Cook Book for Christmas

As a Christmas present Liam received a Children’s Cookbook. I hadn’t really planned anything for the day’s lesson and grabbed the book for a possible cooking project. Well, it turned out to be a whole day’s activity! The book entails many great recipes and a bonus introduction with a How to eat Healthy page. We read together about Protein, Carbs, Fiber, Fat and Vitamins and Minerals. Liam asked do I get all those things with what I eat?  So we headed to the kitchen to read labels and see if he in fact has a balanced diet.  With that I suggested he make us a balanced family dinner. He liked that idea.  He chose a meal, and dessert. I had him look through the kitchen to see if we had all the ingredients and make a grocery list of what we needed to pick up at the store.

He chose to make Cheese and potato pockets for the meal, with broccoli, and brownies for dessert.

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He prepared the whole meal, with little assistance.  Luke ended up making the brownies with me once Liam discovered how much work the pockets entailed!

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Everything came out great, lessons learned in nutrition, preparation, measuring, team work and reading and making adjustments to the directions!

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All about Winter-Books, Activities and Animals

Briggs' illustration of the snowman.

Briggs’ illustration of the snowman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The month of December is always festive, hectic and full of events! Knowing this, I planned to have an easy breezy December homeschool schedule this year. (Not to mention a full 40 hours of work each week, being in retail) Most days we just did some quick math sheets with either a winter or Christmas theme, copywork of multiplication facts, LOF and patterns and shape matching with Luke- the rest looking back just fell into place! In covering the topic of Winter, we read many books on Hibernation, Snowflakes, The Arctic and Antarctica, The History on Christmas and Christmas traditions around the world, baking in the kitchen, and several winter outings as well.

As we wrapped things up this week before the Holiday ahead, my oldest put together this Arctic/Hibernation poster on the highlights of his studies over the month.

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Luke has been working on his patterns and using scissors as well as the what seems like…the never ending potty training! ;p His favorite book this month was  Pooch on the Loose by Steven Kroll. A story about a dog who wants to explore New York City at Christmas time. He loved it mostly because it had a map on the inside front and back cover of the book. He just loves, loves maps lately!winter 005

His other favorite is the story Jingle, both boys now have the story and the dog and have sat together a few times to read together. Love those kind of moments!

I wanted to share the books we read this month for anyone who is interested in a Unit type study on Winter, Hibernation, Snow etc.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and hold those memories in your heart! This year in wake of the recent Sandy Hook event, I will be extra thankful I get to spend mine with my family and friends (near and far)  Enjoy and I’ll share again real soon as I already see a break in work hours for January, so I’ll be planning to get more accomplished with some activities!

Cover of "Welcome to the Ice House"

Cover of Welcome to the Ice House


Book List:

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Come Look with me Animals in Art by Gladys Blizzard ( great picture study book)

The Story of Snow The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino

Ice Bear and Little Fox by Johnathan London

Welcome to the Ice House by Jane Yolen

Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Wind Blows by Marianne Berkes

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes

How do you know it’s winter? by Ruth Owen

A nice surprise for a Tuesday…

Both boys were quick to get dressed this morning and to my surprise each apparently had their own agenda for the day. As I came into the living room Luke asked me to get the map from downstairs. I asked him if he was going to build his track and take a trip through the country and he yells, great idea mom! haha! I was only joking but that’s what he did! I figure if nothing else it’s exposure to the U.S. map and he loves to look at maps anyhow, so he’s having a grand ol’ time! Lots of imagination and taking to himself out loud as he incorporates the airplanes and tractor for the attached farm.

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Meanwhile as I help him set up his tracks I notice Liam’s not around and it’s quiet…..I find him in his room listening to the rest of the book on tape he started yesterday! He loves the story and was thrilled when he realized there are three separate stories within the bundle. I have to admit the stories are pretty funny, lots of humor based on a child who’s solving mysteries around town like his idol Sherlock Holmes.train 003train 006

I had a few things planned and normally I don’t write posts on days where I have to go into work later, but given the circumstances, they’re happy and engaged so what I have planned will wait. I am a firm believer that when you follow the child’s interest and just give a little input they learn and internalize so much more than any activity that is forced under protest 😉

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Once Luke is done, we’ll listen to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We read this book often and found the audio version at the library yesterday. He listened to it before bed last night, then pretty much re-told me the entire story in his own words. (fairly close to the original wording)  Love to see his progress!

Liam’s going to do a few Christmas math worksheets and watch a video he found about the Arctic Penguins at the library yesterday.  He just came out of his room, and was laughing to himself about the story and then narrated the whole ending to me. Sounds like he’s making some personal progress too, his narrations have become very thorough and smooth in comparison to a few months ago when we first started the method of narration!

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I hope this rhythm continues for awhile as my plan is to take it easy with fun and educational activities for the month of December as a special holiday treat.

Hands on and creative learning-no lesson plans needed!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was wonderful,  filled with family and a few pre- Christmas festivities.  Last week,  Thanksgiving week, I had a busy schedule at work and decided we all needed to just take it easy as far as lessons go and just learn through play, games,crafts and books! Somehow, when it’s not labeled “school” my oldest is on board with all my ideas ;).  A few times he even made up a few of his own activities and told me what he was learning, see mom I’m doing some math right now, etc.

I did spend a fair amount of time on pinterest last week searching for some Montessori ideas for my 2yr old. I found quite a bit and tried a few of the ideas with him. I  love the Montessori method/concept as well as Reggio Emilia! Here are a few tluke 010hings we tried;art 022

Pom poms and chop sticks for fine motor development. He counted and filled up the entire bottle.







I found foam snowflakes at the dollar store and used them for patterns and counting.



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Math Fun!

A tray filled with colored water, sponge and measuring cups kept him busy for a long time! He instinctively used the words: more, less, half, and full.


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Using colored popsicle sticks, he made shapes and used lots of imagination as he spotted a rocket and a robot within the formations and ran to get a couple of his books to match up the pictures.

– My goal is to get some small circle velcro tabs to stick on to each end of the sticks, so he can really build and they’ll stay in place for him, love to see what he’ll come up with!

We also did some cooking; here is our butterscotch and chocolate popcorn.

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Using the geo board, we matched the shapes in the book to the board and he named them all, traced the elastic shape with his finger; pre-writing and math all in one! He also used our geometric shapes to fill in the negative space on the page itself.   luke 006luke 005











As we jumped back into a slightly more planned week this week, Liam started with some Christmas list math. I asked him to write a list of his family members, provided some magazines and gave him a budget to stick within as if he were actually shopping. We used play money to “buy” the items and he added and subtracted/adjusted the items as needed and really had fun doing it. He even asked if we could do it again some time.luke 009








We continued to study the Arctic and read two great books; Welcome to the Ice House by Jane Yolen and Ice Bear and Little Fox by Jonathan London. Both have beautiful illustrations and factual information within the story.

We did go a bit off track on science this week too as we viewed these great underwater science videos/lesson plans included, as I was emailed this fantastic,  site.

Geography, we read Ben’s Dream by Chris Van Allsburg. A mostly illustrated book about a boy visiting great monuments of the world as he falls asleep while studying for a test. I was pleased to see that he recognized and could name most of the structures and we discussed the location of each as well.

Polka-Bats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown was a fun poetry book we read this week as well. Liam chose one poem to copy for his copywork writing lesson. He chose Skeleton Flowers and even volunteered to do his own illustration! luke 007







In our History studies, we’re still heading westward! I read a bit of The Oregon Trail by Mel Friedman each day this week. The beginning of the book asks T or F questions to think about before reading the story, at first he just listened and then yelled, Mom!, I know all the bold face words are clues! Let me write them down as you read!……Uh, Sure! I knew they were vocabulary words and not necessarily clues, but who am I to argue?! 😉







Reindeer Do Wear Striped Underwear by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey was a fun read-aloud book this week as we head towards the Christmas season, he loves this book series! (The Bailey School Kids) All quick, easy reads that are just for fun!

That’s our week in a nutshell! Time to get ready and head to library for more books this morning and then my husbands Birthday celebration this afternoon, followed by decorating the Christmas tree tonight! Have a great weekend!