Kindergarten Weeks 16/17/18 {FIAR} Papa Piccolo

The month of November was great!  We spent time following some interest-led studies and keeping up with our core subjects!


We’re up to the second assessment in Rightstart Math A (lesson 70).  The kids and I are still in love with this approach to math, and Elizabeth, thanks to the many fun games, has her sum of 10 math facts memorized.  We have also begun to learn about money.


Elizabeth has completed Level 2 of All About Reading!  She was so very excited and chose to go to dinner for steak and have a milkshake dessert for her accomplishment!  We have been SO pleased with this program.  Level 3 is on the shelf – I better get working on putting it all together!  Not sure if we’re going to start it now or wait until after the holidays to start back up.




Learning Through Literature: FIAR Papa Piccolo

We spent the first three weeks in November rowing Papa Piccolo.  The first week we stayed very close to the wonderful activities in the manual.  The second week we dove deeper into the history of Italy through a short study of the Roman Empire in Ancient Rome.  I had intended to move onto another unit study at that point but we read a book about Galileo which sparked interest in the solar system so we decided to take the week to follow that interest.



Social Studies – Adoption, Paternal Relationships, Italy, Ancient Rome

-We learned what adoption is, and different ways families can be formed

-We discussed the things we love about our dad

-Found Italy on our wall map, and read Look What Comes from Italy

-Visited a local Italian restaurant for some pizza and fresh made gelato

-We read about Ancient Rome in The Story of the World Ancients, You Wouldn’t Want to be a Roman Gladiator, and Usborne Beginners Romans.

 Did you know pretzels were invented in Italy by a Monk?  He gave them to children as rewards for memorizing their prayers.  The twists represent folded arms praying.wpid-20141107_122826.jpg







Language Arts 

-We completed an ‘All About Dad’ worksheet


-Vocabulary words: Glum, Sardine, Chime


Science – Cats, Eyes, Gravity, Solar System

My kids LOVE science, so we really spent some time covering several topics over the three weeks.

-We read Usborne Beginner Cats and made a Know, Want to Know, Learned chart


-Eyes: What is peripheral vision?  What are the parts of the eye?  We watched a BrainPOP video about our sight, and read from our Usborne First Encyclopedia of the Human Body. The kids decided to draw the parts of the eye for their notebook.



Galileo Study:


-We read a great book called I, Galileo and learned about the many contributions that Galileo made to science.  We discussed what it means to be a scientist.  He worked to make the microscope better, so we pulled our microscope out and looked at some slides.  The kids drew what they saw.





-Elizabeth took it upon herself to test out Galileo’s gravity experiments that he did at the Tower of Pisa.  We had watched a random YouTube video about them – I didn’t even think she was paying attention.  However, the next day she was able to recreate them using sheets of paper and a book!  I love seeing both kids get so excited and be motivated on their own to figure out how and why things work.


-We read MANY books about the solar system during this week.  I just checked out several from the library and we read about 3-4 a day that the kids picked off the shelf.  There is so much to learn about space but I focused on having the kids memorize the planets, the order, and the basics such as the Earth orbits the sun, the moon orbits the Earth, ect.  They now know all 8 planets (plus Pluto which is a ‘dwarf planet’).  We used the mnemonic My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Noodles!


Followed the links from the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of Space 


Melissa and Doug Puzzle


Astronaut Ice Cream!

Playdoh Solar System


Cake Pop Planets





They made constellations from their snack one day!  This is Libby’s Big Dipper I found left out on the kitchen table when I was cleaning up 🙂


Trip to a planetarium




-We studied Michaelangelo’s The Creation of Adam art card from our Usborne Famous Paintings Cards Set.  I didn’t think the kids would be too into this activity, but they love it!  They love memorizing the facts about different artworks we are studying.

-Listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

-Moon art project with flour and white paint.  After painting the moon with flour paint, add craters with bottle top.  Did you know Galileo discovered that the moon was not smooth, as previously thought?


We spent the last week of November studying Thanksgiving, and of course, rowing Cranberry Thanksgiving!  I hope to have that blog post up this week as we’re already well into holiday mode around here!  Hope you and yours are well 🙂


Kindergarten Weeks 14/15 Autumn/Halloween Units

A few weeks late, but better late than never!  We took a few weeks off of our Five in a Row at the end of October to spend some time enjoying the Autumn season.  The weather has been perfect to get out and explore, so that’s what we’ve been doing.

Autumn Unit

We spent a week covering the season of Fall while reading Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert and a few other great leaf-themed books.


Social Studies / Geography

In Leaf Man, the cardinal directions are mentioned as we follow the leaves on their journey.  We checked out our wall map and reviewed the directions using the mnemonic: Never Eat Soggy Waffles!  We also watched a short movie on BrainPOP Jr. about mapping and completing a treasure hunt worksheet using the cardinal directions.

Language Arts

Vocabulary words included deciduous, evergreen, photosynthesis, and chlorophyll.  We reviewed these words by drawing pictures on the white board.


Elizabeth spent two weeks memorizing a poem by Elsie S. Brady:


We of course learned about the season of Autumn.  Some things we did throughout the week:

-Watched a movie on BrainPOP Jr. about Fall

-Took a nature walk to find leaves

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-We completed leaf rubbings and labeled the different parts of a leaf, and also discussed symmetry




We made leaf prints with paint.


Ian made this adorable sun catcher in his preschool art class:


Halloween Unit


The week of Halloween we learned about pumpkins with one of our favorite books, Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubble, and also had some spooky fun.  Check out our previous pumpkin unit and Halloween unit from last year!

We started off our week with a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins.  Here we are on a hayride:


Language Arts:

We reviewed what an adjective is and brainstormed adjectives that described our pumpkins.


Libby then took a few of the adjectives and used them in a sentence, then illustrated it.  She circled the adjectives in her sentence.



We read about the life cycle of a pumpkin in Pumpkin Jack and completed a notebook page describing the life cycle.  We also completed a pumpkin observation sheet.

Will our pumpkins sink or float?



Libby and Ian estimated how many seeds they thought were in their pumpkins, then we carved them and counted the seeds by making groups of ten.



A tasty Halloween treat


Core Subjects:

All About Reading Level 2

Libby playing a game to reinforce hard vs. soft ‘c’ sounds


All About Spelling, Level 1

Writing dictated phrases


Rightstart Math Level A

Learning about halves with shapes


Next Up: We’re headed to Italy with Five in a Row unit Papa Piccolo!

Kindergarten Wks 11/12/13 {FIAR} How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

Five in a Row Unit Study – How to Make an Applie Pie and See the World


In our family, we LOVE this book!  So week took 3 weeks and really enjoyed learning about our continents, states of matter, and where our food comes from.  Check our our previous row of How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World here.

We kicked off our row by visiting an apple orchard.  We were able to explore on our own and it only took a few minutes to have a full peck of apples!  The kids loved pulling the apples right off the trees and tasting the different varieties.


We made most of the apples into applesauce on our first day of this row, but saved 8 apples for our pie at the end.


Social Studies:

We really focused on memorizing the seven continents with this row.  Each day after reading the book we reviewed the continents in some way, whether that be on the wall map, on the globe, on our world map rug, or through the map in the book.  We sang this song to help us memorize, and the kids LOVE it!  Talk about being stuck in your head – which is the point, right?

-One day we took several toys and as I read the story, L and I acted it out with toy boats, planes, cars and animals. We even used a GI Joe parachute to drop down to Vermont for our apples.  We played the ‘Roll into Geography’ game created by 123 Homeschool 4 Me and they had so much fun.

-We watched the Continents and Oceans video on BrainPOP Jr.

-Libby labeled and colored a map showing the continents and oceans.


Language Arts:

-We acted out the action words in the story (churning, mixing, slicing, ect.)

-We had three vocabulary words this week: Ingredient, Plantation, and Locate.  I had purchased Elizabeth a student dictionary at a used book store a while back and today was our first day using it.  I wasn’t sure what she would think of looking words up (given that she knows about Google and all), but she actually really enjoyed it and has since gotten it out on her own to look up words.  We talked about alphabetical order, and I helped her to look at the top of the pages to find which page our word was on.  She then read the definition and I wrote it down for her.  Then she illustrated a picture that showed what the word means.



We made city scenes as per the suggestion from the FIAR manual, and also made some apple prints with washable paint.  Ian also made a hand-print apple tree craft in his co-op class.


States of Matter

We discussed the states of matter over the three weeks  as the little girl the story evaporates the salt from her sea water.  We watched as we turned water to ice, then melted the ice, boiled it to evaporate it (with added salt so we could see it left behind), and then made condensation to turn the gas back to water droplets.


Making butter: Turning a Liquid into a Solid (the girl in the story churned her cream into butter)


We watched a BrainPOP video about changing states of matter, and also read What is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids and Gas.

We then made a chart showing the particle placement of a solid, a liquid and a gas.  We used cheerios as our particles.



-We reviewed the life cycle and the parts of an apple!


Where Does Our Food Come From?

We learned about cows and how they make milk by reading Milk, From Cow to Cartonand we also watched the Reading Rainbow episode Milk Makers.  We read books about chickens and eggs and watched Magic School Bus Cracks a Yolk.  

After learning about the different animals and what food they give us, we visited Oxen Hill Farm, which is actually a National Park dedicated to preserving and allowing people to experience farm life.  Elizabeth and Ian milked Minnie the cow, fed the chickens, collected eggs, fed the pigs and visited horses!  It was an AWESOME day and I would encourage anyone in the DC area to check it out!


There are so many activities that could go along with this book, we really enjoyed it!

A few other pictures from our weeks:

Libby is working on her addition problems using the balancing scale and abacus in RightStart Math Level A.  She enjoys the games and reader from All About Reading Level 2.  Snuggles from dad during our nighttime stories.


Ian is continuing to work through his letters with Handwriting Without Tears – he loves the wooden blocks and magnetic board.  We did some activiites from Before Five in a Row book Ask Mr. Bear as it goes along with our animal products topic.  He is also continuing to work through Core Knowledge series What Your Preschooler Needs to Know Activity Book.  Here he is sorting sequencing cards from the folktale we read that day, The Little Red Hen. The last picture is a page from his All About Reading Pre-Level workbook.  His coloring (something he isn’t too fond of) is really improving.


And we’re still enjoying our weekly co-op classes!  Read to go out the door one morning:


I can’t believe we’re over a quarter through the year!  Next up: Autumn Theme Unit

Kindergarten Week 10 {FIAR} Daniel’s Duck

The fair was in town this week, so we took the opportunity to read Daniel’s Duck, learn about the fair, woodcarving, cabin life, and emotions.


Libby and Ian are continuing to learn about numbers in several different tactile ways.  Here they are laying out the tally sticks to match the number sticks.  The abacus is also a huge hit here!


Putting dot cards in order:


Playing with links:



This week Libby finished her kindergarten Zaner Bloser handwriting workbook, so we have moved onto copywork, which I am pulling from our current literature selections.


Ian is continuing to work through Handwriting Without Tears PreK.  We work through the workbook together, and he really enjoys playing with the wooden blocks, chalk board, and magnetic board while I work with Libby.  He is a child who loves to figure things out himself, so instead of always sitting right there, I give him the basket and watch from the other side of the room.  He’s doing great.


Ian is on lesson 26 of All About Reading Pre-Level and has finished the capital letter sheets.  He has been working on beginning sounds and syllables.  Here a link to a video where he is figuring out how many syllables the word octopus has:

Elizabeth read a poem in her All About Reading Level 2 reader, and filled out a Venn Diagram.


Libby also completed Step 10 in All About Spelling Level 1.  Here she is sounding out words with her letter tiles.



Ian has been working through Core Knowledge Preschool Activity Book.  I used this with Libby, as well, and we love it because it’s not just worksheets to fill in.  It is used with an accompanying book that includes poems, rhymes, songs, classic stories, science and social studies information.  We read a section from the book each week and work through the corresponding activities – which may be coloring, counting, tracing, stickers, cut out papers, ect.  It’s different each time and both my kids love it.

Here Ian is decorating his ‘Birthday Cake’.



Learning Through Literature: {FIAR} Daniel’s Duck


From Amazon, “Daniel is hurt when others laugh at his wood carving, until he learns that giving people pleasure takes a very special gift.”

I’m really enjoying hearing Libby read – she is even able to read to US at read aloud time.  She read Daniel’s Duck to us several times this week!

Social Studies

The story took place in Tennessee, so we found it on the map, placed our story disk there, and pulled out our atlas to read more about it.  Elizabeth colored a coloring page about Tennessee, and added the Appalachian mountain range to the state because Daniel lived in the mountains.



We talked about emotions and what Daniel was feeling when people laughed at his duck.

We also talked about life in a log cabin, and what Daniel’s life may have been like in the mountains.  Libby colored this picture, and we also began to re-read Little House in the Big Woods.


Language Arts

There is a lot of dialog in Daniel’s duck so I pointed it out, and our copywork this week included some dialog right from the book.  We also watched a BrainPOP movie about dialog.


We learned about ducks because Daniel decided to make a duck.  We read the book Ducks Don’t Get Wet and learned that ducks have a special oil gland that prevents their feathers from getting wet!

Libby’s Animal Report on the Duck:


We learned that oil and water do not mix.  We did the experiment that was suggested in the book.  We took two paper bags and put oil on one of them.  Then we sprinkled each with water.  The water saturated the plain bag, but beaded up and did not go through the bag with oil.




The kids were so intrigued by this, and then decided to see what would happen if we put oil straight into water.  They loved watch the oil separate, and we were able to talk about the layering effect due to the oil being less dense.  They each took turns pouring the oil and water into different containers and each time the oil would separate from the water.  We had a lot of fun with this!



We also set out to a local park to feed the ducks!  We saw not only ducks, but geese and swans, as well!  It was obvious they were used to being fed.  At one point as we tried to eat our picnic lunch they about mowed us over looking for food!




Just hanging out at the park…


We also learned about the four seasons because several seasons were mentioned in the book.  We read about seasons in The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature and then completed our own season books.  Each day the crafted to make their tree look as it would in a different season.

Fall – fingerpainted leaves on the trees and falling onto ground with orange, yellow and brown

Winter – we glued cotton ball ‘snow’ onto our trees and ground, and also added blue glitter to our winter wonderland pictures

Spring – made leaves and blossoms by tearing construction paper and gluing it down

Summer – we sponge-painted the grass and leaves, and used a pencil eraser dipped in red paint to make fruit on our tree






Of course, we visited the fair!  We compared and contrasted what we saw and did at the fair to what Daniel saw.  We had a great week with Daniel’s Duck!  Just glancing through this book I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but I am happily surprised with the amount of fun and learning that we were able to accomplish this week 🙂



Kindergarten Weeks 8/9 {FIAR} The Duchess Bakes a Cake

We spent two weeks learning about all things Medieval with the book The Duchess Bakes a Cake.  The kids had a blast exploring Knights, Kings, Queens, and of course the science behind baking.  Elizabeth especially loved this book and spent several afternoons quietly working on art projects that she instigated during our quiet time.

We also had our first week of co-op classes this week!  We are attending Wednesday classes at Calvery Gospel Co-op.  Elizabeth is taking Spanish, Gym, Phonics and Science Exploration classes.  Ian is enrolled in a preschool class where he will learn letters, numbers, Bible and art.  We are enjoying our day at ‘school’ and the kids are already making some good friends – and so am I!

First Day of Co-op:

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I know I have mentioned that we are enjoying Rightstart Math level A but each day I am loving it more and more.  Elizabeth is truly forming a solid foundation.  She is able to understand the relationships between numbers and thus she is able to mentally process math facts, whereas before she was simply trying to memorize.  The best part is that it is 99% hands-on and she is able to ‘play’ for math time, which she of course loves.  Many days we do several lessons because she doesn’t want to stop.  Ian tags along (because he doesn’t want to miss out on the fun!) but I will be doing the complete program with him either next year or for Kindergarten depending on when he’s ready for it.  I was so unsure if level A would be too easy, but I’m glad I started at the beginning so we are able to grasp all the concepts correctly.  We will eventually go back to Singapore, which I also really liked, but for now, Rightstart Math is perfect!

She does about 1 worksheet a week.  Here she is working on tally marks (after she had already worked with craft sticks for a few days).



Elizabeth finished her Zaner-Bloser Kindergarten handwriting workbook this week!  She is doing great with all her letters, uppercase and lowercase.  We will be moving to copywork focusing on letters and punctuation next.

Ian is continuing to work his way through his Handwriting Without Tears PreK book.  He loves tracing the letters.

Elizabeth is starting to write her own original stories, poems and also writing letters to us around the house!  Here is what she wrote on the back of one of her pictures:



Elizabeth worked on the ‘ee’ vowel team words in All About Reading Level 2.  Ian continues to work through All About Reading Pre-Level.  Ziggy came out to play several games this week.  Ian is learning how to discern what the first and last sounds in a word are, and also continues to review a letter a day.


Libby is cruising through All About Spelling, She has completed through step 9, and is working on short vowel CVC words.

Learning Through Literature: {FIAR} The Duchess Bakes a Cake

When the Duchess tries to bake a cake without a recipe, she adds in too much yeast – much too much!  She sails into the sky on top of her cake as it rises and the characters much find a way to get her down.

Books we read:

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Product Details   Product Details

Social Studies / Geography:

-We found Europe on the map and placed the story disk on our map.

-We learned about feudal society through BrainPOP’s movie Feudalism.

-We explored European castle ruins via YouTube

-Learned the role of a knight in a Feudal society and labeled his armor on a worksheet from Homeschoolshare

Language Arts:

-We learned what characters are and watched BrainPOP Jr. Characters

-We discussed who the characters were in The Duchess Bakes a Cake, and posed the question, “Who is the main character?”

-We completed a ‘Story Street’ worksheet where we reviewed the setting, characters, problem, and solution in our story.


-We noticed the author, Virginia Kahl, used repetition as a device to make her story interesting.  We raised our hands ever time the phrase “Lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake” was mentioned throughout the book.  Libby really got a kick out of this.

This is Libby’s drawing of the Duchess, and on the back she wrote “I will bake a lovely cake.”




-We explored leavening through an experiment with baking soda and vinegar.  How does a cake rise?  We combined baking soda and vinegar in a soda bottle and put a balloon on the top.  We were able to see the chemical reaction and the gas raising the balloon – just as it raises our cake.  We walked through each step of the Scientific Method.  Their hypothesis was correct!




We then of course baked a “Lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake!”  I read the recipe and they actually worked together to bake the cake entirely by themselves!  We then decorated our cake to look like a castle.

We also watched Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake.

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 Just For Fun:

We crafted catapults from craft sticks and rubber bands and pummeled our castle with cotton balls!



We made our own swords out of a cardboard wrapped with tin foil, and Libby and Ian also each designed their own crest for their knight shield.


Finally, we ended our unit with a trip to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.  Both Elizabeth and Ian LOVED this and it really was a fun way to bring history alive.  We ate chicken on the bone and spare ribs all with our hands while rooting on the knights in a lively jousting tournament.

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Ian also began soccer this week, which was very exciting because he had been waiting so patiently to finally be old enough!  He is thrilled!


We loved rowing The Duchess Bakes a Cake, and like normal, we learned so much more than I ever thought we would!

Kindergarten Weeks 6/7 {FIAR} Truman’s Aunt Farm

We rowed Truman’s Aunt Farm over a three week period in which we also welcomed our sweet new baby girl Adeline into our family.  So, this was a long row, but it was a wonderful and rich three weeks of learning!  It was a perfect row to stretch over several weeks because we were able to purchase an ant farm and observe it over several weeks time.

We completed our sixth week of our official school routine, and then took a week off with the new baby, and then resumed and finished up this row in our seventh week of school.

Because I’m playing catch up <and in a new baby haze>, I’m going to skip over details of our skill subjects (reading, writing, math) only because it was so many weeks ago now that I don’t recall which exact lessons we went over – but the point is – we were plugging along! 🙂  With the programs we use, we “do the next thing”, meaning we just continue to work through the lessons at a steady pace.  We are never ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’, we are just right where the kids need to be with where they are at skill-wise.

Here are some pictures I snapped while they were working:

Adeline’s First Day of School 🙂




Spelling Test:


We’re loving RightStart Math A


Learning Through Literature: {FIAR} Truman’s Aunt Farm

This funny story of homonyms was perfect timing for us as we just had finished celebrating Elizabeth’s 5th birthday.  In this story, a little boy receives a birthday gift from his aunt, an ant farm and sends away for his ants.  However, he receives aunts in the mail!  We all enjoyed this comical story and enjoyed learning about ants, aunts and homonyms!

Our books for the unit:


Social Studies / Geography

We discussed what an aunt is and named Libby and Ian’s aunts.  We placed our story disk where most of our aunts live – in Michigan.  Elizabeth had just received a gift from her Aunt Josie, so she wrote her a thank you note, just as Truman had written to his aunt for his birthday gift.



Language Arts:

For literature we read the classic fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper and discussed the meaning behind the story.

We learned about homonyms as we read a book and also watched a BrainPOP Jr. clip.


We learned about ants of course!  We read a ton of books about ants.  Our favorite by far was Are You an Ant? which is part of the Backyard Books series.  This was the first I had read of this series but will definitely be looking for more, it was fantastic in the way it provided great information in an easy to understand and fun way for kids.

We also were able to get an ant farm and ‘send away’ for our own ants.  When our ants came in the mail Dad put them into the case, which was fun and stressful!  Once inside, the ants got to work and dug several tunnels.  We all really enjoyed observing them!   I would often catch the kids just sitting on the floor quietly staring at it (and sometimes dad, to).




Libby drew a picture of the ant farm and wrote a sentence telling one fact she learned about ants.  “I love ants.  Ants dig tunnels in the ground.”


We also completed an ant anatomy notebook page from the Evan Moor Giant Book of Science, watched Magic School Bus Gets Ants in its Pants, and watched a clip about ants on BrainPOP.


We made ants out of egg cartons.  After painting their three body parts, we added two antennae and six legs.




We of course enjoyed Ants on a Log snacks made with celery, peanut butter and chocolate chips for ants.


We also enjoyed ant hill pudding cups made with chocolate pudding for the dirt, crushed graham crackers for the ant hills, and chocolate covered ants (or raisins…)!



Miss Adeline Kate!

Adeline Kate Halberstadt joined us Sunday night, 8/24/14, at 9:07pm.  She weighed 6lbs 6oz and was 20 inches long.  We were blessed to welcome her at home with our wonderful midwife Susan and her assistant Lori attending.

My water broke at 9:40am, but I wasn’t having any contractions so we decided to walk to the grocery store to pick up a few things to make chicken soup for dinner.  Once home, I still was not having contractions so Alex grilled up hamburgers and corn on the cob for lunch and we had a nice big lunch.

We spent much of the rest of the day trying to encourage labor.  We took several walks, took a shower, bounced on the ball, listened to my Hypnobabies tracks, rested and then eventually tried nipple stimulation, which did the trick.  At 6pm we began, and at 7pm I was having some contractions that were coming at regular intevals, ranging from 3-5 minutes apart but they still were not very strong.  I was just happy to be having contractions!

Contractions continued on their own as my body seemed to get the idea that it was time.  My mom put Libby and Ian to bed just before 8pm.  Ian had come into my bedroom to say goodnight but Libby hadn’t so after everyone had gone back downstairs I went into her room and laid with her snuggling her in bed to wish her sweet dreams.  I had two contractions while laying there, the second of which was much more intense than any had been up to that point.  I gave my final kisses and hugs and headed back to our bedroom.

 The pressure waves were coming closer together now with much more intensity.  Just before 9pm I began to feel pressure and that familiar pushy feeling.  Alex went to wake Libby and Ian snuck in from the down the hall.  I was leaning over the bed but I could not get comfortable as my legs were feeling weak and I felt that her head was coming too quickly.  Susan suggested that I lay down on my side and it was just what I needed.  I was able to grab my leg and push with more control.  With the next push, her head was out.  Susan easily removed the single nuchal cord, and then with the next push she was born at 9:07pm.

She let out a lustful cry and was put straight on my chest.  She was covered in vernix and gorgeous!  Ian and Libby joined Alex and I as we all loved on her and shared the joy of the moment.

I am so grateful for another wonderful birthing experience and two days later still feel on top of the world.  This has been my easiest recovery, and the kids have been so much help.

I am so thankful my sweet friend Emily Chapelle was able to be present and capture our amazing day in photos and video.  We will treasure them always!  Click below to open the beautiful video – we are so in love!  <Full discosure: a baby is born in this video including photos/video of birth, breastfeeding and placenta.  My 5 and 3 year olds who witnessed it were not offended, but if you might be, feel free to skip the video.>

Adeline Kate Halberstadt’s Homebirth Video

Kindergarten Week 5 – Learning about Babies!

As I completed my 36th week of pregnancy, we took a week off of Five in a Row to learn all about babies in preparation of the new little girl who will be joining our family soon.


We are continuing to enjoy RightStart Level A.  Both kids completed lessons 4-8 this week.


Elizabeth wrote the entire alphabet in uppercase letters this week, as well as worked on punctuation (periods and commas) in her Zaner-Bloser workbook.

Ian learned how to form letter F with HWT this week.

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We completed All About Reading Level 2 Lesson 20 this week, and Elizabeth read ‘Skunk Hotel’ from her reader.  She also completed lessons 2-4 of All About Spelling Level 1.

Learning Through Literature: All About Babies!

With my due date approaching, I decided to set aside a week to learn about the development, as well as the care and keeping of baby.

The books we read:


Social Studies / Geography:

-We first put baby pictures of each child on the state in which they were born, and then I told them each their own ‘birth story’ (which they were very interested in) and looked at pictures from their birth and of them as babies.


-We measured out six pounds of rice and put it in a knee-high pantyhose to make a ‘rice baby’ that was the excat weight they were when they were born (luckily for me both of my kids weighed 6 pounds so we only needed to make one rice baby!).  We swaddled the baby and put a hat on its head and they each had a chance to hold the ‘baby’.

They really loved this and it was more realistic than a doll because they needed to support the baby’s head and have a tight grip!


-We talked about the different places women can choose to give birth and the different providers / support workers there are to help women through pregnancy and infancy.  I had made a ‘midwife kit’ for the kids to play with early in my pregnancy and pulled it out this week for the kids to explore and play with.  Inside it included a stethoscope, fetoscope, tape measurer, gauze, and a blood pressure cuff. They are able to come with me to each midwife appointment so they already knew just what to do!  They LOVED playing with this (especially Ian who claimed all week he was the midwife!).




-We practiced swaddling, diapering, wearing, and putting baby in the carseat.

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-We learned about fetal development this week, the kids were fascinated to learn that we start from just a small ball of cells.  We put these fetal development cards in order:


-And learned how babies live in the uterus and are birthed through the pelvis:


-We discussed the difference between vaginal and cesarean births, and also the many ways in which families can be formed.

Notebook Pages:

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We’re now ready to meet our sweet new baby girl! 🙂

Kindergarten Week 4 {FIAR} Ferdinand

We learned about bull fighting and Spain this week with the classic story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.


I began to realize in the last few weeks that Singapore 1A is quite different than the K books that we enjoyed over the last two years.  It was moving very quickly and was depending largly on mental concepts that I don’t feel Elizabeth has fully grasped.  So – I decided put Singapore away for the time being and we are going to start RightStart Math with both kids.  We are starting with level A, and most of it looks like review for Elizabeth – but that was exactly what I was hoping for.  It is very important to me that both kids have strong mathmatical bases as they move forward.  RightStart is more kinesthetic in it’s learning style, and very play-based.  So far we have used blocks, tally sticks, card games, and an abicus to learn about numbers.  Both kids are absolutly adoring it and beg for more each day.  We haven’t had a single worksheet yet!  We will return to Singapore 1A at some point when I feel Libby is ready.

This week we did RightStart A Lessons 1-3.


Elizabeth worked through letters X, K and Z in her Zaner-Bloser workbook this week.


We are plugging along with All About Reading Level 2.  Libby completed lessons 18 and 19 this week which reviewed ‘wh’ phonogram, and also blended with silent ‘e’.

This week we also incorperated All About Spelling Level 1, and Libby completed the first lesson which was reviewing all of the basic letter sounds.

Learning Through Literature: {FIAR} Ferdinand

We took a trip to Spain this week with Ferdinand the bull!  The kids loved this classic story and we learned so much along the way 🙂


Social Studies / Geography:

-We placed our story disk on Spain

-We watched Spain DVD that we checked out from the library (see above)

-We watched YouTube videos of bull fighting and of Spanish dances including Pasedoble

-Learned what a peninsula is and made our own with construction paper

-Used our atlas to color the Iberian Peninsuala lapbook page from Homeschool Share ‘Spain’ lapbook


-Made Spanish fans



-We learned about cork trees by YouTube videos of cork being harvested and made into corks.

-We tested our hypothesis of whether or not cork would float.  They both thought it would and were correct.  We also did a few other experiments from the Sink or Float book above, as well as watching a segment on BrainPOP Jr. about floating and sinking, and watching Magic School Bus Ups and Downs.



-Ferdinand loves to smell flowers!  We learned about our sense of smell by watching a BrainPOP movie, and then went to the Florist to smell the fresh flowers ourselves.  Libby and Ian picked some gorgeous flowers that smelled lovely.




-We made coffee filter flowers




-We also learned the Spanish words for several colors

Notebooking Pages:


We had a great week!  




Kindergarten Week 3 {FIAR} Storm in the Night

When I looked at the upcoming weather for last week and saw there were several days of storms ahead, I knew it was the perfect time to row Storm in the Night by Mary Stolz!


Libby is plugging along with number bonds. We played several review games this week with the linking cubes, this seems to help the information stick better.  Ian is working on the concept of ‘sets’ in his Singapore K workbook.


Elizabeth did letters V, W and Y this week in her Zaner Bloser workbook, while Ian finished up his colors in HWT PreK.


Elizabeth learned the ‘Wh’ phonogram and did several practice reading sheets, as well as a game where she fed fish (with words on the back) to a whale!  She really loves the games included in All About Reading Level 2.  Ian continued to work on rhyming words, playing several games of concentration, and also reviewed the sounds for letters G and H.

Learning Through Literature: {FIAR} Storm in the Night


We loved the illustrations throughout this book about a boy and his grandfather in a storm.  The dialogue between them was interesting, and we watched as they both overcame their fears.  We also fell in love with one of our go-along books this week: Thundercake by Patricia Polacco.  I do think our family enjoyed this second book more than the first, maybe because we identified with the book being set in Michigan and about a little girl and her grandmother baking a cake – well, we like cake 🙂  So it was no surprise we loved this book!  We ended up reading each book twice this week.

Social Studies:

We placed our story disk on Michigan because this is where Thundercake took place, and also because it is where our grandparents live, as well.

We talked about our fears, and read a book about being afraid.  Libby said that when she is scared, she will snuggle her cubby and bunny and talk to mom and dad about it.

Language Arts:

We learned what an onomatopia is, and listed several ‘storm sounds’ for our notebook.  I also pointed out the quotion marks and explained that they are used to show people talking.  We also saw that we can write words in all capital letters to emphasize them: BOOM!



We read two books from the Lets-Read-And-Find-Out series for kids: Clouds and Crash, Flash, Rumble and Roll about thunderstorms.  We also watched two videos on BrainPOP about clouds and thunderstorms.

We used this information to make a cotton ball craft showing three different types of clouds:


When storm clouds began to roll in, we went outside to check them out.  We were able to count the seconds between lightening and thunder to tell us how many miles away the storm was – just like in Thundercake.  Once the rain started and the wind picked up, we headed back inside to make our own Thundercake!  We even used the special ingredient – tomato puree!




We also played in ‘cloud dough’ which was just flour and baby oil mixed together.  Elizabeth LOVES stuff like this.  Ian preferred to kick his ball around and play in the hose 🙂


We also took a trip to the beach this week, which was fun because I had been reading Before Five in a Row book Yellow Ball to Ian throughout the week, which takes place at the beach and there is a storm in it as well.  We had a fun week!