Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pippi Longstocking

People have been dressing up like Pippi for Halloween for YEARS, but I didn't actually know her character, and boy, is she fun!  Her mother died when she was young and her father got lost at sea, so Pippi now lives on her own in a small house called Villa Villakulla.  She becomes fast friends with the neighbor kids, Tommy and Annika, and with them she has many silly adventures!  

Hannah colored this Pippi coloring page according to the descriptions given in the book.

Had no idea this was a movie so we watched it when we were done reading!

Lions at Lunchtime

We read through the book all at once so it was a bit much to go through these review questions all in one sitting but there were some good ones in there, some including family discussion like...
   Tell about a time you and another person worked together.
   Tell about a time you felt frightened of something.
   Have you ever heard about an animal helping a person?

The word matches I did out loud and gave the kids a few choices to pick from. They did very well with it.

* Find Tanzania and Kenya on a world map. (we actually did this at the beginning of the book so we'd know what we were reading about)

* A crossword to review, making for a fun way to review vocabulary words.

* Fun facts about animals that migrate.

Fun activity: 
Let the kids use their fingers to make a peanut butter and honey sandwich.  (Hannah just did this since Eli hates peanut butter)

(currently out of honey so we used a lil Agave Nectar)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ordinary Princess

I decided to also start doing storytime with Hannah in the afternoons during her quiet time while Carter naps.  I choose girlier books and we read for about 45 minutes and then she does letter games, plays quietly, or looks at books for the remainder of naptime.  Our first book we read together was The Ordinary Princess.  

Really loved this story, and it was a fast read.  It's about a princess, Amy, who at her christening is "cursed" by a fairy with the gift of being just ordinary.  She then loses her blonde hair and curls and bright blue eyes and as she continues to grow up becomes increasingly ordinary. She has freckles and stringy brown hair and loves to just play freely out in the forest instead of doing pretty princess things in the palace.  Her parents, the King and Queen, happily marry off Amy's six older, and beautiful, sisters, but then comes Amy and every man that comes to pursue her immediately decides to leave as soon as they've met her.  Knowing a prince must be found, the King and Queen devise a plan to trick the boy into marrying Amy, but when Amy hears of the plan she escapes the palace and runs away to live in the forest.  A series of events leads her to meeting a boy just as ordinary as her, and they become fast friends.  He discovers she's actually a princess, and she ends up discovering he's actually a prince and they find a way to marry and live happily just as they are, ordinary.

Such a sweet story and it very much reminded me of the movie Penelope where the rich girl is cursed with a pig snout for a nose. It's believed that marriage would break the curse but every boy that comes to meet her instantly runs away.  In the end she meets someone who appreciates who she is snout and all, and it's not his love after all that breaks the spell.

So when we finished reading The Ordinary Princess we spent the next afternoon watching the movie Penelope and comparing the two with follow-up questions:

1. What things were the same between the two stories?
2. What things were different between the two stories?
3. Did Princess Amy like being ordinary?
4. What did Penelope finally come realize?
5. What things are good about being ordinary?
6. Read 1 Peter 3:3-5 and talk about what REALLY makes a girl/woman beautiful.

The Wind in the Willows

This one took us awhile.  The language was difficult. Many words I don't even know, and single sentences with such detail it was sometimes to hard to even know what was being talked about.  The overall story itself was enjoyable though so we plodded along.  The chapters were kind of long, each telling of an adventure with the characters Mole, Toad, Water Rat, and Badger.  Definitely a book of adventure, friendship, companionship, and loyalty, despite the personality differences that the characters had with one another. 

Aside from the wordy language the one other thing I disliked about the book was the frequent usage of the A-S-S word, in actual context like "stop being such an #&*" and I sometimes struggled to find a different word to replace it with on the spot.  lol

Would maybe recommend for slightly older kids.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

I vaguely remember this from my childhood??  This is a silly book in which Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has potions and remedies for children's poor behavior when the parents are at the end of their rope and just don't know what else to try.  

It's a fun read, the language is easy.  The chapters are pretty long but each is a different little story and it's an opportunity to expand and then talk about the behavior and WHY it's wrong, maybe include some relevant Bible verses, and how we should be instead. I recommend! I believe there are other Piggle Wiggle books as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Trumpet of the Swan

Toward the end of summer the kids and I really were settling into a good routine of doing read-alouds.  Classics I'd found in a list on Pinterest.  And then school resumed, and while we can't do our reading in the afternoon, I've started putting Carter to bed 1/2 hr early, and then Eli and Hannah stay up an extra 30-40 minutes as I read to them. And then they're in bed almost by 8pm still. 

Our first non-Tree House book we read was The Trumpet of the Swan.  Really simple read, easy language. And here and there throughout the book we'd find demonstrations online, such as a sound clip of a trumpet swan, or the tune of Taps.  We'd look up the map of the places we read about and so on.  

It was a good book, filled with the adventures of a swan named Louis who is mute and cannot trumpet on his own.  His father goes to the trouble to get an actual brass trumpet for him to use instead, but it's stolen and Louis knows it, so he takes it upon himself to earn the money to pay the store for it and make things right.  He learns to write and read, gets job after job, and becomes well known across the cities until he can return home at last to his family.  I definitely recommend. Great example of integrity and being determined to do the right thing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Afternoon on the Amazon

After Jack and Annie spent an afternoon in the Amazon rainforest dodging mangos and facing perhanas, crocodiles, vampire bats, and army ants, we spent some time learning more about rainforests.  We assembled a book filled with the things we learned.

Here were our activities...

1. On our book cover we glued a map marking the rainforests of the world.  We made a small dot marking where we live and I even showed them where Rio is because that's one of the kids' all-time favorite movies. 

2. Then we reviewed the layers of the rainforest trees and added on the description and a short list of animals that live in each part. I'd read aloud the description and they'd guess where it belonged.

3. We learned about the different animals that live in the rainforest. The kids colored and cut out all the animals on a worksheet from here. (just sign up your email and you get a whole list of different theme worksheets you can download) They worked hard on this page. Eli especially took time really coloring each picture and cutting closely around the edge of each one.

4. Then we learned about some of the foods that come from the rainforest. I did the cutting for them this time (while they were working on the last page)

5. And the people that actually live there. I didn't want to go into all the details of their lifestyle, but the pictures give a glimpse. Just wanted them to know there are people there with a whole different way of life.

6. The rainforests are in danger and are being cut or burned down.
Our complete book

7. I happened to have some mango peach juice so we finished with a lil treat. It was a perfect ending.
 Then as they were finishing, I was asking them questions about what we just learned. And because it's fun to see them raise their hands I'd say Raise your hand if you can name a fruit that grows in the rainforest... name an animal that lives in the rainforest... Why is the rainforest in danger? Name a way that we can help.
I'd say it was a fun afternoon!

Click HERE to download the food, people, and danger pages.

More rainforest activities and worksheets are HERE.
And questions to answer as you read through the book (and other Tree House books) are HERE.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Night of the Ninjas

Our afternoon reading with the kids today was out on the trampoline. It was so perfect. Eli and Hannah have taken on playing the roles of Jack (big brother with glasses) and Annie (care-free sister) and like to act out some of the scenes. It's quite cute!  =)

Here are our follow-up activities: (they were mostly discussion type instead of hands-on things this time)

1. Find Japan on the world map and globe. 

2. Talk about Ninja clothing (also called shinobi shozoko)
    * Black or dark blue clothing was for dangerous night missions so they could remain hidden.
    * What color do you think they'd wear for winter missions so they could blend in with the snow? white
   * They wore a green kind of camouflage pattern when they need to blend in with the forest surroundings.
    * In what situations do people wear camouflage clothing here today? We talked about and looked at pictures of soldiers and hunters.
    * Clothing covered all of their skin. And had many pockets all throughout it, inside and out.  What do you think they put in all of their pockets?  Storing small tools and weapons. And a small first aid kit in case they came across animal bite or poison.
    * Tabi boots had a slit between the big toe and second to make it easier for climbing ropes and scaling walls.

3. I never really could find much to watch or do about Ninja moves but maybe you'd have better luck?

4.  Nature discussion regarding the rules from the book:
* Use nature -- Jack and Annie used the moonlight and shadow from a stick to find which direction was east -- We can use the sun and shadows to find direction or time. We can also use nature to build shelter or raft or tools.
* Be nature -- Jack and Annie became still as rocks to hide from the Samurai warriors towering right over them.  -- When we confront dangerous animals we can remain still as a rock or become big like a bear to protect ourselves.
* Follow nature -- Jack and Annie followed their mouse friend across the stream to get where they needed to go. -- When lost you can follow a stream as a guide to a nearby town.

5. Project: Try out the shadow stick method to find direction.
    * Find a very straight stick and stand it up in the ground on a flat area. 
    * Mark the tip of its shadow with a rock. 

    * Wait at least 15 minutes (we waited 30 for bigger results) and mark the new shadow tip. 

    * The first shadow mark is west and the second shadow mark is east. You can then figure out north and south.

 6.  {Faith Connections} Ninja master: a mysterious wise person who knew many secrets of nature. They had meetings in hidden caves.
* Who is our great ninja master? God. He is mysterious, we don't know everything about Him, He is so great we can't comprehend everything. He is wise and he knows everything about everyone and he knows everything about nature because He created it.
* Where can we go to meet Him? Anywhere because God is everywhere. Although in other parts of the world where people are still not allowed to worship God or go to church, Christians will have secret meetings in caves or basements or homes in order to worship God in secret.

As you can see, we are very serious about our studies around here...  =)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Beginner story writing {template included}

In an attempt to practice writing, spelling, and a little bit of creativity, I created a template for Eli to write his own story in the format of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"  Here's what he wrote...

Red Mario.

* You'll want to print the first 4 pages, the flip over your stack of papers and send them through the printer again for pages 5-8.
* I didn't use prompts for the cover page, so it would be neat looking. But either fill it in yourself or let child do it.

And now here is Hannah's. She wanted me to help her with the pictures so I did the best I could but I am NO artist either!! She did the coloring and added some to the drawings.

I love to watch the kids working so hard.