Pioneer Crafts

There were lots of craft options to go with our pioneer-themed summer school this year. I considered samplers, rag rugs, even a corn cob doll. In the end, though, I decided to go with simple nine patch quilt block pillows. Bunny and Ladybug had a great time sewing these by hand, and they both love having something useful that they can keep!

2015-16 School Year–Week Eleven+

I waited until today to share our latest weekly wrap-up because it was more like a week-and-a-half of school. We had a regular week last week, although we replaced our normal history and some of our literature with our yearly Thanksgiving studies. We also had two days of school (plus a little bit) this week, to finish up everything we needed to do before the holiday.

In math, Turkey and Bunny have been working with percent increase and decrease. They way I’m learning how to teach these topics makes so much more sense to me than the way I was taught…I think math could have been much easier for me in junior high and high school with a different approach like this! Ladybug is still working on multiplying with carrying, which she is extremely good at, as well as slightly more complicated equations.

Turkey and Bunny, and Ladybug, each finished the fourth chapter of their science curriculum this week. Turkey and Bunny have been learning about applied science, technology, and simple machines. Bunny has decided she’s not “into” this kind of science, but she’s really looking forward to the next chapter, which focuses on archaeology and paleontology. Ladybug learned about the different kinds of feathers, and I have to admit, most of it was new to me, too!

In writing, Turkey and Bunny worked on comparing two short stories: “The Open Window” and “The Monkey’s Paw.” While both stories had scary elements, in the end, “The Open Window” ended up being pretty humorous, but “The Monkey’s Paw” was freaky. I can’t say I was a big fan! Ladybug has been working on more complicated sentence diagramming, including learning about complete subjects and predicates, direct objects, and adding adjectives and adverbs to describe different words in a sentence.

In addition to our Thanksgiving reading, we also had a few fun crafts (including our yearly staple of hand-and-footprint turkeys, which we waited until today to make, so Moose could join us), and we finished our thankful tree. I love seeing all the many and different things each of my children are thankful for!

I think next week will probably be a fairly normal week of school, before we get into “Christmas School” the week after. We’ll be learning about Christmas in Poland this year, which is new for us…I’m really looking forward to it!

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

St. Patrick’s Day is only a week away. It’s one of my five favorite holidays, so I try to find lots of fun things to do. Here’s a peek at some of the crafts we’ve done over the years:

If you’re looking for recipes or reading lists, I have that covered, too!

2014-15 School Year–Week Fifteen

This was our last week of school in 2014!

It was a light week. In the mornings, I had the children work on religion, math, very limited language arts, crafts (more on that in a bit), and reading. We also finished A Christmas Carol, and did a poetry study of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

The afternoons were all about fun. I decided that this would be “Nutcracker Week,” which worked out well, because we own recordings of five different productions. We started with the Bolshoi Ballet on Monday, which enabled us to both recognize the Nutcracker’s Russian roots, and continued our study of Christmas in Russia. On Tuesday, we watched our new production for the year–the Vienna State Ballet. Wednesday I was feeling British, so we watched the Royal Ballet performance. We watched what I think is probably our most unique version on Thursday, the Dutch National Ballet’s production. And I saved the best for last…today we watched my all-time favorite, the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker. I had Turkey and Bunny take notes on what they really liked in each performance (or what they found unusual), and then had them attempt to rank them when we were done, which is no easy feat! (For the record, my ranking goes 1.) San Francisco Ballet; 2.) Dutch National Ballet; 3.) Royal Ballet; 4.) Bolshoi Ballet; and 5.) Vienna State Ballet.)

To go along with my favorite part of the Nutcracker in both music and dance, “The Waltz of the Snowflakes,” we spent some time a few mornings making snowflakes to hang in the schoolroom. Turkey, in particular, enjoyed seeing what patterns he could make, and even I made a few snowflakes. We weren’t happy until we had a full-on blizzard going!

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The snowflakes were craft one. We also made our ornament for the year–a cute clothespin donkey. We had quite the assembly line going to get them finished!

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And, for a fun end-of-the-week activity, I got the new Lego: The Hobbit Lake Town set to go with the sets the children and I built after we finished the book earlier this fall. It’s a small building, but it was fun to build, and added some new minifigs to our Lake Town setup.

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I’m looking forward to taking a break and just having fun for a few weeks, but we’ll be back in 2015, ready for more learning (and fun!).

2014-15 School Year–Week Twelve

Better late than never is the best I can say about this wrap-up!

Our twelfth week of school (the “Thanksgiving School” week) was November 17-21. But we also had two more days of school last week, so I decided to add those into this wrap-up. But with Thanksgiving and everything…well, I put it off a lot!

To be honest, a lot of what we did those seven days is a blur, but I’ll see what I remember. Turkey and Bunny continued to work on using scientific notation in math, and revisited measuring angles and other activities in geometry. Ladybug continued to borrow while subtracting, and she’s quite good at it. Next week, she starts multiplication!

In history, we learned more about the Crusades, and about Richard the Lion-Hearted. We also learned about the Jewish Diaspora. Learning about the history of Thanksgiving in America took up the bulk of our time in history, however.

Our science lessons moved from the leaves of the plant to the roots. We read the story of Rip Van Winkle in our poetry and short stories book, and I realized that I had never actually read that story myself. I really enjoyed it, and other than all of the complaining about the writing assignments that accompanied it, I think Turkey and Bunny really enjoyed it, too!

We finished up our thankful tree this week, and did a few Thanksgiving crafts. I’m glad the children still enjoy doing these sorts of activities…I don’t know how much longer we’ll have with stuff like this.

Tomorrow we get back to a more or less regular schedule, with a little Christmas fun thrown in!

The Legend of the First Tinsel

Today in school, we learned about Christmas in Russia (which involved watching the Bolshoi Ballet Nutcracker), and Ukraine. Part of learning about Christmas in Ukraine including reading the Ukrainian version of the legend of the first Christmas tinsel. To go along with the story, we made these cute ornaments…they were a lot of fun!

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Bookmarks

When we were at the St. Louis Scottish Games, the children received a “ticket” into the play area: a plaid (of course!) ribbon marked with the year and pinned to their shirts–pink for the girls, and green for the boys. They really liked these ribbons, and didn’t want to throw them out when we got home. Like all ribbons, however, they started to run into the problem of unraveling. After thinking about what I could do to preserve them, I got out my laminator, and turned them into bookmarks. They’re the perfect size for it, and now they can see how beautiful the ribbons are without having to worry about them coming apart!

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