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I Am an Artist ~ Clouds {Before FI♥AR}

I Am an Artist is a unique book about seeing "art" ~ line, shape, texture, form, color, symmetry, and more ~ in nature. Not what I was expecting when I opened this book for the first time and it turned out to be a delightful book about seeing the handiwork in Father's creation.

Our go-along books:

Day 1: Read I Am an Artist, nature walk/talk (observing shape, line, texture in nature), collect nature items, make sensory tub

Here are the items we collected on our walk for our tub:

We had more fun collecting items and putting the tub together and discussing the elements of art than exploring with it ~ they were not interested at all. So, I brought out the glue and encouraged them to make a collage with the items. A texture bark rubbing would be an ideal go along ~ but my little ones were not interested at the time.

Day 2: Read cloud books, Weather Challenge, Cloud Art, Cloud Sensory Tub, Designs in Fruit

Weather Challenge #1 {The Outdoor Hour}

"Spend 15 to 20 minutes outdoors this week with your children in your own yard or on your own street. Make sure to take note of any clouds in the sky and try to put into words what they look like. Use words like fluffy, wispy, thin, dark, high, low, and any other terms you can remember . . ."

Most of our weather observations took place from our front picture window. It was too cold {for me} to go outside. We tried to identify the storm clouds coming in. They brought lots of wind and some moisture, and I thought for sure it would snow. . .  (a few days later they did bring a light snow that melted the same day). We described the clouds as low, layered, dark, wispy ~ almost like a grey blanket covering the sky.

"It Looked Like . . . " Cloud Art ~ 

We made pictures with cotton balls clipped to clothespins ~ A Looked Like Spilt Milk go-along.

"It looked like an army car."
They made several ~ the first ones were:
  • "fluffy clouds in a row"
  • "spilt milk"
  • " a cloud"
I then told them to "try" to make a picture, :-)

Edible Cloud Art Sensory Tub

Making the whipped cream.

She is making a "slide" in the cloud. 

Our first edible sensory tub and couldn't resist! She played with the tub to dip and transform clouds.

During this time, Jordan stared at her for the longest time saying nothing ~ I looked at him and said, "What is it?" His reply: "She did wash her hands, right?" He didn't think she could eat all of that herself, lol. ;-)

The Star In An Apple

This is from a page in the book.

Strawberry Hearts and Fruit Salad

We cut up the apple and strawberries and made a fruit salad with the leftover whipped cream. :D

I needed a nice, simple, easy row this week, and this was perfect.

Delightful Links:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1 (More ideas for ages 1-3)
Preschool Corner &5K too! (More ideas for ages 4-5)
TOH ~ Weather Challenge #1
T.O.B.Y Homes-Cool Highlights @ Hearts in Training
Read. Explore. Learn.
PreKinders Weather Unit

Learning Together ~ Part 2: More Organizing {FI♥AR}

. . . or how I do what I do.

In Part 1, Learning Together With Five in a Row, I shared how I was organizing our Five in a Row lessons:
Rowing has been relatively easy to implement ~ since I did all the printing, laminating, etc. up front. 

When I pull out a file, I read the book and manual, brainstorm, do an internet search for go-along activities/crafts, start a blog post and add ideas, notes, recipes and any links I find helpful (which helps when it comes time to publish my post). I usually print my notes (blog post) and stick them in the file. Then I make a shopping list and gather any additional supplies/ingredients. {Adding a book themed Sensory Tub has made things a little more interesting}. 

Since I am getting ready to have a baby {in 8 weeks or so} I have been doing this for the rest of the books we will row with B4. 

I've been been putting materials/supplies, etc. in a basket that sits on my craft/sewing table. Usually, I just use a smaller tub per book and plan one at a time. . . but, {did I mention I was having a baby soon?}.

Here I have supplies for Corduroy and Katy-No-Pocket gathered, and am working on We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The ABC Bunny and The Snowy Day:

I try to include the kids in planning as much as possible and this builds their excitement. . .

Which means, there is no way I am getting out of rowing the next book with them! Honestly, this is what keeps me going ~ I love the joy it gives them!

I guess that is more of "why I do what I do" ~ back to "how:"

Somedays, I honestly have no clue ~ I don't know how I will get anything done. But, I begin each day with prayer and ask Father to order my day and this looks different each day.

Somehow, {by the grace of Yah} I get things done ~ and His grace is sufficient for me.

Sometimes, things fall together beautifully and other times I wonder if we will ever get anything done ~ and then it just happens.

How long do we take to row a book?

This depends. I like to row a book in 4-5 days, but those days sometimes happen over 2 weeks (2 days one week and 2 or 3 the next) and sometimes there is overlap. If planning and set up is a part of the row (such as the dog house and pet store in Angus Lost), then we will take a few extra days ~ but the actual row is still 4-5 days.  I will try to add a day-by-day in future posts for a better idea.

How much does this cost and where can you get it?

I purchased my manual and books from Rainbow Resource. The manual is $35. You can get a literature package for $97.50 ~ this includes the books used in the manual that are in print. But most of the books, even the out of print ones, you can find at your local library or through Inter-Library Loan (ILL) ~ for free or a small fee.

A note about the manual: the manual is a source of inspiration for me. It is designed to be used alone as an accompaniment to the books you read with your child. The manual gives me a starting point that in itself would be enough. The extra things I do are just that ~ extra. They fulfill my desire to be creative.

If you are resourceful, you can limit the money you spend on crafts and activities by planning ahead. I plan a special treat every Sabbath and, if possible, I tie it in with what we are rowing ~ this limits the sweets we eat and the money I spend. For example, the Dig-In-The-Dirt Milkshakes for Angus Lost, was our Sabbath treat.  By planning ahead, I bought the Breyers all-natural ice-cream on sale {and hid it in the deep freezer}. :D I also shop once a month from Azure Standard and get fun {edible} things through this co-op ~ like the Organic Vegan Gummy Bears we will use when we row Corduroy.  It is when I don't plan ahead that I spend more than I want.

This has been a "behind the scenes" post to answer a couple of your questions. Thanks for asking! It helped me to put things into perspective and remind myself of why I do what I do and remember from Whom my strength comes when I am not sure I can do anything.

Angus Lost {Before FI♥AR}

Our  next B4FIAR book, Angus Lost, is about a curious dog who wanders away from home and gets lost. Our focus was on Angus finding his way home again and we had much fun making a dog house, playing pet-store, pretending to be dogs and more.

Our go alongs for this book were: "Angus Lost" in Harry the Dirty Dog... and More Playful Puppy Stories, "Angus and the Ducks" in Make Way for Ducklings ... and More Delightful Duck Stories and Angus and the Cat .

Our Learning Fun ~ 

Dog House

Since we focused on Angus finding his way home, we made Angus a dog house.

Pet Store

We talked about how to take care of dogs and the things that they need ~ water, food, exercise and love.

We made some things for dogs to "sell" in our store.
Dog Food
Dog Bones 

A sign for the store (handwriting copywork and illustration).
Our basket of finished goods.
Pet Store Items:
  1. dog food {Leapin' Lemurs cereal}
  2. dog leash {jumprope}
  3. dog bone treats {bone shaped peanut butter cookies}
  4. beef rawhide twists {berry fruit roll-ups}
And, of course, money exchanging was involved to practice with coins.

We had so much fun with this! And much of our fun was in the getting ready part and all the anticipation. They couldn't wait to "row" Angus!

Note: To make the dog house and pet store, I turned a washer and dryer box inside out. (This is much simpler and more economical than painting the box). To do this, you breakdown the box so that it folds flat, gently open the seam (the one that overlaps), turn inside out and re-glue the seam. I used hot glue and then used brown packing tape on the seam for the dog house and white duct tape (trim) for the pet-store.  Then we decorated it ~ the kids each had 2 sides and free reign with the markers!

Angus Lost Sensory Tub

  1. White tissue paper and cotton balls {snow for winter time}
  2. Scottish Terrier {Angus}
  3. Cat {the "same" cat that lives with Angus}
  4. Fence, dog toys, food and water dish, grooming supplies, etc. {Angus' yard at home}
  5. Collie dog {the dog Angus tries to run after}
  6. '32 Ford {a car like the one that Angus chases}
  7. Snow covered cave {where Angus spends the night when he gets lost}
  8. Cow {where milk comes from}
  9. Duck and Squirrel {animals in the pictures}
Other go-along ideas: the goat that tries to get Angus, the milkman, milk bottles, horse that pulls the milk carriage

Dog puppets
(I forgot to have them draw the mouth and whiskers)

File Folder Fun:
Puppy Matching Game

Dig-in-the-dirt Milkshakes

 Chocolate Milkshakes and Crushed Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Mustache Fun
This last activity was planned, but not at the moment it happened. I had just bathed the kids and they were ready for bed ~ and it worked out perfect.

Obedience School {fetch, sit, lie down, roll over, bark, beg, come}


Playing Dead ~ this was Malachi's idea (lol)


Must have been a "Look Cute" command. :-)

Dogs need lots of love. :-)
Ready for bed. 

The last command: Go to sleep ~ Mama's tired! 

All tucked in. 

I loved seeing their feet sticking out of the boxes each night.


"Angus Lost" By Malachi

"Till winter came, Angus was bored of the same yard, the same cat and everything he knew about. He was curious about other places, so one day he got out. Then Angus looked down and looked up and he could see no end. Then a dog said, "Ruff" and Angus said, "Ruff, ruff." The other dog ran. Angus ran. Faster ran the other dog. Faster ran Angus but the dog ran around the counter. Instead there stood a stranger. And Angus said, "Ruff." The goat said "Baaaa."  Then dark came. Then angus saw two eyes looking from a tree. Angus said, "Ruff." The two eyes said, "Whooo." Then angus ran away to look for his home. But snow came and wind came and Angus crawled into a cave. Then day came. Rattle-clink-clink. There was the milkman. So Angus followed the milkman door to door until he was at his home. The end."  

-Narrated by Malachi age 5 1/2 10-14-10

What did you like about the story?

"I liked it when he got home and got back to the cat and he followed the milkman." 

"Angus Lost" By Eliana

"Angus was tired about the same house, the same cat, the same things that he ever knewd about. Then a stranger came. "Woof, woof," said Angus. "Baaa," said the goat. Faster runned Angus. The horns were getting close to Angus. Then a car came. "Woof, woof," said Angus. "Honk, honk," said the car. Ran away did the car. Then dark came. Two eyes were looking from a tree. Rattle-rattle-clink-clink. The milk man was here. He followed the milkman to his home."

-Narrated by Eliana age 3 1/2. 10-14-10

What was your favorite part of the story?

"Angus getting home and following the milkman."

I love these!

Note: I type their narrations in Getty-Dubay font (our handwriting program) as they narrate them to me, print them and put them in our notebook.

And as usual, we covered the discussions from the B4 manual, such as what it must have felt like to be lost, how YHVH is with us wherever we go so we should never be afraid, safety (why we need to balance curiosity with wisdom), what a silhouette is, dog safety, where milk comes from and more.

Lap Journal:

I left space for a picture of Mali and Elli together. 

After this "row," I need a simple and easy one next ~ if I can help it!

Delightful Links:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1 (More ideas for ages 1-3)
Preschool Corner {& 5K too!} (More ideas for ages 4-5)
Read. Explore. Learn.
If You Give A Mom a Book
PreKinders Pet Unit {ideas for dog house, pet store, pet food, obedience school}
Puppy Matching Game {File Folder Fun}
Angus Lost resources at HSS

Homeschool Highlights ~ Weeks 8 and 9

This may be a first for me . . . a Homeschool Highlights post with no {personal} photos. I'll make up for it with my B4FIAR post next ~ I promise. ;-)

Days in school: 36.

Little Ones ~

B4FIAR: Angus Lost (coming up next) & "teacher in service" {planning & creating}


I've been busy planning, sewing and creating to get ready for Eliana's preschool. She turns 4 a month after baby is due. I have updated my curriculum page with what I am planning for her 2011 4K year.

We started this week with Language Lessons for Little Ones 1 ~ it was an impromptu, informal lesson time to see how it would go. I did the lessons orally with her and Malachi together. I loved the picture studies, poetry and discussion.  When a letter is introduced, we will practice with sensory letters (which I am working on) rather than writing them. This is easy and gentle, so I may be able to start this now ~ it would be a good review for Malachi and gentle enough for an introduction to phonogram sounds for Eliana.

5K ~


Malachi finished both the U.S. and Canadian kindergarten levels in Mathletics, and is currently working in the 1st grade level (U.S.).  I ordered Singapore Early Bird Math B (textbook and workbook) for him but am debating on saving it for Eliana. Instead, I am thinking about printing the workbook activities that go along with Mathletics since he seems to be doing so well with it. I like that the activities are hands on and relate to what he is learning online. But, I will spend some time looking through Earlybird before I decide.

He also is plugging away on his Kumon 1-120 book. This is not his favorite and will probably be our last Kumon math book {just too much busy work}. To encourage him to finish, I've made a game for him to play.

I bought a new set of Toy Story Bucket o Soldiers (he loves these) and some new dice and he plays "Risk" (remember that game?). He gets one army for every page in the book he completes. He rolls a set of dice and adds them to build each army (the total of the two dice is how many army guys he gets per page). Then he rolls a set of dodacahedral {12 sided} dice - one for each team, and the team with the larger number wins the battle. So he is working on adding and greater than/less than concepts with this game. Some days, he completes 2-3 pages, and other days he completes 8 if he wants a "campaign." He plays Risk with his dad and brothers, so he LOVES this!

Delight Directed:

Malachi has been reading The Usborne Book of Knowledge and bookmarking all the pages he wants me to read to him. His interests are in "How Things Began" {he may be another history buff like his dad} and "How Things Work." I told him we could do this for History and Science and he loved the idea.

He also spends hours each day drawing pictures and making battle scenes. He asks me to spell words for him to title his drawings. Elli follows suit ~ except she draws picture after picture of her and I ~ me with a baby in my belly ~ so sweet! When she brings me a drawing I ask her to tell me about it and I write down what she tells me on the picture.


I've put the Explode the Code 1 book on hold for now. He is not reading the lessons from I Can Read It fluently. Each day, we are practicing the words from the Word List book and reading a portion of a story. He can read the words in the Word List just fine, so maybe he just needs some time. 5 is still a bit young for ETC {recommended for 1st grade}. Dylan was a young five when he started it and took a whole year to finish book one. When he turned 6, he finished books 2 and 3 in 2 weeks. But, he was reading all the stories from ICRI and just didn't like to write. hmm. . . Malachi likes to write and could probably do the lessons in ETC. Not sure what to do. Advice would be welcomed.

Older Boys ~

What's New?

Easy Grammar:

We dropped SL 3+4 LA Grammar and picked up Easy Grammar and Daily Grams grades 5 & 6 for Nathan and Dylan and the Ultimate Series for Grade 9 for Jordan. So happy to have a grammar program that is working well for us! We are using EG as a supplement to Queen's Language Lessons.

Biblical History:

  1. "The Temple" {Solomon's}
  2. "Psalms and Proverbs"
Readings from:
  1. The Scriptures
  2. Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History
  3. The Victor Journey Through the Bible
Read Alouds:
  1. God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah (Living History Library) {Luke}
  2. Hittite Warrior (Living History Library) {moi}
Nutrition 101: Finished Unit 3 and started Unit 4 ~ The Skeletal and Muscular System

I watched a webinar with Paul Nison and WellWithU last night called "What Nobody Tells You About Raw Food" and am considering "Lessons for Healthy Living" as a sequel to Nutrition 101. If you have listened to/watched  this series, I'd love to know what you think.

CPR & First Aid: Jordan and Luke earned their certification in both classes this week. Jordan said I wouldn't have liked the first aid class. Most of what they learned was how to treat a victim until help arrives. My focus in our survival studies has been how to treat a victim when no help is available {survival first aid}. But, he did learn some helpful first responder type first aid. I was also surprised how much CPR training has changed since I was last certified (my 2 year certification expires in 2 months). They are moving away from giving breaths and only doing chest compressions ~ except, of course, for family members. I used to carry a protective face mask in our first aid kit (and there may still be one in there), but most people don't carry them because they are expensive.

Sports Programming: Luke and Jordan's team won the soccer championship {adult soccer}. Soccer is now over! {officially} They still play an occasional noon-ball, though. Jordan logged 40 work hours this month.

In the Scriptures: Nathan finished reading through the Bible {The Scriptures version} in 105 days! So proud of him for sticking it out! We have a special date planned.

On the Homestead:  Luke and the boys are firewood maniacs. They cut and split 3 cords of wood for our use, and gifted 2 cords. (I stayed home with Eliana).

Baby on the way: I am 31+ weeks {less than 9 weeks to go!} and I have been asked a few times to share more about my pregnancy, birthing plans for baby, how I will manage cooking, school, and life when baby #6 arrives. . . I'm thinking on this one. Some of these I have answers for and I will be thinking and praying about answers to the rest and how best to share. I am planning a Homebirth 101 crash course for my boys over the next 6 weeks, so maybe I will share what we are learning. If you have specific questions, please let me know.

My giveaway for Household Traditions Glass and Surface Cleaner ends soon!

Hope you had a great week!

Delightful Links:

T.O.B.Y Homes-Cool Highlights @ Hearts in Training