Showing posts from October, 2010

What We Are Reading

This week in addition to our chapter books, we found some delightful picture books to enjoy.  Our trip to the library this week was very short and we did not have time to browse like we usually do so I selected a few promising looking books from the "Librarian's Choice" section.

The absolute winner was A Beasty Story by Bill Martin Jr. and Steven Kellogg.  Froggy loved pointing out the rhymes and how the story was told both through narration and the the character bubbles. The characters, a family of mice, modify the story as they discover things.  The illustrations are cute and fun. The text helps a new reader with rhyme and a younger sibling with color identification.  My special bonus came in watching Froggy read the story to Acorn (our resident kidlet, a 4yr old special needs child currently demonstrating a developmental level of approximately 20mnths). My only regret was not having the camera at my fingertips to capture the moment, all too rare since Acorn is rarely …

Geography - Minnesota

I have not posted lately about our map work.  We have still been plugging along.  Location makes a huge difference though.  We repainted our dining room and the map is no longer in the room.  It is now with the other circle time posters.  Froggy has not looked at it or mentioned at all since the move except during map time.

This week we started a new American Girl book, Meet Kirsten.  In the book she and her family travel from Sweden to Minnesota.  Froggy knew on her own that journey is during "Frontier times" but it made a special connection when I told her that Kirsten is a little girl at the same time that Laura and Mary's (Ingalls) Ma was a little girl.  (Remember we are still working our way through Little House on the Prairie - we move through it at a snails pace)

Since our regular weekly map this term is only the United States, we had to go to our big map on the wall to find Sweden and trace their journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  We did trace their journey fro…

Menu Planning Monday

Last week's Lamb Tagine from Autumn Gatherings turned out delicious.  Serving it in the pumpkin was nice for Shabbat and looked really pretty but we did not eat it as they suggest in the book and probably will not serve it like that regularly.  The squash cake on the other had was thick and dense and did not turn out well at all. 

Monday - Froggy's Birthday - she gets to pick.  Nuggets mac and cheese and broccoli and birthday cake.  I also need to make cupcakes for Girl Scouts.
Tuesday - Fish ala Jenn, rice, keem and peas
Wednesday -Pasta with sauce, garlic bread and salad
Thursday - Baked Marinated Chicken With Couscous and Spinach (did not do last week)
Friday -Challah, Salmon, rice keem and asparagus, apple crisp.

What We Are Reading - Fairies

A wonderful friend at synagogue lent Froggy the first set of the Rainbow Fairy books this week and she fell instantly in love.  She has had at least one with her at all times since. In the books, Jack Frost is the bad guy.  It is strange to me to see him portrayed that way.  I don't think Froggy has actually read any of them yet but she sure is loving on them.

We have been reading more Little House on the Prairie.  We read about Pa building the doors and Daddy felt a need to pipe in with a comment about oak being a hard wood and how he did not like working with oak because it was so hard.  This of course prompted a rather lengthy discussion of oak versus pine and what our doors were made of.   Poor Froggy was very concerned that her doors were not oak and therefore not safe and stout like Laura's.  It took work but we managed to reassure her that her doors were indeed safe and stout.

Froggy continues her obsession with Jack and Annie.  She discovered the Merlin missions which …

Double Fudge Brownies

I use this brownie recipe all the time and am asked to share it repeatedly so I decided finally get it online to share.  The recipe is adapted for my family from The Family Baker by Susan Purdy.  It is the most used dessert cookbook on my shelf.

8oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup Earth Balance Margarine or shortening
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2 TBS cocoa
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly butter pan.
Melt chocolate and margarine together over low heat until smooth stirring often.  Set aside to cool.
Mix together sugar, eggs, salt and vanilla. 
Slowly stir in chocolate mixture.
Sift together cocoa and flour.  Mix in gently.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.  Do not overbake.

Homeschool Diary - 10 Cheshvan 5771

Our week this week is very crazy and our goals are minimal.  The week is full of excitement and visitors culimating with Froggy's birthday party Sunday afternoon.

We are starting our week with our annual Fall Harvest Fun Day. We will go straight from the farm to Daisy Investiture so there will be no schooling at all.

Tuesday I am hoping to get in some solid learning since Tuesday night a little girl is coming to stay with us for a visit while her parents are away.  I think Froggy is  more excited about this than she is her party.  And then because our house will not be full enough the grandparents arrive on Thursday. 

This week my main goal is maintaining routine.  Among all the additions, special events and visitors I will work to keep as much of our standard activities as possible.

As for academics we will continue with Handwriting and Math and Parsha.  The portion for this week is perfect since it is about inviting visitors into the home.  How more perfect could the timing be …

Math Monday - Lollipop Logic

We recently got a new workbook based off of a recommendation from another mom ( I wish I could remember who).  It is Lollipop Logic.  I got it in part to see where Froggy was in this respect since I had no concept of what constituted logic skills for a little person.  Froggy really likes it and we do pages in it when we have time.  I think she likes it because of the fun pictures in it.  I am not sure she is learning anything from other than test taking skills.  My husband calls it the "SAT test taking prep book"  

We have had it for several weeks now and have worked on sequencing, relaationships and analogies.  The sequencing went as I expected with Froggy breezing through it thinking it was kind of silly.  When we got to the relationships we did well except when Froggy was not familiar with the items she was trying to form a relationship with.  The page with the sports equipment provided some really fun conversation fodder. 

The analogies gave Froggy some real trouble whe…

Menu Planning Monday

Sunday -Spaghetti Sauce Pasta and salad.
Monday - Potluck at Girl Scout Investiture
Tuesday - Baked Marinated Chicken With Couscous and Spinach
Wednesday -Shepards Pie and Salad
Thursday - Grandparents arrive -
Friday - Challah, Lamb Tagine In Whole Roasted Pumpkin (recipe from Autumn Gatherings), broccoli, Winter Squash cake with Apple Cider Glaze (recipe from Gardeners Community Cookbook)

Sunday Science - Eric Energy

We learned about all different kinds of energy from Eric Energy.  It was a fun show put on by the Discovery Theater.  You know the show is well done when even the professional science teacher part likes it not just the mommy part.  

 We learned about the Bernoulli principle when Eric Energy became a giant windbag and blew up a huge bag with just one breath.  Almost Unschoolers did a similar experiment that I kept saying I would show Froggy but never got around to. Eric Energy did it for me and now I don;t have to  (Really I still hope to let her do this at home one day soon.

 We then got to see "volcanos" via dry ice.  He did soap suds and then collapsed the bubbles releasing the C02.  It was neat seeing the smoke come out of bubbles
For every demo or experiment he did he got the audience involved with lots of participation.  There were children of all ages there and they all got something out of it I think.

What We Are Reading

This week was a fun week for reading.  In addition to several Magic Treehouse books, Froggy actually chose some picture books to read over and over.

The first one, Drum Chavi Drum, we stumbled on at the library with no other information.  It is not one I would have It is written in both Spanish and English with the pattern of the text matching for each language so that even Froggy can find the translation for the part she is reading. But the Spanish learning it secondary to the enjoyment and message of the book.  Chavi is a young musician who wants to convince everyone that she is good enough to drum in the parade even though she is a girl.  Drumming is not only for boys.  I loved the message of this book for my music loving little girl. 

The second big win of the week is  A Picture Book of Davy Crockett. It has sat on our bookshelf for ages now without being looked at all.  Then browsing through the other day Froggy found it and fell in love.  We have learned about the Alamo and how …


Froggy started her second year of ballet today.  She was so proud of herself.  She moved up to Ballet 1 instead of PreBallet.  She was not scheduled to move up for another year since the expectation is two years at each level.  However all her friends moved up and she wanted to stay with them.

We talked long and hard about expectations.  I warned her that if she went into this class it would be lots of work and lots less time playing.  She still wanted to do it to be with her friends.  I talked to the director who agreed that it was worth a try.  

So the first class was wonderful.  Her teacher had nothing but praise for her focus and dedication and progress from last year.

Book of Centuries

Part of growing up is learning to understand the scope of time.  It is a very tricky concept for little people.  Add in using two different calendar systems with very different years and it becomes even more tricky.  Froggy is fighting a hard battle.

To help her, we recently set up a Book of Centuries.  We have slowly over time added more Charlotte

Mason techniques to our learning program and this is the newest.  Unlike the method she describes, our book has the Gregorian century dates on the left hand side of the spread and the Hebrew dates on the right hand side.  With each entry I record both dates.  We use two different color inks, black for real events (ex General George Washington crosses the Delaware River.) and fluorescent teal for fictional events (ex Jack and Annie meet General Washington)

Froggy is young for a Book of Centuries so we do this together and I do all the writing.  I hesitated starting this so early but needed a tool to help answer the questions she was asking.  …

Tiny Talk Tuesday - What Am I

These are the kinds of conversations we have in the car - This one was prompted when I told Froggy that no wolves were allowed in my car and I would need to change her back to a girl before she could get in.

Froggy - what kind of wild animal can I be in the car
me - a gold fish
Froggy - no it has to be a land animal
me - a racoon
Froggy - no animals that dig holes
me - a tiger
Froggy - no animals with claws
me - ok a kaola
Froggy - no Australian animals
me - hmm a deer
Froggy - nope no mammals

At this point I was positive no animal would ever be ok but Dad took on the challenge and kept playing with her while I tried not split my sides laughing

Homeschool Diary - 3 Cheshvan 5771

Monday - Still part of the weekend due to the holiday
       Morning - Davening
                       Handwriting - Copywork wow and cow
                       Introduce new letter of the week
                       Finish last week's math wrokbook pages
                       Read Lech Lecha in Reading Genesis
Afternoon - Froggy Daddy Date time
                          Mommy goes scrapbooking
Tuesday - Daddy's Birthday
Morning - Davening
                        Birthday Breakfast with Daddy
                      Fieldtrip - White House Kitchen Garden tour
      Afternoon -
                       Lollipop Logic
                       Introduce new math topic - Other types of Addition
                       Handwriting Copywork - tot and Cot
        Evening - Birthday Dinner out with Daddy then home to open presents
       Morning - Davening
                       Vocabulary for Zayin -
                       Math - Dreambox
       Afternoon - Ballet and Japanese

Menu Planning Monday

Last week's Turkey and Wild Rice chowder experiment turned out wonderfully.  We do not have soup for dinner as often as I like because Froggy only drinks the broth but with the temperatures dropping I begin to crave it so we compromise. This fit the bill nicely with lots of big pieces of turkey I could pull out and put on a plate for her next to her soup.  We used turkey bacon in place of the pancetta and coconut milk in place of the cream making it safe for Froggy and kosher.  It did not end up with the thick consistency of the chowders I am used to but I think that was an issue with my roux.  It will certainly make a reappearance.

Sunday - Chicken and basil quesedillas, black beans and Mexican rice  (did not have it last week)
Monday - Fish ala Jenn  rice and
Tuesday - Dinner Out for Dad's Birthday - make cake at home
Wednesday - Sloppy Joes tator tots peas
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Challah, Pot Roast, baby potatoes carrots, cranberry skillet cake (recipe below)


Homeschool Diary - 26 Tishrei 5771

Because sometimes it is fun to see the whole week at a glance

Monday - New lessons all around
Parsha - Noach - Read story in both books
     Math - start new lesson - adding with number bonds in textbook
     Handwriting - Lowecase S
     And the best part of all Girl Scouts
Tuesday -
    Parsha - vocabulary and activity - we are building towers and counting by twos.
   Handwriting - lowercase n
Ulpan - start new unit - clothing - Froggy has been eagerly awaiting this one.  I love this program
   Math - practice in workbook and play Dreambox
   Get Family Pictures taken
Wednesday - 
   Field Trip - Eric Energy - two other families are meeting us and it should be a fun informative time.
   We may do a bit of schooly stuff as well but maybe not
    Japanese class in the afternoon and then family swim time.
Thursday -
   Parsha - Mitzvah connection - Justice
   Handwriting - continue with whichever lowercase comes next
   Math - finish workbook pages
   First class of Gymnastics
Friday  - …

Girl Scouts

For at least 10 years now I have been waiting for this day. Froggy had her first Girl Scout Meeting!!!

Her leader is a wonderful lady who is amazing at managing so many little girls.  The troop is not a Jewish troop nor is it a homeschool troop but there are two other homeschool girls besides Froggy in the troop. 

At the meeting they had circle time during which they are working on learning the Girl Scout Promise.  I used to know a song that teaches the Promise but could not pull it back to share.  Guess I will have to work on that before the next meeting.

They also made  a really cute Promise craft which is a door hanger to help them remember it.  Once they have learned the Promise, they will have earned the center of their Daisy which has a place of prominence in the front center of their tunics.

Just to be sure it is not all work they played a neat game of keep the balloon in the air.

 They have a Kaper Chart just like I had when I was a new Brownie.  The little dolls are even just …

Math - Dreambox

A while back Raising A Happy Child reviewed the computer math program at Dreambox Learning.
Her first review had some reservations which she quickly retracted as her daughter played and used the program.  Still I was hesitant. Raising a Happy Child went beyond her review and recommended it specifically for Froggy and yet I was still reluctanct.  I cannot explain the reluctance since we had such great success with Starfall.  Maybe it was that it was a commercial site rather than free but I think it was simply the online element. 

Whatever the reason for the reluctance I got over it.  This week Froggy started with her own journey through the Dreambox adventures.  She was immediately thrilled.  She has only spent about an hour or so total playing but has completed 7 lessons and half of their Kindergarten curriculum based on the placement lesson.  I like that the program is adaptive.  In just the short time Froggy was playing it the questions became harder in one kind of math while the…

Menu Planning Monday

Whew!  I did it.  I made it through the joyous crush of Fall Holidays.  The weather changed and it even feels like Fall now.  So my menu is ready to change too.  But I hate menu planning these days. To help, I am following a friends suggestion and creating a  monthly resource list so I can just run down the list and fill in the slots providing variety and convenience in a mindless fashion.  So far I have about meals on the list. 
Sunday - Tofu Stirfry (did not get to last week) Monday - Chili, cornbread, Salad
Tuesday - Chicken and basil quesedillas, black beans and Mexican rice
Wednesday - Picnic at pool -Turkey Chowder with wild rice, carrot sticks, rolls and cookies.
Thursday -Leftovers Buffet
Friday - Challah, 40 Clove Garlic Chicken , roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and etrog cake

Preschool Parsha - Bereshit

With a raucous joyous Simchat Torah on Thursday evening, we started the Torah over again.  Froggy's Hebrew birthday is Shmeni Atzeret and we celebrate with a special dinner at the end of that solemn day so we are already in a festive mode when we chant Maariv at Shul.  One year soon, I hope to bring Froggy to a celebration that actually takes the Hakafot out into the streets.  Meanwhile we have tons of fun singing and dancing with the Torah at our synagogue.

After two years of using the same texts for our weekly parsha study, I decided to shake things up this year.  If we were the typical stair-step family, we would have welcomed a new young into Torah study this year and Froggy would move to reading My First Parsha Reader to the younger sibling. I have encouraged Froggy to read it to her dolls since there is no sibling.

For Froggy, we are doing a very creative multi-media approach this year.  For the core we are using Reading Genesis by Roberta Osser Baum.  This book is certainl…

Vernal Pools

This week was our last nature class.  We helped to build a vernal pool and studied the animals who make these temporary ponds their homes.  The timing was great on the class in one way.  The ground was dry so we could actually dig.  However with it being so dry we could not see the pool doing its thing. We did find many creatures though.  We saw 2 different varieties of frogs including the wood frog who lay their eggs in vernal pools.  We  only saw fullgrown salamanders no newts.  Naturalist Brian did show us pictures though.Personally I think that the newts look like Stitch.  I wish we had been able to see them.   He explained that these frogs go from eggs to full grown in about 1-2 months while frogs that live in rivers or permanent water supplies may take up to a year to grow to adulthood. .

The rain started towards the end of class.  We went back to the nature center 3 days later and visited the pool we had helped dig.  It was not as big as the one in this picture but there is one…

What We Are Reading

This has been a fun week of reading.  Besides lots of Egypt reading, we have been continuing our American Girl adventures with Samantha and did more holiday reading. 

We also found time to let Froggy explore and choose her own books.  One book she seems to be coming back to again and again is her Bible Stories.  We have the second book which covers Joshua to Queen Esther.  Froggy chose it from the synagogue library. While this book specifically labels itself for children the stories are accurate to the originals, complete with all the violence, gore and questionable content.  Luckily this book is still a read-together for the most part so I am able to offer explanation and commentary as she studies the stories.  I love that she wants that she is learning these stories I think I would have preferred either that it wait till she was a bit older or that she chose a less authentic telling as the introduction.
The other book that has come out of the basket over and over this week is Crea…