St. Patrick’s Day 2012

Today is one of my favorite days of the year–St. Patrick’s Day!

The children started their day with the traditional bowl of Lucky Charms. Since St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday this year, I didn’t even need to feel guilty about it, as Saturday is the one day of the week when they’re allowed sugary cereal. I only wish I could have had some!

I dyed the lunch applesauce green, too. It’s such a small thing, but every year, it really amuses the children. They also got to have Skittles with lunch…it’s really their “lucky” day!

We had our traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage slow-cooked in Guinness…but no roasted potatoes or soda bread this year, so as not to tempt the gestational diabetic. I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to roasted red potatoes.

I did, however, indulge in the chocolate Guinness cake I made…it’s become one of my favorites, and it’s less sugary than a lot of cakes!

We had fun preparing for St. Patrick’s Day in school for the last week or so, as well. We made snakes:

And paper plate Leprechauns:

We also played my one of my favorite games, (The Alphabet Game), with green for the theme. It was fun to see Turkey and Bunny’s creativity with a few of the letters in the alphabet. My favorite part, though, was Turkey’s attempt at writing “gecko.” That’s what he said out loud when sharing his list, but when I actually looked at the list, he had written “Geico”–I guess their advertising is working!

We also used my favorite part of the hymn often attributed to St. Patrick, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” as our dictation for the week. I know he likely didn’t write it, but it doesn’t change the beauty of the lyrics:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

We read an old favorite book–St. Patrick’s Day. This is a very simplified story about St. Patrick, along with simplified explanations of a few traditions, but the children still like it.

We learned more about Irish traditions with a new favorite book–Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick’s Day Symbols. This is a great book, and full of interesting tales. I learned a lot from it myself, and the children really enjoyed the different stories, some of which we read out loud, (the chapters “St. Patrick Himself,” “The Irish Shamrock,” “St. Patrick and the Serpents,” “A Sprig of Shillelagh,” “Leprechauns,” and “St. Patrick’s Day Parades”), and some they read on their own, (“The Wearin’ of the Green” was especially popular).

The most popular activity, however, was helping Moose make his “Leprechaun Trap” for school:

The trap was even successful, thanks to Turkey’s creativity with Legos:

As long as we read about the history of the legend of the┬áleprechaun in Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs, and read the legend referenced in that book, (“Lazy Tom”), in The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book, and attempted to “trap” a leprechaun, I decided to give Turkey and Bunny a creative writing assignment about leprechauns, as well. The topic? “If I caught a leprechaun…” It’s always fun to hear the things they come up with when they’re writing about something mythical! Turkey was focused on having a fun day with the leprechaun, and getting him to lead the way to other leprechauns’ pots of gold, while Bunny was determined to make sure her leprechaun didn’t get away so that she could get his gold and go shopping!

I’d count this as a successful St. Patrick’s Day. I know it’s kind of silly, because I’m not Irish, (and not even Catholic!), but I really have a lot of fun with this holiday, and I seem to have made it a special day in our household in the children’s opinions, without even having to try too hard…it just came naturally!

Third Grade: Week Twenty-Two Wrap-Up

I’d like to say that we accomplished a lot this week, especially in light of the fact that we only have one more week of school before we take off for a good month for Chickadee’s arrival. In actuality, however, this week was all about the bare minimum. Between doctor’s appointments and errands that need to be taken care of before I’m in the hospital, it was hard enough just getting through the stuff I consider mandatory–namely religion, math, spelling, handwriting, grammar, Latin, read-alouds, and reading. We did manage to squeeze in history, too, (although none of the fun extras), and some fun games, but electives and science? Well, they’re just a fond memory at this point. I’d like to think we’ll do better next week, but to be honest, between more doctor’s appointments and more errands, plus the St. Patrick’s Day activities I want to do, we’ll probably just be covering the basics again. Oh well…that’s one of the perks of homeschooling, right? And I still think my children are learning a lot more than their public school counterparts, even with my slacking.

We did do one fun craft this week, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.

We talked about the legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland as we made paper plate snakes. (What would I do without paper plate crafts?) I was especially impressed with Turkey’s snake, as it is quite detailed. He labored over it for quite some time to get it right. The children’s only sorrow is the fact that the weather has been so mild, there hasn’t been any air (heat) coming out of the vents to turn their snakes when suspended from the ceiling…but that’s a first world problem if I ever heard one!

When we went errand-running, one of our stops was at a fantastic local bakery, to order cakes for Turkey and Bunny’s Confirmation on Palm Sunday, as well as Chickadee’s Baptism that same day. Normally I would make the cakes myself, but ten days after major abdominal surgery…well, that’s just not happening! Anyway, while we were there, we noticed that they had green, snake-shaped donuts in honor of our favorite Irish holiday, so we splurged and got some, (none for me…I had my donut last week!). Another chance to discuss Irish legends, and have some delicious fun to boot!