Cook With Books: The Little Red Hen

Let your child bake some bread after reading the tasty tale of the Little Red Hen!

There are many versions of The Little Red Hen, but all of them tell the same basic story: The Hen does all the work to make the bread while everyone else plays, but when it comes time to eat the bread, everyone is suddenly willing to help!  We mixed up some super simple bread and then read several different versions while it baked!


We read Byron Barton’s The Little Red Hen many, many times when my kids were babies and toddlers!  The illustrations are very simple and engaging.


This version by Paul Galdone has more detailed traditional illustrations.


Margot Zemach’s The Little Red Hen: An Old Story is another one with more traditional illustrations.


Yes, The Little Red Hen is a story usually enjoyed by younger children, but even your older kids will enjoy this version with the photo collage illustrations.  What a fun spin on an old story!

When I was in elementary school we got to spend a morning making bread!  (This was way back in the olden days when we didn’t get to do things like that very often!)  It was so fun and one of my favorite memories!  Because no one wants to give 100 third graders each their own bowl and ingredients, we made our bread in a bag.  Everyone got to make their own and the mess was kept to a minimum.  I’ve only got my own two kids now, but I certainly appreciate low mess activities!


Aside from the easy clean up from this recipe, I also like that it just uses ingredients I always have on hand!


Start by putting the whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt in the gallon bag and give it all a little shake to mix it up.


Add the oil, honey, and water.


Mix it all together!  Once it’s all mixed, add more whole wheat flour and white flour and mix it up some more.  (The more air you squeeze from the bag, the easier it will be to mix.)


If you want, you can knead it with your hands–we save this part until it was almost all mixed together and we kept it in the bag to keep the mess down.


Let the dough rise to about twice the size.


Punch the dough down.


Take it from the bag and put it in a greased bread pan.

20160111_144910Let it rise to double again.


Bake it at 350 degrees for about half an hour…


…and you’ll have a tasty treat!

Here’s the full recipe:


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 3/4 – 1 cup whole wheat flour


  1. In a gallon ziplock bag, put 1 cup of whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt and shake to mix.
  2. Open the bag and add vegetable oil, honey, and water.  Squeeze out the air before closing the bag and then squeeze the bag to mix all the ingredients.
  3. Open the bag and add the white flour and the rest of the whole wheat flour.  (Start with 3/4 cup of the whole wheat flour and add a little more at a time if the dough is sticky.)
  4. Knead the bread in the closed bag until all ingredients are combined well.
  5. Put the dough (still in the closed bag) in a warm place and let it rise until doubled.
  6. Punch the dough down and remove it from the bag.  Put the dough in a greased bread pan and cover with a clean towel and let it rise to double again.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.


The Homeschooler’s Guide to Valentine Unit Studies

You can make Valentine’s Day fun and educational at the same time! Take a break from your regularly scheduled programming, and try one of these unit studies.

To plan for your unit study, simply scan through the lessons and choose the ones you want for your students. Make sure you print the coordinating printables. Gather supplies around your house or add them to your shopping list. Then you are ready!

Literature Based Unit Studies & Lapbooks

Chocolate Unit Study and Printables from Homeschool Share
Seriously? Chocolate? Yes. You can study anything, and the topic of chocolate provides lots of lessons: rain forest, process of making chocolate, all kinds of math fun (graphing, fractions, and more!), creative writing and thinking, nutrition, and cooking. Maybe your homeschool needs something fresh and exciting? This could be your free ticket to entice your kids to come running for school.

Cranberry Valentine Unit Study and Printables from Homeschool Share
Cupids, ribbons, roses–we all know the Valentine’s Day symbols, but what do they mean? Find out with this great literature based unit study! This unit also provides lessons on the post office, letter writing, holidays, ratio, the human heart, blushing (why do we blush?), and cross hatching (art). Don’t forget to finish out your unit by making the cranberry upside-down cake; the recipe is provided at the end of the book.

Frog Went A-Courtin’ Unit Study and Printables from Homeschool Share
This classic book is based on an old folk song and has been crowned with a Caldecott for its superb illustrations. The unit study we have for this title is packed full of great lessons: Scotland, France, Appalachia, animal classification, frogs, ballads, repetition, apostrophes, pronouns, similes, story sequencing, song writing, monochromatic art, caricature, details and art, and more! Lots of great printables accompany the lesson.

The Valentine Bears Unit Study and Printables from Homeschool Share
Such a sweet story by Eve Bunting. Mr. and Mrs. Bear usually sleep through Valentine’s Day, but not this year. Learn more about St. Valentine, insects (especially ants), make your own “chocolate covered ants,” write a poem like Mrs. Bear, make a list, discuss ways to love others, memorize John 4:7-8, think up some synonyms, and play with rhyming words, too. My oldest son loved this unit study when he was in early elementary.

The Valentine Cat Unit Study and Printables from Homeschool Share
A long fairy tale in picture book form, this study is suitable for 3rd-4th graders. This unit includes so many lessons; you will have to click the link to see them all! Lots of various topics of study are included: antonyms, prepositions, fairy tales, types of sentences, compound words, the human heart, fire, pet care, cats, polygons, Denmark, Medieval times, Medieval jobs, and even Medieval punishments. Don’t miss this one!


Thematic Unit Studies

History of St. Valentine and Valentine Symbols Unit Study from Free Homeschool Deals
Learn the history of St. Valentine along with the meaning behind Valentine symbols with this unit. Unit includes lessons on history, geography, language, science, and more. Printables are provided for activities such as crossword puzzles, dot-to-dot pages, and color by number.

Love Your Neighbor Unit from Proverbial Homemaker
This unit focuses on how to love others. It includes a devotional, scripture cards, a way to bless your neighbors, and copywork. If you can’t afford to spend an entire week on a unit study, you could get this one done in a day.

Unit Study Helps

Here are a few bonus finds to help you with your study. You could use the notebooking pages for an older student who is completing research independently.

Valentine’s Day Notebooking Pages, Cards, and More!

Valentine’s Day Notebooking Pages

Valentine’s Day Love Quotes and  Copywork Pages


Looking for more Valentine’s Day fun? Try our Valentine’s Day Pinterest board


Are you going to include some Valentine’s Day fun into your school lessons this year? We would love to hear about it!

Worst of Friends

Read More

A Book Worth Reading: The Worst of Friends (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams)

Americans today are all too familiar and fed up with political fighting, but we sometimes forget that even the founding fathers had disagreements over how the government should work. Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud reveals the story of how two of our most famous presidents went from being friends to bitter enemies and back to friends again, showing us that disagreement over politics has always been a part of our country and reminding us that even though we may not agree, we can still be kind.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were complete opposites in many ways, from their personalities to their physical appearances, but they were good friends anyway. As the American colonists grew weary of King George’s unfair laws, the two worked together first to convince their fellow Americans that they should be free and independent and then to convince other countries to support the new nation. After so many years of working together toward a common goal, though, they found themselves with radically different ideas about how the new American government should be run. Instead of talking it out, the two friends fought it out. For more than twenty years–and both of their presidencies–the two men argued and neither one was willing to budge an inch, no matter how much their friends begged them.
Finally, as 1812 began, John Adams sent Thomas Jefferson a letter wishing him a happy new year. A month later, a letter arrived from Jefferson, and after that, the two friends corresponded frequently. The two men admitted their fault in the arguments to each other and resumed their friendship until the day they died–both on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after America declared its independence.

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain’s book is a great way to spark discussion with your children; it takes a philosophical disagreement between two historical figures and makes it relatable to kids in the 21st century. After all, almost everyone has had an argument with a friend before. What makes this situation different from all the political fighting we see today, though, is that these two men chose to set aside their differences for the sake of their friendship, which is a valuable lesson for kids to learn.  We do not have to agree on every point in order to extend kindness and grace to others, and our nation would be better off if we would all put this into practice.  During this election season, share Worst of Friends with your kids and they can learn about history and friendships!

Ten Unit Studies Your Preschooler Will Love

Read More

Ten Unit Studies (and lapbooks) Your Preschooler Will Love! Find these free downloads at Homeschool Share
It seems like 1.4 katrillion resources are housed at Homeschool Share. Maybe you are overwhelmed by the volume of goodness, and you don’t know where to start. I get it. Maybe I can help.

I decided to take a peek at the behind-the-scenes stat stuff to see which units and lapbooks were favorites for preschoolers in 2015. Here are the Top Ten Most Popular Preschool Units of 2015. Browse the list, and I am sure you will find a few gems to try with your tot!

10. Owl Babies
Sweet little story about owl babies who are waiting on Mama Owl to return from a hunt.

Note: You may want to preview this book if you have a sensitive child or a child who has had early trauma/abandonment issues. You can read reviews here.

9. Going to the Grocery Store Unit Study
Learn shapes, colors, healthy eating habits and more while practicing fine motor skills and enjoying pretend play!

8. Hello Ocean
Learn all about the ocean–tide pools, seagulls, buoyancy, and more. Play a fun shell matching game, learn to count by 10s, and have fun fishing! It’s no wonder this unit made the top ten list.

7. The Mitten
Based on a Jan Brett classic, this unit study provides ample opportunities for your young student to learn: story sequencing, drama, geography, counting, comparing, matching, and woodland animals. A perfect choice for winter.

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
This favorite Eric Carle book is a delight for preschoolers. The lessons in the free lapbook focus on days of the week, counting, life cycle of a butterfly, opposites, sequencing, and healthy eating habits.

5. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Download this free lapbook and enjoy learning about mice, story telling, circles, cookies, nursery rhymes, and more!

4. The Grouchy Ladybug
This irritable insect will provide a good story and an introduction to telling time, counting by 5s as well as making patterns. Your little student will also enjoy the science of ladybugs and whales.

3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Learn colors, make patterns, create your own book, enjoy finger plays, and have fun with all the printables found in one of our MOST popular units of 2015.

2. Alphabet Notebook
If you haven’t seen this, please take a minute. Pin it. Share it. Let people know that this resource is FREE. Six homeschool moms put their noggins and talents together to create this. It’s big. It’s great. It could last your preschooler an entire year as a Letter of the Week Program!

And now, I feel that we should insert some dramatic music. Or pause. Or drum roll. Something? What was the #1 preschool resource in 2015?

1. My Body Unit Study
Measure, sing, rhyme, move! Learn about germs, arms, exercise, bones, and your brain. This unit is a fantastic way to teach science to your young students. Have fun!

Have you used any of our Top Ten 2015 Preschool Units? Which ones? Do you have plans to use more? We would love to hear from you!