Homeschool Journey: Alaska, Mistletoe and Holly

I usually do a homeschool post every week, but since we are learning a little differently this month it made more sense to combine last week and this week. We are still doing his basics, reading and math which I usually don’t share about because it is basically what you think and not really anything to share about. I do love to share what we are doing for literary arts, social studies, and science which is where learning is more hands on as well as instructional.

One thing I wanted to do with Wyatt is introduce him to different cultures in school this year. We spent a lot of time learning about Dias de los Muertos already this year, and this week we read a little bit about Hanukkah. Then we made latkes! I have never ever made them and felt like food is such a great bridge without being appropriational. I mean, I want him to learn but I don’t want to be disrespectful either. Latkes played an important part in both books that we read, Hanukkah in Alaksa and Little Red Ruthie, so it seemed like a natural fit.

I have never fried anything in my life, or cooked like that. THAT was my learning experience for the week. However, I think they did turn out pretty ok? Wyatt seemed to like them at least. They were not pretty though. We had them with pierogi and crepes – that we did not make ourselves.

It’s also been a week of tiny books. Two projects I had for him he had to make tiny accordion style books and they are so cute! One was a booklet about Alaska, the other the life cycle of holly. We have actually been learning a lot about holly! The life cycle, parts of the plant, uses, how it looks in different seasons, and its adaptive qualities, such as the prickles and spiky leaves being a response to herbivores like deer!

This week we read Mim’s Christmas Jam, which is a great Christmas book. The father in this book is away for the holidays, working in NYC digging the tunnels for the subway system, and naturally the family all miss each other. The mom and kids make him a jar of their belly-hum jam, and send it off to him. He shares it with his mean foreman (nicknamed Mean and Evil) and they become filled with the spirit of Christmas and give the men time off for Christmas. Dad gets to go home and surprise his family by being there for the holiday. It also includes a recipe for belly-hum jam that we are going to attempt this weekend. Attempt being the key word.

Today is actually our last full day of instruction! Tomorrow Wyatt has therapy, and then I am taking him to the Immersive Nutcracker experience with my dad in the afternoon. Friday we will work in the morning, then we will be off for break! Next week is all about making cookies and ornaments, reading books, celebrating winter solstice, a little bit about Balto to wrap up Alaska, and then Christmas. We both need the break!

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.

Mistletoe || Mim’s Christmas Jam || Alaska || Molly’s Awesome Alaska Guide || Midnight Dance of the Snowshoe Hare || Little Red Ruthie || Hanukkah in Alaska


Holly Looking Glass Unit Study – Books and Willows

Mistletoe Investigation Set – Honeycomb Cabin


12 thoughts on “Homeschool Journey: Alaska, Mistletoe and Holly

  1. I honestly did not know holly had a life cycle!!! Shame on me! You can tell Wyatt he knows something a fourth grade teacher did not! I so love that you are teaching him with food! We always tried to incorporate food as much as we could. After I retired, the schools really cut back on cooking/using food in the classroom. I always loved using foldables to teach with and have the kids make . It was always fun to see how creative they could be! We always did a unit on the Iditarod (the whole school did something). One of the books we read was Stone Fox. I had totally forgotten how it ended, and my bff (also my co-teacher) had me read the finish! We were both crying our eyes out! I had mascara all the way down my cheeks! She still teases me about it! I really love reading these teaching posts, Erin! Thanks for sharing them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh Marsha that book!! I worked in as a library para for ten years (even after they eliminated the librarian position so I had to do everything.. you know the school politics). Anyway, I read that while one day during some down time and I was literally sobbing in the library. 😭🀣 I will never ever read it again. Lol.

      Thanks Marsha! All these home school units have life cycle pages, even if it is just seed to sprout etc. Wyatt has always enjoyed them and so did my niece when we did kindergarten together during the first year of the pandemic. (She’s in 2nd grade now too)


  2. You always choose the best books for Wyatt. I try to find them at my library and they never have any of them. They can probably get them on loan if I call down and ask, of course. I would love to read more about Alaska after reading The Year of Miss Agnes. Hannukah is something I will tackle next week. Thank you for the idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get a ton of books through our inter-library loan system. Is yours online? Ours is all online so it is really easy for me to do. I usually start looking for books on a topic two weeks before I need them, and start requesting away! Then I go home with ten thousand books, flip through them, and return the ones we aren’t going to use right away.

      I want to read The Year of Miss Agnes!

      Liked by 1 person

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