Tea Time with Rene Magritte

Photo from renemagritte.org

Rene Magritte was born in Belgium on November 21, 1898.  He attended art school when he was in his late teens, but didn’t begin to paint in the surrealist style for which he is known until his twenties.  When he was starting out as an artist, he took on other jobs to make ends meet, like designing wallpaper and making advertisements.  Magritte and his wife, Georgette, moved to Paris in 1927 to work with other Surrealist artists, but he didn’t get along with the others well and eventually they moved back to Belgium.  Magritte passed away in 1967.

Books We Read


If you’ve read any of my previous tea time posts, you know I’m a big fan of Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know…series.  These kid-friendly biographies are a great way to introduce artists and give a good overview of their style.  There are also some great picture books out there based on the works of different artists and I like to share those when I can, too!


Magritte’s Marvelous Hat is a really cool book that includes several overlays that change the pictures.


The first view…


And then when the overlay is moved, it looks like this!  My kids thought this was pretty cool–and with some overhead transparencies, it might be fun to try your own!


In Dinner at Magritte’s a young boy visits his neighbor, Magritte, who has Salvador Dali over for a visit.  The pictures in this book pay homage to some of the artist’s paintings, like the one above and this painting.  My kids enjoyed looking at the details in all of the illustrations and trying to figure out which of Magritte’s paintings they matched.

Projects We Tried


The first project we tried was this fun positive/negative space activity from Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational.


My kids really enjoyed making these self portraits (inspired by this painting).


I liked the idea this blogger had to recreate “The Future of Statues“, but I wasn’t sure about where I could store two styrofoam heads, so we improvised and made our faces from Model Magic and then painted them.

If you’re looking for a fun artist to really draw your kids in, Magritte is a great one to study!

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National Public Garden Day

FREE Gardening Unit Studies from Homeschool Share

May 6th is National Public Garden Day, so it’s a wonderful time to get out and enjoy some of the beauty in your community!  It’s also a great time to share some books with your kids, so we have some suggestions for you–and some even have free units at Homeschool Share!

FREE Literature Based Unit Studies and Printables

Holly Bloom's Garden

Holly Bloom’s Garden:  Holly is frustrated when she can’t get her flowers to grow like her mom’s and her siblings’ flowers do.  After trying all kinds of solutions, she finally comes up with a foolproof way to have a beautiful garden!

The Gardener

The Gardener:  Young Lydia Grace is sent to the city to live with her uncle during the Depression.  In her quest to hold on to her country life and to make her uncle smile, Lydia Grace begins a garden in the city, making it a better place for everyone.

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius:  You may already be familiar with this story, which tells how Miss Rumphius achieved her goals of traveling the world, living by the sea, and making the world a more beautiful place.  If you haven’t read it before, this is definitely one that belongs on your library list!

The Trellis and the Seed

The Trellis and the Seed:  The little seed wants to be a big vine, but its dream seems impossible, in spite of everything it has been told.  This story reminds readers that with time and patience and faith, we can achieve great things!

Garden Themed Books for Your Book Basket

In the Garden

In the Garden: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George:  This simple picture book is a guessing game, too!  Two children are exploring their garden and trying to figure out who else has been there from clues that have been left behind.

Jack's Garden

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole:  This is a garden-themed take on “The House that Jack Built” that also shares more detailed information on plants and animals found in the garden, too!

Planting the Wild Garden

Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith:  We usually think of gardens as spaces that have been deliberately planted, but this book focuses on how things are “planted” in the wild.

The Curious Garden

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown:  This is probably my favorite gardening book and the best one for the day!  Liam lives in a drab and dreary city, until one day when he finds a few plants growing on an abandoned railway.  Over time he learns more about the plants and eventually changes the entire landscape!  The story is great and Peter Brown’s illustrations are gorgeous.

Zinnia's Flower Garden

Zinnia’s Flower Garden:  Monica Wellington’s books are so wonderful because they have a simple story and nice bright illustrations, which are great for younger kids, but your older kids will enjoy them, too, because of the details (both in pictures and words) she includes in her illustration borders.  This story begins with Zinnia planting her seeds in the spring and follows her garden through the summer and into the fall, when she harvests the seeds to use the next year.

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson: Fletcher is alarmed to find that snow is falling when it’s time for animals to come out from their winter’s naps and flowers to bloom, so he spreads the word throughout the forest.  When they all go to investigate, though, they find that the snowflakes are actually huge white blossoms.  The story is sweet and the illustrations are beautiful.  We love the Fletcher books!

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett would be a perfect chapter book read aloud!  Follow the adventures of three young children who find an abandoned garden.

Check out the Homeschool Share Plants Connections page for more fun ideas!

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Tea Time with Shakespeare

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Shakespeare pin

April 23 is Talk Like Shakespeare Day!

What a fantastic opportunity to enjoy Tea Time with William Shakespeare.


William Shakespeare, the greatest of English poets, was born at Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564. He is supposed to have been educated at the free school of Stratford. At 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway. Four years later William and Anne moved to London, where they initially struggled with poverty. William got his foot in the door at local theaters, first by holding horses at the doors, then becoming an actor, and then a successful playwright and theater manager. During the years 1593-1594, the theaters were closed due to the plague, so William spent his time writing and publishing poems.

The next twenty years he spent in London as an actor, and in writing poems and plays, later becoming a shareholder as well as an actor. His works consisted of approximately 38 plays, ranging from the lightest comedy, through romance and historical narrative, to the darkest tragedy, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Having gained not only fame but a modest fortune, he retired in 1611 to live at ease in Stratford until his death on April 23, 1616 at the age of fifty-two.




Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by E. Nesbitt


Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield


Tales From Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb
William Shakespeare and the Globe by Aliki


 Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley

Shakespeare – His Work and His World by Michael Rosen and Robert Ingpen


Any one of Shakespeare’s numerous plays put on film. Many full length films can be found for free on youtube.com. (Caution: some include mature themes)


Shakespeare Plays Notebook Pages

Notebook Pages for many of Shakespeare’s major works are provided for student to complete independently. These can be used along with the original plays, the plays in story form, or the plays in movie form. Read and/or watch the plays with your child, and then let him complete report on his own.

Record what you learn about William Shakespeare on:

Shakespeare Notebook Page

Extend your Tea Time with:


Resources from Homeschool Share’s

Renaissance and Reformation Connections page

talk like shakespeareActivities and resources from Talk Like Shakespeare web site.

For a Tea Time Treat:

Have an English tea with hot tea, cream and sugar, and scones.


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Tea Time with Great Poets

Tea Time with Great Poets from the Homeschool Share Blog

Sometimes it’s hard to find a way to introduce poetry to your students–especially when you don’t really enjoy poetry. We have made your job a little bit easier here on the Homeschool Share Blog by giving you lots of Tea Time ideas. If you browse the list below, you will find biographical information, books to read, ideas for tea time treats, and some printables pages, too.

You can simply present the poets and poems to your student by reading to them while gathered round a table with some candles, tea, and treats. Delightful!

You can also take the ideas in the list below and easily turn them into a Tea Time with Great Poets class for your homeschool co-op.

Tea Time with Great Poets

Basho (1644-1694)

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

William Cullen Bryant (1794 – 1878)

Mary Howitt (1799 – 1888)

Lydia Marie Child (1802 – 1880)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882

Edward Lear (1812-1888)

Robert Browning (1812-1889)

John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

Joaquin Miller (1837-1913)

William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

Robert Frost (1874 – 1963)

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)

What poets would you like to see in future tea time posts?

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Cook with Books Homeschool Co-op Class

One of my favorite features here on the Homeschool Share blog is Cook with Books. I love to cook, and I love books, so what could be more perfect? If you follow along on my personal blog, you also know that I like sharing co-op classes. Cook with Books would make a great co-op class.

Cook with Books Homeschool Co-op Class Idea from The Homeschool Share Blog

I read through the past Cook with Books posts and found the ones that include picture books and shorter recipes. I compiled them below for you to look through.

This class would be simple to structure: read a book then make the corresponding recipe together. If you have time leftover at the end of class, you could choose to read more stories that relate to the first story.

Here is a sample schedule:

Week 1: Read Mouse Mess and make Cracker Snackers

Week 2: Read Harry the Dirty Dog and make Dog Bone Pretzels

Week 3: Read The Parrot Tico Tango and make Fruit Trees

Week 4: Read Five Little Monkeys and make Monkey Bread

Week 5: Read Mama Panya’s Pancakes and make Pancakes (recipe found in book)

Week 6: Read Pete’s-a-Pizza and make Pizza

Week 7: Read Thundercake and make Thundercake (recipe found in the book)

Week 8: Read The Three Little Pigs and make Straw Stacks

Week 9: Read The Rainbow Book and make Fruit Kabobs

Week 10: Read Cook-a-Doodle Doo and make Strawberry Shortcake (recipe found in the book)

Week 11: Read Stone Soup and make Stone Soup.

Week 12: Read A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and make Blackberry Fool (recipe found in book)

If you want to find more books with recipes, there is a huge list on this old Homeschool Share database.

Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!

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