Friday, September 12, 2008

Teddy Bear Fun!

We started homeschooling this week! Let me tell you - I entered into this with much trepidation and uncertainty - am I really up for this?

But, I really knew it was the right thing, for our family for right now. My sweet friend, Dawn, has helped me figure out the practical stuff and I just want to document for Emily and Rachel some of the highlights of our week!

We are using Before Five In A Row and this week, we read Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? I have struggled greatly in what books to read to my children - I'm so often disappointed by our library and by the books we bring home (an entire post on its own). But, this was a HUGE success, we loved Jesse Bear and can't wait to read more of these books!

We did lots of teddy bear activities this week - including playing Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, dressing cardboard teddy bears - this is Emily's and I love the face she drew on:

made teddy bear cookies:

Teddy Bear Cookies (from Taste of Home)

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (I didn't have any, so used this substitute)
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I did not use)
Mini chocolate chips

Mix the first four ingredient together with a whisk. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined. The recipe did not say to chill this dough - but I made it the night before so it would be quickly ready for the little ladies and I am SO glad I did - this would have been a sticky mess at room temp! So, chill the dough! Then, shape cookies and add choc. chips for eyes and belly button.

Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Mine made 18 cookies.

made teddy bear pancakes (inspired by piggy pancakes!):

Start by heating your pan, the hotter mine got, the better the teddies turned out. Pour a circle of batter to be the body. Let it set just a couple of minutes. Add the head, limbs and ears and let it set until it is really cooked on the one side. Next, loosen the entire bear by slowly running your spatula underneath - if you skip this part, the head will likely break off - ask me how I know! After loosening the bear, you can flip it over!

stamped shapes with potatoes: (not teddy bear related, but ties in to the patterns in the book)

Another highlight was going out in search of butterflies! We had fun looking for, and finding, beautiful butterflies on our walk!

All in all - it was a great week and I am so thankful for God's help - without which I would have been a wreck! Starting something like this can feel very overwhelming, but "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:13)


Unknown said...

You are such a fun mom! I'd love to spend a day at your house.

I wanted to tell you what a small world it is! You shared on your blog about wanting to meet Joy in "real life". I clicked on her blog and loved reading until finally I had a "duh" moment and realized I not only knew who she is, but our family have been praying for hers since they went to Alaska to be missionaries. My husband's folks attend the same fellowship as her folks. Thank you!

Katy said...

How fun! :) I love the teddy bear cookies and pancakes! Too cute! :) The girls seem to be really enjoying it!!! Glad it went so well for you!

Anonymous said...

Five in A Row!!! I love FIAR!!! It is one of the best, i used it on up till 5th grade. Oh that precious time together reading ,then talking about the different subjects, and the sweet activities!! I am so happy you found FIAR Monica. A perfect way to start your homeschoooling. tammyp

Leanne said...

I love this post! Thank you for the info link to FIAR. I'm still thinking about homeschooling for the future.

Elise said...

How fun!! This is what "real" school looks like. We are doing Five In A Row and I really like it.

Anonymous said...

see posts like this make me want to try homeschooling but then I see how Bri seems to respond to my teaching method. It Doesn't go together well. I am going to try the teddy bear dress up thing. Do you have a pattern you can email me of the teddy bear or did you make it yourself? I think Bri would Love that one as she has really been into dressing up her dollies lately. You know my little fashion diva *wink* I am so glad this week went well for you and you seem to be looking forward to it this year. I know how much this weighed on your heart. Love you!

Wendi said...

It looks like so much fun! I am going to check out FIAR. We have spent our week working on shapes. Megan gets so excited when I say it is school time. It is hard for me not be excited when her excitement is boiling over!

I know what you mean about book disappointment. I can't even tell you the number of times I have found a book and then start reading only to see the word stupid being used.

Congrats on completing your first week!

Tracy said...

It sounds like a wonderful and gentle first week of homeschooling. I hope that they're all that fun for you!

Anonymous said...

I love the cookies!!!!

This was good input- I know I'm not made for homeschooling but I have been thinking about not doing a formal preschool and just doing those activities at home- this stuff looks like it would be perfect.

Eleanor Joyce said...

Great post - you are off to such a wonderful start! My 14 year old daughter loves the teddy bear cookies and is going to make some. If you are using Before FIAR you are probably familiar with the site Lots of great ideas for activities for early elementary homeschoolers.

Anonymous said...

We also like Jesse Bear!

Our daughters have loved several of the books by Charlotte Zolotow and Shirley Hughes. ("Dogger" is a classic for kids who love a stuffed animal.)

For further fun, try "The Ticky-Tacky Doll", "Joseph had a Little Overcoat" or "Old Blue Buggy." These have been some lovely family favorites.

I, too, struggle at the library to find books with conservative values, kind and well-behaved children, etc. I've been surprised more than once to find really horrible books about divorce, death, etc. peppered with books populated by truly disrespectful children! :)

For further fun, all of our children have liked the "Real Wheels" videos titled "Farm Tractor", "There Goes a Train", etc. They are real-action and very interesting/ appropriate!

Amy said...

What a cute idea- it looks like such a fun week in your house. I adore your little Teddy Bear cookies- those are so cute. I am glad that substitute recipe worked good- I would have felt bad if it hadn't ;)

You are such a fun & creative momma! I would love to be schooled by you, Monica!!

Julie Willis said...

They look like they are having so much fun! We used 5 in a row and enjoyed it. My girls favorite was Ping and Night of the Moonjellies. We did a Chinese resturant, with homemade menus and everything. Lots of fun!

rohanknitter said...

I used FIAR with our first 2, and we really liked it. It introduced us to what became some of the boys' favorite books. Have fun and don't worry if your plan for the day doesn't always work out, especially at the young age your girls are at.
I hate to say it, but it becomes even more difficult to find books for them as they get older. I didn't have time to pre-read everything! One resource that has been invaluable to me over the years is "Who Should We Then Read?" by Jan Bloom. (from the back cover: Use this guide to learn about good author of the past whose books are still available. It will help you find good books which edify, encourage,exhort, and/or entertain.)

Deb Burton said...

Before Five In A Row and that whole series is an excellent curriculum to use with your girls. I am really, really, really big on a literature-based approach. It will reap HUGE benefits all the way around scholastically, and you'll love snuggling together while you do all that great reading. These years are the best during your homeschooling years. Enjoy watching them learn to love learning before they have to get into algebra, political science and world literature!

Anonymous said...

We've been homeschooling for 14 years now and Five In A Row is probably my favorite curriculum. We did "Jesse Bear" last year and my son really loved it. This week we have done "Katy No-Pocket" and had such fun with it, too. My children have such wonderful memories of our FIAR time, and so do I! It is a rich and full curriculum.

Don't you worry at all about your ability to homeschool your precious children - your heart for God and for your family is the most important ingredient for homeschooling - just rest in Him and allow Him to lead your plans and your days. I know you'll do great!


Anonymous said...

Oh Monica,
the pictures are great!! What a joy it it to see you take my measly words and turn them into such wonderful memories for your sweeties!! You have some precious days ahead of you friend, as you teach those little ones. I'm so honored to be able to watch from up close. And the cookies turned out even cuter than the picture you showed me!!
Much love,

Jenn said...

What a wonderful first week! I wish you many more fun-filled, memory-making weeks and years. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Your week looks so fun and sweet. You are creating wonderful learning experiences and memories!

Please do write a post about what you find lacking in books you get from the library and what kind of books you would like to see. I am a church librarian and I research a lot of books, but it IS very difficult to find appropriate ones for younger children. When they get older and are ready for chapter books, there is a larger selection available of good Christian titles.

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

Such cute ideas!

Anonymous said...

If you had any idea how much you inspire me... I love reading your blog. I'm just starting a very relaxed preschool this week with my kiddos and I have looked at BFIAR. I love seeing how you used it. Thanks for being an encouragement to other young moms by being the sweet, beautiful, creative mom that you are. God bless. Love, Dorcas

*carrie* said...

Mom's here--yay! We leave in a couple hrs and I wanted to quick check your blog. Those cookies look so yummy. Very fun theme.

Anonymous said...

What a fun way to foster a love of learning! :) Love, Mom

K said...

Hi! I'm a lurker, coming out of the shadows. I'm also a mom to 5, between 14 - 9 yo, and for the last 13 years, I do not go to the library without Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. SO GOOD! Keep it in your library bag! You'll find so many treasures, and skip so much nonsense! Press on, sister! Homeschooling is a fantastic journey! Blessings, Kristy

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Looks like fun! You have the greatest ideas! I have so wished I could be that genuinely creative.

Joy Cometh in the Morning said...

You are going to have som much fun homeschooling!!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to homeschooling. I have my own Five in a row(children)! :) We use Calvert and other things. You should try lapbooking. My kids love making them from Pre-K to 7th grade in our home. Jan Brett has a lot of nice books and she has many online resources with great detailed coloring pictures, etc. Check out my blog for free resources I find and much more on homeschooling. I lvoe your blog and check it often. Maybe you will sometime find some homeschooling things on my blog!??
Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a lovely week. I hope you keep enjoy homeschooling and fall into the routine well. My eldest DD is 5.5yrs and we are just starting to structure her learning a little more. At the moment we are doing a letter a day and an activity to do with that letter.

Julie said...

You are such a fun mom!

I understand your trepidation with beginning to homeschool. We ultimately decided it was not right for our family, but we did consider it. I think it's especially overwhelming to someone who was not homeschooled herself and has to get started.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Dorcas - thank you for your very kind words and sweet encouragement!

Jeremiah and Stephenie said...

My older children and I have made lifelong friends of many of the B4FIAR books. I have tried to aquire as many as possible for our own personal library. Time to pull out some of them to share with our younger children.

Kathy said...

I echo ruth--YOU ARE SUCH A FUN MOM!!! Wow! SOmehow though you dont put others to shame but inspire us--THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

I usually do not post, although I read your blog everyday. I just had to encourage you about homeschooling. I was surprised to read you were a little unsure if you could homeschool. All this time I have always viewed what you were doing with your girls as homeschooling. You have great ideas and are so attentive to your children's needs. I have homeschooled for 18 years and have many more to go (our youngest is 2 and our oldest is 23) and I must say I am inspired by your ideas and the time you invest in your children and family. You will be awesome at homeschooling!!!

Cheyenne Nichols said...

I'm so glad you're homeschooling! You're such a good Mom and a good person, you're kids will learn so much from you.
I've never heard of Five in a Row, I'll have to look into it for our little homeschool :)

Jenny said...

How wonderful! These are great ideas. I love Before Five in a Row. I use it with my kids.