I’ve had a hard time finding a few minutes to sit down and type this all out. It’s finally done.
Our book for the week was Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? I started off using Before Five in a Row to get ideas for my lesson plans, found some fun things to print online, and ended up branching off a bit on my own as well.
On Monday we read the story three times. The boys just kept begging for “one more time” and I couldn’t say no. In fact, we read the story 3-4 times each day this week. Several times I found a little boy quietly looking through the book on his own as well. The repetition of “rowing” this book was definitely a hit!
Our lesson for Monday was about healthy eating habits because Jesse Bear eats a nice healthy lunch during the story. We talked about good foods and nourishing our bodies. We decided that treats are okay to have, but that most of our foods should be healthy. I let the kids know that Heavenly Father wants us to take good care of the bodies that He’s given us.
During our discussion, Braden piped up, “We need to take care of our bodies because our bodies are temples!”
The kids made pictures of Jesse Bear’s healthy lunch, and also sorted the food he ate and didn’t eat in the story.
The younger boys did pages of tracing lines (we call them squiggle lines around here) and the older two traced words instead. Asher and Braden were very intent on their work and copied every line perfectly…
Jacob was a little more free with his crayon.
We played a memory match game, using cards based on the story.
We brought sand in from the sandbox and each of the kids made the letter S with sand. On each page I also traced the kids’ hands so that they could make “sand hands” just like Jesse Bear’s sandy hands in the story. The “sand on my hand” page in the story is one of my personal favorites and this little activity was very fun for the kids. Sand in the house? They were so excited!
This was my favorite picture of the day. Look at that triumphant grin!
On Tuesday we talked about responsibility and looked for examples of it in the story. Jesse’s clothes are neatly in his dresser, he comes when his mom calls for lunch, his dirty clothes go into the hamper, and so on. We talked about ways that the boys can be responsible and why that’s important.
We had a “clean up” race to sort clothing, played with the laminated lapbook that I made, and did several color/cut/glue projects. (This cute lapbook came from http://www.homeschoolcreations.com)
There is a cute part of the story when Jesse Bear plays peek-a-boo with his daddy before bedtime. We did a fun little craft project based on this. The boys colored and assembled a cute little brown bear and then glued a little blue blanket over the top. This was such a fun, easy project. Jacob was especially delighted!
I also found little Jacob reading “my bears” on his own. He’s such a cutie!
(Yup, hands colored with markers… and ears too!)
Jesse Bear gets dressed in the morning rather than running around in his undies all day and I wanted Asher (my little nudist) to learn from Jesse’s example. Our lesson for Wednesday was about modesty and the importance of clothing in general. We talked a lot about modesty and why it’s important to wear clothes. We also talked about how clothes can help us (keeping us warm, dry) and when we wear certain types of clothing.
We played a “what will you wear” game. I said things like, “Asher Bear, what will you wear to the pool?” and “Braden Bear, what will you wear when it snows?” Of course, the boys loved it when I changed Jesse’s name with theirs.
I made a bunch of picture cards to continue this “what will you wear” game. I used family pictures, which was so fun for the kids. There were pictures of various seasons, types of weather, holidays, sporting events. These were lots of fun for the game and also for sorting and family history. The kids loved these cards and I think this little set was my favorite out of everything I put together for Jesse Bear week.
We played with our “weather bear” and the kids loved dressing him. My magnets weren’t strong enough so I ended up not using them. Next time our weather bear will have magnets for easier use, but the boys still had such a fun time with this activity.
We made a book of all of Jesse Bear’s shirts in various colors.
Our lesson on Thursday was about the loving relationships in the story. We talked about how Jesse’s parents showed love to him and how he showed his love as well. We discussed ways that we can show love within our family.
We played a matching game with rhyming words from the story. Rhyming is such an important phenomic awareness skill and the boys have fun. Braden has had rhyming down for a long time and little Asher was a rockstar at this game.
We played hide and seek next, using the kids’ stuffed animals. First I hid them all over the house and then the kids took turns doing the same. Asher turned out to be a great “hider.” The boys absolutely loved this little game.
We sorted gummy bears by color and then the boys made little Jesse Bear “paper dolls.”
I made a set of story sequencing cards using pictures from the book. The boys were able to remember the story and put the pictures in the right order (an important skill they’ll need for narration and writing later on). I thought the cards were really cute too.
We don’t normally have school on Friday. I need a break and a chance to scour the house! I have also started using Friday afternoons for a “memorable moment” based on our preschool lessons. All the kids participate and it’s fun for everyone.
Our Memorable Moment, as a conclusion to our Jesse Bear week, was a teddy bear picnic. We sand the Teddy Bear Picnic song, all the kids brought their favorite bear or stuffed animal and we had a picnic in the park. We had peanut butter and nutella sandwiches (they were supposed to be bear-shaped, but my bear cookie cutter was out in the sandbox again!), bananas, juice, giant gummy bears that were as big as Asher’s Little Cowboy, and “teddy bear junk.” (Aunt Elaine gave us the yummy recipe for “junk” and I added teddy grahams to the mix to tie it into our Jesse Bear lessons. “Junk” is one of my favorite treats and I loved the addition of teddy grahams!)
It was a nice day for a picnic and I think we succeeded in making a memory together.
Elementary School Highlights
Brenna and Joshua took diagnostic spelling tests this week. They both scored very well. Both kids are spelling at a 7th grade level with Brenna slightly ahead of Joshua. Not bad for my 3rd and 4th graders. All three kids got 100% on their spelling tests this week as well.
Both Brenna and Joshua are doing so well with Writing with Skill. I am loving this book, just as much as I’ve always loved Writing with Ease. The work is largely independent and the kids have taken to it very well. The pace of the book picks up soon so I am excited to see how the kids do as the work becomes more challenging.
Brenna got 97% on her math test. She is loving Life of Fred Fractions. She finds the book very funny (just like Joshua did) and she feels successful using it.
Joshua wrote a computer program this week that’s essentially a computer clock. It tells time to the second. He was so excited about it. He loves computer programming and I’m glad that we found this course for him. I’m also glad that he understands the material on his own because (I admit it) it’s all a little confusing to me!
Maddie is reading everything! I am so pleased, especially because this is something she has wanted for so long. She reads a lot on her own and reads out loud to me as well. She’s easily reading at a high 2nd grade level now. That’s good for a 1st grader, but it’s huge considering where she was a year ago and all the challenges she’s dealt with. This week, she started reading a 3.0 reading level chapter book so she is still progressing rapidly even now without therapy. Most important of all, she LOVES to read! During vision therapy, she made huge improvements in her writing (it was neat and spaced well and there were no reversals) and her reading (mostly short stories at first). Now I love that she can really read for pleasure!
We had fun with history this week. We’ve been reading about the Renaissance and the invention of the printing press. We did our usual narrating and map work and we had some great discussions (my favorite part). The kids printed with little letter stamps and ink, just because it was a fun activity that was somewhat related to the printing press. They loved it.
We continued with several fun experiments this week. Our “baby beans” are still growing well and the kids are fascinated each week as we remove a plant from the soil to observe and measure it.
Personally, I’m impressed with these little plants and how resilient they are after Jacob thought the dirt was “cocolat cake” and tried to eat them. It’s a testimony to me of just how miraculous all of Heavenly Father’s creations are!
We also worked on our cotyledon experiment. It was neat to see how much those little plant embryos depend on cotyledons for nourishment. This experiment is complete now, but we’re leaving the seeds in the bags to see what happens over the next week.
We missed our new experiment for the week. We needed a potted plant and I forgot to buy one! I picked up a cute little plant on Saturday and we’ll do this experiment next week, hopefully on Monday or Tuesday so that we don’t crowd the experiements I have planned for the end of next week (we usually have science on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday if needed).
Here’s our art project from the week, based on Henri Rousseau’s Monkeys in an Orange Grove. It was lots of fun; I love watching my kids get creative.
When I write these journal entries about each week of homeschool, I always feel SO indescribably blessed. I am intensely grateful that I can homeschool my sweet children. I love watching them learn, I love learning with them, I love spending all day with them, and I love making memories together. There are a million wonderful reasons that we choose to homeschool. When I write these highlight posts, I feel all those million reasons rolled up into one giant feeling of gratitude.
Here are my three littlest guys swinging together at the park: