Fractions and chemistry!

Pumpkin is 5 and Peanut is 2.5, but yeah, we did fractions and chemistry today. 

Translation: we baked cookies!!

Pumpkin read the ingredients to me and learned to read 1/2 and 1/4 as well as cup, teaspoon, and tablespoon. 

Yummy lesson today!


Bugs, bags, and inspiration

6 weeks ago, we had to bag up all our clothes and almost all our earthly possessions in order to have our house sprayed and eradicate a certain pest…

For 6 weeks, we’ve had almost no toys. Two baby dolls, some of our books, and a few toy kitchen appliances. And the kids? Today they’re making fancy fans out of napkins.

When shredded napkins didn’t work quite right, we found a YouTube video on how to make a fan, and then we made several together!

I love the creativity they have! And I hope that I can get rid of some toys so we have more freedom from stuff as we unpack our house again!

The only toys I’m excited to see again are the duplos and building blocks. And our art box!


Timeline and future learning

Yesterday, the kids played outside a lot, and I got carried away making a timeline. It goes back as far as 0 A.D. 

It’s old scratch paper and some lines, but each page represents 50 years. Simple, not incredibly pretty, but so far, we have these dates noted:

0: Jesus is born (I know not technically, but we’ll go with it for now!)

33: Jesus died and rose again

325: Nicene Council

476: (ok, might be off a hair, I’m not looking at it right now) Fall of Rome 

590-604: Pope St. Gregory the Great

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 

1252: St. Elizabeth of Hungary died

1373: St. Bridget of Sweden died

(Those two dates? Requested by Pumpkin since we talked about holy queens/royalty the other day!)

1492: Columbus discovered the Americas (we’ll add the Vikings living in North America at some point too)

1620: Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

1776: Declaration of Independence 

1814: Star Spangled Banner written 

1861-65: US Civil War

1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born (we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods so this was of interest!)

In the 20th century we include: the Great Depression, WW I and II, landing in the moon, fall of the Berlin Wall, St. Gianna’s death, Mother Teresa’s death, great-grandma’s birth, all grandparents’ births, parents’ births. And in the 21st century: 9/11, death of John Paul II, parents’ wedding, sibling births–and that brings us to today!

Learning with the Hunter

Aside from taking Pumpkin hunting for ducks and doves, which provides opportunities to discuss conservation as well as other wildlife sightings, the Hunter watches documentaries with the wrapt attention of Pumpkin and Peanut. Some of our favorites include:

BBC’s Planet Earth and an awesome new favorite: Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey.

We’ve also watched and loved some of Peanut’s favorites: Wild Kratts and Octonauts! These shows have developed a love of wildlife and an understanding of species and habitats far beyond what I knew as a child!

Our days

I have a new and simple goal for this blog: snapshots of our days and what we learn as we live.

Yesterday: Columbus Day. We discussed with 5yo Pumpkin that Columbus’ goal was India. He was mistaken in the size of the earth and thus discovered continents otherwise unknown to each other. We also discussed how the people living where he landed lived and ate as well as how people lived in North America where we currently live (BISON as clothing, tent, and food). We discussed where our ancestors lived at the time of Columbus’ discovery (Italy, Ireland, and Germany to name a few). We talked about the ships that Columbus sailed and alternate routes to India.

Google Maps helped visualize and we googled for images of natives in the Bahamas, Great Plains of North America, as well as life during the late 1400s in Europe.

Social Studies: check.

Today: while pretending she was a queen, we discussed the stories of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and her dedication to the poor (this would actually make an awesome Disney princess movie complete with evil queen and all). We talked about Queen Bridget (Brigitte?) of Sweden as well and her dedication to the poor and her many children.

In a little bit, we plan to make banana bread. Always a lesson in chemistry and math.

Pumpkin and Peanut (2.5yo) almost always manage to do the 100pc Poland puzzle from their aunt on a daily basis. Shapes, patterns, and geography in one!

Helping take care of their baby sister, Peach, has to count for something too!

Current pile of books…

I have a lot of good books going right now. Besides trying to read a little bit of everything, I’ve also been napping more lately. Lots of good things keeping me from blogging, as you can see. But here’s a list of the books in no particular order (click any of the titles to buy them!). What have you read or would like to read on this list? Stay tuned for reviews of these and more!

1. A Little Way of Homeschooling 

edited by Suzie Andres

I started this one months ago. It’s taken me awhile, but not because it lacks appeal–I just keep starting new books! Still, this one is easy to pick back up. Each chapter is by a different Catholic homeschool/unschool mom. Because of this book, I discovered the Catholic Unschoolers group on facebook and the blog of a mom in my own home state, Karen Edmisten. Besides seeing how homeschooling/unschooling is as unique as each family, Suzie Andres does a great job of summing up how she sees unschooling as an application of St. Therese’s Little Way.

The pile currently being read (minus Deathbed Conversions which was out in the living room).

The pile currently being read (minus Deathbed Conversions which was out in the living room).

2. Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line

by Karen Edmisten

I was fortunate enough to win a drawing for a copy of this new book from the author’s blog. Since I’m looking forward to doing a review of this as well in the not too distant future, suffice it to say for now that the best part about it is that  as it sits next to my couch in the living room everyone from the babysitter to my parents and from The Hunter’s hunting buddies to my little siblings pick it up and take a look. Everyone is intrigued by it!

And, here’s my first reaction when I began the book:

Just read ch. 1–and I cried and felt inspired to be that beacon of light, even when I don’t see any effect in my friends’ lives.

So, I highly recommend this short book for your inspiration and coffee table conversation starter!

3. Red Storm Rising

by Tom Clancy

Just in case you thought I only read spiritual books (which are wonderful, of course), here’s one that The Hunter recommended. He’s more of a doer than a reader (unless it pertains to what he’s doing…), but he has lots of Tom Clancy books and has finally convinced me to pick one up and read it. I’m not very far yet, but the writing style is enjoyable, and I know I’ll learn a lot!

4. How Weaning Happens

by Diane Bengson

This is a book published by La Leche League. I love their books–they touch on so much more than just breastfeeding, it really encompasses the whole mother-child relationship. And I have a toddler, so I’m just curious when/how weaning will eventually happen!

5. When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings

by Thomas Green

You’ve probably seen my excited posts about Fr. Green’s first book about prayer, Opening to God. I mentioned that one here and here. Now, I’m excited to get started on the next book and learn more about living and growing in this relationship with God.

6. Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising almost Perfect Kids

by Gregory and Lisa Popcak

I actually read this book when Pumpkin was about seven months old. As she discovers her own will and “experiments” more with spilling things and breaking things and whatever else comes into her little head, I’m picking it back up for some of the great tips and suggestions about understanding and disciplining gently. I love the philosophy behind this book which is to tie in the Theology of the Body with parenting. Our goal? Self-donative parenting.

7. Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose

by Matthew Kelly

I started this book quite awhile ago, but it’s easy reading and really inspiring. I feel like it gives me good information to present to others if they have questions about the Catholic Church in today’s day and age.

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