November was upon us and we planned to row Down Down the Mountain until Thanksgiving break. I planned to incorporate some festive elements including harvest, turkeys, and especially being thankful.
I gathered our thanksgiving sensory materials and set out an invitation to play.
The kids had a blast with this bin! They played together for a long time.
I could hear them from the kitchen and it brought a HUGE smile to my face! There’s nothing like kids playing together in harmony!
The boys added cover art to their lapbooks. NOW, we were ready to begin our adventure “down down the mountain”.
I created a Bible Verse Printable Pack to accompany this book.
Jordan traced his Bible verse the first day then we cut it apart like a puzzle and he glued it in his FIAR lapbook.
Jordan worked on the Bible verse puzzle the rest of the row.
Hank and Hetty shared their turnips with everyone they met, so we had to explore generosity.
We read A Poor Widow’s Gift on our Beginner’s Bible ipad app. Afterwards, we tried to act out the sound of the rich men’s donations (clink-clink-clink-clink….)
We also read What’s For Lunch? and talked about the boy who shared his lunch with Jesus. We also talked about how God can take what we share and multiply it.
We read Buzzle Billy – A Story about Sharing. All the kids LOVE the character stories from this book!
We incorporated lessons on gratitude, because we were rowing this book during November.
We read many wonderful thanksgiving books throughout our time rowing this book. We continued reading thanksgiving books during our holiday break too!
We also incorporated some of the lessons from the Kids of Integrity Thanksgiving lessons.
We made a new scarecrow to “scare away ingratitude” (the kick-off craft from the Thanksgiving Kids of Integrity lesson). We made him to resemble our favorite scarecrow in The Falling Leaves and Scarecrow book.
He’s hanging around in the playroom as a constant reminder to be thankful and keep things in perspective.
Our Apple Tasting Tree transformed into our “Give Thanks Tree” this month. The kids added “I’m thankful for…” leaves each day.
This has been a wonderful tradition that I want to continue throughout our homeschooling journey.
We also read Ten Lepers on our Beginner’s Bible ipad app. The kids were so excited, because they said they had the same “thanksgiving story” in their Sunday school classes.
We dedicated the last day of school (before the holiday break) to Thanksgiving. We read The First Thanksgiving together. Parker read Annie and Snowball and the Thankful Friends for his reading assignment and Jordan and I read Turkey Bowl together.
We started our geography lesson with an Appalachian-inspired breakfast of grits, bacon, and fruit.
I read Appalachian Mountains while the kids ate breakfast.
The boys located the Appalachian states using gems and their Melissa and Doug US Placemats.
We also brought out our Lincoln Logs and the boys build their own Appalachian log cabins while I read Log Cabin aloud.
They had a great time. I love this activity. We try to revisit it every time we study Appalachia.
Afterwards, we added some Appalachian inserts in our FIAR lapbooks.
We read Tell Me the Day Backwards which was the PERFECT book to introduce backtracking.
Afterwards, we talked about how Hank and Hetty walked down down the mountain to town past the mountain laurel, pine trees, and followed the stream then “backtracked” (went in reverse order) to find their way back home.
Needs vs. Wants:
I didn’t plan to cover needs vs. wants, but it happened “organically” and we ran with it!
I cut out “creaky squeaky” construction paper shoes and printed a great Needs vs. Wants activity (Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten)
We talked about the difference between needs (things we NEED to survive) and wants (things we’d LIKE to have, but we don’t need) while the boys colored the pictures.
Then they sorted and glued the pictures to the correct shoes (“Needs” or “Wants”). This is always a great lesson.
We read MANY versions of this story and kept a list of the characters. This would be a great book to compare/contrast with a Venn diagram. We just did a similar activity while rowing Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar.
I thought it might be fun to create an art project for this story. The boys already colored a character worksheet earlier in the day. Then I thought it might be cool to include ALL our grammar activities into one GRAMMARtivity (new word?)!
First, the boys created their own background scene that would be the perfect backdrop for this craft. They both used dot paint, but took a slightly different approach.
I mentioned to Bub that his sun seemed similar to the one illustrated in Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar, because the rays were circular (recent art lesson). I really see him utilizing all the knowledge he’s gleaning from our FIAR studies.
Next, the boys added their character elements to the forefront.
The next challenge was to use Alliteration as they chose a title for their version of the story. They chose to collaborate and came up with “The Terrific Turnip”….GREAT!
Next, I challenged them to create dialogue between the characters showing attribution. Both boys did an AMAZING job with this, since all these grammatical terms were fresh in their minds.
As one final challenge, I asked them to include a simile in their dialogue and BOTH decided to include MANY similes. I was SUPER proud of them!
Not only were these colorful and beautifully done, they included ALL our grammar activities! Jordan’s dialogue included a bonus onomatopoeia too! Way to go Bub!
Parker’s art project was colorful, beautiful, and included EVERYTHING I asked him to. Great job Parks!
I created a Harvest Build-a-Word worksheet for Parker to work on this week.
You can download it for FREE here at our TPT Store.
Parker’s Sonlight Language Arts program often includes many word building activities. I try to create some printables that incorporate our FIAR themes. He did an awesome job with this!
He did an awesome job and even created a simile using our friends baby being “as sweet as corn”! THIS is a high compliment considering how much this boy loves produce, especially vegetables!
I created a Harvest Skip Counting Pack for Parker to work on.
You can purchase it here at our TPT Store. There’s a FREEbie in the preview!
First, we reviewed skip counting by THREEs using the harvest number cards and the skip counting mat.
Next, we worked through each equation orally as he read “3×2=” I reminded him to “skip count by three two times” which made the transition from skip counting to multiplication SO much easier. He worked through the rest of the cut & paste multiplication worksheet on his own.
Jordan LOVES learning about money, so we read a few books on our Epic app.
Afterwards, the boys took the quiz and remembered many of the terms. They love taking the Epic quizes (thank you to all the instructors out there who took the time to create them).
We watched a Why Do Birds Sing? SciShow episode on our Epic app . This complimented our study of night birds.
Afterwards, we read a few excerpts from our North American Songbirds book.
We also read portions of our Usborne Owls book too!
Harvest Time at the Fair:
We chose to row this book during the fall season, so we included many harvest activities.
We set out all our squash, pumpkin, and harvest vegetables out on the counter so the kids could choose their “prize produce”.
We read several books about the county fair!
I cut out some generic tags, they wrote their names on them, and we tagged their produce selection.
I created a Harvest Produce Exploration worksheet for the kids to use during their harvest exploration activity.
You can download your FREE copy here at our TPT Store.
The kids measured with standard and non-standard measuring devices.
We brought out two different scales so the kids could weigh and compare their produce.
Last, they wrote predictions on whether or not their produce would sink or float. Then they tested it in the kitchen sink! Though they’ve done this MANY times before, they still love this activity!
We dived deeper into the harvest season by learning about seeds.
We started this unit reading The Seeds That Grew and Grew as our morning devotion.
We brought out our seed matching activity. Jordan matched actual seeds with the pictures I laid out.
The boys also took turns matching plant and seed pictures.
I cut out a corn, pumpkin, and apple seed house so the kids could watch their harvest produce sprout in the window.
We soaked our seeds overnight to soften them.
The next day they put their seed houses together and added the seeds in them.
The next day they taped their seed houses to the playroom window.
After a couple of weeks, we took them down and found both the pumpkin and corn seeds sprouted.
Jordan explored the seeds for fun, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to transplant them this time of the year.
Plants Feed Me:
We read Plants Feed Me and talked about all the parts of plants we eat.
I brought out our Plants We Eat sorting activity (Montessori Print Shop) and the boys sorted through the pictures.
The kids worked on a worksheet that came with the Plants We Eat printable.
Corn is such a great vegetable to study during the fall.
The boys worked on a corn life cycle worksheet from Education.com.
Jordan picked up a dry corn husk while apple picking last month. He’s was SUPER excited to pop it! We placed the corn in a paper bag and folded it several times.
He put it in the microwave and pressed our popcorn button.
I was a little disappointed that very few kernels popped, but he was SUPER excited anyway.
They tasted it alone, with salt, and some butter too!
Jordan marked the corn states in his FIAR lapbook.
I brought out our Parts of the Corn Plant Definition Cards and Jordan color-coded the lapbook insert while I read each definition card aloud.
I found a new “dancing corn” science experiment that used baking soda and vinegar , but it didn’t work. My friend mixed the water and baking soda together before adding the vinegar. I will try it that way next time we study corn.
We bought fresh corn and the kids husked it together.
I boiled it “southern style” with milk and butter. It was delicious and the perfect way to end this unit.
We explored MANY of the pumpkins we grew this year.
I cut open a couple of our small sugar pumpkins and set out a pumpkin exploration tray for the kids to work on.
I found a couple of sprouted seeds inside our “baby” sugar pumpkin and set them out as well.
I made sure everyone had a Parts of the Pumpkin booklet to color-code as they explored the inside of their pumpkins
The boys took turns exploring the pumpkins and color-coding their booklets.
When they were finished, we added the booklet to their FIAR lapbooks.
I put the sugar pumpkins in the oven and baked them. After cooling for a while, I scooped out the flesh.
Pureed the pumpkins and put them in the refrigerator.
I made overnight oats with the pumpkin puree, homemade pumpkin pie spice, almond milk, chia seeds, cranberries, salted nuts, steel cut oats, vanilla extract, and some natural sweetener.
The kids devoured the pumpkin oats the next morning. They LOVED them and were quite a nice seasonal addition to our breakfast routine.
I made a Label the Turnip Worksheet for the boys to work on.
You can download your FREE copy here at our TPT Store.
The boys colored the turnip and labeled each part of the turnip.
Later, we added them to our FIAR lapbooks.
I purchased a few turnips from the story, cut them open, and let the boys taste them raw.
We inspected this root vegetable up close before cooking it down.
I needed to replace our Crockpot after working hard for ALMOST 15 years. My husband bought me an Instant Pot since a friend of ours recommended it. All I can say is, “wow!”. What would take 45 minutes on the stove, took 10 minutes in the Instant Pot. It’s a winner!
I mashed the steamed turnips and sautéed chicken with harvest vegetables.
This was our special harvest dinner, because it featured many of the harvest produce we were studying.
I served it with fruit and whole-grain bread. Everyone LOVED the chicken and harvest vegetable sauté, but the boys didn’t care for the mashed turnips.
We HAD to study turkeys since they were mentioned in the book AND Thanksgiving was just around the corner.
We read read Jim Arnosky’s I’m a Turkey and a BUNCH of other turkey books on our Epic app.
The kids worked on several turkey inserts from an All About Turkeys Flip Up Book (Amanda Richardson).
I love using the color-coding technique, because the kids LOVE picking out their own colors while learning about the various parts of whatever creature/plant we’re studying.
The boys watched several Wild Kratts turkey clips on our Down Down the Mountain playlist.
We read a couple more turkey books just for fun!
Since Jordan has ALWAYS been our little soap connoisseur and there was a woman making soap “down down the mountain”, we HAD to explore this bubbly subject.
Since we made soap the year we studied Mrs. Wishy-Washy, I thought it would be fun to do something “outside the soap box”. I found a few great soap science clips on our Epic app.
We watched the clips and narrowed our selection to Flubber Soap and Butter Soap Slime.
While Jordan was adding the shaving cream “spurts” to his bowl, Haley and I started working on the butter soap slime.
This was RIGHT up Bub’s alley….he was having a jolly old time!
He mixed the fluff, slowly adding each ingredient as specified in the video. Following directions is ALWAYS something to be proud of.
Yep, that’s the crazy guy I know. Thankfully it’s SOAP so if it get’s messy, it will clean up easily!
Here he is enjoying his flubber soap slime. Well done Bub, you made a winner creation!
It was pretty and SO MUCH FUN TO MESS WITH! Everyone wanted to squish it and play with it.
It didn’t produce that much lather, but it was BY FAR the best slime I’ve made to date!
On the slip side, Haley followed the recipe, but it was a slime fail. Another great lesson in science….most experiments are conducted MANY times before you see an expected result. We’ve narrowed down the recipe to one we trust. We made regular slime the next day and hope to “recreate butter soap slime” another day!
Just for old times sake, Mrs. Wishy-Washy and her muddy pig appeared as our Saturday Morning pancake inspiration!
ARTS, CRAFTS, & MORE:
Bub made quick cornbread so we could eat like Hetty and Hank.
We used a box mix this time, but it was still a fun experience for him.
He added the mix and wet ingredients as specified.
He mixed to his heart’s content….he LOVES this part!
The kids ate their cornbread that evening JUST like Hetty and Hank!
Parker wanted to make homemade butter again, so we incorporated that activity into this row.
We read From Grass to Milk on our Epic app.
We also read The Cow Who Climbed a Tree (just for fun)!
After Parker shook the cream, we passed it around the table to get EVERYONE’s help!
After a short time, we saw our golden butter appear!
This year we decided to make a pumpkin cake instead of the more traditional pumpkin pie. We still have PLENTY of pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pie ANYTIME we feel the craving!
Jordan chopped the nuts VERY carefully. He’s really matured in the kitchen as he listens more closely to instruction, reads recipes, and is cautious with tools.
They both added the ingredients and Jordan mixed the batter while Haley told a story…this has been their tradition since they started baking as toddlers!
They worked together to pour the batter into the pyrex.
They took turns adding the cake mix to the top of the batter.
Traditionally, this style of “pumpkin dump cake” is used with a yellow box mix, but we used Trader Joe’s white cake mix. I pressed it gently into the batter and added the nuts.
Since this was a lightened Weight Watcher recipe, we added the natural I can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on top.
Into the oven it went and less than an hour later it came out golden delicious!
Indian Corn Craft:
Inspired by the Indian Corn Stamp (Make Learning Fun), I typed up the Indian Corn Christian verse and glued it to yellow construction paper. I copied a hand-drawn corn shape, cut out the husk with green construction paper and presented the Indian corn craft with blue construction paper, tempura paints, and foam letters.
The boys glued their corn and husk to blue paper.
They added “corn” with foam letters and the Indian Corn Verse.
They painted their corn using the colors from the poem.
They did a wonderful job!
They turned out festive and colorful. We added them to their art walls.
Thanksgiving Read & Do:
I really wanted to read Cranberry Thanksgiving and make a cranberry treat.
Since we already made the cranberry bread from the book, I decided to make a cranberry cake the night before.
I cooked down cranberries and apples with a little cinnamon and sugar. Then I mixed in a simple scratch cake batter and incorporated it into the cooked fruit. I put it back into the oven for about 35 minutes.
It smelled delicious while it was baking, but this creation had TOO many apples for my taste.
I read Cranberry Thanksgiving and they ate their cranberry cake. Another fun activity centered around food!
Down Down the Mountain Playlist:
As with our other rows, we created a Down Down the Mountain playlist with read-alouds, music, science, and other animated clips.
You can find most of the activities, ideas, and printables from this post on our Down Down the Mountain Pinterest Board.