Saturday Morning Coffee Catch Up

The coffee is excellent today – Billy made it this morning and isn’t it always better when someone else does the making? We are back to Post Alley, our favorite. Billy also told me the other day that my coffee is always made strongest on Mondays – hmm. I wonder why that could be?

It was a bit of week around here. In the overnight hours of Tuesday/Wednesday Wyatt woke up with some quick illness that came and go very fast, like within two hours. I really don’t know what that was about, but it was an intense two hours!

Then Wednesday was my birthday! It was extremely low key, with basically 100% laying around by Wyatt and I. I could have had worse birthdays, and in fact I have. It was actually sort of nice to be do absolutely nothing for a change and to spend the day with my little guy just chilling. I very, very rarely allow myself to completely relax and it was amazing. Billy gave me a book, my friend dropped off a gift, and my parents gifted me with money to spend on me. They were very specific that it had to go to me and not something for the house or a bill or Wyatt. We will see.

The other night I nestled up in bed with my cup of mint tea, my new book, and a cat and it was all very cozy. The wind was whipping outside and it was so cold outside, but warm and happy inside. And I am still loving our bedroom refresh! The other day was so grey outside but our room still felt so open and light.

I’ve done some online Christmas shopping this week and feel pretty good about where I am! I have one thing for Billy, two of my three nieces are halfway done, and for Wyatt, I need to get just a few things still. I still have more shopping to do but I like to know the kids are covered first, then I move on.

In all my relaxing time from my birthday I took an online quiz on my phone to see what my “booksona” is. It was actually a really fun quiz. It was interactive and different from most little silly quizzes. I mean it was still silly but it was fun too. And I have to say I agree with my booksona! It feels really accurate.

Tonight my brother Devin and his family are coming over here for dinner. We are using a recipe for pizza dough that Jeanie from The Marmalade Gypsy sent me that her partner Rick uses. We are all going to make our own individual pizzas. I think it will be fun! Last week we had a really laid back dinner at my brother’s house, soup and bread and homemade pumpkin pie. It was a very simple, perfect evening. Even though I had Wyatt dressed like Doc Boy from the Garfield Christmas Special. (well Wyatt is super cute in anything) And for a little bit of reality, that is Wyatt being sassy! Then, one second later trying to charm us. Stinker.

This weekend we have to do a lot of around the house stuff. Cleaning, getting groceries including the ingredients we need for our contributions to Thanksgiving and Wolfenoot, and work on the gifts we are making. Busy but also fun, with a nice break for pizza with family.

Next week is a little wild, and the introvert in me is freaking out already! Tuesday we have a get together with my cousin and his kids, my mom, and my brother and fam. Wednesday we have early Thanksgiving with Billy’s family, and Thursday Thanksgiving at my brother’s. It will be a lot of fun but Friday Wyatt and I will be doing a lot of nothing.

And that is about it for today! I hope all is well in your world!

Homeschooling Journey: North Dakota, Edward Hicks, and Peace.

Last week was well, peaceful. I wanted to explore the concept of peace and mindfulness and home this month with Wyatt. It just felt like the right thing for November. It is an ongoing theme, so we started reading a few books on the topic of peace, talked about things that felt like peace to Wyatt, and made those cute peace dove hearts with his cousin one afternoon. Inside the kids had to write three things that peace is and they did a really good job.

When I learned that North Dakota was home to the International Peace Garden, which is situated on the border of the U.S. and Canada I knew it was the state we were going to work on in social studies. I mean, obviously. We didn’t get around to making our own mini peace gardens but maybe before the month is over we will.

We always cover the key facts of the state, talk about the state animals/trees/flowers etc, and then always pick the interesting facts that are most appealing to us. I am not expecting Wyatt to memorize the date of statehood or what number state they are, or even the capitol of the state right now. I want him to learn about the area the state is in, the region, what the landscape and climate are like, the flora and fauna, and those interesting things that stand out. I am always a little surprised by what he chooses! This time he chose as his favorites the W’eel Turtle, which is an 18 foot turtle built out of 2000 wheel rims, and that the National Buffalo Museum is there, and home to a rare white buffalo named White Cloud. I didn’t tell him that White Cloud passed away in 2016 so he is on display there, not actually living there. I kept that tidbit to myself.

We always have fun in art! This week Wyatt was a bit bored by the actual art and artist I had chosen – Edward Hicks and his work The Peaceable Kingdom. And from his perspective it probably wasn’t super exciting to look at, but it did give us the opportunity to talk about how the animals in the painting are usually animals that wouldn’t normally get along, which was the point of the painting, that they were a peaceable kingdom. He then picked an animal from the painting and then together we created one out of oil pastels. It was again an art lesson with Dad, which has been a fun trend! Wyatt chose a lion from the inspiration artwork, and then I helped him with the actual outline of the lion using hand over hand due to his motor control, although he is getting better and better everyday! Sometimes he just wants my hand over his wrist as a confidence boost while he does all the work. Anyway, we got the lion drawn, he made all the wild marks for the mane, and then Billy showed him how to blend the pastels to make it look smooth and soft. It turned out really well! And Wyatt did enjoy that part!

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.

P is for Peace Garden || Peaceful Pieces || Peace is an Offering || Peace Train || The Peace Book

For the peace dove heart craft

Homeschool Journey: Wayne Thiebaud, Missouri, and desserts

We had a bit of a more laid back week last week – I think we both needed it! However, we still did some pretty cool stuff.

Missouri was a surprise! As part of our state studies, Wyatt has to choose a few interesting facts about every state. This time, his favorite facts were all about food – that the first ice cream cone was served at the World’s Fair in 1904, as well as tea with ice in it. We had to of course have ice cream to celebrate that first ice cream cone.

I kind of had to chuckle that his favorite fact was about the ice cream cone, as the artist I had chosen for the week was Wayne Thiebaud, a pop artist known for his paintings of desserts and food. Pies, ice cream, cakes, hot dogs – all done in really cool pastels.

We didn’t get to art until Saturday, which worked out because then Billy could participate. He actually led the lesson for him this time! Billy is an artist, and knows so much about art so I appreciated his help. I had never used oil pastels before, and they were part of the lesson, as was creating a resist, which was new to me. So I switched on some 50s music as it felt appropriate, and we got to work – in our pajamas even! Billy also came up with a genius idea to create templates for Wyatt to trace around to get the right perspective and proportions.

It worked perfectly! Then they added in the details, the color, and then traced over the lines with a black sharpie. Thiebaud uses oil pastels for the frosting to create a more luxurious, thicker look, then paints the rest in watercolor. So Wyatt and Billy did as well.

Billy did such a good job that I hung his up as well.

It was a low key week, but still very fun!

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.

Missouri || Train of States || Counting With Wayne Thiebaud || S is for Show Me

Crayola Oil Pastels – these were really cool and fun to use! We are using them again this week.

Wayne Thiebaud Artist Handout – Teachers Pay Teachers – No Corner Suns

Homeschool Journey: Dia de los Muertos, Frida Kahlo, Jose Posada and a Weird Pumpkin

Last week we continued on with our fundamentals like math and reading (which I never share about really because it’s not super exciting as one might imagine) and also dove deeper into Dia de los Muertos and especially into Frida Kahlo.

Wyatt and I are both loving art this year. I decided to just wing it, and it is working out really well for us. Since October is Hispanic Heritage Month, I thought it would be cool to focus on Hispanic artists. We spent some time on Diego Rivera, and then on Frida, and then a quick lesson on Jose Posada.

I introduced Wyatt to the art of Frida Kahlo the other week, and we talked about who she was as a person, how she overcame pain and obstacles to create her art, and how she eventually married Diego Rivera. We read about how when she was in bed overcoming an accident, she drew her feet – so Wyatt drew his feet while laying in bed. And if you follow these posts, then you know that he also put together a little Frida doll. Well this past week we took art a little further. We started by making a felt flower headband, which is super easy. (I will link the tutorial we used below in the resource roundup area.) I am always working with Wyatt on fine motor skills, which can be difficult for him with his cerebral palsy, especially with his right hand. Rolling is particularly difficult, and we work on it a lot. So this was a great project do with him even for OT purposes!

The next step involved Wyatt using watercolors to create a background – he opted for various colorful stripes which I think turned out beautiful. The next day, I took his photo wearing the headband, printed the photo, and cut it out. His background painting was dry, so it was time for the next step – painting on flowers using acrylics. While this was drying, Wyatt and I read a few books about Frida and all of her animals, and how she often included them in her self-portraits. I asked Wyatt which of our animals he would like to include in his self-portrait and he surprised me by saying Luna, one of our leopard geckos. I thought for sure he was going to say Miso, our fluffy cat! But nope, it was Luna who got the honor. I printed a photo of Luna, then it was time to put it all together. And I have to say, I absolutely love how it turned out!

I am 100% going to hang this in our house.

We also had a quick lesson on Jose Posada, who created the image of the calaveras. I also had picked up a mask kit and we put it to use.

In lieu of a state this week, we focused on the cultural traditions observed during Dia de los Murertos. We learned about the importance and symbolism of the monarch butterfly, and how it came to become a part of the celebration. We learned about the traditional foods that are provided on the ofrendas and also enjoyed by families, about the inclusion of earth, water, fire, and air which I hadn’t heard of before, and the reason for the sugar skulls. I love that I continuously learn as well, alongside Wyatt.

We carried our lessons on over to language arts as well. We read the book Our Day of the Dead Celebration, which I highly recommend, and Wyatt and I talked about our family members that have passed on and I shared funny stories with Wyatt about them, and talked about different things that they had liked.

Music is another area we are winging it, and while art is going awesomely, music is a bit more difficult. It is more like music appreciation at this point but that is ok. I found an incredible free resource online from the Phoenix Symphony which included a “concert repetoire” of music from Mexican folklore and also lessons about the Ballet Folklorico. Wyatt predictably enjoyed La Cucaracha the best.

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.

Our Day of the Dead Celebration || Funny Bones || Viva Frida || The Remembering Day || A Parrot in the Painting || The Boy with Flowers in His Hair || Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos || Frida Kahlo: The Artist who Painted Herself || Danza!!

Felt Flower Headband

The Phoenix Symphony The Ballet Folklorico

Our Crafty World Dia de los Muertos Display Board

Oh, and that weird pumpkin? It’s sort of creepy… are you ready for it?

Allow me to explain. Last week (when this pumpkin was created) we were studying spores in science, and looking at the spores on ferns. Well, since I had already trimmed these fern pieces I decided we were going to do something with them. I had seen something on Instagram about botanical pumpkins, and I was like ok, we will try it. Instead we had glue and mod podge all over us, were we laughing hysterically because we 100% could not get ours to look even remotely like the ones I had seen, so I told Wyatt to just be creative and make a fern jack o’lantern. And frankly, I can imagine this creation scaring spirits from our door!

October was a great month of learning with fun activities to accompany our work! I am looking forward to moving on to our November studies.

Field Trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts

Circumstances have aligned that are going to make going places and doing things much more accessible for us. First, the wheelchair! Wyatt is working on walking but just doesn’t have the stamina or endurance to go very far, so we need the wheelchair until he gets there. And we have one now and life is easier! Second, the pandemic has reached a point where I feel comfortable taking Wyatt into places like museums again. We still wear masks but things are better for us around here. So I was super excited to take Wyatt to the museum!

We rolled up early in the morning., bright and early at 9 when they open. We are get up and go people, we are up early anyway (thanks to early bird boy) and I also like how empty a place is that early so, there we were. The only other people there seemed to be the people going to the Van Gogh exhibit (which I need to get to before it leaves) so we sort of had the rest of the museum to ourselves for quite a while. My mom went with us, as did Billy since he had the day off to go camping. (he headed out after our field trip). We had a great time.

First up were the Diego Rivera murals, the whole point to our trip. Wyatt has been learning about Diego River in art and I was really excited to be able to show him some actual, in person, works of Rivera. He could not believe how huge they were. They are pretty awe inspiring.

After we spent some time here, we moved on to the ofrendas, a special exhibit right now. I wanted all of us to see it, as this month Wyatt and I are focusing on all Hispanic artists this month and I also have some lessons about Dia de los Muertos as well coming up. My mom, Billy, and I were very moved by these personal and emotional creations. They were very elaborate and thoughtful. I was not comfortable taking photos of them for obvious reasons, but there were some parts I did feel it was ok to do so. These ofrendas were intended for public viewing to educate but also still were personal to the artist’s family, so it was tricky.

After soaking in the ofrendas, we wandered around the rest of of that floor. Wyatt was more excited about using his wheelchair than he was about the art and we had to keep him in check – I was slightly anxious my exuberant child was going to knock over a Roman bust or something.

Just a few more, I promise.

We didn’t explore the whole museum this time – I figured that this was enough for this visit and we can back and see the rest later. I also wanted to visit the gift shop before we left to look for Frida, Rivera, or Day of the Dead stuff. I could have poked around in there all day but my guys were getting restless.

The DIA offers a free educator pass to homeschool families which is pretty cool! I applied in September and received mine a few days later. I am looking forward to seeing what they offer!

Our first wheelchair field trip adventure was a success and I am looking forward to our future adventures!

Homeschool Journey: Took a wrong turn in Albuquerque

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!

Homeschooling Journey: John Henry, West Virginia, and Clementine Hunter

Last week was a great week of learning around here! We are getting settled into a routine and getting used to the new curriculum and the things I am supplementing myself are going well. I designed my own literature arts curriculum for Wyatt and I to use and not to pat myself on the back, but we are both enjoying it a great deal. I am also winging it with music and art, and honestly it is all going together very well! We will see how that continues.

First, lets talk about John Henry. Wyatt LOVED the story of John Henry, but seriously, why did it have to end the way it did! We read the book by Ezra Jack Keats, watched the John Henry cartoon by Disney, and sang many many John Henry and railroad songs, including one by John Denver and another by Johnny Cash. This was by far Wyatt’s favorite though. I can’t tell you how many times we have sung this now. We talked about how brave and strong John Henry was, and talked about times Wyatt has been brave and strong as well. We talked about how machines and industrialization made life both easier, but also took jobs from many people, which was something that also came up when we read Paul Bunyan.

I read a few versions of John Henry, some mentioned states, other didn’t, but I ultimately decided West Virginia was a good state to accompany the story for our Social Studies portion of the week. There is a statue of John Henry in West Virginia and it seems to be part of their folklore so it made sense. We learned about railroads, about the state symbols of West Virginia, and chose some interesting facts and favorite things. I of course loved the history about John Denver’s song Country Roads, how he sung it in D.C. and received a five minute ovation. The song has naturally become the state song. Wyatt chose as his favorite fact the Mothman myth, which was just a little mention in the book that we use as our “spine”, The 50 States. Sometimes it is so 100% obvious he is my kid. As we read a bit more about Mothman, I learned we had just missed the Mothman festival in West Virginia! How cool would that have been to attend together as a field trip?

Art was also really cool this week. We learned about Clementine Hunter, and if you are unfamiliar with who she is, I encourage you to look her up! She was fascinating and brave and talented. We learned that she had a gallery show that she wasn’t even allowed to attend since she was Black, and so we talked a bit about that, as well as an age and developmentally appropriate discussion about slavery and racism. We read Art from her Heart, which is a fabulous picture book, and then recreated her painting of zinnias. I picked zinnias from our yard, brought them in, and Wyatt got to work. I helped him with the shape of the jar in the painting, but the rest was all him and I think he did amazing!

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.

Disney’s American Legends || John Henry An American Legend || M is for Mountain State || Art from her Heart

Other Resources:

The Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer

Overall, a very good week here!

Homeschooling Journey: Paul Bunyan, Wisconsin, Photosynthesis, and Grant Wood

Last week was a crazy week! It was our second week back and we were still working out our rhythm and routine. We also added in the subjects we didn’t do the first week back, so we had a very full second week! Music, art, phonics, reading, math, science, social studies… we did it all.

Let’s start with..music and social studies. Wyatt is absolutely loving The Waldock Way’s Traveling the States curriculum. It is by far his favorite subject that we cover. I have to admit, it is pretty neat! I loved geography and history as a kid, and even in college so it makes sense. I was even in school to become a Social Studies teacher when they got rid of that degree and I had to choose sometime else (I picked History – I should have picked Geography) Anyway, back to Wyatt and our school! I have been starting every school session with a folk song or song that pertains to our lessons and this week we listened to the Wisconsin state song as well as songs from Bunyan and Banjoes, and Voices From Across the Lakes. Wyatt loves this – and was super pumped up by the Roll Loggers, Roll song. It also tied in with our Literary Arts for the week. We have been making our way through legends and tall tales, and last week we read about the mighty Paul Bunyan, and Babe, his blue ox. I asked Wyatt who he liked better, Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan, and Wyatt is sticking by Johnny Appleseed.

Wisconsin facts we learned: toilet paper was invented there, which for some reason was hilarious to Wyatt, and that the first ice cream sundae was made there as well. Those were Wyatt’s two favorite takeaways. My favorite Wisconsin fact though is that Laura Ingalls was born there.

Science this entire year is all about plants, and we started at the beginning, with photosynthesis and how we get oxygen from trees. It’s still such a perfect design, that we need to live hand in hand with trees, as they use our carbon dioxide and we need their oxygen. We also had a very simple observation experiment to complete. We took two freshly cut leaves (I used my pothos) and put them in two jars of water. One was to be put in the sun, and the other in a closet. After an hour we needed to see the difference, were there any bubbles, etc.

Art this week was about Grant Wood, probably best known for his painting American Gothic. We read a few different books about Wood, looked at pictures of his work, and then we were supposed to make a sculpture over the weekend – but it didn’t happen. Note to self: Do not save work for the weekend, at least until the weather changes. Wyatt loved Wood’s sculpture work which were made out of just anything he found. I loved his portraits best, especially the portrait of his mother holding her snake plant, called Woman with Plants.

The sculpture is named “Lillies of the Alley”, and I found this photo online at Antiques and the Arts, photo credit to Stephen Gassman.

What We Used: (contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Living Sunlight // B is for Badger // American Gothic // Grant Wood: The Artist in the Hayloft // Paul Bunyan

Bunyan and Banjoes // Disney American Legends

I am sure a lot of these resources can be found either available online for free or at the library.

We also use curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful, The Waldock Way, and Blossom and Root.

I am hoping to get my blogging situation with timing of posts, replies to comments, and visiting you all and commenting under control this week!

Homeschool Journey: The First Week Back

Well, we made it through our first week back! Wyatt had a fantastic week. We had our moments where we struggled, both of us, but overall this was a great first few days back!

The first day I got up way too early and got started. I tried to make a special back to school breakfast of french toast but, I totally screwed it up somehow. Lol. I wasn’t awake enough maybe? So we had just a breakfast of buttered toast and we were happy because Wyatt and I are superfans of toast, which I know sounds funny. I gave him his little bin of supplies, some that he had chosen and some that were surprises, and he ate breakfast while exploring them.

After breakfast, we got ready and took back to school photos. He opted for his new lizard shirt – and told me that he was looking forward to learning about geckos. I guess I need to get a unit study together!

I can’t get over how much he has grown since even last year. Where did my baby go?

Then we headed in and got straight to work. I had a week that was structured to let us ease back in. We only tackled reading and language arts, social studies, music, and art last week. Next week we will add math and science back in. We need to form our new routine, get used to the new schedule, figure out how to work around therapy, all that good stuff.

And in the middle of our first day, I discovered we had a runaway caterpillar! I was crawling around the office looking for it everywhere! I finally found it on the baseboard behind my desk. (This is a giant swallowtail caterpillar)

When we finished up our work for the first day, we went outside for a much needed break. Wyatt played and played while I sat in my new yard chairs by the zinnias, enjoying the cool of the day and listening to Wyatt playing. It was a tiring but wonderful day.

What We Learned:

Our week was all about Johnny Appleseed, the state of Michigan, and the artist Thomas Cole.

Our Language Arts curriculum is one that I designed so I was excited to try it out! I need to fluff it out more with some projects that correlate with the book, etc but the actual work and how it went made me very happy.

We are learning about the states this year using a program from The Waldock Way, and we had a blast with it last week! I added in some Motown music, of course, and I had found the book Voices Across the Lakes on Amazon for $6, when other copies are selling for $40! It is described as “Beautifully told and illustrated stories about the Great Lakes region. Historical content, written around 10 authentic songs.” It is really cool, and we are probably going to use it with music class for a few more weeks.

I was also really excited to start our art program. I am not using anything formal, but I have a list of artists I want us to learn about this year and I am sort of making it up as we go along. This week we learned about Thomas Cole. I found an awesome picture book called Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art, which we read together. I also visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site website and they had some wonderful free downloads available to use. It would be an excellent field trip for anyone living in that area too, with free outdoor explore kits for students to use while visiting. Plus that view from the porch!! We are going to complete our art project later this afternoon as a family, by sketching the view from our porch. Not quite as scenic, not by a long shot, but it will be fun to do.

What We Used:

(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

S is for Sleeping Bear Dunes // M is for Mitten // Voices Across the Lakes // Picturing America // Seed by Seed

For a look at what we are using for our curriculum this year, check out my post here.

We ended the week with a crazy road trip – but that is a story for another day!

Homeschool – Frog Week!

Our frog week turned into frog weeks! I had intended to spend a week studying frogs but it drifted into two. We were just having so much fun!

We read so many books, learned about the life cycle (and will hopefully be raising our own tadpoles soon!), talked about the differences between frogs and toads and used our own Freddy the Frog as an example, and had a nice discussion about how Freddy, although he is a frog, still lives mostly on land, so it was also a good moment to talk about how there are sometimes exceptions to rules.

However, the highlight of our study was the Kiwi Crate box we had been gifted by a friend! I had always been curious about them so I was excited to see what was inside as well, and Wyatt absolutely loved it.

It was a fun mix of arts and crafts combined with science. We started with a chalk and frog activity, where Wyatt grated different colored chalk, and carefully tapped the dust into water. He dropped a paper frog into the chalk, again very carefully, and then we waited for the chalk to stick. The science behind this is that water likes to stick itself more than to air, so this means that at the surface the water forms a tighter layer as it hugs itself, which creates strong layer to hold up the chalk dust. However, if you bump it, the layer breaks and the chalk sinks. The artsy part comes in with the frog – if you haven’t caused the chalk to sink, it will stick to the paper frog. We were successful a few times, although, not every time. Lol.

Next up was the leaping lily pad activity! This was Wyatt’s favorite. We took the frog from the previous activity and stuck it to the lily pad, wound a rubber band through the notches according to the directions, and then turned it inside out, with the frog on top. Then when you hold it down with your finger and let go, it jumps up into the air! This works through the release of energy. I could never manage to get a photo of it in the air, but rest assured, it hopped!

The final activity was an aquarium in a bottle. It had a lot of steps, so to sum up, we added colored salt water to plastic fish and then floated them in water. The trick to floating them up and down is to balance the amount of water and air correctly. Too much air or too much water will cause them to float on the surface or to sink to the bottom. We did have to make a few adjustments to make all our fish float up and down!

I was pretty impressed by this subscription box! It came with all the information and materials needed (minus the water of course) and Wyatt loved it.

Overall, we had a great two weeks of learning about frogs! Next week is our final week of pond life, and we are ending on Wyatt’s request, snakes!

Resource Round Up!

The Books We Used:

(contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Frog and Friends || Marsh Morning || Marsh Music || Among the Pond People || And the Bullfrogs Sing

Other Resources:

Frog Life Cycle Figurine Set

Frog Mini Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway

Frog Life Cycle Activity – The Classroom Creative

Kiwi Crate from Kiwico