Month: January 2012

Story Drawing: Preschool and Kindergarten

Homeschool Ideas
Trucks for #2

What do I mean by “Story Drawing”?One thing we do for fun and to encourage narrative skills is “story drawing”. I have the kids tell me what they would like drawn on a piece of paper. Then, once the drawing is finished, they are allowed to color it. My oldest spends much time coloring, while #2 prefers to keep his picture as is. They are both responsible for inventing a story to go along with their pictures and to retell their stories to Papa at dinner time.

#2 is three years old, and he had requested various trucks and men. At the bottom you can see his attempt at a construction worker. His picture tells the story of the breaking down of an old building and the constructing of a new building for children. The men are happy working because they are doing a good job.

Learning Prayers in Three Languages: Latin for very young children

Homeschool IdeasThe Rolling Acres Farm
Available through Adoremus Books.

In the Rolling household, we are raising bilingual German-English children, so you might think we are happy enough with two languages. Well, we are also Roman Catholics, and as such we wish our children to learn the language of the Roman rite, that is, Latin. Mrs. Rolling is also a proponent of the immersion method or the “real language approach“, so we wish our children’s first exposure to Latin to be within the context of the Church and prayer life.

For these reasons, we learn our Catholic prayers in Latin, German, and English. The morning offering and meal prayer are said in English at breakfast. The Ave Maria and Benedic Domine are said at Lunch, and the GegruBet seist Du, Maria and Segne, O Herr are prayed at Supper. By doing all the prayers in each language, they associate each language and thereby come to the meaning of the new language quite naturally by already knowing it in two other languages. The children can explain the meaning of the Latin prayers in relation to German and English without us having ever opened a Latin textbook.

Imagine their potential! When they do begin to study Latin grammar, they will already have a good supply of Latin vocabulary and thereby “real” grammar examples from the Latin language as well. Deo gratias!

A great resource if you wish to start learning Latin prayers in your household is the pamphlet above, Praying with the Universal Church. This pamphlet includes the prayers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that Pope Benedict XVI said all Catholics should know in Latin.

When Cakes Break: Time for Creativity!

The Rolling Acres Farm

It is that time of year for feasting and celebrating! We have been doing our best to make tasty desserts, but admittedly a cake breaks from time to time. Rather than being discouraged, we salvage the tasty bits and form a new creation! This cake was a bundt-pan chocolate cake that lost its top. We threw the pieces into the middle and made a runny chocolate icing to fill the middle. Sprinkles, chocolate syrup and some M&M’s, voila! Doesn’t it look like a bon-bon?

Free Printable Chore List

The Rolling Acres Farm

Cleaning Schedule  (Click here for printable.)

As mentioned in a previous post, I keep house clean by using a weekly schedule broken up into the days of the week. This has worked well for us. I have made a copy to share with you here.

How it works best:

  • Print a copy.
  • Laminate the page.
  • Tape it to your refrigerator or other obvious place.
  • Use a dry-erase marker to check off your tasks.

Feel free to alter the tasks; not everyone has a coo-coo clock to wind.

TIP: I like to include a few daily tasks that ALWAYS get accomplished simply because it makes me feel better to start off the day with a few checks. It is psychological and practical therefore.

Science at our Homeschool Co-op, week 13

Homeschool Ideas

Science: Review and Introduction of the Human Person
This week students reviewed the classification of animals that they had learned the first 6 weeks of Science. We added “Human” as way of introducing the third quarter to our students. The Bible verse in the CSH memory work “works” nicely for this poster along with the animal memory work from the first quarter. The cutting should be done by the tutor before the class for children ages 5-8. In retrospect I would recommend ONE poster PER FAMILY, since not all little ones can read. My 5 year-old would ask, what does “reptile” start with? Then, she looked for a word that started with “R” to put the lizard underneath it.
Note: Our group is not using the Catholic Schoolhouse Science curriculum for Quarter 3. 

Patches for Pants

The Rolling Acres Farm

With three boys in the house, clothes are not handed down so easily. Each boy finds a new way to wear out his pants, shirts, socks, and outerwear. We have now developed the habit of patching, since many pants are perfectly good except for a hole here and there. The result has been the creation of very strong play clothes!

To Patch is Simple: Sew together the torn pieces. It need not be pretty. Cut out a patch of fabric that will fit over the seam with extra space. Fold the edges of the patch toward the ripped fabric and sew on the patch. That’s it! Try to find a complementary fabric and thread and remember that these are usually for play clothes and for boys, who will be covered in mud as soon as they step out the door.

Art at Catholic Schoolhouse, week 13

Homeschool Ideas

Art: Snowmen and Winslow Homer

In art this week, students were finally allowed to pull out their water colors! They drew snowmen with pencils and colored them in with white crayons (a popular trick among children’s art programs). Lastly, students painted with their water colors and behold! the snowmen were still white.
Painting is certainly a favorite activity for little ones and an activity that is harder to do at home sometimes, since it takes much work to cover the table, put on the aprons, etc. I am glad this is included in the CSH art curriculum!

Another Quick Meal: Chicken and Rice Hot Dish


Having a large family and homeschooling has required me to learn how to prepare tasty meals that are quick and wholesome. The tasty part I often struggle with in my rush to get things prepped and cooked in time for dinner. It is often the case that I will accidentally leave out salt or some key ingredient because meal-prep is interrupted by a diaper change or some other child catastrophe. Thus, few ingredients are best for me. Here is a chicken hot dish that we have enjoyed.

In a large oven-safe baking dish, combine the following ingredients and bake at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

  • 2-3chicken breasts
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 T hot salsa
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup onions or chopped chives
Serves 4 adults OR 2 adults and 4 children under the age of 5. Optional sides: pepperoni, grated cheese, salad, rolls

Quick Homemade Muffins from Pancake Mix


When I shared my pancake mix recipe a few posts ago, I forgot to mention that it could be used as the base mix for any number of other bread recipes. In this sense, it is just like Bisquick, just healthier. One popular breakfast item in our household is the muffin. Here is how I use my pancake mix to make breakfast more quickly.

  • 2 cups pancake mix
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup oil (olive or canola)
  • 1 cup of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, crushed banana or squash, etc. )
  • 1 t vanilla
  • milk – just enough to wet all ingredients

Stir just enough to make sure all ingredients are moist. Someone once told me “If you want fluffy muffins, do not stir very long.” Being in a hurry most of the time, this advice has been easy to follow!

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