Don’t laugh…I finally came up with an idea for a field trip for November. It’s my goal to go on at least one field trip each month, which went well in September and October–I think we had a combined total of five field trips those two months. But November had me stumped. I don’t know of any turkey farms around here, and we don’t live near any old Pilgrim settlements, so what did that leave that would be seasonal and appropriate?
Tonight we went to Macy’s. Yes, that’s right, we took a field trip to a department store. Before anyone starts judging, let me justify a bit. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a big tradition in our family. I loved it as a child, and I’m passing that along to our children. Also, in school today, we read Milly and the Macy’s Parade.
And that’s where the idea was born. What better field trip than one about a book we read? We visited most of the departments that Milly loved that were mentioned in the book, we rode the escalator (twice!) and the elevator, we looked at the Christmas decorations, and we talked about what a great thing department stores are. No need to visit a milliner, shoemaker, tailor, and dressmaker, just to clothe oneself. One stop shopping at it’s finest, but still classy (unlike, say, our beloved Wal Mart, with which the children are endlessly familiar!).
It was fun, it was at least somewhat educational, and it was festive. The only thing that would have been better would have been visiting the huge Macy’s in New York City (and seeing the parade in person). But that’s another dream for another time.
When I dropped Moose off at school this morning, another little boy from his class was waiting with his mom for the teacher to come get them. He saw Moose, and dragged his mother over so he could say “hi.” He remembered Moose’s name and everything, and seemed happy to see my boy.
Moose waved back at him, but didn’t say anything. Now, I know he *can* say “hi” when he’s so inclined, but I have no idea if he *could* say the other child’s name, or if he even remembered what his name was.
So, I’m glad that at least one child in the class seems to like my boy, and hopefully he doesn’t feel lonely or left out when he’s at school. But it makes my heart hurt a bit that he can’t reciprocate a greeting like that, and that he can’t come home and tell me about the friends he’s making and the things he’s doing. If he could, I guess this whole school thing wouldn’t really be necessary, but it’s still hard.
We began our Thanksgiving studies on Monday, although the bulk of our unit will be done next week, Monday-Wednesday. We began with the book, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. I love this book. I remember reading it as a child (and I’m pretty sure I got it from one of my prized Scholastic book orders). I had mostly forgotten about it, but when I stumbled across it again this fall, I knew we had to read it. I have not been disappointed. The Q&A format makes it very easy for Turkey and Bunny to follow, and it’s in keeping with their attention spans.
If You Were at the First Thanksgiving is another title in the same series of books. Like the Mayflower book, it has proven very interesting to both Turkey and Bunny, is easy for them to understand, and is just an enjoyable book for all three of us.
This Friday, we also did the first of our Thanksgiving crafts–a thankfulness wreath. It was very interesting to see the things Turkey and Bunny are thankful for–and not all of them were toys!
Next week, the real fun starts! We’ll be reading five more books (it’s a good thing my children like reading so much!). The first is Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration. This is a nice, Christian telling of the first Thanksgiving, with an emphasis on God as our Provider, especially when He provided His Son to be our Savior.
We’ll also be reading two books that go hand-in-hand. Sarah Morton’s Day and Samuel Eaton’s Day are books about real children that lived at Plymouth, and while I’m sure they must be fictionalized accounts, they are excellent stories that give a real feeling for what it was like to be a Pilgrim child. The best part is the pictures–color photographs of the lives of Sarah and Samuel, from their clothing to their chores, and the town in which they lived. I’m hoping these books really help history come alive for Turkey and Bunny, and help them imagine themselves residents of Plymouth around the time of the first Thanksgiving.
Another look at Thanksgiving of days gone by (but not so far gone), is Milly and the Macy’s Parade. This is a story about the first Macy’s Parade in 1924. It’s a work of fiction, but like the others, has it’s basis in fact. It’s a really touching story, and the illustrations are quite whimsical, and quite unusual for what you often find in children’s books.
And, just for fun, we’re also going to read The Night Before Thanksgiving. A cute take-off on The NIght Before Christmas, it hits on current Thanksgiving traditions of cooking, baking, family gatherings, parades, turkey, and, of course, leftovers (but not one of *my* favorite traditions, the watching of Friends Thanksgiving episodes–not really child-appropriate, though, still, it’s something *I* look forward to every year!). Surprisingly, there’s no mention of football, although the children in the story do go out and play dodge ball. A game of football, and the family actually praying before dinner would have made it a much better book in my opinion, but it’s still cute, and let’s face it, I tend to overthink things a bit.
We also have a few craft activities planned for next week, including hand and foot turkeys, which I think will become an annual activity. It will be a really cool way to see how the children have grown each year, if I can remember to do them every year. I’m hoping to get even Moose and Ladybug in on that one (if I can get them to stand still long enough to trace their hands and feet!).
Turkey and Bunny are also going to make turkey hats, which they are already planning on wearing on Thanksgiving. They’re also trying to convince me that Moose and Ladybug need those, too, but I have visions of Ladybug just eating hers, and besides, she gets to wear the famous “I’m a little turkey” shirt. But maybe we’ll make a hat for Moose–he’s really into hats right now (although, it appears he may have made some kind of Indian headdress in school, so if he gets to bring it home, he can wear that!).
And, if we have time, we’re going to make Pilgrim hat cookies, which are way easier than they sound, and will be a great activity for little hands. I’m going to have to substitute chocolate filled Oreos for the chocolate wafers, because I can’t find those anywhere around here, but I’m sure they’ll still be delicious.
Yep, the next week is going to be super busy, not to mention the shopping and cooking and cleaning and baking that need to get done. I just love the holidays!
Although we’re not having our full-fledged Thanksgiving unit until next week, we are reading two Thanksgiving books this week: If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 and If You were at the First Thanksgiving. We’ve also recently watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which includes The Mayflower Voyagers, told with the whole Peanuts gang.
I knew that the Snoopy show was pretty accurate, partly because I know that they did a whole series of films to help children understand American history, and partly because I *do* remember some American history myself. But as we’ve been reading about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, I’ve found myself a little surprised at just how accurate and detailed The Mayflower Voyagers is.
Turkey and Bunny had been piping up with answers here and there, during our readings, which I know is thanks to Snoopy. So, I decided to test their knowledge a little further. We were talking about the building done at Plymouth Rock, and I know that they mention the “Common House” (the first building at the settlement) quite a few times in the course of The Mayflower Voyagers. So, right before we got to that section of our reading, I asked them if they knew what the first building the Pilgrims put up was. Turkey didn’t remember, but Bunny promptly and confidently answered “a dog house!”
Maybe Snoopy isn’t as accurate as I thought.
Well, Moose survived his first day of school…and by that, I mean *I* survived his first day of school (but just barely!). Much like his older brother and sister, he had no problems with leaving me, and didn’t even give me a backward glance as he walked away with his teacher (who is very nice, btw). I guess it was better that way, because if he had been upset, I don’t know how I would have been able to leave him–he’s still so small.
It was very hard, even with his good attitude. I’ve never been a big fan of sending children so small to school, and if it wasn’t for his delays, I never would have even considered it. As far as I’m concerned, a boy so little belongs at home with his mommy. But I have come to accept (but not like) the fact that he needs help I can’t provide. He’ll be getting speech therapy every day, plus music and occupational therapy once a week. Aside from that, though, he’ll just be doing normal preschooler stuff. Cutting, gluing, playing on the playground…that kind of thing.
His teacher told me he had a really good first day. Not really sure what that meant, other than I’m assuming he didn’t have any meltdowns. I doubt he was talking up a storm, but it sounds like he was participating, and a little boy said “bye-bye” to him when he was leaving, so maybe he made a friend. I so wish I could hear how his day was from him, but if he could tell me all about it, he wouldn’t be going in the first place. I guess that’s some kind of irony or something. But he was happy, and that’s all that matters.
So, this is a good thing for him. My head knows that, but I really wish someone could clue my mommy heart in…we’ve really been through the wringer in the last couple of months, and my heart has taken quite the beating.
I was all excited, because I found out that a local church puts on a Boar’s Head Christmas Festival (every year, I’m assuming). I’ve only ever been to a Boar’s Head festival once, probably eight or nine years ago, but it was the coolest thing, and every Christmas, I’ve remembered it, and wanted to go again. So, you can imagine my excitement upon finding one, and the idea of taking the children to see it! All the costumes, the singing, the music–I know they would love it…
The excitement was short-lived. I was basically told that children aren’t welcome, unless they can be “completely silent” for the entire time. Maybe the five year old would be OK, *if* he could follow this mandate but the rest…now, the older children especially are pretty well-behaved in church, but I don’t think they’ve ever been “completely silent” unless they were sleeping.
I get that people go to see the pageantry and don’t want to be interrupted. But I would think that given that my children are used to going to church, and know basically how to behave there, that they could overlook some whispered questions about what’s going on. I guess maybe I’m just being selfish about wanting them to have that experience. But I can’t be the only person who wants to take small children to see something so cool–can I? You’d think with seven or so performances, they could designate one “appropriate” for families with children.
It would have been a good history lesson, not to mention getting to see the telling of Jesus’ birth in a way they never have before. It’s just another example of a place in church where my children are not wanted. There are entirely too many places in *most* churches where children are not welcome, where they are shuttled off away from the adults, to do their own thing. And that’s supposed to be a good idea why? I’m pretty sure people of all ages went to see Jesus (actually I’m certain–suffer the little children unto me, anyone?). I could easily get despondent about this, but instead, I’m going to comfort myself with the fact that at least they are welcome, and wanted, in our home congregation, which is the best church I have ever attended!
Maybe I can get a DVD version of the Boar’s Head Festival to watch at home? It’s either that, or wait another four years or so, until they’re all “old enough” to go…
I had the opportunity to go to the CPH warehouse sale this weekend. It was awesome! Given that we’ve lived in this area for the better part of seven years, I can’t believe I’ve never gone before, but now you couldn’t keep me away for anything.
I really had no idea what to expect. I went in with a list of things I was hoping to find, but in all honesty, I wasn’t really expecting to get any of it, because I had some very specific homeschooling related needs. I found it all, though! They had every single thing on my list, and some other stuff I had no idea I wanted. Each of the children also got to pick out two Arch books, which they were ecstatic about.
This was great for us. Going into homeschooling, the one thing I knew after choosing Sonlight was that eventually, we would have to part ways when it came to their Bible curriculum. A big part of the reason we chose to homeschool was so that our children could receive a Lutheran education. While Sonlight is fine in the lower grades, once the children are a little older, it’s important to us to teach doctrinally correct religion lessons. Knowing this, I’ve been nosing around CPH’s website, looking for ideas for religion curriculum starting at about grade two.
Well, I’d come up with five years worth of religion curriculum based on what I saw there, and after looking at all of them at the sale, I decided on three of them for our use. So, now I have my religious curriculum planned out for grades one through four. Next year, for first grade, we’ll be using the Egermeier’s Bible Story Book that Sonlight schedules, and then in second grade, we’ll use A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories (which my mom has had in Braille since she was a little girl, and read to me as a child) and the My First Catechism that CPH publishes. We’ll bounce back to Sonlight and The Awesome Book of Bible Facts for grade three (and that will be the last Bible curriculum that we’ll use from Sonlight), and go with 100 Bible Stories from CPH for grade four (another book my mom read to me). I also got a junior high level curriculum called A Bible History that I haven’t quite decided when I’ll be using. So, I still have a few gaps to fill in here and there (I’d love to find a curriculum about church history, but I don’t know if that will happen), but I have a good start for the next few years, and I saved a ton of money!
I also found a few more Christmas resources to use in our “Christmas School” unit. One is a book called The Three Wise Women of Christmas, which tells the stories of Elizabeth, Mary and Anna. I’ve been interested in this book since it came out, but I’d never had an opportunity to get it. The timing is great, because I needed another story book to use at Christmas, and it can be so hard to find a book that’s different, but that also doesn’t go into the whole Santa thing. I also got a book called Sacred Songs of Christmas, which I’d never heard of before, but is really cool. It comes with a CD, and has the lyrics for 19 Christmas hymns, as well as a lot of beautiful pictures and Christmas quotes from different sources. Very cool.
I also got two texture-y books for Moose: Touch and Feel Creation and Touch and Feel Christmas. These are two other books that I’ve been looking at getting for a while, and now, knowing about his sensory needs, they will be even more useful to us, because not only will he hear the story and look at the pictures, he interesting textures to feel on each page.
The warehouse sale was a great experience. The selection was beyond amazing, the prices were unbelievable, and it was run very efficiently, so that check-out was a breeze. I wish everyone lived close enough to go to this sale every year. You can pick up so many great things, for family use, for your children, for Bible study or other personal use, and even for homeschool!
So, yeah, I had the police out here last night. It’s really not a very exciting story, but I was pretty rattled (and, if I stop to think about it, still am, because it just doesn’t add up). Anyway, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to call the police to my home, and the whole time he was in here, all I could think was “that’s the first time there’s ever been a loaded gun in my house!”
It started with a phone call on our land line. When I answered, there was a recorded voice telling me I had a collect call, press one to accept charges, blah, blah. But behind the recording (if you’ve ever made a collect call, you know that you can talk while the message is playing, and the person on the other end will hear you), was some very colorful language, which I won’t repeat here, in a rather angry male voice. I didn’t respond at all, just hung up, even though I was rather startled and upset.
Almost immediately after I hung up, I could hear my cell phone upstairs ringing. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but it seemed rather coincidental that it would begin ringing so soon after me hanging up on what I was really hoping was a prank call, so I went to check on it. No message or anything, but the number listed was a local number. Now, I know that doesn’t *sound* strange, but here’s the thing: my cell is a non-local number. Sure, I occasionally get wrong numbers/solicitations from it’s originating area code, but I’ve never received a call from a number local to my home. I don’t give my cell number out. Ever. To be honest, I don’t even know the number. So I couldn’t think of anyone that would be trying to reach me, and as I let my imagination wander, I started getting a little nervous. Not too bad, but Ryan had been out of town on business, and wasn’t scheduled to get home for a few more hours, so I was a little uncomfortable.
After pondering all the worst-case-scenarios I could come up with, I finally called him on his cell about an hour later. And that’s when I got really nervous. Because at around the same time I had received the two mystery calls (remember, I don’t have caller I.D. at home, so I had no proof that the calls were related), he also received a collect call from the same number on his cell phone. So someone has managed to get our home phone number, and our two out-of-town cell phone numbers, that aren’t even listed under our names, and one of which is never, ever given out. So, Ryan told me to call the non-emergency number at our police station, and see what they thought of it.
They must have thought it was strange enough, because they sent someone out right away (the children loved that–that’s two visits with the police in two consecutive weeks!). He was very nice, and also very puzzled. He called the number that came up on our cells, and the kid (?) that he spoke with said no one called from that number, which was obviously untrue. The officer was pretty satisfied, though, that the person he spoke to was being honest (he thought maybe someone else at the home could have used the phone, and this kid, who was supposed to be in charge until mom got home didn’t know about it), and after letting him know that our phone was being tapped should anyone try to call again, and that if anyone did call complaints would be filed and jail time handed out, hung up and said that’s all he could do for now.
They do have extra patrols coming around, just to monitor things, but the officer really wasn’t concerned–he was very confused, though, as am I. The likelihood of anyone putting all three numbers together seems pretty remote, unless they were looking for us for a reason. I do have one theory, which still has some holes, but if anyone else would like to theorize as to how that happened, I’d love to hear it.
Why does stuff like this only happen when Ryan is out of town? I sure was glad when he pulled in last night!
That’s what Turkey and Bunny called our school time on Friday. I condensed our regular lessons into four days so we could focus solely on the Reformation on Friday. Actually, had they not gone to the fantastic Fall Bible School in Freeburg (alliteration, anyone?), we would have had a full week’s worth of Reformation School. As it turned out, though, they learned so much there, and did enough projects that overlapped with what I had been planning, that I only needed one day to do the stuff that I considered particularly important for their age level.
I love our special units. It was so fun to come up with stuff to do to help them understand who Martin Luther was, and why he was important to the church. As it turns out, there is a lot of stuff you can teach, even at the kindergarten level, about the events of the Reformation.
We started by listening to a recording of “A Mighty Fortress” in German. We talked about what country speaks German, and then located Germany on the map (which Bunny actually found with no help–we must have pointed it out before. I figured Turkey would be the geography minded one, but Bunny is really great at remembering where countries are! Sadly, I bet she knows more about world locations than a lot of adults…). I also told them that some of their own ancestors are from Germany, along with Martin Luther and other key players in the Reformation.
We read Psalm 46 (verse one was our memory verse for the week), and talked about how “A Mighty Fortress” was based partly on that part of the Bible. We continued to listen to some hymns that were written by Luther (I snuck a few Christmas hymns in there!), while putting our Luther’s coat-of-arms project together. I was particularly proud of that, because I came up with the idea myself. On Wednesday, we had used gold glitter to cover the outer ring of the seal, and white glitter to cover the rose. After they had plenty of time to dry, we were able to layer the different elements of the coat-of-arms, while talking about the symbolism behind each part. They cut the blue circle out of construction paper (I had cut out the heart for them), and we also had a black felt cross to put on last. They look really cool–the glitter really makes them stand out, I think.
We read “Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World,” by Paul Maier, and then went back through and looked at the pictures and retold the story that way. We also practiced counting by fives (to 95, of course!), and then writing the number five, as well as the word five.
At the end of “Martin Luther School,” we sang the verse of “A Mighty Fortress” that they had learned at Fall Bible School, and then listened to a different recording of the hymn in English.
It never ceases to amaze me the way you can use one topic to teach so many subjects. Just in talking about the Reformation, we covered math, world cultures, music, arts and crafts, religion, and the obvious history lesson. That’s one of my favorite things about homeschooling–it’s a much more natural approach to learning. No need to force certain subjects, when they cross over each other so easily!
Blast! Turkey has once again used logic to best me. As if Bunny and her “carrots are roots” comment wasn’t enough…
I was trying to explain what “Pioneers” are to them tonight. We’ve been reading the “Little House” series, so I didn’t think it would be too hard. People like the Ingalls family are pioneers, right? Well, they required more detail than that (I should have seen that one coming!). They wanted to know what exactly made them pioneers. So, I thought of what I thought was a good, easy to understand, age-appropriate explanation for them. Pioneers are the people who went west before most other people did. They were adventurers who lived out there first.
That all sounded good in my head (and really, it still does), until Turkey kindly pointed out that “actually, Indians lived there first, not the pioneers.” OK, then. Once again, I ask, can I hand in my resignation?
At least they were listening a few months ago when I tried to explain who the American Indians were, and why they kept popping up in “Little House on the Prairie.” Sometimes, though, I think they may listen a little too much!