Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ NaNoWriMo Winners, Canadian History, and a Play Pledge!

I am late again for this wrap-up! We were away for a long weekend, celebrating an early Christmas with family this past weekend and this week my husband is off work!

Here is the wrap-up for last week.

On Monday, Adrienne, Andre, and I focused on writing and finished our NaNoWriMo novels! At final count, Andre had 5,161 words, Adrienne 5,175 words, and I had 50,125 words. We are all not finished with our stories and we will continue writing after a short break. I am very proud of my children for sticking with this challenge. It wasn't easy, but they perservered and won!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we covered Math and Canadian History. In Canadian History, we read a few Tales (Ti-Jean, The Cremation of Sam McGee). We talked more about the West Coast and the villages that the Natives built there. Adrienne decided she wanted to build one out of popsicle sticks. Here it is so far, she painted a cardboard box and the sticks before glueing them:

As part of Canadian History, we also read about cholera. I read aloud from Outbreak: Plagues that Changed History by Bryn Barnard. We have used this book before, and it is excellent. You can read more about this book on this Book Sharing Monday post.

Even though it was American History, Adrienne and I watched The Alamo, a great historical drama movie, but not for younger children in my opinion. We chose to watch it because it happened around the same time period that we are studying in our Canadian History. It did an excellent job of retelling the battle of the Alamo of Texas, USA. 

Finally, I wanted to tell you about the Play Pledge. This was started by the Unplugged Mom. She posted on her Facebook page the following pledge and invited others to join her:

I pledge to play with my children and encourage imaginative and outdoor play.

I pledge to encourage limited to zero computer, television and video game time.

I pledge to encourage independent creative thought by exercising pretend play and long spaces of time without any artificial media stimulation.

I pledge to learn with my children, more about the natural world around us.

I pledge to cook with my children, read aloud with them and spend time talking and finding out who they are.

I pledge to make crafts and encourage home made gift giving for the Holiday Season.

I pledge to set an example by limiting my computer and television time, creating new things with my hands, learning something new every day and engaging in imaginative play.

Our family has signed this pledge ( I printed and posted on our fridge).
If you would like to read other homeschool families wrap-up posts, please visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Holiday Books :: I Spy and 1001 Things to Spot

After writing a few days ago about our little collection of holiday books, I am starting this series of Book Sharing Monday Holiday Books with two activity books that are favourites at our house. These books are used by everyone in our house, young and old. They are a great activity to do with visiting relatives too, when waiting for dinner to be ready. 

Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas is a book filled with picture puzzles to search and solve by Walter Wick. You can play some online I spy games here. There is a written list of items to find on one side of the page along with each photo.

Usborne's 1001 Things to Spot at Christmas could be enjoyed by younger readers on their own because each double page has the list of things to spot with a picture of the item and an actual number, as opposed to the list in the I spy book. At our house, we still prefer to use these puzzle books with others, taking turns finding each set of items.

Regardless of how you use these activity books, they are a lot of fun! Both are part of a large series of books as well, for fun all year long.

If you would like to participate in Book Sharing Monday, please enter your link to your sharing post below. You can choose to share holiday themed books or winter ones, or whatever you like!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Three Winners!

They did it! Adrienne and Andre wrote each a novel of over 5,000 words. They both have told me that they are not finished and plan on continuing their stories. I am very proud of them. I typed their novels for them, to submit to NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program and I am very impressed with their imagination!

I also was able to finish my novel and submitted it this morning to NaNoWriMo. I won too! My story isn't finished either, but I am planning on taking a break now from writing!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

First the books..

Before any of the holiday decorations come out, I always pull out the books!
I have been collecting holiday books for several years now,
finding them in thrift shops for the most part. 

Putting these holiday books away during the rest of the year
reminds me of when I used to rotate toys when my kids were smaller.
They all are so happy to see these favourites come out again!

I would like to share with you our little collection and
would love to hear about your favourites.
You can leave a comment on this post, or
participate in Book Sharing Monday over the next
few weeks in November and December.


Here is a group shot!
If you are wondering what is behind the books,
they are my work-in-progress quilted reversible placemat (look here!).

We have mostly picture story books.
The Wee Sing book at the top is missing the tape,
but we keep it anyway, it gives us the lyrics.

We love the "classics":
Frosty the Snowman,
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
The Night Before Christmas.
The copy of that last one is quite small, but it is beautifully illustrated,
and it is the original text.

Here are a couple of novels we have enjoyed over
the last couple of years.

My kids love to cook, especially my oldest daughter.
We found these two cookbooks last year and
tried several recipes from each.
Cute and yummy!

Let me know what your favourite holiday books are! I am looking for suggestions for winter solstice books as well (we've enjoyed this one), or winter-themed stories related to nature.

Thank you!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Three French Hens

We are starting to get holiday books at our local library! If you look below my blog header, you will see the librarything widget that shows our current reading books for this winter season. I don't add every single book that we read, only our favourite ones.

To start off this holiday season reading, I would like to share a fun picture book called "Three French Hens" written by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Richard Egielski. This book was so much fun for me to read and Celeste loved the illustrations and the story.

The story starts this way:

"On the third day of Christmas, a mademoiselle from Paris sent her true love three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree...The hens never arrived."

The three french hens are Colette, Poulette, and Fifi and end up in New York City. They are determined to find Philippe Renard. They find instead Phil Fox, a poor, very hungry fox from the Bronx. The story has an unexpected twist and proves that the spirit of the holidays can bring the most unusual animals (or people) together.

"Bonjour! Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Monsieur Philippe Renard! sang out the three French hens. We are Colette, Poulette, and Fifi! A present from your true love!
Now, Phil knew all well and good that he was not Philippe Renard. He was very sure he wasn't anyone's true love. And he barely knew a word of French. But...Phil was a clever enough fox to recognize a free meal when he saw one. Three French hens on his doorstep? It was better than Chinese takeout! "

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Art, games and more NaNoWriMo !

This week was great again for our NaNoWriMo challenge, our word counts kept climbing all week and I am super proud of all the writing my children have done. To be clear, I haven't read any of it, but I am very impressed that they are sticking with it and getting their writing done every day. Some days are harder than others, for me as well, but we are almost done now! At last count, Andre had 4,100 words and Adrienne had 4,071. They both have a goal of 5,000 words for their NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. I am currently at 44,012 words, with a goal of 50,000 for the regular NaNoWriMo.

Adrienne has a new writing spot:

And Celeste is continuing on writing and counting her words:

We covered Math this week too, and Celeste did two days of handwriting (on top of the copywork she gave herself!) and practiced her reading, along with her math. I guess my bed is a good spot for Math!  

We read more about Canadian History, going to the West Coast and making a little detour to read about Captain James Cook. We finished the week by learning about the Overlanders and the Fraser River Gold Rush. We looked through William Hind's sketchbook from 1862 at the Archives of Canada website. Adrienne read "A Trail of Broken Dreams: The Gold Rush Diary of Harriet Palmer, Overland to Caribook, 1862" from the Dear Canada series. At the back of the book we found the historical note very interesting so I read it aloud for all of us to enjoy.

One of William Hind's sketches:

We spent Friday afternoon doing some art from the Watercolour for the Artistically Undiscovered workbook. This time we took our splatter paintings and cut them in whatever shapes we felt like and made new pictures from those cuttings. We all enjoyed this activity and I loved seeing the creativity of each of my children come through:

Andre's page:

I love this guy, the Disco Man, from Andre's page!

 and how about this Dead Turtle, also from Andre?

These aliens are from Celeste's page:

Adrienne's page included this beautiful girl with crown and dress:

Flower from Adrienne:

and of course, a skull!

Celeste and I have been working on a holiday garland made of felt. She is helping me sew a blanket stitch around these little circles of felt:

Here are some of the finished ones:

If you would like the directions, click here.  They are fun and easy to make!

This wrap-up post finishes with a game that Adrienne and I love to play together, Blokus. It's a great strategy board game, but honestly we just think it's fun! With homeschooling, I love that we can spend time, as long as we want, playing together. We also played Labyrinth , another one of our favourites.

If you like to read more wrap-up posts, please visit the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers blog.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Book Sharing Monday :: Tracks in the Snow and Who Likes Rain?

Celeste loved these two little books by Wong Herbert Yee.
They are both rhyming picture books with lovely illustrations. 

The first one I am sharing is "Tracks in the Snow". 
The litle girl finds some tracks in the snow and is determined to find out who made them.  

The second picture book is "Who Likes Rain?".
The same little girl is here again, this time it's Spring time.
She discovers who likes rain, and who doesn't!

This author has many more wonderful picture books, you can find out more on his website here.
If you are participating in Book Sharing Monday, please include your link below! Thank you and happy reading!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Remembrance Day and NaNoWriMo

I changed the name of my weekly report because I decided to join the homeschool weekly wrap-up at  Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. There are many participants there! I also didn't feel that "report" really described what this has evolved to. I am trying to let go of some of our more "school" style work, leaning towards a bit of unschooling or at least interest-based learning. I also much rather share what we are doing in general, not just what I can fit under a subject category!
I hope you will enjoy reading my weekly wrap-up.

I need to start my weekly report with last Sunday, November 7th. Adrienne is part of the Air Cadets and was in the parade and ceremonies for Remembrance Day that took place in the city of Windsor. The parade was quite long. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police was represented, along with various cadets (army, sea, and air), the Windsor Police Pipe Band, Naval Reserves and lots more. I was on the side with Andre and Celeste, watching the whole procession.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

Windsor Police Pipe Band:

The start of the Air Cadets. The squadron has over 150 cadets, it's one the largest one in Canada now! There was an excellent turn out for this parade.

Adrienne (in white) did not have all the uniform pieces yet,
so she wore her civilian clothing for this parade. (It makes it very easy for me to spot her!).

During the ceremony, at the Cenotaph:

Air Cadets marching back after the ceremony:

The Sea Cadets:

This photo below has nothing to do with learning, but represents us well. We are in the car, parked in my husband's work parking lot. Our family has one car, which means that whenever we go somewhere, we might have to drop off and pick up my husband from work. Last Sunday, he was working until seven, so we attended the Remembrance Day parade during the day, then did some errands and finally went to pick him up. We usually have a chance to chat while we are waiting for him, or we listen to music, or goof around with the camera. We try to have fun together, no matter where we are! 

This week, we continued with our math and language arts. Even if we are leaning towards unschooling, I feel that my children still need to cover those subjects. 

In Math, Adrienne has taken a break from her Teaching Textbook Algebra to read a series of books by Danica McKellar. She was having some trouble with a particular concept in algebra and we researched some books at the library. Adrienne was interested in these, and so she has read some of the chapters in Math Doesn't Suck   and is now almost finished the Kiss My Math . She has told me that she really likes these and that Danica has explained concepts in a very helpful and fun way. Math and fun in the same sentence? I might just have to read one of her books..

Andre worked on his Teaching Textbooks 6. He is doing very well on it, which is wonderful to see.

Celeste and I worked through addition and subtraction with her Miquon Math. She keeps on telling me that Math is her favourite! She also practiced reading and handwriting.

I read aloud more Canadian History using the Story of Canada and the Spirit of Canada. This week we went West and learned about Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the Red River War and the Northwest Passage by Alexander Mackenzie, the explorer. While we were reading about all this, we came upon the name Marie-Anne Gaboury, which was the wife of Jean-Baptiste Lagimodiere, a couple that moved west from Quebec with the North West Company. Her last name is very very close to my maiden name, you would just have to change one letter! I am now very curious to know if there is a connection!

We also spent some time with art and music this week, learning about and listening to Robert Schumann . We also read about and looked at the art of John Singleton Copley. Andre and I were fascinated by the details on this painting called "Watson and the Shark" below. Adrienne prefered the one after that, "The Boy with the Squirrel".

On Remembrance Day, we spent some time reading about the poem "In Flanders Fiels" by John McCrae. I read aloud an excellent biography of John McCrae called Remembering John McCrae by Linda Granfield. This book had many photographs, documents, and images that made the biography very interesting.

A good part of our time during this past week was also dedicated to writing for NaNoWriMo. We are now all past our half way point in word counts!

Adrienne decided one day to set up a fashion photo shoot in her bedroom for the American Girl dolls that she and Celeste have. She also made a lot of the clothes.  I haven't seen the final photos yet but she has been busy with that project!

Andre and I have been watching a History Channel show called Ancient Aliens. He is always fascinated by ancient history and also by unexplained events. We are now at Episode 3 "The Mission" of the first season. We have watched this on youtube, here is a link if you are interested to the first episode of the first season: The Evidence. Here is a little explanation of the show from its main website:

"According to ancient alien theorists, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history. But how did this concept develop, and is there any evidence to support it?
Most ancient alien theorists, including von Däniken, point to two types of evidence to support their ideas. The first is ancient religious texts in which humans witness and interact with gods or other heavenly beings who descend from the sky—sometimes in vehicles resembling spaceships—and possess spectacular powers. The second is physical specimens such as artwork depicting alien-like figures and ancient architectural marvels like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt."

Thank you for reading this far! If you enjoyed reading our weekly wrap-up, leave a comment and say hello! Also, you can visit this week's wrap-up with many other home learning families reports here.


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