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

Printables:

Holly Looking Glass Unit Study – Books and Willows

Mistletoe Investigation Set – Honeycomb Cabin

Homeschool: Reindeer!

This week has been full but fun! We have really been enjoying our Jan Brett book focus for language arts this month, (We read Gingerbread Baby and First Dog the previous two weeks) but this one has been our favorite so far. I have a whole bunch waiting in our book basket for the next few days leading up to Christmas and I am super excited to read them to Wyatt.

This week I tried to turn what we had to do into more fun versions for the holidays. We played with word families, by adding the reindeer for each word family to the correct sleigh (ex. red went into the -ed sleigh) and Wyatt loved this! I am going to have to figure out more ways to do something similar throughout the rest of the year. We did journal and copywork for The Wild Christmas Reindeer, and imagined what it would be like to have a pet reindeer. Then we read a brand new to us book, Santa’s Story which we both really loved. I am pretty sure it has become Wyatt’s favorite Christmas book this year. We also retold the story using little stick puppets and then did some story mapping.

For math, we used some Forest Friends printables that I bought, which is adorable. It is a framework with little forest animals that you can use for adding and subtracting manipulatives, and since it is not Christmasy only wintry we can continue to use it alongside our regular math this winter. Science and nature was well, all about reindeer themselves. Diagramming a reindeer, experiments and lessons on how they communicate, what they eat, their life cycle, how they eat, how they see, etc, which ended with making a reindeer castanet to simulate the sound of reindeer’s hooves, and a mossy reindeer ornament after a reindeer’s diet. We also talked about herd migration, which was tricky since Wyatt is a Santa believer and in his magic reindeer. I told him that all other reindeer walk, unless they are one of Santa’s reindeer. Today we have a few painting projects left but I am waiting until later in the afternoon to do them, as Wyatt generally needs a bath after.

And now, we are on break! We try to follow the same schedule as my niece in public school, so today is our first day off for two weeks! Wyatt and I both definitely need one. We finished strong and with a bit of holiday magic to get us to the end, and now we can relax for a bit. Or at least, he can. I can relax once Christmas is over…

Books We Read:

Resources:

Curious Trails: Reindeer from Books and Willows (I bought this as part of a winter bundle but you can buy it separately)

Forest Friends Math from A Childhood Set Apart (also bought as part of a winter mega bundle)

If I had a pet reindeer printable (free!)

And Jan Brett’s website has a ton of free printables to use with her books!

And with that…I had better get ready to paint!

Wolfenoote, Baking, and Christmas Homeschool

Wolfenoote! A totally 100% made up holiday, dreamed up by a child in New Zealand, and whose parents in a random online story shared that dream. And of course, people like me read it and were like, I’m in! Wolfenoote ” is about celebrating our pack – human and animal – helping where we can, and making the world a better, kinder place.” I love that! It is suggested that to celebrate, you enjoy roast meat, a cake hat looks like a full moon, and if you have a dog, give that dog a present! Human pack members can also receive a gift, but we haven’t done that part as of yet.

We spent the week in our homeschool reading stories that exemplified kindness, we talked about kindness and ways we could show our families and friends and communities kindness. Then on the evening of the 23rd we had roast beef and blue cheese sandwiches on toasted bread, and meatballs. Billy had that brilliant idea, and I love him for it. Thanksgiving was just a few days out and it seemed a little crazy to have two big meals in one week like that. And it was perfect. We had a picnic (inside) since wolves do not sit at tables, ate our sandwiches and meatballs, then it was time for cake! And frankly, that cake was awesome. I am not a baker so I just made a box cake (Aldi yellow) but it was delicious! It had to be that Wolfenoot magic. I also stuck a little wolf silhouette in it. We followed up dinner with some wolfy and nature readings, and voted whether we were going to symbolically adopt a wolf from the Wolf Conservation Center or donate to a local animal shelter. We decided since we usually do the wolf thing for the wolf moon in January, that this time we would donate to an animal shelter. After making this big decision, we listened to Wyatt’s favorite Okee Dokee Brother’s song, Howl. Twice. Loudly. With howling. And then it was time for little wolf cubs to get a bath and go to bed. It was a good Wolfnoote.

For not being a baker, I have been doing a lot of it! The cake on Wolfnoote, and then a Cranberry Pie for Thanksgiving. This is hands down my favorite pie to make. It is fast and easy, and tastes delicious.

I probably could have taken a photo of it after it was finished, and the lid top was on. I blame that wine for this bad photo decision.

Then it was December before I knew it! One thing I love about homeschooling is taking the month of December and trying to theme a lot of our month around Christmas type themes. I mean, I can’t with all of it, but I can quite a bit. It’s a little more work since I go off road from our curriculum and pull it all together myself (my weekends have hours filled with planning) but it is all worth it.

This week was all about gingerbread! We read multiple versions of the gingerbread man story, created gingerbread men from paper, and finished up with a “Gingerbread Cafe” and made our own gingerbread! Well, I did. I lost my helper quickly. Gingerbread takes a long time! He did resurface for the eating of it. As did my husband who was working from home. The gingerbread was a big hit. I didn’t think I liked gingerbread, but it turns out, I do. A lot! I used a recipe from @ofbeeandbear on Instagram, subbing out the spelt flour with just regular flour, and they are delicious.

We made gingerbread girls, boys, and of course, foxes. I need to make sure to copy this recipe down, as it is a winner and will be made every Christmas from here on out.

I feel like our Christmas homeschool is off to a fun (and tasty) start!

Have you done any baking yet? Do you like to bake? Gingerbread – yay or nay?