Friday, March 28, 2008

Nutrition unit study

One of the things I really want our family to know is good nutrition information.  Eating and being healthy is very very important to Dh and I.  Two fantastic books on food and eating are - In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto   and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals  both by Michael Pollan.  They will change the way you look at food and the way you eat.    Our family has been making the transition over to REAL FOOD and it's been fun.   A slight challenge to do it  on a budget - 4 small kids eat way more than I would have thought          and with a small freezer to not really store much food, makes it tricky.  But, we are feeling so much better, and now when we do eat junk food, it makes us sick.  I found a local farm that sells grass-fed meat, and I'm so excited to hopefully start buying some next month.  We just got a Sam's Membership (free through dh's work) and I went and did a month's worth of shopping there, so now I have to wait for grocery money again for meat, LOL.    I was amazed at how much stuff we eat that Sam's has.   They have a lot of nuts, frozen veggies and cheese and some produce that was a lot cheaper than a regular store.  That and diapers really will save us a lot of money.       

So we've quit eating virtually anything with High-Fructose Corn Syrup in it, and we've cut out a lot of artificial flavorings and colors, msg, soy more canned soups, boxed meals, cereal.......I do buy some things like ketchup and mayo and mustard that I'm not picky about - if it's an ingredient that we truly do eat in moderation, then that's fine.   But if you're getting it in every little thing of food you eat, then it's not moderation anymore.   Everyone says eating healthy is a lot more expensive, but I'm finding that now that I've been doing it for a few months and am getting a decent list of foods and recipes, it's not too bad.  It just takes a lot of time and effort.  Which is getting harder to do being nearly 8 months pregnant 

oh and another excellent book on vitamins and minerals and learning how they work and interact and what foods they're in, what deficiencies are caused by a lack of them, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements and a great website with lots of food and nutrients info is

So anyway, since talking about all of this and explaining to the kids why I don't buy yogurt from the store and why we make our own, why we only buy certain breads, why we don't eat hot dogs or boxed macaroni and cheese anymore (altho I found out that they will eat homemade mac 'n cheese if I use Velveeta - so that is their one big splurge meal - they love the cheese so much they don't even notice the whole wheat noodles Maybe that makes up for the truckload of chemicals in the 'cheese loaf'  ) has been such normal part of our life, and the kids are really interested in it, I figured we'll spend some time actually learning about nutrition in depth.    Maybe this will help break up the monotony of reading, writing, and math, that we've found ourselves in.    I've just started looking stuff up, so I'll probably be adding a lot more links and updating this over the next couple of weeks. 

I found a great book at the library that I'm using as our jumping off point.  Good Enough to Eat: A Kid's Guide to Food and Nutrition    It actually gets into nutrients and what they are and what they do and where they can be found, and it's more than just 'follow the FDA pyramid', but yet it's not too deep so as to overwhelm the kids or give them too many little details.

Here are a few links I've found so far.  I also found a few experiments from Janice Van Cleave's Biology book, that I'll type up when we do them.  I also have this Nutrition Pocket Chart Card Set  that the kids have been using to help classify foods by food group, what foods contain protein, what contains carbs, etc.  The only thing I don't like, and I think is fairly typical for most food/nutrition school things - is that it just has a bowl of rice for rice.  And one kind of bread, etc.   So I have to keep saying 'some of this food is bad for you, but some of it can be made good - brown rice instead of white, if you make your own muffins you can put good stuff in and not have chemicals in it, etc...'     It would be so nice if I could find a truly healthy nutritional learning supplements or curriculum or something.  Oh well.

hands-on digestion
Nutrition/Food Pyramid Ideas compilation
food and nutrition lesson plans
plan a meal

kids health - protein
WHFoods - protein
great clipart site
Digestive System Resources

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

what we've been up to

It feels so good to be getting school stuff accomplished for once   It has been such a tiring year.  I already know we're going to be going through July or August.  But that's ok.  Learning happens all the time, right?  7 yo dd is in 1st, 5 yo ds is in K, and then 2 yo ds is a busy busy busy boy, and 1 yo dd is getting to be a cute stinker    And I'm due with #5 (should be the final one!) in 2 months.  So I've been sufficiently tired with being pregnant and chasing after the 2 little ones.  But the biggest problem was 2 yo ds who I couldn't leave alone for even 30 seconds for months.  I'd be drinking my coffee at the computer in the morning, and go to the bathroom, and come back and he'd have dumped it all over   Fun stuff like that.  So that made school very difficult. 

So I dropped history and science for the time being, realizing I was just way overwhelmed and burning out in October, LOL!  That was really disappointing b/c I really really like the WTM adaptated plan we've come up with, but I'm realizing that if dd doesn't learn about every little bit of ancient history in 1st grade, it's not the end of the world

So, for the past couple of months we've been concentrating on reading, writing, and math.  And, now that ds is 2, he's become much more of a boy and not so much of a toddler, so I can finally leave him alone to play and he doesn't destroy everything.  And he'll sit and color now, and play in his room by himself, or just sit and watch a movie.  So that's a relief.

We are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 easy lessons, and that has been working fairly well.   DD is taking longer to get it than ds is - ds 5  is just flying through it.   So I stopped and worked on phonics with dd using flash cards and working on trouble words, and that has really helped her, so they are still both on the same lessons, which helps.     They are not terribly fond of doing reading lessons, so I came up with an incentive for them, since apparently learning to read isn't a big enough one :P  We have a nice set of fake money, and for every lesson they do with a good attitude, do without crying, and finish in a reasonable amount of time, they get 15 cents - a nickel for each one.    And then every 10 lessons, they can take their money to my 'store' and buy things - sticker books, coloring books, stuff I've gotten from Dover.      And when they hit 100 lessons, they get to rent a movie and have ice cream sundaes - a HUGE treat since we rarely eat ice cream.    So that has really motivated them to do their lessons without whining and arguing.

Math was hit and miss and I realized that she really needs a consistent program to follow, especially to get the basics down really solid. I really don't like following a set curriculum, but I did get some workbooks for them for Math.   I got the Alpha Omega Horizon workbooks, and that has been amazing.   They sit down right after breakfast and do math for a half hour.  They've only been doing it for a couple of weeks, but there has been so much improvement in dd, especially.  She is finally really understanding all the stuff she's been trying to learn for a couple months.  I never thought I'd find so much satisfaction in seeing a child learn to count by 2's and 5's

I'm finding that I'm able to slowly build a bigger schedule with the kids now that I got a short schedule to work.  After breakfast, they do math for a half hour, and then dd usually does writing while ds takes a break.  And then we do a reading lesson or work on phonics flashcards, and the kids play a few different games, do Geosafari, and play with flashcards for awhile while I clean up, rest, and take care of the baby.  Then we eat lunch and after lunch the two younger ones take a nap, and the kids do a Bible coloring page - this week we're doing Easter stuff, but I'm going to start doing a chapter of Proverbs a day with them and picking out one verse to talk about.   Then, for their rest time, they 'll sit down and listen to audiobooks.  I've found two awesome sites that I love.    I hate reading out loud and I kept trying to make myself do it, but usually we'd just end up not doing it at all, and I was getting so discouraged that the kids weren't listening to good literature like I want them to.   So I found these and realized it's ok if I don't do the reading.  That has been such a nice relief.  These are just fantastic sites. 


So that's what we've been doing the last few months.   Now that we're doing more, I'm hoping to get more science and history in this spring and summer.  I think we'll start reading through Story of the World, even if we don't do all the activities like we were doing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

another Easter/Holy Week game

This one I think is going to be a lot of fun.  This game is about all the events of Easter.  The goal is for the kids to understand the timeline of events, and have visual aids to help them really grasp everything.  I made the spaces on the board bigger - probably too big - so I used 6 pieces of paper that I trimmed down for the base.   Like the previous game, I printed out all the spaces, cut them out and glued them to paper and copied them onto cardstock.    I used the trivia cards from this game - trivia questions and I edited out the ones I didn't want to use.  I also used scripture cards from another website.
 scripture cards

and then I also made up some 'Who is this person' cards.  Who is this person

I printed them all out and copied them onto cardstock.   

I went around my house and gathered up a bunch of little items that go with the Easter story.  You could just print out the game cards and cut out the images and glue them to the game board, too.   Or get a set of Resurrection Eggs and use the items in there.  But those cost $$, LOL.  I try to do things cheap.  At least until the toner on my copy machine wears out   

All of these pdf's should work.  If not, let me know.  I'm all excited I figured out how to save a file as a pdf.    So, you have 3 pages of space cards for the board, 1 page of little pieces, and then the game card.


The object of the game is to move around the board and 'collect' all 12 pieces of the Easter story.  You start on Palm Sunday, and move around the board to get to all the items.  You have to turn down the little spaces and on the last spot, you answer a trivia question.  If you get it right, you can cross off that item off your list.  Then backtrack and continue moving around the board.  You can keep going around the board until you collect all your items.  For the various types of trivia questions, I only used a couple different images for the large background spaces.   So if you land on a cross image, you have to answer a trivia question.  If you land on a last supper image, you'll answer a 'who is this person' card, and if you land on a crown of thorns image, you'll answer a scripture card.   And all other spaces don't have questions.  If you get the question right, you get to go again.  The kids really like it.  I think having the visual aids really help them to remember both the events, and the sequence of events for Holy Week.    Eventually I would like to get little charms or something to make several sets of items, so they can physically collect all the pieces. 

The items are:
a vial of perfume for when Jesus is anointed
a plastic coin for the 30 pieces of silver
bread and wine buttons for the last supper - they have to answer 2 questions to cross them off
rope for Judas hanging himself
GI Joe for the soldiers mocking Jesus
cross, for crucifixion
dice for casting lots
sword for piercing Jesus' side
linen and a stone for the tomb and burial cloth - again, 2 questions to answer
a vial of spices for the women going to anoint his body

Easter/Holy Week file folder game

Here is one easter game I made. 

I used the trivia questions from this game - holy week game questions
I copied them onto blue cardstock so they'd be sturdier.  I did take out some of the questions that I felt were too detailed or were redundant.  I think I ended up with 40 some questions.

I also created the Holy Week day cards, to be collected in the game.   I figured out how to turn it into a PDF - let's see if I can figure out how to host it    If these PDF's don't work for some reason, let me know - they work fine for me, but that might not mean much   I copied these onto white cardstock.


To make the gameboard - I cut out the gameboard squares and glued them down in the order I wanted them.  I spread out the days of the week and the gain a day/lose a day pieces.  I copied a map of Jerusalem in Jesus' time out of my Bible, enlarged it, and cut that out and glued it onto the board.  Then I copied the whole thing onto 2 pieces cardstock.  (I have had so much fun since we bought a copy machine )  And then taped them together.  Eventually I'll probably laminate it or cover it with contact paper or something.     You could skip all the copying and glue the pieces right into a file folder, if you wanted.

The object of the game is to collect all 8 days of Holy Week.  You start on Palm Sunday - roll the die and move.  If you land on a day of the week, you get a trivia question.  If you get it right, you get that day of the week.  Sometimes you end up circling the board a lot, but it moves pretty quickly.   We did have a rule where you could move in either direction, and that helped, but then realized we were all avoiding the lose a day/lose a turn spots and always landing on the gain a day spot.  Not exactly what I was going for, LOL.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Easter/Holy Week

Now that the kids are old enough to really get Easter, I want to have them learn about Palm Sunday through Easter, knowing the facts and the order of things.  So here are a bunch of links and ideas that I've found.

Some new things I got in an email from HSB:
easter scripture/quote cards
story of easter craft book
Make Your Own Resurrection Eggs
Printable Resurrection Egg items

We're using the questions from the Antioch Arcade game and some of their map ideas.
Games and other ideas

easter printables

clip art/coloring pages

tons of bible coloring pages

garden, peter, judas links/ideas

holy week info

some holy week links - more liturgical

lots of bible lessons/links

map of Jerusalem

route Jesus took

another, more detailed map of Jerusalem

christianity today easter

Christianity Today Easter Ideas

CT Holy Week activities/ideas

Listen to/Download dramatic Easter Story

trivia/facts to include

1. D. Palm Sunday. Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-16), publicly proclaimed he was the long-awaited Messiah of Zechariah's prophecy. He rode a donkey and not a war horse to symbolize his kingdom would be one of peace.

2. A. Jonah. Jesus explained (Matt. 12:38-40) that just as Jonah spent three days "buried" inside the fish, he would spend three days in the grave before his resurrection. The men of Nineveh repented at Jonah's miraculous return (Jonah 1-4), but the wicked people of Jesus' day would not.

3. C. 30 pieces (Matt. 27:3-10). According to Exodus 21:32, thirty shekels of silver was the price of a male slave in Old Testament times. During Jesus' time, it was equivalent to four months' wages for a common laborer.

4. B. Psalms (Psa. 22:1). Although David wrote this psalm centuries earlier, it provides almost an eyewitness account of the crucifixion. At Calvary, the weight of humanity's sin truly separated Jesus from his Father; David merely felt abandoned.

5. A. Jesus' bones. John 19:36-37 records that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves to hasten their deaths, but Jesus was already dead. In Exodus 12:46, the Israelites were told not to break the bones of the Passover Lamb. Slain at Passover, Jesus' death fulfills this sacrifice.

6. C. Isaiah (Isa. 53:5). Written 700 years before Christ, this prophecy pictures the Messiah's sacrificial death as a guilt offering (v. 10). According to Leviticus 5:15-16, a lamb or ram was sacrificed for the guilt offering, providing atonement for sin and cleansing from defilement.

7. B. David. The apostles were quick to recognize Jesus' resurrection as the fulfillment of David's psalm (Psa. 16:10). Peter quoted this verse in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, and Paul used it when he preach-ed (Acts 2:27, 13:35.)

Palm Sunday
make your own cryptograms
colt/disciple coloring page
donkey picture

I enlarged the donkey picture and converted it to b/w in Photoshop.  Then we cut it out and glued it to purple construction paper  (purple for royalty).   Then they colored the hooves black, and painted glue all over his body except for the eye and nose and mane.  Then we sprinkled dry tea leaves from tea bags all over the glue and let it dry.  Glue on wiggly eye, some string for a halter, and material for a blanket if wanted.

draw and cut out palm leaves, of course.   We read the story of the blind men being healed,, along with the prophecy in Zechariah, and then the Palm Sunday story.  I made 2 cryptograms - one said Hosanna, and the other said Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Holy Monday
The Cleansing of the Temple takes place.
cleansing temple coloring page
cleansing coloring page

Reading the cleansing of the temple story, and the fig tree story.  Eat some figs - the kids love them.  Make soft pretzels - arms folded in prayer.  Recipe at the last link at the top of the post.

Holy Tuesday
Jesus teaches in the temple.
Jesus teaching coloring page - very authentic - excellent page!
Learn the Shema & most important commandment verse.   Make bread dough and freeze it for Good Friday activity.
Do some kind of map activity with map of Jerusalem/Israel. 
Play a game with questions about facts learned so far.  I'll probably modify these games somewhat.

Holy Week File Folder Game
holy week question cards

Spy Wednesday
this is an old name for the day, but I have a 5 year old boy, so that's what we're using

Jesus is anointed, Judas decides to betray Jesus.
Read the stories.  Read Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 2:15-16
Light a fragrant candle.  other devotional ideas
talk about betraying Jesus
Judas betrays Jesus coloring page I know he doesn't really betray him until Friday - but there's not much out there for this one
 Mary anoints Jesus coloring page
talk about  30 pieces of silver - Exodus.21:32
play games/trivia questions again

Maundy Thursday
The Last Supper
Have a mini-passover.   We've done a full one before at church and it's fun, and the kids remember it.  I don't think we're having one this year, so we'll just do a mini-one at home.

Matzo bread
haroset (apples, nuts, honey)
grape juice

Garden of Gethsemane, Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial
act out Peter's denial
last supper word search
talk about Jesus' prayers
Last Supper Coloring Page

Good Friday

stations of the cross FFG
stations of the cross coloring pages  - I reduced this in the printing option, putting 4 pages on one page, so it will be a mini-book.  I liked this one because this ends with the resurrection, which the typical stations of the cross do not have.

make bread crown of thorns - take frozen bread dough, divide into thirds and braid together, making a circle.  Let it rise a final time, and place toothpicks sticking out all over the braid.  Bake. 

crucifixion coloring page

Festival of Lights - light candles and read verses. Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16, Isaiah 60, Matthew5:14, 5:16, John 8:12, 12:46, Matthew 5:14, John 8:12.

Make Resurrection Cookies  Resurrection Cookies recipe

Easter Sunday
easter word search
resurrection coloring page
Resurrection Eggs - make your own or buy them from the link at the bottom - resurrection eggs and story
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Classical Chaos

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