29 June 2009

American Icons Theme Unit

Books to read:
I Pledge Allegiance
America the Beautiful
The Star-Spangled Banner
My Country Thematic Unit
Betsy Ross

Examine different denominations of money (both coins and bills) and identify the people, places, and symbols on them. Observe images that repeat often.

Count the number of stars and stripes on the American flag. Explain the significance of the numbers (50 stars = 50 states, 13 stripes = 13 original colonies). Look at historical flags and observe the number of stars changes.

Language Arts:
Learn to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Introduce the concept of non-fiction books. Most children are familiar with fiction stories, but may not understand that some stories are true, like a biography. Choose some familiar books and put them into graoups of real and not real.

Learn more about the bald eagle, our national bird.

Social Studies:
Look at pictures of the Statue of Liberty.

Take a trip to Washington DC through pictures. As you're looking at the pictures, keep a sharp eye out for any of the recurring images found on money.

National Treasure is a great movie with tons of historical references. Be aware that it is rated PG and might be advanced for younger students.

Trace the shape of the United States and then practice identifying it on a globe or world map.

If it's election time, take your child with you to vote.

Fine Arts:
Learn to sing patriotic songs such as "Yankee Doodle", "America the Beautiful", "The Star-Spangled Banner", and "This Land is Your Land."

Make a flag pieced together with fabric or paper strips. Use paper star shapes or star stickers.

Our national motto is "In God we trust." Learn about Daniel who trusted God even when the leaders of the country did not.

Read Daniel 6.

Memorize Daniel 6:23b: "And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God."

22 June 2009

Apples Theme Unit

Here's what we did for apple theme week in kindergarten:

Ten Apples Up On Top!

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

The Apple Doll

How Do Apples Grow?

One Green Apple

Apple Fractions

Johnny Appleseed

The Giving Tree

Language Arts:
Find the rhyming words in "Ten Apples Up On Top," write them on index cards and play memory where the rhyming cards are a match.

Make a tally chart of favorite apples. (We just did red, yellow, and green)
Estimate height, weight, circumference and number of seeds in the apples.
Apple addition and subtraction (I used an apple punch to make counters.)
Basic intro to fractions using "Apple Fractions."

Sort apples by different characteristics (size, color, shape).
Experiment: Do apples sink or float?
Identify the parts of an apples tree (trunk, leaves, buds).
Learn the life cycle of apple trees from seed to fruit.

Social Studies:
Basic introduction of westward movement (from "Johnny Appleseed: A Poem").
Look at a map or globe to identify the places in "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World."

Read Genesis 3. (Of course the fruit in this story is not specified as an apple, but is often traditionally recognized as one.)
Memorize Romans 3:23.

Apple prints (of course!)

Make an apple doll. (We still need to make a body and clothes for her so she's not so scary!)
Draw an apple tree (we used the apple punches again to decorate.)
Make an apple pie!

Here's a list of our other kindergarten theme units.

18 June 2009

Change of focus

We are in the process of getting our home ready to sell and have decided to make that project our primary focus right now. As a result, Apples and Jammies is going to be on the back burner for a while. I do have theme unit plans waiting in the wings, some complete, some needing a bit more work. I will continue to post complete units on Mondays as promised until I run out and then as they are ready.
We weren't planning on moving quite this soon, but we think it might be the right timing for us. I am very excited about this possible transition and praying that the process would be smooth! We would very much value your prayers!

15 June 2009


Such a fun unit to do! There is so much literature with a weather theme and there are so many fun and simple science experiments to do relating to weather that I couldn't wait to get to this unit!

The Cloud Book
Little Cloud
It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Make a symmetrical cloud painting by placing drops of white paint on a blue paper, then folding the paper in half, pressing down. Open he paper, add glitter to the paint areas, and there's a white puffy cloud.
Observe the clouds and draw what you see.

Listen to the Rain
Come On, Rain
Use a rain gauge to measure rainfall.
Make it rain and learn about condensation.

Think Cool Thoughts
Learn about evaporation by placing a dish of water in the shade and another in a sunny spot. Put a thermometer alongside the dish to introduce temperature. Observe the dishes and thermometers periodically during the day.

The Snowy Day
Snow Pumpkin
Snow (Good easy reader book.)
Not for the faint-of-heart: Practice writing in the "snow" (using shaving cream).

The Windy Day
Harness the power of the wind and make some fall tree pictures.

All Afloat On Noah's Boat
Rainbow and You
The story of Noah (Genesis 6-9:17)
Turn on the sprinkler and go rainbow hunting.
Make a tissue paper rainbow.

Food as Weather:
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
The Israelites and Manna (Exodus 16)
Discuss the difference between fantasy and reality stories.

Extreme Weather:
The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane
Hail (Extreme Weather)
Make a storm with a tornado tube and some old bottles.
Make "tornado" art with an old salad spinner

Weather Thematic Unit

The the rest of our kindergarten theme units here.

13 June 2009

12 June 2009

Education Philosophies: John Dewey

As I've been thinking about my summer "homework assignment," developing my personal philosophy of homeschooling, I thought I would glean ideas from others. I didn't find much in the way of homechool philosophies (anyone know of any?), but I did come across this list of educational philosophies.

I started by looking at John Dewey's "Pedagogic Creed." It's definitely not the lightest of reading, but I thought it had an interesting persective on schools and socialization.
"I believe that as such simplified social life, the school life should grow
gradually out of the home life; that it should take up and continue the
activities with which the child is already familiar in the home."

I know that this was written over a hundred years ago, but this does not sound like the schools that we know today.

"I believe that it is also a social necessity because the home is the form of
social life in which the child has been nurtured and in connection with which he
has had his moral training. It is the business of the school to deepen and
extend his sense of the values bound up in his home life."

I don't think today's schools would claim or even want the responsibility of deepening a student's values. I daresay there is little, if any, teaching of morals or values in today's schools. After all, they can't be quantified on a standardized test!

"I believe that much of present education fails because it neglects this
fundamental principle of the school as a form of community life. It conceives
the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain
lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed."

It is interesting that John Dewey, one of the most influential education reformers in our nation, claimed our education system was failing because it neglected to teach children socialization, but rather focused on teaching facts. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn't it? Things haven't really changed that much in a hundred years.

I think that responding with a John Dewey quote would be very effective means for squelching the socialization question next time it arises, don't you?

Read John Dewey's philosophy for yourself here.

Any other thoughts or insights?

08 June 2009

Farm Theme Unit

I'm doing a bit of backtracking and posting some theme units we did before I started Apples and Jammies. Come back on Mondays to see other theme unit plans. Here's a list of what themes to expect.
Farms are a very popular kindergarten theme, and I thought it would coincide quite nicely with the fair coming to town!Books:
(Went waaay overboard for the first week
Piggie Pie! (our favorite!)
Farmer Boy (Little House) (for reading a chapter a day)


Language Arts:
Retelling a story using flannel figures.
Compare/contrast different versions of "The Little Red Hen."
Learn about the life cycle of wheat
Match farm products to the animal/plant that produces it.
Learned baby & male/female names of animals.

Social Studies:
Learned about the different types of farms (dairy, orchards, bee-farming, etc.).
Compared farming today (from videos) to farming in history ("Farmer Boy").

Art/Life Skills:
Made homemade bread and butter

Field Trip:
Trip to the LA County Fair.
Check out the other theme units we covered in kindergarten here.

06 June 2009

Old-Fashioned Education

Old Fashioned Education is a homeschooling resource I ran across recently that seems like it would be a great option for those homeschooling on a seriously tight budget. It uses free online resources and library books. Many of the books used are even available to read online for free. There is a curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade, including a detailed 40 week schedule for each grade. All the planning is done for you!

I really appreciate their philosophy on buying and selling resources. It is based on Matthew 10:8, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Here's what they say in their Official Position on Buying and Selling Curriculum Resources:

"We give to others out of the abundance that God gives to us. We give
without expecting anything in return. We give because it's the right thing to
do and we want to teach our children that giving to others is something to be

Sounds like a great organization to support. Hope this is helpful!

03 June 2009

Kid Devotion Time

This morning I had a marvelous time by myself (sans infants) spending time reading the Bible and praying. Our church offers a few mornings during the summer where moms can come, drop off their kids, pick up coffee and snacks, and have a few hours of uninterrupted quiet time. One of the questions in the Bible study I was working on asked, "what would need to happen for you to set aside substantial time to listen?" It got me thinking.

Let me backtrack. Here's the situation: We just finished homeschooling for the year and already my daughter is struggling with boredom. The rest of the day is fine, it's just when little brother and sister are napping and she has no schoolwork to do that it's a bit of a struggle. I have difficulty fitting in my quiet time. She's not having a quiet time. So why not solve multiple problems at once?

Starting today, I plan to make a simple devotion guide for Gracie:
  1. Pray (God, help me learn)
  2. Read a Bible story (she can read simple stories independently)
  3. Read a memory verse
  4. Praise God by singing a song
  5. Pray to God (say sorry to God, thank God, ask for something you need)

She can have quiet time. I can have quiet time. She's not bored. The little ones are sleeping.

This definitely works for me!

See what works for everyone else to prevent boredom this summer at We Are That Family.

02 June 2009


Or at least that's how I'm interpreting it. In the very first hour of summer break, the first hour of our regular school day time on Monday, Gracie was in tears because she was bored.

I am interpreting this to mean that I have instilled such an incredible thirst for knowledge that she absolutely cannot stand to be without formal educating, even for a day.



It's going to be a long summer.

01 June 2009

First Grade Curriculum Preview

Here's a look ahead at what I'll be using this fall for our first grade curriculum. I am such a nerd that I love researching all the curriculum options. I'm a little sad it's all decided. But my joy will be renewed next month when all the back-to-school sales start, I buy my lesson plan book, and start getting things down on paper!

Language Arts: Explode the Code 3 & 4, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (Peace Hill Press)

Poetry: Weekly poem from Ambleside Online (All the poems are online. Could it be any easier? My intimidation has been eased!)

Math: Saxon 1

Science: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, ScienceWorks for Kids (Animals with Backbones, Animals without Backbones, Plants, How Your Body Works), The Body Book (Might be a bit much, but I love science!)

Nature Study: Handbook of Nature Study

History: The Story of the World Volume 1, The Ancients (Peace Hill Press) (I'm very excited about this one. I've heard great things about it. I even splurged and bought the audiobook, too.)

Bible: Memorization, Calvary Capel curriculum, although I'm still looking. Any recommendations?

Music: Listening to a composer of the month on Pandora during teatime. (I'm still working out how I will choose the composers. Any ideas?)

Art: Masterpiece of the Month

P.E.:The Ultimate Homeschool Physical Education Game Book

I'm still not totally sure how/if I'll be integrating unit studies and the Charlotte Mason method. There's a session at CHEA on that very topic that I am very much looking forward to.