My Babies
Lucky Number 13

What We're up to This Week

I realized it's been a while since I posted a bulletin board picture! And truth be told, it's been a while since I did a bulletin board, LOL! I really love having such a visual representation of our homeschooling week, but the reality is, it takes a bit of time to put together. Here is how ours looks tonight:

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And now for the breakdown. Clockwise from lower left corner:

~ A wedding picture of Bill and me - tomorrow is our "family's birthday!" :)

~ Sight words flashcards - Crackerjack is working with these right now. This week  he will be making a sight words journal. Every day he will write down a new sight word, and use each one in a sentence.

~ Chipmunk flashcard - in nature study this month we are concentrating on the theme of hibernation/migration. There is a wonderful chapter in Small Wonders (one of our pre-K nature resources) called "Chipmunks and their Cousins." A few of our activities this week:

  • Making red squirrel "pine cones" (pretzel rods with peanut butter and almond slices stuck all over the sides).
  • Walking the branches. (The boys will try to run along - and stay on - a length of rope in order to emulate how nimble a chipmunk must be when scurrying over branches).
  • Hide and remember the nuts. (The boys will each hide 3 marbles somewhere in the house and then a few days later try to remember where they hid them.)
  • Looking for signs. (We'll look for clues that show where chipmunks and squirrels have been - half chewed pinecones or cracked open nuts, dreys in the almost-bare trees.)

~ A hedgehog biscuit recipe for our European Wildlife study! (See next note for more info.)

~ A map of Europe with a picture of Hedgie attached - Since we are studying European history and geography this year, I thought it would be fun to look at the animals native to this continent. We are starting with hedgehogs this month, by:

(Later on we'll look at badgers, red squirrels, barn owls, dormice, foxes, robins, and hares. All the likely Redwall suspects and Beatrix Potter characters! If you can think of any others, please let us know!)

~ In the center of the board is a fleur-de-lis pattern, part of our history this week. I have decided to go back to using The Story of the World: Volume Two (Middle Ages) this year instead of just winging a homemade unit study. "Winging it" is great fun, but I simply do not have the time (or energy) right now for that. SOTW will serve as a spine, providing excellent reading, mapwork, activities and a list of great books for each topic. This week we are starting with chapter 11, "Kingdom of the Franks." IF I have the time, I would love to make the fleur-de-lis capes suggested as an activity. All I need is the royal blue fabric - I have all the other materials to turn this template into a stamp. I think the boys (especially Crackerjack) would love this.

~ Saturday is the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude. I have these two little wooden stick people for the boys to turn into each saint (each one will be holding his symbolic red shield). I got this idea from Alice's fantastic wooden spoon saints craft, which I've mentioned before and yet STILL I managed to forget the wooden spoons at the craft store this weekend. Happily I found these little guys in an old box of craft materials and I think they should turn out all right. I learned at www.catholicculture.org that Christian tradition holds you were to start assembling (or perhaps begging for) your ingredients to make soul cakes on this day. (I happened to find a lovely recipe in Mrs. Sharp's Traditions and as Saturday happens to be my marketing day, this should work out well.) I will also have Bookworm look up the Letter of Jude in the New Testament and choose a few sentences as copywork.

~ In the lower right corner is a wonderful rosary image I discovered in Bookworm's CCD text. I'd like to bring this picture to the boys' attention and renew our rosary devotion as October draws to a close. I have a wonderful coloring book filled with images of Our Lady. This week we will color the image of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and add it to our Faith & Family notebook.

~ Bookworm is learning the Morning Offering in CCD this week - I put up our holy card of this prayer for his reference.

~ Saint George and the Dragon - the 2nd grade CCD group is holding an All Saints Day party this week! Crackerjack is so excited! The kids have been asked to dress as their favorite saints and CJ's is none other than St. George. He'll be wearing Bookworm's old knight costume and carrying his (defeated) dragon. (You can just bet I'll take pictures!) To get in the proper mood, we'll be reading this book, which I might have to say is his all-time favorite.

~ Lastly, in the upper right hand corner are a few things for tomorrow which in addition to being my anniversary is also the feast day of Saint John of Capistrano. Pictured here is a cliff swallow (as in the ones that leave the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, CA every year on this date). I thought it would be fun to read up on this interesting phenomenon, locate Capistrano, Italy as well as the California mission on the map.  There is a nice passage in Magnificat we can use as copywork. I also added a picture of a starling - the reason being, we've been watching huge flocks of them acting very strangely and we'd like to investigate what they are doing! What do they do for the winter - are they preparing to migrate, like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano do each year? Or will they stay with us all winter long?

Finally, I have to show you something that just could not fit on our bulletin board! My dear friend Beth, who knows how crazy Earlybird is about planets, allowed us to borrow this enormous set of planetary posters. This was the only wall I could fit them on, and still I had to squish them together! This week we will make up fact cards to place on the planets. (Thanks again, Beth! You can probably imagine how happy these make EB!)

Solar_system2

I've run out of steam, but I was hoping to show you my weekly folder of lesson planning stuff. Here is a quick look at the folder once I had filled it up.  My new thing is using a blank week-at-a-glance calendar page taped onto the front. On it I note our what activites, chores and lesson times we have scheduled this week ...

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And inside I have a lesson planning page stapled on the left and all the materials I've gathered for the week on the right.

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My goal is to have a folder like this for each week of the year. At the end of the week, I'll have a quick reference for the week that was. I'll add a few notes and then file it away. It's not a perfect system, but it seems to be working pretty well so far.

So there's our week's hopes and goals in a nutshell. I hope you all enjoy this upcoming week, too!

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