Monday, December 29, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five In A Row: Papa Piccolo

I just realized I never posted about this book!  We loved this one so much we spent two weeks on it.  It's called Papa Piccolo and it's about a tomcat in Venice who finds himself adopting two mischievous kittens.  What's not to love?  In fact, LittleBear now insists he wants to go with me on a trip to Venice...totally fine by me!

We took the opportunity to learn about cats with this book, which worked out well as we have Orbit with us in our family and he got lots of extra love and attention this week (along with a few extra pokes, but he seemed ok with that). 

Mr. Patient this week...

We talked a lot about Venice and some about Italy and enjoyed intermixing fun school things with Christmas activities...

This gondolier sings Christmas carols!

Enjoying spaghetti and meatballs!

We did our usual book work:

We also took some time to play: 
LittleBear and I built our version of a Venice canal out of blocks!

It was a fun week and now we are excited to take some time off for Christmas!

Resources and printables I used for Papa Piccolo can be found at:
Go Along Books we used for Papa Piccolo (* indicate ones we especially liked):
* Papa Gatto
* Madeline and the Cats of Rome
* Olivia Goes to Venice
* Look What Came From Italy by Harvey Miles
* Canals Are Water Roads
* C is for Ciao 
* Gabriella's Song
* What Cat is That? from the Cat In The Hat Learning Library
The Orphan Singer
Cats by Gail Gibbons

 adding the story disk to our map...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's All Fun and Games Until...

date night goes south and someone acquires a hairline fracture on a bone in their elbow after a fall skating on fake ice.

It was the best of times...

it was not the best of times...

He has been wearing a sling, not using his right arm and sees an orthepedic surgeon tomorrow to find out what needs to happen with it.  Prayers are greatly appreciated!!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Five In A Row: Another Celebrated Dancing Bear

This week we read another new-to-us book called Another Celebrated Dancing Bear, about two brown bears who are dear friends in Russia, one of whom is a circus dancer.  Max, the dancing bear, offers to teach Boris how to dance and the two enjoy hours of dancing with breaks for tea and bread.  It's a fun story that LittleBear and I enjoyed (LadyBear enjoyed it the first time, but overall thought it a bit long) reading several times this week.

We hadn't talked about Russia before, so that was definitely a fun addition to our geography studies.  I think it blew LittleBear's mind to learn that Russia actually spans two continents.  We also talked about things that Russia is known for, including ballet and the music of composer Peter Tchaikovsky.  We also had fun watching and dancing along to a few scenes from the Nutcracker (the Russian Dance, the Sugar Plum Fairies and the Dance of the Reeds).  LittleBear was interested to learn that boys could be ballet dancers as well as girls.

On the unexpected-but-why-we-love-homeschool front, we also enjoyed two houseguests this week.  On Monday, I discovered two very tiny Queen butterfly caterpillars on our almost-dead milkweed outside.  Their Momma must have laid her eggs there thinking it was the last milkweed plant around because I checked with the plant nurseries in town and theirs had already been cut back to stumps.  The nursery worker told me that if desperate they will also eat fennel, dill and parsley.  The temperatures were starting to drop below freezing and it appeared that the milkweed was dead, so I brought them inside and set them up with parsley, dill and the remaining milkweed leaves that weren't all-the-way dead.  I also tried re-hydrating some of the leaves, which sort of worked.  They definitely did not eat the parsley or the dill, but did eat some of the milkweed and made it through the week until today when we released them back outside (the temperatures warmed up and our existing milkweed plant seems to be sprouting new leaves).  It got to the point where they were starting to chew through the stalk of the milkweed and I knew they needed more to eat than what I could give them.  So, we took them outside this morning and as of right now they are happily munching away.  LittleBear and I decided to name them Max and Boris after the bears we were reading about in the book this week.

Really, I meant to talk about bears, but this was such a fun opportunity that we talked more about caterpillars instead.  Oh well, we'll get to bears another time.

Max and Boris enjoying the warm inside our home...
 Boris (above) and Max (below) thoroughly enjoying their new freedom outside...

We sincerely hope they will make it outside and turn into butterflies! 

Other than that, we did our usual worksheets each day...

Enjoyed playing with a set of nesting dolls given to Mommy by her dear friend A. who went to Russia several times...

And enjoyed teaching Orbit all about what we were learning when we needed a break...

This was another book we are excited to add to our library!

Resources and printables I used for Another Celebrated Dancing Bear can be found at:
My Five In A Row Pinterest Board
St. Basil's Cathedral from Youtube
The Russian Dance from the Nutcracker on Youtube
The Dance of the Reeds from the Nutcracker on Youtube

Go Along Books we used for Another Celebrated Dancing Bear (* indicate ones we especially liked):
*My Mother is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Becky Reyher
*Peter Tchaikovsky by Mike Venezia
*Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco
*The Magic Gold Fish by Demi
*Prince Ivan and the Firebird by Bernard Lodge
*Look What Came from Russia by Miles Harvey
*Russia ABCs by Ann Berge
*Clever Katya by Mary Hoffman
Little Kim's Doll by Luc Melanson
Russia in Pictures by Heron Marquez
The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert
How the Tsar Drinks Tea by Benjamin Elkin

Story Disk Time!