Tea Time with Van Gogh

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Vincent Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands on March 30, 1853.  He tried a variety of different jobs but never found success at any of them–including painting.  In spite of this, he produced more than 2,000 works of art in his lifetime.  Van Gogh died in France on July 29, 1890.  He is now one of the world’s most famous artists and even if your children haven’t studied him they can probably recognize some of his most famous works.

There are some wonderful books on Van Gogh geared toward children!  Some of our favorites are:

After you’ve learned a bit about Van Gogh, you might want to try some art projects!  It’s fun to try a new kind of paint or a different medium, but don’t get so concerned about being authentic that you don’t have a good time.  It’s okay to substitute materials, especially when you’re working with young kids.  I definitely wasn’t going to spend the money (or clean up the resulting mess) to have my three year old try her hand at oil painting, so we used oil pastels instead.  Focus on the style of the artist and talk about supplies they actually and enjoy yourselves, even if you aren’t making your masterpiece exactly like Van Gogh would have!    Why not give one of these projects a try at your next tea time?


We always have a snack at our tea time, and if I can, I like to make something that goes along with the artist we’re studying.  Isn’t this sunflower snack cute?  Or maybe some sparkling stars?

If you want to have something for your child’s notebook, try this notebooking page!

April’s Making the Days Count Activity Calendar

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April’s Making the Days Count Activity Calendar


April showers bring May flowers . . . I love springtime as it begins to warm, the trees and grass turn green again, flowers pop up, and, my favorite . . .more daylight!

April has so many opportunities to make the days count this month.  April is National Poetry Month so be sure to work in some poetry throughout the month.  (Watch for some new Tea Time posts!)  And, of course, there’s April Fool’s Day. . . but did you know there’s also a Find a Rainbow Day and a Sibling Day this month?  There’s lots of literature-related opportunities for all ages this month too. . . Hans Christian Andersen, Beverly Cleary, and William Shakespeare.  And I love this month for fun cooking ideas . . .  caramel popcorn, pineapple upside-down cake, and pretzels are some of my favorite snacks! Yum, yum!

Well, go through the calendar and pick out some ideas that your kids will love and use them to help make the most of every day!

April Fools Day…for the kids

Do you have a little fun with your kids for April Fool’s Day?? Here are a few ideas to get you started…April Fools Day is on a Monday this year! Just a few days to get your pranks, or uh, plans in order! 

I love this idea!! Your kids will be delighted to open the fridge!

All the food and drinks will be looking right back at them!

I have also seen this idea, around the web, to just put googly eyes all over the house!


 Several fun food ideas to get your day started off with a little fun found here!

Ideas include:

  • the sliced banana trick
  • the shrunken cinnamon roll
  • the milk prank
  • the egg surprise

I just love this next idea and think I would be laughing all day about it…

I found the idea to change out all your kids clothes to SMALLER clothes in their drawers for April fools.

(I could see this being a lot of work, but maybe just the shirt drawer?)

I still think it would be pretty funny!

Idea found here. (more great ideas in that post, too!)

Ok, so let’s hear from you!!

What are your favorite pranks to have with your kids??

More Learning Together with Older Children

I recently shared with you a few ideas about how you can have your older children learn together.  It certainly isn’t as easy to do with older kids as it is when they’re younger, but it’s worth the effort to bring them together when you can!

One way to keep your kids learning together is to find an activity in which they can both participate even though they each might have a different learning goal. Cooking is a fun activity for kids of all ages—and a useful skill, too! Enjoy some time in the kitchen together and have one child work on reading ingredients or learning different recipe abbreviations while the other one doubles the recipe and works on adding fractions. If you’re lucky, you might even end up with dinner fixed, too! Nature walks would be a simple way to cover different topics. You could bring in poetry, art, and science all in one afternoon.

One of my favorite ways to bring my kids together is to travel. We frequently take small road trips around our state to learn about famous people and places and history and then add pictures and narrations to my son’s notebook. They’re learning all about Oklahoma together, not as a semester course with a textbook in school, but by seeing and doing and experiencing it for themselves. There is no substitute for experience, so if you can manage it, I encourage you to travel, even if you’re just taking short field trips around your town.

You can plan for all the different ways you want your children to learn together, which is wonderful, but sometimes they’re going to find a way on their own! When my son was learning about Benjamin Franklin we read about his father’s soap making business and decided to make some soap ourselves. My daughter was learning about farms at the time, but of course she wanted to make soap, too! I was just letting her tag along for fun, but as we had to choose what colors to make the soap, her brother ended up giving her an impromptu lesson in color mixing. She had a good time and learned something new in the process!

You can work and work at it, but if there is a large gap in your children’s ages you probably aren’t going to be able to have them learning together all the time, and that’s okay! Sometimes it’s nice to have some one on one time with your children. Even though a book or activity may be specific to one child’s studies, let the other children listen and participate if they want. My son enjoys hearing the same books he loved when he was small when I’m reading them to his sister and my daughter has learned so much from listening in on her brother’s lessons. The older one has lessons reinforced and the younger one builds background knowledge that will be helpful when she’s studying the same topic in the future.

Everyone wins when you learn together!

March {Name the Mystery Study} Giveaway! Part 3

This month we are teaming up with Amanda Bennett Unit Studies.

Every single blog reader can win. Yes, you read that right.

Every single one of you can win a FREE Download N Go unit study
{of your choice} from ABUS!

This is your last chance to win. Here is how it works:

Amanda Bennett FREE Unit Study Contest

Can you figure out which Download N Go  Unit Study the excerpts are from? Scavenge through the Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett website and determine which study goes with the clues! It might be tricky–lots of terrific topics are covered in one single study, but I think you can do it!

Get started with the Rafflecopter below. Have fun. I hope YOU win!

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