Monthly Archives: August 2011

‘B’ is also for Blueberries, Banana Bread and Beanie Balls!

We’ve been having a blast with the letter ‘B’ this week!

Brown rice farina with dried blueberries for breakfast (Our favorite breakfast no matter what the letter of the week is)

Bears marching on the ‘B’



We enjoyed beefy pasta, blueberries and blackberries for lunch…

along with a frozen blueberry greek yogurt bar for dessert.

We read Everybody Bakes Bread

and made banana bread!




Our craft for the week was “Beanie Balls”.



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Science for The Little Red Lighthouses and the Great Gray Bridge

We have so much to cover for this book that it could keep us busy with the science topics alone for the entire two weeks. We’ve been reading about the many different kinds of bridges for the last few days. Today we focused on lighthouses and learned about what they’re for, how they are all unique, and how the way they work has changed over time. We noticed in one of our library books that there seem to be so many lighthouses in Massachusetts. Elliot is anxious to see if he spots any of them when he visits the Boston area in a few weeks.

I surprised him with a lighthouse coloring book I bought at the Homeschool Book Fair back in May.



I almost forgot that I had this book stashed away. It’s the true story of young Abbie Burgess keeping her family’s lighthouse lit all on her own for four weeks. Elliot really loved it.

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Copywork for Five in a Row

I recently came across this great blog of a lady who put together some copywork sheets for ALL four volumes of Five in a Row and offers them for downloading (for free!). They are a fabulous addition to our handwriting practice. I use them in my clear plastic pockets with dry-erase markers for a couple times and then at the end of our time with a book, we’ll do it in pencil and put it in our notebook.



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Social Studies for The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

Today we read about New York City and learned about so many things such as the Hudson River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Washington Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Grand Central Station, Broadway, Chinatown, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the New York Botanical Garden, and the United Nations. Elliot is bubbling with excitement about his upcoming visit to “the big apple” and he has told me he wants to see EVERYTHING we’re reading about. Oh boy.




Here he is planning out his day in New York and what he wants to see there.

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‘B’ is for Bear

We’ve begun our ‘B’ week today. Caroline and I are reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and have lots of fun activities planned for the week.

She gets so excited to see what her special book for the week will be.

We started our day off with some blueberry whole-wheat pancakes.


books in our letter ‘B’ book basket

learning how to write the letter ‘B’




blue buttons on the ‘B’


At the end of the day I surprised the kids with some new blocks. I bought them several months ago because they’ve been wanting some like these for a while and I was waiting for the right time to bring them out.

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The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

We have moved onto our second FIAR book, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift. We’ll be learning all about New York, lighthouses, bridges, and boats.


Our story disk is placed on New York.

We’ve got such a great collection of go-alongs for this book. We’ll be doing a lot of reading over the next two weeks.

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Finishing Up a Great Week

We’ve had such a fantastic second week of school. Things are going so much better than I even expected. I’m feeling so optimistic about things and I’m so excited for what the rest of the year holds.
Today we wrapped up Mirette on the High Wire. We found a book at the Library that is the perfect transition from this book to our next book, called Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls, written by the same author. We really enjoyed reading that today. (Our next book is The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, which takes place in New York.) Elliot and I also just happen to be reading about the World Trade Center towers right now. After reading The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (such a great book!), Elliot insisted on knowing everything about about them and the tragic attacks on 9/11. (Rabbit trails are inevitable with FIAR. We fully embrace wherever a book may take us.) He’ll be taking an east coast trip with Josh next month to Boston and then to New York, and he is now really looking forward to seeing ground zero.

We went over to Williams-Sonoma this afternoon and got to take a look at some copper cookware. A saleslady even came over and explained to us why copper is such a great metal to use for cooking because it conducts heat so well. Elliot told her he knew that and she was very impressed.


Caroline completed her Letter ‘A’ week and is excitedly anticipating what book I have for her next week for letter ‘B’ and what sort of activities and crafts we’ll do. She has already completely caught onto how it works and loves her homeschool preschool “work”.

We’ve been practicing our little poem for the letter ‘A’ all week and Caroline was able to recite it on her own today.

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French Apple Tart

In one of our books about France we came across a recipe for a French apple tart so we thought we’d give it a try since we’ve got both a France and apple theme going on this week. (I just love it when we manage to combine themes in one project!) Caroline was my very eager helper, while Elliot was not as interested in the making of the tart, but definitely super interested in the eating part.



She insisted on doing the peeling/coring all on her own and proved to be quite capable.




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Handwriting….and Workbags

Handwriting and workbags have nothing to do with one another, but I’m combining the two topics for this blog entry to update how we’re liking some of the things we’ve been using this year.

For handwriting we’re still using A Reason For Handwriting and we really like it. He has four lessons in his book each week that have him practice writing words from the verse for that week. Then at the end of the week he picks a special border sheet from the back of the book to write his verse on in his very best handwriting and he is supposed to send it to a friend or family member. (That is supposed to be done Friday, but we do it Thursday after the final lesson so that we can take a break on Friday.) Elliot has enjoyed all aspects of this…he loves picking the border sheet, writing in his best handwriting, coloring it, and running it out to the mailbox to his recipient of choice when he’s all done. I love that he’s learning more scripture and the importance of good penmanship for the purpose of glorifying God (the REASON for handwriting)!




Caroline has really been enjoying her workbags and she gets very excited when I tell her I’ve got something new for her to try. It’s been really handy for me to have something easy to grab for those moments when I’m doing something with Elliot and need to occupy her (which happens SO often). When I pulled out her clothespin counting bag today, Elliot was green with envy that she had something so fun to do. I was really happy to remember that I made him a similar game for practicing math facts so I pulled it out too and they both had a blast doing their workbags. It’s made me realize I’d like to invest some more time in making even more activities like these to have on hand.





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Art for Mirette on the High Wire

Today we spent time enjoying the artwork in Mirette on the High Wire. We noticed the attention to detail in things with textures, shadows, and a variety of colors and we agreed this definitely made them more interesting.
We also noticed the Caldecott Medal on the front of the book and discussed what that means. The book was awarded the Medal for having the best illustrations in a children’s book in 1993 (the year after it was written).

Elliot attempted his own picture with extra detail. He chose watercolor as his medium (after first sketching it out in pencil).


Detail is pretty hard to do with watercolor. In case you can’t tell, on the left there is a copper pot with a dark shadow on the front (his detail).


One new thing we’re doing this year is keeping a list of special things artists can do to add interest to their work.

We’ll also be doing one for special things writers can do to make their work more interesting to the reader.

We’re also going to be keeping track of all the Caldecott Medal winners and Caldecott Honor books from this year’s FIAR collection.

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