...and no time for posting! :)
Here are a few quick fun things we did this week:
For the Feast of St. Helen on Monday (8/18 -- my patron Saint!), purported to be the one who found the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified, we made and enjoyed Hot Cross Buns for breakfast!
Our recipe was simple:
- 1 box hot roll mix (plus all the ingredients called for on the package)
- 1/2 - 1 cup candied citron, raisins or a combination
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 t. cinnamon
Pour the dry hot roll mix into a large mixing bowl; add all remaining ingredients and stir. Then prepare the rolls the rest of the way according to the package directions (adding egg, oil and water, if memory serves; I think we used melted butter instead of oil).
Divide the dough into 16 equal balls, and place in a buttered 13x9 baking pan. Bake according to the package directions.
When the rolls have finished baking, brush them with a glaze made with 3T heavy cream 2T sugar, whipped lightly with a fork. Place under the broiler to set the glaze.
Finally, when they are cool, frost them with traditional crosses, made from 10x sugar and cream -- keep it plenty thick so it won't run, and pipe onto buns using a small plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off.
During breakfast -- while those yummy rolls were being enjoyed -- we read St. Helen's story in the gorgeously illustrated Saints: Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson.
We're learning about how Native Americans lived prior to the arrival of Columbus; so we also made some yummy Indian Fry Bread -- recipes for this are widely available online, but we used the one found in More Than Moccasins by Laurie Carlson. It's a delightful resource for recipes, games and crafts on this subject.
Here's how we did it:
- 2 cups flour (we used whole wheat; I would have loved to try corn flour, but it is hard to find)
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. oil
- 3/4 c. water
Mix the dough well, then knead until smooth and not sticky. Break off walnut (or so) sized pieces and use palms and fingers to flatten into thin, roundish cakes. Fry in a half- inch or so of hot cooking oil, a minute or two per side (may bubble up, which we rather enjoyed! They are done when they turn light brown in color).
We served them dipped in honey or maple syrup, with cheese cubes and grapes, for a very yummy lunch! (Can you tell we like grapes?) :)
Along with this, we pulled out our box of music instruments, and had a lot of fun learning the Navajo Song of Happiness, found in From Sea to Shining Sea, compiled by Amy L. Cohn. (I came across this book a few years ago at our local library and fell in love with it! I immediately found a beautiful used copy for a reasonable price at amazon.com and have found it to be a very worthwhile purchase. It's loaded with stories and songs that parallel this year's history curriculum (and next year's, too!), exactly!
As part of Nature Monday, we played a fun little Classification game, that turned out to be perfect for all three of my children. First, we read from the Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature, and talked about how you tell if something is a living thing (emphasizing that living things eat, breathe, grow and reproduce).
I have an old cool whip-type container stuffed into an old hunting sock for a "feely box."
Into that I put probably 20 small objects -- tiny animals, plastic fruits and veggies, button, pen, stone and so on. Then I had three paper plates, labeled in words and pictures: "Living Things -- Animals," "Living Things -- Plants" and "Non-living Things." (They understood that the plastic pieces were representative of real things, though we could have included objects found around the pond if we chose. This way, we could have a greater variety, and include things like animals and bugs!)
The children took turns pulling out one object, and we sang, "You found a _____, you found a ____, is it living?" (tune: Frere Jacques). They'd answer (in song!), talk about how they could tell, and placed it on the proper plate. (SB, at 2 years old, just had fun taking turns and naming the thing he found. The others would tell him where to put it.)
Then, on Friday, we decided to go to the zoo! It was fun for everyone, and a great opportunity to review all the information that Junie B. has been learning in her biology lessons (since the signs outside each of the animal areas tell their classification information!). She loves seeing which animals are "related," and made a few surprising discoveries!
Everyone is adjusting well to the school-time bed & rising schedule (though everyone is pretty tired), and while I need to tweak a few things, the overall routine is working well. When I have time, I'll post a few more details about our curriculum and routine over in My Backyard, and make a few notes about the children's individual progress (I'm thinking of ultimately using that site to make a keepsake book for each of the kids on their progress for the year!)
I have to say, this is the most fun I've had with homeschooling so far. I was so afraid of trying to deal with teaching two levels at once, but as it turns out, I think it's making everything better!
All in all, I'd say we had a wonderful first week of school!