The Petersen Herd

The Petersen Herd

Sunday, July 5, 2009


First, let me say that Independence Day is one of my very favorite holidays! Maybe it's the food, the memories, the Spirit of the day. This year was particularly meaningful for me since we spend the whole week building up to the holiday studying it in our home school. Since I didn't have a camera for school this week, enjoy the pictures of our weekend celebration as I tell you about what we learned.
We studied all about George Washington, his dog Vulcan and his family. We learned to dance the Minuet (a popular dance during his time) and made a compass out of a needle a magnet and a bowl of water.
We discussed the flag, learned how it's colored (13 stripes, 7 red 6 white), we got out the map and found where England was and where the original 13 colonies were. Then we discussed how our flag went from 13 stars to 50 and where all fifty states are. (it took a while to explain that Alaska is bigger than Texas . . . the kids were a little skeptical that anything could be bigger than Texas!).
We read a lot of great books, one of which told the story of Francis Scott Key. We learned the pledge of allegiance a little better, sung the National Anthem every morning and read books about Fireworks (and learned why we celebrate with them).
We studied Captain Moroni and his Title of Liberty and discussed Freedom and when it's ok to fight for it. This one was a little hard since they don't quite grasp the concept of war (that's ok with me). Then we each designed our own title of liberty.
We did a lot of star art and learned how to cut a five pointed star just like Betsy Ross did when George Washington brought her the design for the first flag. She made it look so easy that he let her do 5 pointed stars instead of 6 which we think was a good idea! (it really is easy.)
We discussed Thomas Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence and we read the original document (I'll admit, it was hard for them, but I really enjoyed reading the actual words). We also used nickels and quarters to make rubbings of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington as part of a math game and learned a little more about money.
We read in the Book of Mormon where Nephi prophesies about the Revolution and then talked about why it was important for the United States to be a free place. I think the kids are starting to get a glimmer of understanding about freedom to make our own choices and just how important it is to us.
As a side note the older kids also had a well-check visit with their pediatrition this week. After the appointment they gave me a form to sign that stated that "I know that by refusing vaccination I am putting my children and those with whom they associate at risk of illness and possibly death". I couldn't believe it! I refused to sign the form and sent the office staff into shock I think. One of the girls actually said, "I can't believe it! I've never even seen anybody read those things." Well, I guess that was just a little lesson in defending our freedoms in even the smallest ways.
We practiced the letters "f" and "g" and did a lot of rhyming words for flag, free and fun. We read a lot of interesting stories about the revolutionary period, including a Revolutionary Cookbook which had a lot of gross recipes in it that Mommy decided we wouldn't make after all.
We also finished our first chapter book of the summer, "Charlotte's Web" which we decided was even better than the movie. The kids spent every minute they were outside looking for an egg sac and I was a little more than grateful that they never found one! They did find a lot of webs, but no words and so I suppose none of Charlotte's daughters have made it to our yard.
Saturday morning we had our first ward activity under my direction. I'll admit I was a little nervous since there just weren't very many people in church last Sunday. We arrived at 8:00 and got set up and then had a really great flag ceremony by the cub scouts with one of the Young Women playing "My Country Tis of Thee" on her French Horn. Then our Young Men's President gave a spiritual thought on Freedom and it was really great!
We had a yummy breakfast with red, white and blue fruit and dip (it was very beautiful) and everybody brought something to share (my favorite were the bagels). We ate and then played a lot of water games. I thought we had a great turn-out and it was a fun, fairly simple activity and we were home and cleaned up by 10:00 a.m. with enough time to enjoy the rest of our day!
We had a little yard work to do that we've been putting off since our tornado so we tried to get that done and Daddy had to change the oil in his car. Then we had the perfect 4th of July dinner - hamburgers on the grill with corn on the cob and yummy watermelon lemonade (my new favorite thing). It was delish!
After dinner we packed it up and headed to the Lake for the fireworks. As you can see from the pictures, we also went out earlier in the day and bought a CAMERA!!! (that merits it's own future post). We all had fun splashing in the water and then had a little snack and played with glow sticks until the fireworks.
I was a little annoyed during the fireworks because there were a lot of tipsy people being really rowdy and it kind of ruined it for me. Here I was sitting all teary and patriotic, and people were swearing and drinking. We will probably pick a new spot next year. The worst part was when a group of people just down from us started singing the Mexican national anthem. BAD TIMING. I was getting very very mad and wanted to go say something but then Tyler reminded me that we are a free country - and were celebrating the very rights that made what they were doing legal . . . not respectful or even moral in my opinion, but legal thank heavens! (which means I was also within my rights to tell them just what I thought).
After the fireworks (which really were lovely over the lake, I love watching the reflection in the water) we pulled our tired hoodlums to the car and headed home but not without a small catastrophe. Kabe is unable to have glow sticks without biting them and yet again ended up with the toxic glow in the dark stuff in his mouth. He realized it and got upset and started spitting it (at his sister) and she started screaming. Needless to say Tyler and I both thought that they were on fire in the back seat and it was a very tense few moments. I don't think the Petersen's will be purchasing those . . . ever again.
I love our country so much! I love that we are blessed with all the opportunity life can afford if we have ambition, hope and faith! I'm also thankful to have been born and raised here with patriotic parents who taught me respect for our flag, our nation, and yes, even our President.God Bless America!


Heath 'n Jeri said...

Good Job Toni! Looks like you had a great school week. I taught the kids "Fifty Nifty United States" song, and we learned all about the flag as well. I'm glad that your activity went well! Looks like your 4th was fabulous, I LOVE all the pictures. We had glow sticks as well, but no biting them open. Love ya!

jackson said...

So proud of you for teaching your kids about the good ol USA! They don't even get that much in public school! why not I ask???
I don't remember even getting that much information when i was in school. Way to go!!!!

keep it up, it does my heart good!
love you
gramma Horse