2021-22 School Year–Week Thirteen+

This time, I’m wrapping up a week, plus a couple of days of school!

Ladybug learned how to calculate the area of a circle and an ellipse in geometry. She learned about Roman Catholicism in her study of Christian denominations. In biology, she wrapped up her study of cellular energy by learning about cellular respiration and fermentation. She finished the second part of Beowulf. She finished reading Invincible Louisa, and is now working on Little Men.

Chickadee is starting to lay the foundation for long division in math…I’m a little scared! She finished the chapter on primeval reptiles in her science book by learning about pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs. We’re still trying to untangle Zeus’s family tree in her literature study of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths! After Ladybug finished it, she started reading Invincible Louisa…it’s interesting to listen to her compare the lives of Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Over the last seven school days, we also read some of our favorite Thanksgiving books:

  • Native Homes
  • Tapenum’s Day
  • On the Mayflower
  • Sarah Morton’s Day
  • Samuel Eaton’s Day
  • If You Were At…The First Thanksgiving
  • Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
  • Thanksgiving: A Harvest Celebration
  • An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
  • Sarah Gives Thanks
  • Milly and the Macy’s Parade
  • Pardon That Turkey
  • Over the River and Through the Woods
  • Time for Cranberries
  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving
  • The Night Before Thanksgiving

This week, we wrapped up a few regular school things, and had some Thanksgiving fun! We visited Cahokia Mounds and had a lovely nature walk, where we saw lots of deer and even a few turkeys. We also made the 10-story climb up Monks Mound.

And we did a couple of fun turkey crafts, including my favorite, hand-and-footprint turkeys:

Next week, we get to start some of our Advent activities, not to mention the countdown to Christmas vacation!

2019-20 School Year–Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving week is always a light school week for us…just two full days, plus some fun activities on Wednesday. We do manage to cram a lot into a short time, though! The main theme in our two regular school days last week (aside from our scheduled Thanksgiving reading about modern-day Thanksgiving celebrations, especially the Macy’s parade), was tests, tests, and more tests. It was nice to have so many of those out of the way before the holiday, though!

We always visit Cahokia Mounds around Thanksgiving (well, except for last year, when my ankle was broken), and this year, we went twice! The second time we went, later in November, was actually a more pleasant trip, weather-wise, than our first was…it was a beautiful day!

We also played a game based on one Native American children might have played. I made the pieces years ago, following the directions in More than Moccasins, and it’s still just as much fun to play!

In between helping me make pies on Wednesday, the children also found time to make their hand-and-footprint turkeys for the year. Well, except for Turkey, who discovered that the paper we use is now too small for his hands and feet, so he went with a Minecraft-style bird, instead…I love how creative he is!

Tomorrow we’re back to our regular schedule…I haven’t decided yet if we’re going to have two or three weeks of school before our Christmas break. I also haven’t figured out what ornament we’re going to make this year…I guess I should get started on that!

2019-20 School Year–Week Fourteen

We actually managed to have a full week of school this week!

Turkey and Bunny finally finished reading “The Paradiso.” I know it seems like we’ve been studying the Divine Comedy forever, but if you look at it as three separate books, it really hasn’t been that long. I think we’re all sorry to see it end…it’s one of our favorite literature studies ever! In health, they started a chapter on processing nutrition and hydration. They learned about some of the lesser-known women, children, and minorities who served in the Revolutionary War in US history.

Ladybug learned how to calculate profits and royalties in pre-algebra. In history, she learned about Isaac Newton, as well as how scientific advancement helped society not only in academic circles, but in things like farming, as well. She started learning about geology in science, which included a fun experiment in which she is attempting to “grow” crystals!

Chickadee starting working on multiplication in math! I’m always surprised by how early that comes up. She learned about verbs in language arts…so far, she’s covered action verbs. We started reading Alice in Wonderland, which Bunny is excited about, because it’s one of her favorite books, and she’s really excited to share it with Chickadee.

We also did the first five days of our annual “Thanksgiving School” this week…we covered Native Americans, the Pilgrims, life at Plimoth Plantation, the first Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving celebrations in the 1800s. Next week will be a short week of school, but we’re looking forward to the last few days of our Thanksgiving studies!

2018-19 School Year–Week Fifteen+

Since Thanksgiving week is never a full week of school for us, I combined last week’s wrap-up with our full week this week, starting with our annual hand-and-footprint turkeys and our completed Thankful Tree for the year:

Turkey and Bunny have been doing one of my favorite things in chemistry…balancing equations. Unfortunately, I don’t think they enjoy that activity as much as I do. They have also been completing the square in math. They finally made it to the fourth act of Romeo and Juliet. Their creative writing assignments have focused on poetry. In history, they learned about Gregory the Great, among other things.

Ladybug worked a lot with decimals in math. She continued to practice outlining in writing. In science, she learned about horses’ diets…both what is good for them to eat, and what is bad. Her history lessons have focused on the Crusades. She’s also enjoying reading Justin Morgan had a Horse for the first time!

Chickadee practiced counting different kinds of coins in math. She also learned more beginning blends in reading. There’s been a lot of overlap between the words she’s learning to read and her spelling words, which is nice. We’re getting close to finishing Treasure from Grandma, and she was worried that was the last book in the series…until I told her we have two more books at home, and should be able to get the rest from the library!

We had a Christmas-related field trip this week, and it tied into our medieval-focused history for the year, too! We went to the Boar’s Head Festival for the first time since Chickadee was a baby. It was a lot of fun to experience the production again, and it gave us a good approximation of a medieval celebration.

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!

Revisiting Thanksgiving School


As I was preparing for our annual eight days of Thanksgiving School, I realized that for the last few years, I’ve been using the same outline. In addition to our month-long “Thankful Tree,” we have eight days of special, Thanksgiving-related themes, and read the same favorite books out loud. The crafts change from year to year (as do field trips and cooking/baking activities), but I do have a rotation for those, as well…and we always make hand and footprint turkeys.


It’s so nice not having to plan it out every year, so I thought I’d share what’s been working for us:

As always, this is one of my favorite parts of the school year!

2103-14 School Year–Week Thirteen

This week, we took a break from our ancient history lessons and Scotland read-aloud to have Thanksgiving school. I used the same general outline for reading that I came up with last year, but this time, we only did one craft, plus made one special food item. We also watched The Mayflower Voyagers, which is a favorite Peanuts special. It’s surprisingly accurate, given that it’s a Snoopy cartoon! Every year when we watch it, I lament the fact that This is America, Charlie Brown isn’t available on DVD. I can only imagine how loved all of the shows would be, especially NASA episode! We still have a few more books to read and crafts to do next week to finish off Thanksgiving school, plus all of our Thanksgiving preparations!

In addition to our Thanksgiving studies, we kept up with our standard “reading, writing, and arithmetic.” Turkey and Bunny are finally getting more comfortable with long division and division with money. I’m very thankful for that! We also had a new hymn to memorize: “Prepare the Royal Highway.” I needed to get started on Advent now, if we’re going to make it through a few Advent hymns and a Christmas hymn before our vacation! Maybe the next hymn I pick will have an easier tune to sing, because the last few have been a bit challenging for those of us with no musical abilities (OK, me).

We did also take a break from our normal science lessons this week to watch some Magic School Bus episodes. It’s nice to occasionally have a low-key week, especially leading up to a big holiday! It was also helpful to me, because I needed to be out of the house on Wednesday, so this gave them something to do that was at least somewhat educational, without bothering Ryan while he was working!

We also kept adding leaves to our Thankful Tree…I’m very happy with how it looks! And we still have another week to go…we have so much to be thankful for!


Next week, we’ll just be having two days of school, reading a lot of fun books, and doing my favorite craft of the year…hand and footprint turkeys!

2012-2013 School Year–Week Twelve

This was a short school week for us, because of Thanksgiving…we only had 2 1/2 days of school. The bulk of our schoolwork naturally focused on Thanksgiving:

We also finished our “Thankful Tree” on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s a sample of what the children have found to be thankful for over the course of the month:

  • Turkey–Legos, education, the military.
  • Bunny–Reading, policemen, warmth in the winter.
  • Ladybug–Clothes, our pastor, the Bible.
  • Moose (who declined to be pictured)–Birthdays, Christmas trees, Chickadee.

I”m very proud of the things and people they thought of, and the fact that being thankful is so important to them!

Other than Thanksgiving School, we did a lot of review on Monday and Tuesday. We practiced our newest math skill, multiplying double-(and triple!) digit numbers by double-digit numbers, a lot. In the process, Turkey managed to find a mistake I made in solving a problem I had set up! At least I know he was paying attention! We reviewed regular and irregular verbs in grammar, and went over our “i before e” words a little more in spelling. We finished learning about the story of Joseph and his brothers in religion, and reviewed the respiratory system in science. We even had some special Thanksgiving Bible verses for dictation/copywork/handwriting (I was not popular for that, because there was so much tricky punctuation in the dictation)!

Next week, we’ll be back to our regular school schedule, but only for one week…then it will be time for our Jesse Tree and Christmas School!

Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Eight

Today was just a fun day of school. We had one craft…everybody’s favorite, the hand-and-footprint turkeys.

And we read all of our favorite Thanksgiving books (again). Each child got to pick one book for me to read out loud one last time. It was interesting to see what everybody chose!

That’s the end of Thanksgiving School for this year (other than hanging up one more set of “thankful leaves” tomorrow morning)…in another week and a half, we’ll be starting Christmas School!

Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Seven

Today’s Thanksgiving school was pretty low-key. We didn’t have any special crafts or projects, just three new books to read. These were some particularly entertaining books, though, because today was “fun and silly stories” day, which was a nice change after spending so many days learning about the history of the holiday!

First, we read Over the River and Through the Wood. I had considered using this book on the day we learned about Thanksgiving in the nineteenth century, as the poem was written in the 1840s. I decided to just save it for our fun day, though, because it’s been known as a fun Thanksgiving song, and best known by our children for being sung in the Peanuts Thanksgiving special.

We read another of my favorite books, as well: The Night Before Thanksgiving. It’s written in the same style as The Night Before Christmas, and tells the story of a typical family celebrating Thanksgiving in America, from food preparation to leftovers, and everything in between. The children’s favorite part of the story is when the dad loses control of the turkey…it’s rather comical, and something I could see actually happening!

Our last book was new to us this year (thankfully, no one else had checked it out of the library!), and was a huge hit with all of the children: A Turkey for Thanksgiving. This book tells the story of a group of animals getting together for a Thanksgiving meal, and a misunderstanding regarding the “guest of honor.” Of course, when Mrs. Moose tells me Mr. Moose that she “wants a turkey for thanksgiving” because that’s what everyone does, and she’s never had one, she means she wants a turkey to be their guest at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the turkey in question doesn’t understand that, and resists the whole way…at least he’s pleasantly surprised in the end!

Tomorrow will be a very light day of school…one craft, a few Thanksgiving books, and no other school work. We will be busy getting ready for the big day, though!