Week Sixteen



Ruby finds a favorite piece during a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with our wonderful homeschool group.  We toured the Terracotta Warriors (no picture-taking allowed in that exhibit) and also went on a guided tour.

Home by Shelley Rotner helped us discuss types of homes in the world and what it’s like for people and families who are homeless, and made us feel lucky for ours.  Created thee-dimensional homes using milk cartons.  We also looked at and discussed many Native American homes (long houses, wigwams, teepees).


Continue listening to Suzuki discs one, two, and three.  Working on Christmas pieces and group class performance pieces.  Enjoying Miles’ new piece Hungarian Folk Song (Bela Bartok) and listening to others by Bartok.  Lori Mechem Quartet and Vince Guaraldi Trio for Charlie Brown Christmas songs (really loving ‘Skating’ ‘Linus and Lucy’) has been a hit this week.

Looking to add some Minnesota Sinfonia concerts to our winter calendar.

Social Studies

Fearless John:  The Legend of John Beargrease by Kelly Emerling Rauzi.  A postal carrier in the 1800s, Beargrease lived on the North Shore and was a hardy, brave character.  We learned about the Anishinaabe (Northern Michigan University site) and constellations Orion (called Winterman by Chippewa), Orion’s Little Dog, and Orion’s Big Dog.  The Great Lakes by Janet Piehl.

Clothesline Clues to Jobs People Do by Kathryn Heling and talk about community helpers.  Journaled about a possible jobs that the boys and Ruby would like to do.

Math and Logic

Multiplying with cupcake liners and dried beans.  For 2 x 3, Miles would take 2 cupcake liners and put 3 dried beans in each liner.  He used this activity for equations that he did not know the product.  Idea from Pro Teacher.   Multiplication and skip counting with One Is a Snail Ten Is a Crab by April Pulley Sayre.

Practice and review of Roman Numerals, using them to write our ages.

Made and discussed December calendars using editable printout from Education World.

Although we use Singapore Math workbooks, I am continually piecing together resources and manipulatives and trying to add more math games to teach and reinforce adding and subtracting facts.  Math Aids  worksheets are organized by skills, cover K-8 grade levels, and are very helpful when I need something specific to tailor to what we’re working on.  Homeschool Math has some good explanations too.

Language Arts

The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth.  Recalling which animals went into the mitten first, second, and so on.  As we read, everyone put the corresponding animal into their paper bag mitten.  Looking at other words with double letters (from Painless Spelling by Mary Elizabeth).  Masks from Jan Brett’s site. Make pattern mittens, measure height using a cardboard mitten, and then put our heights on a graph.

Health and Wellness

A welcomed lunch change-up and opportunity to play with food.  Simple dough recipe from King Arthur (we leave out sugar and use white whole wheat flour).  We used tomato paste for the sauce and shredded mozzarella and parmesan.


Parker named this smoothie Blueberry Blackout




Did it Take Creativity to find Relativity, Albert Einstein?  by Melvin and Gilda Berger.  We laughed after reading about Einstein’s first words, at about age three.  He said ‘The soup is too hot”.  Then his parents asked why he hasn’t said any words before, and his reply was that “up to now everything has been fine.”!  We also liked one of Einstein’s quotes:  ‘Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.’  Compare and contrast Einstein with John Beargrease (both born in the ladder half of the 1800s, one lived in Germany, the other Minnesota and so on).  Discuss German food, music, language (kindergarten is a German word!).  Activity ideas from Homeschool Share.

During our Como Zoo class Animal Senses, we got to see a kinkajou up close.  As you may have guessed, we explored how people and animals use their senses.

Corn snakes bring air into their mouth with their tongue to ‘taste’ which direction their next meal might be.

Bullfrogs cannot chase down its meals, but have a super-fast tongue reflex to catch insects.

Parker tests his sense of touch at one of the many stations.

Sting ray and turtle observations in the rainforest exhibit (nice humid air!)

We learned that poison dart frogs (and small lizards) sometimes are free-range in the rainforest exhibit, to help control insects.  They lay eggs and drink water that collects in the bromeliads’ throughout the exhibit.

The sloth was on the move during our visit.  Apparently she comes down from the tree for two main reasons:  to use the little ladies’ room and to eat dirt the following day.  The dirt helps her digestion system.


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