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A School Day

5 Sep

Sweet Baby EZ hasn’t taken a nap in a week.  Pretty sure he’s teething.  Mike calls him Baby Difficult.  


Today I dropped Ambrose off at preschool and came back home with plans to “do school” with Hazel.  I actually planned a lesson for today.  A real, in depth lesson.  Books, crafts, and the whole shebang.  So, 9am Ezekiel goes down for his nap and will.not.sleep.  After some frustration and serious consideration “how am I ever going to teach her if we can’t get a moment to ourselves,” I was reminded that this is school.  Not school in the traditional sit-in-the-classroom-and-socialize-with-29-other-6-year-olds.  But school in the essence that she’s obtaining knowledge.  Hazel is watching to see how I respond to things and is working on her very own character development.  In stride, Baby Girl.  We’ll take this all in stride.

We both go get up Baby Difficult and Hazel just loves on him.  She counts his teeth: 6.  Remembers that she has 20 teeth.  “Momma, he has 14 more teeth to grow.  It’s not going to be fun.”  We do math in the midst of these crazy days.

So the three of us sit and snuggle down for a book.  “What is a telegraph?”  “What does solemn mean?”  “Where’s Holland?”  We do history, vocabulary, and geography in the midst of these crazy days.

Ezekiel still isn’t taking a nap, and it’s okay.  


Five in a Row – The Story about Ping

5 Apr

What a great book!  I think this was Ambrose’s favorite.


Ping is a duck who lives in a houseboat on the Yangtze River in China with his very large family and his master.  Each morning the ducks get sent out and are expected back in the evening at the call of their master.  The last duck on the boat gets a spank with a stick.  One day Ping is the last duck.  He avoids his spanking by spending the night on shore.  He endures some adventures the next day and is luckily reunited with his family and master.  Ping gladly rejoins his family (and is the last on the boat) and willingly receives his spank.  Consequences.  Consequences.



We started the week learning about ducks.  Hazel learned about the different parts of a ducks body and how ducks don’t get wet through a process called preening.  We experimented by painting feathers and paper bag ducks with oil.  They painted one duck and one feather with oil and left the other “untreated.”  Then we used an eyedropper to drop water on our ducks and feathers.  The water rolled off the oil-treated duck and feather!  Our experiment failed a little as the water also rolled off the “untreated” paper duck and feather.  So we talked a little about doing multiple rounds of an experiment to get more reliable results.

Concentrating hard to paint his duck with oil

Concentrating hard to paint his duck with oil


The water puddling up on her oiled duck.


There is a boy with a barrel tied to his back so he can float in the river.  I asked the kids why they thought the boy had a barrel.  “So he doesn’t get lost.”  Smart answer.  So we investigated buoyancy doing a sink or float experiment in the kitchen sink. Hazel predicted whether an object would sink or float based on if it had air or not.   Balloons float.  Quarters sink.  Pony beads both sink and float.


Social Studies


Ping takes place on the Yangtze River in China.  So we read books on China, watched Wild China on Netflix.  We mapped out the Yangtze River.  We made our own Yangtze River out of construction paper – From the Three Gorges all the way to Shanghai.  Did you know that the Yangtze river is nearly 4000 miles long?!  Coast to coast in the US is only 3000 miles!  That’s one long river.


Floating our wise-eyed boat down the yellow waters of the Yangtze River.


Look at that hand-writing!

Chinese Culture

We took a field trip to the Asian market and shopped for Chinese food.  Both kiddos were unphased by the the pigs head, the chicken feet, nor the weird seafood with eyes.  I was.  But we did enjoy some bubble tea and our new chopsticks.  We also enjoyed Chinese take-out and watched Mulan for family movie night.

Eating with chopsticks is tough!

Eating with chopsticks is tough!


The Story about Ping is drawn wonderfully with colored pencils.  Hazel recreated the picture on page 9 using colored pencils and oil pastels.  We also looked through the book and saw that many of the illustrations show reflections on water.  To recreate this effect we painted a boat and a duck on the top half of a some papers and painted the water around them. Then we folded the paper in half for the reflection.


Reflections in the water

Language Arts

Ping is a fictional book.  We discussed how a lot of fictional books begin with “once upon a time.”  Hazel wrote her own “Once Upon a Time” story.


This was such a delightful book.  The kiddos enjoyed reenacting the book and yelling “la-la-la-la-lei” and giving our stuffed animal duck a spank when he was the last one on the boat.  It opened up a door for many talks about consequences and obeying in order to stay safe.

Sitting in the riverboat with Ping.

Sitting in the riverboat with Ping.

A Castle Made of Frosting

4 Apr

For school Hazel wrote a “Once Upon a Time” story.  Here’s her story.

 Once upon a time I had a wonderful dream.  There was a person that taked me on a date to a castle that was made of frosting and we ate some.  When we got home we told everyone else about it and my brother Ambrose wanted some and I said you could have some after dinner.

Castle made of Frosting

Once upon a time

Five in a Row – The Glorious Flight

7 Sep

We began a new chapter in our lives on Monday.  We started home educating Hazel, our kindergartner.  We very much believe that learning should be fun.  Five in a Row is an acclaimed curriculum, and we knew it would suit our family well.  The gist of the curriculum is using delightful books (also known as Living Books) to teach your children.  You read the book each day for a week and draw out lessons for the week–Math, Art, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.  We like it because it teaches our kids that learning happens everywhere.

We kicked of our school year reading The Glorious Flight.



Louis Bleriot was the first person to cross the English Channel in an aircraft, so we took some time looking at the history of flight.  We watched some YouTube videos of the Wright Brothers, and read about Amelia Earhart’s flight across the Atlantic in Night Flight.

Daddy lead some science lessons about lift and thrust.

The fan worked as the engine.  When the engine died (the fan turned off) our planes crashed.

The fan worked as the engine. When the engine died (the fan turned off) our planes crashed.

Thrust is the force necessary to move our plane forward.

Thrust is the force necessary to move our plane forward.

We took a field trip to our municipal airport and looked at all the model airplanes.  This wasn’t as fun as I hoped, but both kids left wanting to be pilots.  I think that’s a success!

Fleming Field

Fleming Field

But our favorite part of the week was working on our Kiwi Crates.  August’s crate was about flight (how perfect!).  So Hazel and Ambrose both assembled kites and flew them on the sidewalk.

Opening our Kiwi Crate!

Opening our Kiwi Crate!


Decorating his kite

Flying our kites down the sidewalk.

Flying our kites down the sidewalk.

Later in the week we put together our Kiwi Crate rockets and practiced counting down until Blast-Off.

3-2-1 Blast off!!

3-2-1 Blast off!!


This book takes place in the city of Cambrai, France.  We’ll be reading other books that take place in France, so I didn’t want to spend so much time on France.  So we simply colored in a French flag and took a field trip to a French Bakery to enjoy some croissants.

Coloring Flags

Coloring Flags

Then we studied the English Channel and looked at some pictures of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Twenty miles wide.

Black, tossing waves.

Fog and rain.

A very cold bath.

A long swim.

It is a dangerous prospect.

Papa Bleriot flew his 11th plane across the English Channel so we made 11 paper airplanes and flew them across our backyard version of the English Channel.  The kiddos thought this was great.  Ambrose manned the rescue ship–The Escopette.   And Hazel successfully flew all of her planes over the channel!  Ambrose on the other hand delighted to crash his planes into the water while steering the Escopette in the other direction while saying “Uh oh, my pilot died.”

Making Paper Airplanes

Making Paper Airplanes

Making Paper Airplanes

Making Paper Airplanes

Crashing Planes into the English Channel while the Escopette steers in the opposite direction.

Crashing Planes into the English Channel while the Escopette steers in the opposite direction.

IMG_4163Language Arts

This book uses a lot of descriptive phrases.  So we introduced the concept of Adjectives and had Hazel use five words to describe her lovey, Daddy Frog.

Delicate, Green, Dirty, Loved, Cute

There were also a couple new words for Hazel so we made some vocab cards.


Valiant – Heroic, Courageous, Determined


Perspective and viewpoint

Many of the paintings in this book show people looking up at the sky while others show Papa Bleriot looking downward from his plane.   Hazel took pictures of the toy airplane from the ground looking up and from the sky looking down.  We discussed what made each viewpoint different and how each painting illustrates the viewpoint.

Viewpoint and Perspective

Viewpoint and Perspective


Viewpoint and Perspective.

It was a wonderful first week of homeschooling.  Hazel told me she loves school this year, and we can immediately see the benefits after just one week.  Hazel’s heart seems to have softened–she is far less grumbly and is thriving on the attention given to her.  Ambrose is appreciating the structure that school gives our family and is learning what is expected of him–ie He needs to get dressed before school starts, He may watch Curious George on PBS then he must turn off the TV, He and Hazel must play without Mommy’s help while I get lunch ready.

We thoughoughly enjoyed our first week of homeschooling.  We know not every week will go this well, but it was a wonderful way to begin our school year!

We thoroughly enjoyed our first week of homeschooling. We know not every week will go this well, but it was a wonderful way to begin our school year!