Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
The ice storm that hit our area was incredibly beautiful.
Our house is nestled down in the woods and the trees were so pretty. The kids and I spent a lot of time outside taking pictures:
DD took this picture:
The evergreens looked pretty too:
The holly bushes looked so striking with their bright red berries!!
We had to include this last picture because it looked so crazy that the icicles were forming upward!
Now we’re bracing for snow… 4-5 inches tomorrow! We tend to loose power with most every storm that comes through… but we’re prepared with the wood stove, flash lights and a camping stove for making coffee! (From the picture below you can tell that we put off doing any schoolwork until the end of the day. Too much gallivanting around outside sledding down the icy hill and taking pictures!)
I just wanted to add that the beautiful icy scenery was MUCH better viewed here from the safety of our home. When we were on our way home Sunday afternoon we passed five accidents in twenty minutes along the interstate… and that was with the traffic creeping along at 30-35mph. Most of them were cars/trucks that slid out on the slush/ice, but one car was upside-down on its roof.
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Monday, December 9th, 2013
There are lots and lots of different cards games you can play during math time. I made a set of six little cards (0-15) for my daughters this December. They look like this:
Ages 2-4: If you have a toddler or preschooler you can print out two sets of numbers, cut out one set and have your kids match the numbers on the other (uncut) sheet. You can also use these numbers to go around a game board (Here’s a game board I made for the kids that you can download for free). You can pull out festive erasers, flip over a card and have you kids count that same amount. As long as you’re having fun, you child will have fun too!
Math War (Ages 5-10): There are also a number of games you can play with cards like these with older kids. Place all the cards face down in two stacks (one pile for each player). Each player turns a card over. You can play math war…
either by adding two numbers and seeing who has the larger number:
or by multiplying two numbers and seeing who wins the battle with the larger number:
If you have a preschooler, you can also play math war. Simply lay out one card per player and have the child determine which number is greater.
Ages 4-8: You and the kids can play a place value game — to see which player comes up with the largest number (there are two cards in the packet):
Another game for kids learning to add is Make 10 (or 7 or 18…)
Age 2-4: If you have a toddler or a preschooler you can also print out two sets of number cards, cut them up, lay them all out spread out face down on the floor and play memory finding two 3s or two 8s.
Math Spinner Game: The final game is similar to Math War above. Have each player add (or multiply) two numbers [for a younger child just choose one number]. Spin the spinner and see who won!
You can download this free set of Christmas math cards and the games above by clicking on the link or the picture below:
Free Christmas Number Cards and Math Games (13 pages total)
If you found this helpful, I would love to hear from you over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. Hearing from readers is what makes sharing worthwhile!
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Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Every year there are a few Christmas decorations that I absolutely LOVE bringing out! I wanted to share a few of our family favorites!
My personal favorites are the ones that include pictures of the kids. One year when the kids were not-quite-2, 4 and 6, I made a holiday picture banner. I took pictures of the kids holding all the letters in Merry Christmas. Then I laminated them and strung them on a long Christmas ribbon. I sewed small red fabric bows and holy in between each picture. We hang the banner up in the living room and the kids always come rushing to look at their pictures!
I also love putting this ornament on our tree! I made a simple popcycle stick Christmas ornaments one year for all of our extended family. My older two kids were 2 and 4. It’s a bit cheesy, but boy do I love pulling this out of the box!
Fingerprint Christmas Ornaments:
We made these ornaments last year making fingerprints into snowmen.
This year we’ll be making fingerprint reindeer ornaments (like this reindeer ornament at the Crafty Crow):
And finally the Christmas Star:
The kids glued toothpicks onto a star shape (it needs to be cut from a firm piece of card board). After the glue dried, we spray painted it gold and glued a toilet-paper roll to the back. It slides easily onto the top of the Christmas tree!
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Friday, December 6th, 2013
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
- Nelson Mandela in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom
Last night I read about the passing of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. For a number of reasons, we took the morning to learn more about South Africa’s history.
It just so happened that the past two days we had been learning about the British Empire. We’ve been studying India… and are moving into the twentieth century and are talking about the British rule in India (and next week will be learning about Gandhi). Yesterday, we had even colored in this map showing just some of the countries that were under British colonial rule.
We took a slight tangent and spent this morning learning about apartheid in South Africa. The kids and I watched Cry, the Beloved Country. It was set in late 1940s. Although the movie really doesn’t go into much detail about the violence of apartheid, it was just enough to talk openly with the kids about what it was like and how difficult it was to live under that system.
At the end of the movie the black priest in Johannesburg said that he was forsaking the world in order to spend time praying that his one great fear would not come to pass… “That one day when the white man turns to loving, he will find that we [blacks] have turned to hating.” After the movie we talked about that one fear that priest had… How difficult it would be to move beyond past wrongs and past hates. And how difficult it can be to forgive.
We then talked quite a bit about Nelson Mandela and his extraordinary legacy. We talked about how difficult it must have been for Mandela to spend 27 years in jail… and come out to be the leader of South Africa and to be forgiving, fair, loving and peaceful.
Mandela said in 1964:
“During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
What an extraordinary man the world has lost. What a powerful lesson for the kids… to see someone like that teaching all of us the power of love, peace, equality and forgiveness.
Some powerful quotes about Nelson Mandela have come out in the past day or so…
- “His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide.” — Jimmy Carter
- “Mandela’s strength as a teacher is that he not only advised us what to do, he showed us how.” –Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
- “He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness.” –Musician Paul Simon
- “From prisoner to president, Nelson Mandela was tireless in his pursuit of Equality and justice for all people.” –Bill and Melinda Gates
- “Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learned that love would do a better job.” –Irish musician Bono
…On another note, the kids and I also talked about their grandfather (my husband’s father) who spent much of his career in the foreign service. His last posting in the early 1990s was at the U.S. embassy in South Africa. He lost his life on his way to work in Pretoria. My husband, who was in college in the U.S. at the time, was planning to spend the Christmas holidays with his family in South Africa. Instead, he had to fly there for his father’s memorial service. His dad was later buried in Arlington Cemetery (for his service during the Vietnam War).
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Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Last week I mentioned that we’ve been doing some grammar review again. We went over 11 comma rules. Then each day they’ve been doing five or six sentences — adding in the comma where needed and identifying the comma rule that applies.
My kids love science, so the comma worksheet has a lot to do with science this time. (There are sentences about the plague, polio, the Venus fly trap, ocean currents and so forth.) I made another sheet last year that is quite similar and I’ll include the link to that and some other free grammar sheets I’ve made at the bottom of this post.
As always, the Comma Rules and Practice Worksheets are free to download!
By the way, if you don’t have a color printer I included p. 3 without pictures at the end of the document.
My youngest wants to do everything her older brother and sister are doing. I made a simple comma rules practice sheet for her as well, but she only went over four of the comma rules:
In this related post, you’ll find links to more of my other free grammar sheets. They cover not only comma rules, but capitalization, homophones, possessive nouns and pronouns, the use of apostrophes, quotation marks, underlining and more: Various Free Grammar Sheets
Here are examples of a couple grammar worksheet sets I’ve made.
NEXT: Printable Christmas Coloring Pages
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