Powered by Blogger.

Papa Piccolo {FI♥AR}

". . .one night, Piccolo makes a discovery that threatens his carefree life and his independence and starts him on a new and special kind of adventure."  ~ from the inside cover of Papa Piccolo.

Social Studies: Geography ~ Venice, Italy, Social Studies ~ Italian Language and Culture,  History ~ Marco Polo

Another Trip Around the World ~  FYI, Fascinating Facts, Language Activities (Numbers, Days of the Week, Roman Numerals, Italian Colors, Everyday Expressions).

Color Map of Italy.

The inside covers of Papa Piccolo contains information about Italy and scenes in the book - super helpful.

Topics introduced include:
  • Marco Polo (the kittens in the story are named Marco and Polo
  • Venice
  • Italian words and phrases
  • Canals of Venice
  • Bridges of Venice
  • Cats in Venice
  • Flags of Venice
  • Regattas
  • Gondolas and gondoliers
  • Italian leather goods
Language Arts: Vocabulary, Descriptive Lullaby, Drama, Fable of the Fox and the Grapes

I read the vocabulary words from the manual out of the story and had Mali and Elli guess what they meant. (The manual makes this easy by providing the page numbers.) When I came to skiff, scow, barge and gondola, I told Malachi (who has a wonderful imagination) that he could use these new words in his story-lines during play.


I printed Malachi's narration on his flag of Italy.

I was never able to get a narration out of Elli, but here is a cute video of her giggles while we tried. :) 

Descriptive Lullaby
"And then Piccolo sang a little song he remembered from long ago-- about stardust and moon beams and goldfish."
We had fun thinking of some phrases that would put a mouse to sleep. . . "I'll sing a song about swiss cheese and cozy mouse holes. . ." is one that we made up. We also made up lullabies for Elli (dollies and butterflies and Hello Kitties) and Mali (army guys and G.I. Joes and Playmobil Knights) and a few other animals.


We acted out words much like we did with Another Celebrated Dancing Bear. We strutted, curled up, gasped and groaned and acted out other vocabulary found in the story.

Then we read the fable The Fox and The Grapes from The Aesop for Children and related it to the story.

Science: Cats

Zoology 3: Lesson 4 ~ Feliform Carnivores (just p. 51)

We learned that cats are from the family Felidae which is from the Latin word "felix" which means "happy." Cats are indeed happy and playful creatures.

We visited to the Dog and Cat Shelter and tried to find a spotted and a striped kitten. They did not have any kittens yet, but this calico cat reminded me of Polo.

She was my favorite. 

I've never adopted a cat, but like in the story, we've had cats adopt us! 

Art: Colors and Matching, Complimentary Colors, Light 

We made a color wheel using fruit, vegetable and flower cut outs from a seed catalog. 

We learned that complimentary colors are colors opposite each other on the color wheel and used the color wheel to find complimentary colors in the story - 

(The red flower and green plant).

I asked Mali and Elli if they could find some examples around our house and they could not. . . until I reminded them that our house is {brick} red with green trim. 

Then we went on a color hunt to find red-oranges, blue-greens, and more for this fun Color Wheel Bouquet art lesson.

(Elli picked from several colors that I had precut and then I helped her glue them.)

Then we did a watercolor lesson on the use of color for light. Mali and Elli created the effect of light coming from the windows in the night scene they painted.  

I love how their watercolors came out. In fact, I'm pleased with how much art we have accomplished with Five in a Row.

Dylan also did the art lesson with us.

Math: ?

Eliana did the math printables from the Cats Preschool Pack (along with most of the pack). Malachi does not need the math counting practice that FIAR suggests. He worked in his Singapore Math 1B workbook instead.

(I printed the preschool pack 2 to a page to make them this small). 

I'm still working on fitting everything in. . . 

FI♥AR Recipe: Papa Pia's Italian Dinner 

We usually have a "Mama Mia Monday" Italian dinner, but we had a Papa Pia Tuesday Italian dinner instead.

We had a regular spaghetti dinner with a salad, Italian bread, and bread sticks for the salad. And I played the Italian song, "That's Amore," during dinner.

I picked these garlic breadsticks up to go with our dinner salad. . . I pointed out to Malachi that they are a product of Italy by first asking him why he thought I bought those to go with our Papa Piccolo dinner.   . . and he recognized the Italian flag.

We had fresh fruit for desert as Italians commonly do . . .

The sauce, the fresh grated parmesan cheese, the crusty loaves of bread, and the salad were all so simple, but so good.

I really wanted to make Tiramisu, but I could not find lady fingers or marscapone cheese. So, we had Italian Biscotti with a cup of {decaf} coffee {with a generous splash of half and half} for a treat.

Papa Piccolo is a Five in a Row selection from Volume 1. 

Project Life details: 

I'm using:

We rowed this during Week 10 of our life in 2012. We also did Sonlight P4/5 Weeks 6, 7, and 8. 

Learning Moments: Sonlight

This past year I've been doing Five in a Row with Malachi and Eliana. Before Five in a Row was great - I felt like it met both needs of Malachi (5) and Eliana (3). But since starting Vol. 1-2, I've been feeling like it has been more focused on Malachi and that somehow, in all our fun, Eliana wasn't getting as much out of it. 

So, I ordered Sonlight Core P4/5 for Eliana. 

She just turned 5 so she is right in the middle of the target age for this core. Even so, it is easy for her and we are moving through it quickly. We completed 5 weeks this first week. 

Books we are reading from:

The Instructor's Guide (IG). . .

The IG in Core P4/5 is divided up into 7 sections (detailed below). . . 

  • Bible 
    • weekly memory verse
    • character trait (first 10 weeks)
    • one chapter a day from the Family Time Bible.

We have been doing Bible in the morning. I like the FTB - easy to read, the illustrations are nice, and each chapter asks 1 or 2 comprehension questions.

Here is Eliana reciting her memory verses from Week 1 along with her character trait, attentiveness, in this 13 second video.

  • Storybook
    • nursery rhymes
    • bedtime stories, 
    • tales and stories 
    • optional activities
Malachi's Favorite
We have been reading Storybook selections at bedtime. We do some of the activities, but not all. We made Pumpkin pancakes when we read "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater," made Puppy Chow when we read "Uncle Wiggily and the Bad Dog," and a few others.

  • Readiness Skills 

In the activity below, I placed 4 items in a basket, had her close her eyes and color the picture of the missing object. This was easy for her, but fun. 

This next activity was a little more challenging. I gave her a set of instructions (color the stripe red, color the box blue) had her wait 60 seconds and then follow the instructions. Instead of just waiting 60 seconds, I had her do another simple command - run around the house or go touch the fridge and run back.  

She has done 4 of these so far and each time, she gets better and better at listening and remembering directions. 

She also does several coloring, outlining, and fine motor skill activities. 

An auditory rhyming activity. . .

I love that it includes the words and the sounds in bold print so that she can see the rhyme. 

Eliana finished up Developing the Early Learner Book 1 this week (Week 7) and as soon as we closed the book, she sighed and said, "I miss it." ♥  I pulled Book 2 off the shelf and told her she has 3 more.  She said, "Let's start it!" I said we would start it next week. :) (She had just finished doing 12 pages in one sitting).

  • Science
    • farm life, seasons, weather, the ocean, simple machines, plants, animals and more.

Eliana's Favorite

This week, we read The Berenstain Bears Almanac ~ A Year in Bear Country Life. 

Highlights include: 
  • Seasons and weather
  • Twelve months in a year 
In week 1, we read about winter: winter months, some of the things winter brings, winter weather, winter clothes, first day of winter. And we talked about what winter is like where we live: how we dress, what we do. We got a nice heavy snowfall this week with beautiful weather, too, and the kids played out in the snow. 

We did an activity from the manual - describing an ice cube. 

We followed all the seasons and the months through "a year in Bear Country life."

  • Language Arts 
    • letter a week starting in Week 10
For now, we have been working on finishing up Language Lessons for Little Ones. . . 

Playing Alphabet Tic-Tac-Toe. . . 

And playing Alphabet Sounds Bingo to work on phonograms.

I think this was her first time playing Bingo. 

  • World Cultures 
    • what people do and how they live around the world

We have been reading from Usborne's Book of Things People Do. Before reading, we play "I Spy." (They love this!). Above, Dylan is playing "I Spy" with Mali and Elli. 

  • Other 
    • songs
    • developmental activities (large motor, small motor coordination, practical life skills, math skills)

We sang Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine, Father Abraham, Yankee Doodle, and The Farmer in the Dell. 

For Developmental Activities we did a sequence activity, practiced skipping to a child's chant, and practiced somersaults. We were supposed to jump like a frog, so I had the children play Leap Frog (because it also happened to be Leap Day!). 

Mali sits in for quite a bit - his choice. One day, he wanted to go play and I was fine with that. But, later he was upset that he didn't get to read with us. Now when I invite him to read, he joins us. :)

For math, Eliana is using Singapore Earlybird Book B - Text and Activity book.

For handwriting, we are using Getty & Dubay informally (salt tray, quilted letters, sandpaper letters, and worksheets that I make). We'll start Book A with Core A (see my plans for next year below). 

Malachi's School

Five in a Row

We rowed Grandfather's Journey this same week. I feel good about all that we did and that adding in a Sonlight Core was not difficult. 

All About Reading/Spelling

Malachi worked on Lessons 33, 34, 35 and 36 in AAR, and Steps 19 and 20 in AAS this week. He is doing SO good! I am happy with his progress.  (He only has 9 lessons left in AAR at the time of writing this). 

Matching rhyming words ~ words ending in "ck."

He is spelling the word diagonally, silly boy. :) 

We are moving through the lessons more steadily now. We slowed down after Lesson 25 and spread the lessons out over a couple days and took some breaks. Now, our lessons are progressing very nicely.  His fluency is noticeably better and he is catching on to what I am teaching him. 

Malachi has also been working in Explode the Code 3 and reading from Sonlight's Language Arts for grade 1 (LA1) readers - I Can Read It.  The readers line up with the Explode the Code books, so tie in nicely. I'm going over my LA1 to see where he needs to be to do LA 2 this fall. I don't know if All About Reading Level 2 will be out in time, so I plan to do Sonlight Grade 2 LA and continue on with Explode the Code until it comes out.

He has also been working in his 6-Traits Daily Writing. He is learning about "telling words:" how what, and where. He had to write one sentence about what he did and where and one general statement about himself. 

Writing Traits has been good - but I am really looking forward to Sonlight's LA ~ specifically the Creative Expression. I may dig out some lessons from LA1 to use with him once he finishes Writing Traits (he is on the last section on Voice).  

What I am thinking about for next year. . . 

I'm planning to finish Core P4/5 up by the end of June - that's about 2 weeks of curriculum per week. Starting at Week 10, I hope to do more letter activities. I may even go over some of All About Reading Pre-1 and pull Ziggy off the shelf. My main goal with her is to reinforce the sounds so she doesn't forget. I am planning to start AAR 1 in the fall along with Intro to the the World: Cultures Core A (grades K, 1, 2; ages 5, 6, 7) with Eliana and Malachi both (ages 5 and 7). They are both in the age/grade range for this core - one at each end. I will also be rowing 12 books from Five in a Row Volume 3 over the year, which will give me 3 weeks to row a book. I may just take one week and then take a 2 week break, or spread the row out - whatever works best at that time.  

I considered Intro to World History Core B, (Grades 1, 2, 3; Ages 6, 7, 8) but I have done that core with a 5 and 7 year old (Dylan and Nathan), and I think Mali and Elli will get more out of it if I wait a year (ages 6 and 8), plus I am not ready to do formal history with them and an easier core will give me the room I need to squeeze in FIAR. (Hoping to row Vol. 4 while we do Core B - again, only 12 books - 3 weeks for each book).

I feel at peace with my decision and am really very excited. :) 

Choosing Sonlight

Sonlight made me fall in love with the idea of homeschooling. I read my first Sonlight catalog from cover to cover when I first considered homeschooling my boys 8 years ago. I was in my last year of Dental Hygiene school (and pregnant with Malachi), but I was inspired. I got out of school early 2 days a week, picked my youngest, Dylan, up from preschool/daycare and taught him the letter sounds using the Explode the Code Primers, had alphabet picnics and read lots of books.

I was only planning on homeschooling Dylan for K (he had been in childcare since he was one and I wanted to be home with him for a year before I sent him to school), but Father had other plans.   I graduated in May, purchased my first Core in June and started homeschooling in July ~ Dylan - K, Nathan - 1st, and Jordan - 4th. We sold our house (after our first year) to pay off all of our debt (including school loans), I stayed home, and I've never looked back.

Sonlight was a wonderful start to our homeschool journey. It gave me a good idea of what a literature based homeschool should look like and how full our days should be. Teaching two Cores was hard, though (I did Core 1 - now Core B - with Nathan and Dylan and Core 1+2 - now B&C - with Jordan), so the next year I combined the boys and we did Core 3+4 (D&E). When we got to Core 5 (F), I didn't think I could continue teaching all the boys with one Core, so I left Sonlight. We did another literature based program and then created my own. I can plan and pull together great books, but I am not nearly scheduled enough to complete the material in a timely manner. I loved the flexibility of being able to linger in Biblical History, but I needed a curriculum that is planned out for me and scheduled in this season of life (with twice as many kids!). 

Choosing another boxed curriculum was only a stepping stone to get me back into a boxed curriculum, and I am excited to be coming back to Sonlight.

Here is my tentative plan (since many are asking behind the scenes). . .

Nathan will do Core H (for grades 7th, 8th and 9th), Dylan with do Core F (or grades 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th), and Jordan will do Core 100 (for grades 10th, 11th and 12th).
My boys fit in the recommended grade range for all of my choices. Sonlight is an accelerated program, so I don't mind being in the middle or end of the grade range for my choices.

I am planning to order in April when the new catalog comes out. I'm really excited about the new IG changes. Some of the other changes are not new to me - such as Bible and LA being incorporated in with a Core, because that is how SL was when we left,  but I am excited that all of the study guide supplements will be found with each week now (no flipping to the back!). 

My plan for Mali and Elli is coming up next, along with learning moments from our first week with Sonlight. ♥