Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Homemade Gifts from Adrienne

My children like to exchange gifts at Christmas. Adrienne plans ahead of time every year and starts making things for her siblings early. She is so good at this, I really admire the thought and the work she puts in these homemade gifts.

This year, she made Celeste some felt food. She saw some pasta when I was looking for ideas on what I would make, and decided to make a bunch of bow tie pasta. She also built and painted a cardboard box to put the pasta in! 

 For her brother, she found an unused wood box, painted it, and lined it with felt. She painted his name inside. She then filled it with some candy! The box is for his glasses and Andre was so pleased with it, and with his candy of course!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Giants of Science

Good morning! I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas!

Today I want to share with you a series called Giants of Science written by Kathleen Krull. I talked a little bit about the one that we already read on Isaac Newton here. We really enjoyed that particular title and will be reading two more over the coming weeks, Leonardo da Vinci and Sigmund Freud. There is one more title available on Marie Curie, you can see the full list here.

These biographies are great for children 10 and up, they are full of interesting, sometimes funny facts that make these "giants of science" more like everyday people. We laughed often while reading Isaac Newton and learned a lot at the same time.

If you would like to participate in Book Sharing Monday, please include a link to your sharing post below! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

The History of Christmas Documentary from the History Channel

This is the first part of a five-part documentary from the History Channel on the history of Christmas and the beginning of the different symbols used during the holidays. You can read more on the History Channel's site.

Book Sharing Monday :: Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever! & The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Two books today to share with you! The first one, Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever! I requested this one from our local library after reading the book sharing post at Rockhound Place. I remember having a few Richard Scarry book when I was growing up. This book is filled with fun short stories. There is also a game you can play, two songs and one activity.  

The second book, The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer. I actually shared this book last year here. It is a favourite! The Shortest Day explains what winter solstice is and the traditions over time that people followed for this occasion. The book also explains it from a science point of view, and gives activities to do.

If you would like to share your current favourite children books, please include your link to your post below. Happy Reading!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Snow, Science and Sewing!

Another weekly wrap-up? Another week has flown by! We are continuing our school work with science and math. We also finally had snow here, so the kids took advantage of it! I continued working on Celeste's felt food present, and Clara kept me company.

Here are a few photos of our week:

Lego creations..

Fun in the snow! We took a few walks with Orion, made snowmen, went sledding in the field near our house..lots of fun! The "extra kids" in the photo with the sleds are our neighbours. They all went sledding late afternoon, for only thirty minutes before the sun went down. Another beauty of homeschooling, being able to play during the day in the snow for as long as you want!

Inside, we worked on puzzles...this is a new one a dear aunt sent us in the mail:

Finally, I wanted to talk about a new-to-us series of biographies by Kathleen Krull called Giants of Science. I read Isaac Newton this week as our read aloud for science and loved it! It was very interesting, funny at times, and related perfectly to our physics studies. We will be reading Leonardo Da Vinci soon, and Andre wants to read Sigmund Freud as well. Check the other titles available here. I highly recommend the series, for children 10 and up. If you do read Isaac Newton, you might want to know that the author mentions the word "homosexual" very briefly in chapter nine. This wasn't an issue for our family, but I wanted to point it out.

I am not sure if I will be sharing a weekly wrap-up next week, but we are planning on continuing our science experiments until friday. My husband works a lot this time of year, so we rather mirror his schedule and take time off after the holidays.
If you would like to read more wrap-ups from other homeschoolers, please visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

More Paper Decorations and Felt Food Too!

These stars are easy and fun to make. I made the first one with some leftover catalogue pages and the next two are made with scrapbook paper that I have had for years!
Here is the link I used to learn how to make these: Make Hanging Christmas Stars. You can make these any size. Next we'll try smaller ones.

I also wanted to show you some of the felt food I have made. These are for Celeste's Christmas present. She asked me to make her some breakfast felt foods for her play kitchen. If you would like the links for the tutorials, please visit this post at my corner.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Holiday Books :: Sharing Three Books Today!

I couldn't decide this morning which of these three books to share with you, so here are all three! We all like them, for different reasons, one is cute, one is funny, and the third one is sweet.

"A Merry Little Christmas: Celebrate From A to Z" is written and illustrated by Mary Engelbreit. We always enjoy alphabet books and this one is no exception. The illustrations are very cute and each contains more words to find that begin with that particular letter.

"Thank you, Santa" is written by Margaret Wild and illustrated by Kerry Argent. This story is set in Australia so Christmas happens in the summer for Samantha. The story is a series of letters between Samantha and Santa throughout the year. They are pen pals and write about Samantha's visits to the zoo and Santa's reindeer.

The last book I am sharing with you today is the fun one! Celeste loved that one and I did too. "Mrs Claus Takes a Vacation" by Linas Alsenas shows Mrs Claus on her very first vacation away from the North Pole, visiting many sights around the world, but it also shows Mr Claus, still at home, worried about his wife. 

I hope you enjoyed our Book Sharing post today, and don't forget to add your link to your Book Sharing post below! Happy Reading!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Lots of Science and World Religions

This past week was great. We covered a lot of physics. We had decided to focus on science this month and this week was a great start. For our science, we don't follow a particular curriculum. You can read more details in this planning post.

We use the Usborne Science Encyclopedia to read aloud more explanations and we also use the internet links. With Celeste, I use the First Encyclopedia of Science. There are links in that book as well. I preview all the links ahead of time and bookmark the ones that I think will be of interest.

This week, we learned about speed and velocity by building an all-terrain vehicle.
We learned how to calculate its speed by doing a time test. This vehicle has a battery motor and we let it go for 10 seconds and measured how far it went. Santa took a ride too...

We learned about forces and in particular the gimbal. For this experiment we made a ship's lantern. The gimbal is a mounting system that is used for compasses and lanterns on boats.

You can see the tealight staying in a stable position, in the two photos. The first one Andre is holding the ship's lantern straight, but then in the second photo he is tilting the apparatus. Besides very tiny movements, the tealight stays in place.  

Another fun experiment was the shot put device. The shot put device has an angle indicator and a power scale as well. We tried shooting the little wooden balls using different angles and drive power. This experiment helped us understand force, trajectory, angles, and gravity. It was also a lot of fun! Once we were finished testing the different angles and distances with the numbered target board, we put a mug instead and did a little target practice!

We started learning about simple machines at the end of the week and built a lever postal scale. We talked about different simple machines as well, levers, pulleys, screws, and gears. Adrienne and Andre have both covered these before, so we didn't spend too much time on defining the terms. They did write out short definitions in their notebooks.

With each topic, they spent some time on the computer, checking out the internet links suggested in the encyclopedias that I had bookmarked. Some of their favourites this week were:

Do forces experiment with a toy truck (in the box below):


This week I started reading aloud from a great book written by Mary Pope Osborne and filled with great photographs, "One World, Many Religions: The Way We Worship". We don't follow any religion at this time, but I find it important to teach my children about all the main religions present in the world, so they can be aware of them and respect them. This book does a wonderful job of introducing seven major religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism). Each chapter is a different religion and explains where and when the religion started, the traditions, sacred writings, major holidays and ways of worshipping.
Once we are finished reading this book, we might choose to read more about a particular religion or religious leader.
This week, when we read about Christianity, we also read a fascinating book about Mother Teresa written by Demi.   I was raised Catholic, and remember learning about Mother Teresa when I was in school. She was a wondeful person and made a huge difference in many people's lives. I highly recommend this biography by Demi.
This week, we also did some recycled paper decorations. If you would like to see, visit this post.
You can see many more wrap-up posts at Weird, Unsoscialized Homeschoolers.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Recycled Paper for Holiday Decorations

After wrapping presents over the weekend, there were pieces left of the wrapping paper that were too small to use. We decided to make a guarland with those instead of just putting it in the recycle bin. This particular wrapping paper is reversible, so it was perfect for this project!

The other easy project uses a catalogue from Joe Fresh (a clothing line from our grocery store).
I had picked up the winter catalogue for Celeste, she likes to see all the fashion pictures.
Once she was done, I told her we could use it to make a big 3D snowflake (like we did last year).
We took apart the pages and Celeste chose which ones to use for the snowflake.

You can find very easy-to-follow instructions here. 
Here is one of the snowflake branches:

And here is the final complete snowflake, we like to hang ours
from the light fixture above our school table:

Monday, 6 December 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: The Beautiful Christmas Tree

The Beautiful Christmas Tree is written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene.

The story shows Mr. Crockett who moves in a small house on a fashionable street of brownstone houses. He is plain and does all the work on his little house himself. With years of attention and patience, he transforms his shabby brownstone into an elegant home and brings a scrawny, neglected tree to life, teaching his neighbours a very valuable lesson.

You can see a short preview of the book at Google books here.

"On Christmas Day, when the neighbors went to church, they glanced at each beautifully decorated tree in the window of each brownstone until they came to Mr. Crockett's house. There was a brown pot in the window with a stick of a tree, crooked and almost without needles. "Awful!" they exclaimed."

We have used a fake tree for our Christmas decorating forever. The main reason is because we don't want to cut down any more trees. That is our choice, but I know many families that prefer live Christmas trees. You can replant them, if you have space, after Christmas if you like! Here is a quick how-to explanation: How to Replant your Living Christmas Tree.

Please include your link to your Book Sharing Monday post below:

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Staycation edition!

This week, my husband was off work and we all stayed home. School work was put on hold, and we relaxed together. We also took advantage of him being home to catch up on appointments, dental and eye care in particular. We also cleaned up our finances and put the final signatures on our new mortgage. Lots of paperwork and medical stuff, but still a lot of time for playing, especially board games. We had a lot of time to hang out and chat, watch a couple of Christmas movies, and read aloud holiday stories.

We read a very funny story called The True Story of Christmas by Anne Fine. Here is the inside of the book jacket for a little summary:

"Everyone knows the story of Christmas. Decking the halls with boughs of holly. Hanging stockings by the chimney with care. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire. Then there's the true story of Christmas. And Ralph Mountfield is smack in the middle of it. Great-granny is crustier than ever. Grandpa is singing to the dog. Great-aunt Ida is completely crackers. Uncle Tristram is giving out bricks. The cousins are whining and throwing tantrums. Mum is looking for Dad. Dad is looking for aspirin. And Ralph is looking to stay out of trouble. But when a Christmas quiz brings out some hidden truths, trouble is exactly what Ralph finds. It's anything but a silent, holy night for the Mountfield family!"

We also spent some time together this week doing some crafts. We made little juggling rice bags. Andre wanted to make some at first, then the girls joined him. They have been playing with these all week.

Andre, Celeste and I went to the movie theatre on Tuesday evening and watched Tangled. Honestly, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it, based on the trailers, but I was very surprised and loved every minute of it!

Today, Adrienne went to the shooting range for the very first time with her Air Cadets squadron! She loved it, but said her elbows hurt. She was laying down shooting the rifle.

Our week off was great. Next week and for the month of December will be focusing on science, physics in particular. The kids and I decided a few weeks back to do science in December, every day. We prefer to do it this way, similar to a unit study, than only a little bit every week. Andre and Adrienne will continue on doing math, and Celeste will practice her math and reading with me too, but the focus this month will be more on science.

You can read more wrap-ups on the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers blog.


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