Friday, June 22, 2012

Week 1: Curtain Rises on Egypt

We completed our first week of school…. and it feels great. I am so excited about Tapestry of Grace I cannot even tell you! I think that it is going to work very well with our families learning and teaching styles.

Read Alouds:

Literature & Reading:

Tapestry did not have any recommended literature this week, but Treyton has recently discovered a love for audio books. He listened the audio book he got for Christmas, “Shiloh” again this week, and I got him “The Boxcar Children” book 1 on CD too, and he listened to that one as well.

He also read some of our history read-alouds. I didn’t want to overwhelm him too much so I took it pretty easy on the history read-alouds, but I was astonished at his retention of what he read himself. Throughout this year, I hope to encourage and see this aspect of his learning grow the most.

From the library he got several books on sports and the solar system to read for their summer reading program. He read them, on his own, throughout the week as well:


One of my favorite aspects of Tapestry of Grace is the Bible and God-Centered perspective of all of their teachings. It is honestly “woven” in to every unit to show the sovereign providence of God throughout history. A lot of this is taught through discussion and seeking the scriptures, which is a beautiful thing to instill and be a part of with our children. 

This week we discussed why the study of history is so important, particularly to us as Christians. We used some of the resources from the TOG manual as well as the book “What the Bible is All About?” to see what the Bible had to say. Treyton is a very insightful child and our discussions usually lead to places I never see coming.

On the first day, he was asking some great questions about how we can really know that God is real and that he really does exist and is in control of history. We talked about creation, and how everything comes from something, we used ourselves as an example. I asked him where he came from, where I came from, where grandma came from…. all the way back to Adam. When we got to Adam I asked “Where did Adam come from?” and he said “A false God could have made him.” I said “Okay, we know what the Bible tells us is true, but lets just say that a false god made Adam, where did the false god come from?” Suddenly a lightbulb went off in his head and he said “There has always had to be someone to make the first thing to make the next thing.” “Absolutely” I said, “and who do you think that ‘someone’ is?”

“Aahhhh….” he said “God.”

We’ve discussed this before as a family, but it was great to see Treyton work through the thought process on his own, and to realize, on his own, that creation speaks of our Creator.

This was such an important, and God-ordained set up for our entire study this week and the year(s) to come. I praise God for this foundation to begin building on at such a young age.

Window in the World

We also decided to use the book “Window in the World” to talk about and pray for different countries around the world. This week we talked about Afghanistan.

Who is God?

Last year, we reviewed and used for a little while Apologia’s “Who is God?” book. It’s incredible and I highly recommend it. After our discussion on Monday about God and how we know what is true and not, I decided that on the days that we don’t have any specific Bible from TOG, that we would be reading a section of that throughout the year.

We focused on obedience this week, and the fact that after we know what is true, we have a responsibility to live accordingly. That ultimately it’s our choice, but that there are consequences for choosing to not obey, from both our parents, when we are children and God our entire lives. But that training and discipline are signs of love, not anger. Both kids brought up our discussion throughout the weeks at different times. It was incredible to see God speaking to them through what we are learning together.

Bible (Alexa)

This week we read the story of Moses. IMG_2523I had Alexa do a couple of cute crafts I found on DLTK.


History (TOG)

This week we started by making our Notebook for the year. I went through several options for Treyton, lapbooking, notebooking, binder, etc. and he chose to keep all of his history work in a binder, like he did last year for MFW. He specifically likes the page protectors on his work, so that was a must-have for him.

This week our focus was on the Nile river and life in Ancient Egypt: what kind of clothes they wore, what they ate, how they lived, etc. We touched briefly on the fact that they were ruled by a Pharoah, whom they thought was like a god and that they worshipped many false gods.

Treyton colored a clothing page of typical Ancient Egyptian wardrobe. He could not get over the fact that most children (and some adults) walked around naked! IMG_2739

We also made a piece of Egyptian Jewelry (which I found in our Living Long Ago book) using construction paper, IMG_2534glue, aluminum foil and string. The kids really liked not only making the jewelry but wearing it too! IMG_2542   IMG_2537


IMG_2745I had picked up a sample of papyrus paper at convention with Egyptian hieroglyphics on it, and I gave it to Treyton to save for his Ancient Egyptian lapbook pages.

I plan on having Treyton notebook at LEAST once a week. This week his notebooking page focused on the Nile, and what the Ancient Egyptians wore. He also illustrated it. IMG_2738


We did several map studies this week. We took a map of the world and labeled the continents and the one ocean that he knew (pacific). Then throughout the week we introduced two new oceans (Atlantic and Indian) both of which he had no problem remembering.

We also labeled a map of Egypt (with the Nile, Upper and Lower Egypt, Red Land, Black Land, Red Sea, etc.) IMG_2741and labeled Egypt, the Nile and the Sahara desert on a map of Africa. IMG_2740TOG recommended adding a few more things to our maps, but I didn’t want to overwhelm him with too much – I figure a little at a time and he has a better chance of remembering it. IMG_2597Our lapbook piece for the week was geography vocabulary. There was too much on their for Treyton and I so we took three terms and tried to learn those. We started with bay, island and inlet.

Treyton also showed an interest in desert life, so we watched disc 2 of our Planet Earth series to see a little bit of desert life “in action”.

Language Arts (Treyton)

Spelling – we simply reviewed trouble words from our last several lists and reviewed our spelling rules from our Level 2 book.

TOG Writing – We started our Word Box this week, making about 30 noun cards on green 3 x 5 cards. Treyton came up with and wrote all of them himself.

ETC & FLL – we did several days in our First Language Lessons, reviewing nouns, verbs and pronouns as well as our seasons and which months go in which seasons. ETC he did the second lesson in book 5 focusing on the –ed ending. These subjects are basically fillers, because he needs the extra exercises and repetition in this subject, but we don’t spend much time in one day on them, and if we are done with school for the day and that didn’t make it in… we don’t get worked up about it.

A Reason for Handwriting – Treyton finished up his cursive letter I i page and started and completed Lesson 5 which is the letter O o page. He also started the letter U u page making it halfway through that one. IMG_2594

Language Arts (Alexa)

Alexa finished up step 3 and started step 4 in her All About Reading program. She is doing amazing, especially considering we took three weeks off of all practice reading. Step 3 introduced a fluency sheet, that we got stuck on for about three days. It completely frustrated her, truthfully I don’t know if I was doing it right with her or not. I personally think that even with the little “one word selector tool” they give you, there are just too many words on the page and it distracts and over whelms her.

I did have her read the Bob Book 1, which she did twice this week. She did great.

She reads best when we are using her hands and the hands-on manipulatives we have whether it be the AAS magnets, our foam laurie letters, letter puzzles, scrabble pieces, etc. Once the word gets put on paper, she has a little bit harder of a time.

She also does very well with the flashcards (even though to me it seems like “paper”) as one of us flips through them, she seems to read them almost with ease, barely sounding some of them out.

Math (Treyton) Singapore Math 2A

Treyton worked on Multiplication this week. Not memorizing facts, but understanding the concept of what multiplying is. That it is literally groups of a certain number. IMG_2525We used math manipulatives to work a few problems together, but then for the rest of the week he did almost all of his math on his own, with very few mistakes.

Math (Alexa) Singapore Math K

Alexa’s focus is still on learning to write her numbers she is now up to the number 8. We review our other letters nearly every day. I find that learning to write numbers can be very challenging, for most children. Here they are learning to write letters, and at the same time learning to write numbers… it’s a lot to learn. IMG_2595Number 2 is still Alexa’s toughest one, but I think number 8 will also prove to be a challenge. IMG_2596

Science (REAL Life Science)

We only had one lesson in science this week. We learned the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates. We went through our nature magazines and cut out pictures of all different types of animals and then categorized them – one page for vertebrates another for invertebrates.

Field Trip: Strawberry Picking & Jamming

It’s strawberry season here in Wisconsin, and we decided to go and pick our own strawberries. As a family we ended up picking 35 pounds. IMG_2556So far we have canned 26 half pints of jam and frozen over 28 cups of whole or quartered strawberries. IMG_2564

All in all it was an amazing week of school. We are taking next week off for VBS then we will do week 2, then we will take the following week off for camping the fourth of July week. I like the idea of starting up nice and slow. It’s helping us get into a great routine, without too much pressure or frustration.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Artist Study: Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt Fact

* Mary was born in Pennsylvania, but when she was 7 her family moved to Paris, which is when Mary decided she wanted to become an artist.

* Cassatt was most famous for her pictures of mother’s and children.

* Cassatt would sometimes use a technique called Monoprint


Mary Cassatt Books

  • Baby Loves (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • Mary Cassatt Family Pictures by Jane O’Connor
  • Mary Cassatt Paintings and Prints by Frank Getlein
  • Suzette and the Puppy: A Story About Mary Cassatt by Joan Sweeney
  • Mary Cassatt Impressionist Painter by Lois V. Harris

Pictures Studied

imageThe Child’s Bath

image The Boat Party

image In the Loge (also saw it called “Woman in Black at the Opera”)

image Little Girl in a Blue Armchair

image The Letter (a monoprint)

image The Sisters

Artist Impressions/Recreation

Mary Cassatt on occasion used a technique called monoprint.

To replicate this, we painted (using thick lines) with tempura paint onto a cookie sheet and then pressed our paper down onto the paint.

The kids loved changing-it-up a little bit to make painting even more exciting.

Treyton found himself particularly taken with this activity.  He was very particular, deliberate and took his time making sure everything was just right.   IMG_2609 



IMG_2613Treyton was just as proud of his cookie sheet painting as he was the “canvas” print. IMG_2614Alexa always enjoys painting, but she had a slightly tougher time making her paint lines thick enough for the mono print. She was much more concerned about her color choices and strokes :)





IMG_2608Audrey’s big switch up for the week was using a paint brush instead of just her finger!! Big Stuff!

Coloring Page with Oil Pastels and Watercolors


IMG_1601 Quotes

“Women should be someone and not something.”


Links & Resources

Mary Cassatt Artist Study @ Squidoo 

Cassatt Monoprint Impression @ In the Sparrow’s Nest

Mary Cassatt Paintings

Online Coloring Page @ Enchanted Learning

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Field Trip: Strawberry Picking

Last week, Wednesday we went strawberry picking in Navarino.

We ended up picking 35 pounds of strawberries, and who knows how many pounds we ate while picking. IMG_2546

The kids LOVED it. I actually thought they would like it at first and then get bored, but they didn’t. IMG_2552Audrey was a little whiney but I don’t think it had anything to do with the strawberry picking. IMG_2555Alexa kept seeing a song about putting strawberries in her bucket and how much she loved it. IMG_2550Treyton just kept on competing with everyone about who could pick the most, who could pick the biggest and so on and so forth. IMG_2556Once we got home the kids and I got to work right away jamming and freezing our harvest. IMG_2564After two jamming sessions – we have 26 half pints of Strawberry Jam and over 28 cups of frozen strawberries (quartered and whole). IMG_2557I will probably jam at least another 8 cups of strawberries, but we will see when that will actually happen. IMG_2566

Finishing First Grade and MFW Adventures

I didn’t finish the year so great with posting, but we did do great finishing it well. We have had a LOT of fun with MFW Adventures this year and I highly, highly recommend the program to anyone who’s children fall into the 1st-3rd grade age group.

We finished up our state studies completing our pages and Treyton’s U.S. History Binder, which, by the way, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him more proud of any other school project he’s ever done!!

The states we finished in the last three weeks were:

  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

We also studied some of the early American inventors, the two that Treyton were most interested in were Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers. Luckily I was able to get the American Hero Classic DVDs on them both (I guess I mean all 3 of them) from the library. We have really enjoyed this series throughout our study of American History, both Treyton and I would recommend it.

Read-Alouds (I know there were others, but I already forgot which ones they were, and they were returned to the library)

  • “My Brother’s Flying Machine” by Jane Yolen
  • “Welcome to the Sea of Sand” by Jane Yolen
  • “Fire Storm” by Jean Georga
  • “The Long Way to a New Land” by Joan Sandin
    • This was Treyton’s read-aloud
  • “Thomas Edison”

We finished putting our timeline pieces on our timeline, including Hawaii becoming the last and final state, the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison.

Finishing Up – Me in the United States

I spent a day adding in some fun The United States and Me activities to personalize all that we’ve learned to them. I had each of the kids (and myself) color a US Map of each of the states that they have visited. This was interesting to see. First of all, I’ve only visited a handful of states more than what they visited and NONE of us have been further west than Minnesota, minus one visit to South Dakota for a friends wedding back in 2000. We’ve decided that our next vacation should definitely be west.

I also had the kids put together a me on the map circle project I found on pinterest. The largest circle starts with our continent and the smaller the circles get the more specific they get, all the way to our street and address.

We had so much more that we did, but I don’t have my pictures or my records out anymore (I have already filed away our records and books from last year). So this is just coming from my memory. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Day of School 2012-2013

We started school today. I wasn’t sure I was quite ready, but knew I wanted to start this week, because we have VBS next week and probably will only do a partial week (if any), and I certainly didn’t want to take 5 weeks off in a row!

Over the break, we continued to read some, but in reality we did very little review at all. Even Treyton was asking me when he was going to be learning again :).

It was a great break though, the weather was perfect (not too hot or too cold) and the kids were outside pretty much every day. We got a great start on the garden, went to the zoo a couple of times and got the house in really good order. A lot got done that needed to get done.

We took our first day of school pictures this morning, before we started. The kids were really into this year. I even printed off some signs for them.

IMG_2468 I can’t believe our first born is in second grade!! I mean seriously, where has the time gone?

IMG_2513Audrey will start Tot School sometime this year, but not quite yet. We have plans for her to start speech therapy, in home, starting next Monday. We will see how that all goes, then potty training, and finally on to Tot Schooling :) IMG_2473Alexa is in preschool, or 4-K, this year. She is eager to learn, our primary goal for this year is to teach her to read and learn to write her numbers and letters.

And just in case you didn’t have enough…. I have more pictures for you! IMG_2481