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:

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

Extras Used:

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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!

Little Wanderings

It’s been some time since our family wandered around outside. We have been taking neighborhood walks but we haven’t been out in the world in two months. Our favorite places are sort of crowded these days with everyone else attempting to get out of the house too, so we have been avoiding our usual stomping grounds. Then this weekend, we remembered a few places that we thought might be less busy – and our hunches paid off!

So Sunday after a bellyful of chocolate chip pancakes and a virtual chat over tea with my mom, we pulled on our boots and headed out in search of whatever adventures we could find. Our first stop was a centennial farm and nursery. It was too cold for them to have many flowers out so we made plans to go back in warmer weather (hopefully this upcoming weekend!) and wandered about their beautiful grounds. We spotted fiddlehead ferns, a favorite of mine, so many birds including a cardinal that followed us around, and beautiful trees and plants. It was a brisk morning, cool and overcast and it even rained on us a few times, but that was ok. We don’t mind a little rain.

We also used the opportunity to practice mask wearing with Wyatt. We figured it was good to practice somewhere it wasn’t crowded or imperative to wear one for safety reasons – and where better but in the outdoors. We did encounter employees and the people that lived there, but we maintained social distancing and had masks on, so it was sort of a dress rehearsal for the weeks ahead. Wyatt did ok…. his face is so small though that it easily slips down off of his nose, so we need a plan for that. He likes to fiddle with it too, pulling it down – or up too high! He will get the hang of of it.

The grounds were beautiful but not big enough to satisfy our urge to be outside – so we decided to try a place nearby that we got to sometimes. We spent the short drive there crossing our fingers that it was not overcrowded and we were in luck! We had the place almost to ourselves, and there was more than enough trail for everyone.

It was so wonderful, and it was so good for me, for all of us, to be back outside again, and in nature. It is such a part of our family that we were really missing it. We headed home feeling refreshed, like someone had opened the windows to our souls and aired them out. Now that we know we can do this, we will be venturing out again, hopefully soon!

1000 Hours Outside Challenge

We love to be outdoors – we always did, but since we had Wyatt, we have increased the amount of time that we are outside. We learned that it is so good for your brain and vision and just your whole health and body and healing to be in nature, and we were determined to take every available route to aid him in his journey. Sometime last year I learned about the 1000 hours outside challenge, but it was too late for us to attempt to make the 1000 hours. So, this year we are trying. I don’t think we will get there – we have our own challenges that we have workarounds for. But, I am curious as to how much time we WILL spend outdoors. I think just by trying we will achieve more outdoor time than if we hadn’t attempted this challenge.

The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge was the brainchild of a couple, Josh and Ginny, from the state of Michigan, actually even my own part of the state. We love the outdoors here in Michigan! They had read that the average child spends 1200 hours a year on a screen, which is crazy when you think about it. They hope to balance some of that screen time with time outside, and aim for about twenty hours a week. Right now, we are nowhere near that, but we hope to increase our time as the weather improves.

So this January, we were off and running, and have done three different hikes, and a small little walk in the snow. Our time spent isn’t much added all up, but the time spent meant more than just the minutes themselves – we had all that time together, soaking up the fresh air, the snow, the birds and trees, and all the goodness that lives outside. And all that family time!

We hiked through a lonely, cold marsh, where we were the only humans. When we stood silently, we could hear the wind rattling the bones of these marsh grasses and trees, and the din of the waterbirds, which lined the rails of the decking and dotted the gray waters. We were surprised to see no real ice, it was all open water pretty much still – it’s been such a mild winter!

We took a quick snowy walk around our neighborhood, and then another short jaunt through another marshy area. The pond here was just starting to gain a skim of ice, but it was utterly silent there, except for the lapping of the water onto the shoreline. This is where I found my turtle shell!

Then this past weekend we visited yet another more marshy type spot, which was weirdly snowy, icy, and muddy. We tried to be more observant of the small things we could spot here, and I found some air-breathing freshwater snails, while Billy spotted some bits of green and icy swirls. There is something to be said for being the only people in a cold woods – everything feels different, the quiet is just so big!

So, while we have not racked up lots of actual time on the clock, we have had many family adventures already. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the year takes us! And, it looks like my son is ready for whatever it brings!