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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

10 Youtube Videos to Learn about Thanksgiving

10 Youtube Videos to Learn about Thanksgiving // In Our Pond // homeschooling // theme unit // educational videos

Next week is Thanksgiving!  All of our regular homeschool activities will be cancelled, so I'll have a whole 3 days to fill with seasonal fun.  I'm sure there are lots of things I could gather for the holiday, but I decided to do videos because my kids love them.  Dragonfly (age 7) enjoyed helping me screen these videos and put together this list of historically accurate (as far as I know) videos of the Pilgrims, Wampanoags, and the first Thanksgiving.  I'm hoping that this list gives homeschoolers and teachers lots of jumping off places for their own good discussions.


17th Century English Village

Adults at Plymouth Village talk about the structure and defense of the town, how the houses were built, and the pilgrim way of life.  A solder talks about his armor and weapons, a man addresses tools of the time, and a woman talks about home life and gardening.  I'm sure your kids will have many questions after watching this video.



Scholastic Virtual Field Trip

This video is a discussion between some historical actors from the Plymouth village and a moderator.  It's a bit dry and would be better suited for teens and adults.  It contains a lot of the same information as the other videos.



Wampanoag Village Tour

Most stories of Thanksgiving only talk about the Wampanaog tribe in the context of how they helped the Pilgrims.  This video gives an interesting look at life in the village, how their houses were set up, children's toys, and their clothing.  People of all ages will be fascinated by the demonstration of how they built their canoes.  It would make a good learning project too!



History of the First Thanksgiving

The pictures in this video are beautiful and calming.  The tone is slightly religious, but not overtly.  Once again, I think the interest level would be a bit on the older age range.  While the other videos focus on life in the Pilgrim village, this video looks more at their motivation for leaving and the Mayflower.



Pilgrim Life

Children at the Plymouth Colony to 16th century chores and play games to show modern kids how life looked during that time period.  This one is also done by Scholastic, which was surprising to me.  My kids enjoyed watching them interact with each other and their parents.



The Wampanoag Way

Similar to the Pilgrim video above, this video two modern Wampanoag girls in their 21st century life and their 16th century village.  See them make jewelry, grind food, and spend time with their parents.  It's a good compliment to the Pilgrim video and the Village Tour from above.



Crash Course History- When is Thanksgiving?

This video is directed at middle school age kids and above.  It contains a bit of language and crudeness, but it's interesting and covers more topics than the basic happy Pilgrim story.  I recommend the entire series for older kids.




The History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

This video sort of reminds me of the parade scene in Jingle All the Way, as it shows you what happens behind the scenes of the big event.  I love seeing the old balloons, the costumes, bits of historic parades, and more.  It's fun to watch everyone rehearse the marching bands, balloon puppeteering, and how they deal with problems.  If you're family are fans of the 34th Street Miracle, then you'll enjoy this special documentary.  I also found a 1959 Macy's Parade recording if historical parades interest you.



How Cranberry Jelly is Made

My family makes fun of me, ,but the jelled cranberries are one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.  Did you know that it takes 16 months for cranberries to ripen?  I learned that in this video!  Find out more about the American berry and share what else you know in the comments below.



How Canned Pumpkin is Made

Another staple of Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie.  Find out in this video how canned pumpkin gets to your grocery cart with this short video.


Do you have more to share?  Comment below!




10 Youtube Videos to Learn about Thanksgiving // In Our Pond // homeschooling // theme unit // educational videos // Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade // Pilgrims // Wampanaog // Mayflower











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10 Youtube Videos to Learn about Thanksgiving // In Our Pond // homeschooling // theme unit // educational videos // Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade // Pilgrims // Wampanaog // Mayflower


Thursday, November 8, 2018

250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Homeschool Year

250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year // In Our Pond

After way too many Christmas posts, I'm finally back to writing about homeschool stuff (although you shouldn't assume Christmas posts are done).  I think all the list making last month has got me in a list-making mood.  Today's article is a list of 250 ideas you can use for your homeschool theme units.  Since homeschoolers learn all year long, there are lists for every month.  If you have more to add, leave a comment!


20 Theme Ideas for January as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
JANUARY
1- Penguins
2- Polar Bears
3- Snow Life Cycle
4- Human Blood (donor month)
5- Antarctica Continent
6- Narnia
7- Snow Adaptive Animals
8- Manners (hot tea month)
9- Rocks
10- Yeast
11- Fitness
12- Italy (Jan 4 is spaghetti day)
13- Little House in the Big Woods
14- Nursery Rhymes
15- Constellations
16- Winnie the Pooh (Jan 18 is his day)
17- Wound Care
18- Winter Survival
19- Sequences
20- Marine Birds



20 Theme Ideas for February as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
FEBRUARY
1- Love
2- Family
3- World Geography
4- Black History
5- Biological Hearts
6- Baking (it's Bake for Family month)
7- Dental Health
8- African Continent
9- Perfume Making
10- Martin Luther King/Civil Rights
11- Chocolate
12- Blood Types
13- Tooth Fairy
14- Candy
15- DNA
16- Teeth
17- History of Super Bowl
18- Gemstones
19- Animal Teeth
20- Gold and Metals



20 Theme Ideas for March as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
MARCH
1- St. Patrick's Day
2- Catholic Saints
3- Ireland
4- Circles (3-14 is Pi Day)
5- Seeds
6- Human Brain
7- Nutrition
8- Water Cycle
9- Women's History (March is women's month)
10- Music Theory
11- Dr. Seuss (March is his month)
12- Plant Life Cycle
13- The Day the Crayons Quit (March 31 is crayon day)
14- Irish Myths
15- History of Cereal (March 7 is cereal day)
16- Ellis Island
17- Rainbows
18- History of Barbie (March 9 is her day)
19- Elizabeth I
20- Irish Migration to US



20 Theme Ideas for April as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
APRIL
1- Easter
2- Bug Life Cycles
3- Unicorns (April 9 is unicorn day)
4- Chickens
5- Bunnies/Rabbits
6- Butterfly Life Cycle
7- Color Theory
8- Guitars (April is guitar month)
9- Jazz History
10- Superheros (April 28 is superhero day)
11- Passover
12- Autism (April is autism month)
13- Practical Jokes
14- Inventions (April is invention month)
15- Frog Life Cycle
16- Baseball
17- Zoo (April 8 is "zoo lovers" day)
18- Poetry
19- Pets
20- Immigration (April 17 is "Ellis Island family history' day)



20 Theme Ideas for May as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
MAY
1- Moms
2- Memorial Day
3- Asparagus
4- Foster Care/Orphans
5- Parts of a Bicycle
6- Asian American history
7- Pandas
8- The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
9- Asian Continent
10- The Military
11- Landforms
12- Fairy Tales
13- Types of Rice
14- Cars
15- Flowers
16- Star Life Cycle
17- Community Helpers
18- First Aid
19- Flags and Meanings
20- Star Wars (May the Fourth)



20 Theme Ideas for June as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
JUNE
1- Mail System
2- Fractured Fairy Tales
3- Doctor Office
4- Aquariums (June is aquarium month)
5- Solar System
6- How Marshmallows are Made
7- The Ozark Trail
8- Milk (June is dairy month)
9- History of Graham Crackers
10- Water Safety
11- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
12- Camping
13- History of Disney
14- Oregon Trail
15- Donuts (1st Friday in June)
16- Sewing
17- Freshwater Fish
18- Dams
19- Black Bears vs Grizzlies
20- Strawberries



20 Theme Ideas for July as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
JULY
1- America
2- North American Animals
3- Eagles
4- Civil War
5- The Sun
6- Beavers
7- Fireworks
8- How to Watercolor
9- Best Lemonades
10- History of Hot Dogs
11- County Fair
12- Ice Cream
13- Postage Stamps
14- Classic Cars
15- Drive-In Movies
16- History of McDonalds (July 24 is drive through day)
17- Amelia Earhart
18- Pioneers
19- History of the Ferris Wheel
20- Blueberries with Sal



20 Theme Ideas for August as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
AUGUST
1- Beach
2- Ocean Animals
3- Marine Mammals
4- Ocean Invertebrates
5- Tide Pool Animals
6- Ocean Food Chain
7- Volcanoes
8- Human Eye
9- School vs Homeschool
10- Hurricanes
11- The United Nations
12- Seashells
13- Eye Doctor
14- Watermelon (Aug 3)
15- Lighthouses
16- Bees and Honey
17- Peach Life Cycle
18- Route 66
19- How a Lawn Mower Works
20- Fire



20 Theme Ideas for September as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
SEPTEMBER
1- Apple Life Cycle
2- Farm Animals
3- Squirrels
4- Seeds We Eat
5- Football
6- John Deere
7- Knitting
8- Latin America
9- Classic Music
10- How Foods Grow
11- Square Dancing
12- Newspapers
13- Spanish (Sept is Hispanic Heritage month)
14- How a Piano Works
15- Peanuts
16- Wild West
17- History of the Teddy Bear
18- Pirates (Sept 19)
19- Elephants
20- Hobbits (Sept 22)



20 Theme Ideas for October as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
OCTOBER
1- Halloween
2- Pumpkin Life Cycle
3- Why Leaves Change
4- The Moon
5- Bats
6- Spiders
7- Animal Migration
8- About Me (Oct is "I'm Just Me" month)
9- Genetics
10- Groceries (Oct is "eat better" month)
11- Food Pyramid
12- Cooking
13- Downs Syndrome (Oct is DS month)
14- Nocturnal Animals
15- 5 Senses (Oct is "sensory awareness" month)
16- European Continent
17- Emotions (Oct is "emotional wellness" month)
18- Owls
19- Monster Trucks
20- Money (Oct is "financial planning" month)



20 Theme Ideas for November as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
NOVEMBER
1- Turkeys
2- Native Americans (Nov is Native American History month)
3- Pilgrims
4- Thankfulness
5- Hibernation
6- Adoption (Nov is adoption month)
7- Family History
8- North American Continent
9- Veterans
10- The Mitten story
11- Aviation (Nov is aviation history month)
12- Germs and Sickness
13- The Mayflower
14- Diabetes (Nov is diabetes month)
15- Bear Says Thanks book
16- Kindness (Nov has World Kindness Day)
17- Light
18- Mickey Mouse (Nov 18 is his birthday)
19- Electricity
20- Macy's Parade



20 Theme Ideas for December as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
DECEMBER
1- Christmas
2- Microwaves (Dec. 6)
3- Nutcracker Ballet
4- Gingerbread Man
5- Nativity
6- The Grinch
7- Christmas Cookies
8- Babies/Mammals
9- World Holidays
10- Needs vs Wants
11- Hanukkah
12- Hot Chocolate
13- Pearl Harbor and WW2
14- Christmas Around the World
15- Gingerbread Pirates
16- Winter Solstice
17- Candle Making
18- Snowmen
19- Advent
20- A Christmas Carol



20 Theme Ideas for Bonus as part of the 250 Theme Unit Ideas for Your Entire Homeschool Year blog post // In Our Pond
BONUS
1- Fungus
2- Sharks
3- Trains
4- Gold Rush
5- Natural Cleaning Chemicals
6- Computers
7- Immunizations
8- How __ is Made
9- Mold
10- Transcontinental Railroad
11- Chinese Americans
12- Interment Camps
13- American Bison
14- Robots
15- Warbird Airplanes
16- The Industrial Revolution
17- American Prisons
18- Protestant Reformation
19- Lego
20- The Printing Press








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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Elf Photo Clothesline



I'm constantly inspired by My Froggy Stuff's creations.  Today's elf printable is a Christmas version of her Tumbler Room photo clothesline.  There are sixty tiny Poloroid-style pictures to use for your own doll crafting, room decorating, or scrapbooking.  Watch My Froggy Stuff's video to see how to do the miniature clothespins and hang the pictures.


Miniature Christmas Pictures for a Photo Clothesline Printable // In Our Pond // Elf on the Shelf Ideas

The original pictures came from the royalty-free website, Pixabay, and were gathered and formatted in my digital scrapbook program.  The miniature pictures are 0.8x0.7 but can be scaled up or down by changing the settings on your printer.  There is also a blank version and a captions version.





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Free Printable Christmas Pictures for Elf on the Shelf Crafts and Activities // In Our Pond


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

DIY Suitcase House for Travelling Elves


Today is the last day of the "All Wrapped Up" blog series for the year!  I really enjoyed it this year and found it much easier to do than last year when I did it during November.  The best part is that I still haven't run out of topics to write about!  I know I'll be doing at least a few more posts this year before Christmas.  But first, my magnum opus... an Elf Suitcase Dollhouse!



I have been planning this travelling elf house for over a year!  I had the wood case picked out since last December and waited all year until I bought it.  The wall pieces are held in only by their own friction, so I can easily remodel it next year (haha) or replace broken parts as needed.

I created the structures with 1/8 inch foam boards.  The left side is only 1 inch deep, so the the build-in needed to be only 3/4" deep.  The kitchen area isn't quite as detailed as I had hoped to make if the inset was deeper, but I'm pleased with it.  I started with the back piece and measured out the shelves and counter.

Next, I wallpapered the subway tile with scrapbook paper.  I cut the side and top pieces for the box and installed them, then cut the shelves and covered them with scrapbook paper.  Everything was hot glued together as I made them.

Using a doll, I measured for the counter height and used a plastic bowl to decide the depth.  I needed the counter to fold up because of the depth restrictions.  Clear tape on the subway tile and counter made the joint for folding it up.

For the cabinet doors, I used wood skinny sticks and hot glued them to a piece of computer paper.  Then, I painted them red with acrylic paint.  The main part of the cabinet was covered with computer paper, then I hot glued the doors onto the face.  The piece was attached to the counter top with a piece of clear tape on the underside to make a joint.  Another piece of foam board was measured and cut to go on the end.  When I need to put it away, the side piece can get stored elsewhere and the counter gets folded up.  Easy and magical at the same time.




The living room area of the dollhouse was a lot more complicated to make, but I can't give measurements since the sizes will depend on the box you use.  The bottom section has a storage bench made from foam board and scrapbook paper.  The top opens for storing the doll bedding and other accessories.

The top drawers are hiding built-in lighting made from mini Christmas lights.  I tried to take a picture, but the lighting made it very challenging.  The left handed drawer can slide all the way out to turn the lights on and off.  Both drawers can be used for storage.

The floating shelves are scraps of foam board covered in scrapbook paper.  The elf sign is a free printable I added to the blog last week.  Just like the cupboard doors, the picture frame is made from skinny sticks.  The drawer pulls are gum drop buttons (which I also used on my gingerbread onesie).  Now, I get to decorate and get it filled with accessories!



Other Props I've Bought
- spoons, forks, bowl, plates, and mugs from Miniature Sweet
- peppermint cane slices from Miniature Sweet
- craft scissors from Miniature Sweet
- cake pops from Sweet Pea Toys Mini
- Christmas Candy from Sweet Pea Toys Mini
- candy canes from Slime Supplies Craft










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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tasty Food Miniatures Your Elf Can Make and You Can Eat



Miniature Foods, especially party foods are very popular lately.  If you search Pinterest, you can find miniature corn dogs, hamburger sliders, cotton candy, and more.  I have been thinking a lot about our Elf on the Shelf and how neat it would be if she could make miniature foods that we could actually eat!  This is what I've found....




Festive Mini Cakes // Snackworks
Layers of vanilla wafers and jam make up these tiny treats.  Dip them in melted chocolate for an easy miniature layer cake that's perfect for elves.

Gingerbread House // Uncommon Designs Online
I am in love with this adorable miniature gingerbread house!  What a sweet, petite treat to go with coffee or cocoa.  Decorate them elaborately, or leave them simply adorable.

Mini Cake Pops // Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats
These cake pops were part of a whole elf party.  See the full spread by clicking on the link.

Caramel Apple Bites // My Litter
Although, we typically think of caramel apples as a Halloween food, these tiny sweets are perfect for anytime of the year.

Petit Fours // Craftsy
Pound cake and chocolate melts are the main ingredients in these adorable doll-sized cakes.  Make in Christmas colors with candy sprinkles to make them more festive!

Elf Donuts // Learning as I Sew
I debated whether to add this one to the list since it's almost an "official" elf food.  The idea is all over Pinterest and you can get printable donut boxes as well.  Of course, the best is if the elf also produces human sized treats as well.  Is he a good elf or a bad one for bringing donuts in the house?

Store-Bought Miniature Foods // Where Do We Find the Time
It doesn't get much easier than store-bought food.  The contrast between the regular sized foods and the mini foods are so fun.  Lay them out in a buffet like the picture or build an Incredible Shrinking Machine to make the foods elf sized.

Petite Peanut Butter Blossoms // Hersheys
Did you know that Hershey's makes miniature kisses?  You can find them in your grocery store's baking isle!  How easy is it to cook up some tiny blossoms now that taste like the original?  Or you can do as the blogger in the picture and use chocolate chips.

Pizza Bites // Baked in the South
Has your elf been up late studying?  Are they on a first date?  Do they just really need some pizza? Make some for them and some to share with the humans.


If you're interested in tiny cooking or know someone who enjoys it, click on the pictures below to buy the miniature food cookbook.



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Monday, October 29, 2018

200+ Good Deeds for Christmas


Did you know that World Kindness Day is November 13th?  It's the day to focus on Random Acts of Kindness and other good deeds.  Advent (the time before Christmas) is another great time to practice giving to others.  I've worked with the Kid Blogger Network to bring you over 200 ideas for Christmas or any time.










































Books to Jump Start Conversations




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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Christmas Fun with Buddy the Elf

Christmas Fun with Buddy the Elf // Life in Our Pond // Elf movie // Family Movie Night // Elf Culture


Buddy the Elf.  What's Your Favorite Color?

Christmas would not be the same without Buddy the Elf.  It might not even be Halloween yet, but I'm already playing Christmas music (did you know there was an Elf Musical), doing elf crafts, and a few days away from finishing up my All Wrapped Up pre-Christmas series.  I love the Elf movie, and wanted to share my affinity for elf culture with a blog post all about the Elf.


Christmas Fun with Buddy the Elf // Life in Our Pond // Elf movie // Family Movie Night // Elf Culture









Christmas Fun with Buddy the Elf // Life in Our Pond // Elf movie // Family Movie Night // Elf Culture













Visit all the Posts in this Series by Clicking on the Picture.


















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Christmas Fun with Buddy the Elf // Life in Our Pond // Elf movie // Family Movie Night // Elf Culture