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!

Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Six

Today, we took a look modern Thanksgiving celebrations, but we also had a bit of review, as well.

We started with Pardon that Turkey. This is a cute book, which, in part, tells the origins of the annual turkey pardoning by the President. The book also reviews Thanksgiving in America, though, starting with the first Thanksgiving, but the bulk of the story focuses on Sarah Hale. This was a nice review after reading Sarah Gives Thanks on Friday, especially since this is the first year we learned about her.

Our other two books focused on that great American tradition: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Milly and the Macy’s Parade is one of my favorite stories to read every year, and blends fact and fiction to tell the story of how the parade got started. Balloons over Broadway tells the true story of how balloons were added to the Macy’s Parade, and how the balloons work. This was a new book to us this year (it was published in 2011), and we all really enjoyed it. The illustrations are fun, and it was another interesting glimpse into how the parade became what it is today.

Our craft for today was edible–Oreo cookie turkeys. These are adorable and so easy to make…the children loved them! It’s always fun to make an edible craft, too, because it doubles as snack time.

Tomorrow is a fun and silly story day, and then on Wednesday, we’ll re-read a few of our favorites, and make our annual hand-and-footprint turkeys. Thanksgiving is almost here!

2012-13 School Year–Week Eleven

This was a weird week of school. It’s always a little hard to get back to work after a week off. But, we started bright and early Monday morning (a little earlier than usual, since I didn’t have to take Moose to school), and got to work. We’re back to our regular religion lessons, after having used the whole month of October to learn about the Reformation…we spent this whole week going over the story of Joseph and his brothers.

While we got back on track with religion, we went a different direction in history. This week (and part of next) was our annual “Thanksgiving School,” which meant we took a break from our regular US history to learn about the history of Thanksgiving, from the first celebration at Plimoth, through it becoming an national holiday in the 1800s, and on to modern-day festivities. In addition to our special themed read-alouds, we made a few crafts, and even tried an ethnic food. If you haven’t seen what we’ve been up to, check out our Thanksgiving School activities throughout the week!

Our science lessons were a continuation of what we started before our vacation…learning about the respiratory system. We had fun doing a few experiments and adding on to our “Personal Persons.” I continue to be impressed with the Apologia curriculum, and the children must be, too, because they’re placing requests for which of the other topics we’ll be able to study someday!

In math, Turkey and Bunny have started multiplying double-digit numbers by double-digit numbers. The way the book explained it was very unclear to me, and I had to bring in Ryan to figure out how they wanted me to teach it. I ended up abandoning their examples altogether, in favor of teaching them the way I learned. So far, it seems to be going OK! Meanwhile, Ladybug has been counting pennies in her math lessons…she’s already almost finished her kindergarten workbook because she enjoys math so much!

Ladybug continues to read three-letter words, and to try to read everything else. Her handwriting is, I think, finally starting to improve…it’s funny how our girls have the bad handwriting in the family! Turkey and Bunny continued working on writing interesting, varied sentences in Writing Strands, and working on past, present, and future tense verbs in grammar. They also grudgingly redid the spelling lesson from two weeks ago that they both struggled with so greatly. I think maybe now they’ve got the whole “i before e” thing figured out!

Next week is a short week because of Thanksgiving, but I’ve still got a few special things planned!

Thanksgiving School 2012–Day Five

Today we learned about Thanksgiving in the 1800s, particularly the Civil War/Pioneer era.

One of our favorite books to read every year at Thanksgiving (maybe even one of our favorite books to read, period!) is An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, written by none other than the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. This is a sweet Thanksgiving story about a group of siblings determined to carry on with the holiday for their parents, after they were called away for a family emergency. There are funny moments as you might expect when children are attempting to prepare a large meal, but in the end, they all enjoy a festive dinner together.

We added a new book this year, as well…Sarah Gives Thanks. This story details how Thanksgiving became a national holiday, and focuses on Sarah Hale, who is famous for writing the poem “Mary had a Little Lamb,” as well as editing several popular magazines. This is a good book because in addition to providing the background of Thanksgiving as a national holiday, it also illustrates the struggle a widow had in the 1800s to support her family, at a time when there weren’t many options available to women.

We even learned about a Canadian Thanksgiving in A Pioneer Thanksgiving. The celebration in this story is very similar to American Thanksgivings at that time (and even today!)…if you hadn’t read A Pioneer Sampler, you might even miss the setting of this story, and just assume it takes place in the US. The family is gathered for a meal, everyone has a job to do to get ready, and there is a sense of urgency as they work to get everything prepared. Many of the foods are the same, and, of course, the feeling of thankfulness and family love are just as present in Canada in the 1800s as they are today!

We also did our first turkey craft of this Thanksgiving season. I finally broke down and ordered some craft kits from Oriental Trading…these cute turkey coasters, as well as a few things for Christmas. This was a fun project, and will come in handy when we set our Thanksgiving table…I love a craft that is both fun and useful!

We only have two more days of Thanksgiving School. Next week we’ll be learning about more modern Thanksgiving traditions, as well as reading some “just for fun” stories, and doing a few more fun activities.