Friday, December 20, 2013

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts {Fun Friday}~

Our Gift lesson yesterday was just a warm up for today.
We completed all of our ornaments for Truth in the Tinsel and read all about the gifts given to Jesus.
We also decided Jesus is the Greatest Gift ever given to us!
As we read, talked, and prayed, I had the same small gift box sitting out for them to see.
My sil Amy suggested we read God Gave Us Christmas and when it came I remembered I had ordered God Found Us You for Christmas so I grabbed it too!

As we read God Gave Us Christmas, we talked about the many gifts God has given us with Christmas and Jesus being the best.
"Jesus is a present for everyone, grumpy or happy, mean or kind. God gave us all Christmas."
Then we read God Found Us You and we had more discussion about the bigs growing in my tummy, them growing in their China mommy's tummy, and the amazing gifts they are to our family.
This comes up often in our home and we feel the more we talk, the more comfortable they feel about their story.

When we finished the story, I had the gift box sitting on the floor and asked what they thought was in the box...
SJ said, "I sure hope NOT nothing again!" haha
Nope! Not today!!!
I told them ONE of the most beautiful gifts I had ever been given was in that box and I would show them IF they promised to keep it a secret.
Each one came up, peeked inside, had a puzzled look on their face, and then a HUGE smile appeared as they figured out what was going on.
As they looked inside, I had a mirror for them to see themselves.
THEY are ONE of the greatest gifts to me!
Under the mirror, I had cut circles from foil and they each glued a piece in their journal to write about The Gift of Them!
 When they finished I snapped a photo of them and declared 2013 School Year COMPLETE! DONE!! GO PLAY!!!
 When they came back to the table later, they found themselves on the little mirror. Big smiles again!
You will also notice School is gone from the center of our sun room... off to the side in order for Christmas to take front and center. :)

Yesterday while I was gone to get my hair done, I came home to find two girls had worked the whole time to make and wrap Gifts for me and Dad~
 They have talked about them ever since and can barely wait for us to open them but insist it will be Christmas Day!
I know it is going to be a great holiday break and we are SO ready for it!!!
Merry Christmas from Ankerich Academy!!!
We will see you next year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Gift of Nothing~

I found the sweetest book called The Gift of Nothing and thought it would make a great springboard for a discussion on gifts and giving~
 I read the book and we discussed so many ideas shared!
I had a little green gift box that contained 'Nothing'...
I had each one close their eyes and wait to be handed the Gift box.
Each one took the box and made a wish of what they hoped was inside.
When they opened it... Nothing~
In the end we decided we could always find something to do with our nothing.
I had some left over wrapping paper so we glued a piece in our journals and they lifted it to draw their gift 'wish' underneath.
We each wrote 3 clues and played the Gift guessing game~
 It was fun to wish and share our gifts.
Last line of the book~
"So Mooch and Earl just stayed still and enjoyed nothing and everything."
 Thankful my littles can pretty much make something fun out of anything... even a green gift box with 'Nothing' inside. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Tree Game & {GLITTER}~

Twitter is sometimes my best friend as I follow lots of homeschool moms and bloggers and they post great ideas.
I happened upon a great one this morning and added it to our morning plans.
I chose two books to read today:
In order to relate them to our game for the day we decided the juggling balls were like Christmas ornaments in The Clown of God and relation to other book to come.
I printed everyone a Christmas Tree sheet and grabbed small wooden cubes/smelly markers~
 Each one made their own color die using cube and markers then they rolled to color ornaments/gifts.
Just something more fun about coloring with smelly markers.
I had the big two complete the math section on their own and did individually with the boys {EC only named her colors}.

You should have seen their faces when I had them bubble cut around the tree/gifts and glue into their journals...
THEN I showed them the GLITTER. :)
Evie lit up like a Christmas tree!

In Cobweb Christmas, spiders decorate the old woman's tree with webs and it glistens like tinsel.
I had each one swirl glue {webs} all over their trees~
and sprinkle glitter all over {with close supervision} their tree.
They are dry and here they are~
 They LOVE them and are forever tucked in their journals
{so they can rub their fingers on them every time they open their journals and I can find glitter all over the floor :)
I mean cherish them always.
{Disclaimer: the smelly markers are NOT washable}
so today when I take Rosie to dr, all my littles will have marker stains all over their hands because it will not come off and they look like ragamuffins. :)
All for a great day's fun!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cranberry Christmas~

Today our selection was Cranberry Christmas and just like our Thanksgiving one, it is one of favs.
They especially loved the page of Mr. Whiskers Christmas tree decorated with shells~
 Yesterday I pinned a cute Christmas tree craft and thought I might use it sometime... today!
They loved the Christmas tree page so much I knew we would make our own.
I hot glued three craft sticks into triangles with a brown one for trunk.
They crumbled green tissue paper squares and glued to three sides.
We added colored pieces for ornaments and it just so happens I picked up a jar of sequins this weekend...
there were SHELLS in there!
Made 5 littles super happy!

As they dried on the table, I had an idea to add their photos to make them super sweet for years to come~
They are going to have a fit when they see them hanging on the tree after rest!!!~
Easy and cute!!! My kind of craft!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Hodge Podge {Christmas in the Country}~

Our Truth in the Tinsel ornament was baby Jesus wrapped in cloths so I took that theme and ran with it.
We glued cloth on the ornament then I had them color a paper plate with marker, pinched the sides and stapled, tore and glued yellow paper for hay, and rolled a round clothespin with cloth for baby Jesus.
Jesus wrapped in cloths lying in a manger~
 I also found a cute Away in a Manger game online so we played and sung Away in a Manger together.

I just randomly picked a book out of our basket and read Christmas in the Country.
Sweet sweet story and great book to use for compare and contrast!
LOVE Cynthia Rylant~
 To finish off the day, we wrote thank you notes for all the wonderful gifts we received this weekend. 
Everyone wrote on the notes and EK got the envelopes ready to mail.
Thankful for a good Monday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Always Schooling~

All the time in any way with anyone~
 LOTS of learning going on here... with BOTH girls. :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Polar Express {Fun Friday}~

Today we enjoyed everything The Polar Express.
We began opening gift bags from our sweet neighbor Ms. Judy and found great treats for our morning.
Moving on to Truth in the Tinsel and baby Jesus being born in a stable to the manger. Precious!
Because The Polar Express is kind of a long book, we started our Reindeer project so they would have something to do while I read.
We also used our globe to find and discuss the polar regions in the world.
Reindeer were made by folding down a small flap on brown paper to create a square then fold into triangle making head.
I traced their hands to make antlers and they punched circles to make the other features.
Payne, Will, and Evie wanted hats... EK and SJ~ too cool for that.
Isn't Evie's so cute? I didn't way a word and let her make it like she wanted it. :) 

As I read the book I asked questions to keep them engaged and when we came to the first Christmas gift, I pulled out our Mystery Box and let them guess what was inside.
EK knew but played along with the littles.
Each one got their own silver Christmas bell 
and we made necklaces to wear for the day.

What would Polar Express Day be without hot cocoa, cookies, and the movie?
I made the cocoa, Ms. Judy had included a cookie in their bags, and we popped the DVD in~ 
When movie was over, we moved to the school table for a couple of crafts Ms. Melissa {Lily Hope's mom} had dropped by.
They are drying and will hang proudly on our tree I'm sure by tonight.
A GREAT Fun Friday to end a week of Christmas fun!!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finding Christmas~

Today we read Finding Christmas as an introduction into a card making celebration for my sweet mom's birthday today~
 I am sure the passage on this page never stuck me quite as hard as it did today...
"Sometimes the best presents are the ones that find us."

I told them the following story~

One day long ago when you were little ones in an orphanage far away in China you didn't have a family to love you, a home to shelter you, or enough food to fill your tummy.
Mommy and daddy found you and brought you home to be our forever gifts!
So you see the best gifts ARE the ones that find you.
We found you and you found us.
God's blessings are the best even when we can't see it clearly.
I'm thankful for each one of you... 
five of the nine sweetest gifts we ever been given.

A little video shot while working~
As we sat working on our cards, there was a knock at our door and who should be peering through our window but Old Saint Nick~
 What a fun surprise!
Evie was a little overwhelmed that he was in our house I think. :)
Thank you Mr. Robert and Ms. Hope for making our school day so special.
We also loved having LilyHope visit too~
I'm sure you're thinking what I'm thinking...
This is EXACTLY what my life will look like when our sweet baby HollyMei 
{yes, we are changing her name}
 is home in the coming year!
Oh my what a glorious day it turned out to be!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Legend of the Candy Cane~

Today we read The Legend of the Candy Cane which was perfect because we had just talked about the name of Jesus with Truth in the Tinsel~
 This is always one of our favorite stories.
{Wish I had planned ahead and had candy canes for them but I did have peppermint extract in the spice cabinet so we had a sniff}.
Candy canes later! :)
We loved learning the candy cane represents Jesus one way and the shepherd's crook the other way.
I used the paper cutter to cut red and white squares then we glued them as a pattern on their J shape.
We painted a little of the extract on them so they would smell good. 

Matthew 1:21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Trees~

Seems we have many books with Christmas tree themes and one was chosen today so I decided we needed to research why we have them at Christmas.
We grabbed the IPad and read a few things about it and sang Oh Christmas Tree together.
Then we found an adorable song on YouTube called The Dancing Christmas Tree Song!
They LOVED it... we also did a little dancing to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree until things got a little crazy~

Today we read two books:
 Both so sweet in their own way.
I had sequencing sheet of getting a Christmas tree and we colored, cut, discussed, and sequenced into their journals.
A kind of relaxed morning but very special all the same.
Hoping to take them Christmas tree hunting this week!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree~

Today we read Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree after we caught up 4 days of Truth in the Tinsel~
While and after we read, we did lots of talking and retelling of the story... especially the sequence of animals.
I had a little Christmas mouse for us to make.
EK and SJ took the patterns, traced, and made their mouse all on their own.
For the boys, I traced and they cut on the lines.
For Evie, I cut and she glued. :)
When mice were done, we printed a little book of the animals and let them order the pages while I read the book all over again.
We stapled them to the back of their mouse.

 Wanted to mention when we are shopping @ Michaels, I pick up little books of stickers for the kids to use when writing stories in their journals~

After lunch we kept Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree going as I had EK and SJ choose their favorite animal from the story to research~
We read facts online and watched a couple of YouTube videos about their animal.
EK~ Fox
SJ~ Bears
Once they had some information they drew the animal in their journal and wrote some facts.
Super work everyone!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

This is the Stable~

Today when we finished our fifth day of Truth in the Tinsel EK picked our book of the day...
 EK was the reader today and as she read everyone had a turn finding the Christmas story character and adding it to our manger scene.
Great fun matching illustrations and talking in depth about all things baby Jesus!

My very favorite thing to display each Christmas is my Willow Tree Nativity Scene...
and each child sent enjoyed comparing their nativity with the big one~
We keep their scene on the shelf right under the Willow One and they play with it several times a day.
I printed a nativity scene and we moved to the kitchen for some watercolor painting.
{Needed a very low key art activity for today!}

We are memorizing Isaiah 9:6~
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree~

Today we read this sweet story...
Each day when we read I allow the kids to take a picture walk discussing the illustrations and predict story line.
As we read they fill in words I leave out working on rhyming and comprehension.
 One of favorite things to do is listen for a lesson for life in the story...
Key phrases today~ 
"You are special to us every day of the year,
we would be sad if you weren't always near."
"it wasn't as important to be a Christmas tree,
but to always be the best friend you could be."
HUGE lessons for ALL of us!

I have EK and SJ write about this on an index card and we glue to the back of their art.

Next was our FAV part of the day... ART!
I sketched a loopy tree for them to paint with Qtips.
Then we added the ornaments: foam shapes, sequins, more slick paint, and stickers~
 Everyone was super diligent so they could do more and more and more! 
Beautiful Christmas Trees~

One other thing I do each year is gather small art projects from Target dollar spot or Michaels for the girls to work on~
 They really love making them together and hanging them on their tree in their room~
 A Great Christmas school day!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Schooling Through the Holidays~

School was back in session today and we declared it a Christmas in front of the fire on the floor day.
For the month of December, we are changing it up a bit starting with Truth in the Tinsel every morning~
 The first year we did Tinsel I only had EK and SJ so we did the ornament crafts and had a ball.
The next year we had WP and used the pdf ornaments hanging them on indiviual trees but this year I made an executive decision we would use the paper ornaments but glue them in our journals for writing.
I printed each one the ornament this morning (actually 3 since we are starting a little late), each colored while I read the devotional and scripture, then we glued into journals and added a word {3 littles} or scripture {copywork for EK & SJ}. 
We will go through each ornament every day and tell the story of Jesus.
A low key way to celebrate Advent!

I have many Christmas books from my teaching years so we are choosing a new one each day to read and do some sort of art.
Today we read The Christmas Humbugs~
Amazon summary~
 {Christmas is coming but someone is playing tricks! Torn stockings and broken candy canes reveal that The Christmas Humbugs have arrived at this holiday home. But do not fear, lively rhymes and merry illustrations by Colleen and Michael Glenn Monroe lift spirits and let readers know that not even the Humbugs can dampen Christmas cheer.}
 We all traced parts, cut, and assembled our very Christmas Humbug then once dry they all gave me one way they would keep the Humbugs away from our home this season.
We all agreed having school in front of the fire will certainly help!