All Hallows Tide

Sometimes I feel a little torn when it comes to celebrating holy days that are saturated with pagan traditions.  On one hand, I grew up celebrating most of the holidays with the traditional cultural traditions and I want my kids to experience that…I have lovely, happy memories of holidays as a child; on the other hand, I want my kids to have the opportunity to live in a faith infused environment…I want them surrounded by what is good and holy and beautiful and to be immersed in traditions that are rich in their Catholic heritage.  So often times, rather than choose between the two, I end up doing a whole lot of merging.  Halloween is no different.

A quick little history lesson…Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is the night before All Saints Day (“Hallow” meaning…you guessed it, “holy” or in this case, “saint”).  As Meredith Gould points out in The Catholic Home, “Although Halloween has been secularized since the nineteenth century, Catholics have a long history of observing evening vigil before the Feast of All Saints.”  All Hallows’ Eve marks the beginning of the triduum of All Hallows Tide, which is the time when the church remembers the dead…saints, martyrs, and all the faithfully departed.  Many of the traditions (trick-or-treating, included!) stem from ancient traditions, some rooted in Christianity, some rooted in paganism.  For an excellent read, refer to Mary Reed Newland’s The Year and Our Children or read an excerpt from her book by heading over to CatholicCulture.org.  The issue isn’t so much that Christianity and Halloween are in opposition to one anther, the issue is more one of education and understanding what the focus of All Hallows Eve should be and then making that connection for our children.

That being said, we, over here, are not immune to the cultural influences of Halloween.  On the contrary, there are some things I just like to do with the kids (much to the chagrin, I am sure, of many fellow Catholics).  In the days preceding Halloween, we do quite a bit of cultural Halloweeny (is that a word?!) things…we make jack-o-lantern collages, paint ghosts, decorate the house to look a little spooky, listen to Wee Sing Halloween, read lots of silly and scary Halloween stories, spend some time at the pumpkin patch and corn maze and of course, use an evening to watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  Sometimes I explain the connection and sometimes we just bask in the moment.

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The day of Halloween arrives bright and early (or in this year’s case, dark and early as a huge thunderstorm rolled in and woke all the little critters) and we begin by reading Father Philip Tells a Ghost Story and Moonlight Miracle.  The rest of the day is spent carving jack-o-lanterns and eagerly awaiting Halloween night when we can join all the other little ghosts and goblins as we go door-to-door trick-or-treating.

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Our Halloween costumes are usually secular (although we try to veer from anything extremely scary or devilish)…from super heroes to knights to strawberries.  Halloween night arrives and we don our costumes, grab our jack-o-lantern buckets and we’re off.

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We come home, buckets filled to the brim with candy, eat a piece (or two) and head to bed.  But here is where our Halloween differs from the majority of all those tuckered out little trick-or-treaters.  We go to bed with the anticipation of what’s to come…we know that we have only just begun our All Hallows Tide celebration.  Tomorrow we will celebrate All Saints Day.

All Saints Day is a joyful celebration around here!  We usually begin with Mass and then we come home to celebrate.  Some years our celebration has been as simple as saint stories (including a reading of I Sing a Song of the Saints of God) and some coloring, other years our celebration has been a bit more elaborate.  Most years involve getting all the saint dolls out and singing a liturgy of the saints.

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This year we decided to expand our celebration and throw an All Saints Day party.  The kids each chose and dressed up as a saint.  Joseph was Saint George, William was Saint William, and Andrew chose Saint Patrick (although I noticed that halfway through the party Joseph and Andrew had traded costumes).  The supplies were bought, the games were prepared and the guests arrived.

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There were Saint Guessing Jars…

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Pin the Shamrock on Saint Patrick…

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Works of Mercy stations…

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Saint Anthony’s Treasure Box…

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Saint Isidore’s Potato Sack Races…

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Saint George’s Sword Fighting…

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Saint Peter’s Keys to Heaven…

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Queen of All Saints Ring Toss…

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After the party, we worked on making our own saint dolls and had some afternoon saint treats (St. Isidore’s Pumpkin Swirl Bread (Pepperidge Farm special edition bread), St. Francis Tonsure Treats (chocolate frosted doughnuts) and St. Cecelia’s Musical Keys (sugar wafers lined up as the white piano keys with mini hershey bars as the black keys).  And we may have had a little more saintly costume fun!

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Tomorrow our celebration will continue with All Souls Day.  The atmosphere shifts a little as we approach All Souls Day with a little more of a somber attitude, remembering those we have loved and lost and praying for their dearly departed souls to make their way to Heaven.  All Souls Day is always accompanied by reading The Spirit of Tio Fernando and a visit to the cemetery.  Our cemetery has statues for the Stations of the Cross, so we usually pray our way past those.

Our All Hallows Tide celebration is complete.  I judge our celebration’s success based on one factor alone…do my children approach death as a celebration?   Do they realize that there is no need to fear death itself, but rather to embrace it as a part of our Christian journey?  If the answer is yes, we have succeeded.  This year’s celebration?  A success indeed.

U and V

Since there is no U flower fairy, U and V were combined.

U and V are for…Vetch fairy, St. Ursula, and St. Vincent de Paul.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about the saints in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter formation.

U and V are for…the letters U and V.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Gray Block paper, and Pin Punch letters.

V is for…vegetables.  Joseph decided first thing Monday morning that he wanted to make vegetable bread.  We’d already been to the grocery store for the week, so I suggested maybe he could make some vegetable bread in his kitchen.  “Yes, that’s a great idea!  I’m going to make a list and pretend to go shopping,” he replied.  Well…that led to setting up our own grocery store complete with price signs and our cash register.  Joseph did make his list and then, together with William, grabbed his shopping cart and loaded up on supplies.  Once he had everything on his list, he brought it to the cashier and we added up his purchases.  He did some math and figured out how much change I needed to give him.  We put his purchases in a bag and he was off to make vegetable soup.  He used the book Growing Vegetable Soup to guide him.  It was delicious soup…he made it dairy, soy and egg free so even Roo got to “try” some!

V is for…volcano.  After reading about volcanoes in Usborne’s Volcanoes book, we made our own volcano.  First we did it with “lava” (red food coloring) and then we did it with “dust and ash” (blue food coloring).  We also watched some volcano videos on Youtube.

U and V are for Understanding and Virtuous.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.  We made up our own story about the Understanding coloring page, which I then wrote out.  I included some thoughtful errors and Joseph edited the story for us.

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

Science (volcanoes, universe):  Usborne Volcanoes; Planets: A Solar System Stickerbook; Individual Planet books from Pebble Plus: Exploring the Galaxy

Favorite U and V Books:  St. Valentine; The Very First Easter; The Velveteen Rabbit; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; The Very Quiet Cricket; The Very Lonely Firefly; Growing Vegetable Soup; Very First Last Time; Violet’s House

T is for…

T is for…Thrift fairy and St. Therese.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Therese in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter formation.

T is for…the letter T.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Gray Block paper, and Pin Punch letters.  We listed as many words as we could that started with the beginning sound /t/ and then the boys got a little adventureous and decided to list words ending in /t/…excellent letter-sound practice for William.

T is for…tessellations.  It just so happened that one of our RightStart lessons this week was about tessellations.  So we made tessellations using squares and then rectangles.  Joseph tried using octagons and found out that he couldn’t do it.

T is for…tracing.  Joseph loves the Rod and Staff preschool workbooks.  There are quite a few coloring pages in there, so he traced around the outside edge of the pictures and then colored them in.

T is for…trees.  For art apprecation, we studied paintings of trees and then using their pastels, each child replicated a painting (William’s are the first two drawings; Joseph’s is clearly labeled as his).  We also studied trees for science using Tell Me Tree and A Tree is a Plant.  We then taped paper to the trees in our backyard and did bark rubbings.

T is for…Tell the Truth.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.

T is for….tye dye.  We didn’t actually get to tye dye our shirts yet because Joseph and William want to wait for Grandma Cindy to arrive, but we did make it to Hobby Lobby to pick up the t-shirts (and a onesie for Roo!).  While we were out, we also went to Target…just because it started with T.

T is for…trains and treehouse.  Joseph is big into Thomas the Train right now, so this was a great week for him…such a great excuse to play with Thomas and all his trains.  We also dug out the old Playmobil treehouse and played with it.

T is for…tangrams.

T is for…telling time.  We practiced telling time again and again and again.  And, of course, we could not practice time without Usborne’s Telling the Time book.

T is for…Tikki Tikki Tembo.  This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid, so I introduced it to Joseph and William at the beginning of our week.  It sparked their imaginations.  They spent the rest of the week taking turns being Tikki Tikki Tembo and Chang and falling in the well (a pile of cushions on the couch).  Then one of them would put a hat on and pretend to be the old man with the ladder.  Lots of imagination!

T is for…tea!  We made southern sweet tea to enjoy with lunch this week.

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

Science (trees):  Tell Me Tree; A Tree is a Plant

History (Trail of Tears): The Trail of Tears

Favorite T Books:  Tikki Tikki Tembo; There is a Bird on Your Head!; There Was a Crooked Man; Ten, Nine, Eight; Thy Friend, Obadiah; The Tiny Seed; There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly; Ten Apples Up On Top!; The Three Questions; The Tushy Book; Take Me Out to the Ball Game; Teammates; The True Story of the Three Little Pigs; Today is Monday; Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes; Time of Wonder; To Market, To Market; Twelve Hats for Lena

M through S…

I have fallen behind on blogging for the Alphabet Path.  In an effort to catch up, I’m going to post one blog here about letters M through S.  We’ve been continuing along with the Alphabet Path plans, so for the main plans (including faith, art, letter formation, nature study and language) you can head on over to Serendipity.  Serendipity also has tons of picture book suggestions, so head over there for ideas.

Here are the highlights from our Alphabet Path studies, along with a few photos.

M is for…St. Martin de Porres and mice, so we made mice using cupcakes, m & ms, and homemade marshmallows (I think the first two pictures are actually Monday morning muffin making).

M is for…Martin Luther King, Jr.  I blogged about this picture here.  We read about Martin Luther King, Jr. in Martin’s Big Words and If a Bus Could Talk.

N is for…numbers.  We used sidewalk chalk to practice number patterns.  Then Joseph and William had to find nature items to match their numbers.

O is for…oops!  I forgot to take any photos and the only thing worth noting that we did this week was learn about owls.

P is for…The Story of Ping.  We took a little detour from our Alphabet Path routine and did a lapbook about Ping during P week.  It was a nice break.

Q is for…quicksand.  We read The Quicksand Book by Tomie de Paola and the kids were wildly amused with the idea of quicksand.  So we read it over and over and over again.  We know quite a bit about quicksand now.

Q is for quilts.  Due to my lack of planning, we didn’t actually sew or quilt, but we did flip through some quilt pattern books and Joseph found a pattern he really liked called Nelson’s Victory.  I drew the grid for him and using his colored pencils (and his color choices) he colored in the block.  The picture of Joseph and William on the floor is actually them sitting on their completed quilt block.  The word quilt in this family usually translates into picnic, so it only made sense that when Joseph finished his quilt block, that they pretended to have a picnic.

R is for…recycling.  We attempted to make our own recycled paper.  I didn’t realize that the Ad Sack is not the same thing as regular newspaper.  It was all about the process not the product.

S is for…stamps.  We did lots of stamping…great opportunity to practice spelling and patterns.

S is for…stickers.  Auntie Jane had sent the kids some valentine sticker puzzles, which we put to good use during S week.  Joseph also did some sticker stories where he chose stickers for a picture and then wrote a story.

We’ve also been continuing with our Right Start Math and The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, amongst other things.  Here are some random photos of the past few weeks of school (not Alphabet Path related):

L is for…

L is for…Lily of the Valley fairy and St. Lucy.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Ignatius in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter formation. 

L is for…the letter L.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Gray Block paper, and Pin Punch letters.

 

L is for…St. Lucy and light, so we made lanterns!  We used clear glass jars, painted them with decoupage glue, and covered them with tissue paper squares.  Then we put a flameless, flickering light in each.  Now Joseph and William fall asleep to lantern light. 

   

L is for…letter writing.  We spent a good part of the week (and counted this as most of our copywork) writing thank you letters for all the Christmas gifts received.  Joseph wrote all of his by himself and drew an illustration for each.  William dictated and I wrote for him.  He also illustrated each letter.  I love that this is already ingrained into their heads…it’s not a dreaded task; it’s just what we do to show our thanks.   

L is for…laundry.  For practical life, Joseph and William helped sort and fold what laundry they could.  It’s nice to have helpers for the diapers and sock sorting.

L is for…leaves.  We read about leaves and then went leaf hunting.  I was impressed (and relieved to know that all that reading is paying off) when Joseph was able to identify both maple and oak leaves!  We brought our leaves home and did some leaf rubbings, tracings, and colorings. 

L is for…Listening.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.  We’ve been doing quite a bit of reading from Little Stories for Little Folks, which both kids really enjoy.  Also, to practice the virtue of listening, we’ve been reading chapter books.  We just finished Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and are now reading the 2nd book, The House at Pooh Corner.  There are a few illustrations to accompany the text, but not many.  I am amazed at Joseph and William’s listening abilities…they recall many, many details and their comprehension is impressive.  Who would’ve known that even a 2 1/2 year old could be so enthralled by a chapter book? 

L is for….listening walks.  L week would not have been complete without reading Paul Showers’ A Listening Walk.  After reading it, the kids were eager to just listen (ahh, silence was golden around here!)  We also took a listening walk and Joseph documented all the sounds we heard.

     

L is for…ladybugs.  After doing some ladybug reading, we made ladybugs from painted red lima beans and then did some ladybug math.  I would have loved to do a ladybug lapbook, but we ran out of time!

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

Science (ladybugs and leaves):  We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt;  Ladybug, Ladybug; The Grouchy Ladybug; Are You a Ladybug?; Ten Little Ladybugs; Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Favorite L Books:  The Little Engine that Could; Llama Llama Red Pajama books; The Listening Walk; Let’s Count it Out Jesse Bear; The Letters are Lost; Let Me Hold You a Little Longer; Little Critter Books; The Little Island; The Little Rabbit; The Little Duck; Lyle, Lyle Crocodile; A Letter for Amy; Little Bear books; Love Is…; The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear; Love From Woolly; The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

I is for…

I is for…Iris fairy and St. Ignatius.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the Gorse fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Ignatius in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter I formation. 

I is for…the letter I.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Salt Dough letters, and Pin Punch letters. 

I is for…the letter i and the sounds it makes.  For phonics review (and phonics introduction for William!) and for our word box, we focused on words with the short i sound.   

I is for…Indians.  We did lots of reading about the Indians in relation to the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving (“I” week occurred just before Thanksgiving).  I cut the sleeves off of a couple of plain white t-shirts to make vests for Joseph and William.  We then used black tea to dye them.  After they dried, the kids used traditional Indian symbols to decorate their vests.  They also chose their own Indian names. 

I is for…igloos.  We made igloos from paper bowls.  We turned them upside down, cut out a door, and glued cotton balls to them.  Then Joseph and William got out their Arctic animals and engaged in some imaginative play.

I is for…ice cream.  Actually it’s for “Better Than Ice Cream” since we’re not doing a whole lot of dairy around here.  The name might be a little exaggeration (I mean, really, can anything be better than real ice cream?) but it was delicious and the fact that we added absolutely no sugar made me a very happy mommy.  You can find the recipe here

I is for…I’m sorry.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.

I is for…Insects.  After lots of reading about insects, we visited the Botanical Gardens for some up-close encounters with insects.

     

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

History (Indians): Knots on a Counting Rope; The First Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving Day; Squanto’s Journey

Science (insects): The Life and Times of the Ant; Are you an Ant?; Are you a Ladybug?; From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Favorite I Books:  I am an Artist; It’s About Time Jesse Bear; Is Your Mama a Llama?; I Knew You Could; I Am Not Going to Get Up Today; I Spy books; It’s Mine; If Jesus Came to My House; If You Give…; I Was So Mad; I Know It’s Autumn; I Like to Be Little; Inside a Barn in the Country

H is for…

H is for…Herb Twopence fairy and St. Helena.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the Herb Twopence fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Helena in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter H formation. 

H is for…the letter H.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Salt Dough letters, and Pin Punch letters.   We also painted our salt dough letters this week…the vowels are yellow; the consonants are green.

H is for…Honeybees.  It just so happened that while we were studying honeybees, the Texas Beekeeper’s Association had their annual convention.  Joseph and William were happy to attend, along with their friends Belle and Joe.  They learned quite a bit about honeybees and even got to make their own beeswax candles!

 

H is for…helicopters, hot dogs, hats, and handicap signs.  We started show and tell this week.  The kids love it!  On the first day of a new letter they each choose an item or two to bring to our circle time and they tell all about it.   

H is for…Helen Keller.  We read about Helen Keller…a lot.  Over and over again.  Their favorite book was Helen Keller: The World in her Heart by Lesa Cline-Ransome.  I also had an old book with braille in it and they found that pretty impressive.

H is for…helpful.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.  This was such a great opportunity to have some eager little helpers.  Washing the walls?  Yep, they were even eager to help with that.

H is for…hula hoops, hopscotch, and hula toss.    

H is for…hair.  We studied a picture of George Washington’s hair.  Joseph and William both did a narration and illustration. 

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

History (Helen Keller): Helen Keller: The World in her Heart

Science (honeybees): The Life and Times of the Honeybee; The Honeybee and the Robber; In the Trees, Honeybees; The Honey Makers

Favorite H Books:  Harry the Dirty Dog; Hermie; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; A House is a House for me; Hush Little Beachcomber; Horton Hatches the Egg; How Do You Say it Today Jesse Bear?; A Hug Goes Around; Horton Hears a Who; Henry and Mudge; Harold and the Purple Crayon; Hop on Pop; Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild; How Many Feet in the Bed?; A Hole is to Dig; Harold’s ABC

G is for…

G is for…Gorse fairy and St. George.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the Gorse fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint George in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter G formation. 

G is for…the letter G.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Salt Dough letters, and Pin Punch letters. 

G is for…the letter g and the sounds it makes.  For phonics review (and phonics introduction for William!) and for our word box, we focused on the hard and soft sounds of g.  We added g words to our word boxes and then played hard g/soft g many, many times throughout the week.   

G is for…Geo Puzzles.  These are such great puzzles!  Joseph absolutely loves doing them and William is an eager helper. 

 G is for…God, Guardian angel, and Glory Be.  We read about God in our God’s Alphabet book and Joseph did some copywork.  We talked about making our way to Heaven so that someday we could see God (William has decided that he’d like to have a cookie party with God in Heaven when he gets there…I told him anything is possible and I’m sure that God would be pleased to join him in a cookie party).  We talked quite a bit this week about guardian angels.  We read about Wupsy in our Catholic Treasure Box books.  I found a wooden angel puppet that Joseph colored as his guardian angel.  We also prayed the Guardian Angel prayer.  G is also for Glory Be, which we practiced again and again this week.  William has the beginning down pat and he kind of mumbles his way through the latter half.  We’ll keep practicing. 

G is for…George Washington.  We read George Washington and the General’s Dog and Joseph did an illustration and narration.    

 

G is for…garden.  Daxson built us a beautiful vegetable box and we set to work planting seeds in it.  Since it’s a little late for planting, we didn’t have many choices.  We filled our box with radishes, spinach, carrots, turnips and beets.  We’re anxious to see how well it all grows!  We also started on a great garden lapbook, but ran out of time to complete everything.  I set it all aside for now and if time permits, we’ll finish it later in the year. 

G is for…gratitude.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.  We read Gift of Gracias, which went along quite well with the theme of Gratitude.   

G is for…game.  We studied François Hubert Drouais’ Boy with a House of Cards.  Joseph did a narration and illustration.

G is for…green beans.  For a practical life exercise, Joseph snapped green beans. 

G is for…grapefruits.  Joseph and William really enjoyed eating grapefruits.  They scooped out the flesh, then used a straw to suck out the juice.  After they were done, I scraped the “grapefruit bowls” well and we set them out to dry.  Once they were dry, we filled them with bird seed and nestled them in our trees.  The birds emptied the feeders before the day’s end.


G is for…Go to Austin to see Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Gary and while there, feed the goats. 

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

History (George Washington): George Washington and the General’s Dog

Science (garden): Planting a Rainbow; Flower Garden; Tools for the Garden; All Kinds of Gardens; The Tiny Seed

Favorite G Books:  The Greedy Python; The Three Billy Goats Gruff; Go and Hush the Baby; The Growing Story; Grandfather’s Journey; The Glorious Flight; Goodnight Moon; Goldilocks and the Three Bears; The Gingerbread Man; The Gingerbread Boy; The Gingerbread Girl; Guess Who’s Coming Jesse Bear; Game Time; Go Dog Go!; The Giving Tree; Good Morning Chick; The Grouchy Ladybug

E is for…

E is for…Eyebright fairy and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the Eyebright fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter E formation. 

E is for…the letter E.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Salt Dough letters, and Pin Punch letters. 

E is for…the short vowel e sound.  For phonics review (and phonics introduction for William!) and for our word box, we focused on the short vowel e sound.  We did some Explode the Code, added some short e words to our word boxes, and made words with play-doh. 

E is for…earnings.  We started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. University this week.  Joseph listened to Junior’s first adventure and we talked about earning commission.  Unfortunately Joseph was more enamored with the idea of doing wrong and being fined, so we shelved the commission chart for now.  We’ll revisit a little later.

 E is for…envelopes.  Joseph practiced writing letters and addressing envelopes this week.  He chose to write a letter to his friend Belle and to Grandpa Gary.  Both were pleased to receive his letter.

E is for…electricity.  I had great plans to read Switch On, Switch Off and The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip, but we never got around to it.  We have a few weeks later on that don’t have a science theme, so we’ll fill in those weeks with these plans.   

E is for…Albert Einstein.  We read The Odd Boy Out, which Joseph and William had absolutely no interest in.  In hindsight Amelia Earhart probably would have been a better choice here.  On the positive side, I did learn a new tidbit of information that I was able to share with Daxson.  Did you know that the man who performed Einstein’s autopsy put Einstein’s brain in a jar and traveled across the United States with it?  He even wrote a book about it called Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across the United States with Einstein’s Brain.

E is for…eat nicely.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story. 

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

History (Albert Einstein): Odd Boy Out  

Science (electricity): Switch On, Switch Off; The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip

Favorite E Books:  Every Friday; Emily’s First 100 Days of School; Even Firefighters Go to the Potty; Every Autumn Comes the Bear; Each Peach Pear Plum

D is for…

D is for…Daisy fairy, St. Dominic, and King David.  After reading Serendipity’s Flower Fairy story, Joseph and William colored pictures of the Daisy fairy.  Joseph also did some copywork from the poem that is in the Flower Fairy book (which he did while listening to the Flower Fairy CD).  Then we looked up the actual wildflower in our field guide.  We read about Saint Dominic in our Alphabet of Catholic Saints.  Joseph did some copywork.  We also used the picture from the book to practice the letter D formation.  We read about King David in Letters from Heaven, which naturally lead into telling the story of David and Goliath, which we did through The Children’s Book of Heroes and Tomie dePaola’s Bible Stories.  We used our dinosaurs to act out the story. 

D is for…the letter D.  We practiced letter formation using the Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Do A Dot, Salt Dough letters, and Pin Punch letters. 

D is for…dinosaurs.  We read about them, played with them, made pictures of them, and used their feet to make fossils in playdough.  How delightful! 

 

D is for…Davy Crockett.   We learned about Davy Crockett in A Picture Book of Davy Crockett and then Joseph wore his own version of a ‘coon hat.

D is for…desert life.  We watched Reading Rainbow: Desert Life and then Joseph did a drawing narrative about life in the desert.

D is for…doctor and dentist.  We read lots about doctors and dentists and germs and bacteria in books like Germs are Not for Sharing, Keeping Clean, Take Care of Your Teeth, Just Going to the Dentist and Usborne’s books Going to the Dentist and Going to the Doctor.  My sister passed on a great idea where the kids got to “clean” a plaque covered tooth.  I simply drew a tooth on a yellow piece of paper and they used white paint to clean the teeth.  We also got to practice our germ etiquette since everyone caught a cold…you can see William practicing coughing into his arm. 

D is for…duty.  We’re still using these great coloring pages and we’re including one each week along with a virtue story.  We also read about doing our duty in God’s Alphabet.

In our book baskets this week (I’m choosing one book from each basket to have Joseph do a narration and illustration of):

History (Davy Crockett): A Picture Book of Davy Crockett

Science (dinosaurs): Digging up Dinosaurs; Archaeologists Dig for Clues; The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs; The Dinosaur; First Picture Dinosaurs; Dinosaurs A to Z; Usborne First Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life

Favorite D Books:  The Duchess Bakes a Cake; The Dog who Loved Red; The Deer in the Wood; The Doorbell Rang; Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?;  Duck for President