Little moments

Leave it to a homeschooling mom to turn a broken arm into a mini unit study on the skeleton.

We put together a skeleton and learned what bones she broke, (there are 3 broken bones). We looked at the structure of the human arm and compared other animal’s arm structures.

Lantern Festival lesson plan

As the sun is going down early, you may be looking to brighten things up a bit. We decided to have a lantern festival to perk up our November. It may just turn into a tradition!

The lantern festival is based on the story of St. Martin of Lourds, a soldier who gave half of his coat to a beggar. He then had a dream that people carrying lanterns at night, led him to Jesus, who wore the other half of his coat.

We learned 2 songs, the first one, a long time favorite, “this little light of mine”. The next one song took a little more research, but eventually we found and learned “I go with my little lantern“.

We read many different stories, our favorite is the story of St. Martin found in the Christopherus curriculum, grade 1. We also enjoyed the lantern story by Reg Down in his festival of stones book. His book has been a great resource for stories that cover various celebrations through the year. His stories are very captivating and imaginative with many fun creatures like fairies and mice (We own 3 of his books, and read them over and over). We also read about the rest of St. Martin’s life in Saints tell their stories (get it from the library, it is only 2 pages out of the whole book). Another story we enjoyed was Hugen’s lantern in Tell me a story, a Waldorf collection of stories.

The kids have each made their lanterns for our party.

It was amazing to watch them spontaneously break out into song as they worked. They sang “I go with my bright little lantern” together, it was definitely a “homeschooling mom payday”!

We also made tiny lantern carrying peg dolls, which the kids play with, and I use to tell stories.

We have also been reading about Moses and the burning bush, which is a loose tie-in, but they have not seemed to notice.

Next weekend we will be hosting around 20 kids, who will arrive with lanterns ready to show off and a lantern festival themed snack to share. What is a lantern themed snack you may ask? (You aren’t the only one to ask, don’t worry!) We will be making lemon meringue tartlets to share, pineapple slices, lemon bars, orange slices, morning glory muffins, anything yellow, orange, sun or light related will be a delightful addition.

We will carry our lanterns around the block and sing our songs, light some candles then share a snack.

Soap Making with little hands

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This project is a hundred times easier than you think!  So dive in!

Go to bulk apothecary and order a melt and pour soap base, such as Shea butter.

Once it arrives, put in Christmas music, make hot cocoa and get ready for crafting.

Line muffin tins with paper liners or use cute shaped silicone ones for bonus points.  Have essential oils (lavender is especially nice, check they are safe for use on skin), food coloring and dried flowers or herbs.

Take the giant bars of soap, chop them into smaller cubes, around 2 inches in size.  Place in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir as needed.

Once completely melted, very quickly add 8 drops of essential oils and 5 to 10 drops of food coloring depending on preference.  Don’t go too slow here or it will harden.

Pour into mold and sprinkle dried flowers or herbs.  Let it cool and use as is, or make a second layer in a different color.  Just pour it on gently and make sure the color/scent goes well together.

This is a very simple project to do with little ones, and a nice Christmas present too.

Native Heritage month

November is Native American heritage month.  Yesterday, we attended a wonderful story and song evening hosted by Debra Morningstar at our nearby art gallery.  She is an Oneida native and part of the turtle clan.  We have a sprinkle of Native American in our family tree, so it was great for the kids to gain that exposure.

After the story time, the kids had a chance to make a story stick.  Owen mainly played with the sticks, but the other kids got very excited about this project and continued to work on it again this morning.

The sticks are intended to tell your story, so you can choose fabric or natural found objects to tell about your history, heritage, or preferences.  The kids were excited to find out that they could even bring their sticks to a real pow-wow.  Of course Caleb wants to attend one now, so locating a public one will be a fun project.