Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 18: Thanksgiving

Cranberry Thanksgiving

To celebrate Thanksgiving we read the book “A Cranberry Thanksgiving” and watched this video on Youtube to go along with it.


To learn more about cranberries we watched Dirty Jobs, the Cranberry Farm episode (Season 3, Episode 11) on netflix, on the recommendation of the Almost Unschoolers blog. IMG_0002We had picked up a bag of fresh cranberries from the store for this week, so I had the kids practice wet harvesting like we saw on the episode using a glass pan and colander. IMG_0006

Next, we talked about why the cranberries floated to the top.

IMG_0005I cut one open and asked the kids if they could see anything on the inside that would make them think that the cranberries would float… after a few guesses, they finally figured out that it was the air pockets that caused them to float. IMG_0009

The kids really enjoyed scooping and playing with the cranberries in the water.

Fine Motor Crannberry Activity

While we had the cranberries out, the kids used a spoon to take one cranberry at a time from the bowl to a bucket. Alexa recalled that it made the same sound that the blueberries made in “Blueberries for Sal.” She filled the entire bucket up!

IMG_0038Treyton was a little bored with this activity, but he filled the bucket. IMG_0044



I printed off several turkey and thanksgiving printables – all of which you can find on my pinterest Thanksgiving board.


Alexa ate it up!! She loves worksheets. 


I had some age appropriate ones for each of the older kids.

IMG_0013I wasn’t sure if Alexa could do the color-by-numbers/letters yet, but I think this one was her favorite because she was doing something like Treyton. IMG_0019

Thanksgiving Tree

Every year we make a thanksgiving tree, normally out of the kids handprints. This year we decided to use our Jesse Tree branches and our cricut to make our leaves. IMG_0020

Then the two older kids divided the leaves between them and we wrote down (Treyton wrote his own, I wrote Alexa’s) the things they wanted to thank God for. IMG_0025

After we wrote them all down, I had Treyton cut the strings while Lex and I punched holes in the leaves. IMG_0027We strung them and hung them on the tree. IMG_0030I think it turned out really cute.

Cranberry Sauce

Since we already had the cranberries, we wanted to make our own “secret recipe” just like in our story, so Treyton and I made our very own cranberry sauce, using a few pointers online.

IMG_0048It turned out pretty good.

After we made our sauce, Treyton got pretty creative, and really wanted to try to make his own recipe. IMG_0046He told me he wanted to take a piece of bread, put it in the oven and cover it with our new sauce and bake it. I think it was his attempt at making “cranberry bread”. Which was super creative (and cute). So we did it!!


He was so proud, and Tim did a great job of praising his “work”.


For Thanksgiving we took Treyton’s sauce and put it over cream cheese. It was a huge hit with the family!!

Painting Pumpkins

We love painting around here, so of course, the most natural pumpkin activity we could do is to paint them, right?!? 

We had Audrey and Peyton (both 20 months) join in with paper painting.   IMG_0037It was a fun time for all! IMG_0038Audrey particularly enjoyed eating the paint.    IMG_0043Alexa painted her entire pumpkin, while Treyton painted actual scenes. IMG_0049I love seeing their differences come out in their work.  IMG_0050

Shape Scarecrow                        IMG_0036

I can’t remember where I found this shape scarecrow, but I did it with Alexa sometime during the week, she loved it!!

Thanksgiving Puzzles



It was obviously a pretty relaxed week as we practiced thanking God for His many blessings in our lives and family.

We hope your holiday was just as relaxed!!

TOS Crew: Artistic Pursuits

HSCrew468x60AnimatedI had the opportunity to review the Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 1: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. imageLast year some of the TOS Crew had been given the opportunity to review this product, for which I was not selected, so when I found out I was selected this year to review it I was EXTACTIC!!

We love art in our house. I mean, LOVE art – artist study, crafts, creating, drawing, painting, play-doh, you name it and we will at the very least try it, so I was really looking forward to seeing what Artistic Pursuits could offer to our family.

Product Description:

This art program is designed to do 1 lesson a week.

Each lesson is broken down into three main parts – an introduction to the new concept, an example of the concept by a real artist, and finally a chance for the child to use the concept in their own piece of art.

In Book 1, the child learns to use a variety of materials including: ebony pencils, pastel sticks, oil pastels, watercolor crayons, colored paper craft, and self-hardening clay. These supplies the teacher will need to have on hand.

There are three primary sections in this book, learning what artist do, what artist see and exploring ancient art.

To view sample pages of two different lessons you can visit their website.

Product Review

I love, love, love this approach to art. The process of teaching a child a new artistic concept and then showing them a real-life example of it from an actual artist and allowing them to create their own original art work is genius!!

We enjoy artist study in our home, and while I appreciate focusing on a specific artist at a time to help the child remember and form a relationship to the artist, I also appreciate this approach which allows the child to learn the different methods and techniques of art in a rich and rewarding way. IMG_0059The kids and I really enjoyed the lessons that we did. We started (obviously) with lesson 1 where we learned that artist compose. We looked at a picture by Pieter De Hooch call The Courtyard of a House in Delft from 1658.

IMG_0056We then drew a picture of something we had seen in our home that day. We used an ebony pencil for the first time.

IMG_0057I gave Treyton a couple pointers and then we got to work – him on his picture, me on mine – and the pictures turned out really nice. Treyton got really creative and was truly inspired by both the picture he had seen of the artist example, and the fact that I was doing my own drawing.  IMG_0058It was not only a great lesson, but a nice time spent together, creating.

I plan on continuing to use this product in our schooling as a primary art program.

To see what others are saying….

visit the TOS Crew blog.

You can purchase this curriculum from their website for $42.95, the supplies needed must be purchased separately.

Disclaimer I received a complimentary copy of this curriculum for the purpose of my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 17 (Adventures Week 14): Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and South Carolina


This week we talked about four new states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and South Carolina. We had a great week, but I’ll be honest, I wish we weren’t doing so many states at a time, I would love to slow it down a little bit and take just a little bit more time with each state.


We followed a very similar process to the one I explained in my post last week. In addition, Treyton asked to complete his Melissa and Doug United States Floor Puzzle.


We read portions of our weekly books for each state and then did our state passports, state pages and state coloring pages.

IMG_0006I try to find a fun activity to go with each state, to help remember it, but we only did two activities (Massachusetts and South Carolina) this week.


IMG_0088We were supposed to make robin nests on this day but we didn’t have the supplies, so we read a robin book instead.



We learned from reading “The Boy on Fairfield Street” that Dr. Seuss was originally from Massachusetts. We love Dr. Seuss around here, so we pulled out our Dr. Seuss hat, and played around with that for a while.

IMG_0014Next, we decided to pick one Dr. Seuss book to read. IMG_0010Treyton decided on “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” before reading the book I talked to the kids about what antonyms are, I simplified it to Lexa asking her to try and find two opposites to remember in the story. Since then, Treyton has been so proud, telling me all the time the opposites that he finds. He forgets the word “antonym”, an calls it “animan”, but at least he’s trying. IMG_0015

After we read all about Dr. Seuss and some of his work, I had Treyton use his imagination to create his own animal. He made a chicken with horns, and names him zak, we made a list of rhyming words and used them to describe him.


Because we loved having our Boston Tea Party so much a few weeks ago, I had the idea of reading our Dr. Seuss stories during “tea” time to celebrate both aspects of Massachusetts. The kids LOVED this idea!!  IMG_0024


Due to our schedule on this day, we simply completed our state pages for this state.


South Carolina


We learned that South Carolina had a problem with pirates for several years in the 1700s. So I found a few fun pirate ideas.

I found this printable patch and pirate hat which Treyton look adorable wearing!! 


Next, we made this free pirate glyph from Mrs. M’s blog. IMG_0056These were such fun additions to school this week, it was hard not too get carried away with the idea of doing an entire pirate unit! (I’m still not totally over the idea…. but we’ll see)

IMG_0057  IMG_0052  

Chapter Book Reading

Treyton’s doing pretty well with his reading, and continues to make his way through the Magic Tree House book. I’m not sure if we will continue on with chapter books or not, as I can see his confidence waning a bit. IMG_0044


For AWANA this week they had drive-in movie night. The kids were supposed to build their own cardboard box car to watch the movie in. IMG_0002

Daddy helped Treyton build the frame. Treyton decorated it. And mom had the idea to add headlights, which Dad engineered.

IMG_0034 Treyton was kind enough to let his little sisters take a spin too! IMG_0036

Farmer Boy – Milk and Popcorn        

We’re reading the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We did the milk and popcorn experiment that Almanzo did as a kid. If you take a cup of milk and an equal cup of popcorn, you can put the popcorn in the milk without it overflowing out of the container. (Our’s look like it overflowed, because we purposely overflowed it with rocks before we started to show that normally the milk would overflow). IMG_0081  

We had a fun week of school, and are really enjoying our state studies. We will be doing some fun Thanksgiving activities next week, but then we will be taking about 3 weeks off of school, so you won’t be seeing as much from us for a while.

We hope you have Happy Holidays!!