Saturday, October 23, 2021

France Geography and Cultures

Bonjour! Our latest world cultures unit study took us to France. The kids remembered quite a bit about France from our study of World War II last year. We had read the novel Twenty and Ten and The Journey that Saved Curious George and studied European geography, so they had no problem finding France on the map. Our "visit" to France this year, however, was much brighter and focused on the intricate architecture, famous monuments, high end fashion, delicious foods, and influential artist and writers.

France ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of France was a fun, quick little read that gave an overview of the culture of France.

We then read Madeline and later watched the movie. Not only is a an entertaining children's book, but the illustrations take you on a quick tour of some of the famous Paris scenes, including the Eiffel Tower, the Opera, the Palace Vendome, the Louvre, and more.

Using the Made by Joel Paris Paper City, the kids explored Paris. They had fun with these paper cutouts.

I did our STEM activity a little differently for France. In the past (like our windmills for the Netherlands), I have always had each of the kids work individually. For this STEM project, they had to work together. They were tasked with building the Eiffel Tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks. They soon discovered that working together was the hardest part of the entire project. Each child had his or her own opinions on how things should be done.

 It took most of the morning to resolve differences, delegate roles and responsibilities, and carry out their plan, but they persevered. In the end they decided that it should be named Baker Tower since it did not quite resemble the Eiffel Tower and topped their tower off with an American flag.

France's Writing Around the World assignment focused on ABAB poetry. Sully Prudhomme was awarded the very first Literature Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. After studying his poem "At the Water's Edge", the older kids wrote their own ABAB poem. Our younger writers filled in a rhyming poem about France, and the little ones matched rhyming words. 

As always, you can download the Writing Around the World assignment from Teachers Pay Teachers for free on the week this blog post is released. You can download anytime after that for a small fee which helps me continue to stay home and create homeschooling resources. Each Writing Around the World assignment includes activities for different levels of writers, so all your children can participate in the assignment together.

We also found a collection of poems at the library in a book called Poems from France. We enjoyed selecting and reading a few poems each mealtime. Because these poems are written in French and translated to English, the rhyming pattern is often lost. The book contains the poems side by side in French and English, so even though we do not know French we could often find the rhyming pattern by looking at the French words.

Our next study in France focused on French art, particularly Monet and the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting. We read Monet by Shelley Sateren and Mornings with Monet. Monet had painted his water lily pond hundreds of times, so we decided we would try to paint it as well. You can too!

 Using painter's tape, we marked off the Japanese style bridge that goes over the pond. I asked the kids to think about what time of day they wanted to represent in their photos, and to think about the light during that time of day. Is it bright or dark? Are there shadows or highlights? What colors are unique to that time of day? Then with some printouts of Monet's paintings as a guide, they set to work with short brush strokes to make their paintings. After they dried, we pealed back the painters tape to reveal the bridge.

And of course we couldn't leave France without sampling some French cuisine. French cooking is tasty! We had Quiche Lorraine for breakfast, Classic Croque Monsieur sandwiches for lunch, and Crepes for dinner... which led to a big debate in our home. How do you serve crepes? Folded or rolled? We would love for you to chime in on Instagram and let us know!

For more homeschool inspiration, click on the Homeschool tab at the top of the page (or in the dropdown menu if you are viewing on a phone). Thanks for stopping by!

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to***

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Bingo Bottles Craft and 6 Books for Veteran's Day

We are a proud military family and love supporting our troops and veterans!  Our kids have been to a dozen or more send offs and welcome homes and enough military funerals to know freedom isn't free. 

For this Veteran's Day we made a Bingo Bottle Poppy Craft to show our support and appreciation to Military Veterans. I love arts and crafts, but with 6 kids the mess can sometimes be overwhelming.  That why I love painting with these Bingo Bottles (similar to Do-A-Dot Markers).  

If you are braver than I, you can easily do this craft with fingerprints as well. I also have a free template on Teacher's Pay Teacher's website that you can download and paint the poppies printed on it.

The girls made five red dots in a circle and our older boys put a green dot in the middle to make the poppy flower.  We gave our 2 year old ample paper to make a "poppy field" on.  After reading Flander's Field we wrote a little poem on each of the cards.

"I have a little poppy,
As red as red can be,
To show that I remember
Those who fought to make me free."

You can drop these cards off at the local VFW, or canvas social media to find some Veteran's or local events. 

To all of our Veteran's, Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you for stopping by! Check out the Homeschool Tab at the top of the page for more of our learning adventures, and give us a follow on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to***

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Netherlands Unit Study

 After a 2 week break to study Business 101, we are back to traveling the world! "Dag" from the Netherlands. My first time traveling out of country (many, many years ago) by myself was actually to attend a swim camp and competition in the Netherlands. I have so many wonderful memories of touring the beautiful country, and was excited to pass along some of those memories and excitement to our child.

Of course, the three things I remembered the most were the tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes. We took turns reading "The Great Tulip Trade", which is an easy reader and great book for your younger readers. We then watched a few YouTube videos that toured some of the tulip fields and farms.

The main read aloud I chose for this unit study was "When the Dikes Broke". Based on the great flood of 1953, it is a heartwarming tale of a people coming together to help others in need. I could not find this book at our local library, so we listened to it on Audible. The kids were fascinated to learn that about 40 percent of the land is below sea level, and that there are 800 miles of dikes to hold back water from the seas. 

While we listened to the audiobook I handed out one of my favorite treats - Stroopwafel. I shared how each evening we would walk from our hotel to the local market to get one of these. I was pleasantly surprised when I found a gluten free version of my favorite treat on Amazon, and ordered a case for the children to share. They were a big hit among everyone. 

Windmills are used in the Netherlands to pump water into the canals off of the land reclaimed from the sea. The children each constructed a windmill design out of an assortment of materials that I spread on the table (spoons, knifes, popsicle sticks, feathers, egg cartons, and more!). 

Their assignment was to create a design that would lift a binder clip when a simulated wind (fan) blew. We had so much fun with this STEM project! Even our four year old got in on the fun. 

Some designs that they thought would work really well, they soon discovered did not work as planned. I actually love when this happens because it is such a richer learning experience (both emotional learning and intellectual learning). So, I welcomed these "failures" and we talked how we could turn them into "successes" with our attitude. Growth mindset is a powerful tool to teach!

While I was in the Netherlands, I also visited the Van Gogh museum. We did a virtual tour of the museum online (there are lots of activities to choose from on their website) and drew our own renditions of Starry Night.

Many famous artists have come from the Netherlands. We explored some of the works of Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Jan Vermeer, and others online. These artists painted with paint, but we explored the art of descriptive writing and painted with words. In my Writing Around the World series, I have tried to connect a literary activity to each country that we study. This series is made with homeschoolers in mind and includes activities for little learners all the way through middle schoolers (and even high schoolers could use this series). While thinking of their favorite place, the children answered a series of sensory questions, and then thought of similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeias to describe their place. Using these, they then wrote a descriptive writing piece. The littles had similar descriptive writing activities that required far less writing, but still encouraged them to use their senses and explore adjectives.

Speaking of senses - oh my, the Dutch Pear Baby we made was heavenly! It was a fun recipe because we were able to use pears we had collected from our pear tree, and it tasted, smelled, and looked "dreamy" just as the author of the recipe described it. It received a 10/10 from all of the children. 

The final book we read for the unit was "Boxes for Katje". We had studied the holocaust and WWII in depth last year, but this book was not on our reading list then so I wanted to be sure to revisit and and remind the children of some of the historical trials the people of the Netherlands had faced. It is an inspiring tale that will leave your children eager to make a difference.

Thank you for stopping by! Check out the Homeschool Tab at the top of the page for more of our learning adventures around the world, and give us a follow on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to***