December 1, 2009

We're Leaving on a Jet Plane

Inspired by this blog, I've decided to take my kids on a journey to a different country each month. Each trip will come complete with a stamp in their passports and a plane ticket to their destination country. I've been wanting to do a unit study on a different country every month since I started homeschooling, I just never found anything inspiring enough to make me actually start on it until I read Janet's blog. I'm going to have the kids make little scrapbooks about their travels with the stuff that appeals to them most from each country's visit.

The girls fill out their passports

Scrapbooks, plane tickets, and passports.

So for the month of December we'll be traveling to Japan. It's a country that has interested me since I was in middle school and got to know some Japanese exchange students. My brother is living over there now and my girls are fascinated by that and want to know more about the country.

On day one we learned where Japan is, what their flag looks like, counting to five, how to greet someone, and a bit about the culture. I got really into the airplane tickets and had them sit down and turned on a sound bit of a plane taking off and they thought it was so fun! It's the simple things, I tell ya.

In history we are learning about ancient Egypt! I am really excited to delve into this part of history with the kids. History has become so much more interesting to me now that I am homeschooling. I get to read about this stuff without the aid of textbooks which are just so dry and boring! We get to just explore things on our own terms and at our own pace. We get to dig deeper if we want to or just get the basics if something doesn't really appeal to us. Anyway, I have all kinds of fun things planned to enhance our learning experience. Today we just kicked back with some books and explored the pages. The kids were really interested in the artifacts and the mummies so I'm anxious to start digging deeper and getting into the activities.

It was a fairly relaxed school day. The weather is turning today and every time this happens it takes me a little time to recover mentally. Cloudy, yucky, wet days are not my most productive times, but rather than hole up in bed, as I'd love to do, I just make it an easy day. We look at books, we read stories, sing a little (this month we're learning Christmas carols), do a quiet art project, play board games, and watch a movie. So that's what we did today. Just had a peaceful learning day.

The other night the girls and I made a list of things we want to do over the next 24 days to celebrate Christmas. We came up with 24 ideas, one for each day, some are very simple things that we will do at home and some are outings that we'd like to fit in. Here is our list:

*Bake sugar cookies to decorate
* Bake gingerbread man cookies
*Create gingerbread houses
*Write a letter to Santa
*Drive around to look at Christmas light displays
*Make a Christmas tree craft
*Watch A Christmas Carol in the theater
*Have a Christmas movie marathon in our pajamas
*Make a Christmas countdown paper chain
*Make a paper plate Santa craft
*Make Christmas cards
*Family game night
*Fancy dinner at home
*Go to Santa's Village
*Go to Christmas program at church
*Make Christmas ornaments
*Go to a restaurant
*Birthday party for Jesus
*Snow day with hot chocolate
*Gift wrapping party
*Act out the Christmas Story of Jesus birth
*Make first snow fall fudge

For day one, we clearly needed to do the countdown chain. I used this craft and created our own with the girls. It didn't turn out as cute as this one for whatever reason, but still, it works.

Yesterday we crossed "First Snow Fall Fudge" off our list. Yep. The ground is officially white now and probably will be for the next five months. I'm not a fan of it but I try to make the best of it. The kids enjoy it anyway. Me, I'll be cooped up indoors for most of the winter!

The return of the white stuff.

My own personal snow angel.

My kitchen helper.

Lots and lots of stirring involved in making fudge!

Her favorite part was unwrapping the chocolates (and then eating one).
I think the best thing to do after an afternoon of snow fun is to snuggle up under the electric blanket and watch a little TV.

~ Make each day count! ~

flag printouts
airline ticket


  1. dude. lemme know if you need anything for japan! you should have told me :(

  2. well I just decided on a whim. if there's anything you think I should share with them, let me know!

  3. This is SO great, Ashley! I'm so glad you've found such great inspiration, and that you're so motivated! Those kids are very lucky!


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