Our Thanksgiving Lapbook – LINKS LINKS LINKS!

Well, I guess you could say I’m a lapbooking convert.

We did our first lap book back in October and I loved the way it neatly tied our lessons together, so we are working on another now. What better subject to study in November than the first Thanksgiving?

I confess, up until this point, I hadn’t tried to communicate much of our nation’s history to Noodle. Last Thanksgiving she was a young three, so we kept it simple with “today is a day we say thank you to God.” But this year I’m going to give it a real go to teach her a little more about the origins of the holiday.

I didn’t really know where to begin with someone who had absolutely no context for history and very little idea of geography, so we started out by reading The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern. Noodle was very interested to learn about how the Pilgrims lived, and asked over and over how they made their own soap. And THIS is why I love homeschool, people! I took myself to Hobby Lobby and bought a Something Fabulous Soap Making Kit for $12 (after 40% off coupon frequently found on Hobby Lobby’s website). Did the Pilgrims use melt and pour soap? No sirree they did not. But Noodle got to do something fun and we did make a lesson of how the Pilgrims would have done it, and about our modern conveniences. Plus, now we have some yummy, peppermint, candy-cane striped soap for Christmas time! Too bad we didn’t make enough to give as gifts.

We also picked up Squanto and the First Thanksgiving by Joyce K. Kessel at the library. I really would have preferred Metaxas’ Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving as God’s sovereignty is more emphasized in that telling, but it wasn’t available, so I had to do the lesson on how God saved Squanto for a purpose by myself. Not a big deal. Noodle enjoyed the story and I’m pretty sure she got the point.

Anyway, back to lapbooking. After my success with the simplicity of our first lapbook, I searched all over for a preschool-appropriate Thanksgiving lapbook kit. You know what? I couldn’t find a free one! So I decided to get ambitious and plan my own using free resources I could find from all over the internet. Noodle will reap the benefits of this for sure, but since I went to the trouble of finding all this stuff, I figured I might as well share it with you, too! If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out this post at 1+1+1equals1, which is also a culmination of links I found really helpful in planning my own page.

For the lapbook’s cover, we used this cute coloring page I found on a google search. On the left flap will be a TBD Native American coloring page and few sentences about Squanto. On the right flap will be a Thanksgiving Maze and a pocket for Pilgrim and Indian popsicle puppets we will make out of these coloring pages. (Noodle really has a thing for puppet theater these days.)

On top of the middle flap will be a “thankful turkey” on whose feathers Noodle can list the things for which she is thankful this year. Below that will (I hope) be a pocket for Thanksgiving Bingo cards and a baggie full of Indian corn kernels to use as the markers for the Bingo game. (As of right now the links at the blog for the Bingo game are down… Hoping they get those back up but if not, we will paste corn kernels onto something or other.) Hubbo picked up three “mini” ears of Indian corn at Smith’s (our Kroger store) for $1.99, and we tweezed the corn kernels off for a fine motor activity after discussing…

The colors of salvation Indian corn activity, which will go on the back of the top flap to be seen when it opens. Below that will be a copywork page of Noodle’s Thanksgiving memory verse from Awana, Psalm 118:29 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (By the way, if you want to make your own copywork pages, I hope you’ve discovered this amazing tool! Noodle is in trouble now that I’ve found this…)

And finally, underneath the middle flap, we will be assembling our own paper Mayflower! Can you tell I’m pretty excited to get going on this project? Mama loves history!

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What’s in a Day? Our K4 Schedule

I’ve said before that Noodle is somewhere between preschool and kindergarten, so for labeling purposes I’ll call what we do a K4 homeschool day. Basically, she can read, but not yet write. She knows her numbers, but not arithmetic. We are in that gap space right now where she is beyond many curricula, but doesn’t have the skills to accomplish others.

There’s a gap space, right? Is it just me? Or is this where the veteran homeschooling mom realizes that every child is different…?

Anyway, I promised a while back that I would make a post about what kind of activities actually fill our homeschool days. Here it is! I’m just trying my hand at this, so my disclaimer is that this schedule is very subject to change! But I know I am always wondering what other moms are doing with their kids, so I might as well share the imperfect routine we have in our house.

Because Noodle is such a young four and we are still two years away from being legally obligated to school, our schedule is flexible and doesn’t happen every day. But most days, this is how we roll:

7:00-8:30 – Wake up, morning chores, breakfast and family devotions (we use Long Story Short)

8:30-8:50 – Phonics: Read about our experience with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons here. When we finish the book we will use this time to play phonics games, work on sight words, and read aloud.

8:50-9:00 – Calendar Time: We start by singing the “Days of the Week” and “Months of the Year” songs, then use Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Preschool Pack. We end Calendar Time singing Daddy’s phone number and our address.

9:00-9:20 – Fine Motor Activities: Noodle is a little behind in this area, I think because she broke her arm (and my heart!) twice this summer. We do a variety of activities in this time including cutting, pasting, handwriting, lacing, etc.

9:20-9:40 – Math: Noodle can count and recognize her numbers up to 100, so right now we spend most of our math time focused on handwriting and ordinals. When she is more comfortable writing we will begin some addition activities.

9:40-10:00 – Unit Study: This space is flexible. Sometimes this is where we stop for the day and head out to run errands or go to the library. On Thursdays and/or Fridays we use it for Noodle’s Awana homework. As I write this blog, we work on the Days of Creation Lapbook in this space, but hopefully by the time you read it we will have moved on to a Thanksgiving study.

10:00 – Read Aloud: Noodle has fallen in love with The Chronicles of Narnia series, so we are making our way through those books right now. I hope to read The Secret Garden with her next. Daddy also does some read-alouds for us at night.

And then our day is done! It’s really only an hour and a half of “school” time but I feel like that is plenty for my four-year-old. For the rest of the day, Noodle is free to learn through play, paint to her heart’s content, watch a little TV (yeah, I said it), help in the kitchen, earn pennies by completing her chores, or whatever! She is a busy girl, so I don’t have to worry too much free time will bore her.