This homeschool update is a combination of two weeks – I just didn’t have time to write an update Monday. Plus, our house is a giant mess due to our bedroom reno and it seems to be affecting my productivity.
We have been hanging out in the Southwest the past two weeks, learning about Arizona and New Mexico in Social Studies. It is a part of the U.S. that I am fairly unfamiliar with, only having driven through it one time on the way to Vegas. Let’s see.. we read Dona Flor as part of our tall tales series for September, who was new to me as well. I really enjoyed her story, as did Wyatt. It is the tale of a giant woman who has an equally enormous heart, for her neighbors and for all the animals. She makes huge tortillas, sings to flowers, and solves problems for her community. Dona Flor is delightful!
We also read about the potter, Maria Martinez who is known for her amazing and beautiful pottery. We tried our hand at making a coil pot; this was a lesson in patience for us both. Wyatt wanted to just create whatever he wanted, and I usually encourage free creativity, but I really wanted him to see the process of coil pottery. It was a struggle but between the two of us we made it. He ended up rolling the clay into snakes and making the base, I helped him etch the coils, and then I stacked the coils. He also used water to smooth areas, like the base. It turned out pretty cute!
We started outside but some pretty aggressive wasps forced us back in. Wyatt absolutely loved this project – his grandmother is a potter so I am hoping to have him make a project with her that we can actually put in her kiln and everything. She is the reason he loved this by the way. He thought it was neat he was doing something like Grandma. I had originally planned for her to do this with us but she had COVID! (She is recovering and doing well)
We spent a lot of time on the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website. It has so much content for kids and educators! Wyatt had told me his favorite fact about Arizona is that they have javelinas, so we learned about javelinas, including what they sound like. He loves pigs so I am unsurprised that he liked javelinas. I really liked the Gila monsters, of course – which sound crazy! Wyatt colored and decorate a picture of a Gila monster, and I love that is totally disco with gold glitter sprinkled all over it. Maybe one day we will get out that way and visit!
In science we were talking about vascular plants vs. non-vascular. We focused on moss for our desk work, and then since we had been visiting the desert, I ordered some Rose of Jericho plants for us to observe. They arrive like little dried out tumbleweed balls. You add them to a wide, shallow bowl of water, and they spring back to life over the course of a day. If you don’t water them, they revert to their dried out version but can be “resurrected” all over again! I thought they were so neat I ordered a few extra to give away to some people who I thought might like to watch the process too.
We managed to squeeze in a quick field trip as well! Since we had read John Henry, I thought we at least needed to ride a train.
Then, the following week, this week, we read Federico and the Wolf, a really fun retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, studied New Mexico (and now I am obsessed with that state – I didn’t know much about it before), and talked a bit about Diego Rivera. Our week this week was a bit pared down from normal, due to the renovations in our bedroom. When you have a tiny house and empty everything out of one of the rooms, it ends up everywhere else. We just didn’t have the right space for some of my planned projects. But we did have a good week of learning, just less hands on than normal, and few more videos than usual.
What We Used:
This section contains Amazon Affiliate links. In addition to the curriculum I am creating for him, we also use curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful, The Waldock Way, and Blossom and Root for phonics, reading, science, and social studies.
Shaped by her Hands || The Three Little Javelinas || Diego Rivera His World and Ours || G is for Grand Canyon || Dona Flor || Federico and the Wolf || E is for Enchantment
Next week we continue our southwest journey, as we mosey on down to Texas!
7 thoughts on “Homeschool Journey: Took a wrong turn in Albuquerque”
I love Red Rock Country in Arizona. I spent some time in Sedona a few years ago.
New Mexico is another beautiful state…I want to revisit it! Thanks for sharing.
Erin, what I really love about your curriculum is how you let Wyatt do a lot of the leading. You see what interests him and then proceed from there with the content woven in! How I wish I could have done that with all of my students all of the time! I love Gila monsters and Komodo dragons. Once, I tried to talk my husband into getting an iguana…we settled on a hedgehog (which is not a good choice for a class pet as they are nocturnal). I had never heard of a Rose of Jericho plant…that is really cool. I may need to get some for my plant loving son! What a wonderful couple of weeks! And, my favorite part of the art classes I had to take in college was throwing on the wheel! I still have a couple of pots I made.
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These books like great! I need to add some of them to Little Miss’s reading list.
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Wyatt loved The Three Little Javelinas. We read it and then also watched a Youtube of someone reading it and he loved that too. Dona Flor was also a really good one. She was my favorite tall tale that we read. Wyatt loves John Henry.
How fun to bring something in with a family connection! Too bad Wyatt’s grandmother was sick but hopefully they will be able to do a project together. We are up to our ears in long division right now in homeschool but I’m about to mix in mythology which I’m looking forward to.
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Yes I am hoping to get him over there hopefully next week to do a project with her. 🙂 He would love it.
Ugh I hate the math part of homeschool! Lol.Mythology sounds really fun though – you guys could have a great time learning that together!