Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Education

Back in the summer I thought we would take most of Thanksgiving week off of school. Just relax, cook, bum around. But I have learned (over and over) that we don't do well with no plan. Bumming around doesn't work for us. Relaxing isn't relaxing!

Then I got an email from the homeschool group I joined with links to Thanksgiving lapbook ideas. That got my wheels spinning and ideas forming and lots of internet searching. I prepped a lot of work and did a lot of cutting out and getting ready. It was really fun!

I think the kids liked doing something a little different. Plus I have been not feeling well so an easy schedule was really what I needed.

Pumpkin Stamping :

Based on a photo I saw in my internet searches I made a potato stamp of a pumpkin. I forgot to leave a stem on it so we drew those in later. I only made one stamp so the kids came to the table one at a time to have their turn.

Lapbooks :

I followed a lot of links and found some games, some mini-books, some coloring pages, handwriting tracers and whatever and made our first-ever lapbooks.  The kids thought they were fun...most because they thought they were different, I think. Everyday we spent some time coloring, reading, playing and doing something in the lapbook.

The completed lapbooks were great. Each reflected the kid that made them. #1's was tidy and everything was as complete as she could make it. #4's was very colorful and a little messy! #2 and #3 did what they wanted and only more if I was real stern about it.

Our pumpkin stamps were cut out as decoration for the cover of our books

#1's. The left inside flap: what she is thankful for and a notebooking exercise on the pilgrims.

#4's. The middle of the inside had a maze (I found Thanksgiving mazes with three levels of difficulty) and a mini-book  about the first Thanksgiving. On the right inside flap as a turkey tic-tac-toe with pieces in a little mini envelope.


#3's. The back cover had our memory verse for the week, Psalm 121:1-2 for the kids to write or trace. #1 wrote from memory, #2 did his as copywork, #3 traced a simpler version and #4 ignored his.

History :

Of course we had to throw in a couple history discussions. About the pilgrims and why they left England (though really they'd just left Norway) and the Mayflower and the Mayflower Compact (why it was necessary and what it meant) and getting to Plymouth. How the women stayed on the ship while the men built shelter and found food. How the sick were brought back to the ship for the women to care for which could be part of the reason there were only 5 women left by the time the Thanksgiving feast came around. We talked about the Indians that helped teach the pilgrims. Why they were thankful, what they did to celebrate. And how it became a tradition for us today.

Life Skills :

Well I had to sneak a little getting ready into the week. So we made a menu together, and a shopping list. We discussed budgets. We got the house ready for company. I had much bigger plans for this part of our week but with not feeling well, I wasn't up to a grocery shopping trip the week of Thanksgiving with 5 kids to do a lesson on budgets and cooking and such.

Wrap-up :

I'm glad I did something different Thanksgiving week. It made getting back into the regular routine feel good. Not feeling well, I know I would have skimped on the regular stuff anyway so now I don't feel behind or that we didn't cover something like we should have.


Thanksgiving notebook pages
Turkey-shaped book
First Thanksgiving mini-book
I am Thankful mini-book
Colors of Thanksgiving Dinner mini-book
Coloring page & Verse Tracer

Friday, November 26, 2010

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  For Thursdays. A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Monday, November 22, 2010

A quick recap of what we did this weekend...

It was a crazy one.

#3 started soccer on Thursdays at a Kick City. After a rocky start (oh, shyness you rear your head in the strangest of circumstances) he LOVED it!

Mr. Wiedz and I ran in the EWEB Run to Stay Warm event. It was a beautiful fall day, no rain. We both finished and jogged the whole thing which was a major goal. I finished in about 36 minutes.

#2 had his first basketball game (we missed last weeks due to Early Christmas). He's really great at defense...even playing it when he's supposed to be on offense! He had fun and it was all cute to watch!

#1 had her first volleyball games, 2 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday (again we missed the actual first ones last weekend). She improved her serving just between the days and got a chance to even pass it over the net a couple of times!

Just the start, I know, but a busy weekend for the Wiedz household!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

:: this moment ::

:: this moment ::  For Thursdays. A photo from the week. Not too many words. A simple moment, extraordinary, special. Something I want to remember, cherish, to pause over. If you have a "moment" leave a link in the comments for others to find and share.

inspired by soulemama

Letters to Santa. Written. Stamped. Mailed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

History is Alive :: Canopic Jars

A couple of weeks ago we hit ancient Egypt in our history study. A fun craft to help the littles understand mummification with out mummifying a chicken *ahem* was to make canopic jars. For anyone that doesn't remember their ancient Egyptian history, canopic jars were the jars the internal organs were put during the mummification process. The tops of the jars were decorated with images of gods who were thought to protect the organs for the dead dude - you know since he'd need them again when he got to where he was going.

Since I did all my organization this summer I knew I would need a pickle jar for each of my kiddos. We eat quite a lot of pickles so I wasn't too worried but I did have to transfer the last jar's worth to a ziplock bag to get a set of four!

The directions in the activity book were great! So I gathered my supplies...

...and set up my students at the table to rip newspaper.

Once we had a nice pulp...

We grabbed handfuls, mounding and shaping the tops to our jars.

I had pretty wet pulp so we tried to squeeze each  handful as much as possible but still ended up with some soggy creations. I set the jars up in the laundry room to dry...which took two weeks! Talk about needing patience. Actually though the kids were just as interested in watching the drying processes as they were the making.

After the drying time we got out our paints and decorated our jars.

 (#4 had dressed up for his Halloween party at speech school that morning, eyes painted on his forehead so he'd have eight eyes like any good spider.)

#1 is using hers as money storage, #2 for treasures he finds, #3 has some marbles and golf balls in his and #4 got gypped with the jar with a lid that doesn't open (grandma recycled it when she was visiting before this whole craft project started) and so his is displayed on the school shelves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rowing Week 2 :: Corduroy

Corduroy (40th Anniversary Edition)

I'm feeling very off with my posts and with my school week really. We went to my parents to celebrate Christmas with my whole family this past weekend, 30 people, over half of them 5th grade and under. Since we could we took The Classical School of Wiedz on the road and finished our school week at grammie's so I could help my mom get ready for a houseful. 

With so many other options (no cousins yet, I'm not that crazy) at Grammie's the little boys weren't really interested in rowing this week but I tried to sneak some things in when they were needing a little direction. So we finished up a lot of our activities for this book today...we'll start another book tomorrow.

Arts and Crafts:

Before we even got started, it was time to make Veteran's Day cards. I've tried to make thank you cards each year for the special veterans in our lives. One year we finger painted the stars and stripes - but I'm not crazy so we cut stripes and did stickers this year.

Lacing and sewing: 

Since Lisa sews a button on Corduroy's overalls at the end of the book I thought the kids would enjoy getting out our lacing cards. We were given these as a gift when #1 was little and after I got tired of picking up and de-tangling and untying a clump of strings I put them 5 years ago. Everyone enjoyed having these out. I'm definitely putting them away again so they'll take such good care of them and really lace the cards when they do see them again!

"Lapbook" or Scrapbook Activities:

Over at Homeschool Share they have a bunch of lapbook projects. I printed off ones I thought would be fun and we colored, cut, glued, visited, worked, concentrated. I'm not sure what I'll do with all these projects we do. I am thinking that a scrapbook of their year "rowing" these books would be great with the crafts/activities that we can keep along with the pictures I take of us doing them.

Now that I'm looking at the pictures I realize that #4 liked doing all the coloring pages and having his picture taken while #3 didn't so much. We eventually got his work done but I had to sit right with him to do each pictures were taken. I try to be real flexible with this stuff with them. The idea is more to get some reading done and have a plan, if they aren't interested in something then we save it for later or skip it altogether.

Gummi Bear Math:

I purchased gummi bears at Costco before leaving for Grammies and we did have some there while reading our story one day but today I thought we needed some more. We were going to read while we ate but suddenly I thought we could sneak in a little math while we were at it. #1 helped me with #4 so we sorted our sacks into colors then we graphed how many bears we had of each color. We talked about our bears and compared which colors had more or less, who had more red ones, how the green ones and yellow ones matched. 

Then we ate.


Delightful Learning - Corduroy (oh, I wish she'd have posted before I rowed this one...her ideas are awesome. Love love love the paper mache piggy bank!)

Next row: Play With Me

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rowing Week 1 :: I Am an Artist

I stumbled upon a blog last week sometime, delightfullearning. She had posted some inspiring preschool activities and other homeschool "what we're doing" type things. After my last preschool post I had really been thinking that my little boys get a lot of leftovers as far as school goes. Keep them out of trouble stuff. Seemed like they should have more than that...not more rigid curriculum but more from me. One thing I found on her site was BFIAR. When I first saw those letters I was confused...what?! What could BFIAR mean? After digging around a little I discovered Before Five In A Row. A gentle preschool and beyond program that uses children's literature 5 days in a row with activities that go along with the book. 

I dove right in!

I wanted to continue with the alphabet work we'd been doing and I found a companion teaching-the-books-with-the-alphabet listing at homeschool share so I jumped in with the "E" book. Found the book at the library, read it myself, used another homeschool share resources page for go-along activities and planned out our week!

We've had so much fun! The activities have been relativity easy and a great way to spend time together. Though I have a plan for the week and which activities I want to do each day we're really flexible about the timing...when we have a few moments we read the book or do a quick activity, when we have longer we'll get more involved.

I Am An Artist

This week we "rowed" I Am an Artist by Pat Lowery Collins. It really is a beautiful book about looking and stopping and experiencing nature.

So this week:

We took school pictures out in the flower farm. Finding fall colors to use as backdrops.

We painted clouds to see what shapes we could find.

We went on a nature walk (again through the flower farm) to find treasures...

...and made a collage of what we found.

We made whipped cream (like clouds, right).

We cut an apple to find the star inside. (An example of "fitting it in" as this apple was for breaky.) This was a page from the book.

We meant to do the next page for our alphabet book, an adorable elephant from homeschool creations, but we had a visitor and dentist appointments and life just got in the way.

The boys also worked on their mini books for the letter "E" and traced letters and patterns in cornmeal boxes. A full week. So blessed. Really great activities that we got to do together. Cuddling on the couch or front porch or in a circle on the living room floor reading a good book.