Sunday, December 16, 2012

little, littler, littlest

A mama in my MOPs group unexpectedly delivered her baby boy at 26 weeks.  The thought of any family facing a long hard road in NICU sends me straight for my yarn.  It's what I do.

I made three hats for baby Benjamin.  One in a size that will fit now, one a little bigger and one even a little bigger than that.  The largest size is the size I usually  make for preemies when I do my big stash to celebrate Hazel's NICU discharge--the size for "near-termers" like she was.  The smaller ones are super tiny!  It scares me to think that I know someone with a baby small enough to wear that tiniest one!

I started with the smallest one and prayed as I stitched that he would grow, quickly, out of each size and into the next.  I hope that he thrives and is able to come home with his family very soon!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Wrap-Up: How to Make an Apple Pie

We spent a week studying the Five in a Row book selection How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  This is the most adorable book ever!  In it, the girl decides to make an apple pie, but her supermarket is closed.  So she travels the globe to gather the ingredients for her pie--wheat from Italy, a cow (for milk, for butter) from England, a chicken (for eggs) from France, sugar cane from Jamaica, and cinnamon from Sri Lanka.  Along the way, she dips a jar into the ocean so that she can evaporate the water for salt.  Finally she lands back in the USA on a Vermont apple orchard to get the apples, makes her pie, and invites her friends to come enjoy it with her.  The illustrations are hilarious, and totally make the book. 

Obviously, this book is well suited to some geography study.  We found all of the places that the girl went on our map, and drew lines between them to trace her travels.  I forgot to take a picture of the map, but it looked crazy!  What a fun trip that would have been. 

We watched some YouTube videos about how to milk a cow and about the different varieties of chickens, their eggs, etc.  

We spent a day taste testing different varieties of apples, and learning about the different parts of an apple.  We dissected one and counted its seeds, weighed it in the bucket balance, and used it as a stamp.  

The highlight of this row, of course, was making their own apple pie.  Because Mommy is useless in the kitchen, the kids made their apple pie on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving with Daddy!  David had his work cut out for him, making a gluten and dairy free apple pie, his first pie EVER, with three eager little helpers.  We ate it for dessert on Thanksgiving, and it was really good!  I was impressed. 

Following our apple theme, we kept a "thankful tree" through the month of November.  I made a brown paint on butcher paper tree trunk and bought a pack of craft foam apples on a clearance end cap at Target.  Every day we wrote down something were were thankful for on one of the apples and taped it up.  The tree looked so fun at the end of the month.   I saved the tree trunk so we can do it again next year!

This was such a fun book.  Check it out of the library and read it with yours! 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Homeschool Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving

After the election was over, we did a week on Thanksgiving, loosely following the unit study plans on this mama's blog.  We spent a day studying the Pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower, talking about what life was like aboard the ship.  We followed that up with a simple handprint craft.  

Wayflower. Love it.

The next day, we talked about the Wampanoag tribe who lived in the region that the Pilgrims settled.  We used the wonderful "virtual field trip" at to see how the Native Americans lived.

Our third day focused on the daily lives of the Pilgrims in Plymouth.  We read Sarah Morton's Day about the life of a Pilgrim girl, and a companion book called Samuel Eaton's Day about a Pilgrim boy. I can't recommend these highly enough!  They're so wonderful!  We discussed the differences between the Pilgrim children's lives and our own.

The last day, of course, we talked about the first Thanksgiving, the feast, etc.  My favorite book (out of the MANY that I checked out and previewed for this topic) was The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving.  We made Thanksgiving story bracelets after reading the book, and later that evening, I had Hazel tell me back the story using her bracelet.

Before we cleaned out all of the pumpkins that we had decorating the inside and outside of our home for the months of October and November, we took the opportunity to plant one.  We followed this suggestion and opened a pumpkin, added potting soil and water, and waited to see if some of the seeds sprouted.

And sprout they did!  Several days later, we had many shoots coming up from our soil, and our pumpkin was starting to decay.  We decided to continue the experiment and plant the entire decaying pumpkin in a pot with some more soil and let the plant keep growing.  It's doing great!

I would be surprised if we actually saw any pumpkins from our pumpkin plant seedlings, but the kids are really enjoying watching it grow.

Some other things that have been working really well for us at Wallace Academy are the refrigerator chalkboard and the rice boxes.  I have been giving kids a few letters or numbers to write for me right after breakfast, on the side of the fridge that is painted in chalkboard paint.  They're really cooperative with handwriting practice when it's presented this way, especially when it's rewarded with things like chocolate chips or mini marshmallows, which are easily found in the kitchen.  Handy.  

They use the sandpaper letters and numbers to trace if they've forgotten how to make something I ask them to write on the fridge.  I love these!  All of mine have come from this Etsy seller.  I have uppercase, lower case, and numerals.  Spendy, but so nice!  

We've also been doing letter practice in rice before we take it to pencil and paper, which is both popular and effective.

 Thank you for catching up with us!  We enjoy sharing about what we're learning and doing!