Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Thank the Lord for Advent to help us refocus. Perhaps if we spend that one Thursday with many reminders of the goodness celebrated, it will thrive through the holidays?? How can we teach our kids about Thanksgiving? By example.
Our Forever Tree is about to be transformed! Thanks to inspirations from The Crafty Crow, this one came about simply! We will have a "Gratitude Tree" featuring all our blessings of the year and daily life. It has paper leaves and acorns written on and hung. Here's those inspirational ideas:
"Seeds of Gratitude" by By Sun and Candlelight
Using acorns to represent "seeds of gratitude" was rather clever. Print out this acorn at FithFath.com. Then have your family add them to the tree with their notes of gratitude.
"Gratitude Tree" by Green Jello
I like that she cut the papers out as leaves, ready to be hung. Here's a printable I found online below with some autumn variety. [Crayola.com]
Since our leaves are all dried and mulched up, I thought the idea below was a clever way to "make" leaves, which would look rather pretty on our indoor tree!
from "Paper Bag Leaves" by Creative Kismet
Easy Paper Leaves by Momichka - just use varied colors of paper, jagged edged scissors, and a gel pen.
Squirrels are a symbol of this time kids can understand, as they hustle about gathering all those acorns. But it is in preparation, and are we preparing? Since my kids are nuts about the squirrels in our yard, the kids table will probably be decorated something like this…
from "Nuts about Thanksgiving Kids' Table" by No Fuss Fabulous
Found through CatholicIcing.com, are Pondered in My Heart's virtue coloring pages. A good time to discuss VIRTUES is while they color! Courage, Perseverance, Responsibility, Work, Self-discipline, Compassion, Faith, Honesty, Loyalty, and Friendship are all good character traits we want our kids to have! It's these things that we are grateful for. Ehow.com has a simple description of the Catholic Church's Virtues and how they are not just for Catholics!
And of course the biggest Thanksgiving Celebration of all…
The Mass with the Holy Eucharist!
Daily celebration, not just once a year. The Catholic Catechist has some printables on the subject worth checking out. Consider adding a mini monstrance to your thanksgiving tree! Catholic Icing cut hers like a snowflake.
[from Life Teen]
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This is an overview of the lesson plan I created to teach my 1st and 4th graders their early USA history. I opted for the online and library approach instead of the traditional one school book. I hope you enjoy the resources!
(Second Semester US History coming soon! Includes Revolutionary War, Trades and Slavery, and US Government and documents.)
First Semester Lesson Plan:
Early America, Pilgrims and Pioneeers
Native Americans (Tribes & Traditions)
US Geography - Regions, States, Capitals
Our State History (Minnesota)
PILGRIMS - COMING TO AMERICA
The Mayflower at Sea by Margeson
Life on the Mayflower. A journey we’d never forget or want to take twice! Doesn't that painting remind you of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern (Grades 1-4)
Answer children's questions about the Pilgrims with an enlightening Thanksgiving story. With the beautiful illustrations, young readers can imagine being right on the ship, waiting to arrive in a new land. As a part of the If You series, this book helps bring history to life and nurture imagination.
The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620 by Ann Rinaldi (Grades 4-8)
By promising seven years of labor to a fellow traveler, Jasper earns passage aboard the Mayflower and closes the door on his troubled past. His account of the arduous ocean crossing and first year in the New World shows young readers his physical and spiritual growth as he learns the strengths and weaknesses in himself, his Puritan people, and his Native American neighbors.
You can learn how to draw such a marvelous ship in the Draw and Write Through History book by Gressman and Dick, as well as draw pioneers to pirates to patriots of the day [1492-1781]!
The First Thanksgiving - an interactive online experience for kids by Scholastic.com. On this website are Teaching Resources, Thanksgiving Lessons for PreK-8. I tapped into their reading list, and borrowed them all from our local library.
Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House! It's a time for giving thanks . . . when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to 1621 on the first Thanksgiving Day. The Pilgrims ask them to help get things ready. But whether it's cooking or clamming, Jack and Annie don't know how to do anything the Pilgrim way. Will they ruin the holiday forever? Or will the feast go on? - - Jack and Annie travel in their magic treehouse to the year 1621, where they celebrate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in the New Plymouth Colony.
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Magic Tree House: Pilgrims and Sarah Morton’s Day are also some of our favorite books.
Colonial Kids is an interactive website for kids to explore life in the 18th Century.
Sew a Davy Crocket or Native Doll:
--Wee Wonderful Dolls Pattern sewn with short hair
--Brown ribbon or leather-like fabric strip
--My simple sewing pattern (above)!
--A feather or mini coon-skin cap
Read about the American Saints: http://allformary.org/americansaints/
“In Catholic theology, all people are potentially saints by God's grace, and all those who have completed their earthly sojourn and enjoy the Beatific Vision merit the title. But the Church recognizes in a special way particular men and women (and boys and girls) who have exhibited holiness in life to an exemplary degree. Recognition as saints happened in various ways throughout the history of Christianity, but in recent centuries an elaborate canonization process has developed and has become the norm...”
- Catholic History.net [more history on their website]
The National Catholic Committee on Scouting ® has created a program called “Footsteps of American Saints.” http://www.nccs-bsa.org/activities/FootstepsOfAmericanSaints.php It comes complete with activities and patches, which you can order for official presentation or print out to award your children at home.
PIONEERS - MOVING OUT WEST
If I'd chose my favorite history lesson from elementary school, it would be playing Oregon Trail in the computer lab. Yes, back when the screen was green and black on an Apple PC.
http://oregontrail.com/ - This website is home to the original game. It also has lots of history information for kids and links to Facebook games! Travel back to 1848 and travel west on the Oregon Trail, hoping you survive!
· Dynamic2Moms.webs.com is my new favorite place to look up ideas for American History lapbooks. Westward Ho has many printables and pictures about the pioneers of the early US.
· The adventures of Lewis and Clark are documented very well by National Geographic. Read about it at this link http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lewisandclark/ , and watch on Netflix!
· America's Story by The Library of Congress has some links that reminded me of our local treasures.
· Print out a paper doll set of pioneers on the trail at http://tinyton.org/pioneerstocolor.jpeg
DVD Pioneer Life for children: Daily Pioneer Life and The Pioneer Journey Westward and Westward Expansion in the US (found at our Library) was an excellent “in the car” movie. Our children ages 4-9 enjoyed it very much.
America's Story by The Library of Congress has some links that reminded me of our local treasures. Here in the central states we host all sorts of info about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House books. We were enthralled with Disney’s Little House on the Prairie 2 Disc movie. While I enjoyed the TV show in the 80s, this was based on their journey from Wisconsin to Kansas!
The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray is a literary unit study based on the Little House books for homeschoolers. I’ve heard excellent review about this book and its companion books for cooking and crafts.
Our children enjoyed our summer long project of building a clubhouse using mostly old barn wood. We reminded them that this was a similar size to some families homes back in the pioneer days (well, a bit bigger than ours). Watching Little House on the Prairie reminded us how special even glass windows were back then. A luxury.
PIONEER / COLONIAL CRAFTS
Build a Log House with Lincoln Logs (or sticks)
Make Nettie Dolls: Rag or Yarn Dolls
Sew a Mini Quilt (Read: Papa and the Pioneer Quilt)
Knitting or Crochet
Search Online for “Pioneer Crafts”
NATIVE AMERICANS - THE FIRST SETTLERS
Native Americans - such a broad subject. I suggest researching local tribes. We are studying local tribes, trades, etc. The early settlements and tribes map can be seen here and the map above-right can be found here. A home school co-op took time to put together a great resource on the Plains Indians on her blog Dynamic2Moms.webs.com complete with printable lapbooks, notebooks and units for homeschoolers. The Homeschool Club also has some great links for Native American lapbooks.
Also, read up on famous natives including Squanto, Pocahontas, Sackagawea and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. The Draw and Write Through History book series has a how to draw Squanto that is impressive.
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe are in central MN, casually known for their reservation’s lake and casino. We're going to learn a bit more than that… Starting with an Ojibwe Shoulder Bag craft.
The Sioux Indians of the Dakotas are close, and I found great links for kids here and Plains Indian Crafts here. All found at the Regions of the US link. I like the idea to make a peace pipe out of paint sticks! How clever! Home Depot let us take a handful of the bigger ones they use for their 5 gal paint.
We'll take the kids outside to try to shoot their bow and arrow. Here's Boys' Life Magazine's directions to make your own arrow the old fashioned way!
PVC Pipe Bow and Dowel Arrows by You Craft Me Up
I’m sure we’ll dabble in other crafts such as leather art, pottery, dream catchers, weaving, corn husk dolls, etc. We read The Mud Pony by Caron Lee Choen. It’s a traditional Skidi Pawnee tale of a boy who’s clay horse comes to life. We too used clay and learned how to sculpt it. Kids 7 and under I recommend playdoh instead of natural clay.
Since we have lots of trees down in our woods, we spontaneously made a teepee. Weaving branches into each other and wrapping a tarp around it. The kids had a blast, and we also had a campfire nearby.
My daughter’s fascination with the native lifestyle inspired her to dress as Pocahontas for a costume party. A simple and comfortable native dress was designed by me, and easily made by you! I used a khaki tie died fleece, sewing machine/thread, elastic and scissors. Optional fringe includes fake leather fabric, native style ribbon (looks beaded but not), and pony beads. Add braids, mukluks (suede boots) and a blue beaded necklace and you have a native girl costume!
More Book Suggestions:
The Indian School by Gloria Whelan
Squanto, First Friend of the Pilgrims by Cathy Durowski
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola
> This is a great read before painting with nature found inks or watercolors.
PIONEER & NATIVE AMERICAN MEAL IDEAS
Check out the book American Indian Foods. It is interesting enough for my 1-4th graders, and gave me many ideas.
Breakfast: Cooked Oatmeal with Dried berries or Preserves and Nuts (or as a snack)
Snack: Jerky and Nuts with Milk - Try making your own dried foods!
REGIONS & STATEHOOD
Study the Regions of the US at this link. There is a plethora of resources and links here. I just kept on clicking and printing the day away! Mikayla liked the HarcourtSchool.com adventure activities that will help her learn more about the US regions. Cute and interactive online adventure.
The Catholic Geography Bee is a wonderful program for children to learn a lot about each state. This is an exciting program that will enhance your U.S. history and geography studies. Great for individual family study or for larger groups in the form of a Geography Bee.
The US Census Bureau has a fun way to learn about each state. Of course that includes the population of 8-12 year olds in 2000 and 2009.
Do you remember "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" Check this link out for more geography fun! http://carmensandiego.com/hmh/site/carmen/ and play the game on Facebook with all your FB friends!
OUR HOME STATE:
Check out your state's website. MN has our Governor's dog telling the tales of our history and fun facts to kids.
The big theme this year seems to be Timelines. Once we started discussing them, we see them everywhere!
Other good links include:
Pioneer Life for Children ( a 3 disc series found at Library)
Little House on the Prairie (Disney, avail on YouTube)
Pocahontas (1995 Disney, movie trailer)
Davy Crocket (2004 Disney)
The Alamo (John Wayne 1960 trailer)
Parent’s movie flicks, not for children…
Black Robe (on Netflix instant)
The Scarlet Letter
The Crucible (Fiction - The Salem Witch Trials, Catholic Review here)
The Last of the Mohicans (on Netflix instant)
[A list of John Wayne Movies here: http://johnwaynemovies.org/]
Homegrown Catholics - Our homeschooling experience
As a child, I wore a mustard seed with a bible verse [Mark 30-32]around my neck. I pondered the fragility and potential of that little seed. What amazing potential did I have, and now what of the potential of our children!? In high school, my favorite quote was: "When you take the time to do the things you have to do when you have to do them; the time will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them!" - Zig Zigler
So we're taking the time to enrich our childrens' lives, so that they can someday be sent into the world not just as educated citizens - but more so messengers of God. It often takes all my energy and will power to get out of bed each day and have everyone at home depending upon me to entertain with lessons and activities. But I know the end result will be our confidence in knowing we did everything we could to give our children the best Catholic Education WE could provide.
I don't know that I'll ever retire from being a teacher to my family, and I don't want to wait until my husband retires and our children are all grown before we really live our life. Homeschooling allows us to live now, love better now, and give praise and thanks to God now for all that we currently enjoy.
Homegrown Catholics blog is a place for us to share this journey with you. Let it be a resource of renewal and inspiration!
Melissa & Tom
and our growing family
*Visit my other blog for more straight forward journaling about my life Growing in Grace, my Catholic Journey, and my take on world issues. My personal journey to evangelize despite opposition.
*To view samples of what I sew and craft for homework and sale, go to Modest Mommies.