Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Studying Germany

(all book titles mentioned are in the book carousel below if you need more information)

I’ll be honest, we studied Germany at the end of January into the beginning of February. I was less than enthusiastic about our studies in this country. Maybe it was bad timing because of the winter blahs. Maybe it was the dark history of the country. Who knows? But it was tough to get excited about this country.

We began with some basics about Germany. Then we talked a little bit about the Berlin Wall. Dr. Suess’s Butter Battle Book was helpful during this topic, providing some fun literature!

Next we did some reading and discussion of the holocaust, in a child appropriate manner. Willy and Max by Amy Littlesugar and Elisabeth by Claire Nivola were some of the titles we read during our discussion.

My enthusiasm returned when I began to realize what amazing musicians came from a country with such a dark history! We spent some time studying the life of J. S. Bach. We thoroughly enjoyed the classical kids CD, Mr. Bach comes to call. What an excellent series!

And of course, The Brothers Grimm, were born in Germany. I think we read just about every tale they wrote. It was fun to see the differences between the original stories and the Disney versions for so many of them. We also got as many versions as we could find at the library. The kids were really able to see how lasting these stories have been over time.

Some of our favorite adaptations were The Snoring Beauty by Bruce Hale (the humor was over their heads at time, but mom was laughing hysterically)and The Bootmaker and the Elves by Susan Lowell. The library is FULL of alternate versions. We could have spent months on just this topic.

We used our Literature Pockets to create a pocket for Little Red Riding Hood, a Grimm Tale. The kids had a fun time doing this and we have a lovely keepsake to show for it!

Every unit ends with our a get together with friends. This one was no different! Without a doubt, it is the highlight of our studies!

Kayleigh reported on her favorite Grimm Tale, The Frog Prince.


T (age 5) used the finger puppets from her literature pocket to act out the story of Little Red Riding Hood.




Next, it was Edelweiss hat making!



Then we created Zuckertute bags, AKA Shuletute bags, a German goodie bag for the first day of school. They are filled with all sorts of candy and school supplies!





Time for mommy to fill the bags…


And then seal them up with surprises inside! IMG_0009 We gathered around to play a game with orchestra music. IMG_0010 Flip over the instrument when you hear it played.



Time to eat! We had some delicious apple cake and soft pretzels.

IMG_0028 IMG_0035

Off we gallop to our next country…

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Frog Prince

K (age 7) wrote a summary for, "The Frog Prince." It wasn't an assignment from me. She was a bit fascinated with the idea of a book report, so she just disappeared into the other room and came back with a "book report".

For a first written summary done completely on her own, I thought it was pretty good. I appears that Writing With Ease is working well for us this year!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baltimore National Aquarium '10

Dear D (age 3),

You came with us on our annual aquarium field trip this year.


I admit it. I was a bit hesitant about bringing you. I knew that you would tire more easily than the older kids. I also knew how much the older kids would learn at their ages and was worried you might distract mommy from them too much.

It’s not that we don’t love you dearly, but you are three years old. And that can be tough.

But here you are, part of the gang!


Of course, being part of a new co-op this year means that a lot more of our friends joined the fun as well! I am thankful there are little boys your age in our crew these days!


Everyone was having a great time together. And you were hanging in there with them!


It was great fun to watch everyone’s delight in finding particular fish or turtles.




But I admit it. I had the most fun watching you. And being with you. And talking to you.

You see, I was so concerned that you might throw a fit or get too tired that I forgot about the joy of a three year old. It was all new to you. And watching it through your eyes was something I am so glad I didn’t miss.


Everything was new to you. And everything was thrilling.


Oh my little boy. I am so so glad you came!


Of course, when we all sat down together at the dolphin show, your sisters leaned over to me…

Oh Mom. I think D is really going to like this!

Look at him. He is so excited mom!

Truly, it brought tears to my eyes. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to experience moments like this with the three of you together. (and soon, little C will join in) I was instantly reminded me why I am so grateful that you all are home with me.


And yes, you did enjoy the dolphin show!

Then it was off to the jellyfish. They were mesmerizing. There are more pictures on mommy’s other blog.


Your oldest sister enjoyed the day. She loves to learn and to teach!


Your other sister enjoyed the day as well. She loves to look at things from a unique perspective. I am sure she will have lots to teach you as we move along in our studies.


And, of course, you were able to hang out with some other little guys who joined us. I have a feeling these friends will be in your life for quite a few years.


I am so thankful you were with us today D. You are a special part of our classroom and it is truly delightful to watch you grow in knowledge!

Love, Mommy