I have always loved writing letters, and growing up I had a number of pen pals, both domestic and international. Letter-writing is an art form that has fallen by the wayside, and while I don’t write nearly as much as I used to, I still love to send and receive letters.
It was with this in mind that I was inspired for last week’s theme. While writing up my homeschool outline earlier this year, I was stuck on letters M and N for a while; my mom suggested “N for notes,” that I could apply it to either music notes or letter-writing, but I decided to dedicate a separate week to each topic.
Our Bible story for the week was Daniel in the lion’s den, our Bible verse Luke 1:37 – Nothing is impossible with God. Simple, yet profound. We read the short re-telling of the story from 100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs and then we read the minibook from Bible Story Printables, which I printed out twice so I could cut out the pictures for sequencing cards. I also printed out some of the images for the story sticks, which the kids got a kick out of; they wanted to take turns holding them. I could have sworn I got pictures of this, but I can’t seem to find them – arrrgh.
Gwen and I were so happy that Daddy decided to join us in making yarn lions. He did a pretty good job, too – I think his lion came out the best! I cut circles from orange construction paper, and we used googly eyes, pom poms noses, drew on the mouth, then glued yarn for the mane.
Since Gwen is still young, my ideas for letter-writing were somewhat limited. I did, however, find this cute Princess Papers Lapbook which has elements to teach about the format for writing a letter, addressing an envelope, and so forth. I didn’t use all the elements, but I made a pocket lapbook with space for cards and some snazzy stationery downloads, envelopes, stamps, and a few extras such as telephone and emergency numbers.
I used the latter in conjunction with a phone number cut-and-paste since I’ve been meaning to teach her this for a while now. Since Daddy is a fireman, she’s beginning to understand the concept of people dialing for help, and she’s already familiar with the phone in general.
We went through her little lapbook, then I helped her write a thank you note to one of her aunties, who had just given her a little gift. I explained how I was writing it, then she dictated the content while I wrote word-for-word, then signed her own name at the bottom. We even used her own special address labels on the envelope! She was pretty excited.
I had a bunch of other things planned, like using an interactive letter generator and making little felt envelopes, but just didn’t get around to it. *sigh* She actually has the Cranium Bloom Let’s Play Stamp & Mail, and I totally forgot about it! She and Josiah were fighting over it a while ago and not being nice with their things, and this was just one of many items I confiscated. You can check out some of my other good-intentioned ideas.
Both Gwen and Josiah decorated their letter poster with pieces of newspaper. What a fun little activity! They got to rip the newspaper into little pieces and then glue them into place.
I gave Josiah one of his dry erase books and Gwen did some workbooks, looked through some magazines for pictures that start with the letter N for a cut-and-paste, and her Do-A-Dot page – one of her favorite weekly activities.
Our number for the week was 13. Gwen colored her number poster and did a bunch of connect-the-dots-by-number pages.
As Christmas looms closer and closer I have become more forgetful about introducing material throughout the week – especially the shapes and colors. The color of the week was tan, and I happened to have a book from the library called black is brown is tan, which we read and opened up the doorway for discussing skin color. I pointed out a few things around the house that were dark brown, and then contrasted them with lighter brown items – for instance, the dark hutch vs. the lighter brown piece of cardboard.
More of a story than a poem, our rhyme for the week was “We’re Going On a Lion Hunt.” I found a book by that name at the library, so I read that… or, rather, tried to remember the tune to it since it’s more of a song.
One of the activities for our advent calendar was to learn about holidays in another culture. I was so excited about celebrating St. Lucia Day with Gwendolyn. I myself am half Danish, and enjoy many of my family traditions, as well as learning about other cultural traditions – especially Scandinavian ones. Growing up, I loved the American Girl stories (and back then there were fewer characters), my favorite being that of Kirsten Larson, a Swedish immigrant to the United States. I always loved the Christmas story of Kirsten dressing up as St. Lucia and thought Gwen would totally go for this.
I was wrong.
The one time I try to dress her up and she wouldn’t have it. And this girl lives for dress-up. I tried to keep it in perspective, but in all honesty I was disappointed that I had gotten excited about the prospect, planned things, put it on our advent calendar… only to be thwarted by a bratty four-year-old. C’est la vie. She looked cute while it lasted.
She and Josiah did help me make my own healthier version of candy cane cookies, some of which we brought to the lovely ladies at our local library (how’s that for alliteration?). They even helped me wash some dishes. I hope they’re still thrilled about helping out around the house when their technique is perfected.
One of the reasons why we didn’t cover all the material for the week is because we had a field trip of sorts. Gwen enjoys the story of “The Nutcracker,” and I’ve put it in our stack of holiday books. Friday morning after breakfast I read the story again and told them we were going to see The Nutcracker! Two of Gwen’s young cousins were in a performance and we had fun going to see the show.
Later in the day Josiah was being creative with his choice of outfits. This kid cracks me up (pun intended). Yup, that’s my little naked cowboy fireman. And no, he’s not learning this from his father.
Daniel in the Lion’s Den
My Name Is Yoon
The Jolly Postman
Corduroy Writes a Letter
Yours Truly, Goldilocks
The Nice Book
One Naked Baby
My “n” Book
Too Much Noise
Black is Brown is Tan
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt
Superbook Video Bible – Daniel in the Lion’s Den
The Neverending Story
The First Christmas
The Wild Christmas Reindeer
A Mom for Christmas (DVD)
Gwen is 4 years old (48 months) and Josiah is 2 (24 months).