Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas school plans!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Ours was just wonderful from start to finish. Mark is a little sore from a morning football game with the boys and friends and we all ate a tad too much pie, but I think we'll recover nicely. And tomorrow, Christmas decorations!

I thought I'd put up a quick post about our Christmas school plans, because they start next week, and if you want to join in, you might want to print them out before that.

Each year, we try to do a special study for Christmas. One year, we studied the names of Christ. One year, we studied the symbolism of the twelve days of Christmas. This year, we plan to make a Jesse tree. If you're not familiar with that, it's a series of readings that start in Genesis and go right through the Old Testament, showing how everything points to Jesus. Each day, you hang a little ornament with a picture that reminds you of the story. There are many versions online, but we chose this one, from A Holy Experience, which has beautiful ornaments to print out and laminate. Ann's writing is just beautiful too, although since it isn't the way I normally talk, I'll kind of put it in my own words for the kids.

Of course we'll be listening to Christmas music until we can sing it in our sleep and we'll be reading all of our favorite Christmas books, along with some new finds, which I will list here very soon!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Week with Ping

Ping holds a special place in my heart because this Five in a Row unit was the very first thing that Z-Man and I ever did in the way of "official" homeschooling. This week, I was so happy to re-visit it with Little Man!

Some of the things we did:
  • Found China on our huge, shower curtain map from Target. That was a great purchase.
  • Read about China in our atlas and found the Yangtze River.

  • Tried our own colored pencil sunsets, using one of the pictures in the book as a guide.

  • Read the book, Ducks by Gail Gibbons and learned about different types of ducks.
  • Learned how preening makes the duck's feathers waterproof and did an experiment where we tried to mix oil and water.

  • Read the book, Floating and Sinking by Franklyn Branley, and did our own buoyancy experiments, using this chart from We discussed what a hypothesis is and I taught Z-Man, who couldn't resist tagging along, how to calculate percentages.
All in all, a great week of fun and learning!

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Snow!

Remember that post I wrote three days ago, with the temperatures up in the sixties? Well, today it snowed.

It started like this.

It quickly progressed to this.

Naturally, even two or three flakes in the air makes it all but impossible to concentrate on writing one's letters and numbers.

Ah, now that's better.

Notice those lovely, yellow leaves still obstinately hanging on the tree? Their companions have long since been raked to the curb and swept up by the city trucks.

Ah well, maybe in the spring.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Beautiful Fall

We've had a gorgeous fall here in New York this year. This week the temperatures are forecast to be up in the sixties. In November! It just makes you want to get out there and soak up every last bit of sunlight before winter hits.

We've had lots of leaf-pile jumping here and some lovely nature walks.

We took a picture of this unusual goose so that we could try to identify it when we got home. It's a juvenile Brant, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and it was apparently just resting on it's way from the Arctic tundra to the coast of Virginia or North Carolina.

I hope you're all enjoying a lovely autumn!