Week Nine

Math and Logic

Playing war to practice number comparison (and because it’s just good fun!).  Also practiced finding combinations of numbers that equal 10 (by setting 12 cards out face-up, queens, jacks, kings removed, aces are one).

Pattern mittens inspired by the Ukrainian folktale The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth (we’ve also seen it written by Jan Brett).

‘Laundry’ Number line, counting by 10s.  Each envelope has a set of 10 numbers (only up to 60 on this line today, the rest tomorrow).  Miles and Parker chose an envelope and then arranged the numbers in the correct order or wrote in the missing numbers.

Hungry ‘gators to use with our number line (game from Smart First Grader).  Greater, equal, lesser symbol practice.

This ‘gator has a rhyme to help remember which way the greater sign goes.

Roll and record game.  Miles rolled two dice, added them, and recorded their sum.  We all made estimations which sum will be the winner (the boys chose their ages – 5 was the winner).

Rotational symmetry and snowflakes – Miles practiced drawing snowflakes.

Roll and add 10:  first we made a 4 by 7 grid (or any size), then Miles rolls two dice and adds 10 to that sum.  He does this in his head and it goes pretty quickly.

Checkers with coins:  ones (pennies) against fives (nickels)

The 40th Day of Homeschool Piñata!

In honor of our 40th day of homeschool, we made a piñata (when we made our globe) of paper mache.  Miles practiced some multiplication and tallied up the candy.

We also started using three cups to ‘measure’ our days of school.  Each represents a place value (ones, tens, hundreds) and a penny goes into the ones cup for each day, etc.


Ruby had requested ‘hot rock’ art, something we did this fall.  First washed a smooth rock.  Next heated it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350.  Then ‘apply’ crayons as they sort of turn to paint sticks as they melt onto the rock.

Ruby was happiest playing in the sink while her brothers were working on self-portraits.

Self portraits, guidelines and powerpoint from Mrs. Brown.

Santa and Elf Tic Tac Toe from TLS Books.

Color and cut project from The Mitten story – lots of ideas also at this site called The Mitten.


‘What dissolves?’ experiment with sugar, salt, and flour

Egg in plain tap water

We mixed lots of salt to make the egg float.  These experiments brought to you by Smart First Graders.

Fun scavenger hunt (5 Orange Potatoes homeschool) for elements and discussion of the periodic table.  We used The Periodic Table, Elements With Style by Adrian Dingle for more information as we talked about elements as we found lots around our house such as sodium (salt), copper (pennies, tubing), potassium (bananas), chlorine (swimming pool), and so on.  Skeletons by Lily Wood really help solidify Miles queries about calcium and bones.

Tying into The Mitten story, we discussed the habitat, weather, and what animals live in very cold climates and created a diorama of the habitat, using The Boreal Forest by Brenda Z. Guiberson as our guide.

Language Arts

The boys love their Pokemon cards, so we made a game called ‘Five Alive!’.  They choose any five cards and put them into alphabetical order.

Read Who am I? by Wiley Blevins (about neighborhood helpers) and some lunchtime  sight-word bingo.

Scanning East Lake’s collection of Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne.  Miles’ favorite book to read out loud this week is Chicken Butt’s Back! by Erica S. Perl, a sequel to another favorite Chicken Butt! by the same author.

After reading The Mitten, Miles decided that he wants to use this story for our holiday play drama.  We’re still brainstorming our list of props for the production (sleeping bag for our family ‘mitten’, colored animal masks…).

Science and Social Studies

Beginning our paper mache globe and piñata projects.

Have extra balloons on hand for play (Ruby and Parker claimed them right away!).  For the project, first cut many newspaper strips.  Next whisk 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 cups water.  Then tie a string around the balloon (for drying later) and dip a strip into the mixture.  Smooth each strip onto the balloon and repeat until it’s covered.

The one on the left will be our globe and the other will be our 40th day of homeschool celebration piñata (we used a final tissue paper layer to make it look like an ornament).

Painting our globe – big fun!

All the continents cut-out and glued-on!

The Mitten is a Ukrainian story and we talked about how ‘Baba’ is grandmother.  We also practiced how other cultures say grandmother – Spain (abuela), Italy (nonna), French (grand-mere) using Google’s translator.

Lego road trip game.  To liven up our geography and US map lesson, we placed Lego guys on our puzzle map and got an empty Lego car and driver ready.  The driver wanted to pick up his friends but needed our help with directions.  Miles chose a guy to pick up, and then we plotted out directions by saying the state and which cardinal directions to travel.

Christmas countdown calendar – reading directions on a treasure hunt day.  Miles read a clue which lead them to a new location, which had a new sentence clue to read, and so on.  The ending was finding three quarters in the fridge.

Health and Wellness

Although Miles is still feeling the affects of a cold on its way out, we still enjoyed walks to the park to play with friends.  We are practicing Lion’s Breath when we’re frustrated to help manage strong feelings.  Indoor games and dancing to music have been taking the place of our outdoor morning play, which will probably change when we get some snow.


Ready for group class!

Lunch before lessons

After lessons, we were surprised to see a studio (elementary aged students) preparing for their concert.  We stayed a while and were treated to some great live music in the open foyer.

At home, we’ve been listening to holiday music on Internet radio (Christmas 24/7 Jazz), Suzuki books 1 and 2 discs, experimenting with playing songs heard on radio and shows, and playing Jingle Bells.  Next week we will play a fun Sponge Bob board game which has been turned into a piano game.  Played at the piano, the boys choose game cards that have a different Suzuki book 1 and 2 song or theory (such as types of rests and notes) written on them.  They play the song or say the type of note or rest and then move their character.  When the boys were first beginning to take lessons, we regularly played many homemade piano board games, puzzles, and Easter egg hunt games, and it will be fun to get back into our habit!


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