Before Five in a Row: If Jesus Came to My House

We started this story when we were at my Mom’s for the holidays.  I thought we’d do a lot more school while we were visiting but alas, we only managed to squeeze in one day.  We finally got around to finishing the book about a month later — it took us a long time to recover from jet lag and Christmas.

This was a very sweet story with a beautiful message… We can show our love for Jesus by serving others and treating them with love and kindness.

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We began by learning about the Golden Rule.  We made watercolor hearts.  They loved watching how the watercolors spread on the paper.  I even let them use my fancy Japanese watercolors which made it that much more exciting.  I didn’t get a picture of the final product, but we cut them into heart shapes and wrote the golden rule on it.

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

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We talked about the power of music and how it can make you feel certain emotions. We listened and danced to classical music selections from Play Kids Music and they explained how it made them feel and why.  They were definitely partial to the fast, loud, and exciting pieces.  We also discovered how music can make unpleasant tasks a lot more fun…  so we blasted music and tidied up the house.

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So do not fear, for I am with you

Isaiah 41:10

In the story the little boy is frightened by the shadows on his wall at night.  We discussed different kinds of fears we all face in life. Apparently Benjamin has no fear, but Clara stated she is afraid when she is outside in the dark without her mom or dad.  We read Isaiah 41:10 and reviewed that we shouldn’t be afraid because Jesus is always with us.

“Although I cannot see him, I still can feel him near to understand and hold my hand and drive away my fear.”

Since the boy in the story mentions shadows, we had lots of fun reading about how shadows are made.

We did a shadow puppet show.

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We traced, raced, and chased our shadows at the park…

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We watched our shadows swing.

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We combined teatime this week for The Snowy Day and If Jesus Came to My House. Benjamin decided we should serve snowball cookies, so we got baking.  I have to say this Tupperware chopper was amazing for chopping all of those pecans!

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rolling “snowballs”

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We looked for all of the ways in the story the little boy shows hospitality to Jesus and decided to invite some special visitors for teatime.

We greeted them at the door and invited them in…

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welcomed them to our table…

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and offered them something to eat…

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The kids did all of the decorating for teatime today.  I loved the snowflakes as coasters.  We enjoyed the snowball cookies and root beer and of course began teatime with My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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“And with my bricks I’d build for him a palace of his own, and he would be the little king and sit upon the throne”.

We made palaces for our guests.

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This one looked a bit more like a prison cell!

I was glad I went ahead and finished this story.  I wanted to make it more service centered, but living in a foreign country makes it difficult to find opportunities.  I also wanted them to find toys to donate, but since it ends up sitting on our train table it didn’t seem too effective in getting the point across.  Hopefully we can do more service projects after we move.

Prayer for a Child

We had a lighter week this week as we were getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving and had much to do.  Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field was the perfect book — a lovely illustrated prayer of rhyming couplets.

We talked a lot this week about what it means to be content — to be happy with what we have instead of always wanting more.  I thought this lesson went totally lost as both of their Christmas lists continued to grow, but it as it turns out, they are quick to point out when I  am not satisfied with what I have.   Now I am constantly reminded about being content when I want to buy new pens.  And truth be told, I am beginning to accumulate an astonishing number of pens.  Alas, I suppose we’re all hypocrites at heart!

We made praying hands to think of things in our own lives for which we could pray and be grateful.  Clara loved hers so much and had me read it to her many times throughout the week.  She even packed it in her suitcase for our trip back to the states.

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I was glad to see  “better attitude” on Benjamin’s.  And cactus juice??? Where did that come from?

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We learned the song Jesus Loves the Little Children and watched it on YouTube.  I loved hearing their voices caroling throughout the house all week.

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We read Children Just Like Me.  A story that spotlights the lives of children all over the world.  Although we discovered many differences —  types of shelter, languages, clothing, and traditions — we also found many similarities.  We learned that kids all over the world go to school and like to play with toys.  In countries where toys are scarce, the kids create their own.  We invented our own toys just like the kids in the book.  Benjamin made a sword out of a stick and his praying hands, and together, we made a ball out of old grocery bags.  We had fun playing games of tennis and soccer with our ball.

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In the story the girl spends some time gazing at the stars.  We read a few books on stars and learned about the big dipper.  We worked on making pinhole constellations.  We never had time to stargaze through a flashlight as intended, but they enjoyed poking holes in the paper anyway and I was happy because it was great for fine motor skills!

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And then Benny decided to make the Big Dipper with his bread.

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The prayer begins with ‘bless this milk and bless this bread.’  We watched a little video about dairy farming and wheat harvesting.  We also read Little Red Hen.  I didn’t even need to talk about the moral of story because that spoke for itself.   We baked some bread to practice being cheerful helpers.

Benny measured the flour while Clara made a tally mark for each cup.

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We learned how to knead the dough.  Clara tired quickly, so Benjamin did most of the kneading.  Clara got to grease the bowl for the dough.

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Ready to watch it rise!

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They loved working with the dough so much that they continued to “bake bread” with the play-doh.

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They loved checking in on the dough and watching it rise.  Purely magical!

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The finished product was excellent! We enjoyed the fruits of our labor all week!

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I love this sweet little face!

We had a special teatime for Thanksgiving this week and Dad could even join us because it fell on a Sunday!  We slurped hot apple cider, licked the frosting off of pumpkin spice cupcakes, and read stories about Thanksgiving.

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Our Thanksgiving tree is complete!  Though I regret not recording what they had said each day, I love how it turned out in the end!  One of my favorites from Benjamin was “turkeys in all of the land”.  I hope to make this a family tradition and will look forward to it every year.

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That pretty much sums up the week!  Now we are looking forward to a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving and holiday season with family in Utah and California.

Blueberries For Sal

Blueberries for Sal, a beautifully illustrated 1948 classic by Robert McCloskey was up this week.

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother go a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter.  Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries.  –Amazon

The first day we studied the illustrations to find similarities and differences in how we live today.  We also read Then and Now from Usborne.  It’s a book comparing past and present ways of life. Lots to discuss in this one — both kids loved this story and wanted to read it several times.  Now I frequently overhear them talking about the “olden days”.

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We did a blueberry picking race around the house and then sorted and counted by two’s.  We loved dropping different objects in the pail to see which would go kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk.

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Benny and I worked on some math while Clara transferred pompoms with tweezers.

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We made smashing cotton “blueberries” — an idea I got from Fabulously Frugal.  It consisted of equal parts flour and water, some food coloring, and cotton balls.  We dipped the cotton in the mixture and baked it.  You’re supposed to be able to smash them with a hammer, but I don’t think we baked them quite long enough.  They were a tad too squishy to smash.  Photo Nov 07, 6 14 46 AMPhoto Nov 07, 6 15 06 AM We still enjoyed counting, stacking, and listening to them go kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk when they hit the bottom of the tin pail.

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Every now and then I like to surprise the kids with a themed meal.  It never fails to get a chuckle out of them.

IMG_7971We played find the hidden bear where I would give them clues about a number and they had to guess the correct cave.  They loved this game!

Photo Nov 10, 1 17 56 AMWe worked on a directional book.

Photo Nov 10, 2 22 08 AMWe created our own blueberry hill with oil pastels.

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Clara and I baked blueberry muffins for teatime.

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For poetry teatime we served up blueberry muffins, blueberries and cream, and blueberry juice.

Photo Nov 11, 6 29 12 AMWe had  a lot of fun with this story.  Clara’s favorite part is when little Sal and little bear followed the wrong mom.  Benjamin’s favorite part was when little Sal got tired and sat down in the bush to eat berries.

Other things we worked on this week:

We practiced blending words together and beginning sounds.   Ziggy came out for this one.  They go wild whenever Ziggy makes an appearance.

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Benny learned the phonogram “d”.

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For math we did counting games with the number mats.  We did exercises, built towers, and, sorted toys.

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We tried to think of all the possible ways in which we could sort socks.  We discovered we could sort by family member, boy/girl, colors, size, and tall/short.

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I made a fall themed sensory box with rice, colored pasta, pumpkin pie spice, and apparently just about every kitchen utensil we own.  I’m working hard to get over my fear of messes!

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I also made little ribbon rings for Clara.  She had fun dancing around with these for a while.

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We crafted our thankful tree for November.  Clara helped me paint the tree and get the leaves ready.  Each day we will name something we are thankful for and add a leaf to the tree.

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No glitter left behind in this house!

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The finished product!  I’m not very artistic, but was quite happy with it in the end!

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Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Our Five in a Row pick for this week was Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?.  Written by Nancy White Carlstrom and illustrated by Bruce Degan,  it is a delightful rhyming story about a little bear’s day with his mom.  I absolutely adore the illustrations in the Jesse Bear series.

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We read a lot about patterns.  We looked for patterns throughout the story in the wallpaper and their clothes, we found patterns in our own closets, and since it was laundromat day, we went on a pattern hunt around base.  We found patterns in many of the buildings and in the floor tiles.  We also made our own with gummy bears.

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We hung “Jesse’s” laundry out to dry with clothes pins.  Clara really enjoyed this and spent at least 30 minutes hanging laundry – Benjamin had no interest.

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We discussed dressing for different kinds of weather.  I surprised them with these felt weather bears.  Clara LOVED these bears.  I think she spent 3 hours dressing them the first day.  She played with them all week and  I found her narrations to be most amusing.  Benjamin dressed the boy bear once and lost interest. IMG_7926IMG_7925IMG_7930

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This poor bear must have had a rough day!

In the story illustrations, Jesse Bear’s home has shapes on the carpet.  We worked with pattern blocks and discussed different shapes.  I’m amazed at how Benny seems to notice shapes everywhere now.  He has found hexagons in restaurant floor tiles and in shopping carts…I never would’ve noticed these.

IMG_7969Clara enjoyed sorting the shapes by color and made neat stacks.

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We also painted a “tablecloth” with shapes on it.  They always love when the sponges come out.

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We recreated Jesse Bear’s healthy lunch and practiced rhymes from the story.  Printables from Homeschool Share.

Carrots and peas and a little more please…

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Juice from a pear and rice in my hair…

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We also read about oral hygiene and watched a Brain-Pop Jr video about teeth and practiced flossing with play-doh and legos.

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We painted eggs with coffee and tried to brush it off with toothpaste.  It was really hard to get off! No wonder why my teeth are in desperate need of whitening!  I drink a lot of coffee.

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We learned that tooth enamel is the hardest part of our bodies and observed what would happen if we eat too much acidic food and neglect our teeth.  We soaked an egg in vinegar and witnessed what happened to the shell.  After a few hours, it was so soft it caved right in with barely any touch.  Now Benjamin walks around scolding us for drinking acid.  Haha!

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After all of that talk about tooth care and healthy foods, we made Rice Krispy treats and settled in for teatime.  We invited our weather bears, used our tablecloth of shapes for decoration and slurped a Monster Capri-Sun in honor of Halloween.

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They had fun in water to float my bubbles and boat.

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In addition to Jesse Bear, I began Logic of English Foundations A with Ben.  The first few lessons spend a lot of time practicing blending sound segments.  I “unglued” a clothing item with sound segments and they got to dress up in the matching attire.  This was difficult, but they loved getting bundled up.

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We practiced handwriting in sprinkles.  They both loved this and it was Clara’s high point of the day.  And yes, I did catch them dipping their tongue into the tray more than once.

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Other fun things we did this week…

The base put on the annual big Halloween Fest.  It is the bases largest event as Italians don’t celebrate Halloween.  They had donkey rides, bounce houses, a haunted house, a pumpkin patch, and lots of candy!

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Can you find the ninja?

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We also attended the homeschool party this week.  They played a few games, munched some candy, and ran wild round the field.

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To finish off the week we blasted rockets off with the boy scouts — they were all so thrilled!  Derek built the rocket and Benny painted it.

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When his rocket launched, it shot straight to the side and exploded with a big flame bursting out.  I was fairly certain his rocket was going to set the field on fire.

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One of the boy’s rocket landed high up in a tree.  The poor boy was desperate to launch it a second time.  Derek tried to knock it down with a ball.  He had great aim, but the string was wrapped around the branch too tightly.

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Wow it was a busy week!  So much going on, but we had a great time.  Next week we’ll keep having fun with bears when we read Blueberries for Sal.

I forgot to mention the broken bones.  Early in the week we took the bikes out to the piazza to enjoy some fresh air.  He was riding his bike on top of the fountain (which is several steps up), wasn’t watching where he was going and drove his bike right off of the top and landed on his wrist.  Luckily it was just a buckle fracture and was quick to heal.

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