All Around Curriculum Resource

Have you heard about SchoolhouseTeachers.com? If not, I suggest you go check it out. You can even read our review of it from a year ago. It is a wealth of information and a storehouse of knowledge. On any given month, we are using several resources from here.

During December, we are using the Daily Puzzlers. These are word challenges that really help the girls looks at words and letters in a different way. You have a set of letters and are given clues. These clues help you change the word to be a new word. Depending on how you see the letters, some of these jump right out at you and others you really struggle with. The girls are learning all sorts of new words using these puzzles.

We are also accessing the some of the Everyday Explorers series and some of the geography/history curriculums (such as Asia and Imperial Russia) to bolster our Christmas Around the World series that we have been doing.

We have used Literature Kits, Daily Math, and PK spelling in the past. They have all been good.

As a mom, I look forward to reading a post from Joy In The Morning whenever I can. It is a great encouragement for me.

This is a great all-around resource that provides a lot of content for not a lot of money. It is only $12.95 a month or get a better deal, save 10% and purchase a whole year for $139. This is for unlimited kids, unlimited lessons, unlimited curriculum and special information. It is all there. Head over to SchoolhouseTeachers.com and take a look at all they have. I think it is worth the investment. (And, it would make a good gift for a homeschooling family if you are still looking for a last minute gift idea.)

We will certainly be using it. At Home.

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H is for … hear, see, smell, taste, touch

H Christmas senses book

Today, we tackled the five senses with J, who is five. Both of her sisters made a senses book for Christmas when they were about five and she wanted to make one, too. So, we worked together to create a book similar to what they had done.

H layered book

 

We started off by making the book. We got five pieces of construction paper – red, white, green, pink, and gold. We laid them down in layers so that a small piece of each color was showing. Carefully, we folded it over so that more layers were created. Then, we stapled it.

J chose the words for each sense and I typed them up. H Christmas book words Print your copy by clicking here: At Christmas book PDF

 

After printing them, she cut the pieces of the sentences apart.

H cutting words

 

She then put the sentences together and glued them down on pages.

H cut and paste

After gluing the sentences down, she picked items to illustrate each of the sentences.

H items

And here is the finished product.

H Christmas Senses

Finding the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the season brought a lot of fun and joy into our day. At Home.

Felt Board Christmas Tree

Christmas Cub tree 3

Christmas Cub book

 

One of our Christmas Books this year is called The Christmas Cub. It is written by Justine Korman Fontes. It is a really sweet little book about a bear cub named Pip who learn all about the traditions of Christmas. Evergreen does a wonderful job of teaching Pip and is rewarded with a gift that illuminates Christmas forever more – Pip hangs rainbows on her branches to decorate her and she becomes the first Christmas tree.

 

I really like this little book and love sharing it with the girls every year. This year, we created a Christmas tree felt board activity to go along with it. We used scraps leftover from creating a felt nativity and their countdown trees, which makes this a perfect Make It Work Monday post. Everyone cut and created shapes and ideas and we put them all together for this fun little activity.

Christmas Cub tree 2

To make the board, I just took a sturdy piece of cardboard and used Elmer’s Tacky Glue to glue a piece of felt to it. Use any color you like but a neutral color will serve as a better background for more activities.

To make the tree, I drew half of a tree for a pattern. We placed it on the fold of some green felt and one of the girls cut it out. Since it was cut on a fold, when you open it up, you should have a symmetrical tree.

To make the decorations, we dug through the pile of felt scraps and chose colors we wanted. Some of the pieces we just free-handed with the scissors. Others, I cut little patterns out of paper for and we used those to cut some of the ornaments.

 

Christmas Cub rainbow tree

 

Christmas Cub rainbows

We also made some rainbows to decorate the tree like Pip did in the book. To do this, we just colored rainbows on Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets for Ink Jet Printers by June Tailor, Inc. using Sharpies. Simple. Really! Color and cut.

 

 

We actually made two of these. One is for our felt board that we have and all the girls enjoy playing with (even 10 year old E). The other is a present for some sweet little friends of the girls to share the Christmas spirit with them, just like Pip did in the book.

I have included a FREE pattern for you to use to make your own Christmas tree felt board activity. Just click on the link below to open the PDF and print or save. Feel free to share the link back here for the pattern. Christmas Cub tree pattern

Christmas Cub tree pattern

I’d love to hear about it if you make a felt tree activity. Let me know how it works and if you kids enjoy it. Blessings to you all this Christmas season. At Home.

Make It Work Monday Title

 

Christmas Decorations

Christmas DecorationsWe love Christmas and I know lots of other do to. So, we are going to share our Christmas decorations. Enjoy all the pictures.

 

tea light nativity

Tea light nativity set glowing

tea light nativity

Tea light nativity set and one of my favorite Santas

Christmas tree

Christmas tree; Many of the ornaments are handmade, especially significant (like the bell made from wood from Bethlehem or the ornaments from our grandparents Christmas trees when they were first married almost 80 years ago), or our childhood ornaments.

Santa collection

I love the many different Santas that are available. This is part of the Santa collection.

ceramic bears

These are ceramic bears from grandparents. The large one is a music box.

nutcrackers

The girls have decided they want to collect Nutcrackers. They are well on their way.

luminarias

luminarias in the light; night time pictures are just not good

fireplace

Fireplace with stockings and the international Santa collection.

Nativity

This is the nativity the girls can play with.

Christmas village

Christmas village glowing

  P1120733 P1120730 P1120716 P1120748 P1120744P1120746

 

Linking up with Christmas Trees Around Blogland, hosted by SuperMommy To The Rescue.

 

G is for … Good Reads at Christmas (part 1)

G is for

Year round, we have a book basket going. It is filled with library books that I have checked out related to various subjects that we are studying or something one of the girls has expressed an interest in. It might be laden with science books one month and books about World War II survivors another. It is always changing and always full of information. December, though, brings about a different book basket. This one is full of memories and favorite friends. Books we remember and exclaim over seeing again after the past year has hidden them away. We pull them out and remark about how much we have missed this story or those illustrations. They are old friends and we are so excited to see them again.

We have two different book baskets in December. On December 1, one of the baskets is filled with wrapped books. These are books that I have carefully chosen, either because of the message or the illustrations or the fact that one or more of the girls absolutely loves the book. The other basket is full of the rest of the Christmas books. (We have a lot!) These are available all the time for the girls to read from.

We are doing something a bit different this year with each book that we unwrap. We read it at night, when it is unwrapped. The next day, there is at least one activity related to the book. I will be sharing posts with you for a few of these books and activity combinations. Starting now.

G Santa Calls

Santa Calls by William Joyce: A cute story with a setting in Texas. This is a favorite of the girls and we discussed story elements with it. (setting, main and supporting characters, plot, etc.) We discussed the lists the children typically make this time of year and what they represent (greed). I then asked the girls to create a letter to Santa asking him for a single item, something very special.

 

Christmas wreath book
The Christmas Unicorn by Anna Currety: This sweet little book is a fun one about how a friend can help you through sad spots. A wreath is placed by Milly, the little girl in the story, on Florian’s neck to show her love. Florian is the unicorn. We made a wreath for the front door. We also made stick unicorns for the girls’ dolls to play with.G wreath

 

G Tiny Star

The Tiny Star by Arthur Ginolfi: This lovely little book is a sweet reminder that we all have a purpose and that it may seem small but end up being huge. We made star wands in the tradition of the Sternsinger (star singer) of Germany, the country we were studying that day. We also baked star shaped cookies.

G Star Wand

G Night Before Christmas

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore: We read this and talked about poetry. We discussed the history of the poem. The girls each got a small printed booklet of the poem with blank spaces for them to illustrate it. It is ornament sized and they are hung on the tree.

G poem illustration

G Din Dan Don

 

Din Dan Don It’s Christmas by Janina Domanska: After reading the carol, we studied the illustrations. They are colorful and geometric in nature. They resemble scratch art so each girl made a scratch art picture using the illustrations as inspiration.

 

G scratch artG Trouble At Christmas

Trouble At Christmas by Russell Johnson: We talked about how each animal wanted to have his own way and how that caused issued. We also talked about how each animal had very special talents and ability of his very own that no one else had. The importance of recognizing your own abilities but still being able to work as a team is huge. So the girls were given the assignment to gather all of our small animals (i.e. Little People creatures) and assemble their own team of animals to pull Santa’s sleigh.

 

G If He Had Not Come

If He Had Not Come by David Nicholson: I love the message of this book and, while the statement of salvation at the end of the book does not share the truth from the Bible and include immersion baptism, I still like the theme of the book. This is one we will keep on the shelf year-round. To help the girls remember that Jesus has done so much for us, we are painting canvases that are about 2″x3″ that have the words “If He Had Not Come.”

G canvas artSo that is installment number one of our books and activities. Look for the next installment in a few days. I am trying to catch up and do about 7 or 8 at a time so Part 2 won’t be long now. At Home.

 

Linking up at

Blogging Through the Alphabet

 

 

FIAR: The Clown Of God

Clown of God

Tomie dePaola is one of our very favorite authors. We enjoy reading his books, no matter the topic. We try to purchase them when we can because they are such rich stories. This one is no different and our experiences for FIAR have been fun!

The Clown of God is a retelling of a French legend. It is, however, set in Italy with Renaissance influences seen throughout.

We followed much of the discussion points in the FIAR book. There is a lot of rich information there. We did add a discussion about Italy and the Renaissance and its music.

History/Geography

Map work was almost the first thing we did. We marked the map with the FIAR circle for Italy but we also located France. We discussed what we knew about each of those countries, building our knowledge as we go along. We pulled up some pictures on the computer on each of the countries and talked about the differences we could see.

Juggling 2Juggling/Physical Science

Juggling was very prominent in this story. We pulled out some juggling balls and taught the girls the basics of juggling. They practices quite a bit but never got the hang of it. It is much harder than they thought. We also looked up some juggling videos on YouTube. Here are some of what we watched:

example of artwork

 

 

Art: chalk pastels

Our favorite media is chalk pastels. We used this again to make some art pieces showing the juggling hands. There isn’t much to what we did. We drew a pair of hands based on a page on the book. Then we drew each of the balls that were juggled, taking care to draw them in the same order they were repeated in the book.

 

 

 

ceiling work

 

Art: Michelangelo and fresco paintings

We studied a bit about Michelangelo. When he came up in our Bible study a few weeks ago, we did a drawing as he would have had to work on the fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. We taped papers to the bottom of the piano bench and coffee table. The girls lay on their backs and drew a picture of their choice. It was an interesting perspective for them.

frescos

 

 

So for this study we invited some friends over. Then, we reviewed a bit about Michelangelo and what a fresco is. We looked again at pictures of the Sistine Chapel. We went outside because it was about to get messy! We mixed up some plaster of Paris (best we could do for a fresco) and poured them into saucer sized paper plates. The girls then painted on them with brushes we were willing to throw away and acrylic paints. It was lots of fun and taught them a bit about the difficulty of the types of artwork that Michelangelo created.

 

Repetition/Math

We found a lot of repetition in the book, particularly in the colors of the balls. We used that as a springboard to patterning and creating patterns. J did a lot of different patterns with counting crystals and counting chips. She also worked on classifying the counting chips according to color, counting them, and writing the number on a white board.

counting chips

The Clown of God video

I found a video of the story of The Clown of God on PBS.org. We watched it and compared it to the book. There is a bit of the book left out and it changed the impact of the story, in my opinion. It was a good study of variations, though.

Music: Renaissance and Italy

We have talked about the music of the Renaissance before. However, we pull out music whenever we can so this a perfect opportunity. We pulled out some CDs that we have from Music Literature classes in college. There are some very nice pieces by DuFay, Despres, Praetorius, and Byrd on them. I also used Last.fm and created a channel for the 1500s. We listened to it while working on artwork and transition/clean up times.

Culture: Renaissance

Because the dress and dance of the Renaissance period is so important to the culture of that time, we studied it a little bit. We studied the drawings that Tomie dePaola created and discussed the way the characters dressed. We talked about when you could see the class change by the way someone dressed in the illustrations. Then we visited YouTube. (YouTube is definitely becoming my friend!) We watched a video of traditional dance and music with examples of traditional instruments and food as well. We all loved it and watched it more than once.

Religion:

We were able to use the story in The Clown of God to discuss the religion that is primarily found in Italy and how it differs from our beliefs. It was a natural and helpful way to bring in the fallacies of some religious groups that exist. We brought out the Bible and looked up passages that related to the specific questions the girls asked and things they noted based on observing the book’s story and illustrations. I didn’t write those down but they might not be of help to you anyhow because they were specific to questions the girls had.

Food:

We didn’t do a whole lot with food but while I was at the store one day during this study, I found a couple of boxes of Italian Ice on sale. I thought it would be a fun little addition to our study.snack food

 

We had a lot of fun with The Clown of God. This is a book we don’t own but I would really like to. It is a fantastic story. If you have studied The Clown of God, as part of Five In A Row or not, I would love to know what you did. This book was so much fun that we will probably study it again another time outside of the FIAR series. At Home.

Christmas Wreath – No Shopping Necessary

Christmas Wreath 2

Today’s Make It Work Monday post is an extra and is one the kiddos can help with. We have been unwrapping a Christmas book each night and reading it. The next day we do an activity or craft that goes along with the book in some way. One of the books we read was The Christmas Unicorn. In the book, the little girl, Milly, gives her Christmas unicorn a wreath.Christmas wreath bookThat was our project to go along with the book – we made a wreath for Christmas, working together. It is not a fancy wreath and while I really like the looks of all those fancy wreaths I see on Pinterest, I just don’t see a reason to spend that kind of money. Even doing it myself would cost $30 or more for the materials. I like my shabby chic style wreaths. Especially when they cost $0. Zippo. Zilch. Nothing. I don’t have to shop. I don’t need specific materials. I use what we have on hand.

We began by looking around to see what we had. An old set of fairy wings that were coming apart. Lots of scraps of fabrics. Some ribbon left over from who-knows-what. Bingo – the makings of a wreath, no shopping necessary.

christmas wreath wings

We cut the fabric off of one-fourth of the wings. Each quarter of the wings is a separate piece of wire. Once we cut it away, one of the girls rounded it out.

christmas wreath form

Using my rotary cutter and a quilting square (both of which are totally optional but make the process go SO much faster), I cut strips of fabric that were approximately 1″x6″. I say approximately because it doesn’t matter if they are perfectly rectangular or not. They just need to tie.

Once I had about 20 strips, the girls sat down on the floor together to tie the strips to the ring. The process was made less tedious and repetitive by turning on A Charlie Brown Christmas to watch. Tying and watching, they filled up the ring with strips of fabric. I have no idea how many strips we cut and tied – probably around 350 or so. That is totally a guess, though. The more strips you tie on, the fuller the wreath will look.

Christmas Wreath

We rummaged through the ribbon drawer to find some pretty Christmas-y ribbon and tied a big bow at the top. All done. A simple, cheap, and pleasant Christmas wreath that the girls had a hand in and are proud of. Done as a family, everything is more fun. At Home.Make It Work Monday Title

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