Woods, Winter, and the Ingall’s Girls

December 13 – 24, 2010


I am just now getting a chance to sit down and write about our history and science days of last week. We officially started our Unit Study of Little House on the Prairie. On our official “history” day we will be reading from the book, discussing, doing activities to supplement and putting together our lapbook. For our “science” day we will be studying the forest as a compliment to this book and making our own field guides.

I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant on how they would take the Little House study. I am super passionate about these books and this time period so, of course, I was excited. But sometimes history sends Gabe straight into eyes-glaze-over mode. I thought Lily would like it, as most girls who read this book do in the elementary years. I wasn’t so sure if Gabe would enjoy the book or not. To my surprise, they both loved it. Gabe even did extra reading and volunteered (hear that cyber world….volunteered!!!) a narration on his reading to put into his lapbook. Even the two smaller ones, Luc and Lilah, wouln’t hear of being left out and made me print off lapbook pages for them to do as well. Our two hour schooling window expanded to a 5 hour window (with a break for lunch of course!) and I was amazed at the enthusiasm.

History

Read:

Activities ~ Making our own butter. At first everyone one was so excited and fighting over who got to shake the cream. By the end of 20 minutes they were all trying to shove it off on each other and no one wanted to finish. We got it to the butter just starting to seperate out from the buttermilk stage before they gave up all together and were no longer interested. Gabe said he sure was glad we could just buy butter from the store now!

Lapbooking ~ picked and colored cover pages and put together lapbook folders, hotglued popscicle sticks onto a log cabin (Luc and Lilah’s fave activity), made food preservation mini books, made a mini smokehouse replica (Gabe and Lil’s fave since it involved Liquid Smoke), wrote about our Christmas versus the Ingall’s, wrote about a favorite gift and used as copywork/penmanship, made mini books about making bullets and gun safety, made a mini book on the Ingall’s weekly chores

Language Arts

These past two weeks we also concentrated on reading. That pretty homeschool picture we all have in our head of snuggling on the couch and reading great books rarely happens around here. Mainly because mommy is always busy and interrupted with the needs of littler ones and we do a lot of our reading separately by subject.  But since we have forgone stories at bedtime to replace with our Advent activities, I really didn’t want the Christmas season to go by without reading some of the classics! Plus, we needed to return some library books that were too good to not let the kids get a chance to hear read aloud! So our whole day of language arts this week just focused on reading great children’s literature. I let each of the kids pick a book and I took turns reading their selections (which they loved!!!) and then I would pick a selection and read. This took time, but it was nice time that we all desperately needed. And it fostered some great discussions. We talked about homophones (hair and hare), about hibernation and dens (science), about the real meaning of discipline and it’s oppositte meaning (dictionary skills and bible character training), and about what would truly satisfy you and make you happy on Christmas morning (Let’s just say my kids have a long ways to go! Apparently a tin cup and one peppermint stick or a new pair of mittens would not make them as excited as the Ingall’s girls. Who knew?)

Literature & Poetry Reading  ~

Spelling ~ Both Gabe and Lily worked on the Scripps spelling bee list for the upcoming spelling bee. They practiced alone, with each other and with mom. They picked out the words they needed to work on independently and worked on them at SpellingCity.com Lily and I talked about memorization tricks and visual learning (picturing letters as colors).

Phonics ~ Lily did several pages in her phonics workbooks concentrating on long vowel rules.

Grammar & Mechanics ~ Gabe and Lily both did a fun worksheet on alphabetizing Christmas words (Gabe’s was more intense). Lily did a Christmas worksheet on forming compound words.

Math

Gabe ~ Math U See – all of chapter 9 and test (finding the area of triangles), all of chapter 10 and test (division by 4’s)

Lily ~ Kumon Counting Coins book (adding nickels and pennies together, adding dimes and pennies together), Kumon Time book (telling time by hours, the different ways of writing o’clock)

Science

We did a lot of science reading too. Our favorites are Jim Arnosky’s books. I will be investing money in these this upcoming spring. Though Lily is pretty convinced that she doesn’t want to go back into the woods after all the precautionary talk we did, I assured her it’s a lovely place to explore but she is now hyper-worried about disease and poisonous plants!

Read:

  • Creatures in the Woods (National Geographic book)
  • Walking in Wild Places by Jim Arnosky
  • Wild Tracks by Jim Arnosky (By far the most looked at book the past couple of weeks. We will be adding to our home library this spring. Includes fold out pages that have life-size tracks pictured. That impressed us all!)
  • Whose Tracks Are These? (a fun book where you were given clues and then had to guess the animal who made the tracks – kids loved it)

Discussed: Ticks, Lyme disease, poisonous plants, bee stings, water pollution, reindeer (what kind of real deer they are), protective forest clothing and why.

Activities: All went out to the forest and prairie area and had a great time looking for animal scats and tracks before it snowed. The kids had great fun with this. We think we may even have found mountain lion tracks! And Luc was beyond thrilled to discover real deer poop! I also had kids look through several different types of field guides, plants and animals, to see real-life examples of how they are put together. They’ve looked at these a million times before (by far the most used books in the house) but were now looking with fresh eyes. Do they want to use real photos or sketch? If real, use a camera or pull off internet? If sketch, pencil or paint or colored pencil? What information to include? Bound or spiraled? Laminated or paper? I told them we will discuss their ideas after Christmas and each one would be unique to what that person wanted to do.

Gabe ~ made an illustration of a forest biome including the canopy, understory, brush, herb, and floor layers to include in his field guide; read his new National Geographic magazine

Lily ~ tried her hand at sketching a deer and also sketched some tracks (deer and mountain lion) to include in her field guide; read her new National Geographic magazine

deer tracks

deer scat

cat tracks

The much bigger mountain lion tracks!

Faith & Advent

  • Read The Nativity by
  • Read nightly out of The Jesse Tree by
  • Made ornaments for our Jesse Tree.
  • Practiced singing carols and learning words (The Cherry Tree Carol, The First Noel, and O Come Emmanuel)

Little House on the Prairie Lapbook Unit Study

Updated 10/11/15 – check below for more links including this incredible documentary! Like what you see in this post? Come join me for More Little House on the Prairie for more activities and book suggestions!

Now that we are done with the Civil War era (will back post on books and links this winter when I have a bit more downtime at home – but notice how I finally updated the book bar on the side!) we will be moving on to the Pioneer era. And what better way to do this then through the Little House on the Prairie book series? In fact, I know of very little who don’t love this series.  I remember watching the TV series as a small girl and falling in love with this time period. I can’t wait to share this with my children and let it become a memory of their’s as well. We will be studying the period lazily over the winter. By lazily I mean taking our time, delving deep, letting the books speak and guide our direction and interests. I have no idea how long it will take us.

We will be continuing our use of lapbooks with this study. We have found, through a bit of dabbling in it this year, that the kids respond to my choice of books better and remember the information better if they have this to look forward to after the readings. Lily loves lapbooks because it is much like scrapbooking our history information. Gabe loves it because it frees him of the burden of narrations. I have narrowed narrations down to one main narration per time period that they will stick in their lapbook/scrapbook and it will be based on a book of their choice to read from that time period. I know this isn’t quite the Charlotte Mason way but it still fits and I have to do what is right for my family as God whispered to a dear church friend who wrote it to me in an encouraging note. This worked so well while studying the Civil War and Gabe ended up doing a lovely narration effortlessly when allowed to choose what he thought was an exciting book, not what I thought.

Luckily, Homeschool Share has a free lapbook for each of the original Little House series beautifully made by Heather L. This is the main site I used to download pdf files for our use. I have fallen in love with this site! I encourage every homeschooling mother to go there and poke around.

First of all, here are the living books we will be using:

The Little House on the Prairie Book Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

starting with

Little House in the Big Woods (perfect now that we have a forest in our backyard!)

We will also read all of the My First Little House Picture Books concentrating on the winter ones first since we are in that season.

And read a living biography on Laura Ingalls Wilder

As spines alongside our literature study we will use If You Were a Pioneer on the Prairie

as well as A Pioneer Sample: Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840

and Look Inside a Log Cabin by Mari Schuh

These three books will be great sources of information for making the lapbooks and answering questions about the time period. And to delve into the science of the period we will be, obviously, studying prairie grassland habitats through these books:

One Day in the Prairie by Jean Craighead George

A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet by Claudia McGehee

Prairie Food Chains by Kelley MacAulay

and America’s Prairies and Grasslands Guide to Plant and Animals by Marianne D. Wallace

And for activities to supplement or add to the study:

Updated – 10/11/15

I’d have never guessed when I first wrote this post almost 5 years ago how popular it would become! Besides my Rock and Mineral Unit Study post, this page keeps my tiny blog afloat amid the absence of current posts that my seven kids lovingly prevent me from writing! 

And today I’m excited to add a few nuggets to the Little House extravaganza. Thanks to the generosity of the blog Little House on the Prairie, I’ve been able to add a number of free activities above such as how to host a Little House on the Prairie party, how to make rock candy, and even free printable Little House paper dolls – which are way super cute! They are also sending me a copy of their new documentary “The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder” to review which I’m super excited about. Will be reviewing and linking back to here very soon. You must go over and watch the trailer. Maybe I’m a bit of a nerd, but watching this has me like a child running to check the mailbox everyday looking for that package! 

And now you can also enjoy a little slice of this Americana too. The people behind  Little House on the Prairie are offering a coupon code which allows you 20% off the already low price of $19.95. This is an excellent addition to any homeschool living history library. Just click on their  Amazon link and add to your cart. Enter LHSCHOOL into the promotion code box when checking out. Voila! Instant savings!

The Learning Room

April 12 – 16

United States Geography Unit Study

We decided to make this last week before taking a spring break a light week. Our next history unit will be on Lewis and Clark, which will take several weeks so I didn’t want to start just yet. We spent this week reviewing our U.S. geography map skills and tying in our bird theme by coloring/drawing state birds. We also used these bird drawings as a chance for penmanship practice by labeling which state the bird belongs to and then filing them in our State Binders. The kids had fun this week. They love coloring and drawing birds so it made the week easy to get through. I’m looking forward to taking a 4-week break, especially with nausea coming to an all-time high right now. I’m excited to work on getting all our gardening done and enjoying playing outside before the weather gets too hot. At the end of the four weeks I’ll post what kind of schoolish things we did (books read, field trips taken, interests followed) because that still counts towards our Nebraska state requirement hours even if they weren’t formally planned! Learning doesn’t necessarily stop just because you’re taking a break!

History & Geography

  • Read United Tweets of America: 50 State Birds by Hudson Talbott. This book is one of my kids favorites. They just love the humour infused with all the facts and this is one that they beg me to read, especially the bird captions (done in a cartoon format). I will buy this for next year. We check it out too often to keep borrowing from the library!
  • Colored several state birds and labeled then placed in the kids State Binder.
  • Took a review quiz of labeling a U.S. map. (Find free map pdf files here.)
  • Practiced learning states through Learn Disover Explore: The United States of America (a fun little book we picked up last year on the Target $1 shelf!)
  • Practiced state abbreviations.

Language Arts

  • Poetry ~ read The Cuckoo’s Haiku and Other Birding Poems by Michael J. Rosen (beautiful pictures, by the way, and useful for Gabe in reviewing what a haiku is).
  • Literature ~ read chapter 6 of Charlotte’s Web.
  • Penmanship ~ practiced manuscript (Lily) and cursive (Gabe) with labeling bird pictures.
  • Phonics ~ Lily practiced reading independently and read I’m a Seed for me (a Hello Reader level 1 book).
  • Independent Reading ~ Gabe spent a lot of his free time reading this week. Stared Charlie and the Chocoloate Factory for the millionth time. Read Franny K Stein: The Fran that Time Forgot and a Magic School Bus chapter book: The Giant Germ. Lily played outside more in her free time but spent a lot of time reading her library books (mainly Dr. Suess) before bed. She’s getting more confident every day!

Art/Music

  • Colored pictures of a Meadowlark, Goldfinch, Robin, Eagle, Mockingbird, Baltimore Oriole, and Wood Thrush.
  • Used original drawings of a Cardinal, Bluebird, and Robin.
  • Listened to our Revolutionary Freedoms CD with an emphasis on the song “Fifty Nifty United States”.

Science & Physical Education

  • Read I’m a Seed by Jean Marzollo to everyone. The kids asked for this to be read three times in a row and then Lily read it out loud to me. They loved this book because it is about a marigold and pumpkin seed, both seeds we plan to plant in our garden and both seeds we did plant last year. Luc is especially excited about the pumpkins this year and clapped everytime the pumpkin seed talked. This is a very informative book for being so simple and much in the style of Nancy Wallace’s books (which I love!).
  • Did lots of gardening work this week. Kids helped with sifting our compost and bringing it to the new beds to spread. They also helped with sifting our rocks and digging out weeds.
  • Gabe and Lily started rock collections. They used recycled egg cartons – just the perfect size to fit a rock in! We will have to dig out our rock field guides.
  • Found (and washed REALLY well) several bird feathers for their nature shelf. We think one is from a meadowlark. I can’t tell what the other two are from. They are darker in color w/a rainbow sheen at the tip and quite large in size. (Luc has been desperately chasing the Robins trying to get one to let him pet it!)
  • Read Storms by Seymour Simon and A First Discovery Book: Weather (Scholastic) after we had a sudden impromptu spring thundershower!
  • Gabe independently read The Senses: Seeing when he wanted to know how a piece of glass (he thinks his lenses are just a piece of glass) can make you see better. (The answer: different shaped glass, concave or convex depending on if you are near or farsighted!)

The Learning Room – Part II: Henry David Thoreau

April 5th – 11th

We did a study  on Henry David Thoreau this week. I know, not something young elementary students usually study. Not even something I studied in high school! But I just found a fantastic kids book on it and it just fit in naturally after talking about John James Audubon. Both were from around the same time period (about 50 years difference) and both were pioneers in the naturalist/environmentalist movement for their times. I’m sure the kids won’t retain that much from their study but for me, personally, it was very eye opening. I have never read Walden before, though I have wanted to for years after I found out he was one of the first to move out of society into that – what we would call these days – sustainable lifestyle. He purposefully led a simple life. And it is to this movement that Adam and I feel drawn to. I will continue to read his book, even though we are technically done with him this week. Adam and I have proposed a little experiment to the kids based off this study (you will find out more details in an upcoming post!).

Lily’s biggest (and somewhat profound) question to his lifestyle was: “If he chose to live simply and wanted more free time then how did building his own house get that because then he just did a lot of work and had to cook and find his own food which is more work? How did he have free time?” Which I thought was a wonderful question that we should all contemplate on. What is real, purposeful work? And is that enjoyment in itself? And do our modern conveniences create more free time or put us in a continuous, perpetual cycle of bondage with respect to time and time management? Anyway, I digress. On to the work we did this week.

History

  • Read Henry David’s House edited by Steven Schnur (edited by is the important part here, as this book is all from Thoreau’s original writings about building his house by Walden Pond!)
  • Gabe and Lily did narrations (oral and picture to go with) on Thoreau.
  • Gabe independently read A Man Named Thoreau by Robert Burleigh

Literature

  • Read chapter 5 of Charlotte’s Web, which the kids are really enjoying…especially the goose who repeats everything. They think she is hilarious! We would have read more of this but kids being slow to pick up and tidy at night has earned some lost privileges.
  • Listened to the audio of Ivy & Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows. (These are just so delightful to listen to…the kids love them and so do I!)
  • Read more of the Peter Rabbit series.

Language Arts

  • Gabe – learned about how to use quotation marks; cursive copywork; poetry reading; picture study; creative writing story
  • Lily – phonics practice; manuscript copywork; picture study; poetry reading; creative writing (wrote a wonderful story this week!); reading practice; more review of sentences and punctuation

Latin – Gabe

  • New words: amicus, specto, natura.
  • Reviewed flashcards.

Math

  • Gabe – Math U See chapter 21 – multiplying with double digits, place value notation.
  • Lily – started her new Kumon workbook: Easy Telling Time (which she is very excited about)

Art

  • Worked in the craft room making thumbprint art and decorating a wooden birdhouse.

The Learning Room – Part I: John James Audubon

March 19th – April 4th

Because my morning sickness strikes in the afternoon and gets worse as the evening progresses (ironic that I don’t have it in the morning!), my only time to type on the computer is moot as I want only to lie on a couch at that point, not typing anything! So I am taking one morning where I am feeling okay and catching up on what we’ve been learning. I will break it into two manageable parts – a part one over our John James Audubon study and a part two over our Henry David Thoreau study.

History

Science

  • Read Birds at Home by Marguerite Henry (our favorite living book on birds!)
  • Read Birds at My Feeder by Glen & Loates (our other most read living bird book)
  • Used Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Birds field guide to identify birds in our back yard and see where in the United States certain birds live.
  • Read Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines by Caroline Arnold and discussed how feathers and flight work.
  • Read An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston & Sylvia Long. The kids had most fun finding camouflaged eggs and picking which egg they wanted to draw.
  • Read Birds at Night by Roma Gans a great overall book on how birds act, what they eat, how they survive. The kids favorite I think.
  • Read A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins a good book to herald in spring as it is mostly about the arrival of robins returning in the spring.

Gabe's cardinal.

Lily's cardinal.

Mommy's cardinal.

Lily's cardinal after seeing mommy's cardinal and then deciding she needed to redo hers!

Luc's cardinal.

Art

  • Practiced studying a bird and trying to draw it realistically. The kids enjoyed this as the best part of the week both weeks and they loved using their new colored pencils!
  • Looked through The Living World of Audubon by Roland C. Clement to see samples of Audubon’s work and read journal entries.
  • Used Nature Book to Color to color different birds realistically.
  • Read Henri, Egg Artiste by Marcus Pfister and had fun discussing the “real” art used on the eggs. Good picture study for the kids.
  • Used Art For Kids: Drawing in Color by Kathryn Temple to practice drawing an egg and working on how to shade and how light hits an object.

Gabe's Woodpecker.

Lily's Woodpecker - probably my favorite of hers! Makes me giggle whenever I see it!

Lily's Bluebird.

Music

  • Kids played with The Bird Songs Anthology by Les Beletsky almost daily.
  • Listened to  music CD For the Birds full of bird folk songs, poetry, and bird calls!

Literature

Language Arts

  • Lily – in Language Arts Lessons book: review of sentences and punctuation; copywork (manuscript practice); phonics practice; poetry reading; reading practice
  • Gabe – in Language Arts Lesosns book: pronouns, paragraphs,  initials and abbreviations (also used his history narration in practicing editing and when to use pronouns and paragraphs properly in real-life writing); review of plurals, adjectives, adverbs, and capitilization; copywork in cursive; poetry reading
  • Luc – phonics practice with mom in the Blue Book; Kumon cards

Math

  • Lily – Filling in 100’s chart (partially blank 3x, all blank 3x); Math U See chapter 21 – addition of missing number
  • Gabe – Math U See chapters 19 and 20 – skip counting and multiplying by 8

Latin – Gabe

  • New words: sed, via, porto, quid, tuba, ager, paro
  • Review of flashcards.

Independent Reading

John James Audubon Study – Part II

Sorry this second part of the post has taken so long to get to. There are a few reasons that is…the first of which is we actually started the study this week so we have been busy with school. The second of which it is nice outside and we have been trying to get the first of garden preparations done.

Now I have split this up into categories to be user-friendly, but we will actually be tackling the study on a much more interest-led-see-where-the-day-brings-us way. I find we actually accomplish more this way because one thing will lead into another. If I just do a “Well, children, this is what we are doing today,” I get accosted with groans and mumbles. I leave those for our formal math-latin-grammar work! Some of the books fit into more then one category but I tried to pick the category we would most be utilizing it as. And you may think that you have some books that you would add to categories as must haves, especially in the Literature section. That may be. I only listed what I had available to me that we already owned or that I could readily find at the library.

Our Bird Shelves

Activities

  • Learning the history of who John James Audubon was and what he contributed to America. (History)
  • Learning about naturalists ~ who they are and what they do. (History & Social Studies)
  • Narrations on books read (Reading Comprehension, Assimilation & Logic, Grammar, Writing)

  • Learning about the egg and its development from embryo till birth. (Science)
  • Learning about the feather and how flight works. (Science)
  • Learning Bird Anatomy through 3 part cards Download here for free. (Science)

  • Learning to recognize bird calls and songs. (Science and Music)
  • Learning to identify birds by sight. (Science Classification)
  • Playing our Montessori Bird Puzzle. (Good for the toddlers to do while reading bird books to the older children.)

  • Taking nature walks to practice birding skills and look for treasured feather finds. (Science, Physical Education)
  • Practicing sketching and watercolor/colored pencil techniques with drawing birds and eggs. (Art)
  • Playing with our Audubon stuffed birds (also helps in recognizing bird calls) (Assimilation)

  • Reading poetry and children’s literature about birds and other springtime animals. (Literature & Poetry)
  • Memorizing poetry about birds. (Poetry)
  • Copywork on spring poetry, narrations, original Audubon writing excerpts (Penmanship, Grammar, Poetry & Literature)
  • Listening to our For the Birds CD (Music, Poetry, Science)

John James Audubon History Biographies (all preread to be excellent living books although the first two are my favorites!!!)

Birds (References, Field Guides, Science)

Bird Music

Bird Art & Sketching

The basket that holds our colored pencils and sketchbooks.

Inside our Nature Walk basket.

Other Naturalists (Supplemental Reading or rabbit trails – these are just the ones we happened to see at the library, by no means the only good books on them!)

Literature (have included other spring animals as well for the season of spring)

Foreign Languages ~ French (Audubon was sent over from France to avoid the Napoleonic French War ~ Lily picked up on the French phrases in the biographies we’re reading and wnted to know more)

And, last but never least, our Easter selections. They are included here because we will be reading them alongside this study. It goes perfectly with spring and the egg ~ the renewing of life. And we want our children to know that the only reason we get to enjoy all else is because of this most amazing sacrifice on the cross. Would love to celebrate this more formally with Lent but did not have time to research a book I wanted to put the time or money into. We will do that for next year. Am open to suggestions in the comment box.

Easter

Our marbled eggs that the kids love to feel and play with.

The Learning Room

March 1-18th, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve had a moment to really sit down and list what we’ve been studying. I’ve been trying to jot it – very rough hand – on a piece of recycled paper that generally floats somewhere around my computer. So I’m going to try and make heads and tails of it today and put it into a list. I want to get it down in a permanent place before officially starting our Audubon study. Sorry if this is long-winded.

History

We have been wrapping up the Colonial & Revolutionary War period. I keep thinking we’re done and then I find another great book to read on the topic. I just recently got a paid membership (because I live outside city limits) to the Omaha Public Library and am so excited to be able to resource their books now as well as the Bellevue Library’s.  We also worked a bit of seasonal history in with the study of St. Patrick.

  • Read Katie’s Trunk by Ann Turner (a wonderful story from the oppositte viewpoint of a “Tory” – a heart tugger and written in beautiful literary style)
  • Lily did a narration of Katie’s Trunk and drew a picture to go with her narration.
  • Read Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz (delightfully funny and kept the kids interest despite the longness of the book – wonderfully written.)
  • Gabe read What’s the Big Idea, Benjamin Franklin? independently (also by Jean Fritz) and did a narration.
  • Gabe copied the Preamble to the Constitution in cursive for penmanship and filed it under the proper time in his Book of Centuries. Lily did the same, but only copied the title and date and did it in manuscript.
  • Both copied the title and date of the Declaration of Independence and filed it in their Book of Centuries.
  • Worked some more on colonial paper dolls but they kind of petered out on this.
  • Read, as a family, Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola and discussed the reason we celebrate St. Patrick’s.
  • Reviewed through their Book of the Centuries notebooks.

Literature

  • Read The Last Snake in Ireland: A Story About St. Patrick and discussed the literary style of a legend versus fictional and nonfictional work.
  • Started reading I Samuel from the Old Testament with Dad this week. He wants to take the kids personally through a Bible Study of I & II Samuel and I & II Kings so they can hear the many wonderful stories that most kids don’t hear in church to broaden their view. The kids are enjoying this because daddy makes storytelling come alive and seem adventurous that just doesn’t work when I read.
  • Dug out all the Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit series for the spring/Easter season and the kids have been requesting them regularly. I’ve only collected them when I can at thrift stores because I want the tiny handheld size that the kids cherish. I could easily get a big anthology book of them at any discount bookstore but there is just something about them being pint-sized that the kids adore. Also listening to the collection on audio.
  • Started Funny Frank by Dick-King Smith.
  • Read Winnie the Pooh’s Easter by Bruce Talkington
  • Read many, many poems from My Poetry Book about spring, mud, birds…a little of everything.
  • Gabe and Lily have been doing lots of reading on their own. Gabe is currently on a Roal Dahl kick and picked up BFG and James and the Giant Peach for this week as well as finishing a “Choose Your Own Adventure” that dad has introduced him to as well as rereading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Lily is practicing hard in any spare moment on whatever book interests her. I see her reading improving everyday and she is wanting to be more grown up and read chapter books like Gabe. Her top pick for the week: A Pickle for a Nickel by Lilian Moore (a chapter book she borrowed from a friend.)
  • Gabe has been reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and memorizing his favorite poems.

Grammar & Writing & Phonics

  • Gabe and Lily both did copywork to improve penmanship (see History above). Lily also finished her Kumon: Uppercase Letters book and worked some in her Kumon: Lowercase Letters book. Gabe is doing extremely well with his cursive. Although, he has naturally good penmanship.
  • Lily also used the Kumon letter cards and practice paper to particularly work on the capital ‘N’ (as she is still doing it backwards) and the lowercase ‘g’ (getting the tail below the line).
  • Gabe worked in his Language Lessons book with sentence combining and how to break up run-on sentences.
  • Lily worked in her Language Lessons book with more phonics work, copywork, reading practice, sentence practice, and poetry with picture narrations.
  • Luc worked on phonics intensively. He sat down and practiced Hop on Pop with me and we also played a phonics game together. He worked with the Kumon letter cards and short word vowel cards almost daily. Him and Delilah both watched Talking Words Factory several times and are enamored of the sticky-icky-rama vowel machine.
  • Gabe was asked to do a short essay by dad on 6 things that he will not be mastered by.
  • Gabe dictated to me a first draft narration for his independent history reading and we will be using next week as a chance to practice editing, using editing marks, when to use pronouns, and when to break up paragraphs.
  • Both Lily and Gabe started Commonplace books this week. They are notebooks that the kids can write special book/poetry/music/inspirational passages in, journal in, take notes on nonfiction books in, draw pictures in, etc. It is a pretty open-ended project. We will be doing it officially on Friday afternoons but they spent most of the night with them and then took them to bed to sleep with. What I am hoping to accomplish with this is twofold: 1) to encourage writing, penmanship, grammar usage, spelling practice and promote higher level thinking skills of reading comprehension at pulling and assimilating information from books (a study skill that will benefit them in all walks of life) and 2) to do purposeful work – that is, have a place where they can record or write about things that are not required of them but that they think is important or worthy enough to be recorded on paper. Gabe has already made a science diagram summary after reading a new science book and Lily has recorded two poems and drawn several pictures.
  • Lily has been writing her own poetry and drawing pictures to go with them.
  • Lily and I used a new system to help practice her reading. Will write about soon. She used the system with much success with the book Red Fish, Blue Fish.
  • Lily read Word Bird’s Spring Words and decided to make her own word flash cards (spent 3 hours on this project of her own choosing!).

Math

  • Gabe did chapter 17 and started chapter 18 in his Math U See book (multiplication of 6’s and 7’s).
  • Gabe independently read (3 times at least that I saw – and it’s a chapter book!) Do You Wanna Bet: Your Chance to Find Out About Probability by Martha Weston. He greatly enjoyed this book as it expanded on his dad’s conversation of what statistics are.
  • Lily did her Math U See Primer book about solving unknown equations in addition problems and learning place value with tens and one hundreds. We used her new Montessori number tiles with the place value exercises and these helped out SO much! Loved them!
  • Lily practiced her Kumon Number Flashcards (numbers 1-30 with extra emphasis on 2, 7, 9) in order to master writing the numbers the proper way and to help with number recognition. Still having a bit of trouble turning around numbers like 12 and 21.
  • Lily finished her Kumon: My Book of Numbers 1-30 book and recieved her certificate. She worked really hard at this and did about 20 pages (4-6 hours worth) in two days time of her own accord. This just clicked for her and she wanted to really work on accomplishing the book. She wants to start the Kumon: Easy Telling Time book next so I think that was her motivation.
  • Luc read (with me) Can a Dinosaur Count & Other Math Mysteries by Valorie Fisher – a great living math book that we will come back to. Depending on child’s ability, this book can be used at multiple levels.
  • Luc has also read the How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? book almost daily and practicing counting on all the pages.
  • Gabe and Lily watched Cyberchase videos: Equations ~ A Battle of Equals and Patterns ~ The Poddleville Case

Latin

  • Gabe learned new words: navigo, memoria, fortuna
  • He also practiced his flashcards (with new words and dipthong sounds) every school day.

Science/Art/Music/Gardening – interchangeably life!

  • Gabe has been reading Rocks and Minerals and collecting rocks outside with a specific interest in the softness or hardness of rocks and whether they can write or not (all based on a question he had one day about his pencil).
  • Lily had me read certain portions of Pandas: A Portrait of the Animal World after getting a new stuffed panda with her own money at the zoo gift shop. We learned that there are only 9 pandas in all the zoos and only one of those is in the U.S.!
  • Luc has been collecting “fossils” outside – basically any rock he finds that is jagged, not smooth that looks bonish-sorta-colored.
  • We’ve not really ‘officially’ started our bird study, yet birds seem to be abounding everywhere. We’ve been listening to bird sounds for identification (through some birding CD’s we have and googling those we don’t have). We’ve been reading field guides galore on our favorites (more the kids doing this…especially Luc). The little ones have been playing with our Audubon stuffed birds (Did I say playing? I meant fighting!) from morning till bed time. We’ve taken walks and listened to see what birds we could identify (so far only a Mourning Dove, a Cardinal, and a Woodpecker). The balcony windows have been another flocking place for the kids, especially first thing in the morning, as they are shouting for me to come look and see what bird it is (mainly cardinals – the kids favorite right now – the stuffed bird most fought over). The kids are going crazy with drawing birds, especially Lily. And I haven’t even introduced the watercolor/colored pencil sketching we’re getting to with that. And we’ve been reading lots of bird poetry and listening to songs about birds which inspires more bird drawing. Even made a mixed bird CD (will tell about in the Audubon Study – Part II post)!
  • Read chapter 4: The Robin of Birds at Home by Marguerite Henry (one of the best living books on birds we’ve found. This has been their favorite so far…comes out and stays out all day along with the field guides) and Lily did a volunteer narration and picture of it.
  • Been starting work in the garden, uncovering mulched beds, looking for new perennial growth, planting seeds indoors (our broccoli is the first to sprout).
  • Been looking through DK’s Visual Dictionary on Skeletons (not just human, all kinds!) which is an amazing book and is hard to tear your eyes away from! Will have to own this one…is going on my Amazon wish list. Must see what the others in the series are like.
  • Gabe and Lily have officially taken the sketchbooks outside to start capturing spring.

The Project Room

Gabe and Lily are loving using their project room. They have been in there almost every second of the day making and crafting. The only time they emerge is to eat, play outside, or (for Gabe only) to get his computer time (Lily is more than happy to give her’s up for more craft time). Things they have made:

  • Day One: made goody bags for each other with cards and homemade toys specific to the others interest. Was very sweet really and I tried not to cringe at how much tape was used. That’s what the Dollar Store is for, right?
  • Using recyclable bin to refurbish into new uses.
  • Making caterpillars and “squirmels” out of pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and pom poms.
  • Making mosaic pictures out of the dried beans (suppose to be used for preschool math counters!).
  • Scrapbooking.
  • Reading.
  • Journaling in notebooks.
  • Drawing and coloring pictures.

Field Trips

  • The Henry Doorly Zoo (exhibits: the cat complex and the aquarium)
  • The Rose Theater to see There’s An Alligator Under My Bed (a play adaptation of several of Mercer Mayer’s books).