Week 7: The Mole Sister

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This week we didn't "row" any book with b4FIAR.  We just simply continued on with our main learning, which is *Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions for our bible learning (absolutely loving this) and we also are reading *The Mystery of History, Volume I Quarter 1.  Then beyond that, for preschool (K4), just child-led learning. 

We went to the library and found some books.  Emma was in love with the Mole Sisters this week.  We'd read it each day, several times a day.
In this adorable story the mole sisters find what they believe to be a fairy ring.  They see no fairies, so with the help of their imagination they become fairies themselves.
It just so happened that we had all the pieces the mole sisters had used in their transformation.
Emma also helped out in the kitchen when we made banana bread.  She was in charge of mashing the bananas.
In addition to imaginative play and life skills training, I have started to just do our own unit study learning based on what we are reading in Long Story Short or Mystery of History.
This week we were learning about the Sumerians in Mystery of History.  We did a cuneiform craft using Answers in Genesis.  (This is more for Connor, 2nd grade.  Emma sometimes listens, sometimes doesn't and that's okay either way since she's only 4).
We learned some facts about Israel with *Children's Atlas of God's World , then cooked up a recipe found in *Eat Your Way Around the World, Tzimmes (Sweet Carrot Casserole).  Connor, our food enthusiast, announced he wanted to move to Israel immediately.
Emma has been joining Connor in his math, whether it be Math U See or a workbook.  With Connor I'm usually changing up his math and skipping around to keep it fresh for him and new, otherwise he struggles and gets super upset and "hates" math.  We rotate with Math U See, Building Thinking Skills and Mathematical Reasoning. (the latter two both are made by The Critical Thinking Company)

This week we were using Building Thinking Skills and he was not understanding the geometry, so we pulled out the pattern blocks and he instantly got it.  So thankful we can take our time on math and use so many different manipulative or whatever until he gets it.  As a bonus, Emma is picking up really fast and is far ahead for her age.
What I particularly love about Building Thinking Skills is the pages rip out and I can slip them in a dry erase board or photo copy so the page can be saved for another child.  I also love that the instructions give the option for a verbal answer.  I find that Connor is much more receptive this way, as he hates writing.
Linking up with:
Hip Homeschool Moms 
Weekly Wrap-Up


Preschool Unit Study: Walter the Baker

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preschool unti study

This week we strayed from our FIAR curriculum and ventured off into a unit study with Walter the Baker by Eric Carle.
Character Education:
We focused on Honesty.  In the book, Walter is making sweet rolls when the cat spills the milk.  Instead of being upfront (honest) he hides the error and adds water to his rolls and hopes no one will notice.  The Duke and Duchess are no fools and punish Walter.
We used Kids of Integrity to start of our week.  The "kick-off craft" is to make a certificate of authenticity, after discussing what it is to be honest.  They are then tasked with decorating their certificates.  For us this was a lengthy activity since Emma hasn't seen a sticker in over a year.  She went a bit sticker crazy, covering every open space.  :)

We also like to color a printable page while listening to narrated story over at Character First Education.  (There's a lot more to do over there, but we usually just listened to the character story)
Throughout the week we read
Emma is so obsessed with cats lately.  I was so thrilled to find the most perfect printables to go with our baking unit study.  Over at hs Printables, under the "C" section, is a link for "cat and cupcake activity" to go along with the book, *If You Give a Cat a Cupcake.
We also read The Baker's Dozen: A Counting Book .  Emma adored this book.


For science we focused on tasting.  I found a nice printable from Education.com and then set up our tasting station.  This was more for big brother (2nd grade), but Emma tagged along and learned as well.  Connor decided that he loves pure grapefruit juice and finished it off after test.  lol.

We also made pretzels, which turned into a nice science lesson with the mixing of the yeast and the dipping in the baking soda.

I wish at this point I could tell you where I found my recipe.  (It was so easy, and explained why we dip it in the soda).  But I didn't save the site, which is frustrating.  But anyway, it was a fun experience and easy to do.

We baked them then held one up to the window to see if the "rising sun can shine through three times".

Language Arts:

The perfect nursery rhyme to go with baking is obviously pat-a-cake.  There's some super printables over at KizClub.  But we went for the more hands on approach.

I whipped up some playdough (our favorite recipe) and added one apple tea bag.  I just cut the bag open and mixed it all in.  It made it smell amazing plus was a nice shade of pink.  I did have to add more flour as it was still too sticky, maybe because of the dried apples?

I set it up on a board, gave Emma my fondant roller (because I couldn't find her playdough roller) and we did the rhyme over and over again (at her request).

Another day she declared it my birthday.

Social Studies:

We focused on castles, simply just checking out some interesting themed books from the library.

For Connor, I chose DK Readers L2: Battle at the Castle.

additional links for inspiration:

Community Helper: Baker
Cupcake printables at Teacher's Notebook

Linking up with:
 Weekly Wrap-Up


Adorable & Affordable Halloween decor

As homeschoolers we are usually pretty tight on money (read: one income budget for a family of 5).

I was searching for some simple and budget friendly ways to decorate for Halloween. Things that would be around the house, or cost a dollar or two. This is what I came up with, with the help of Pinterest.

1st: We made a mummy pumpkin.  (inspired by Better Homes and Garden's Gauzy Glow Pumpkin - we skipped fabric stiffener, glue, and paint to make this even more affordable. Just tuck in the end of your gauze and it will stay just fine.) 

This was right up our alley with our lover of Ancient Egyptians (Connor). We happened to have a large loot of gauze my mil had packed into a homemade emergency 1st aid kit. Now, this was certainly not her intent for the gauze, but none-the-less it worked perfect.

What I'd do different:  I wouldn't wrap the pumpkin so thick.  Let some orange show thru.

2nd:  (I wish I could link you to my inspiration, but sadly the link is corrupt now ... but check my Pinterest board for a picture of it.)

This is just so simple to do as a homeschooler of young kids.  All you need is black construction paper, scissors, tape, tissue paper, and maybe a pencil to sketch your monster.

This one cracked me up each time we'd arrive home in the dark.

Tips:  Use your imagination, and remember that mistakes are okay - monsters are far from perfect.  Use different colored tissue paper on the eyes for even more variation and fun.

3rd:  (inspired from the one and only Martha Stewart)  Vampire pumpkins! 

Connor seen vampire teeth at the dollar store one day and just had to have them.  They come in packs of many, so I was looking for ways to use them up.  This is just such a cute idea and it's all what I already had on hand - hence the pink pins, ha! 

I didn't use the template offered on Stewart's site, I just free handed it and it was still okay.

4th:  With the name West, how could I not fall for the Wicked Witch of the West décor I stumbled upon over at Holiday Snob!?

My own spin on this one was that I used glitter glue.  Again with the budget and using what was available to us at this stage in our lives.  ha!!  I searched the thrift store for any red shoe I could find.  As it turned out, there were many to choose from, and I settled on a pair of suede ones.  (please don't faint that I ruined them with glitter glue).  I also hit up the dollar store and grabbed the most colorful striped knee highs I could find.  Then I stuffed them with plastic bags. 

I laminated the sign offered over at Holiday Snob, and used left over ribbon I had saved from a gift the mil gave me. 

So really, just use what you have around your own home, or on the cheap at the dollar store, and make it unique to you!  ;)

Last:  Don't forget to decorate your babies.  ;)   This adorable candy corn hat was made with love by Sam's very talented Grandma.

Take a peek at the rest of my pinned Halloween ideas:

Week 5: If Jesus Came to my House {B4FIAR}

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with BFIAR

"If Jesus came to your house, would he be your age and height? How would you treat him? Would you give him your nicest toys and let him have the longest turn on your rocking horse?
In this simple, touching story, a young boy realizes that he can treat others according to the lessons he would learn if Jesus really did come to his house."

This version of If Jesus Came to My House isn't the version intended by the author of FIAR.  There is an earlier version that apparently is very simple drawings - yet very moving according to the manual or the 1 star reviews on Amazon (all are angry reviews about the illustrations being changed). 

Personally, I don't mind the watercolor illustrations of this new edition.  Anyway, moving on.


This week, in addition to our regular bible studies, we focused on respect.  We used a small lesson book, Get Wisdom.  We also used pieces of the Character First Education curriculum.  Mostly, with that, we use the coloring page and Nature Story.  I'm able to gather our things for the day while they listen to the video and make a craft.  Connor always want to add brads to his crafts so it's moveable.

I feel the need to again say that this is just what we focus on that relates to our BFIAR studies (in this case, respect/hospitality topic).  This isn't the whole of our bible lessons, just an addition. 

Language Arts:

Emma did a couple pages from Homeschool Creations printable pack.

Our nursery rhyme this week was "Little Miss Muffet"  (because how rude of the spider to come sit beside her uninvited!  lol)  We role played and used props from KizClub.  Emma absolutely loved this and we must have done it about 30 times in a row.


We made shadow puppets.  I just took a large craft stick (popsicle stick) and a black piece of construction paper.  I'm not the best artist but kids are pretty forgiving and Emma at least knew what shape my puppet was cut out to be (a cat) so I'll call that a win.

Our go along books: {ie:  library finds}

Madeline's Tea Party
Tea Party Rules (the favorite this week)

Other than that, our week was unrelated to the BFIAR title.

Linking up with:
FIAR Link-Up @ Delightful Learning
 Weekly Wrap-Up
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