Week Seven

“Yay,  today is winter!”

Miles and Parker wanted to shovel the driveway off before piano lessons.


The pea plant grew nearly one inch in a week.

Work in progress:  Sonoran desert diorama during the day (left) and at night (right – that’s a bat flying in front of the cactus)

In our study of desert animals and habitat, Desert Days, Desert Nights by Roxie Munro was a favorite read.  Each page has sketches of various desert habitats and has the animals, reptiles, and birds names’ listed at the bottom.  This page layout turned the book into a fun ‘Where’s Waldo-esc’ game, where we read an animal name from the bottom of the page and they raced to find it in the picture.

Working on the Crafty chameleon and desert tortoise projects

We read Aesop’s Fable the Tortoise and the Hare and made hand puppets.  Some favorite books were Deserts by Peter Benoit and Hidden Life of the Desert by Thomas A. Wiewandt .  After reading about and viewing a photo a giant desert centipede, Miles verified that these do NOT live in or have been sighted in Minnesota.  The boys really tuned into the rhymes of  Why Oh Why are Deserts So Dry? by Tish Rabe.


This week instead of rushing out the door after lunch to get to our lessons on time, we packed a lunch and ate at MacPhail.  It was fun for all and we hope to repeat it.

We continue daily listening and playing Jingle Bells as well as various other pieces.   M is for Music by Kathleen Krull was a hit for its terminology and musicians. As Miles and Parker decorated their trees for the Family Tree Project we listened to Wedding Polka on YouTube.


Famous artist Piet Mondrian inspired art creations this week.  He used lines and primary colors in some of his paintings.

Ed Emberley’s Drawing of Animals – Miles and Parker easily followed the step by step illustrations for drawing many animals.

Math and Logic

Miles likes the Theo LeSieg book Ten Apples Up On Top!, and we found this game that helps practice skip-counting by 10s.  He does some workbook pages per day, but really likes playing games like this one best (me too). Miles is also working on reading clocks, double-digit addition, single-digit subtraction, multiplication, and fractions.

Health and Wellness

This was our last week swimming at Dowling until January.  We have been biking less due to lower temperatures and windy conditions.  Post-school daily park trips continue to energize us, and really look forward to seeing our kid and parent friends there.

Twitches and Sneezes by Angela Royston cites that sneezes and coughs can travel up to 12 feet!  We also talked about ways to stay healthy and  read The Common Cold by Elaine Landau.

Playing a newly invented color game in the basement.  Each person can only go on certain colors, and they sort of propel themselves using the broom handle.

Coming Soon:  Project Yoga

Next week we are going to start a program called Classroom Yoga Project that’s tailored to classrooms, but the poses, breathing, and fundamentals can be applied anywhere.  I created a free account to view the curriculum and it hasn’t disappointed yet.  The site (once logged in) has sections for energizing, calming, and focusing, depending on how everyone is feeling and what we want to be doing.  Then there are short video clips of kids doing the poses that we can follow along with.   Also, the site’s thoughtful questions such as ‘did I eat a healthy breakfast without too much sugar?’ and ‘did I drink enough water?’ promote self-awareness and wellness.  You will probably see the fun printable sketches of poses colored and posted on our walls.  Miles really liked the yoga class that he took during Kindergarten, so we’re ready to give this a try.

Social Studies

Family tree project from Teaching Resource Center.  As the boys worked on this, we read the following books/poems and chatted about how and why people move to a different country.

Read poems Grandma, Grandaddy from Dirt on My Shirt by Jeff Foxworthy.  A Ticket to Poland by Sean McCollum and Norway by Elaine Landau helped the boys visualize lands where their ancestors lived generations ago.  We will also get a book on Ukraine, but found a good site, Ukraine Culture Corner, with songs and recipes.  Ruby liked watching a Norwegian traditional dance on YouTube, especially the part of the shoe-slaps.

Miles is counting out 37 M&Ms here as part of our Christmas Countdown Calendar.  Our Calendar is basically a decorated box with 38 cardboard ‘doors’ labeled ’38’, ’37’ and so on, taped right onto it (yes, low budget but high kid-interest).  On the inside of each ‘door’ is an activity or action, such as 35 jumping jacks (for day 35) or scavenger hunt or pick up 33 white Legos.  One day Miles tried to read ahead to the next few days’ surprises but laughed when he realized they were blank and assumed it was part of the fun.  When I came up with the Calendar I couldn’t come up with every activity, but it works well because now I can tailor it to what we’re working on.

The Alexander Ramsey House pre-visit guide inspired our baking this week.  After reading about Alexander Ramsey Family, a historic Minnesotan family whose house is preserved and you may tour, we made 1880s sugar cookies.

As recommended in the History Society’s pre-visit study materials, we compared today’s sugar cookies to those made in the 1880s. The verdict: we used whole wheat flour (as usual at our house) so they look darker than most sugar cookies, and we guessed kids in the 1880s did not have alphabet shape cookie cutters.

Language Arts

Roosevelt Library run:  We returned home with a pass to the Swedish Institute, Harry Potter Lego book, many Berenstain Bears, and Star Wars books.

Miles reads one of our activities (a scavenger hunt list of toys in the basement) from the Christmas Countdown Calendar.

Cat in the Hat rhyming game from First Grade a la Carte.

Capital letter and punctuation practice:  on the opposite side of each card is the word with a capital letter or different punctuation mark.  Being a kinesthetic and tactile learner, Miles liked being able to move the cards around to figure out the correct sentence.

Working on an Acrostic poem about Parker – we started it, but never finished due to Parker’s protestations about Miles’ word choices.  We also worked together on acrostic poems titled ‘Dad’ and ‘Miles’.  We also wrote an All About Animals and their Habitat poem called ‘Coyotes’.  It is fun to write poetry collaboratively, and we laugh often as we come up with verses.


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