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!

A Day of New Life!

Yesterday was a big day around here! We had 6 of our 9 butterflies emerge from their chrysalis – and they couldn’t have had better timing.

It is butterfly week here this week, and Wyatt and I had just settled in to do some work after reading the book Butterfly Birthday. Butterfly Birthday celebrates the beginning of spring and also the birthday of all the butterflies that eclose in the book during the party. So, we read our book, got situated on Wyatt’s lesson, and I glanced down to see a butterfly! Our first butterfly made its appearance minutes after reading our book. Lol. We had to take a break to celebrate – with cake!

We just happened to have some left from Mother’s Day – strawberry with vanilla frosting and sprinkles. Yum!

It’s so cool to us that you can see them as fully formed butterflies within the chrysalis before they emerge. Nature is so amazing! This was the first one born – the one in the chrysalis was the third.

It was a day for new life all around – my seeds are starting to sprout, also something to be excited about! I am most excited about my pumpkins today – I have always wanted to grow our own mini-pumpkin patch. I hope they make it!

My little sprouts! Pumpkins, watermelon, squash, lettuce, and basil all have made their appearances. Outside, the radishes are doing well! We are still waiting on some but this is a great start!

Spring was certainly making itself felt around here yesterday, and with it, a happy hopeful feeling as well.

Hello, March!

I am so excited for March! We are starting it out right too – this morning is Wyatt’s fifth birthday and we went on a little mini-vacation as a family. It’s been almost a year since we traveled anywhere and this little house we are staying in is so charming! Wyatt loves that there is a piano…

Today we plan on doing some hiking and visiting some new nature centers, then following it up with ice cream and dinner out. A great way to begin the month of the worm moon!

Then next weekend we have Wyatt’s family party, which should also be a blast, fingers crossed. And then of course, St. Patrick’s Day too! Our family is super Irish and St. Patrick’s Day is a good excuse to get together and eat food again.

This month is such a hopeful month for me usually – the beginning of spring, and so called the worm moon because this is the month that the little worms in the ground start wiggling their way up to the surface. We are going to start a worm composting farm this month, something I am not super excited about but Billy is. Lol. But it means spring really is on the way, soon we can be outside gardening, and in the sun, enjoying spring blooms after a winter of cold and gray. The birds will all be back, singing and chattering away in the mornings, and we will see the sunshine more. I am going to start all my seeds pretty soon, hopefully when we get home, and see their happy little faces popping up.

We also have a fun month ahead of us in Exploring Nature with Children – we have birds and their nests, spring ponds, spring equinox, and snails all ahead of us this month, and I love all of these things! Wyatt and I jump started our bird week last week, reading about and even making a few birds nests together! We had a blast. Snails should be particularly fun, at least for us, since we do have our own little snail, Sampson.

We have a pretty simple month ahead, but one full of promise of spring. But for now, I am going to go celebrate with my big time five year old!

Winter Ponds & Snowy Walks

This past week winter decided to rear its head here in Michigan. We had freezing temperatures and even snow. It was a great week to study winter ponds with the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum – I was so pleased that the weather in Michigan cooperate with us. It was just a great week honestly – we had a lot of outside time, and had some fun inside too, with our indoor campout on Friday night!

We started our week last Sunday with a short hike around a bay in the Detroit River, and then around the small pond that is nearby as well. We were excited to see that it had frozen over since the last time we had visited this area, as the last time there was no sign of ice at all. We looked for signs of life around the pond, tracks in the snow, birds, animals, plants and talked about those with Wyatt a bit. We did find some interesting tracks and we are still just learning to identify these ourselves, so we made our best ID’s with the help of Google lens.

We decided that these were coyote and raccoon tracks, based on the Google ID and a little more online searching. Also, for the coyote tracks I did not see any footprints near them, from a person walking their dog. If you are better at identifying tracks then us, I would love your opinions!

Then Friday, Wyatt and I made our own winter pond. We talked about water freezes, what some of the animals that live in or around the water do when this happens, and then froze some things in water while we were at it to simulate a pond in winter. We also checked on it every hour noting the temperature and whether it had frozen or not yet.

Unfortunately after checking for 7 hours, it still had not frozen. The temperature would not budge from 33 degrees! It eventually did freeze but overnight so Wyatt did not get to see it gradually happen as I had hoped. But he did get to play with his frozen pond the next morning. He was a pretty dedicated little scientist though, and enjoyed checked the water every hour. He wouldn’t let me cheat and just look from the front door either, we had to go out every time lol.

Later that evening we had a indoor camp-out in our living room which was a super fun way to unplug. We set up his tent, laid down blankets, turned on our little electric stove, and read books by lantern light. Wyatt was seriously excited by the whole thing, it was cute. To be honest, Billy and I were so relaxed as well – it was quiet and warm and we were just having such a great time hanging out. We will definitely be doing this again.

Saturday morning after a breakfast of homemade pancakes, we threw on our winter clothes and headed outside, because it was snowing! It was the weather we had been waiting for all winter and we were so excited to get in the woods and walk through the falling snow. My brother and his family had the same idea and they had a beautiful walk, complete with wild turkeys, deer, and birds that ate birdseed from their hands at the nature center. We didn’t see anything on our walk, but enjoyed the brisk walk together, trying to catch snowflakes on our tongues.

It was the kind of weekend I love, with plenty of family time and hiking!

Hello February!

After what felt like the longest January ever, it is finally February! And it snowed! We have been waiting forever for a real winter walk with gently falling snow and we finally got one. My hair smelled like a cold winter woods, Billy had snow all in his beard and eyelashes and Wyatt’s little cheeks were so rosy. It was a great hike.

I am pretty excited for this month, we have some fun things lined up! Tomorrow we are celebrating Candlemas with my brother, and if I can find beeswax sheets, try our hand at making candles. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner too, with Wyatt’s classroom party and our own family celebrations. And I think Billy and I might go out on a date night too! It’s been a minute since we have done that. Wyatt is also having a little party with his cousin’s, thrown by cousin at his house. I think it will be the start of a fun new tradition. So lots of Valentine’s love happening around here!

Then later this month my brother is having our whole family over for a UK themed potluck dinner. We all have to pick a traditional dish from somewhere in the UK (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) and bring it. I can’t tell you how super excited I am about this! Our ancestry is heavily from the UK (my DNA test came back roughly 90% from these four countries, with the most being Irish) I am second and third generation American on all sides, so we grew up eating a lot of traditional English food. I remember the first time I cut Wyatt’s toast into strips and called them soldiers, my husband was so confused! My mom always cut my toast into soldiers so that is what I called them too – I didn’t know that this was not a universal term. I am probably not taking toast to the dinner though. I am considering Cullen Skink just because I like saying the name. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else brings as well. It should be a fun event, one to look forward to in this sometimes dreary month. If anyone has any suggestions as to what I should take, I would love to hear them!

We are also going to be talking a lot together this month about snow, worms, and evergreens as part of our Exploring Nature with Children curriculum, although I am considering saving worms for next month, when it will be the worm moon. If I do skip it, I might focus on squirrels and possums, both of which live around our house. We have been having a great time this year, learning together with this program.

We will also be continuing work on my office. This room has long been neglected and we really need to get it done and make it useful. January was super busy but this month we are going to be ants instead of grasshoppers and work on some home projects. Billy and I have a tendency to adventure more than work on things, but sometimes you have to just do them. Lol. I am also going to try my hand at embroidery this month! I have been on a crafting binge lately, trying all different sorts and having fun with them all. I have never been great at sewing though, so fingers crossed for me!

How about you guys? Any big plans for the month?