Saturday, December 1, 2012

Learnig Log of November 2012

Wheat free almond cookies made by DD9.
 The month of November was marked by cooking and crafts. It seems the children were in the kitchen cooking with me everyday. We cooked breakfast, we baked cookies, we made soup, we cut vegetables, we tried new recipes... it was a cooking spree. It carried over into playtime outside and play time inside. There were tea parties and play dough cookies and a boy wanting to play war in the midst of it all. Fun memories!

We have also established new routines and they are turning into peaceful learning moments. I hope you enjoy the Learning Log this month and you can glean some good ideas.

Books Read Out Loud to All

* We are still doing The Dig as our daily devotion. We also began a new routine. Every  night an hour before bedtime, we sit down in the living room under the covers, all huddled together like cats, one over the other and Dad reads to us. It's so relaxing. Many times the little ones fall asleep. This month Dad read Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen. We are almost done.
* The Bible.
* The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous
* Prairie School by Avi
* A Ball for Daisy by Cris Raschka
DD5 making cookies inside with real ingredients.

* The Light and the Glory for Children (Discovering God's Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington) by Peter Marshall and David Manuel - We began reading about Columbus, then we read on about the Jesuit missionaries that ministered in the west, south and north of the United States. On to the pilgrims impact on life in America. We are reading one chapter a day and really enjoying. We are covering history, Church History, missions, geography, and more.

* Mossy by Jan Brett - this is Jan Brett's newest book. The illustrations resemble Nature Study sketch journals. The illustrations are gorgeous with many different samples of the species presented like mushrooms, flowers, butterflies and more. If you do nature study with your kids, or if you don't, but would like to, you need to see this book. If you children like to sketch nature, animals and plants they will love this book. On Brett's site there is also a video where she teaches how to draw and color the characters of the book. DD9 had a great time practicing her drawing.
Making cookies outside with sand, acorns and dirt.
* Too shy for Show and Tell by Beth Bracken
* The Usborne First Book of America - I love this type of books. I like to call them reference books. They give you a quick and broad overview on a subject. I think they are a good introduction to kids just learning how to read. Because they are very colorful and the information are in small bite size they are very interesting and not overwhelming to a 5-7 y.o. child.
* Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
* Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole by Judy Schachner 
We love Skippyjon Jones at our house. This is the newest book and the link is to the trailer of the book on YouTube. So fun! Here is my Playlist on my YouTube channel of a few read alouds.
* Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks - sometimes I don't really know why some authors and publishers waste their time writing some books. I think this would be considered a Twaddle book by Charlotte Mason.
* Stand Straight, Ella Kate - The True Story of a Real Giant by Kate Klise and M.Sarah Klise  The link takes you to a book review. We enjoyed the book and the illustrations were very helpful for size comparison.
Nail art on DD5 fingernails done by DD9.
* Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly
* Splat says Thank You by Rob Scotton
* A Story A Story - An African Tale Retold and Illustrated by Gail E. Haley
* Big Bouffant by Kate Hosford
* Who Has These Feet? by Laura Hulbert
* Look and Find books - These are so much for look at with DD2 and DD5. Disney Friends and Favorites;Puss in Boots; The Smurfs; Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue.
* The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie - A Christmas book that shows kids that this season is more than just buying stuff to oneself. It does not mention Jesus in it.
* P is for Pilgrim - A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane
* Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne - We read this together. I read some, DS7 read some, DD9 read some. Good reading aloud practice and history content.
* P is for Pilgrim - A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane

* One Little, Two Little , Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy

Audio Books
DS7 making homemade play dough.

* The Brinkman Adventures - Are you studying about missionaries and martyrs? Or maybe you would like to introduce missions in your homeschooling curriculum? I would highly recommend these audio dramas. You can go to the website and sample an episode.

DD9 is currently listening to episodes 4-6 after hearing the first 3 for 2 plus weeks every single night. The producers of this awesome resource do not want money to stop you from enjoying these stories. So for any amount donation you can download or even purchase the CDs. For more information on this resource you can read ABOUT IT here.

* The Chronicles of Narnia - For FREE, you can find the mp3 files at Ancient Faith website of the Chronicles of Narnia books read by a lady with a cute British accent. DD9 listened to the first book of the series (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and began listening to the second one: Prince Caspian. Unfortunately, it didn't capture her imagination as the first one did, so she didn't finish listening to it. We did watch all 3 movies of the series and we absolutely loved them. 

* Stories of the Pilgrims - This is an audio book by Jim Hodges. I can't remember how or where but I got this for FREE as a download. You can purchase and find more information on the audio book on the link provided or READ the book for FREE here. What I really liked about this book was that it began way before the pilgrims came to America. It tells the story of their lives in England, how they move to Holland seeking freedom of religion and how they end up in America. They were basically seeking freedom of worship but they also did not want to lose their native language and culture, which kind of begins to happen when they are in Holland. We listen to most of our audio books in the car as we go to and from places. It's a good exercise for the kids in patience and remembering the story line. Put it in your planner to read or listen to this book next November.

DD2 showing off the hairdo that DD5 created for her.
* The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson - inspired by the original tales of Beatrix Potter - book comes with a CD read aloud by the author.

* A. Lincoln by Ronald C. White, Jr. - We began this audio book read by Bill Weideman. It's massive but so interesting.

DS7 independent reading list:

* Skippyjon Jones Circque de Ole by Judy Schachner
* Greek Myths for Young Children by Marcia Williams - So how do you get your 7 y.o. to learn Ancient History and read at the same time? You get him this book!
* Let's Go for a Drive! by Mo Williems

I know he's read more than that, but he is not bragging about his readings yet. Maybe one day he will come running and let me know each and every book he is reading and enjoying. The ones I listed above I saw him reading and commenting about them.

DD9 independent reading list:

* Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron
* The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner
* Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai - I previewed this book before DD9 read it. It reminded me of the time when I lived in California and like the main character did not speak a word of English. Beautiful book. I highly recommend it! Read the link to find out what it's about.
Playing monopoly on Thanksgiving Day.
* Re-reading Hank the Cowdog series - Books 1 to 4.

* The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett - you can find lesson plans based on this book for FREE on this site. This is a wonderful book to teach and work on character.

* The Black Stallion by Water Farley - suggested by a friend. DD9 has definitely found a new book series to read. She is a lover of horses, so this book is perfect. For more information and reviews, click on the link.

* The Black Stallion Returns by Walter Farley - the second book of the series mentioned above.

* We adopted you, Benjamin Koo by Linda Walvoord Girard
* The General Store by Bobbie Kalman

Activities at Home

* Lots of playing. The kids found some train tracks up in the attic. They have been experimenting with it using a train, cars and balls. Fun for all!

DD9 making egg drop soup to our older friend.
* Lots of cooking; lots of baking. We had the opportunity to bless an wonderful older lady that has been a Titus Woman to me. Since DD9 was a baby she has been a source of wisdom and encouragement to me. She loves my children and is always ready with lemonade and cookies to see them. She went through surgery this month and we had the privilege to bring her a meal and visit with her. Of course, we went all out and DD9 fixed chicken salad and shortbread almond cookies, and I baked the wonderful (my favorite) cranberry apple cake. We also had egg drop soup for breakfast that morning and decided to bring her some. Egg drop soup from scratch is now a favorite at our home.

* Raking and burning leaves; playing soccer, basketball... enjoying every drop of autumn's sunshine. Lots of fun with the sling shot and acorns that abound around our house.

My Yummy healthy collards.
* Gardening: cleaning beds and preparing them for winter. Maintaining the compost pile. We were surprised to find out that we can grow cabbage, romaine lettuce and green onions from the scraps left. 

* DS7 and I worked on a paper bow and arrow made with paper only and it was used to his heart content this month. Using pencils, we shot his arrow in the house and outside. You can see the tutorial video HERE.

* DD5 is listening to a Phonics music CD. I have had this for years and used it with DD9 when she was 4-5 years old.  It teaches the sounds of letters through music. It's fun and engaging. She also loves Activity Tv where she watches cooking and baking lessons.

DD5 Puppy dog face cupcake.
* DD9 and I started a Mother/ Daughter journal. My Mom gave me a pretty journal and I am using it to write messages or notes to my daughter and she is writing back to me. This has shown to be a great opportunity for DD9 to practice her handwriting and spelling. She is constantly journaling. The link gives ideas of how to go about it, but you don't have to follow it to a T. I am not.

* DD9 is constantly drawing and one day she was asking how she could earn money with her art. So I showed her Etsy and many artists like This ONE or this ONE and how they sell prints of their original art. So I told DD9 she could sell Christmas cards. So she decorated one of her monsters with Christmas trimmings and her first cards were produced. Together we printed the cards, packaged them and she and brother sold them at church, to neighbors, friends and she proudly made almost $100.00. We spent the first part of the month talking about marketing, supply and demand, cost and profits and how to create a need, or sell a product, or find a market for her product. I remember I was in college when I first was introduced to many of these concepts. DD is just 9 years old! If you would like to purchase her cards you can go HERE.

DS7 doing experiments.
* DS7 is working on Math and deconstructing and building things and toys; and reading when Mom bugs him enough times. Building things with magnets and even doing experiments. We are using the FREE scientific method printable sheets from Valerie at The Crafty Classroom.

* We had family come over for Thanksgiving and we spend the day playing with their pets and cooking. The children had a great time rough housing with Uncle D; playing monopoly, chess and Uno; watching TV and videos on YouTube.

* Uncle D. is a chemist and he spent a couple of hours showing the kids chemistry videos on the net and explaining reactions, molecules, safe procedures, chemistry terms and more. We found some cool chemistry channels like Period Videos and  Steve Spangler Science. We watched a Carbon Snake. We talked about safety and never doing any of these experiments without adult supervision or safety equipment.

Homemade play dough is all the fun in pink and blue!!
* We made our own play dough. I got the idea HERE and the recipe HERE.
The children played for a couple hours on the kitchen table and creations were made. We made 2 basic colors: pink and light blue. We were trying to go for red and blue but I guess we didn't add enough food coloring to the dough. For 2 days straight we played. :)

Field Trips/ Activities Outside Home

* Karate classes

Checking out the cows at the dairy farm.
* Dairy farm: we visited a small local dairy farm and the kids got to see how the calves and cows were fed and milked. They had the most fun discovering kittens in the hay and handling them all.

* Ballet and tap classes: DD9 and DD5 began ballet and tap classes again. They are excited learning the new dances and preparing for a Christmas recital.

* Lecture held by  Margaret Ann Smith  author of  A New Kind of Life for Eddie Eagle. at our local library. DD9 and DS7 attended with me and listened as the author shared the process of publishing her books and answered questions.

Websites/ Links we found and used

* Games: the usual ones online.
DS7 learning piano on his own.

* Free Piano Lessons 4 Kids - DS7 began learning piano on his own using this website. All the videos are FREE and on YouTube. The instructor offers the lessons in PDF format for purchase as well as the videos on DVD. DS7 is enjoying the lessons. We have an electronic piano and a kiddie one. He uses the kiddie one in front of the laptop just because it's smaller. Then throughout the day, he practices on the "real" one the music he learned during his lessons. He is doing sooo good! I am impressed, but I am biased. 

* DD9 still using Rosetta Stone Software to learn Spanish. (she is getting really good at it!) she does basically 5-10 minutes a day. Also using the HEV Project website and watching videos of Geography (Brazil, Egypt) and doing their cursive program. Her handwriting is turning out so pretty.

* BrainPop  - the kids watched videos on the Presidential election; Pocahontas

Salt on a plate for handwriting practice!
* The HEV Project - DD9 is making wonderful progress using their cursive handwriting online. I used a plate with some refined salt for her to practice the movement of the letters. Amazing what a little creativity can do to boost one's mood. She was feeling discouraged once she saw how easily she could move her finger on the salt her handwriting improved rapidly.

* Spelling Connection - thinking about this one. I am not sure yet we will use it. But if you need help with spelling word list you might find this website helpful. 

* How Stuff Works Videos - we watched videos on the Roman Culture: baths, aqueducts and plumbing. The link provided takes you to that section but there are so many more to explore.

TV shows/ Videos/ Movies/ YouTube findings

Collecting treasures at the dairy farm.
* The Chronicles of Narnia: The witch, the lion and the wardrobe.
* The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
* The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - These 3 movies were a success with the whole family. I don't really like fiction or fantasy but the lessons on these movies were worthwhile sitting down and watching the movies. All my kids loved them. I thought they might be frightened by all the half animals/ human creatures by they were not. Hmmmm... interesting.
* Barbie and 12 Dancing Princesses
* Barbie -The Princess and the Popstar
* The Prince and the Frog
* Sophia the Princess
* Lots of Doc Macstuffins and other Disney Jr shows; PBS shows; Shark Thank; Duck Dynasty; Pawn Stars;  Tank; Gold Rush; Alaska Frontier;

Homemade Egg Drop Soup!
* Watching videos of the Hobo Family and their adventures on YouTube.

* Horrible Histories on the Common Roman Toilets on YouTube. If you have boys they will love this!! :)

* What's in the Bible? Vol. 4 - We love this series. I purchase a set with 6 DVDs and I am slowly bringing them out. I know there are some good deals out there on them... they would make a great Christmas gift.

* Jan Brett's video on how to draw a box turtle from her last book "Mossy".

Building with magnets.
* Maggie Doyne video story - 25 year old young lady who went to Nepal at the age of 18 and built an orphanage and school.

* We watched DVDs from Torchlighters on Jim Elliot and Gladys Aylward stories. I highly recommend these. There are resources on the website to download in PDF format for FREE as well as special features on the DVDs with interviews and other information on the main characters of the video.

* Testimony of Steve Saint End of Spear - video were Nate Saint's son (he was the pilot who flew the plane and took the missionaries to meet the indians who killed them) tells of what God did in his life.
Mom's Eclectic List

Flourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.
* The Detoxinista - wonderful recipes for GRAIN FREE baked goods. 

* From Ruby Ridge to Freedom- The Sarah Weaver story by Sara Weaver

* Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Read this one in order to preview it for my DD9 and had a wonderful time doing it. I love the style of the book. I was captivated by the Asian temperament of the main character and her family. DD9 was thrilled when I told her she could read the book. She began immediately and read it in one afternoon. I highly recommend this book.

* Check out my YouTube playlist for some interesting videos.

* I am reading lots of websites and books on living on the road with kids, how to make money location independent, the Paleo diet, organic gardening and more.

Walking the dogs!

We had a blessed month.
 It began very disappointing with the re-election of Pres. Obama but life goes on, 
and we got to make the most of it.
 Change is in the air.
 The future is bright! Jesus is coming soon! 
Are you ready to see your King??
 I am. :)