Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Finishing Up Our Lessons Before Thanksgiving

 After breakfast, I settled the boys down and we started math.  We've been sprinkling in some fun Thanksgiving themed lessons to go along with our traditional schoolwork.  Today I had hoped to finish up everything.

I really hadn't found anything exciting and all that interesting for Evan to work on and he was having fun playing with our new colored ball point pens drawing pictures, lines, and making up his own dot to dot so I just let him be.

The older two boys, however, had this fun Thanksgiving Logic Puzzle to work on.  They needed a bit of help, though mostly I just assured them that they were reading the clues right and were on the right track.  In no time at all they figured out all of granny's kids favorite Thanksgiving foods.  Good thing too as they were working with pen today instead of pencil and if they had made any mistakes we wouldn't have been able to erase and start over.  I warned them before we even started that they had to make sure they were being extra careful before they marked anything when using pen.

I sat down with Evan and today we read 6 books!

I saw a huge improvement over yesterday's reading and decided to play a sight word game with him using all these new Bob Book's words that we've been coming across.  I wrote all the words on a giant shower curtain liner we picked up at the dollar store using an erasable marker and gave him a fly swatter.

He had to hit the words and I gave him the choice of reading them as he hit them or hitting the words as I read them.  He chose to have me call out a word and then he'd find it, say it, spell it, hit it and say it again.  The older boys wanted to play too since it was fun (I guess).

Our slap a sight word game

it's so much fun, especially on a tile floor as it's nice
and loud! 

We all sat together and read 'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving and we compared it to yesterday's book The Night Before Thanksgiving.  It was another funny, cute story and we had fun with it.  I think my favorite part was when all the kids hid the turkeys under their shirts to save them from the farmer.  They looked very silly with the turkey wings and legs hanging out from under their great big bellies! 

The Night Before Thanksgiving by [Wing, Natasha]

I had one last math game for the older two boys.  I had downloaded this Turkey Fractions packet and printed it out on card stock.  We turned it into a memory game.  Each fraction was represented in words, pictures, and numbers so we made three columns of cards and they picked one card out of each column until they were able to find three cards that matched.  Some of the fractions even required adding.  It was great, fun, math practice.  I was impressed when Alec extended the activity on his own by putting his cards in order by the size of the fraction! 

our first match! 

putting fractions in order! 

We finished up our school day with a science movie or two.  I found Really Wild Animals: Adventures in Asia at the library and knew that with the giant panda picture on the front that Alec, at the very least, would love it!  All three boys sat and watched and learned a bit about animals of Asia.  They were able to tell me that the Arabian Oryx, Camel, Ibex, the Dole, and the giant panda were all animals of Asia.  I was pretty impressed since I don't think I even know half of those animals!

Sometimes I don't think I'm nearly smart enough to teach my kids- they end up teaching me so much more than I think I ever teach them!

They ended up watching a second movie in this series called Totally Tropical Rainforest during lunch.  It's a great series that balances silliness with science and facts. 

National Geographic: Really Wild Animals - Totally Tropical Rain Forest

Ian ended his day with some more art.  Since he was the only one that wanted to do art today I let him decide what he'd like to do.  He chose to draw and paint the Mayflower.

 I found this How to Draw The Mayflower mini-lesson on Art For Kids.  I set him up with some paper and propped my laptop next to him, then I just let him be.  He did a great job.  Though he did tell me he's not totally done yet. Once the paint dries he wanted to color in the sky and make the sails either a red or a yellow color just to be different. 

Artist at work

his half- way completed painting. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coffee Filter Turkeys

 We were making coffee filter turkeys today.

The boys used brushes, watercolors and coffee filters to make the turkeys' colorful plumage feathers.

We used liquid watercolors to completely color in a coffee filter then we set them aside to dry.

Once the coffee filters dried we glued construction paper bodies and wings onto the front, added some cute googlie eyes, yellow paper beaks, red waddles, and long accordion folded legs.  Then we had a wonderful collection of birds.

I love how they look hanging in the windows.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Making Yummy Thanksgiving Treats

Once everyone finished their school work for the day we worked on making some yummy Thanksgiving treats. 

We always have lots of pies and my kids are not big fans of pie.  They like cookies so when I saw these adorable pilgrim hat and acorn cookies on Pinterest that only required a bit of assembly I thought they were perfect. 

Hard at work... so serious! 

We started by unwrapping lots of Hershey Kisses and Reece's Peanut butter Cup Miniatures. 

While the boys were unwrapping I prepared three pastry bags of frosting (though you could use a sandwich bag with the corner cut off or even a knife with the frosting).  Once they were ready I quickly demonstrated how to make one of the Pilgrim hats. 

We took a fudge stripe cookie and a peanut butter cup and "glued" the peanut butter cup onto the backside of the fudge stripe cookie using  a dot or two of frosting.  They were easy and adorable and all the boys had fun making them.

Pilgrim hat cookies

 For the Acorns we took Bite Size Nilla Wafers, Hershey kisses and Tollhouse morsels.

Using the frosting as "glue" once again we put a dab of frosting on the kiss, adhered it to the bottom of the Nilla wafer and then put a dab of frosting on the top to hold the morsel in place.  Evan was super excited about these cookies since he LOVES Nilla wafers! 

Acorn cookies
Of course, we all tried at least one of each just to make sure they were OK to serve to our guests.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Self- Guided Learning When Mom's Laid Up

Laid up with a bum foot and a horrible night of sleep I spent the day on the couch.... well, for the most part anyway.

I think it's just about impossible to spend the whole day on the couch when you're home with three boys by yourself.

All three boys asked if they could build another fort in the middle of the living room.  I agreed and they soon set to work dragging in kitchen chairs, blankets galore, and clothespins.  They worked together and had a wonderful fort set up in no time.  They soon applied lots of problem solving skills when the fort caved in or the blankets couldn't stretch far enough apart.  They figured out how to make the most of the space inside the fort and keep all the blankets in place.

They brought down most of their stuffed animals, lots of pillows and blankets to put in the fort and started playing.  It wasn't long before they asked to play with the Kindle, DS's and watch TV/Movies.  I said sure.  Pretty much anything that allowed me to stay on the couch in my PJ's with a blanket on my lap sounded wonderful today! 

Ian came out after a while and asked if he could do an art project today.  He really wanted to paint so I helped him get out some supplies to make some fun Q- tip trees.

He saw this idea on Pinterest, and even though the original page had all the instructions in Spanish it was quite easy to figure out.  As soon as I set out the supplies, I let him be.  He completed the project himself in no time and then was off to watch another episode of Ax Men. 

I did muster up enough strength to make lunches for everyone today and while we ate I read a few books to them.

We read our last few books about insects and bugs in winter called Not A Buzz to be Found and Winter Lullaby.

We loved the illustrations in both of these stories! I can't say we learned much more about bugs in winter since we've already read a few other books but we did enjoy these stories just the same.

Our last story was called The Very First Thanksgiving Day.  It was another beautifully illustrated story with lots of rhythm and rhyme.  We enjoyed comparing this book to the one we read yesterday and applying our knowledge of the Pilgrims to what we were reading today.

Alec played Chess and Nine Men's Morris on the Kindle.

Ian was learning all sorts of geography and "real" world skills in watching Ax Men, Yukon Men, Alaska the Last Frontier and so on. 

 All in all it was a pretty productive day! 

Linking Up With:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Painting Birch Trees

 Ian asked if he could do one of the art projects he picked out on Pinterest the other day.  I had planned to do a project today anyway and was thrilled that he was so interested.

He ended up picking the same project I was thinking about doing today!

We painted birch trees.

We followed the directions of the Doodle All Day website using liquid watercolors and the sunsets were quite vibrant.

I love how they came out!

First we put masking tape where we wanted out trees to be and then we drizzled rubber cement where we wanted some wasps of white in the sky.  Once the rubber cement was dry we used the liquid watercolors to add in our green grass and our colorful sunsets.

While the watercolors were still wet we sprinkled salt on them for a fun speckled look.

Once our backgrounds were dry we rubbed the salt and rubber cement off.

Then we used a plate to spread some black tempera paint on and then used an old credit card to practice scraping on the black paint. Once they thought they had the technique down they added in their trees.

Alec is a natural
Ian making birch lines on his tree
Unfortunately, Evan struggled with using the credit card to make the lines in the birch tree, threw the card full of black paint across the room and quit. (He did try again after a major tantrum, a time out and some lunch).

We added a bit of darker paint near the base of our trees for a shadow and declared our paintings done!

Their finished paintings 
Even Evan's came out just great once he calmed down. 

Linking Up With:

JENerally Informed

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hands- on History Lesson about Native Americans

We went on a field trip today to the Mashentucket Pequot Museum.  I have never been there, nor had any of my kids and I thought it was the perfect field trip to take right before Thanksgiving.

Our trip was made even better since my sister and her boys joined us and I had a Groupon that saved us all money.  We learned SO much!

We got to learn about the ice age, glacier, and extinct animals.  We saw the tools native American's used, food they ate, replicas of their houses and villages.  It was amazing!  We had such a great time.  The museum has wonderful interactive TV's that drew the kids in.  There were movies to watch.
Walking through the village they give you what look like old flip cell phones and you can listen to stories about the village, the people in it and the jobs they do.

My boys were dreading this field trip and they had such a good time.  I love when we can make history lessons really come alive-- they're so much more memorable that way!

Learning about how they made tools by watching a video

Learning about glaciers and the ice age

Extinct species of wolves called dire wolves

Learning about how local native American's used the woods around us to survive

Tool they used

Diorama of their village complete with fishing fences

Comparing our modern day tools to theirs

Alec learned all about the Atlantic Sturgeon

Listening to a story of what this native American girl is doing

They loved the "phones"

A wigwam we got to go into

We ended our day with a quick trip to the top of the lookout tower

Linking Up With:

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg