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.


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.)


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!


Book #7: Growing Up Duggar (Empty Shelf Challenge) May 5, 2014

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 8:40 pm

I read this book a month or so as part of my empty shelf challenge (check out the details a few posts back).


I ordered this book from amazon soon after it came out. I rarely order brand new books but I was really interested in what they had to say. I think most people are curious about how their kids feel about being a part of such a large family. And I was curious how their parents actually parent them. Of course I’ve seen some of the show (at least all of the first couple seasons), but I was still interested in more than the show may display.

This book was a really good read. I enjoyed hearing the girls’ side of things and also reading about the actual rules their parents have set in regard to dating and the like. They have a number of good ideas that I’ll probably want to implement once my girls are older.

I really liked the way that they deal with life and everyday temptations that girls face.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes. I hope they’ll be teasers that will interest you in reading the rest of their book. You won’t be disappointed. It’s useful whatever your religious beliefs or family size.

My favorite quotes:

“If we’re upset with that girl in the mirror, it means we’re upset with God for how He designed us. We may start to think He messed up when He designed us or even that He doesn’t love us.”

“Contentment is realizing that God has provided everything we need for our present happiness.”

“It’s unlikely that a dad would entrust his prized convertible to a teenage boy he didn’t really know and just let the kid take it out for a spin without supervision; but that same dad may let a relatively unknown boy drive off with his daughter without giving it much thought…girls want their dad to be their protector. They want to feel valued by their dad more than any possession he owns.”

“Every time the devil tries to tempt you to be fearful, to believe lies about yourself, or to get consumed with boy thoughts, take the focus off yourself by quoting God’s Word and praying for someone else. Satan definitely doesn’t want you praying, so eventually he’ll back off!”

“The choice to forgive doesn’t always free that other person from the consequences of his or her wrong actions, but it frees the forgiver from negative feelings toward the offender. And if we still have feelings of bitterness, the Bible says it’s importance not only to forgive the Other person, but also to go a step further and look for ways to bless him or her. ”

“Some of the greatest people in the bible were those who had made a lot of bad decisions earlier in their life, but then God got a hold of them, and they completely turned over the rest of their life to following and serving Him.”

“Satan’s power to keep us making the same mistakes is based in the secrecy of our sin. When secrets see brought to the light and we make ourselves accountable, it’s much easier to find victory.”

“We all hop to be wives and mothers someday, if that’s in God’s plan for us, so in the meantime we’re preparing for marriage and motherhood by acquiring as many skills as possible. We believe one of the best preparations for marriage is to develop a selfless, giving mindset that is always looking for ways to serve others, which is another way is serving the Lord.”

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

I really appreciate that the girls have such a great outlook on life:
“We want to learn all we can and prepare to do work that gives us tools and bring opportunities to share God’s love with others. That’s the career we want in life.”

They don’t only want to be wives and mothers. Which of course is still a nobel goal! But they are open to whatever opportunities that God has for their lives. They have already had a lot of awesome experiences (volunteer fire fighting, mission trips, work with female prisoners, midwifery, etc). I think it’s awesome that they are out in the world trying to make a difference and not just waiting around to find a husband to complete them. I goes totally against a lot of the “homeschool, conservative, sheltered lives” stereotypes.

Of course I don’t agree with everything they said or all of their family standards. Most of these areas of disagreement would be considered freedoms in Christ where we all need to carefully examine the Bible’s principles to determine our own personal stance. And we should never violate our own conscious if we are truly convicted in one of these “gray” areas.

For instance, I didn’t like their using only the KJV Bible Translation. It’s so hard to understand and no one talks that way today. I think the Bible translation we use should be in language we understand and we actually speak. Also, it would have been more applicable to their audience if they had used a more modern translation.

I also don’t agree with their stance on rock music. I respect their trying to please God and remove anything that may come in between their relationship with Him. However, I don’t believe their is anything wrong with or evil in having a musical beat. There are tons of awesome Christian bands in every musical genre that have great lyrics and messages. Also, from what I understand a number of the hymns’ music came from the bar songs of that time. So I don’t see how they’re that much more holy or innocent than any other type of music.

Finally, I don’t agree but still respect their opinions on girls attire and long hair, tv, and magic in shows. They encourage their girls to wear log skirts and long hair because they believe that God wants females to be feminine and not manly. I appreciate it their goal but I am not convinced that skirts and long hair are completely necessary to reach this goal. I really appreciate their trying to be modest though. I am one of those ladies who always wears an undershirt if I’m wearing anything other than a Tshirt. I also make my girls wear leggings if their skirts/dresses don’t already have shorts built in. That way they can be free to run around like all kids do without having to worry about exposing their undies.

As far as tv, we definitely watch more than they do, but we still try to keep a tight handle on it for our girls especially. We don’t have cable and we don’t just leave it on endlessly during the day. There are a select number of kids shows that H is allowed to watch from Netflix and there are some cartoons that they are not allowed to watch.

As far as magic, I’ve debated about this some throughout the years myself. I know that the Bible considers practicing witchcraft as a serious sin (and I agree). However, I don’t think that all fairy tales or magic in shows is bad per se. I don’t encourage my girls to play magic or pretend to cast spells but I have no problem with them playing make believe. In fact, I think it’s a positive thing for their development and imaginations. I also try to stay away from shows that have darker or more evil magic in them.

With all that being said, Growing Up Duggar is a great read. I highly recommend it! It will definitely make you think and evaluate your own family stances on issues. It will also make you admire the Duggar family for being able to raise so many children and still have their sanity!


The Wizard of Oz

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.


One more reason why I love homeschooling… March 24, 2014

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 2:19 pm

There are tons of reasons why I love homeschooling. Some of them I’m mentioned before, others I probably haven’t even realized yet. Here’s a few off the top of my head…

Ability to set our own daily schedule (think sleeping in, staying up later…both of which this natural night owl loves).

No forced yearly schedule. I’m leaning more and more toward year round schooling. This year I only planned our curriculum schedule for the “regular” school year but I’m probably going to keep doing “school” over the summer. Although it will be more laid back and student driven. Year round school makes random breaks, less work every day and more all possible.

No need to get dressed up. Yep, many day we stay in our pjs. Most of the girls’ pjs and their play clothes are one and the same.

Getting to spend so much quality time with my kiddos. I am so glad that I get to spend more time with them than essentially anyone else. I’m glad I’m the one that’s there for all the laughs, scraped knees, all the “firsts.”

Today I was reminded again of another big reason I love homeschooling…the ability to learn from impromptu moments that pop up. Unplanned learning moments are some of the best there are! It’s learning from real life experiences. Something that brick and mortar, weekday schools don’t usually bring, at least not much anymore.

It’s moments like these…

Walking with friends to the school track across the street (we live right across from a jr/sr high school) to see a bird’s nest. This bird is called a Killdeer.


I had never heard of such a bird. My dad first pointed it out a week ago when we took H bike riding around the track. We took our friends to go see it today and got to see it in action. The killdeer usually lays it’s eggs on the ground since their eggs look like rocks (if you look closely at the above picture you should be able to see the eggs under the bird). One of the parents sits on the eggs and when confronted with a possible threat, it puffs up, spreads it’s wings and makes this crazy high pitched chirping squawking attack noise. The kids think it’s hilarious to step back and forth watching the bird sit normally then puff up and squawk, sit back, then puff up… While the bird was doing its crazy calls, its mate came flying back to help protect its nest. The mate will walk around like its wing is injured in order to distract and draw away the predator. Then once it’s drawn the threat away, the so called injured bird runs or flys off. It’s the craziest thing to watch! If we didn’t homeschool and weren’t home to be able to explore our world and take flexible breaks from “school work” we would never have gotten to see the killdeer in action! I wouldn’t even know what it is!

Another impromptu lesson H has gotten to learn today… Concrete! Daddy has been laying some concrete in the back yard and since the girls are home, they’ve been able to watch the process and H has even been helping. Daddy even let her make her own little rectangle of concrete for whatever she wants.




What other Kindergartener learns how to mix and pour concrete? What a concrete mixer and bags of concrete look like? How to level out and trowel concrete? What wet concrete looks like and to stay away from it?

I love that my girls are learning more than the traditional feminine skills! They will definitely be learning how to change oil and tires probably before they can even drive!

H even got to practice “building” with a hammer, nails, and wood scraps.


Can I just say again, that I love homeschooling?


Y is for Yo-yo March 7, 2014

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life,Tot School — Lacey @ 1:45 am

I was horrible at being on top of tot school with this letter. For some reason it seriously took us 3 weeks to go through “Y” even though I really didn’t do any extra activities. I guess life was just super busy, I was worn out and K participated in a lot of H’s school fun so there wasn’t much time for letter school.

Here’s the little we accomplished over these weeks:
K did a few of the 1+1+1=1 worksheets (you can find the link to this awesome blog on my right side bar if you’re on a computer).





K especially likes to use her bingo for markers to do some of the worksheets. She’s slowly getting better at not being so wild with them and splattering the paint all over.



We read some books that had “Y” themes:




I also bought her a yo-yo to play with. Of course she’s too young to actually yo-yo, I still wanted her to understand what a yo-yo was since it was used on all her worksheets. K and big sis had fun watching Daddy show off his yo-yo skills, too!

I cut out her foam “Y” to go on her wall but I haven’t decorated it. Yes, I’m still behind! Our next letter is B! Hopefully I’ll get it posted soon (WordPress is behind all wonky and frustrating me a lot right now!).


E is for Egg February 19, 2014

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life,Tot School — Lacey @ 12:52 am

K is starting to get the hang of this school thing. She’s even been asking to do “cool” and tries to pull out her school basket when big sis starts her school work. Unfortunately I didn’t get too do as many of the fun egg activities as I had planned.  We ran out of time and I ran out of energy! Plus we were busy doing big sis’ school about Ping and China. I planned D (duck) and E (egg) when big sis was doing her Ping FIAR study so that we could get double dip and reinforce it all even more!  K enjoyed having a Chinese dinner with big sis and making a chinese fan among other things.

We actually did these activities over two weeks.  I meant to only spend one week per letter, but I didn’t feel like we did enough of it the first week, so we spread it into another week.

I love these pictures of her working hard on her school (mind you, she probably crawled down a min or two later.  Her attention span still isn’t very long!). The worksheets shown are all from the tot school section of the 1+1+1=1 blog.



She really enjoys putting the stickers over the letters.  Although she still tries to take them back off at times.  And I’ve been finding the circle stickers randomly around the house.  lol.


She is still isn’t quite getting the color matching concept, but we’ll keep trying.  I color the word with the correct color (we only have a black and white printer), and then I have to repeatedly point to the right one for K to color.


These are some of the duck/egg books we borrowed from the library.  For some of them K sat nice and still, and others she attempted to steal the book, or just got down and played with something else while I continued to read to big sis.




I am also starting to get letter themed books from the library (not sure why I didn’t think about it for the first couple letters we studied).  I don’t expect her to really get the letter sounds at this point (she is 26 months old), but I know the extra exposure won’t hurt her.  And it may even help further reinforce the sounds with big sis (she’s 5).


We had Daddy get the Easter decorations from the attic early so we could play with plastic eggs.  K had a lot of fun opening and closing the various sizes of eggs.  Big sis had fun filling the eggs with small toys.  Later she also hid the eggs for K to find.  This kept them nice and busy so I could fix dinner! K should be an egg finding expert in a couple months when Easter is actually here.



Finally, here’s the foam E I made for K’s wall by her crib.  I put eggs on it, too.  And yes, it’s not very fancy.  I’m going to use them to spell her name.  Ironically all the letters we’ve studied so far are in her first and middle name.



Next up, letter Y so we can finish spelling her first name!


Tot School: K is for Keys

Filed under: Homeschooling,Life,Tot School — Lacey @ 12:45 am

Last week I tried planning out which letters I should teach K when. I tried to relate them to H’s FIAR studies (next week we’re rowing Ping so we’ll do D for duck and E for eggs). But some studies just couldn’t be matched up. During my research for alphabet tot school, I saw a suggestion to teach the letters that are in the child’s name. They suggested that this is helpful because the child will have more interest in the letter when you keep relating it back to their name and they’ll be one step closer to being able to spell it, since they’ll know those letters first. So, this week we are doing K for Kady. We did “A” last week and we’ll be doing “D” next week. The “Y” will work itself in within the next month. Then I’ll prob just fill in the alphabet in order when it doesn’t relate to H’s FIAR books.

Here’s some of the activities we did:

I brought out the K and keys paper. I tried to get her to trace her fingers over the letter with me, and to point out the keys in the K’s. Then I let her color it. She didn’t color much and ended up being more interested in peeling the paper off the crayons. I finally gave up trying to get her attention and let her peel away. After all, that’s kind of a fine motor activity anyways, right? Lol. And besides it kept her busy so I could do school with big sis.


Later I brought out the playdough, K cookie cutters, k magnet and the most exciting of all… Keys! She loved getting to play with keys! They were just ones we let H have to play with. Mainly those ones that come on junk mail for car sales. K kept trying to turn the key while pushing it into my arm. Not the most pleasant. I was trying to brain storm a way for her to have a real working key and lock that would be easy enough for her to use. I’ll have to talk to Daddy about that later. She enjoyed pushing the keys into the playdough and trying to turn them in it.



We used a worksheet from 1+1+1=1 (she has awesome materials on her website for tot school!). I colored the name of each color and tried to get her to put the matching marker cap on each one. She didn’t really get it. And she was more interested in putting the caps on her fingers. I’ll keep doing this with each letter though and hopefully she’ll understand it more soon. At least she’ll be hearing me name the colors if nothing else.

I made a sensory bowl with popcorn kernels, the k cookie cutters, k magnet and keys. She had a lot of fun with this and kept herself busy while I made dinner. Although she did make quite a mess with the kernels all over my kitchen floor. We swept them up, but combined with my dirty floor, they were too gross to use again. But she had fun while it lasted. And even big sis wanted in on the fun!



We tore up foil into small pieces (she enjoyed this part the most), then glued it onto a printout of a key (glue on the back of the print out so you have a clear pattern to cut out). She wasn’t too interested in sticking the pieces to the glue after the first couple. It took some coaxing. After it was finished we taped it to the wall by her bed with the “a” and apple from last week.




We also made this cute guy. I found the print out on Pinterest. She colored it (with some help), I cut it out and together we glued it together. This “roo” (as K calls it) is hanging on her wall, too!


We also did a few other worksheets from 1+1+1=1 that I forgot to take pics of.

Next week we’re learning about D as we continue learning the letters in her name and it also goes with big sis’ book we’re rowing!



The Story About Ping (FIAR 1)

Filed under: Books,FIAR,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 12:11 am

(We finished rowing this book about 2 weeks ago.  I’m slowly trying to catch up on my postings. Check out my Pinterest FIAR board for the resources/blogs where I found most of my ideas.)

We really enjoyed rowing this book. The story was cute. H had a lot of fun learning about China, K can now very clearly say “duck” and H still goes around the house singing “la-la-lei.”


Day 1
We started out by reading Ping. Then we read a few books about China. Both of which I highly recommend.

One of the books had a recipe for Chinese Moon Cookies, so of course we just HAD to make them. At least that’s what H said! They didn’t turn out quite as expected. They were too sticky (even after being in the fridge) to roll out, so I plopped blobs of them onto the cookie sheets. They ended up a bit flat, but they were yummy and were gone in no time!


We watched a couple YouTube videos about China. One was a step by step description of a formal Chinese tea ceremony. The other was about silk worms. The video showed how silk worms are raised, fed, and spin their cocoons. Then how the cocoons are later turned into silk thread. I would not want to be a silk farmer (is that what they’re called?). They have thousands of worms in their houses in this weird shelf bin thing. Then when the worms outgrow their shelves, they dump them on the ground in this room. There are literally thousands of worms crawling all over the ground. Ugh. And the farmer has to keep replenishing the leaves around the clock. That’s worse than a newborn baby! At least newborns are cute! And did you know that the silk worms are basically killed while they are in their cocoons? If the moths actually come out of their cocoons, the silk is then useless because it has been torn. Makes me feel a little bad for those worms. Oh, the things you can learn from YouTube!

We also finished our day by playing a card game called Duck Duck Bruce (since it has ducks in it). It’s a fun game made by Gamewright. Seriously any game by them is great! (We love Moose in the House, Hiss and Sleeping Queens.)

Day 2
Today while we read Ping H graphed Ping’s family:


We read a few more books about China and the Yangtze River where the story of Ping takes place.

We found China on our big map. H drew the Yangtze River on a map of China and colored China’s flag.


The I let her have some free time with paints (at her request). She painted/drew some neat pictures of China completed with cherry blossoms and Ping. I was rather impressed with her Ping picture.



She also watched Mulan 2 since it’s set in China. Nice excuse, huh?

Day 3
Today we read some more books about China and the Yangtze River.

H colored a map of our country and China. And then we made Chinese lanterns.



H made a lot of lanterns and hung them all over the house for Chinese decorations and Valentine’s Day (she made them all pink and red).

This is the book where we found our lantern craft and the other Chinese crafts we did. I highly recommend it!


Then we read a few fun stories about ducks.


Day 4
Today H started out doing a few duck themed worksheets.


Then we read some more China books. H really liked the Mei Ling book and keeps using the name Mei Ling when she’s playing.



H worked on a few parts of the China lap book (that we turned into a regular book instead).

Day 5
H did a few more Ping focused worksheets.


We talked about fiction vs nonfiction books and we came up with some examples of each.

I told H that Ping is considered a classic story and we discussed what that meant. She found it neat that the book was written before her great grandma (Mama) was born and that Mama, Nana, Me and H could have all read Ping while we were each growing up! (Although I never had heard of it before our study.)

We also briefly discussed repetition and found some examples in the story. We talked about why the author would want to use it. And I told her about how the Bible has some good examples is repetition.

We also talked about discernment. We discussed how not everything that looks good is actually good (the rice cake trap for Ping). And we talked about punishments and consequences. Ironically a couple days before we started this book, H admitted to me that she thought she might have lied while in the kid’s program at church. She was very upset about it even though it wasn’t really a big deal (I didn’t tell her that part). It made me happy that she was truly so concerned about doing what is right. After she talked to me about it, she asked if we could learn about not lying and doing the right thing in school. That request surprised me and it just so happened that this book had a similar message about not avoiding punishment and consequences. H thought it was neat. And the lesson really hit home!

We also got some more art fun in. We practiced drawing reflections in water and movement in water with colored pencils (like the artist in Ping did).




Then we made a Chinese Spinning drum (pictured on the cover of the Chinese art book posted about in day 3). I forgot I take a picture though!

We also read some more fun duck books.



Day 6

Today we read a few more fun duck books:


We made a passport book for H to use for all the future FIAR books we study.  I also created country stamps for the countries we learned about with our last book (How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World).  I found the passport template on Pinterest.


Then it was time for some fun water and buoyancy experiments (H’s favorite type of school activity).  We read and tried the experiments we found in this book:


I had H collect some household objects and toys.  We filled the bathtub with water and then I had H predict whether each object would float or sink.










As she predicted each item, she threw it in and we recorded the results.


Then we got some heavier metal objects.  First she put them into the tub and they clearly sunk.  Then we created a boat out of foil.  She still thought that they’d sink, so she was surprised when they floated.


Then the girls had to get into the tub of course and play with all the random toys.  Isn’t science fun?

H also did a Ping copywork page.  She really needs to work on her handwriting. I try to get her to take her time and focus.  She can write neat, but she’s always rushing. I try to keep in mind that she’s only 5.  I debate with myself whether or not to force the neatness.  For now I’m convinced to just give her time to mature and as she gets older I’ll crack down more.











Day 7

Today we counted Ping’s family again while reading the story, and this time H recorded them with tally marks.


Next, we did some more science experiments.  We read the book Ducks Don’t Get Wet.  I forgot to take a picture of this one, but I highly recommend it. Then we experimented with oils since ducks’ feathers are covered with oil, which helps them float. We put olive oil on one bag and nothing on the other.  Then H dropped water onto the bags.  The water didn’t absorb into the oiled bag, but it of course saturated the plain bag.


Next we skimmed through this book:


Then we did an experiment with different kinds of liquids.  We used some of the items listed in the book above, but we also added a few I read about on Pinterest with a similar experiment.  We put in food colored water, dish soap, honey, vegetable oil and corn syrup.  Our top layer is so foamy because I poured the water and then the soap in first.  Didn’t think about the foamy results.  Duh.  I’d recommend not adding the two together.  I think it’d work better with adding some of the other oils in between.  The oils separated better after sitting for a few hours.  H thought all the layers were really neat.


Next, H did a few duck worksheets from homeschool share (I think?):



Next, we put together H’s China book. H drew Ping on the cover with fireworks since the Chinese invented fireworks. All the lapbook pieces were from homeschoolshare.com





This is a picture of a rice farmer and a horse drawn carriage:


We also watched some neat videos on Youtube. The first couple were about farmers from China who create heart and square shaped watermelon.  Then we watched some videos about 10 unique fruits from China, 10 nonchinese Chinese foods, and 10 things you can only buy in China.

Then we had a Chinese dinner.  H put on her Mulan dress and we put her hair up in a bun complete with chopsticks.  We ate cashew chicken, stick rice, egg rolls and attempted to use chopsticks (fail!). We had a little picnic on the kitchen floor since Chinese eat at low tables (we didn’t have one to use).  We also listened to classic chinese music from a pandora station.






And after dinner we made some Chinese fans (from the Chinese craft book mentioned earlier). They ended up quite huge!




Day 8

We read some more fun duck and egg books:



These egg/duck books were really neat.  H loved them both.  K loved the duck pictures in the Duck book.



We used the Duck book to fill out a worksheet (from homeschool share) about what ducks can do at various ages (forgot to take a pic of it). Then H did her setting notebook and chose Yangtze as her vocab word.  I tried to encourage some other words, but this is what she really wanted.  And she drew Ping on the Yangtze river.


Day 9

We read another silly book about eggs today:



Today was actually the Chinese New Year, we read a few more Chinese books:





And then H made her own dragon (from the Chinese art book):



Next, we learned about reflections.  We found all the reflections in the water in The Story About Ping.  Then we read:





The I See Myself book had some neat exercises that we did with a small mirror and a flashlight.  I also showed H how words are reflected backwards in mirrors and then I wrote her name backwards and she looked at in the mirror.  She thought that was pretty cool!

Later H drew her own dragon:



Ping was a lot of fun to row.  H loved learning about China and continues to tell our extended family what items China invented and loved showing her China book off.  And now she wants to make a country book for each of our other rows!