P31 Wannabe

Papa Piccolo (FIAR 1) October 7, 2014

Filed under: Books,FIAR,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 1:53 am

We had a great time rowing this book.  Now that we’ve finished it, H has declared that it is her all time favorite book!  I think she enjoyed all the pasta, Italian snacks and learning about cats!


Ironically, you can see our new kitten looks a bit like Papa Piccolo.  After studying the book, H voted to expand Oreo’s name to include Piccolo as the middle name.

Here’s some of the things we did during our FIAR study:

A couple of days before we officially started our study, we happened to stop at a Pizzeria for lunch.  H was excited to find out that pizza and cannoli’s are Italian (although she wasn’t a big fan of the cannoli because of the cream filling).


Day One

Today we started out by reading the theme book.  Next, we read a couple of books about Italy:


Then we did Italian map and flag mini-books from the homeschool share website.

Next, we read a book about Cats and completed most of this worksheet set I found online (see my Pinterest board for links):


H enjoyed the cat packet and I let her trace the cursive writing however she wanted since we haven’t started learning cursive.  I want her to work more on her regular printing before we delve into cursive.

Then we enjoyed an Italian wafer cookie snack H had picked out from World Market (we went a week or two before we started this study).


Later we made Chicken Parmesan for dinner and I was pleasantly surprised at how well H ate it!  She tends to be pretty these days when it comes to dinner foods.


Day Two

Today we read a couple more cat books and looked through a print out of different types of cat breeds.  H was surprised at how many different types of cats there are (and I was surprised, too!).



Next, we read a story about Venice, Italy:


Then we tried Italian soda (also from World Market).  I wasn’t a fan of the flavor and H wasn’t a fan of the fizz.  She liked it after it had been sitting out for a bit.  But Daddy liked it a lot and finished most of it off for us.


Next, we talked about adoption and how Papa adopts the kittens.  H is pretty familiar with adoption since both of her siblings were adopted within the last year.  We reviewed the process we had to go through to adopt K and we talked about all the kids that are still waiting to be adopted. I even pulled up some of the heart gallery pictures to show H the faces of some of the kids waiting for homes.  Then we read a story about adoption:


Day Three

Today H did a Papa Piccolo word search (see my pinterest board for link), and an Italy worksheet.  We read a few more books about adoption and cats:


We talked about the different cat breeds in the Castaway Cats book.  H is now a big fan of Siamese cats.  We also read another book about Venice:


Then we made an Italian love cake.  I had never heard of this recipe, but it was pretty easy, and it was neat how the layers switched places while baking (see my pinterest board for the recipe).  I thought it was interesting, but H wasn’t a fan of the ricotta layer.  I think she was expecting it to be thicker like cheesecake.  Daddy liked it though and he helped eat the rest of it!


Day Four

K ended up sick yesterday afternoon and today, so we didn’t do as much school.  We read a couple books about cats (I’m always a big fan of anything by Gail Gibbons!) and Venice:



Day Five

Today we started out by talking about what a fable is, then reading (the Fox and the Grapes):


We talked about what the metaphor “sour grapes” is and then we read Papa Piccolo again and looked for the explain of the metaphor.  H actually got the idea fairly quickly.  We also talked about the lullaby that Papa sings to the kittens, and then we made up our own versions for dogs, butterflies, H, Daddy and Mommy.

Next, we talked about what a father is, who’s the perfect father (God!), how some families are different and don’t have one or both parents.  We talked about what Piccolo taught the kittens as their adopted father and what Daddy has taught H.  Then we read a few books about fathers (the above one included):


The “A Father Like That” book was especially neat.

We found Italy on our school map and marked it with a see-through colored sticker.  H did her setting and vocab notebook (we do a page for each FIAR book we study).


We tried some Pizelle Italian Waffle cookies and made real Italian pasta with garlic bread for lunch.


Day Six

Today we talked about the different types of jobs that they had in Venice on the water.  We talked about what kinds of jobs that we have near us that takes place on the water.  Then we read a couple books that talked about jobs on water and also living in different types of houses/neighborhoods (including Venice).


Then we read a story about Marco Polo and another book about Venice.


We watched an episode of “Travel with Kids” on Youtube about Venice.  H liked it so much, that we found their series on Amazon Prime and she went on to watch episodes about Florida (even though we live here!), and Paris.  The shows are really neat.  They’re about a couple who took their two young boys and traveled to 35 countries in one year.  The shows are educational and entertaining.

Next, we did some art based on Papa Piccolo.  We looked at how the artist drew the cat’s eyes.  We looked at how the cat’s eyes have light in them, which makes them look more alive.  Then we practiced drawing cat’s eyes with light in them.  Since this lesson H has noticed how in real life, people’s eyes also have light reflected in them.


Then we practiced drawing things in motion like the kittens were running in the book.  We tied a stuffed animal to a string and took turns swinging it around.  Then we tried to draw it like it looked.  Here’s how it looked while H was swinging the stuffed animal and how she drew the stuffed animal in motion (when I saw swinging it).


Day Seven

Today we read a few books about eyes and sight. We did some of the activities mentioned in the books, focusing most on peripheral vision since Papa Piccolo saw the kittens “out of the corner of his eye.”


Next we looked through a little of this book about inventors.  We mainly focused on inventors from Italy, like Da Vinci.


Then we looked at some of the famous paintings by Italian artists in this book.  I like how big the pictures are.


I was disappointed that there weren’t pictures of the Sistine Chapel in the book.  So we looked up some pictures online.  Then the girls pretended to paint like Michelangelo by painting under the table (pretending its a ceiling).  H wasn’t a fan because she couldn’t make her lines straight enough (what a perfectionist!).  K had a  good time though!


H wanted to paint more after this but on the table like normal instead.  I was pretty  impressed with her painting of Venice, complete with Papa Piccolo on a pole by the water.


Then we read another book about Italy. H practiced drawing some of the sights of Italy from this other book while we were driving to a science class by the beach.


Day Eight

Today H did some writing practice with Papa Piccolo words (from a printed packet from online).  We read a book about Venice called “Gabriella’s Song” (apparently I forgot to take a picture).  Then we looked briefly through this book about flags:


We found Italy’s flag and Venice’s city flag.  Venice’s flag is definitely unique!  We made gnocchi (from a package) and garlic bread for dinner.


Day Nine

Today we read Papa Piccolo again and did some math activities/discussions based on the book (pairs, windows, etc).  H colored another Italian flag, did a mini book about Italy’s vs. USA population and the time here vs. time in Rome, Italy.   We read this book about Italy and practiced our numbers in Italian:


We talked about homelessness, how the kittens were homeless, how there really are homeless people.  We discussed home some people become homeless and how to help homeless people.  We also talked about how some animals are homeless.  Then we read a few books about homeless people.  They were all really neat.


We also did some activities with the color wheel.  We used the page from the back of the FIAR manual and talked about primary, secondary and complementary colors.  We learned how if you mix complementary colors they are supposed to make gray.  Then H used each color to make a picture, putting the complementary colors next to each other and using their mixture of gray to make rocks.

IMG_1806 IMG_1807

Finally, we finished up by enjoying some pizza and mini cannolli’s today while we were out running errands.


Our next FIAR book is The Clown of God.  So, we’ll be continuing our study of Italy, but this time during the Renaissance period.

Here’s my Pinterest board that has links to the print outs I used and where I got a lot of my ideas.


Crinkleroot Books September 25, 2014

Filed under: Books,Homeschooling — Lacey @ 9:52 pm

We ran across this Crinkleroot book series by accident when I was looking for books about birds for a FIAR study. We liked it so much that I got onto the library website and found that there were a ton more. Some are pretty simple and others are a bit longer. We’ve read a number of them so far and H is a big fan.






We’ve both enjoyed and learned a lot from them. I highly recommend you grab these from the library sometime! They’re great for science and unit studies.


The Glorious Flight (FIAR 1) August 29, 2014

Filed under: Books,FIAR,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 11:28 am

I’m so behind in posting our book studies. So here’s to fresh beginnings with a new school year. Hopefully I can keep more on top of it this time and slowly catch up on last year’s studies.

Since I haven’t posted in a while, I should probably explain our homeschooling curriculum. We use Five In a Row (FIAR). Usually it’s designed to study a book for 5 days in a row (hence the name). However, I like to spread it to two weeks and go more in depth for a lot of the subjects. I also blend the subjects together a lot more instead of focusing solely on one a day. I find it’s easier to break off bite size pieces and the repetition of talking about the topics for multiple days during two weeks helps H learn a lot more.

In addition to the FIAR material, we also use Hooked on Phonics for reading and Life of Fred for math. H is also doing a daily first grade notebook in which she writes the date out, records the weather and learns about the number of day of school (writes, spells it, figures out the amount in coins, etc).

Our home school year didn’t start out as organized or have a fun kick off like I would have preferred. Daddy ended up having to have a pre-op appt on the first day and then surgery on the second (more on this crazy situation in a future post). So I tried my best to make due. I really didn’t want to push school back another week. So we survived!


Day 1

We started out by reading our theme book. We talked about how it is based on a true story and we calculated how many years so it happened.

Next we read a story about Paris, a book about France and a story about Amelia Earhart. I highly recommend the Amelia Earhart story.


Later we went shopping and bought Baguettes, French bread and the ingredients for French Onion Soup. The girls loved the breads but weren’t the biggest fans of the soup. I had never actually had French soup, but I liked our homemade version.





Day 2
Today we talked about italics and how they’re used for names of ships and planes. We looked for the examples in our theme book.

We read a book about the Wright brothers and a story about an inventor. We also talked about how inventors have to try and try and try again. How there’s many failures before an inventor succeeds.


Day 3
Today we reviewed what onomatopoeia is and we read:

We made a list of our own onomatopoeia, described the sounds around the house with onomatopoeia words, read The Glorious Flight again and then listed the onomatopoeia words from it.

We read a book about France and a story about France. We practiced some of the French words in the first book.


We worked on the mini books for the French flag and the map of France. We marked France and England on our classroom map. We also found the English Channel. Next, we read another book about Amelia Earhart (another one I’d recommend):

We traced out all the places Amelia lived and the paths of her flights on a map.

Day 4
Today we read two more books about early pilots.


We worked on some other mini-books: flight timeline, across the English Channel map, flag page and the cover for our big book.

Next we read a couple more books about France:


Day 5
Today we learned about Roman numerals since Louis Bleriot named his planes with them. We talked about the difference between cardinal, ordinal and roman numbers. We read:


then we did a worksheet on Roman numerals.

Next, we read a few more books about planes and early pilots:

Then we did a mini book of labeling an airplane.

Later we bought croissants and more French bread at Walmart. They were all eaten within the day!


Day 6
Today we went to a friend’s house who treated us to a day of French fun. Sara gave the girls their own little chef kits:



Then they got busy making French Macaroons.









Miss Sara showed us her pictures from her family’s trip to France. We saw pictures and she told us all about the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, seine river, creperies, and more. She also bought the girls the book, Anatolle, and entertained us with reading it in French accents (hers are way better than mine!). After we got home we looked through the pictures in another book about France (too complex to read).


Day 7
Today we read another book about Roman numerals. H practiced writing more Roman numerals and filled out a Roman numeral clock. We also read another book about Amelia Earhart.


Next we talked about inventions again. We read a silly book about an inventor and then we read a really great book about Benjamin Franklin. I never knew how many things he invented. It is true that homeschooling teaches us parents just as much, if not more, than our kids!


Day 8
Today we read a book about airplanes and make an airplane vocab mini book. Next we read a couple books about a birds eye view/view from an airplane.

Next we practiced drawing a duplo block straight on and then from
above (bird’s eye view). The ones on the left are H’s and the ones on the right are mine.


Then H wanted to draw the Amazon rain forest from a plane’s view. She didn’t get the idea at first. But I was impressed with her animal drawings. See the plane at the top?


Once I explained it again, she got the idea and drew it again.


Then we finished up by reading a couple more books about inventors. I highly recommend both books. I learned a lot about Charles Goodyear.


Day 9
Today H made paper airplanes with Daddy while I ran errands.


When I got back we read the Glorious Flight again. We talked about what happened after Papa Bleriot crashed his car into the vegetable cart. We talked about how he made amends and tried to make everyone feel better. Then we read two books about people who made amends after they made mistakes. I highly recommend both of them.


I also tried to introduce H to the concept of Greek Mythology. I read the intro and the creation story in the “Greek Myths” book. Then we read “Wings” about one is the Greek gods who could fly (Icarus). I’m not well versed at all in Greek mythology. I found the story interesting. Although the book was a bit long. H lost interest before it was over. Ironically enough, the next week while watching Netflix (Warehouse 13) w the hubbs, there was an episode with Icarus and his father. If I hadn’t read the book during school I wouldn’t have realized it’s connection to Greek Mythology.


Since Louis Bleriot landed in England, we made some cocoa chocolate chip scones. I bought the mix at World Market. The kids loved them. They were a bit dry to me but not too bad.


Day 10-11
On Saturday we took a trip to our local airport.

They let us wander around and look at the planes. We also got to see some planes take off and land.






We probably would have stayed longer but it was just so hot! So we headed to the mall to try out their French crepe kiosk. It was really neat watching them make the crepes. It really is an art! We enjoyed a chocolate one and a cinnamon & sugar one.


We also browsed in a French pastry shop near by. They had so many different flavored macaroon, beautiful petit fours, and all kinds of croissants. We may have been tempted to buy some but we were too stuffed from our crepes!

Between later that afternoon and the next day we….

Talked about titles and came up with our own titles for The Glorious Flight. H also completed her setting and vocab notebook.



We went through The Glorious Flight and found all the things that we’re different than modern day and filled in a worksheet about the differences.
We looked through two different books about England (both too complex for our needs).


We read “Hazel Nutt Alien Hunter” (about making amends) and some of the book about inventions. The invention book was neat but H lost interest because it was so long.


Day 12
Today we tied up the final loose ends of our study. H made a minibook about Louis Bleriot. We read a couple books about flying and one about Ben Franklin’s inventions.


Then we put together our review book (instead of a lap book).








(Check out my Pinterest FIAR board for the resources/blogs where I found most of my ideas.)


Daily Homeschool Planner July 21, 2014

Filed under: Homeschooling — Lacey @ 2:26 pm

I searched all over Pinterest, Google and Teachers Pay Teachers trying to find a planner to use for our homeschool this year. I had a lot of trouble finding exactly what I wanted. Probably because I wasn’t even sure what I wanted. I also didn’t want to spend any $ on one. I wanted a simple printable format. Yes, I’m difficult, I know.

The past couple years I’ve just used teacher’s planners that I found in the Target dollar section. Now I’ve run out of my planner stash and honestly I was ready for a change.

After looking through a number of printable planners online, I decided to create my own with inspiration from a number of sources.

So, here’s what I came up with. It’s a basic everyday planner.


I actually use it after the fact to record what all we did each day. I don’t use it to plan ahead. I map out my overall goals for each semester via a simple chart with plans for reading (Hooked on Phonics), math (Life of Fred) and Five in a Row books (covers all the subjects). Then as each FIAR study comes (I spread them out over two weeks), I plan it all out on a word doc, order the necessary books from the library, and print all the necessary extra worksheets. Hope that all makes sense. I’m not a daily planner, but more of a overall weekly/monthly/semester planner.

Here’s the daily planner (in PDF and google doc form) if anyone is interested in using it. Hopefully the links will work and that you can copy it and edit it for yourself. If the links don’t work right and you’d like another form of the planner posted, just comment on this post and I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Daily Planner

 Daily Planner 2


Meet the Puncs June 3, 2014

Filed under: Books,Homeschooling — Lacey @ 11:20 pm

I randomly stumbled onto this punctuation book series from the library during our FIAR study of Who Owns the Sun? when I was looking for books about question marks. H loved the Quincy Question Mark (not pictured below) book. She laughed and she learned. It was silly but it made punctuation easier to understand. It even had enough adult cleverness to them that I enjoyed it. So I curiously searched the library website to see if there were more in the series. And boy were there!





These are some of the ones our local library has. We read one a day for the next week. H kept begging each day to even read more of them. She enjoyed the characters, trying to find all the punctuation marks in the pictures and trying to understand how each one is used. Even now a few weeks later, she still laughs at remembering some of the characters. So Id say they were a hit.

If you’re looking for books to help explain punctuation or even a quick refresher for the summer, check these books out!


Robb’s bday party June 1, 2014

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 1:02 am

My 5 year old loves throwing parties. Well, she likes pretending she’s throwing parties. She begs me a lot to invite people over for her parties, but usually it’s those “we’re still in our pjs day” or “already 6:00 and I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to make for dinner” nights, so I usually have to politely decline her requests.

She loves throwing surprise parties, too. She’ll tell me, “Mommy, I’m going to make you a surprise birthday party today!” I’m not sure she gets the actual concept of a surprise party. The fact that my birthday is months away doesn’t seem to factor in either.

H regularly asks what holiday is coming next, whose birthday is next, whose birthday is after that and whose birthday is coming after that. My girl is a planner!

My girl also loves making presents and cards for people. She’s constantly coming up with presents for her siblings, us or her cousins. She always wants to give some of her pictures or small trinkets away. I love her generous spirit, but sometimes she just doesn’t realize that although she means well, most people don’t want her half used pencil and a couple random crayons. But I’m not going to crush her giving spirit.

Since she is constantly begging me to let her decorate for a party, I finally gave in a couple weeks ago. I let her get the crete paper, party hats and party blowers out. She used up at least 2 rolls of scotch tape. And she had a blast.

See, this time she wanted to throw a party for Robb the Raccoon. Robb is actually one of her daddy’s stuffed animals from his childhood. And surprisingly he survived those years and all 5 of H’s years and he still has his eyes and ears.

Here’s the birthday boy (the one with the crown): 20140601-005908-3548738.jpg

H created quite the banquet spread for good ol’ Robb’s party:

She even created a pin the tail on the elephant game. You can see the elephant if you look very closely.

She even blind folded and spun Robb around a few times so he could play:





Id say Robb had a pretty great birthday party! Too bad mine’s not for another 5 months!


The Wizard of Oz May 5, 2014

Filed under: Books,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 7:50 pm

We started this series kinda by accident. I found a number of books at a library sale with this being one of them:


I didn’t have intentions of actually reading it w H yet. Honestly I’d never read it and wasn’t sure if she’d be ready for the contents. But once she saw the book she begged for me to read it to her. And she loved it! I enjoyed it, too. So much so that I started looking online for more L. Frank Baum books. That’s when I discovered that there is an entire series of Oz books (15!). Since H was so excited about them, I went ahead and ordered the set from amazon for around $30. Our set has five big books which each contain 3 of the Oz books.


This made it easier to read and keep track of which books come when. I was getting quite confused when I was searching for them from the library. The original single edition books have long titles that can make it all pretty confusing!

So, since H was enjoying reading (listening) to the series so much I decided to so a unit study of sorts.

We got the original movie to watch from the library. It was interesting to watch right after reading the book. There are so many differences and it was neat to be able to discuss them with H.


We’ve also watched a number of other versions from the library, too.




I watched this one first to make sure it was appropriate for her to watch.


And I watched this one first too, but deemed it inappropriate for her. It was interesting but quite bizarre. It would have made more sense after reading a couple more books into the series.


She also watched the first two (so far) of a 4 disc set from the library that I forgot to take a picture of.

She’s really enjoyed watching all these different adaptations and doesn’t seem to be bored with the Oz series at all.

I also did a Pinterest search for more activities to do along the Oz theme. Here’s my Pinterest board.

From my searches online, we made green spectacles like they use in the city of Oz.


We did some watercolor themed Oz art. These are my pictures (they’re not that great, but I had fun doing them), she jumped around and didn’t completely finish any of her pictures (and I forgot to take pictures).



H also did a number of worksheets that I found online from Pinterest and teachers pay teachers (I only used the free ones). I was pleasantly surprised at how many there were!









We also got this abridged but still very accurate illustrated children’s book from the library. I had daddy read it to H so that he could enjoy the story with her, too.


We also read a lot of the second and third books while we were on a mini road trip with big brother driving. It was neat for the kids and I to all enjoy the story together, especially big brother since it’s not usually around when we read and do school. It gave us a lot of good laughs and discussion.

Right now we’re halfway through the 6th book in the series (out of 15). H is still enjoying it a lot. In this book, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry finally get to see that the land of Oz is real and they meet all kinds of interesting creatures including paper dolls, puzzle people, and more….

My plan is to keep reading the books while we are doing our other Five in a Row curriculum. And if H gets bored with the books we’ll take a break until she shows more interest.