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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mom, What Happens When We Pass Away

While we were driving in the car last night, our 4-year-old daughter asks,

"Mom, what happens when we pass away..."
There was more to her question, and she was pretty concerned and looked worried.

My husband looked at me with a concerned "I have no idea what to say" type of look.

While I thought of what to say, I prayed to God to give me wisdom in my answer.

I knew both of our daughters were listening and I wanted to make sure they knew they were safe. We have talked about this before, but this time the question was coming from her, and she was ready to really understand the answer. She needed an answer... An answer she could understand.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
"Give the butterfly a kiss goodbye!"
Then, the butterfly (she had also held as a caterpillar) takes it's first flutter into freedom and kisses her "goodbye"!
I then see visions in my memory of my daughters' beautiful, little hands holding baby caterpillars and later emerged butterflies from the same caterpillars. One of the blessings of homeschooling is to share the joy of learning and experiencing true understanding in real life.

This is the experience they needed to understand "passing away".

In the back of my mind, when we did this Life Cycle of the Butterfly study, I was also imagining  how I would later explain how our spirits change, as we emerge from our earthly bodies, and into our heavenly bodies.

Life Cycle of the Butterfly... Like the Life Cycle of Our Spirits

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Butterfly Celebration
Our butterflies fly free after we watched them grow from caterpillars, chrysalis to butterflies.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Butterflies fly free!

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Feeding butterflies oranges before they fly away.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Feeding butterflies grapes and oranges.
Helping the butterflies get food before they fly away.

Honey, remember when I got you the baby caterpillars and you got to hold them?"

"Yes, they were soooo cute! I miss them."
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
The caterpillars crawled to the top, turned upside down, wiggled around and created their chrysalis right in front of our eyes!
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Here are the same caterpillars in the chrysalis. You can see that they are changing inside.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Painted Lady chrysalis growing and changing over time.
We keep the chrysalis safe inside the butterfly pavilion. All of our caterpillars became butterflies! Yeah! We were so careful and made sure they were all safe while they grew into butterflies.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
"That's how God feels about us. He just holds us in His hands and loves us."

"Well, remember when your little caterpillars starting wiggling around and created a chrysalis right in front of you? They were hanging upside down and we knew they were changing inside?"

"Yes, I miss them."

"Well, what happened after they got out of the chrysalis?"

"They became butterflies!"

"Yes, that is like what happens to us when we leave our bodies. When we believe in Jesus, we see His beautiful light and we can go to heaven. We are more beautiful in heaven. We feel free and we feel God's love. Our life in heaven is even longer than our life here. Wouldn't it be fun to fly like a butterfly?"

"Yes, but my favorite is the caterpillar. I love caterpillars."

"And that's okay, honey. That's how God feels about you. He loves you, but you need to know you are safe when you leave your chrysalis. Our body is like the butterflies chrysalis. Do you understand?"

"Yes, but I love caterpillars more."

That's okay, honey. You can love caterpillars. I will get you more baby caterpillars. Let's make a greenhouse with caterpillars and butterflies! That way the butterflies will have more baby caterpillars again and again. You can keep having more baby caterpillars."

(My husband looks at me with his eyes wide open.)

"Yeah! That is going to be so fun!" (Both daughters are so happy.)

"Wow, that was really good," my husband says in a shocked voice.


Free Heaven Jar Printable Activity for You From Mother Goose Time

Heaven Prayer Jar Activity

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Beautiful, little daughter... I love you.

Beautiful, little daughter... I love you.
Remember when we were saying a prayer for the family we were making this for and we did not even know God's light was shining down on us.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mother Goose Time- How to Make a Zebra Craft and Giraffe Footprint Craft

This month, we are learning about going on a safari with Mother Goose Time!

The girls have enjoyed going through all of the activities on the Mother Goose Time January safari topic web. Each day we study a new topic. You can see "Packing Up" under "Topic" on Day 2 (right side of bulletin board below).

You can see our Mother Goose Time calendar and bulletin board here. This is a foldable and portable bulletin board, so you can take it with you while traveling and teaching.

They made their passports, packed a pretend suitcase, studied the map and went on a pretend safari.

Packing for the safari.
Passports and packing list. Checking off each thing as it goes in the suitcase.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

I didn't even realize this until now, but this makeup box was given to
me by their paternal grandma and their maternal grandma gave her the bear inside.
As you can see, each thing to pack is actually a picture. You can see the pants there right on top.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

We talked about how important it is to remember to pack your passport before you leave.

After this, they actually created their own airplane out of cardboard and my youngest daughter pretended she was a pilot.
She really wants to be a pilot already! Wow! She talks about it a lot.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Mother Goose Time packing song.
January's safari topic to sing while packing suitcase for the safari.
Studying the Map Before They Leave on the Safari
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
"Let's point to Africa on the map."
"Look a zebra, lion and cheetah!"
"Let's go see the animals."

African Animals

Now, they are learning details about all the animals found on the game reserve in Africa.

They are learning that animals in Africa are different than animals here in the United States. Of course, they have been to the zoo and have seen giraffes and zebras in person, but I think it's time to make another trip to the zoo towards the end of this month to wrap up our safari topic.

One thing I love about homeschooling is showing the girls things in the real world, not just in books (like in the classroom). Yes, we love books, but there is nothing like experiencing the real thing. So, off to the zoo we will go. I will surprise them on the perfect morning. :)
See... These are animals that can be found on a safari in Africa.
Matching Game by Mother Goose Time.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Favorite African Safari Animal Crafts

Two of their favorite Mother Goose Time animal crafts have been:
  • Zebra Craft
  • Giraffe Footprint Craft

Zebra Chalk Stripes Craft

Explain that all zebra stripes are different, just as our fingerprints are different.

So, all of our zebras' stripes will be different.

  • Light blue cardstock or construction paper
  • Black cardstock or construction paper
  • Googly eyes (1 for each child, since it is a side profile view.)
  • Chalk
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Green crayon
  1. Draw the grass on the light blue paper.
  2. Cut a zebra shape out of the black paper.
  3. Glue the zebra shape onto the light blue paper.
  4. Draw stripes on with the crayon.
  5. Glue on the googly eye.

Zebra Art from Mother Goose Time
By 8-year-old
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Zebra Art from Mother Goose Time
By 4-year-old
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Giraffe Footprint Craft

  • Blue paper
  • Yellow Paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • Googly Eyes (2 per child)
  • Brown yarn
  • Pencil

  1. Use the pencil to trace each child's foot. (This is the face of the giraffe.) Explain that we are all different. That is good, because the world would be boring if everyone was exactly the same.
  2. Cut and glue a strip of yellow paper onto the blue paper. This is the neck.
  3. Then, cut out the child's foot tracing to make the face.
  4. Cut and glue on triangular pieces to make the ears.
  5. Draw the face.
  6. Draw the spots.
  7. Glue on the googly eyes.
  8. Glue the yarn onto the neck.
Giraffe Footprint Craft
Created by 8-year-old
Copyright by Caroline Brooke

Giraffe Footprint Craft
Created by 4-year-old
Copyright Caroline Brooke

Thanks, Mother Goose Time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Homeschool Routine Saved by Mother Goose Time

Mother Goose Time safari animals on a Christmas napkin.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Now that Christmas and New Years is over, we have started getting back to our homeschool routine.  We have added some fun, new activities and it is working out great.

The girls were sad that it was over, but as we started back to our routine, I could see they were happy with all our new activities planned.

Cleaning Up

They love to use their dad's shaving cream to clean their desks. I did this when I was a K-2nd grade teacher, too. Kids love it and it makes the room smell so good. It does an excellent job getting the desks clean. I dare you... Try it!

Of course, you will need to draw pictures and write nice notes...
Cleaning Desks with Shaving Cream is Fun
"Thank you God for Dad, Mom and Sis."
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Cleaning Desks with Shaving Cream is Fun!
Here is Blue Bear, Blue Bear
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

We put away all of our Christmas decorations. Last year, they cried when we took the tree down. Fortunately, this year they had fun taking it down. It was so much easier having both of them help me this year! They had lots more questions about the ornaments and where each ornament was from.
This is going to get easier with their amazing help. I let them know I was thankful for all of their help. They made it fun.

We talked about going to Hobby Lobby and getting some fun Valentine's Day decorations as we put the Christmas decorations away. We ended up getting an adorable Valentine's Day decoration for our front door and a Valentine's day puppy craft. That really helped make the transition into January easier. I let them know they had Valentine's Day to look forward to. Plus, we got our January Mother Goose Time box! I explained that we would be going on a safari this month! They were happy about that.
Warm Fuzzy Valentine by Caroline Brooke
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

One night, I had the idea to surprise them and make these cute, little warm fuzzies. I put the red one on my husband's coffee maker. I put the pink and blue ones on the girls' desks. I chose their favorite colors. They were so happy. I glued little notes on the side, inbetween the heart feet and the fuzzy. I thought this would be a good way to show them that I love them. I didn't want them to feel like all the fun was over... I want January and February to be fun for them, too.

One Warm Fuzzy for Everyone in the Family
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Even though Mother Goose Time is a preschool program we are using for our youngest daughter, it has really been nice for my older daughter, because she can relax and take a break from her 3rd grade level work and complete some fun activities with her little sister. She enjoys doing arts and crafts, singing the songs, playing the games and lots of other fun activities.
Mother Goose Time
This month, we are learning all about going on a safari.
Here is a song for day #2.
Every month we get a new ring of songs that go with our theme.

Bulletin Board

Here is our Mother Goose Time bulletin board, which we use all together in the morning. The girls like to say morning prayers, the pledge and then write in their morning journals.

My older daughter writes the date in cursive. She also writes and draws a picture about anything on her mind.

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Mother Goose Time Bulletin Board
This is portable, so you can move it around... You could even travel with it!

Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Blue Bear traveling to other planets.
She made this all on her own.
She loves airplanes and she is interested in space travel.

Studying and Concentrating... Serious looks. :)
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Then, we get started on all our academic work. A few days a week, we go to sports classes (Krav Maga and/or swimming). We also go to Bible studies and other activities with our friends.

Showing We Care While Following Routines

I was thinking about how we can show that we care for our kids, while still following our routine. That is why I think all routines need to be flexible.

Pink Warm Fuzzy
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
For example, if your child wakes up and they had a horrible dream and they start to talk about it during morning journal time, you may think of a more appropriate activity to help them be able to process what is really going on with them.

Maybe they need to say more prayers?
Maybe they need to call someone to talk about something that needs resolution?
Maybe they need to address an issue that day that is unexpected...
Like the day that our cat died.

On those days, we need to decide if it is healthier and more appropriate to follow the routine or to just stop... Listen... Care... And address the issue at hand in a constructive way. Things come up everyday, so I've learned to be flexible, so they know I care about them...

Truthfully, that is at the heart of taking the initiative and teaching our children ourselves. We need to be flexible for our children, so they grow to their fullest potential. We can create the best environment for them to learn to their fullest potential, based on their needs, talents and strengths.

On those days, I'll remember to get out our warm fuzzies.

Blue Warm Fuzzy
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Looking at the Year/Planning

I love the "My Calendar" that Mother Goose Time sent out! Look, it has a place for handprints at the beginning and end of the year.

I had the girls show me the following on their calendars:
  • Their birthday
  • Today's date
  • A week
  • A month
  • A year
She felt like this little doll matched her calendar, so she set her next to it while she worked.
Writing her name at 4-years-old.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

My Calendar by Mother Goose Time
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Enjoy Everyday and Make it Fun

We made passports and the girls enjoyed looking on their maps to see all the places they could travel to...

We stamped their passports after they rolled the dice with all the continents.

They chose a country in the continent and found out the name of the country.
They used their Leap Reader pens to read the map.

Finding the names of states using the Leap Reader Pen.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

We rolled the dice and saw Europe.
Then, she colored Europe in her passport, stamped it and found a country in Europe on the map.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Asia on the continent dice and passport.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

What country do you want to go to in Europe?
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

I colored South America red in my passport to match the picture on the dice.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

I want to go to Brazil in South America.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Let's stamp your passport and write a "B" for Brazil.
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Studying... Concentrating...
3rd Grade Work is Challenging
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Peace Party

I love that Mother Goose time sent a packet of activities for a Peace Party. One of the activities inside was this Peaceful Poses activity. The girls spin and find out which exercise we all do together. It's a fun way to get exercise as a family.

Peaceful Poses Game by Mother Goose Time
Time to do the surfer pose!
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke
Turn the spinner.

Looks like we need to do the surfer pose!

Here she is doing the surfer pose.

Surfer Pose
Photo Copyright Caroline Brooke

Looks like we found a fun activity to add to our morning routine, Peaceful Poses.

Thank you, Mother Goose Time!

Seriously, without all the fun packed into our Mother Goose Time box, I would have a heavy burden and the girls would not have nearly as much fun.