Homeschool: Snow!

In addition to Wyatt’s regular curriculum, every month we focus on a different theme (or themes). This month is all about snow! I feel sort of like I dared Mother Nature with this one, as we have gotten more snow this month than we have all winter.

I haven’t blogged yet this month about our snow studies and I feel like we have done so much! We started the month by talking about well, snow. How it forms, different types of snowflakes, the life cycle of a snowflake, the basics of snow really.

We also did some great art projects. Wyatt loves painting and books so I tried to focus a lot this month on incorporating more of those into our month.

An online friend gifted Wyatt with the book Sneezy the Snowman for Christmas and he loved it so much that I wanted to use it this month as part of our studies. We read the book, discussed melting and freezing, worked on sequencing, and then followed it up with this great activity. This was Wyatt’s favorite thing we have done so far this month.

My little painter. He also painted two pictures, inspired by the books Snow Falls Karen Gardner and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. (I did help him with painting Peter though, full disclosure in light of the whole North West controversy) We also did some extra studies with The Snowy Day, including sequencing just like we did with Sneezy the Snowman.

Then yesterday we read The Snow Globe Family and Snow Globe Wishes, which were both adorable. We followed up the readings with a little writing assignment, answering the question what would Wyatt do if he lived in a snow globe (answer: paint), and then he wanted to see an actual snow globe. How I don’t have one, I don’t know. So we made this spur of the moment, slapdash, what we had around the house version of one, using a jam jar, a small toy fox, some crystal beads, and then me, wielding a hot glue gun. The beads are too heavy so I need to add some glitter in there, but kiddo loves it, and that is all that matters.

I am going to do a huge resource round-up of printables next Saturday, after we finish up the month’s activities, so stay tuned for that! I will share the books we have read and videos we have watched though.

Books We Have Read So Far:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Snow Globe Wishes || The Snow Globe Family || The Snowy Day || The Tea Party in the Woods || Sneezy the Snowman || Snow Falls || Snow || The Snow Rabbit

Videos:

Wild Kratts How a Snowflake is Formed

Caitie’s Classroom Snow

Maddie Moate Snow

We have one more week left of our snow study, then in March we are mixing it up! Our own March Madness I guess.

Homeschool: The Arctic Weeks 3 & 4

We are saying farewell to the Arctic today, finishing up a few last fun activities (a snow morphing arctic adventure and arctic animal track scavenger hunt) before moving on next week, and I think I am going to be sad. We had such a good time with this theme this month! It was a great way to start the year.

The past two weeks we learned about arctic foxes (my favorite), harp seals, beluga whales, walruses, and arctic wolves, which I timed to learn about on the night of the full wolf moon. We had quite a bit of fun with the art projects – the little salt dough clay seal turned out as cute as the narwhal did, the walrus was a fun thrown together project, and the fox was fun but sort of messy, which everyone hated. My mom and my niece do the same theme with us every month, which makes it more fun honestly. We have video chats once a week where the kids can show off their projects and work to each other and it is just a nice end to the week. Then they digress into showing off their toys and then being silly, but that is ok – they miss playing with each other!

We did a small “research” project, kindergarten style, at the end of the month, where each kid picked their favorite animal that we had studied and did a special paper on that animal, to kind of check what they remembered, etc. My niece chose the harp seal as her favorite, and Wyatt picked the narwhal, our very first animal that we did. He loved the arctic animal yoga we did this month too – I have to admit I liked the arctic hare pose and the beluga whale breathing as well. Lol. He will randomly and spontaneously do the narwhal pose, and it is so cute to hear him say it. Dinogirl’s favorite switched throughout the month, from narwhal to fox to seal, before settling on seal- Wyatt was pretty sold on either narwhal or polar bears the entire month. It was also a good month for speech for us, with a few really great breakthroughs.

We read quite a few books, but both kids loved the book Arctic White, and I agree it is a wonderful one. In the book, the girl and her grandfather live in an igloo, so we discussed how an igloo is a traditional home that is not really a home type anymore, that the Indigenous People of the arctic live in permanent, modern housing like Molly of Denali does. We did talk about igloos and their construction which was interesting, I learned a new word, catenary, which is the curve that an igloo forms – not a half circle shape. The kids thought a house made of snow was really cool, no pun intended. We tried our hand at building igloos out of sugar cubes. Wyatt and I were not successful, despite much trying…

My mom and niece were better engineers – my mom figured out a support system. She is much better at that sort of thing than I am.

We were planning on finishing up our unit by taking a field trip to the zoo to see the polar bears and wolves and the arctic fox but coincidentally, arctic air moved into the area and it is so cold! I didn’t feel comfortable taking Wyatt out into it, so I made new reservations for Valentines Day. We are also supposed to get a snowstorm tonight – the perfect entrance for our month long unit on snow and snowmen and all things winter!

Resource Round-Up!

Note: If printables include penguins, save those for a separate unit, as they live in the South Pole, not North

Little Spark Arctic Animals

Preschool Mom Arctic Animals

Arctic Animal Fun Pack

Arctic Animals Like Cold book

Arctic Animals Learning Pack

Books:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

In Arctic Waters || Baby Beluga || Arctic White

Videos, Art, Experiments and Extras:

Build animal dens out of mini marshmallows

Build igloo from sugar cubes

Paper Plate Arctic Fox

Wild Kratt’s episodes: Horn and Tusk Power, Baby Tooth

Kids Teaching Kids Harp Seal

Wild Explorers Arctic Fox

Arctic Animals Who’s That

Welcome to the Ice House Read Aloud

Canadian Encyclopedia “Igloos”

How to Build an Igloo

Homeschool: The Arctic Week 2

Our Arctic Exploration, week 2 is coming to an end. Good thing we have two more weeks; we are having a ton of fun. This week was all about polar bears!

We started off by learning the basics of a polar bear – their anatomy, about their little ears which are little to protect them from frostbite, about camouflage, about how their skin under their fur is black (and why), that their fur doesn’t actually have white pigment, it is hollow, and how some arctic animals stay warm.

We had a fun week of activities and art..but it was also a very messy week!

This art project is one of my favorites that we have done. I think it looks so pretty! You can read about how to do it here. Wyatt used his fingers for most of it but then also wanted a brush. He hates having stuff on his hands (me too) so I try to have him do some like that, but then let him use a brush as well. Although, if you can see in the first photo he also decided to paint the table too..

He also made a paper plate and cotton ball polar bear. Who would have thought some glue and cotton balls could make a mess? But they did. My mom told me that she and my niece also made a giant mess with both of these are projects. Maybe we are just a messy family? Regardless, it was a lot of fun.

We also did a few activities! One about camouflage, the other about blubber! At least the camo activity was tidy, because the blubber one was super gross. Lol. I think Wyatt felt a little betrayed by that one. He had to put his hand in cold water, then also in crisco. It was pretty interesting though! I tried it and it actually did keep my hand warmer! I think I will just stick to wearing gloves though.

Before things got messy…

Our resource round- up is a bit of the same for some:

Note: If printables include penguins, save those for a separate unit, as they live in the South Pole, not North

Little Spark Arctic Animals

Preschool Mom Arctic Animals

Arctic Animal Fun Pack

Arctic Animals Like Cold book

Arctic Animals Learning Pack

Books That We Read:

(I have links to Amazon Affiliate links, but most of these can be found at the library or even as read alouds on YouTube)

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder || Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer || Over in the Arctic by Marianne Berkes

Activities and Extras

How do animals stay warm?

Why are polar bears white?

Polar Bear Cotton Ball Picture

Polar Bear in the Snow Process Art

And we also watched a few Wild Kratts cartoons on PBS (we have the PBS Kids app through Amazon), Polar Bears Don’t Dance and Snowy Owl Invasion

Next up: Arctic Foxes and Walruses!

Homeschool: The Arctic!

This week we finished week 1 of our month long Arctic unit! We are venturing far north, learning about the different animals that live there, how they survive, how they live, why they are white, and all sorts of cool things. Unfortunately, it seems like the Arctic heard about our plans and decided to bring the Arctic weather to us, with a possible polar vortex on the horizon. We don’t really need that much authenticity, thank you.

To get back into the swing of school after our holiday break, I began with narwhals, because narwhals are just fun. I knew the kids would be excited about these unicorns of the sea, and they were! We read some cute books (although the kids (my son and niece) did think that narwhals were born in clam shells after reading the book Not Quite Narwhal – whoops! Lol.) We learned about their tusks, which is really a front left tooth that protrudes from their lip, not a tusk at all. We also learned that the tusks are like inside out teeth, with the nerves on the outside, so they definitely don’t use them for fighting. That would be a big ouch! I have to admit I was fascinated by these creatures as well!

We also painted the Northern Lights, using frozen paint cubes. This was actually hilarious – it was fun and then as it started to warm up, changed how the paint flowed onto the paper. But then when it finally thawed it just plunk! fell right off. It also became very messy. It was still a fun activity!

The kids also created salt dough narhwals, and narwhals out of spoons. My niece also made a unicorn spoon, but Wyatt wanted to just make two narwhals, which is fine. I like to do some directed art but also let them feel free to be expressive. Today we are finishing up the narwhals, painting them. I am betting we will end up with another set of blue and yellow narwhals over here…

It was a fun first week back! Next week we learn about Polar Bears, and a really interesting experiment about blubber is in the plans.. and some arctic animal yoga!

Resource Round Up!

Note: If printables include penguins, save those for a separate unit, as they live in the South Pole, not North

Little Spark Arctic Animals

Preschool Mom Arctic Animals

Arctic Animal Fun Pack

Arctic Animals Like Cold book

Arctic Animals Learning Pack

Books We Read

(This section contains Amazon affiliate links)

Wendell the Narwhal || Not Quite Narwhal (about a unicorn but still adorable)

Arts and Crafts

Clay Narwhal (we shaped them using the dough from this recipe)

Narwhal Spoon

Videos and Other Resources Used

(This section contains Amazon affiliate links)

Wild Republic Polar Animals Nature Tube (just don’t use the penguins, they are South Pole inhabitants!)

The Girl Who Went to the Arctic

A Walk in the Arctic

Narwhal: Unicorns of the Sea

As always we also use Blossom and Root for our regular curriculum as well.

Homeschool: Pine Trees and Porcu”pines”!

Last week we studied conifer trees and pine cones – and porcupines! We started off by going on a pine cone and conifer tree hunt – and found that there are not huge areas of evergreens near us! Most of our hikes are through woods filled with oaks and hickory and walnut trees, but hardly a conifer to be seen. We did find one place that had a bunch, so we were able to get a few different pine cones at least, but we were never really able to do a big walk and work on identification. But that is ok, we have years for that!

I chose to focus on more hands-on type work for this particular study. I believe when you are studying nature, you should feel it and smell it and experience it. Except for when we got to the porcupine portion of our week, we didn’t need to experience that firsthand..

We started with a fun scientific investigation of pine cones, where Wyatt chose a particular pine cone, and did some observations and an hypothesis or two. Then we put the pine cone in water to see if if would sink or float, and also to see what would happen to the open pine cone. We looked very closely at one to see if we could find any seeds left inside, and we found one little seed, then discussed the life cycle of a Christmas tree. We also talked about the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and how that little owl was in it this year! Then we read a book about two cardinals in the same situation.

We discussed the parts of a pine cone, the parts of a pine tree, looked at features of different types of conifers, and then made our own little Christmas tree ornaments from twigs. They turned out so cute and individual! Wyatt’s is very patriotic, mine is traditional, and Billy’s is very fluffy. We also turned a few pine cones into peanut butter bird feeders, but the squirrels stole them immediately.

For our creature study this week, we did porcu”pines”! I think this turned out super cute! I cut out the template and had Wyatt snip the needles off the branches and glue them on. We talked about the similarities between the pine needles and a porcupine’s quills, and learned a few simple facts about porcupines. We also watched a video of a porcupine eating a pumpkin and it was super crazy! I will link it below. As always we do themed studies as a supplement to our regular curriculum.

This week we are exploring the world of The Nutcracker ballet- which I have learned from practically everyone in my family that they don’t like! Only Wyatt and I seem to like it. Lol. I figured Wyatt would, he loves music so much but I was shocked that it is not well liked in my family (mom, dad, husband, niece..) Oh well, some weeks turn out better than others!

Resource Round Up:

Life Cycle of a Christmas Tree – The Preschool Tool Box

Pine Cone Science – Playdough to Plato

Identifying Conifers and Flash Cards – Playful Learning

Books Read:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (one of my holiday favorites) || Red and Lulu || Pick a Pine Tree

Videos:

Teddy the Porcupine Eating Halloween Feast

Rockefeller Center Owl

Homeschool: Scotland Study!

So, I just realized that I never posted about our second Heritage study, Scotland! We did our first, Hawaii, back in the summer and then Scotland right around Thanksgiving. I didn’t do much in the way of Thanksgiving content, I chose to focus on the immigrant aspect of the holiday, which led me to our own immigrant roots.

I have always loved stories about different countries and places – something that has never waned even as I have grown older. I often choose to read books based on setting, and will read and read until I decide I have gleaned everything I can about a place from books. I guess I cure some of my wanderlust through these words. Anyway, I have always loved learning about different places and cultures and I want my son (and niece) to have this love of place as well. I realize that geography is not the most exciting thing for kids, especially five year olds to learn, so when I was planning this study, I wanted to stick to more fun, kid friendly topics, like the wildlife and animals, and some of the folklore, music, food as well.

That being said, we spent the first week on some of the wildlife and farm animals of Scotland – Shetland ponies, sheep, highland cattle (a particular favorite of mine, check out the hashtag #coosday on Instagram if you love them as well, you’ll thank me), and puffins, which were Wyatt’s favorite. He loved that little puppet! I wanted to spend some time on those wild Scottish cats but I just ran out of time for it all! We also talked about kilts, of course, as every resource I found has people wearing them.

The next week we went a little crazy – it was a holiday week after all, so I just let us have some fun, and we studied unicorns and dragons and the Loch Ness Monster. Because, why not? Lol. They are little, lots of time to grow up and learn other things.

Wyatt even had a guest reader! My mom read him Nessie – and I love how my mom and Wyatt are sitting in the same pose. We read Zog by Julia Donaldson (our inspiration for dragons… I love all of her books so much), watched the movie Zog on Amazon, read books, made art. It was just a fun week, and we loved it.

Resource Round Up!

Dragon Types – Green Urban Creative

Scotland Complete Study – Starlight Treasures

Scottish Symbols Anatomy Pack – Fiddlesticks Ed

Highland Wildlife Nature Pack – Fiddlesticks Ed

Puffin Bag Puppet

Books:

(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Harris the Hero || Hairy Hettie || Nessie || Isla and Pickle The Highland Show || Zog

Extras and Art:

Highland Cow

Zog

I also watched How to Train Your Dragon but Wyatt fell asleep…

And that was it! I apologize, I am about to have two homeschool posts this week but I wanted to catch up!

Homeschooling: Owls Week

I was so excited to start Owl Week! Our whole little family loves owls so this was fun for all of us. We actually did this last week, but I am behind on posting – this week we worked on one of our Heritage Studies, Scotland! I will share about that next week though. (We always do a special unit study in addition to our regular curriculum)

Many of our activities were based around reading, which is my kind of activity. I love book and activity tie in, and there are so many great owl picture books out there! I used some old favorites, and found a few new ones!

First we started with Owl Babies, one of the cutest little books out there. We read the book, and worked on the flip books I downloaded, which were super informative and fun. Then we created some Owl Babies inspired art! (always always Wyatt’s favorite part)

The next day we read Owl Moon, which if you haven’t read it is one of my favorite books ever, about a father and child on a cold silent winter night, looking for owls. We completed some work pages I found online, then created an owl moon artwork. I cut out the silhouette and he did the moon, face and glued it all together.

We spent the rest of the week reading, looking at different types of owls that live all over the world, having a poetry and book teatime with my mom and niece, crafting, and watching owl videos. We finished up our week with our very own owl prowl at the park! We met up with my cousin and his girls, my brother, SIL, and niece, and my friends and their two girls. We think we may have heard an owl straight away but other than that, nothing. It didn’t matter though, it was a beautiful night for a hike through the woods with with friends. And sadly, it was our last for a while as we all agreed to not hang out for a while, even masked and distanced outside, due to our surging COVID numbers. But, for the night we had fun and felt free under the dark canopy of trees, the kids playing, Wyatt hooting trying to call owls, and everyone seemed happy. So not a bad night to end social events on at all.

Resource Round-Up!

Owl Babies Free Printables – Homeschoolshare.com

Owl Moon Free Printables – Wildflower Ramblings

Owls of the World – Little Spark

Books Read:

Contains Amazon Affiliate links

Adopted by an Owl (too long for Wyatt but I loved it) || Little Owl’s Night || Owl Babies || Owl Moon || Tanna’s Owl || Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry

Crafts and Other Resources:

Owl Babies Craft – I Heart Crafty Things

Owl Moon Craft – Liz’s Early Learning Spot

Molly of Denali – Bird in Hand Episode

Next week I will share our Scotland Studies week! It has been really fun.

Homeschooling: Bat Week!

Happy Halloween!!

I thought bats were the perfect choice for Halloween week! I love it when I learn along with Wyatt, and I learned some interesting things myself this week.

It was such an interesting topic I guess, that Miso wanted to learn too.

On Monday we talked about the parts of a bat, and we looked at a few different kinds of bats that live here in Michigan. There are around 1300 species of bat in the world; Michigan has nine different types living here. We did little bat number puzzles, a bat memory game using little bat cards I made, and read some books.

Tuesday we focused on the different types of homes bats make, what it means to be nocturnal, and echolocation. Then Wyatt made the cutest little bat caves!

Wednesday we talked about bats as pollinators. I loved this topic, of course, and I think we are going to plan a night garden for bats this year. Did you know bats are main pollinators of the cacao plant? We need them for chocolate everyone! Also agave and avocados, so thank a bat if you enjoy margaritas paired with guac and chips.. We also made brownies in preparation for our video chat tea party we were planning on having Thursday with my mom and niece, who were studying bats along with us all week.

I loved our little tea party! We ate our snacks, I read spooky nursery rhymes in honor of Halloween, and just chatted with each other. Dinogirl and Wyatt love to have show and tell over chat, so Mom and I kind of just sat there while they showed each other a bunch of stuff.

When I planned this week, I didn’t know it was also bat week for the NPS! So I had to last minute add some content for that of course. So we talked about Carslbad Caverns, a total bucket list trip for Billy and I, and about the mass bat exodus from the caves. One day! Wyatt also completed a Junior Ranger packet for Carlsbad Caverns and got his certificate, which felt sort of anti-climatic since it was all from our living room. When we visit one day we will do it again.

We also worked on a few other things, letters and the -at word family, math and history. We read books and watched videos and just had a good week. Next week is owl week, one I have been really looking forward to for a while. We love owls!

Resource Round-Up!

Bats Pack from In All You Do (free)

Bat Pollination from Fiddlesticks Education

Bat Cave Craft from Crystal McGinnis

Junior Ranger – Carlsbad Caverns

Books Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Nightsong || Bats at the Beach || Bats in the Band || Good Night Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel!

Listened to/Watched:

Earth Rangers Podcast – Big-Eared Bats and Big Cat Countdown

Wild Kratts – Bat in the Brownies

Bats Echolocation Song

And that is it for this week! Happy Halloween and stay safe!

Tiny Mini-Post: Edgar Allen Poe and Ravens Study

Ok so, this study was for me. I love Edgar Allen Poe and I figured it was Halloween, Wyatt likes birds, let’s just go for it – but kindergarten style.

This was a very small special unit study that took us just a few hours over two days. We spent some time discussing ravens, which Wyatt loved, so much so that it was what he decided he wanted to be for Halloween. We kept it simple, talking about how clever and smart these birds are, how they like to play and have been spotted sliding in the snow for fun, and about their distinguishing features. Then we made that cute little hand print raven! The next day, we tackled Poe. Basically, I summed up Poe’s life in a kid friendly manner, and about how he was a writer. Then we read a few books, and watched the Molly of Denali episode with a raven in it. And that was about it! The rest of the week we used some fun scarecrow inspired fall printables mixed in with our normal curriculum, and it all came together very nicely!

I almost didn’t post about his little mini-study, but I felt like the resources we used were wonderful, and wanted to share them.

Stephanie Hathaway Designs – The Common Raven Mini-Unit which includes information on Poe as well. I used a few printables that I felt would work best for Wyatt and then stored them all when we were done for another year.

Edgar and the Tattle Tale Heart by Jennifer Adams – This book is so cute! I love that it is series. I will be buying the rest! (Amazon affiliate link)

Rappin Tappin Halloween by Marylou Quillen – So this book was a fun find! Inspired by the Raven, it builds suspense in a very kid friendly way. Free if you have Kindle Unlimited, otherwise I think you can download it for $3.99! (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Handprint Raven – From Iheartcraftythings.com

And of course the Molly of Denali episode I mentioned, Return of the Ravens. There is a podcast too!

And there you have it! A little Poe from me to you on this gloomy day here in Michigan..

Homeschooling: Pumpkin Week!

As we move further into fall and closer to Halloween, we have been tailoring our special unit studies to the season. This week, we studied pumpkins!

As you can see, I had many on hand for us to physically use in our study. Wyatt learned about the parts of a pumpkin, the life cycle of a pumpkin, and completed pumpkin themed worksheets. We did not get to our craft or other activities this week though due to our field trip and the planning of our Wild Hunt! (soon to be explained..)

One thing that Wyatt loves is to play memory matching games, and I find them so helpful in teaching him the vocabulary for that unit and also to work on his speech! He is doing amazing with speech lately, talking so much.

We have also been focusing a lot on letters and sight word reading – I get so excited when he recognizes words! Not many yet, but it is a start and one I am so proud of. Things come a little less easy to this kid with his delays and so every little thing is so celebrated here.

We did a fun pumpkin letter patch, and then matched upper case to lower case letters with a very fall theme.

Then we finished our week with a trip to the pumpkin patch! It was a family/homeschool field trip, as both kids were learning about pumpkins this week, and we had a blast.

Next week we turn our attention to bats!

Resource Round-Up!

Pumpkin Life Cycle Printables – 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Pumpkin Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway Designs

Books We Read:

And that sums up our week! I am excited to start bat week next week!

As a reminder, here is our regular curriculum that we do in addition to the special unit studies every week.