Preschool with Bo: Letter Ff, Frogs


Our focus this unit continues with the letter Ff. (This was at least two weeks ago). We mostly did Letter F from Animal ABCs and read Play with Me, by Marie Hall Ets. This is a Before Five in a Row book that we just read and enjoyed for now - we will row it at a later date. I was planning to read A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog (Sonlight P3/4), but I was disappointed that the story is condensed in the collection, unlike the book, so I was going to find the original (that we own), and forgot. (I later found it ON my night stand, where I must have placed it to read to Bo at bedtime).

I wish I could say the warm weather is keeping us from regular school time this particular week, but it's not (it's been chilly). It's more a case of feeling under the weather and Bo has also been tired in the afternoons - when I felt like doing school with him. Once or twice, he even napped during the day and he doesn't do that often. You can tell he is tired in a few pictures. I wasn't feeling well either, so not up to school in the morning, so I'm thinking this is all in the afternoon this week, and that may be why too.
~Boaz is 3 years, 3 1/2 months~

Coloring the Ffs with Mr. Sketch markers. They smell good, so it is not uncommon to see marker on his nose. :D

Tired of coloring and wants me to help.

I offer to color the lowercase f while he colors the uppercase F. Then he cuts and glues.

We haven't done one of these in awhile. I tried to get him to say the /f/ sound, but he said "f" each time. At least he's saying the sound. :)


I was impressed with how well Bo was doing (and talking), so I asked him to do it again so I could video. He first told me, "Tan't do it," so I offered him a package of fruit gummy snacks and he agreed. :D

I always do better when I lay out activities to do. This also gives Bo the chance to choose what he wants to do.

Talking about frogs. . .

Coloring frogs. . . and putting the crayons away. (I still love these triangular crayons, and though we've lost a few more, we still have most of them because of the case).

5 Green Speckled Frogs Song and Fingerplay 

I used Kate @ Picklebum's 5 Green Frogs printable and added Thickers to number them. And I improvised with a book and a blue file folder for our log and pond.

"Five little speckled frogs
Sat on a great big log
Eating the most delicious bugs - yum, yum
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are four speckled frogs - glug, glug." ~ Five Speckled Frogs

Then, I hid a number and had Bo guess which number was missing.

He really enjoyed this!

Then, I had Bo count out raisin "bugs" for each frog.

Bo played with Kool-Aid scented Play Dough and the Letter F playdough mat.

Q-tip Painting

Bo was much more patient this time!

Since I had so much finger paint left, I gave him a big sheet of finger paint paper to paint with.

ARTistic Pursuits: Stories of Artists & Their Art {Review}

My 1st and 3rd grader are studying World History this year, and Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art from ARTistic Pursuits ties in perfectly with what we are learning! I thought it would be fun to enhance our literature based curriculum with fine arts - something our current curriculum is lacking in.

Geared towards ages 5 and up, Stories of Artists and Their Art covers art starting at about the 13th century through the 18th century. The book has 36 lessons that are based on artists from the time period.

Techniques introduced:

  • pan watercolors

  • oil pastels

  • printmaking

  • stamping

  • mixed media

Price: $47.95


Some special art materials are required to use this book. Some of these include: a rubber roller, block printing ink, watercolor crayons, oil pastels, graphite pencils, foam printing plates, and hardboard panels.

An art supply list can be found in the front of the book, online at ARTistic Pursuits and at Blick Art Materials for easy ordering. I found a list that was created specifically for Book 2, and ordered directly from this list. I didn't know this when I ordered, but the book let me know that the best days to purchase from Blick Art Materials are M -Th as they often provide additional discounts on those days. I also picked up a few things, like spackling paste and a putty knife, from a hardware store.

Other common materials needed include: masking tape, paper towels, water containers, wax paper, Elmer's Glue-All, and a mirror.

Our Experience

ARTistic Pursuits is a comprehensive art program that involves students in the creative process while also developing their listening and observational skills. In this art curriculum, we look at artists and their artwork, read a short story about each artist, learn new techniques for making art, and engage in a project.

Project 1
Most fairy tales begin with the phrase, "Once upon a time. . . ," and end with the phrase, "And they lived happily ever after." What stories do you know that begin and end this way? These stories are full of knights, young maidens, and magnificent castle towers. Our story is about a real person who lived in just such a time. ~ Brenda Ellis, page 6

What a wonderful introduction to our first artist!

Artist: Cimabue - pronounced CHEEmah BOO eh, (1240~1302)

Project: Watercolor Painting

Technique: In this lesson, we learn how to set up our painting area, how to soften the dry colors for painting, how to mix colors, how to keep colors clean, and how to use the tip of the brush to paint. We developed good habits to make painting more enjoyable down the road.

In this lesson, we were encouraged to go for a walk and look at buildings in our neighborhood and paint a picture of where we live.

Project 2

Artist: Cimabue (cont.)

Project: Watercolor Painting and Gold Leaf

Technique: We learned how to cut gold paper into shapes, glue the shapes, and watercolor a picture. (We painted then glued.) Eliana followed the example in the book and cut out a castle and glued it to her painted scene. Malachi painted a Medieval cruck house and added a gold sun. We moved quickly through the picture study in this lesson, only pointing out the use of gold leaf in the painting and then moved on.

Castle Scene

Peasant Cruck House

Project 3
Giotto helped his father watch over the sheep. The sheep grazed in green fields all day so Giotto has lots of time as a young boy to think, dream, and to discover. Do you have a place to go where you can think or daydream with no particular purpose in mind? Young Giotto discovered that he had artistic talent in just such a place. ~ Ellis, page 11

Artist: Giotto (1267~1337)

Project: Scratch Art

Technique: In this lesson, we learned how to use oil pastels and make art by scratching into a soft surface just as Giotto did as a young boy. But, instead of rocks and stone, we used oil pastels. We made ours on cardboard, as suggested, but it was hard to fill in where the cardboard is corrugated. And while this was a messy project with the black oil pastel, and my daughter got tired of coloring, she enjoyed scratching a picture like Giotto did, but in oil pastel instead of rock.

Eliana's Scratch Artwork

Project 4

Artsist: Giotto (cont.)

Project: Fresco

Technique: We made a fresco using plaster, just like Giotto, and watercolored our fresco. We also explored emotion and expression in body language, and studied a painting by Giotto called Lamentation of Christ.

In this lesson, I let my children first draw with watercolor pencils, then paint.

Making sad and happy faces and moving her body to show emotion. . .

Happy Dancers

The Winning Goal: Happiness and Defeat

Project 5: Color Mixing

This project was independent from the theme of the book, as it did not relate to an artist or the time period of the book.

We learned to mix colors in a tray and dilute the pigment to make tints. We made a color wheel in this lesson, but I know I will referring back to this lesson to remind the children to make their own colors when painting. Even my 3 year old joined us for this project and mixed his own colors!

Some other artists we will meet:

  • Limbourg

  • Van Eyck

  • Leonardo da Vinci

  • Michelangelo

  • Raphael

  • Anguissola

  • Durer

  • Bruegel

  • Parmigianino

  • Rembrandt

  • Vermeer

  • Fragonard

  • Turner

  • Millet

More techniques we will learn/projects we will do:

  • Sketch to Watercolor

  • Calendar Page

  • Watercolor Wash & Watercolor Edges

  • Pastel Blends

  • Watercolor resist

  • Textured Watercolor Painting

  • Collage

  • Fresco

  • Cool Colors & Warm Colors

  • Resist Technique

  • Watercolor over Oil pastels

  • Dark Ground Drawing

  • Printmaking Basics & Monoprint

  • Tissue Paper Relief

  • Oil Pastels on Colored Paper

  • Watercolor Lift & Block Out

  • Two Color Relief Print and Relief Print Card

  • Collagraph Print

  • Watercolor Contrast Painting

  • Drawing People and Drawing Profile

  • Rubbings

  • Mixed Media (Tissue Paper and Oil Pastels)

  • Watercolor Resist Painting

  • Stand-up Dry-Brush Painting

My Thoughts

ARTistic Pursuits has given me a passion for art in our homeschool. The lessons and projects came together easily and were a positive experience. I feel especially comfortable with watercoloring after my experience, and all three of my young children are using the watercolors with responsibility, rinsing their brush before getting another color of paint, using the brush properly to prevent damaging the bristles, and keeping a neat work space. Even my three year old is remembering to rinse his brush!

It also lessened my intimidation to do art. It is wonderful to have an art curriculum that is easy to use, is interesting, and ties into our study of Medieval Times.

What I like:

  • open and go

  • Charlotte Mason approach incorporating nature study and picture observation

  • historical lessons from a specific time period

  • interesting stories that put us in the time and mind of the artist

  • illustrated lessons and student examples, including photographs, scanned artwork, and sketched illustrations

  • materials are easily identified and divided into groups: Painting/Pastels, Printmaking, and Mixed Media

  • the pages are printed on quality bright white paper which makes the colors more vivid

What's not to like?

The book is comb bound. While it is nice to lay the book flat, the pages are only printed on one side, so I would have much preferred a spiral bound book so I can fold the blank page under to take up less space on the table. It doesn't fold under as easily as a spiral bound book would and the pages have more of a tendency to fall out if you fold it.

I also noticed a few typos and/or inconsistent formatting in the book, but it did not distract me from the lesson at hand.

Overall, I think Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art is a wonderful art curriculum for homeschoolers. It is a perfect accompaniment to our study of Medieval times, or as the book calls it, the Gothic Period. It fulfills much of my desire to do hands on projects centered around our studies.

Other levels include: The Way They See It (Preschool)Early Elementary K-3, Book 1: Introduction to the Visual ArtsEarly Elementary K-3, Book 3: Modern Painting and SculptureElementary 4-5, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition, and Elementary 4-5, Book 2: Color and Composition.

Two brand new books are also available: Sculpture Technique: Model and Sculpture Technique: Construct. These are both geared towards ages 11-18.

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The Brinkman Adventures Audio Drama {Review}


I have fond memories of listing to radio theatre with my older boys when they were younger, so I was really looking forward to giving my 3, 7 and 9 year olds the same experience with the Brinkman Adventures. We listened and enjoyed The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24 in the evenings with popcorn (instead of a movie for a nice change!), or on a road trip to make our trip more enjoyable.

The Brinkman Adventures Season 2: Episodes 13-24 MP3 download (also available on 4 CD's) is an audio drama that includes 12 episodes, or 5+ hours of listening. Each episode is about 25 minutes long and are geared toward the entire family. The episodes are stories of faith that are based on true events. In fact, after each episode, you are encouraged to go online to read the stories behind the stories.

Brinkman Adventures Review
The Episodes

You've heard of "finders keepers," well, The Mystery Ring teaches the Biblical principle of returning lost possessions to their owner, and the blessings that come from obedience. In this episode, the Brinkmans meet John and Donna Benti, former missionaries to Hong Kong.

Blue Hat and T-Shirt Bible teaches about God's provision and the importance of spreading the Gospel, as we hear John Benti and his wife tell the story of one of their missionary adventures in Hong Kong, their search for any remaining underground Christians, and God's miraculous provisions in their life. We also see God provide for the Brinkman family, too.

In How Big is Your God Part 1 and 2, the Brinkmans stay another day with the Bentis, and we learn the importance of believing in God for big things as John and Donna Benti continue to tell stories of their missionary adventures in China, including John's testimony of taking a somewhat presumptuous leap of faith (or was it?). It is a fun story of providence as we learn that we can't always see how God is working, but He is always working.

After a two day visit with the Bentis, the Brinkmans finally hit the road in Mexico By Bus. They are on their way to deliver the bus to missionaries in Belize. In this story, we find out what happens when their bus breaks down, and how God makes a way for them to get back on the road.

They finally make it to their destination in Treehouse Academy. We see the provisions from The Mystery Ring arrive with much needed curriculum for the missionary school, but will the school have to be shut down now?

In Pirates of Mayan Island, the Brinkman's go on an adventure to an island with an Ancient Mayan temple on it. What secrets and surprises await them? What danger? This adventure had my kids on the edge of their seat and also has a surprise ending.

The Brinkmans are involved in a sting operation, in Sapphire Slaves Part 1 and 2, in which two brothers, Fernando and Pedro, are being held captive as slaves in a sapphire mine in the jungles of South America. They, along with other children, are forced to dig tunnels to mine sapphires. Will an undercover operation from Mercy Justice Mission help save the boys? Will the boys trust them? Portions of these episodes may be intense for children under the age of 10.

In the next episode, Hadi is given a Bible by Ben, a missionary kid, but it may get them both in trouble, and now Hadi has an important decision to make. You will be both engaged and challenged by Hadi's faith in Hadi’s Choice.

An ancient castle in Burgundy, France just trapped Eon and Kate Brinkman in its tower. How did they end up there and what are they doing there at 3:30 in the morning? We find out in Castle of Secrets, where 30 missionaries have gathered for a retreat.  Ben, a missionary kid, is struggling because he lost his best friend, Hadi, when he became a Christian.

We listen to the exciting conclusion to the story in On the Run. The missionary families are on the last day of their retreat and continue to tell the story of their last minute escape from the country where they were serving, in which they were now fugitives. We are encouraged and reminded that we don’t always understand God's plan, but we can trust in God anyways. It is a wonderful story of providence in the life of the missionary family.

The CD download ends with a bonus song called Kate's Song. This is a pretty song that Kate wrote for her twin siblings that were lost shortly after birth. The Brinkman's don't understand God's plan in losing their twins, but they have a strong faith that helps them understand that God is in control throughout it all.

What We Thought

We really enjoyed the stories, found them entertaining, as well as edifying, and looked forward to hearing the Brinkman Adventures each night before bed, or on road trips.

These are positive Christian stories that are meant to encourage and edify. In each episode we are encouraged to go and make disciples of all the nations, to give ourselves fully to God, and be ready at all times to share the gospel. We also learn that missions is hard, but it’s good, and we are encouraged to pray for missionaries who risk their comfort and safety.

The download quality of the audio series is excellent. The sound is crisp, clear and high quality. Occasionally though, the voices or music would get too loud (shouting, background noise) or real quiet (when someone was whispering or talking from a distance), and I had to turn the volume up and down, to enjoy the story. But, the recording has good sounds effects, music, and is of overall good quality.

I liked that the episodes were only 25 minutes long, because it was easy to want to listen to an episode, knowing it wouldn't take an hour or longer. (I have some radio theatre programs that are 1-2 hours long, and I never get to them for that reason).

I think it is really cool that the stories are the real life adventures of the Brinkmans, but also star the Brinkmans! My only disappointment was in learning that the parents do not star in the program. They hired actors to play the parts of the parents. But, I didn't learn that until the end, so we still really enjoyed listening to these as a family and recommend them if you, too, want to provide your children with memories of listening to Christian audio drama.


Suggested Donation:

  • $25 4 CDs

  • $17MP3 download

Connect with the Brinkman Adventures on Facebook.

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Preschool with Bo Unit 7: Letter F & Moses


Welcome to Little Hands to Heaven Unit 7. This week we are on Letter F and learn about Young Moses in Egypt. We also start learning about the 10 plagues in this unit - just in time for the Spring Holy days of Passover and Unleavened Bread! We cover the final plague and Exodus in Unit 8.

See our preschool curriculum and plans and a detailed Week 1 to see more details on what we are doing.

~Bo is 3 years, 3 months~

Art Activity ~ Baby Moses

Baby Moses hidden in a basket behind the green grass. (I used this printable).

Bible and Math Activity

Building blocks symbolized the bricks the Israelites were forced to build for the Egyptians. It was also a good test of Bo's patience.

Letter Activity

"Baby in the basket

Float, float, float"

Bible Activity and Dramatic Play

Acting out the story and caring for baby (combination of Day 2 and Day 3 of the guide).

Letter Activity ~ Hide and Seek F

"Where's it hiding?"

Edible Moses Basket

This is not in the manual, but I've been trying to come up with an edible craft each unit. We made shredded wheat treats (like rice crispy treats, but with shredded wheat) to make a basket.

Bo "sweeping up the mess" with his hands.

Bo's Moses Basket

Bible Activity

Number 7 page for Bo's 1-10 Counting Book. 7 shoes symbolize when Moses took his shoes off on holy ground.

Bo is putting on some baby fat, or so it seems to me in those last two pics. He looks so sweet and chubby to me.♥

Burning Bush Craft

(Tissue paper on contact paper)

Bible Activity

The lesson was to make soap bubbles and then add food coloring to turn the Nile into "blood," so I waited for a sunny day and made a big tub of bubbles. I let them play with the clean bubbles before adding the red food coloring.

Then, I let them put their hands in it, and the color turned their skin red, so I quickly had them stop playing in it, which only helped with the object of the lesson, I suppose!

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