Thursday, November 19, 2009

School Break

We won't be posting much of anything this next month.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Solitaire Math Game

LD enjoyed this game -- this one from Games for Math by
Peggy Kaye. It's set up like a game of solitaire, but in this
version LD had to find pairs whose sum equalled 10 (5/5,
8/2, or the 10 card) The jacks, queens and kings were

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A Bit of Painting

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Human Body

While ED and DD painted, LD wanted to work
on his body -- no weight lifting involved! He lay
down on the paper and I did a rough outline of
his body. Then he put together the bone puzzle
from a book that Grams gave us.

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We looked at the organs in the human body in the
book that Grams gave us and I penciled them in
lightly on outline pictures of the kids' bodies (by
this time DD wanted her outline done -- and then
ED immediately lay down on the paper and wanted
hers done too!) I suggested to LD that he color
the organs in (the book had them colored). He
outlined them instead.

DD and ED spent a lot of time coloring theirs in.
What was really cute was that ED would look over
at DD. If DD was laying on the ground, ED would do
the same and continue coloring. When DD got up
onto her knees, ED did the same. This continued
until DD was finally done with her picture... and so
was ED!

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Thankful Tree

We've been reading, learning and doing activities related
to (American) Thanksgiving this week. I found a tree that
lights up at the discount store (Mad Harry's, which sounds
like it's like the "Dollar Tree" I always hear about online).

Anyway, this week I printed out some leaves on different
colored paper. The kids had to think about what they
were thankful for. Each day I wrote down one or two of
their ideas on a leaf and they hung it on the tree. When
we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend we'll read all
the leaves. (We're celebrating early because we'll be away
on Thanksgiving.)

I just want to add -- this actually comes quite
easily to the kids because before (or during!) dinner
we hold hands and "are thankful" with a few moments
of silence. We end with a gentle squeeze that goes
around the table and breaks the silence.  Then we usually
talk about what we're thankful for that day (our family, friends,
health, and things like that).  Now the kids are great about
saying "let's be thankful" and even little ED will reach out
her hand (over and over and over!) to be thankful.

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Thanksgiving Activities -- Learning about Native Americans

Living where we do, our kids really don't hear or
learn much about Native Americans. (On the other
hand, we have learned a lot on Aboriginal culture.)
Anyway, this week I introduced them to some of
the Native American tribes (in a VERY basic way).

We read The Magic Tree House: Buffalo Before
We watched the buffalo hunting scene
in the movie, Dances With Wolves. And we pulled
out some of the Native American items we have.
Some of the items I have from my childhood (like
the sand paintings), some are from a close friend
who collects Native American artifacts professionally,
some are from relatives who traveled to Alaska and
elsewhere, and some are from a continent-box swap
we did with another family earlier this year.

The kids loved looking at all the items and that
quickly led to another project... scroll on to the next
post for more on that!

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Making Dream Catchers

LD and DD were especially intrigued by the dream catcher.
They decided they wanted to make one of their own. They
each wrapped yarn around a clothes hanger wire that I
had shaped into a circle. LD worked very hard (and late
into the night I might add!) and did his without any parental
help. He was very proud of his work. He also tied all the
knots on the spider's web (we haven't worked much on knots
or tying shoes yet... another thing to get to sometime soon).

They were very proud of their dream catchers and have
it hanging near their bed. The next morning they BOTH
ran to me and told me the dream catcher worked. It's lovely
how things catch the kid's fancy!

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Turkey Math Game

The kids have really enjoyed this game this week. I got
the turkey print outs from . I used some
craft cubes and wrote numbers on the dice 0-5 on two
and 6-11 on the others. It was good practice counting
for my preschooler. I made the spinner using a template
online which I printed on cardstock and glued on cardboard.
I put a brad through (it's sticking up a bit) and used one of
the laminated turkey feathers which I cut down to size and
put a hole punch as the spinner's arrow. I wrote in "odd, even,
less and more."

The kids have played this daily. It was a big hit!

Here are some other related posts that might be of interest:

Thanksgiving Preschool Printables (free)

FREE  CVC Words -at -it -ot -ut File Folder Game and Word Cards

Free Fall Sight Word Games

  • Free Fall Math Game Board – Use this game board for any type of math fact practice. Players move around the board until one person lands on the WIN space. My oldest used this to add positive and negative numbers… but you can use this for number recognition, easy addition, subtraction or multiplication problems.

And these posts have links to lots of other freebies (most for the 3-6 year old crowd!)

FREE Coin Counting File Folder Game
sh th ch Sound Sort and Worksheet Activities

You might also be interested in this FREE Resource Guide:
How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum: K, Gr. 1


See you again soon at our new website location,, or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter!
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Dino Blast Game

The other game we played this week was an odd-even
game called Dino Math Blast also from
The dice were craft cubes. I used blue, green and yellow
cubes and wrote the numbers 0-5, 6-11 and 12-17. The
first player rolled the die of the color space they were
currently on. If the number was odd the odd dinosaur
moved ahead one space, if the number was even the
even dinosaur moved ahead. Then it was the next
player's turn to roll the die (of the color they were
currently on).

The kids also really enjoyed this game this week!

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Thanksgiving Patterns

This is a little Thanksgiving pattern activity that DD worked
on last week. It's from

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Saturday, November 14, 2009


I put a recipe for DD in her workbox this
week. It was an easy recipe to make "acorn
cookies." DD had other ideas, though, and
wanted to make gingerbread men. We did
that instead (though I have no picture of
the actual gingerbread men because they
were the first to get eaten!). Then I had a
late night call from my sister and made the
acorn cookies myself. It was lovely kicking
back and having a tea and cookies while catching
up with my Sis!! (Yes, it was a long, lovely chat--
I both made AND ate the cookies!)

This week we also made wheat bread using a new
recipe. All of us really loved the consistency and
flavor of that bread. Yum!

Pictured below is the Dilly Bread I made for
Thanksgiving. This is a recipe that has been in
my family for 50+ years. We make it every
year at Thanksgiving and Christmas (and have
ever since I was a child). I'm pretty sure my
grandmother made this as well at the holidays. I'll
share the recipe below.

Dilly Bread:

2 med onions sauteed in butter til clear
2 pkg yeast in 1 cup warm water
1 1/3 c. scalded milk, cooled
1/2 c. oil (or shortening)
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp dill seed
2 eggs
6 - 6 1/2 c flour

Knead for 10 minutes let it rise for 45 mins.
Punch down, knead for 5-8 minutes.
place in buttered baking tin. Flip (to butter
both sides).
Let it rise for 1/2 hour.

Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.

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Other Activities

This week our reading related to Thanksgiving (many
of my read alouds were Thanksgiving books) and LD
read a number of Thanksgiving stories and readers.

We've been busy with all the kids' outside activities:

Kindergym, Tues mornings -- mostly for ED but LD's
friend stays home from school, so he gets to hang out
with his friend all morning. We go early because I help
set up each week, hauling all the mats and equipment
out into the gymnasium.

T-Ball, LD plays T-Ball

Ballet, Wed mornings -- DD enjoys her dance class,
though apparently isn't wild about skipping which they
do "EVERY" time (she moans).

Gymnastics, Wed afternoons -- LD and DD decided
they wanted to give gymnastics a try when two friends
said how much they loved it. They've had a wonderful
time and I somehow have volunteered to help out there
as well (I have no gymnastics experience, but did do a
training course to be able to help with Kindergym).

Kindermusik -- We're doing kindermusik with ED, she

Swim lessons, Fri afternoons -- All three of the kids
have swim lessons again this season. They all really
enjoy it and love their teacher. I like her too as we've
known her since Logan was a toddler.

And pictured below are a couple other projects we
squeezed into the week along with math, reading,
writing, piano and so forth.

Spin art
Hammering kit -- DD made a dog while LD built
a star fighter

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Games for Writing

Peggy Kaye's books have been a WONDERFUL addition
to our homeschooling curriculum. LD is not thrilled about
writing, but using ideas like this one from Peggy Kaye's
books have made a HUGE difference to the enjoyment
and pleasure he gets out of writing. I got this idea
from Games for Writing and LD is tickled by the silly
sentences that he's had to write like this one:

A robot sang a song in the White House last night.

He had to roll the dice to get each part of the sentence
and the punctuation mark at the end.

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