Category Archives: Lesson Plans

Happy Pi Day!

With today’s date, March 3rd, most resembling the irrational number of Pi, (3.14159…..), it was fitting that math lovers across the world today held celebrations in honor of this most beloved number. Before joining all of our friends again like last year at the park for our very own Pi Day celebration, we had a little Pi Day fun of our own at home!

Last night, after seeing several Pi Day shirts, the children both jumped at the chance to create their own t-shirts to wear to our homeschool group’s Pi Day event.

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We decided to try our hand at it using scavenged t-shirts from around the house and some acrylic paint in varying colors.

(Who knew you could use acrylic paint on fabric? Turns out if you iron the paint after application you can!)

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They both loved the finished products!

Once the shirts were set to dry, we were in need of baking a pie to enter into our homeschool group’s Pi Day pie contest. Even though our chocolate fudge pie  placed first last year, we decided to try our hand at a new recipe this year. I stumbled across this simple Key Lime Pie recipe from Martha Stewart and knew that it would be perfect for my daughter to bake on her own.  She even let little brother have a stir or two.

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With the pie cooled, she then topped it with whipped cream and sliced limes arranged in the shape of the Pi symbol, of course.

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Afterwords, just for fun,

they took delight in showing me their pie holes.

Silly kids!

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With the pie set aside, it was time to explore the world of circles.

Using Fraction Rings, my little guy had a fun time matching the colors and pieces together to form circles.

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Once all of the circles were formed, with a little help from big sister he was able to identify all of the circles out of our Winnie the Pooh Shape Flashcards and match them all to the correct color circle of the Fraction Rings.

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When all of the flashcards and circles had been matched, he moved on to creating different size circles using our double sided peg Geoboard. This is a favorite manipulative at our house since you never know just when a rubber band will shoot across the room. With a little boy running about, there tends to be a lot of these ‘accidents’.

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After playing with circles for a while, it was then time to enjoy a quick lunch before heading out the door for the park. Circle sandwiches, circle tortilla chips with hummus, and sliced orange rounds awaited them on their circle plates.

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With our Key Lime Pie in hand, we left for the park to join our homeschool friends.

After a brief lesson on circumference, diameter, radius and the number Pi, the children paired off into teams and went on a scavenger hunt around the playground to find circles. Just as in the exercise from Groovy Geometry: Games and Activities That Make Math Easy and Fun, each team was then charged with measuring the circumference and diameter of each circle with string.

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Using their strings they were then able to see just how many lengths of the  diameter were needed until the circumference string’s end was met.

They were all shocked to discover that no matter how small or large the circle, three times the diameter fit into each circumference. Even at their young ages, they were all able to discover the number Pi!

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With all of the measuring and calculating complete, it was time for the fovorite part of the day– the Pi Day Pie Tasting Contest. The children were able to vote on the best decorated pie and best tasting pie before indulging in the many wonderful pies. Although we did not win this year, we were just as happy to see our friends, a brother and sister pair, be crowned the King and Queen of Pi Day!

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And of course, upon returning home, we just had to enjoy our own pizza Pi(e) for dinner!

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Happy Pi Day!

Did you unleash your inner mathematician today, too? Share with us how you made math fun today!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Many school aged children across America today celebrated the life and works of Theodor Seuss Geisel.  March 3rd marks the 106th birthday of this great man who authored and illustrated some 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss.

So, in honor of Dr. Seuss and to share my love of reading with my own children, we celebrated in our homeschool, too!

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My children have a special place for Dr. Seuss.  My daughter was able to enjoy reading his books on her own to her baby brother just shortly after learning to read when he was an infant. With so many different characters and silly rhyming sentences it is no wonder that the books of Dr. Seuss have brought so much joy to children’s lives for so many years!

The day began with none other than Green Eggs and Ham . Although at the start Sam I am did not like green eggs and ham, not here or there, my children did like green eggs and ham!  They liked them here, there and everywhere. They especially liked them in a house!

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They did miss out on the ham though, since our family is observing the Lenten practices of abstaining from meat on Fridays. Nonetheless, they still enjoyed their green eggs for breakfast!

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Once breakfast was finished,

it was time to make some Oobleck.
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Mixing 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water,

we were able to create our own sticky, slimy green goo.

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Although we did not have to save our fair town from the sticky substance unlike Bartholomew and the Oobleck, it was good fun to see just how messy we could be! My daughter especially liked how the Oobleck changed from a solid to a liquid right in her hands.

Upon getting all cleaned up, it was time for some fun with a few games.

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 Are You My Mother? was read before diving into matching our toy animals to their mothers on our animal flash cards. My son was so thrilled to be able to complete this task on his own.

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Once all of the animals found their mothers, it was then time to see if we could match our left foot to our right foot.

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The Foot Book helped to tell us the difference between opposites before we set out to match shoes together to their mates.

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My little guy insisted that he complete this game himself, and was quite pleased when he was able to complete it quickly and correctly.

We then read There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! and proceeded to have a little fun with our memories. With a tray of various objects, we each were able to study the tray before having to turn around while the others removed one item and quietly hid it in a pocket.

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Upon turning back towards the tray, it was each players turn to notice what object was missing. There were lots of giggles as we had quite a time putting our memories to the test!

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Once our memories were tried, we then read Hop on Pop. With sidewalk chalk in hand, we headed outside where we were then able to Hop on Pop ourselves! Upon writing “POP” all up and down the driveway, we then hopped away!

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Hopping on pop for quite a while, we paused to read both The Alphabet Book
and Dr. Seuss’s ABC book. We then practiced writing our ABC’s with chalk. My little guy is just learning how to form his letters and loved this exercise since he was able to draw them as large as he wished!

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Upon returning inside, the children then continued on with their ABC’s by playing a game of Match It ABC’s.  The game is self correcting, so even my son was able to play along without my help while I prepared a simple lunch.

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Once lunch was all cleared away, we had a bit of fun with creating our own silly rhyming sentences just like Dr. Seuss. Playing a few rounds of DK Games: Silly Rhymes helped us to see just how fun and silly language can be.

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We then moved on to reading Ten Apples Up On Top!
and tried our hand at stacking apples.

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We were only able to stack them 3 high! Since we were not brave enough to try our hand at stacking the apples atop our own heads, (for fear of making applesauce!), we decided to draw self portraits and use cut apples and red finger paint to make apple prints on top instead!

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The children thought this was more fun than creating applesauce!

And of course, to end the day we just had to read The Cat in the Hat,

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and fashion our own Cat in the Hat Hats out of construction paper!

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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Did you celebrate the life of Dr. Seuss today by sharing the joy of reading with your children? We’d love to hear it!

Happy Groundhog Day!

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.”

~British Candlemas verse

In medieval Ireland, St. Brigid’s Feast Day was once celebrated on February 2, as it marked the beginning of when signs of spring were nearing. On this day, people marched into church processing with lit candles which were blessed by the priest. The candles were then taken home to encourage spring to come out of the darkness of winter and to rekindle the hearth fire. The day became known as Candlemas.

Gradually, over time, people began to attribute the sightings of animals leaving their hibernation burrows on Candlemas day and seeing their shadows to whether or not spring was near or winter would last a bit longer. This old custom has been transformed into what we now call Groundhog Day.

We continued this old custom today in our home with the children rising a bit earlier than usual in the hopes of catching good ol’Punxsutawney Phil emerging from his burrow.

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They first filled in their Groundhog Day prediction sheets stating whether or not he would see his shadow.DSC_0538

We then caught the live streaming coverage from Gobbler’s Knob and discovered that Phil had indeed seen his shadow! My little man was quite pleased with himself to learn that his prediction was correct–6 more weeks of winter!

After viewing Phil’s shadow, we settled into breakfast only to find that he was awaiting us there! Although no shadows appeared, this adorable little guy from Mandy made our breakfast sandwiches a bit more interesting!

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A few good books were read from the library book basket. We found this new one, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, from our local library.

I was thrilled to discover that it actually mentioned St. Brigid and the origination of the Feast of Candlemas! Just as the title states, it was full of interesting facts and tidbits, both historical, scientific and religious–a definite must to have on our shelves!

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After reading, my daughter filled in the Groundhog Day Fact Finder worksheet that I had created, and my son had a fun time cutting and pasting the images for his little worksheet.
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A discussion of the seasons, orbits, and the planets ensued. We even attempted to see our own shadows outside, but were dismayed due to the heavy rains that poured down. As the above British verse states, since there was cloud and rain perhaps winter will be gone for good!

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Toilet paper tubes, construction paper, craft sticks, and some glue helped to transform these ordinary objects into this adorable little groundhog and his home.

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Happy Groundhog Day!

Missed the groundhog today? Don’t worry! You can find all of the worksheets here for next year!

Are you happy with six more weeks of winter or disappointed that spring will not be here earlier?

Share how you really feel!

Preparing to Keep a Holy Lent :: Lent Book Basket

Each year during Advent and Christmas our family enjoys readings from our traditional book basket that contains a picture book to enjoy on each day of the season. This year, since Lent is fast approaching in just a couple of weeks, I thought it would be the best year yet to carry over this tradition into the Lenten season!

This year, there are not quite enough books to cover each day. I hope to add a few new titles as Easter basket gifts, and will keep my eyes open throughout the year to help build up our collection. The start of this new Lent tradition in our home, (if the Advent and Christmas baskets are any indication), will be eagerly welcomed by my children!

Here is a peek into this year’s Lent Book Basket (Hopefully, you will find a new title or two to enjoy!):











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Have any favorite picture books for Lent in your household? Help us all discover a good read–Please share the titles in the comments!

And visit Lacy for more Lenten ideas!

Advent Lapbook (Printable)

Throughout this past Advent season we counted down the days and explored lots of treasured stories both new and old, while in the school room, we celebrated the season by completing an Advent lapbook.

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This was our fist ever attempt at completing a lapbook. I’ve long looked at this fun venture but kept putting it off because it just seem too overwhelming a task  for my daughter- all of the folding, cutting and setting together seemed more drudgery than fun.  Now that she is older and more independent it seemed like the perfect time to introduce this little project into our homeschool curriculum.

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We started by disassembling two manila file folders, configured and taped together to form an extension lapbook. We opted to use plain old manila folders instead of the colored variety because my daughter wanted to use up the pretty scraps from the Advent Calendar we crafted this year, though a  lovely lavender or rose color would have been a nice touch.

(I’m sure you will notice the unsightly brown packing tape holding the folders together. Our clear tape was carted off by a little blonde haired boy and used to hold a few army men hostage….)

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Over the four weeks of Advent, after viewing the daily Holy Heroes Advent Adventure videos,  little bits and pieces were added to the lapbook.  By the last Friday of Advent, our book was finished.

To complete the lapbook, we used this Advent lapbook from Faith Folders for Catholics (with the 2011 Supplement). It contained information on the different weeks of Advent such as the Gospel readings, prayers for each week, and reflections and questions that were to be placed behind each week’s candle. Among other things, it also contained a reflections guide with questions and space to write or draw the answers which we really enjoyed.

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Feast and Feria’s My Little Advent Cards  and 2011 Advent Calendar were also added. I liked how both her  Cards and Advent Calendar contained the saints and feast days of the season along with short prayers, reflections and/or tasks to complete. It was a nice touch to our family’s devotions.

(She also has a Christmas Calendar that is just as delightful.)

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We also added That Resource Site’s Advent Detective sheets. My son was able to complete this little sheet with a little help, too. He was just thrilled to be included!

(And while you are there you may want to check out their new Little Lessons of Advent series:Part One and Part Two — just wonderful!)

And then there were a few items that I created myself. You can print them out for your family, too. (All of the instructions for assembly are included with the printable.)

I am so glad that we gave this little gem a chance. It was a great way for our daughter to learn more about her faith in a fun and tactile way, while still focusing on preparing for the birth of Christ. We enjoyed this experience so much that we are now completing a 12 Days of Christmas Lapbook!