Homeschool – Frog Week!

Our frog week turned into frog weeks! I had intended to spend a week studying frogs but it drifted into two. We were just having so much fun!

We read so many books, learned about the life cycle (and will hopefully be raising our own tadpoles soon!), talked about the differences between frogs and toads and used our own Freddy the Frog as an example, and had a nice discussion about how Freddy, although he is a frog, still lives mostly on land, so it was also a good moment to talk about how there are sometimes exceptions to rules.

However, the highlight of our study was the Kiwi Crate box we had been gifted by a friend! I had always been curious about them so I was excited to see what was inside as well, and Wyatt absolutely loved it.

It was a fun mix of arts and crafts combined with science. We started with a chalk and frog activity, where Wyatt grated different colored chalk, and carefully tapped the dust into water. He dropped a paper frog into the chalk, again very carefully, and then we waited for the chalk to stick. The science behind this is that water likes to stick itself more than to air, so this means that at the surface the water forms a tighter layer as it hugs itself, which creates strong layer to hold up the chalk dust. However, if you bump it, the layer breaks and the chalk sinks. The artsy part comes in with the frog – if you haven’t caused the chalk to sink, it will stick to the paper frog. We were successful a few times, although, not every time. Lol.

Next up was the leaping lily pad activity! This was Wyatt’s favorite. We took the frog from the previous activity and stuck it to the lily pad, wound a rubber band through the notches according to the directions, and then turned it inside out, with the frog on top. Then when you hold it down with your finger and let go, it jumps up into the air! This works through the release of energy. I could never manage to get a photo of it in the air, but rest assured, it hopped!

The final activity was an aquarium in a bottle. It had a lot of steps, so to sum up, we added colored salt water to plastic fish and then floated them in water. The trick to floating them up and down is to balance the amount of water and air correctly. Too much air or too much water will cause them to float on the surface or to sink to the bottom. We did have to make a few adjustments to make all our fish float up and down!

I was pretty impressed by this subscription box! It came with all the information and materials needed (minus the water of course) and Wyatt loved it.

Overall, we had a great two weeks of learning about frogs! Next week is our final week of pond life, and we are ending on Wyatt’s request, snakes!

Resource Round Up!

The Books We Used:

(contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Frog and Friends || Marsh Morning || Marsh Music || Among the Pond People || And the Bullfrogs Sing

Other Resources:

Frog Life Cycle Figurine Set

Frog Mini Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway

Frog Life Cycle Activity – The Classroom Creative

Kiwi Crate from Kiwico

Homeschooling: Russia, Tigers, and the Lunar New Year

We have been quite busy around here, learning about Russian folk tales and traditions, tigers, and the Lunar New Year. It love when we can combine subjects and learning, and we have also started adding in more geography and map reading, etc.

I haven’t posted about our homeschooling for a few weeks; I think we last left off at the very beginning, with Peter and the Wolf (which Wyatt still loves and plays at least once a day). We moved on to other stories, Good Night, Wind which is Yiddish, The Snow Child, and The Littlest Matryoshka. The Littlest Matryoshka is not actually a folk tale but I wanted to read Wyatt a story that introduced the Russian nesting dolls to him and that story was just so cute. More on that in a minute. I loved his reactions to these stories, to our retellings using our storytelling basket, and his answers to the journal question for each story.

Of the three stories, Wyatt liked The Littlest Matryoshka the best. I ended up reading it to him a few times that week before it went back to the library, and I agree, it was a lovely little story. When I asked him what design his matryoshka would be if he were a toymaker, he told me without hesitation that his would look like owls. So of course, I was on a mission to find him a set of owl nesting dolls. I told one of my friends and she sent me a link to a plain wooden set, and suggested that we make our own, since we love a project in this house. At first I was like no way – but after a bit I decided that was a fantastic idea. So over the snowy weekend, Wyatt, Billy, and I painted a set of owl nesting dolls for Wyatt.

I assisted Wyatt with the two largest, Billy took on the two smallest, and I did the middle one. This was a really fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon together!

I honestly really loved our art project that accompanied Good Night, Wind. With Wyatt’s cerebral palsy we are always working on fine motor skills, and cutting is so hard for us. First just for him, because his right hand has a difficult time holding on to the paper while “lefty” cuts, and for me because I am right-handed trying to help him cut with his left. It is always interesting. Anyway, the images for the book are stunning, made from cut paper and turned into colorful collages that have such movement. I decided we were going to make a collage too, inspired by the book, using the cut paper technique to give Wyatt some extra practice cutting.

I think it turned out super cute!

We also studied tigers – because of both the Year of the Tiger and Siberian tigers, of course. We also read How to Catch a Dragon, a picture book about the Chinese New Year, and learned that Wyatt was born in the Year of the Sheep, while Billy and I are both Year of the Rabbit.

Wyatt particularly liked the mask.

This was the end of journey through this area of the world for now! Our curriculum has us going to Scotland next, then I think Vietnam after that. We are certainly “world travelers” this year.

Books Read:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

The Snow Child by Freya Littledale || The Littlest Matryoshka by Corinne Demas Bliss || How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace || Good Night Wind by Linda Elovitz Marshall

Resource Round Up:

(Links to printables, videos, and extra materials used)

Tiger Mini Unit – Life with Moot Moot

Welcome to Russia Lapbook Unit

Matryoshka dolls

Chinese New Year printables

Let’s Go Luna episodes Season 1 episodes 3 and 4 (Moscow); Dragon Dance episode

Homeschooling: Russian Unit Week 1

So this week was way more fun than I anticipated. Peter and the Wolf was a great way to kick off our Russian folklore and geography unit; Wyatt is such a music lover that he loved listening to the symphony (or symphonic folk tale as I have seen it referred to). And has kept listening to all week… lol.

We started the week by reading the book Peter and the Wolf by Ian Beck. There are multiple versions out there but after flipping through a few this was the one I thought would work the best for us. We then retold the story using little stick puppets that we made together. Wyatt loves doing our retellings with puppets or figures and props – I think there is a bit of a drama kid in my son. Then Tuesday we listened to and watched a cartoon version of the symphony narrated by the one and only David Bowie. We talked about the different instruments, and how each character had a specific instrument to represent them. We played with the versions of each family of instruments that we have in our house (we did not have any brass family, we will have to fix that!), then did a listening exercise. We listened to just the parts for each character, one at a time, discussing the tempo, and how the music made us feel. Interestingly, Wyatt did not like the music for the duck. He loved the bird and the Peter music though. Then we did another retelling worksheet. And called it a day for Peter and the Wolf.

Wednesday we didn’t do much with Russia, and focused mainly on our basics that we are also working on -reading and math, and started our map reading lessons. But Thursday and Friday we jumped back in, this time focusing on Kandinsky. I can’t recommend the book The Noisy Paint Box enough. I had no idea honestly who Kandinsky was before this week, and now I feel like I am going to do some reading for my own self. He was fascinating! Kandinsky started the abstract art movement, and also had something called synthesia. When he heard music, he saw color; when he saw color, he heard music. Fascinating! Art for the week was inspired Kandinsky of course. In the book we read how Kandinsky took art lessons and was told what to paint, houses and trees and landscapes, but it didn’t fulfill him. It was only after a trip to the symphony that he allowed himself the freedom to quit his day job as a lawyer and create art full time. So for Wyatt’s art lesson this week, we had a directed art project (the circles) and then I put on classical music and told Wyatt to paint how it made him feel. (I have to admit I loved how we talked about the instruments and the music and feelings twice this week, both with Peter and the Wolf and with Kandinsky. I love when that crossover happens)

He created two paintings – one with watercolor that he called the sun and moon, and another painting using tempera paints.

What do you see in his abstract?

This week has been a blast. We are obviously not delving into the history of the Soviet Union, Russia, or current events, but focusing on art and music, traditions and stories. It is perfect for these cold wintry days. I even saved a project for tomorrow, since we have been baking on Sundays. We are going to read The Bun by Marcia Brown and then try our hand at making Vatrushka buns!

Resource Round-Up!

Books We Read:

(this section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Me on the Map || The Bun || Peter and the Wolf || The Noisy Paint Box

Printables and Videos:

The Masterpiece Studio – Adventures in Russia Week One (I am breaking this up and doing it over a few weeks)

Winter Math Activities – Place Value

Peter and the Wolf Cut and Tell Worksheet

Peter and the Wolf Listening Journal and Fact Sheets

I am looking forward to next week already!

Homeschooling: First Week Back After Break

Hello friends! It was our first week back after our two week holiday break, and while the first day left us both exhausted, we had a pretty good week.

This weeks focus was on winter, which was appropriate as winter came roaring in fiercely the past few days, with weather temps in the teens and lower. Our curriculum, Blossom and Root, gave us the choice of three different books for our language arts this week – I decided to use two of them, Grandmother Winter and The Story Blanket. I had not ever read either of them myself before this week, and wow, I loved them! Wyatt enjoyed Grandmother Winter more than The Story Blanket, but I adored them both. We love using our storytelling basket this year, which is a new addition. Wyatt loves listening to the books and then using manipulative and figures and scarves and such to act out the stories. We put tiny paper snowflakes in a scarf and then Wyatt shook it, causing it to snow, just like Grandmother Winter does in the book. It was cute. Then we also added snowflakes to our Family Tree mural wall – and I snuck in a bit of OT while we were at it.

Since our books were winter themed, we learned a bit more about winter itself, from snowflakes to hibernating animals to just random fun facts. We of course did all of the “basics” as well, reading and phonics and math, and I found a fun “Forest Friends Math” that we have used in addition to our normal lessons as well.

Art this week was creating a winter themed fiber arts scene out of wool roving. This ended up being a collaborative piece as Wyatt did not enjoy the feeling of the roving. So he directed me and I placed it where he wanted it. He seemed pretty happy with the result.

Thursday was a cozy day of learning. We finished our work in the morning and in the afternoon, we read together and created another collaborative art piece. I call it our “kinda quilt”. It was a good way to spend a freezing cold afternoon!

Now, the resource roundup!

Books Read:

(This section contains affiliate links)

Rabbit’s Snow Dance || Winter Walk || Poe and Lars || The Snowflake || Snowflake in My Pocket || Walking in a Winter Wonderland || Snow || Sneezy the Snowman || How to Catch a Snowman || Little Owl’s Snow || The Big Book of Snow and Ice (this one is fantastic!! I highly recommend it)

Next week is more animals less winter, then after that we are beginning a few week long unit about Russia! I am extremely excited!! I took Russian language classes in college, and so so many Russian history courses as well. It’s going to be a good few weeks!