Friday, May 18, 2012

Collage Friday ~ A Week at Hogwarts School

Our little homeschool is enjoying exploring the world of Hogwarts School and Harry Potter this week. Before I go into what our curriculum is for the week, I want to express my feelings about Harry Potter. I know some Christians feel that all things about Harry Potter are evil. I strongly disagree. I have read all the books (more than once) and seen all of the movies (in fact, we own all of them). Our oldest son read each of the books as they came out and "grew up" with Harry Potter, since he was the same age as the character as each book was released. Our girls have heard the first two books and our younger son has read all of the books with a parent. They have all seen the first two movies. In my opinion, Harry Potter is a good role model. He is brave, sincere, fights for justice, has a deep understanding of good vs. evil, is filled with love, and willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Whether he is helping a house elf escape slavery or protecting a stone from falling into the hands of a greedy wizard who would do harm with it, he always comes out on the side of justice and good. His friendships are filled with loyalty and kindness. He is a leader, but never cruel, selfish or greedy. For all of these reasons and many more, I see Harry Potter as a positive influence. You are welcome to disagree with me, but please keep your comments polite.

Now on with the fun ~

We opened Hogwarts school with each child taking the Hogwarts Sorting Hat Test to see to which house they belonged.  All of our children were very worried they might get into Slytherin (considered the house that sometimes produces bad wizards).  They had nothing to worry about.  They all came out Hufflepuff (known to produce hard-working students and loyal friends).  They then sat with the sorting hat on their heads to hear the official announcement of their placement.  The sorting hat told each child their character traits and why they were being placed in Hufflepuff.

We then had an English feast of Bangers and Mash with watermelon on the side.

Then next morning it was time to start our lessons.  Each day we concentrated on a different wizard class, except potions (chemistry) which my dear husband has taught every night.  Each day began with Muggle studies (math, language arts, and geography/cultural studies of England).  Then we moved onto our wizard study of the day.  On the first day we studied Defense Against the Dark Arts. The kids and I reviewed stranger danger, some child-friendly self-defense skills (yell, run, tell someone), and how to maintain a safe distance between them and a stranger.  We then watched some You Tube videos and discussed telephone safety, 911 and basic first aid.  Then the kids got to have a wizard duel with silly string.

On Tuesday, Grandma came as Professor Sprout and taught Herbology.  She taught us how to make a fairy garden.  It came out so cute and will give the children hours of play this summer.  We planted herbs, moss and a strawberry plant.  Each child has an elf or fairy to play with in the garden.

On Wednesday, Tim took on the role of Hagrid and taught the kids a class called the Care of Magical Creatures.  He concentrated on teaching that dragons were invented to explain the many dinosaur fossils that were being found in the Middle Ages.  He then read to them Stone Girl, Bone Girl, which is a great book about Mary Anning (a fossil hunter in the early 1800's in England).  They looked at several more books about Mary Anning and dragons.  He showed them a few videos on YouTube about Komodo dragons (a kind of lizard).  Then he made dragon's breath with them. This is made by touching a 9 volt battery to steel wool.

Tim also is helping the kids hatch and raise sea monkeys.  They are so tiny right now that you cannot see them without a magnifying glass. However, they seem healthy and are swimming around a lot.

On Thursday, I taught the kids Transfiguration.  First, we defined transfiguration, defined as a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state.  We then changed little plastic capsules into sponges by placing them into water. This was a fun activity and was also our sensory bucket for the week.

We then pulled out our dinosaur plant and woke it up.  It can "sleep" for up to fifty years.  All you have to do is put it into water and lava rock and it will wake up and grow within minutes.  We have had this plant for about 12 years.  We take it out of the closet every two or three years and enjoy it for a few weeks before storing it away again.  Now, that is my kind of plant!  It will grow so big that it will overflow the bowl over the next few days.  However, it will shrink down to it's original size once it has no more water.

We finished off transfiguration by going to a friend's house who has a microwave.  We do not own one.  We transformed a cake of Ivory soap into a cloud of soap.  This is so amazing to watch!  You put the Ivory soap on a plate in the microwave and set the timer for two minutes.  We had to do this experiment a few times with several cakes of soap so that everyone could stand in front of the microwave window to watch. 

We had a wonderful time in Potions class.  My husband pulled out several chemistry sets that we had saved from our oldest son's high school years. Here are some fun pictures of our discoveries.

I will be telling you more about our studies of England and Five in a Row (FIAR) book of the week in another post.  I am joining Homegrown Learners.  Okay!  

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Oh. What. Fun.

    My oldest would have loved to gone to your school this past week. She has read all of the HP books (multiple times) and is very interested in all things England.

    I think your comments about Harry Potter are spot on. We are reading the first book aloud now to my youngest and he is loving it.

    Thanks for linking!

  2. Wow! Looks like a lot of fun! My kids are very curious about Harry Potter since we have neighbor friends who have started the series...but I am hoping to put them off until more of the kids are older and we can enjoy them together!

  3. What a fun looking week! My boys enjoy Harry Potter. As a more "legalistic" christian when my oldest (now 21) was young, I banned HP. Later I changed my views and "lightened up." My oldest has seen all the movies, but never read one of the books. My middle sn devoured all the books, but my youngest hasn't read them yet. My oldest is my only child who isn't a voracious reader and I often wonder if I hadn't banned the things he was interested in if he'd be a reader today. Sigh. Hindsight is 20/20 right?

  4. Oh my gosh! We would have loved your school. Can we come please?? Harry Potter is AWESOME! I have read each book many times, stood in line for each new book and cried my eyes out many times. My daughter doesn't know a world without Harry. I am bookmarking this to come back to. Seriously great ideas. I know your kids loved it.

  5. I agree with you on the Harry Potter being a positive influence. Like your eldest I grew up with them and shall forever miss the anticipation of waiting for the next book! She really does focus on giving it a positive spin and that "Good" always wins out in the end.

  6. I totally agree with your comments about Harry Potter, and I love this idea of a whole week dedicated to Hogwarts! What great ideas!!
    By the way, we don't have a microwave either...we got rid of it about six months or so ago and haven't missed it. Well, I think my husband misses it, but he's adjusted :)

  7. Looks like you all had great fun! It is wonderful how you bring the books you all enjoy to life. Just out of curiosity, what did you do with all the Ivory Soap Clouds? :)

  8. My kids would have loved this, too! What fun! Honestly, I was a little slow to catch on to Harry Potter, and I could kick myself because of a missed opportunity. Years ago, Nick and I went to California for a business associate's birthday party. The party was held at Warner Brothers, and we were able to go to a private room that held many of the props from Harry Potter that were not available for public viewing. It was interesting but I had no idea what I was seeing. I sure would love to go back and see it now!

  9. One more thing...I love the fairy garden, and when I was looking at it, I suddenly remembered making little gardens with my grandmother. I'd forgotten all about that, but remembered when you mentioned the moss. Thank you for jogging that sweet memory!