Papa Piccolo Lapbook

Last week our FIAR title was Papa Piccolo. We really enjoyed this story! Here are the ideas we used for this book. And here are the pictures of our lapbook that we did. Most of our lapbook came from homeschool share.

The covers of their lapbooks:

The inside lefthand side: what cats eat, cats classification, drawing a cat and characteristics of kittens.

This is the right hand side of the inside: flag of Italy, vocabulary words, color wheel

The back side, where Italy is on the map.

Also on the back, we briefly discussed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and colored a picture of it.

Olympics & China Unit Study

I am in the middle of planning a super fun unit on the olympics and China. There are so many great ideas out there! So, I thought I would start compiling them here on the blog for anyone interested.

First of all, there is a fabulous lapbook for the summer olympics 2008 found on homeschool share, where else?!?!

Olympics Lapbook and Unit

In addition to learning about the Olymipcs we are going to spend some time learning about China. Here are some ideas I will be using for this.

Missionary Studies

We will learn about 2 missionaries who went to China: Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor. Already on my shelves are the books Hero Tales and Missionary Stories with the Millers. If you have these books, there are short stories about both of these missionaries in them! Also, there is a video I have read about on another blog that is about Gladys Aylward called The Inn of Sixth Happiness. I found this when browsing the library and so we haven’t seen it yet, but it is pretty short so we will give it a try!


*Cool Runnings

*The Inn of Sixth Happiness

*Chariots of Fire

*Families of China (a 30 minute video on the people of China I found at our library)


The First Olympic Games

Way to Go, Alex! (a story about the special olympics)

Hour of the Olympics

Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem about China

The Story of Chopsticks

The Yangtze

The Story About Ping (FIAR volume 1 title)

A Taste of China

Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics


Paint Chinese flag

Paper lanterns

Chinese hats

making a bamboo book out of popsicle sticks – check out this example on a blog I found

Create a tiny paper panda palace

Learning about China

*listen to traditional Chinese music on youtube

*learn about animals of China – specifically the panda – here is a lapbook on Giant Pandas

*learn to write our names in Chinese using this website

*learn to write the numbers in Chinese using this website or this one

*listen to the Chinese national anthem here


*for geography, follow the torch as it travels, finding each country on the map

*make a cake at the end of your studies – decorate the cake with the olympic rings made out of colored M&M’s

*choose a famous olympian athlete to study

*have your own mini-olympics, family olympics or maybe a day of olympic games with friends!

*watch the olympics on tv – of course! :)

*field trip – go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner!

*or maybe you’d like to try out a few Chinese recipes with your kids!

Papa Piccolo

Papa Piccolo, our FIAR title of the week, is a sweet story about a papa cat named Piccolo. The story takes place in Italy and has fabulous illustrations showing the different characteristics of Venice. Piccolo finds himself being followed by 2 little orphan kittens and in the end, he decides to “adopt” them as his own. This is such a sweet story, especially for my cat loving children! And what perfect timing that we have “adopted” a new, orphaned kitten just last week!

We actually started this book over the weekend when we had some spare time with a bee sting and very swollen foot and ankle. (Hannah.) We have read the book, which we all enjoyed; we also found Italy on the map and placed our story disk. We colored an Italian flag and also looked at pictures of all the waterways and gondolas in Italy.

HERE is a neat blog that shows a video of a little girl counting in Italian, there is another one with her saying the colors in Italian. We will be watching this later in the week.

HERE are the homeschool share resources for this book. We will be discussing primary and complementary colors by coloring the color wheel found on hss. Also on hss, I did a little poking around and found some lapbook components on cats from various other books. There wasn’t a lapbook for Papa Piccolo, but there are lapbooks for at least 2 other books about cats, so I printed some of the lapbook components about cats in general off for us to do.

And in addition to learing a little bit about Italy and doing some art lessons with color, we will be learning more about CATS! We have checked out several books about cats and are learning various facts about them as well. We are learning how to draw a cat from our Usborne How-to-Draw book, too.

Turtle Lapbook

I am finally getting pictures of our turtle lapbooks on the blog! Remember the turtle unit we did a few weeks ago? Well, this is the lapbook that went along with that unit. (if you are wanting to learn about turtles, keep a watch on HSS for when all the new units and lapbooks come out!) ;) I also hope to get a few pictures of the real turtles we see on our nature walks inside the lapbooks, I need to remember to get them printed off.

The front of the lapbooks:

The turtle vocabulary words:

The inside of the lapbook:

Nature walks

I have posted before about the wildlife observatory spot that is just down the street from us. Well, we have been visiting our spot more and more frequently. Usually at least 1-2 times a week; daddy has even been getting in on the fun! Everytime we go we look for our regular friends: the turtles.

Sometimes we see them out sunning, sometimes not. One time daddy walked down with the girls and they said they counted 14 turtles! Sometimes when we go we only see 1 or 2. This past time we went we saw some new little friends: a mommy duck with her ducklings! That was pretty exciting! We have also seen some birds that we’ve never seen before, as well as many wildflowers that peak our interest. We believe we even found a patch of rhubarb growing down there.

Does anyone know what this bird is? This is as close a picture as I could get. It’s a black bird but there is bright orange/reddish either on the wings or just on the side by each wing. You can especially see the bright orange when they fly! We have seen quite a few of these birds down there everytime we go! Update: Jaclyn wins the guessing game: it is a red-winged blackbird! :)

As well as taking nature walks, daddy and Uncle Peter have also taken the kids fishing down there several times! The kids LOVE this! Each time all of the kids catch several fish! It’s pretty amazing when they come back telling me about the fish they caught! Of course, we are putting them back…but it’s the thrill of the catch, they are so excited! And I think it’s a great way to spend the afternoon…with daddy and Uncle Peter, a few cousins, out in nature.

I’m so thankful for our little “spot.” So many great things about it…close enough to walk, lots of nature to explore, and we have always been the only ones down there! Isn’t it beautiful?

Charlotte Mason says:

“That the child should be taken daily, if possible, to scenes—moor or meadow,

park, common, or shore—where he may find new things to examine, and so add

to his store of real knowledge. That the child’s observation should be directed to

flower or boulder, bird or tree; that, in fact, he should be employed in gathering

the common information which is the basis of scientific knowledge” (Vol. 1, p.


and this:

“Out-of-door nature-study lays the foundation for science” (Vol. 3, p. 281).I just don’t think there is any better way to learn about God’s creation…than to be out there in it. :)