Homeschooling: Ladybug Week!

Ladybug week! I was super excited about this week, since we were going to have live ladybug larvae to observe with our studies! They are pretty crazy looking honestly. And I learned things about ladybugs as well – I think that is one of the coolest things about schooling Wyatt myself. I am continuing to learn too! Did you know that when ladybugs emerge from the pupa state they are yellow before they turn red? I didn’t until this week.

We also started the sunshine before noon challenge from 1000 Hours Outside this week. Morning sun is supposed to do wonders for your health, both physical and mental, and we are making it a priority to get outside early. I am loving the early morning time outdoors together – we read and draw and talk and observe the world around us. Blue jays shrieking, dragonflies flying low over our heads like little helicopters, the breeze blowing through our hair. It is a wonderful way to start the day. We start in the shade and then welcome the sun as it moves closer to us.

We worked on so many things this week, but focused on the life cycles of ladybugs, what they eat, counting, letter and number identification, the letter L, handwriting, patterns, sequencing, and fine motor. If you read here, you know that Wyatt has Cerebral Palsy. One thing he was working on in school was making a circle, without going around and around in spirals. Just one circle, with a starting and stopping point. And this week, he did it! We were sitting outside and boom, there it was. Over and over. And he was so proud, as he should be! We do a lot of hand over hand work together, as well as using an app called Writing Wizard, and this week the connection between brain and hand was made! He is such a hard worker.

This was a fun week, and I was so happy that we were able to get outside too! I am really looking forward to next week, when we tackle bees! After that we are taking a week’s break then we are just going to pick back up again. We missed two months of school so we will continue, although I hope to make it a little less formal most days.

Resource Round Up!

Ladybug Anatomy Bundle and Printables – PsychoScreen

Ladybugs Preschool Printables – Lauren-Sophia

Books We Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

A Ladybug’s Life || Are You a Ladybug || The Life Cycle of a Ladybug || Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet

Extras Used:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

InsectLore Ladybug Land Kit

Wooden Self-Adhesive Ladybugs and Bees

Videos/Songs:

Caitie’s Classroom – Beautiful Bugs

Ladybugs by Jessie Farrell (Gumboot Kids – Spotify)

If you have any questions about how I used or adapted the materials let me know!

Homeschooling: Frogs and Ponds!

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This week we learned about ponds, pond life, and frogs! I have to admit this week forced me to sort of overcome my squeamishness over getting my hands mucky – I am not a fan. Luckily Billy doesn’t mind so he could take over some of the messier aspects of our pond dipping experiences. That is the first thing we did – pond dipping! I had never heard it called this before but I like it. We bought Wyatt a catch and release beach aquarium, suited him up in his rain gear (he would not have liked sitting in muck either..), and let him explore the shallows of our favorite pond. Honestly, we didn’t find much! We did manage to spot an aquatic snail in our pail but otherwise, nothing. Lol. We did spot much larger creatures, from herons to water snakes to toads in the sand, so it wasn’t a complete bust.

This week, we also played with a pond sensory bin, which was welcome on the hottest day for us so far. We kept to the shade and Wyatt loved the small water play. We also worked on counting, number and letter identification, size comparisons, patterns and sequencing as well as discussing pond habitats and the animals that live there, and the life cycle of frogs. It was a busy week!

Art is becoming one of our favorite activities! Wyatt loves to paint so this week I lined up two painting projects – a rendition of Monet’s Water Lilies, and then I had planned to do some carton creatures, but then we swerved off plan! Wyatt was having more fun painting on the paper I had put down on the table, so I just scrapped the carton creature idea and just let him create some process art.

 

I am getting a kick out of finding these art projects that are based off of famous artists, that also match our theme, lol. This one might be my favorite so far!

This was a pretty fun week, even though my hands got a little dirty…

 

Resource Round-Up:

Pond Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway

Life Cycle of a Frog – Stephanie Hathaway 

Pond and Frog Preschool Activities – Pre-K Printable Fun

Scout and the Gumboot Kids – Frogs

Books: 

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links for which I will receive a small commission. I use all money made this way to purchase more educational materials)

Over and Under the Pond || Growing Frogs || In the Small, Small Pond ||The Wide-Mouthed Frog || Big Fish, Little Fish || Fish is Fish||The Usborne Outdoor Book || Across the Stream|| Have You Seen My Duckling

 

Videos and Art Projects:

Caitie’s Classroom – Frogs 

Scout and the Gumboot Kids and the Case of the Spotted Jelly – Amazon Prime

Monet Inspired Water Lilies = Messy Little Monster

 

Also, I wanted to share that The Hidden Way has teamed up with many different homeschool resource creators and is offering a Mega-Nature Bundle for $25! It is over 1800 pages and offers studies on many different topics for learners of all ages. I bought mine yesterday; there were so many different units included that I plan on doing with Wyatt, such as bees, owls, birds, and so many others, that it would have been crazy not to. I would have spent that on just one or two of the units alone!

Please let me know if you have any questions about how I use or adapt these materials in my learning time with Wyatt!

Weekend Vibes..

We had a fantastic long weekend together – it was a nice combo of lazy and active. Lots of reading, sitting around, playing games, but also exploring – and even some socially distanced social time!

On Saturday a few friends and I got together for some 6-8 feet away drinks and conversation. I put on a dress, my new necklace, slipped on sandals and off I went. We even all brought our own beverages and glasses so that we didn’t touch things others had touched – and so Kelly didn’t have to wash a glass. It was so nice to just see their faces – and I was so relaxed, watching the birds. And this was the very first time I had been away from Wyatt since March 12. I probably could have curled up on the outdoor couch and taken a nap, I became so comfy. I have taken to naming my friend’s homes lately (I blame all that British tv), and I have decided Kelly’s house should be called Refuge.

Then Sunday and Monday we spent pond dipping, as part of our homeschooling for the week! This week is all about ponds and frogs so we were hoping to catch some minibeasts in our catch and release beach aquarium. We only managed to find an aquatic snail in the water, but we did spot a Northern Water Snake, two turtles, a Great Blue Heron, a ton of Red-Winged Blackbirds, heard a bullfrog, and a little American toad! We brought the toad home as our guest for a few weeks, then we will let her go. Wyatt has named her Uh-Oh. the funny part is my brother found a toad yesterday and brought it in as a pet for my niece (who named hers Cupcake). But it all started with Kelly who found one last week and brought it in to avoid the cold snap. Her toad is a beast! They named her Theodora.

Later Monday evening my brother invited us, my mom, and my sister-in-law’s mother over for a socially distanced bonfire. It was so very nice to be near my family again, even though I itched to hug them all! Again, we all brought our own drinks and cups. What a strange new world we live in. Regardless, it was so fantastic to see their faces and talk to them, and not through a screen! Wyatt was so happy too, and just kept pointing to everyone and saying “Wow”. It was his first time seeing his family in months, and even though we were apart, it was wonderful to be sitting and talking together.

It was nice to be back exploring and seeing people again, no matter how we had to do it.

Homeschooling: Plants Week!

This week our theme was plants and gardens! We needed a break from our insect friends, although we start again with them soon. We apparently like bugs in our family.

This was a fun week, and so seasonal to what we are doing around our house as well. Our seeds that we planted a few weeks ago are sprouting so this was good timing – hmm, almost like I planned it..

We learned about the parts of a plant, the life cycle of a plant, and then talked about what sorts of plants we can eat. We worked on numbers and math and the letter F, on sequencing and matching, and on writing and fine motor skills as well.

I really dig our Kandinsky Circles Flower art project! I have stumbled into finding different projects for our weeks that are based on famous artists. We have done a Matisse snail, now these.

Then today I decided to do a special mini-unit day about strawberries! It is the new moon for this lunar cycle, the Strawberry Moon, so I thought it fit very nicely! It dovetailed nicely into our lessons about plants, and strawberries are just sort of fun and cheery, which we needed on this gloomy rainy day.

I am in love with this art project too. We used his little hands and he dabbed on the yellow paint with his fingers. We also read Audrey Wood’s book The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. Such a fun book! I also appreciate the fact that our strawberry plant cooperated and produced flowers for us today.

It was a fun week, but I have to say I liked our strawberry day the best.

Resource Round-Up:

Growing Plants by Mrs. Jones Creation Station

Strawberry Patch Printable Pack by Simple Living Creative Learning

Books:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear || In the Vegetable Garden Sticker Book || The Tiny Seed || If You Plant a Seed || The Case of the Growing Bird Feeder

Art Projects:

Kandinsky Circle Flowers

Handprint Strawberry Craft

Extras:

(this section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Garden Building Set (Wyatt loves this way more than I expected!)

Overall this was a fun week! Next week we move on to Ponds and Frogs!

Homeschooling: Interrupted

Last week started off well – we kicked off butterfly week with some great activities and the emerging of our butterflies, which was exciting! Wyatt strung together this great looking banner (I glued them to heavy paper and cut them out first) then we hung it in his window.

Then we were derailed. We had a neurologist appointment for Wyatt on Wednesday (video) and we ended up getting an overnight EEG for him the next day. This kid is something else, he is so strong and brave and undergoes so many things with such a good disposition. He is pretty amazing.

I was a mess honestly. Having to go to a last minute emergency overnight EEG during a pandemic was the last thing I wanted to do obviously. But the EEG did show that Wyatt has seizure activity occurring in his brain, and we were able to start him on medication immediately.

So our week took a different route than we had originally planned, but we are home now and together and have some answers on something that had been worrying us for months. He was originally supposed to get this EEG during the peak here in Michigan and it was obviously postponed, until it couldn’t be.

Anyway! For those interested, I did download many resources for butterfly week.

Resources:

Butterflies – Little Pine Learners

All About Butterflies – Science for Little Learners

Butterfly Math – Linda’s Loft for Little Learners

Painted Lady Butterfly Unit – Stephanie Hathaway

Twig and Moth

Twig and Moth Butterflies and Moths

Books We Read:

Extras:

Wild Republic Butterfly Nature Tube

Insect Lore Life Cycle Toy

Homeschooling: Snail Week!

I was so excited about this week, since I love snails! Wyatt enjoyed this week as well if you can tell by his big smile!

I’ve been using the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum as a guide for thematic ideas, along with the seasons here in Michigan. We had to move different weeks around because it was really still winter here until like, well…hmm. It snowed yesterday but I am still calling it spring. We have been enjoying our weeks, and I have the next few weeks all planned already, which I don’t think is too bad for being kind of thrust into this role.

This week we focused on snails and the letter S as our theme and framework. I had to dig a little harder to find the resources I wanted but when I did find them I was super excited about them. We ended up with so many projects and lessons, and worked on many different ideas, including patterns, shapes, colors, comparing/contrasting, literary arts, numbers and counting activities, and of course, talking about snails and their habits and habitats.

And we have our own little snail to observe too, which made it more fun.

Meet Sampson, if you haven’t already.

I love watching our learning space fill up with Wyatt’s projects and work every week. On Monday mornings, the space is sort of bare but by the end of the week is overflowing with what we have worked on. And he is so proud of them, and he should be. He loves to show them off to his grandmas on his zoom chats with them.

I kind of really loved our art projects this week – a snail based on Matisses’ The Snail, and a cute project I found on Pinterest using one of our favorite books, Escargot!

Resources I used:

Snails and Slugs Printables from Family in Wanderland

Insect Centers for Preschool by Natalie Lynn (this is a huge bundle! 212 pages that I plan on using different activities from over the next few months)

Worms, Snails, and Slugs by Pre-K Printable Fun

Living Montessori Now Snail Do-a-Dot Printable

Chickie and Roo Snail Collection

Escargot Book and Craft from Raising Kinley

Escargot Story Hour Kit

and then this super cute song!!! The Snail Song

I do sort the resources and adapt and adjust as needed for Wyatt’s abilities.

Books Used:

Books linked to Usborne are part of my Usborne store; if purchased I receive a small commission that will be used for educational materials for Wyatt.

1001 Bugs to Spot Sticker Book || Snail and Worm Again || Bug Hotel || The Biggest House in the World || Escargot

Next week we start Butterflies! Our butterflies should be eclosing any moment now and we are really looking forward to seeing them.

Homeschool Week 3: Caterpillars

We are on week three of our homeschooling journey! This was never really intended to happen but with the schools closing here in Michigan, I decided to really go for it. I have support as well from Wyatt’s teacher, which is wonderful, and makes me feel a little more comfortable and like I am on the right track.

This week we learned about the life cycle of butterflies and about caterpillars. I bought Wyatt the Insect Lore Butterfly kit for us to use along with our studies, and Stephanie Hathaway Designs has a purchasable unit that goes along with this kit which I bought. It is so beautiful and has so much information – her store is quickly becoming a go-to for me when researching resources for our homeschool.

In J formation, getting ready for chrysalis!

This week we worked on letters and counting, sorting, letter writing, the life cycle itself, patterns, and even some occupational therapy with our crafts, among other things.

Wyatt had some definite favorite activities. He loved the memory cards again (this kid loves card games), and he enjoyed an activity we did where he used a round sponge brush to paint “eggs” onto leaves, as a number matching/counting activity. He also really loved making the Fruit Loop caterpillars, and while I had intended that he only had to construct one, he made four before he got tired of it. For Wyatt, that was a lot of work – lots of OT and also balancing to hold himself upright while working with both of his hands. We turned his little half made fifth caterpillar into a chrysalis instead.

I think the cutest thing we did though however, was his life cycle through movement! I came up with little movements to mimic the life cycle stages – egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. He looks so cute doing them too!

This morning we woke up and all but our Leo the late bloomer caterpillar is in chrysalis so next week we will begin a week about snails until they eclose into butterflies!

Resources Used:

Stephanie Hathaway Painted Lady Bundle (she also has a mini unit available for free)

Science for Little Learners All About Butterflies

Caterpillar Egg Counting Mats from Fantastic Fun and Learning (we used paint instead of pom poms)

Feed the Caterpillar from Fantastic Fun and Learning

Caterpillar Name Craft from Pocket of Preschool

Fruit Loop Caterpillar

Books we Read:

I did not have that many here at the house so not too many this week. I do have some on order but since they are non essential they are taking a bit to get here. Oddly I didn’t have The Very Hungry Caterpillar in our library, so we didn’t use any resources having to do with that book. I need to remedy our lack of Eric Carle books when things loosen up with ordering. Then we also watched the Gumboot Kids episode on Amazon Prime that correlates with the book below.

Overall, it was a fun week! I am looking forward to our upcoming snail week and butterfly week as well!