Friday, March 11, 2011

the TEXAS-sized spring break that almost wasn't

For the past 2 weeks, I have been busily working on plans for a fun-filled spring break week.
My little brother, brown-eyed boy, usually homeschools with us, but our brother, J, is in public school and they are on spring break this week. My dad decided to head out of town for the week with them...So... this means we are taking a break from school too.  


I actually did a little planning ahead (yay me!) and we opted to dig a little deeper into our state studies for MFW-Adventures and focus on our home state all week long. The state studies are great, but my kids were a bit dissapointed that we didn't really get into all the ins and outs of Texas. So, with not much else to do spring break week, we decided to focus on TEXAS.

The sad part of all this is that, despite all my planning, my laptop crashed 3 days prior to spring break and I lost everything... all my plans, lessons, ideas, and the e-Texas-lapbook I purchased, which was to be the focal point of the week. I did scratch a few notes onto notebook paper, and from that, free internet sites, and a Texas unit I saved waaaay back from my student teaching days, I was able to throw something together for our TEXAS week.

{at the end of this post are links to many sites containing *free* pictures, reproducibles, and worksheets you can use for your TEXAS state studies}

We had a brief overview of what we would be doing all week long. The kids took out their Texas state sheets from their state notebooks they have been making for Adventures in My father's World and reread many of the facts and information on the back of the sheets. The kids told me some of the things they already knew about Texas and some of the things they'd like to learn. We located our little town on the map and marked it with a star. Then, Blue-eyed boy and Brown-eyed girl decorated the covers of their Texas lapbooks.

Some friends of ours joined us for lunch and the kids all played and had a blast together till late afternoon.

Today, the kids made a little flip booklet to go in their lapbooks. We learned about our state bird, flower, motto, mammal, reptile, song, capital, and tree. They also cut out and colored various pictures of these things and glued them in their lapbooks. If you choose to do something like this, I would suggest printing out several that are already pre-colored. My kids were very tired of coloring by the end of the week.

Before heading to Granny's house, we learned about the Alamo and colored pictures, checked out the Alamo website, and painted our bluebonnet pictures.

I had to babysit the neighbor boys all day, so they joined us for our Texas studies today. The kids decorated pecan trees using tissue paper, crayons, construction paper, and glue. That took them quite a while. I was thinking they'd just ball up one huge piece of green tissue paper, slather it with glue, and slap it on, but they actually took their time and they all turned out nice. What to do next? ...Something that would keep them equally busy. Well, I had quite a bit of air dry clay left over from a project we did at the beginning of the school year, so I had the kids make models of the Alamo. They did really well! Not sure how the 'snow theme' got into the picture, but it did and we went with it.

This is the very last day for the Texas unit. Today, the kids labeled and colored a little fold out Texas flag. Blue stands for loyalty, red stands for bravery, and white stands for purity. We learned more about the capital building in Austin, Texas and visited the website. Then the kids finished up by coloring, cutting, and gluing a picture of the capital building in their lapbooks. All in all, they had a fun-filled TEXAS-sized spring break week! Hmmm...perhaps we'll have chili for dinner ;) 

Here are their state pictures from Adventures in My Father's World

Links: (various info and symbols for you to color and cut out) (to make the fold out flag, just measure out from each rectangle and cut the flaps out accordingly) (Alamo website) (tons of great information and activities: maps, worksheets, color pages, fact wheel, notebook activity, etc) *some of these printable items are only available to members* (more worksheets and info) (a Texas unit for younger kids) (Texas capital visitors center)

(this post is linked to Homeschool Highlights in MFW at A Heart Like Water and at WierdUnsocializedHomeschoolers weekly wrap ups)


  1. We're going to spend some time studying TX next year. I'm *so* bookmarking this post, Pauline - great ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing! ;)

  2. IF I can find that Texas lapbook I bought on my hard drive (everything is so jumbled up) I will give it to you. I didn't get to use a single thing from it. At least I'll feel better knowing someone else may be able to use it.

  3. Looks like you had fun! I will remember this post when we study Texas also. I have to ask...did you have chili for dinner? ;)


  4. No, we didn't end up having chili :( I didn't realize I was out of ground meat and noone felt like going to the grocery store that evening. So, we had black bean and cheese tortilla roll-ups instead. Still sorta Texan, right? Black beans...those are used in chili, I think. lol!

  5. Pauline, you simply amaze me! Just the fact that Stephen wasn't there would have warranted a week off at our house. But then the hard drive crashing so the lessons were lost AND the neighbor boys needing child care ... I would have definitely claimed it as a sign from the Lord that a break was needed! :D Looks like y'all had a great week, though, and I'm glad the kids had a chance to look "deep in the heart of Texas!" :)

  6. Oh, and I forgot to tell you one thing ... I'm glad you clarified that the trees were made of green tissue paper. I though y'all had torn up spinach leaves or something!

  7. I'm with Jennifer! You are such a great mom! If all that would have happened to me, then my boys would have spent the week watching too much TV and playing too much Lego Star Wars ;-) Great week!

  8. Hey, another Texan! It looks like you had a great week. I too thought the tree was a leafy veggie cut up. Looks great.

  9. I never looked at them that way, but ya know what, they do look like leafy veggies ;)

  10. They do look like spinach leaves... You did an amazing job this week. Thanks for sharing your links. Dropping by from the MFW link


  11. WOW! You guys do a lot of hands on stuff, fun! (I'm not so fun!)

    Your parachute reminded me of elementary gym class :) We did a show for our parents with it, and scooters to the music from the 80s movie Jewel of the Nile. Ugh...did I really just type that?!?!

    Thank you for linking up, I apologize that it has taken me so long to stop by.

  12. That is too funny Kathi! We have had that parachute for a few years now. The only time the kids bring it out anymore is when their little cousins come to play. The youngest neighbor boy was begging to play with it that day, so all the kids agreed to give it a go. They had a great time that day, but it hasn't been back out since :( I think it may be time to pass it on to the cousins.

    Now the kids would LOVE those. They'd ultimately end up breaking a bone or something, so I think we'll steer clear of those. lol!

    And about the hands on stuff - believe me...we are not that hands on all the time. I just needed a ton of stuff to keep them busy that week. lol!

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