WWU: The Human Body

Posted January 23, 2015 By Jill

I don’t have any awesome pictures this week, we did a lot more reading and other activities, not much to actually capture.


The kids spent most of the weekend outside. We have had unseasonably warm weather this week (unlike last week, which was unseasonably cold, go figure.) Either way, they’ve enjoyed their freedom in the afternoons to play, play, play. Their dad put up a tire swing, straightened up an old swing set the church had removed (we took the good timbers and he built on to it.) They played out in the garage doing a lot of various things, and he’s really good about involving them, asking them questions, and pushing their knowledge, so I have no doubt they learned the whole time he was staining the entertainment center he’s working on for us.


On Sunday we arranged for a playdate of sorts with one of the girls in church. An couple with grown kids takes these kids to SS, church, and then to McDonald’s afterward–it’s probably the most adult contact they get other than public school, as their home life isn’t the best. Anyway, she’s the only girl, so we went to the restaurant, too, and the kids played.


We also signed the oldest up for t-ball for the spring. She wanted to sign up for football in the fall, but I guess that’s been canned in favor of soccer being ‘more safe’… so they aren’t doing football anymore. So she’ll either do soccer or revert back to swimming.

Monday January 19, 2015


We played their new ‘if you give a mouse a cookie’ game, and took the time to count out loud for the 3 year old, reminding the 6 year old what rules meant, etc. Then we read the book along with the game. (both items came from their happy meals.)

Reading  out loud:

Questions kids ask about the human body by Grolier Limited
I wonder why I blink and other questions kids as about my body by Brigid Avison

They covered everything from gigantism to why you hiccup. These were exceptionally long books and I was ready to be done by that point, but we pressed on…

Super fast science experiment: Try talking with your finger on your tongue.
3 year old:

Worked on letter F: discussed things that started with the letter (also discussed G) and did worksheets – see below

6 year old:

We worked together and orally finished the Florence Nightingale primer book. I finally realized that I was correct, the attempting to spell and write everything required was just too much for her, she knew the answers, but trying to painstakingly copy or ask every word’s spelling was overwhelming. I didn’t see the point in carrying it over into another week when she just doesn’t have the fundamentals down yet. She still understood it all, even if she couldn’t write it yet!

Worked on letters F and G, discussed things that started with the letter and did worksheets from education.com and Little Learning Lovies, plus Frugal homeschool families (Frozen pack)




Super fast science experiment: Take each person’s temperature with a forehead thermometer.
We discussed a normal temperature and why they chose the ‘colors’ for the forehead thermometer (green is okay, red is bad) and how to feel better if you are sick (rest, doctor).
Made a birthday card and a get well card for relatives.

3 year old:

Worked on counting down to 10 through fingerplays and songs (10 in a bed, etc) also parts of body through songs (little tommy thumb, where is thumbkin)

6 year old:

Independent reading: The Panda Puzzle (A-Z Mystery) by Ron Roy




We all went to the library for story time. They listened to several stories and then picked out books to bring home.
We worked on finger plays and counting down from 20 to 0.

3 year old:

The Gift of the Snowflake by McMullen
Always Tell the Truth by Disney

6 year old:

Played with Legos
Played bunny math on the tablet (addition)
Chapter/independent reading:
Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth
Geronimo Stilton singing sensation


Thursday January 22, 2015

We worked on counting down from 25 together, did fingerplays and songs relating to topic (I’m a teapot, this is the way we brush our teeth).
Talked about where organs are in your body and showed outline ‘flashcards’ from the ‘Thematic Unit’ book I got from the library.
Viewed animaniacs ‘parts of the brain’.
We discussed doctors, nurses, special types of doctors, what tools they use, what clothes they wear, how they diagnose what’s wrong, where they work, etc.
We discussed healthy choices, things that keep our body healthy (Sleep, nutritious food, washing hands, exercise etc.)
We discussed how all people are the same, have the same organs (except reproductive are different), no matter what their outsides look like, and showed blank body outlines for examples, babies have organs, etc.

Read topical books together:

The Tooth Book by LeSieg
I know why I brush my teeth by Rowan
It’s not easy being big by St. Pierre
The Ear Book by Perkins
Gerald McBoing Boing by Dr. Seuss
The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body by Cole – This is a unit study in one book, crazy how much information this book contains!

3 year old:

Letter G worksheets

I gave her an oral quiz on what we’d learned so far in the topic (books we’d read, etc) and she did really well.
I had her point to the part of the body several organs or body parts were in and she did really well.
Watched an episode of Doc McStuffins and identified tools.


6 year old:

F and G worksheets (carried over for practice)
Lego building, block building, role playing
Keeley helped to read: Oh say can you say by Dr. Seuss
Minecraft addition worksheet of double digit numbers (carried over to 100’s level) from here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/192036371587148375/

Independent reading:

Usborne Flap books: First Picture Spanish (she guessed what the words meant and used the flaps to see if she was right)
The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip by Cole


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Weekly Wrap-Up

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Top Reading Events for 2015

Posted January 21, 2015 By Jill


Falling down on your resolutions already? Want a goal that makes you feel good?
Make an easy pledge this year: Read more!


It’s fun, it’s educational, portable, comes in an e-version if so desired, practically everyone can do it, and even if that means you are reading TO someone else, get the whole family involved! This year my 6 year old and I both pledged to read 50 books (her kids books, and YA+ for me)– I don’t count the tiny kids books I read out loud to them- fairly certain I’d be at 50 already!


Need more prompting to get you started? Save the following dates on your calendar to jump into a good book!


January 23, 2015: National Reading Day

This one’s for K-3 (specifically in schools). If you follow the rabbit hole, there’s a link for free books. I’m going to give it a shot!


January 24, 2015: National Readathon Day

An undertaking sponsored by Goodreads, the National Book Foundation, Penguin Random House, and Mashable, it’s a nationwide (although outside the US? Don’t let it stop you!) marathon reading session from noon to four. Four hours just for me? Yes please!


February 5, 2015: Harry Potter Book Night

Sponsored by Bloomsbury, you can still get a party kit here HP Party Kit.


March 2, 2015: Read Across America Day

Celebrate Seuss, who turns 111 this year! To see how we’ve celebrated in the past, click here!


April 12, 2015: DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Day [website currently down]


April 12-18: National Library Week

Celebrate with the ALA and the theme “Unlimited possibilities @ your library®” Honor your local librarians, bookmobiles, and all they do for your family and community!


April 16: Teen Literature Day

Break out a copy of Hunger Games, Twilight, or Divergent and read until you crave pizza!


June – August, 2015: Summer Reading programs

Get involved at your local library, and read, read, read! Challenges, activities and prizes await the kids (and grown-ups, too!) Don’t restrict yourself to one, if you crave more, find a few local libraries and dive into selected programs at each!


September 8, 2015: International Literacy Day

Everyone is doing it, all around the world, celebrate the privilege and READ!


September 27 through October 3: Banned Books Week

Be a rebel, the best books are banned! Harry Potter, Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, Animal Farm or any other frequently challenged book can be your pick this week.


November: National Picture Book Month

Even grown ups love pictures! If your kids are too big, get one and donate it to the library, share it with a friend, or volunteer to read aloud for a group of your choice. Celebrate the first steps to reading, even if you are beyond this stage in your own house!


November 1, 2015: National Family Literacy Day (US)

Get the whole family absorbed in a book. Read together, or camp out in different parts of the house. Raid used bookstores if you all want to read the same book and have your own mini book club discussion! Make it a party!

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Seeing your partner

Posted January 20, 2015 By Jill

A former schoolmate of mine shared this link on facebook… take a minute and read it…




It reminds me of late night chats in college, where your friendships deepen and become life long bonds. It reminds me, too, of long nights talking with my husband pre-wedding, when we had nothing but time seemingly. Now it seems like we have everything but….


The last time I looked at him for 4 minutes? It has to be years. Years since we’ve seen each other that close for that long. There’s always a swollen belly, baby’s soft head, toddler’s tousled brow, a pre-schooler’s relentless questions, and the noise, noise, noise that comes with a busy household in between. Brief glances here, shared giggles over a mussed bed in a stolen moment between requests for nursing, diapers, help on and off the potty, another story, another snack, or one more glass of milk. But kids are only kids for so long. Our partnership is a real TDDUP one. Where we said our vows and meant them. Youthful enthusiasm, and all.


We couldn’t possibly know what lay ahead. The surgeries, the babies, the up all nights, the panic, the late night I love you’s given across the phone wires to sleepy eyed kids missing their daddy. We couldn’t possibly see the lack of date nights, the missed chances to connect, because for ONCE everyone took a nap and we were so surprised that we just watched tv, knowing any minute they would be up. Last weekend we spent 3 hours cleaning out a filing cabinet. Yes, I’d love that time back, I really would, but we chatted, and it was useful, so I guess even though we didn’t look deeply into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes, we still made progress toward one of our goals, so I guess that’s something.


Perhaps after you’ve been married for a dozen years, and you’ve GONE through all those things together, you no longer need to see them for 4 minutes straight? Perhaps if you’re already in love you don’t need to see them quite so closely? Or perhaps it’s not about the sight at all, but just about the being together. I hope you’ll forgive the bluntness, but after all, blind people fall in love and they don’t stare at their partners, seeing them deeply (not visually, anyway)…


Yes, seeing your partner is important, but perhaps it’s the time that matters more.


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WWU: Nightingale Week 3 Jan 12-15

Posted January 16, 2015 By Jill
Weekly Wrap-Up


I take Friday as a day to try and catch up with things, but the kids still learn, anyway….


The cards that the kids made last week, they put in the mailbox on Friday, the day our (grown-up) friend was meant to have surgery, which was later postponed, but we received a thank you call Saturday afternoon when he received the cards. The kids got a lot of exercise walking up the hill to the mailbox and we discussed how to make sure the mailman would find the cards and send them out.

Being nightingales

Being nightingales

They also worked on trying to make towers that were more stable or less stable, and we discussed why the 3 year old’s (very short and thick tower on the left) was more stable than the gangly one the 6 year old built.

Immediately before collapse

Immediately before collapse


Monday Jan 12

Read together:

  • Why do some kids have freckles? (Disney) by Alexandra Parsons
  • Florence Nightingale by Demi (biography)
  • Keeley read chapter books Friday-Monday:
    • The case of Hermie the missing hamster by James Preller
    • The quicksand question by Ron Roy
    • Valentine’s day disaster by Geronimo Stilton
    • Red Alert by Jenny Dale
    • Perfect Puppy by Jenny Dale
    • Red Pizzas for a blue count by Geronimo Stilton

3 year old:

  • Did a couple of FN worksheets from the primer book, one of them you had to count the sides and realize which shapes had 4 side to put together a sentence.
  • Letter/shape worksheets

6 year old:

  • Did a couple of Florence Nightingale worksheets deciphering codes, writing sentences
  • Drew doors, windows, on a cardboard box for a mini doll house art project (dad cut the holes)
  • Created invitation for tea party using color and font relative to the time period and delivered by hand
    • Learned about various teas in the Victorian era and what they were called, and decided on a type given the availability of foodstuffs
    • Made scones and helped pick out items to serve
    • Helped to clear and set the table for tea
    • Fancy dress-up
    • Welcomed guests, offered food and tea, discussed table etiquette
Tea party ambiance provided by Florence Nightingale (battery powered) lanterns.

Tea party ambiance provided by Florence Nightingale (battery powered) lanterns.

Tuesday Jan 13


  • Worked on the beginning sounds of S and T, reviewed I and P, these are the last letters that are ‘separate’ of the kids and will work through alphabet together now.
  • Made snowmen crafts, and listened to snowmen stories at the library party

3 year old:

  • Worked on letter S and T worksheets from education.com
  • Worked on shape worksheets and coloring
  • Used math block manipulatives to count to 25, then worked on value, is 25 together the same as 25 broken into pieces, etc.

6 year old:

  • Completed a few Florence Nightingale worksheets from the primer book (see week 1 for info)
  • Worked on art project using a variety of medium (marker, pencil, washi tape), added a door and window to her project
This is pre-washi tape. I'll have to take a photo when she says she's done...

This is pre-washi tape. I’ll have to take a photo when she says she’s done…

Wednesday Jan 14


Today we had a reading out loud day and I read ‘High Time for Heroes’ from the Magic Tree House series.

3 year old:

  • Read books in bed
  • Played educational phonics games on the tablet
  • Played with play-doh and worked on beginning sounds (although she may still think that it’s call ‘pluto’)

6 year old:

  • Worked on doll house art project using a variety of medium for most of the day, added drawings to the inside and outside, stabilized corners, etc
  • Played with play-doh: Made faces, covered a plastic knife to make a sword, talked about colors, made pretend pie and talked about math, etc.
  • We worked on the idea of taking care of a guest and also being a role model to younger siblings for character building.
They go for a drive.. almost

They go for a drive.. almost

upset bird gets cookie, awww

upset bird gets cookie, awww

Thursday Jan 15


  • Attended library center time focused on Mo Willems
  • Listened to books, participated in music time
  • Painted a Mo Willems book picture using watercolors

3 year old:

  • Listened to stories
    • Rainbow fish by Pfister
    • Pete the Cat and the Magic Sunglasses by Dean
    • Piggie Pie by Palatini
    • Captain Hog and the Mission to the Stars by Postgate
    • My ‘S’ Book by Moncure
    • Ice Cream for Everyone by M. Parker
    • Blueberries for Sal by McClosky

6 year old:

  • Read books independently
    • Junie B Jones is a Graduation Girl by Park
    • Dinofours- My seeds won’t grow by Metzger
    • Junie B Jones has a peeep in her pocket by Park
    • Junie B First Grade Cheater Pants by Park
    • Dinofours we love mud by Metzger
    • The Rainbow Fish by Pfister
    • Big Bird Meets Santa Claus
    • Blueberries for Sal by McClosky
    • The monster under the shed (Thomas Train book)
    • Big Bird’s Ticklish Christmas
  • Added more decorations to her art project/dollhouse.


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5 Unexpected gifts of home schooling

Posted January 11, 2015 By Jill

In a way you could say we’ve always home schooled our kids. From birth we teach them how to eat, sleep, walk, talk, run, jump, play, and then the real fun begins. You realize that all along they’ve been teaching themselves. When we put our oldest in Kindergarten, we had become convinced that it was the next logical step. She was resisting doing work at home, anxious to be like ‘all the other kids’ and ready to plunge into the world of rank and file… literally. For various reasons I’m not really ready to plumb in this post, we decided that semester was a good time to make the break, and not continue on through the year.


unexpected gifts

unexpected gifts


After 2 full weeks of ‘classes’- and this I giggle at, of course since our way of schooling looks nothing like a classroom- we are prepping to start a third, and we’ve found some unexpected gifts lurking in the woodwork. Would some of these have happened had we not put our oldest in school? I’m not sure. But they’re blessings all the same.


1. Impromptu sleepovers=Tired of being told ‘no’ for sleepovers because of school, the kids have latched onto the idea of having a sleepover at least once a weekend. So far the longest they’ve lasted is about half an hour, but they continue to ask, and we don’t feel bad saying ‘yes’… because even if they managed to stay quiet while staying up, or had a bad night’s sleep, they can rest later. Actually, nearly everything impromptu is okay now. Plus who doesn’t love making your own schedule and getting everything done in your pj’s?

2. Sisterly bonding time-=forget sleepovers. They’re playing dress up, taking care of their babies, getting into lots of trouble for talking too loudly, and yes, fighting. It goes with the territory. Also our baby learned a lot in the last 4 months. From crawling to walking, and forming babble into the beginnings of words, 2 teeth to 6, and so on.  K and C have always been thick as thieves. But between early to bed, early to rise, and homework and dinner, plus activities, she barely got to say more than hi and bye to her baby sister. Now they hug, kiss, snuggle, and, yes, chase each other every day. I haven’t heard this many giggles in months!

3. No morning rush + no evening rush = peace. While we still endeavor for the kids to get MAXIMUM sleep, it doesn’t matter that they’re not in bed by 7 and awake by 6 (torture, I tell you) and then spend 40 minutes saying ‘hurry up and eat, brush your teeth, did you go to the bathroom?’ and repeat it 15 times, getting more anxious as the minutes wear on.. and on..My oldest was tired of missing out on evening fun because an early bus ride meant no staying up. Since she can stay up a modest amount later, she gets more time with EVERYONE in the family.

4. Return of curiosity= Exhausted from running nearly non-stop, on weekends all my kid wanted to do was zone out in front of the tv, read a book, or play outside. She wasn’t willing to learn, explore, or question anything. While she perfected the monkey bars (and got a nasty bruise in the process), she wasn’t our go-getting kid anymore. Now? She’s excited to learn every day.

5. Dramatic change in personality= Kids on the bus picked on her, she was bored in class, and the list went on and on. Every day was a whine. A complaint. Tears. Frustration. Two weeks later, she’s rarely frustrated, most of the odd ticks she picked up from other kids have dissipated, and her vocabulary and behavior are improving daily.


While this is certainly a short list, it does cover a lot of bases that are important to us. We still have some kinks to work out. Sadly, the system made lying seem WAY more effective than truth telling, something we really don’t appreciate here. Daily there’s something else that we need to suss out as real vs. imagined. Tattling, refusing to eat, forgetting to use the bathroom, and more are still issues we need to work on… but we’ll get there.

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Weekly Wrap Up: Nightingale week 2 Jan 5-8

Posted January 9, 2015 By Jill

Linking to the WWU. To find out more click HERE.

Weekly Wrap-Up

This weekend we all packed into the vehicle and took in the recycling to a neighboring town. We had 3 large containers of it (and recycle as much if not more than we send to the landfill each week.) After that we took the kids into McDonald’s to spend their arch cards that they got from the ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ celebration at church from a couple of weeks ago. Burgers and fries and toys, oh my! The girls used their cards (sliding through the slider was a big deal to ‘pay’) and after their ahem discontent with being given ‘girls toys’ the oldest went up with daddy to ask for ‘boy toys’ which included a spy watch and spy scope.

I ate my apples first! Dad got my fries! But the double kids burger was all mine!

I ate my apples first! Dad got my fries! But the double kids burger was all mine!

Much better than the fairy princess things in their estimation. At least this time. We rely on take out in spurts, mostly during times heavy with doctor’s appointments or other activities that make us short on time, but this was the first time we’d had something like that in a while. Usually if we’re doing anything it’s pizza or mexican food (supporting a local restaurant.) It was a whim thing, but both kids chose fruit as their side dish, and I’m thankful that they make such good decisions.


Mmm! See my orange?!?

They both really packed in the food, probably because it’s a ‘treat’ paid for by someone else and they knew it, combined with the fact that over the weekend the weather was balmy for our area and they were able to play outside or in the garage even though it was chilly (bundled up)… they still burned a lot of calories with their play! The baby had already eaten, but I gave her an applesauce pouch at the end to keep her entertained.

Hi-ing to all the folks.

Hi-ing to all the folks.



3 year old

-She traced letters and worked on P and I letter sheets (education.com) and then counted from 1-20. Later she used her snack to count to 20, placing the snack into rows of 5, and saying how many more she needed to finish out her rows to reach 20. She worked on a coloring page with BRAND NEW! crayons. She is used to using toddler crayons and the new regular size crayons made her hands hurt, so she stopped part of the way through. We discussed body parts and pointed to them on self and worksheet.

6 year old

-Coloring page, 2 math pages that allowed recognition of even or odd numbers, and a language arts page that involved writing in key terms from FN’s life to create a short biography. She also counted by 2’s start at 1 and 2 in order to figure out even and odd concepts. These were from Florence Nightingale movie/workbook set “Animated Hero Classics.” She counted out a snack by 2’s. She also labeled a human body parts page with simple body parts (education.com.)


K and I took turns reading ‘A Doctor’s Busy Day’ by Nicole Boyd. We looked at pictures of nurses training in ‘American Women and WWII’ by Doris Weatherford in the chapter on ‘Nightingales.’ We discussed terms a doctor uses like ‘on call’ and the importance of washing hands in between patients. Introduced the topic of temperature and fever and how germs are spread in hospitals if doctors and patients aren’t careful. Discussed the importance of clean drinking water.

I set up ‘Brainzy’ accounts for each kid, and started them on the pre-school level of game. Some of the items were too dextrous for the 3 year old to do, and of course she was supervised the whole time. I let the 6 year old read the stories and complete the activities for a set time and then set it aside for another time. The math skills were basically counting and recognizing numbers for the pre-K set, but something my oldest did while in Kindergarten first semester, so not too bad. I will be excited to see what else it has in store. This site is related to education.com and I won the subscription for a year from geekmom blog (I use the education.com worksheets a lot because they are bright and colorful and ended up purchasing a discounted PLUS membership for unloaded downloads.)



3 year old

– She traced her shapes and named them (1+1+1 from the Doc McStuffins pack), and traced her capital alphabet letters. We also used the P and I letter sheets from education.com, which allows for recognizing and circling lower case letters, writing both upper and lower, and guessing words via pictures that start with that letter.  She worked on an independent coloring page, trying out ‘skinny’ crayons for dexterity. Still working on counting. She skips 15 every.single.time and then gets messed up from there. I know, she’s only 3, so we’re working on it!

6 year old

-She started a coloring page, and then moved onto 2 math pages, one that involved learning what a multiple was and recognizing multiples of 5 and writing a phrase decoded from the page, and the second involved matching answers to simple addition and subtraction (probably difficult for many her age, but easy enough for her)– by drawing lines, and then again decoding the letters in order to solve for a phrase involving Florence Nightingale, describing the reason she didn’t immediately start a school for nurses (war) and the sacrifices she made in order to progress the field of nursing and the state of hospitals to what they are today. Her language/history page included a key for writing down/recognizing different countries flags and where important events in FN’s life took place. She counted by 5’s to figure out multiples of 5. All worksheets were from the Florence Nightingale movie/workbook set “Animated Hero Classics.”

Chapter book reading:

Junie B, First Grader, Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park (oral report)
Junie B. Jones and that Meanie Jim’s Birthday by Barbara Park
A-Z mysteries the White Wolf by Ron Roy


K and I took turns reading the ‘Heroes for All Times’ Fact tracker from the Magic Tree House series involving Florence Nightingale. It included biographical information and a bit about doctors without borders. The fact tracker was quite in depth about the spread of diseases and this reinforced our discussions about having to have clean conditions in hospitals and where you live. We discussed sanitizing of bandages, (diapers and clothes in our house, and how I sanitize screens, remotes, door handles, etc. when everyone is sick), and how modern hospitals use disposable options like band-aids and gauze to avoid the spread of infection.




Science/Engineering: Built towers with wooden blocks and balanced toys on top.

3 year old

I read books that started with the letter P or had P characters in them: 3 little pigs, Poky little Puppy, 2 crazy pigs, Pete’s a Pizza, etc.

6 year old

Art time: Made a card for a friend who is having surgery.

Language Arts: Wrote down key words about FN, used a rhyming dictionary (with help) to find rhymes of the keywords, and then wrote sentences to form a poem.

Florence Nightingale Poem

Florence Nightingale Poem

History: Played BBC Game about FN online, read facts, discussed new information, viewed drawings and photos and printed certificate: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/192036371586995345/


Florence Nightingale Game


Completion Certificate


I used ‘stale’ cookies and ice cream and the kids got ice cream cookie sandwiches.





6 year old

Language: Used flash cards we already owned to practice writing sight words with dry erase marker.

This is where she broke down and demanded to know why I was so mean and not allowing her back to ‘regular’ school. I suggested her dad talk to her after I told her it wasn’t all on me (so far he had refused to talk to her about it, although he said he was for homeschooling given all the issues we had)… no idea what he said, but I basically just asked her to clean her room after that, because 4 months in school from dawn until dusk had left it a nightmare. I told her she should be bothering all the teachers and politicians as to why public school couldn’t accommodate a smart kid. She didn’t think much of that. This is not exactly a high given it’s only the second week.


3 year old

Art time: Made a card for a friend who is having surgery

Math: Practiced counting to 20, traced and named shapes

Language: Used education.com P and I pages for phonics


Science: Used a rolling pin and flour as a ‘germ experiment’ to discuss how germs can transfer from a common item like a doorknob to their faces through touching, coughing, sneezing, etc. and then looked at the flour on their hands and faces in the mirror, washed up and discussed using soap and scrubbing and singing a song for 20 seconds to fully remove germs.


It’s been frigid this week, but both kids run, jump and play so much in the house (no they’re not supposed to), that they burn off plenty of energy. We’ll make up for it when the windchills aren’t below zero!

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Weekly Wrap Up: Dec 29-Jan 1

Posted January 2, 2015 By Jill


Weekly Wrap-Up

This is my first attempt at a write up. I discovered that writing long hand would take too long and consume too much paper in the long run, but that perhaps keeping an online version might be more useful, as it can be accessed (even if I need to password it) at any time. We’re breaking into this slowly as we are considering making the break with public school as of now. It may or may not be a permanent thing, but we do know that it is not currently working to our advantage. We spend all weekend and any break time trying to correct the grammar, usage, bad habits, and fear that has been ingrained into our child from being in her first year at school up until Christmas. While we have many reasons to pull her out, she can only think of one reason to stay: She likes seeing her behavior tracked on a colored clip chart. She could tell us one thing she learned all semester: what a sphere was. While I will say she probably learned a bit more than that, and adjusting to a routine doing this at this time, etc. was good for her stubborn sense of self, there was not much merit in anything else. Kind teacher, but even with first grade work, it was too easy and didn’t provide any sort of challenge. So we’re hoping to provide a challenge at home. It’s not an easy decision.  Some moments we fear it’s the wrong one. But we can slowly see her changing back into the decently mannered child we sent off to Kindergarten. We really loved that child and want to keep her around, while still seeing her learn and grow. Since the child we sent to school is not the one we’re getting back, but a mere xeroxed copy of what she could be…. well we want more for her.


” The Lady of the Lamp” first unit with K (age 6) and B (age 3)


December 29

  • We read Christmas books and alphabet books together
    • The Mouse before Christmas by Garland, Michael
    • The Candymaker’s Gift by Haidle, Helen
    • Why a donkey was chosen by Gregorowski, Christopher
    • Alphabet books by Moncure, Jane Belk (M, D, O)
      • Discussed different words that started with those letters, as well as the phonics of what else letter sounds like when you use it in a word
  • Keeley read ‘Eloise at Christmastime’ by Thompson, Kay out loud to Brennan
  • Drew and colored cards for art time

December 30

    • Introduction of Florence Nightingale via video Doc McStuffins: Season 105, Episode 2 “Let The Nightingale Sing
      • Discussed lack of electricity, clothing differences in Victorian England
    • Book: A picture book of Florence Nightingale by Adler, David
      • Discussed being presented to the queen, health conditions in hospitals and how they have changed since her work in Crimea.
      • Did addition and subtraction to find out how old F.N. was when key events happened in her life, how old she would be today, etc.
    • Book: Paramedics by Bryan, Nichol
      • Compared and contrasted the work of nurses then, now, and paramedics over time. Oral quiz.
      • Discussed safety rules, community helpers and when to/not to call for help.
    • Role play (hospital) of Florence Nightingale with lamp
      • created stretcher, diagnosed and treated patients, gave care and took them to the hospital. Held staff meeting.
    • Art: Free drawing/coloring time
    • Reading: K read on her own and gave an oral report on the A-Z mystery ‘L’ by Ron Roy (The Lucky Lottery)
    • Math: (see Nightingale above)
      • Measured pieces of wood with a measuring tape.
    • Health, Science, History (Nightingale unit)

December 31

  • Language
    • K: Review of ASPMTINC letters and working on B and R and writing A-Z for practice.
    • B: Review ABCENRMOD letters and writing A-Z for practice.
  • Math

Keeley-Assessing memory of adding 1-3 digits (from before Kindergarten)

Brennan-Practicing counting to 20 out loud and recognizing numbers 1-10 on sight.*

  • Reading
    • Keeley read chapter books: The Missing Mummy, The Kidnapped King (both by Ron Roy in A-Z mysteries) and Junie B Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake by Barbara Park
  • Art – colored by numbers ‘letter B’

January 1

  • Florence Nightingale [DVD]: Animated Hero Classics v.2 Publisher, Date: Coppell, TX : Nest Entertainment, c2005.
    • Kids did level 1 quiz on show together, Keeley completed level 2 and 3 quizzes on her own.
    • Discussed health conditions, how cleaning helps stop the spread of disease, and how the nurses being brought and instituting new policies helped more men survive.
    • Discussed the role of women in the workforce and how thinking has changed over the last 200 years. Modern nurses.
  • Alphabet and math review
    • Keeley math page going over how to add 2 or 3 digit numbers, Brennan counting to 20
    • Both kids completed A-Z tracing pages
    • Keeley did random letter copying and wrote sentences on a white board.
  • The kids ran and played outside, worked on balance using logs as balance beam, jumping on and off (B) and from log to log (K).
  • Keeley read: Ogres don’t Hunt Easter Eggs by Debbie Dadey, The Jaguar’s Jewel by Ron Roy


*Additional resources: Using preschool pack from 1+1+1=1 website (Daniel Tiger and Doc McStuffins)


The current plan is to take Fridays ‘off’ and allow the kids to pick up their learning from exploring their toys, outside world, and free reading. Since there is no hour requirement and no specific rule about number of days, etc. I think this will work out well for us. As it is, we are back in school a week before the regular school session would start.

Additional book read:

The White Stallion by Elizabeth Shub


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Super exciting new years…or not

Posted January 2, 2015 By Jill

Neighbors?!? fireworks woke us up at midnight. We thought the kids fell out of bed. All clear.


Before that we played on the internet, snacked on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (Karamel Sutra), and watched Dr. Who. My husband fell asleep before 10. I finally shook him awake off the couch and got him into bed. Baby…err toddler was up intermittently to nurse and then by around 6 we were awake. We had a chat about goals for ourselves and the kids (no resolutions) and then the kids were up and at ‘em.


The kids played with legos for about an hour and a half, practiced their alphabet, had a late breakfast, watched a film on Florence Nightingale, and then went outside to play. I took Casey out for a little bit, took a few pictures, put her down for a nap, made ham and beans for lunch, the kids ate, played and watched peter rabbit, then sent the kids out with marshmallows to roast over the fire. Took Casey back out and we all had a taste of ‘mallow and then took a walk. We made homemade cheese sticks and pizza for dinner and the kids finished watching home alone. Trying to add in more of the things we love and worry less about the things that don’t work for us.

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December’s theme focused on joy. The last question I’m tackling is: What do you hope brings you joy in the coming year?


Ever since I started writing these posts ( a lot more frequently at the beginning of the month than the end, holidays, you know…)  I’ve been thinking a LOT about what makes me happy. Daily. Sometimes hourly in fact.

They've got personality: The into everything, the loud pig lover, the princess at heart

They’ve got personality: The into everything, the loud pig lover, the princess at heart


There are quite a few things that don’t make me happy.


One of the ideas behind the theme was that you’d start 2015 with the things that made you happy, and not the things that didn’t.. and I liked that idea.. a lot. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to delete the things that really don’t fit with my life. Add in the things that make me happy. Things that make my kids happy. Things that work for us. Get rid of the things that don’t.

Sometimes, I’ll admit, it’s a struggle. I recycled a ton of my daughter’s school papers. We had a giant stack and just didn’t know what to do with them. So we gave ourselves permission to get rid of them. Then it was papers that came home from church. 2 scribbles on an old piece of stationary? Why are we keeping that? It’s not a masterpiece, it’s what kept a 3 year old busy during story time. Recycle. What about the projects that come home from their club? I take off the brads, clips, etc. and then recycle the papers. Strings from a project that didn’t get finished. A giant bag full of candy from parades that we didn’t want the kids to have. I was going to take it in for the junior high kids to have… but.. it never got done. Trash it went. I’m doing little bits here and there as I can amongst this rowdy group.


Some things are harder. While the kids would have loved to have had the big tree up this year, we don’t have enough ways to cordon off a tree from an extremely enthusiastic now toddling thing– so we did the ‘tree on a table’ and put on the yearly ornaments (picked out this year by them!) and whatever they brought home from their activities. Our oldest picked out the bell from Polar Express as our family ornament (we adored watching the movie together as a family this year)– we had to order it as they were out in the store, but nevertheless, it really expresses how we are solidifying as a family unit. So we didn’t have a big tree, but they still had presents! We added an advent calendar they could put a magnet on daily instead of just doing a paper one like in years past. It’s something they can look forward to next year as a tradition. Candy free, waste free, and a daily reminder of the season. We put up a handful of other decorations, and just figured that next year we’d go all out. We’ve made some pretty big plans, actually, so hopefully (fingers crossed) it goes well. It involves a lot of Christmas lights bought on clearance.

tiny tree

tiny tree


So while we’re trying to ditch some things, we’re adding in new. We’re streamlining, but making our lives more of what we want them to be. Permission to get rid of things is difficult to come by sometimes. Permission to stop doing things that don’t make us happy. Permission to add in things that make sense to us. I’ve been reading a lot. Researching. Sitting on the floor playing with my kids. Making the kids do more chores. Giving them more treats (it is the holidays). Not letting the mess get to me. Asking for what I need. Seeing those things get done. Seeing my husband happy. Staying up later, sleeping in a little bit. Ahh, I love it when my hubby’s home from work at the end of the year. Just getting to talk to him for a few minutes a day is wonderful. I’m letting the joy sink in more. More time with the 6 year old out of school means that we can correct bad behaviors instead of just punishing them. Getting to the root of the problem instead of just being disgusted at another new, bad behavior, and yes, she has come home at winter break with quite a few that she never had before. Quite a few. Schedules adjusted finally, and without continuous interruptions and oddities of coming and going, the 3 year old is napping well, and the toddler..baby.. well, the youngest is working on changing hers, but fingers crossed it means she’ll sleep through the night consistently soon! She actually slept through the night twice in one week… and then that was over, but still, the first time in… EVER! Yeah!


So what do I hope for in 2015? More joy in my kids’ faces. More singing along to the music we play. Teaching the kids more-watching them learn is such a delight. More family outings. More snuggles and stories. More family movies with popcorn. More healthy behaviors. More growing our own food. More tramps through the woods and flowers. More beauty. More bubble baths. More painting of toes. More impromptu dance parties. More cooking with tiny elbows in the way. More date nights. More me time. More love. More faith. More believing in us. As a team. I want more.

nursing baby

nursing baby, or toddler?

Tech time while helping daddy with a backache

Tech time while helping daddy with a backache

having fun and learning at the same time

having fun and learning at the same time


What do I want less of? Rushing around. Stress. Worry. Arguing over silly things. Being concerned with what other people think. Acting on those concerns to the detriment of our family’s (and my own) health. Illness. All these things make me less joyful.


What are you adding in or taking away as the new year rolls around? How will you find your joy?



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What season do YOU think is the most wonderful time of the year? Is it winter?

No, no, definitely not.


My husband LOVES the snow.. Loves! Me? Not so much. I’d rather it bee 100 degrees, high humidity, working outside with sweat rolling down my nose… give me heat! I can always cool down with the air conditioning, take a cool shower, and be fine almost immediately, but I hate to shiver. I hate that you can get cool pretty easily but staying warm is almost impossible and it costs a LOT of money in heating! Let me say that this is a lot more difficult when you’ve spent the last nearly 6 years half naked nursing babies every hour or so!


In short? I’d rather it be sunny and 75+ than snowy and -5!!!

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