, the Missouri Compromise, the Monroe Doctrine, The Trail of Tears, the Mexican American War, and the Gold Rush.

As part of our history unit, we learned about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Students memorized the preambles to both documents.

We also did a unit on the solar system and constellations. We made a lap book about the sun and moon and the planets. We drew a poster of relative sizes of the planets, using items ranging from a pepper corn to a watermelon. We also learned about the mythology behind the constellations. Each student chose a constellation and drew it.

Our music study this month was folk music. We listened to early folk music, the Carter family, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan. The weather turned nice just in time for us to hold a singing class outside for “This Land is Your Land.” Perfect for inauguration week!

Our book this month is “Rascal,” the story of a young boy and his raccoon in rural 1918 Wisconsin. As this book is on CD, we do handicrafts while listening. Our current handicraft is knitting. After listening to a few chapters, the class discusses the events and how they compare to our own time. This is one of the students’ favorite classes!

Next month: the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, the Underground Railroad, and so much more.

December is Dr. Seuss month for our Kinder-2nd Grade class. We’ll also begin to learn about traits of civilization. In learning about the invention of writing, we’ll be making cunieform tablets. We’ll also cover ancient Egypt this month.

The 3rd and 4th grade class will continue their unit on early American history, tracing its steps from the Revolutionary War to the writing of the U.S. Constitution.

Our biography this month for both classes includes Alexander Hamilton and blues legend B.B. King. One Shoe Blues indeed!

Our semester will wrap up with a week-long unit on world religions. We’ll be learning about different religious faiths, their winter holidays, and the parts of the world where these religions predominate.

Our last day of the fall semester is Friday, December 18th. We’ll be hosting a small party to celebrate our students’ hard work in the afternoon.

Lescaux Cave painting
Pueblo Indian dwellings

Our field trip to Casa Ramirez was a huge success! Students in both classes enjoyed learning about ofrendas, altars to those family members who have passed on. Afterward, all students made their own ofrendas and decorated sugar skulls.

The 3rd & 4th grade class project of building a city from recycled materials was a big hit. Students brainstormed what they wanted in a town and then went to work to build it. They did a fabulous job!

November is the month of nursery rhymes for the Kinder-2nd class. Students in both classes will learn about worms and mushrooms, and their role in decomposition.

Students in the 3rd & 4th grade class will study Andy Warhol and start their unit on American history. We will learn about Native Americans as well as colonial America. Our biographies for November include Rachel Carson, author of The Sea Around Us. We’ll also be learning about coral reefs, sharks, and ecosystems.

The Kinder-2nd grade class will be learning about creation stories from about the world and their biographies include cosmologist Stephen Hawking.

Last week the Kinder-2nd grade class started a two week unit on Cinderella stories around the world. Both classes did an aboriginal-style painting and started a seed journal, tracing the development of a plant from a seed. We also planted our herb garden. The 3rd & 4th grade class made a salt map of the Tigris & Euphrates Rivers, the Fertile Crescent.

This week the 3rd and 4th grade class learned about the origins of the scientific method by studying the biographies of Galileo and Newton. They also did “action” paintings like Jackson Pollack and began learning a “kata,” a sequence of karate moves. At Samson we provide opportunities for free expression as well as the development of self-discipline!

Next week the Kinder-2nd class learns about the Boston Tea Party and Benjamin Franklin, while the 3rd & 4th grade class deepens its understanding of the scientific method by learning about the beginnings of epidemiology and the role of the Broad Street pump in an outbreak of cholera in 19th century London.

Coming later in October is a unit on Day of the Dead. We have arranged for a field trip to Casa Ramirez on October 21st. We will be sending home permission slips for parents to sign. Parents will also be given the opportunity to send money in case children wish to purchase any items. Casa Ramirez is well-known for its annual display of ofrendas, Day of the Dead altars, and its DOD program of activities.

Also coming (in early November) is a unit on architecture and making a city out of recycled materials so start saving those paper towel and toilet rolls now!