North Carolina: Greensboro sit-ins


Freedom on the Menu is about the Greensboro sit-ins that happened during the 1960s.  It mainly focuses on a family and the daughter, who is about 7 or 8, and tells it from her point of view.


She talks about how unfair it is to not be allowed to sit at the counter on the swivel chairs and eat an ice cream sunday, and how proud she is of her brother and sister for participating in the protests.


This led to some great discussions in our group, what is fair, and what isn’t.  How can you protest something unfair without being violent or disrespectful.


Afterwards we made protest signs with index cards and popsicle sticks.  I could tell they really got it when they started their own protests.




Snow Doggy joined in too.

Linking up to: All Things Beautiful, Journey to Excellence 

abc button

Shibley Smiles

New York: Tenth Avenue Cowboy


Tenth Avenue Cowboy is about a boy who moves from his ranch out west to New York City during the early 1900s.  All he wants is to be a cowboy, and one day his dream comes true, but not the way he wanted.


After reading it we talked about dreams that came true, but not the way we wanted.  Boy K had a great example, and Princess had a decent example, but my boys…….


After the discussion I had the kids all draw a picture of their dream coming true and write how it was different than expected.  Well……. Batman dreamed he was opening presents and the present was him.  Superman dreamed he was eating all sorts of food.


Princess was the primary one who understood the assignment, but her answer was very personal, so I’m not going to share it here.


That day the boys were just silly.  Silly Superman, Silly Batman.

New York: Oh Alice!


“What To Do About Alice”- is a cute picture book about Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Teddy Roosevelt.  It covers her life from birth to sometime after her father leaves the White House.


I highly recommend the book both for its wonderful pictures and for its great vocabulary.  Oh, and she’s so darn plucky!




But once we were done reading I was struggling to think of a good activity to do with the book.  I don’t really want to encourage the kids to follow her example……..  So, I alighted on the oh so boring and oh so great for educational purposes write a sentence about her……  We glued a picture of her on top and called it good.


I know boring, but then we talked about her Dad, Teddy Roosevelt.  For some reason our library didn’t have a particularly good one for reading aloud, it had several very good ones for 3rd grade and up, but nothing that was a good picture book.  Instead we talked about who he was and what he did.



Most notably of which is creating our national parks service.  If you’ve ever visited a national forest thank Teddy Roosevelt.  At this point my kids started being impressed because Batman loved the Grand Canyon.


After talking about that they designed their perfect park.


They happily drew and drew and drew, and you can tell their personalities.  Princess’ dream park has flowers and pretty stuff and her friends.


Superman and Batman’s dream parks have AWESOME playgrounds, and Superman added the extra detail of trees and water.


Sigh, water, I’ve heard that it can fall from the sky from time to time and get the ground wet.  Is that true?

New York: Under New York

“Under New York” is a fun book that talks about all of the things you will find under New York City.

It weaves a nice story and is a different way to talk about a big city about all of the business that goes on underneath.

Afterwards the kids got a piece of paper with a picture of the New York skyline on the front and the lifted it open and inside they drew what they thought of under New York…….

As you can imagine they each had different ideas of what to draw.  Princess had to draw something “pretty.”  That’s her new obsession drawing pretty stuff.

The boys latched onto something different.  You know that rumored to be there……..

Can you tell?  My boys BOTH drew alligators under the city.  They thought that one sentence was very cool and they wanted needed to draw it.  Our friend S drew a subway car.

And to show how much of a hit this book was, I’ve reread it at least a couple of times to the kids after the lesson because they dug it out of the library box and read it.

I’m gonna link this over to these fun linkies: Geography/History at All Things Beautiful and American History over at Journey to Excellence (both of which I need to figure out their button codes, for blogging so long I am rather untech savvy).

Shibley Smiles

Virginia: Chincoteague Island

Okay, technically the books we read are about Assateague Island, but still…….
<a href=””> Widgets</a>
I checked out a couple of books about these two islands, but I liked this one much better.  The artwork appealed to me more.

008One of the things that stood out to me was the many different colors of horses on the island, so we each colored what our horse from the island would look like.

While we colored I asked them which of the legends for how the horses got there they liked best.

Most of us agreed we liked the Spanish Galleon legend, but there are other ones briefly mentioned here.  If you read “Misty of Chincoteague” you get a much extended version of how the horses got there.  I hadn’t realized until I was doing background info for this project that there was more than one theory.

They all had fun coloring the horses.  It amused me that our friend colored a nice normal horse.  That Superman started with a normal paint horse and then after Batman created his blue monstrosity, Superman’s very quickly changed into a multi-colored “horse of a different color.”

Yeah, I totally had them backwards.  Superman had the blue monstrosity, and Batman started off with the paint.

See, Superman wore the Star Wars Lego shirt later in the week also, so that’s going to be my excuse for getting them wrong.  That and I can’t clearly see the faces……….

Yeah, that’s it.  I always know the difference in my kids.

Seriously ya’ll, I’m so screwed if they ever seriously try to pass themselves off as their brother, as long as they don’t open their mouths they might pull it off.  I still have my UBER-humiliate back-up plan.

I’m gonna link this over at All Things Beautiful and Start

Kid Craft: Make a road map

We’ve made lots of blue tape roads all over our floor, and I saw a super cool idea over on Quirky Momma, and knew I wanted to make it.

Besides it made a great distraction for the boys who didn’t have a friend over while Princess did.

And while I had great plans of multi-level ones on our stairs, my boys wanted flat folders they could fold up and carry around.
But, Quirky Momma really has a much cooler one, so you should go check it out.

I’m clearing through some drafts, and saw this one.  It’s definitely an instance where I had grand plans and the boys just weren’t inspired by the craft.  Do you ever have crafts or activities like that?  “The best laid plans” and all that?

Science Sunday: Fireworks shirt, or chromatography

Science Sunday
I saw this wonderful idea for a fireworks t-shirts on a blog I read, just found out it was a link at Our Nifty Notebook (thanks Christy for sharing that on your blog), and followed through to the tutorial without noting down who I first saw it on, so if you did this project this week, can you let me know?

Now, I could have just made this into an art lesson and been done with it, but I remember seeing a couple of science lessons about Chromatography on Almost Unschoolers and All Things Beautiful, so I thought, here’s our science lesson for the week.  Or at least the bloggable one.  My oh so scientific explanation of what happens to food after it enters our body is probably not a great blog post.

SUPPLIES: t-shirt, sharpies, cardboard, rubbing alcohol, eye dropper

sharpie fireworks

First after nearly grabbing the markers out of overly eagerly hands I explained how to draw these.  Lots of dots, like we’re pointillists.  Okay, I didn’t say that part, just thought it.

Then after they’d drawn their amazing pictures I had them guess what will happen when we drop the rubbing alcohol on it.  They mostly got the idea, it would spread out.  Then we theorized what would happen with smaller dots and what would happen with less drops of alcohol.
sharpie fireworks

Now comes the rewarding part, watching the colors spread out.  My kids were quite eager to apply lots and lots of the rubbing alcohol, I had to refill the bottle a couple of times.  Their dots bloomed quite admirably, and it was declared a success.  If not necessarily the patriotic shirts I was going for.

From left to right, Batman with a bat shirt, Superman with a skeleton, and Princess with flowers………..  But, we did learn a little about some fun science.

And there’s a truly awful shot of my shirt.  Which looks much better in reality, but I wasn’t particularly trying for a great shot, just a picture.

If you’re interested in some more science behind this, head over to this wikipedia article.

Maryland: Baltimore fires

As I go further and further into my state studies I find better and better books.  No really, for Delaware I found like 3…….  Maryland, 15.  Okay a lot of them were about the Star Spangled Banner, but still. This is a great book about a horse that helped save Baltimore from the great fire that enveloped it at the turn of the century (1900), and how the firefighters worked for hours to save the city.

 Well, since it seems determined to not show the text with this picture, I guess I’ll write it again…..  Growl.  So, they happily colored, cut, glued their way through a happy recreation of the story using a scanned picture of Goliath.  Sigh, imagine a much more pithy set of instructions, but I don’t want to retype it for the millioneth time…….
After reading the book we made a pop-up scene from the book using a scan of the horse and some cardstock.  The kids happily colored their background, cut and glued to their hearts content.


My boys found the idea that soldiers and firemen from all over came down to stop the buildings absolutely fascinating, so they drew in the soldiers who came down to help.

All in all, I highly recommend the book.  As you can see from the scanned pictures the book has gorgeous illustrations, and the story is very touching.  And, of course the horse survives.  An animal story is just no good if the animal dies.

And now, our geography co-op is officially on break as 1/3 of the families is now in Latvia.  I’m eagerly looking forward to their getting back.  Not just because they’re good friends, but also because they’re going to teach us all about Latvia!

stART: Homespun Sarah

<a href=””> Widgets</a>


This is a nice simple book about an Amish girl in the 1700s. I suppose it could have been any girl, but for the sake of our study it was an Amish girl.  Afterwards we made handkerchief dolls using this tutorial, and then they decorated them.

It was rather common for the little girls to be given a doll like this to play with at church because it makes no noise if it falls, and you have the supplies to make it on hand.


The big surprise for me was how popular this craft was for everyone.

All of the kids loved it, including the 4th grade boys (who made superhero dolls).  My boys made ghosts.


See how Superman’s ghost is so scary.  Batman’s was an Iron Man ghost.

I’m worried what killed Iron Man.

Bible Alive Tuesday: Ezekiel, and something cool we did in Sunday School


Oh yeah, because we do cool stuff.  That we do.  And now I’ve got super silly rhymes in my head.


So, for our history we were reading about Ezekiel and they talked about how in his book Ezekiel described fantastical creatures that sounded a lot like monsters.  To keep them more or less focused while I finished reading their history to them I had the little monsters draw their own little monsters to represent Ezekiel’s vision.


And then they all hammed it up.


Those are the faces of very serious children.  Have you ever seen children take their work more seriously.


And then yesterday in the mail they got a very lovely package of monsters which they’ve been excitedly playing with Smile