Giant Pandas (China & Olympic study)

This morning, though we are home from church due to sickness, we had the most exciting thing happen! We are continuing our learning about China and this week are learning about pandas. So, as we are surfing the channels, at noon Animal Planet starts a special on Giant Pandas! How great is that?!?! David is making fun of me for being so excited, but I just think it’s like a little present from God! :)

This show was really neat because we had just read the book, Giant Pandas, by Gail Gibbons and discussed how tiny baby pandas are. We compared how big baby pandas are – 3 ounches! to how big the girls were when they were born – 8lb 10oz, 8lb 12oz. Human babies are giants compared to panda babies! And on this show we actually got to see a baby panda being born! Amazing! We saw its pink skin with no fur, then we saw it start to get the white and black fur. It was so neat!

Giant Pandas

The mommy panda takes such good care of her baby! Whenever the nurses at the panda place would take the baby to check up on her, weigh her, etc, the mommy would pace until the baby was back. And the baby panda would cry, just like a human baby, until its mommy was holding it again. :) So sweet!

We have been working on bits and pieces of the Giant Panda lapbook found on homeschool share. Learning about pandas has been so interesting! Hannah especially enjoyed watching the special on Animal Planet. At one point she said, “I think I know why that lady loves her job…she loves getting to see those pandas everyday. I would love to get to help take care of pandas too! I wish I could touch and hold a baby panda.”

July 4th Lapbook

This week we have been working on a lapbook for July 4th. We have read a few patriotic books about our country, reviewed the pledge of allegience, learned about what it means to vote, learned how old you have to be to vote and when each of them will be old enough to vote, we discussed the 2 presidential candidates and also reviewed the characteristics of our flag.

All the links to the places I printed off each of these things is from this post on our July 4th unit.

Here is the front of the lapbook

Here is the inside

And on the back we put a rebus picture page of the pledge of allegience.

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.