Kindergarten Graduation, Oceans, and Mermaids

These two wild and crazy kindergartners graduated last week! Next year, first grade! We had a small little family gathering, pizza, cake, and gifts for these hard workers. They have learned and grown so much this past year! In addition to their normal curriculum, we have studied over 28 animals, five different plants, three countries, one state, had a Nordic Christmas, and learned about some fascinating people, like Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Goodall, and Martin Luther King Jr. I also made these little memory books and t-shirts for the kids.

But this doesn’t mean our learning is over! Homeschooling, the summer edition, has commenced. We finished up our oceans study with a fun day devoted to mermaids!

We started with some blue hair. The kids were excited, even though Wyatt looks sort of not happy in this photo. Lol. My mom and I added some to our hair too, but you couldn’t see it in mine unfortunately. My niece decided we were all different types of mermaids – I was a moon mermaid, Wyatt a river mermaid, Dino Girl was an arctic mermaid, and my mom a lake mermaid. I think these were perfect choices for us.

Once we were ready for the sea with our blue hair, we switched on Luca, and started with our art project. It was extremely messy but very fun, and I love the way they turned out!

One little mermaid got so covered in paint that he had to borrow his mermaid cousin’s clothing until the paint dried on his own. (She had spare clothes at my mom’s house where we were – apparently I did not think of this) It was worth all the mess though, I think they look so cool! It was actually pretty easy too. I cut out a free template that I printed out of a mermaid and taped it to watercolor paper. Then the kids used finger paint to swirl the paint like water over the entire thing. We used five different shades of blue and green! Once the paintings dried almost to completion I peeled the mermaid template off. I didn’t want the paint completely dry since I had to cover up the area where the tape was, and I used the still sort of wet paint to fill in those blank spots. Next time I will roll the tape and put it underneath. You can see where the kids were overzealous and got paint under the mermaid template, but I think that is ok. It keeps them unique! I also had picked up some ocean art kits from Michael’s Craft store and let the kids play with those while they just created and watched the movie.

We finished up our mermaid celebration with mermaid floats and story time! Just lemonade, sparkling flavored water, and a little rainbow sherbet to make these magical drinks! (the recipe is from The Fairy Food Cookbook – I just changed the name from Rainbow Float to Mermaid) The kids absolutely loved them. They loved the whole day really! It was a great time, and a fun way to end our unit on the ocean!

What a great way to start summer! Next month is all about Italy and I can’t wait.

Homeschooling: Ocean Week 1

We are in the last few weeks of Kindergarten! It’s hard to believe honestly. While we finish up our regular curriculum, we are also going to do a month long unit about the ocean! Last month my dad and stepmom went to Florida for a few weeks and brought my son and niece back a bunch of books, shells, posters, and sea glass to go along with their lessons. They have enjoyed exploring their discovery table this week!

We started Tuesday with an introduction to the ocean and ocean layers. We made an ocean layer jar – well I did while I explained to the kids, a little demo – and I had to improvise as I did not have Karo syrup. I subbed molasses which didn’t quite work and the bottom layers were a bit muddled. But the kids got the main point of what I wanted to illustrate, so I am calling it a win. My dad also brought the kids back stuffed animal sharks that I surprised them with on our kick off day.

We also started off with small creatures this week, crabs and jellyfish and seahorses. I have to admit, I was pretty fascinated by some of the facts we learned about jellyfish. I can’t say I had read anything about them ever before, so it was kind of all new to me as well. Two things I learned – that jellyfish sort of float out of their mother’s mouths when they are born, and that they don’t have a brain. Since it was a short week and we had a lot to fit in, our craft project this week was a simple one, but both kids enjoyed it. Paper plate jellyfish! Well, my niece had a paper plate one, I yet again had to improvise. I apparently did not have my materials together this week! This time though, my improvisations turned out. I don’t have a picture of Dino Girl’s but it was super cute.

Resource Round Up:

Ocean Animals Mega Unit from Crystal McGinnis

Ocean Zones Jar

Books We Read:

This section contains affiliate links

Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha || Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan

I absolutely loved Night of the Moonjellies, and so did the kids and my mom. I think it is a new favorite for all of us. I couldn’t recommend it more!

And really this is it for this week! Next week is all about sea turtles (my favorite) and sharks!

Homeschool: Dino Week!

It’s been dino week around here! My little niece requested that we have a dinosaur theme, and very specifically asked for a dinosaur life cycle and craft. So, I of course obliged. I call her dino girl for a reason – at five, she already knows pretty much everything about dinosaurs. When I started to get resources together, I decided to focus on skills work with a dinosaur theme, rather than actually learning about dinosaurs themselves. I mean, we did do a little of that, but for the most part everything was more related to dinosaurs instead of about them. And it turned out to be a great week! Wyatt likes dinosaurs but he is not all in, so I did want him to know a little more about dinosaurs before we go to Jurassic Quest next month. We did lizards last week per his request, and I felt like the two, dinosaurs and lizards went hand in hand pretty nicely!

We do have quite a bit of dinosaurs and dinosaur things at our house, so it made it easy to set up an inviting area to introduce this week’s topic. I always like to set it up on Sunday night to surprise Wyatt with our weekly theme, and this was a fun one. When Billy saw it he asked “How will Wyatt survive school with all those dinosaurs?”

So – we did our regular curriculum from Blossom and Root and Math for a Living Education, then added in some fun extra stuff. A dinosaur memory game, and of course, a dinosaur life cycle. We divided dinosaurs into herbivores and carnivores, labeled a triceratops, and reviewed size sequencing. We read about different types of dinosaurs, as well as some fun little stories too. Then yesterday we went to my mom’s for craft time with my mom and Dino Girl.

We are going to keep the theme up for another week, then take a week off of school for a break. When we start back up it will be our last “official” month of school and kindergarten, so we are going out with a splash and doing a month long ocean unit. I am looking forward to it!

Resource Round Up:

Free dinosaur printables from Simple Every Day Mom

Free Dinosaur Printable Pack from Simple Living Creative Learning

Homeschool: Duck Week!

I think we all enjoyed duck week around here! This was a request from Wyatt as this kid has loved ducks for just about his whole life. I also coordinate my niece’s homeschool right now, and my mom, niece, Wyatt, and I all had fun with this unit! There was just something so spring feeling about it, and let’s face it, ducklings are adorable!

We spent time talking about the anatomy of a duck, the life cycle of a duck, working on sequencing and patterns, then moved on to dabbling, diving, and domesticated ducks. I did not tell my niece that some ducks are raised for meat, she is super sensitive to that, so we just said that they lived on a farm. We played a duck matching game for vocabulary reinforcement, did a kindergarten “deep dive” on mallards, and discussed what ducks eat and their habitats. We also learned that ducks are waterproof due to an oil they spread out over their feathers – and then just when I thought Wyatt hadn’t been listening, he told his dad this fact. And we read lots of books and made a diorama!

Wyatt got a little overzealous at first with the nest building. Also, one of the eggs he put into the nest almost rolled into the pond area, which made me think of one of the books we read, I am a Duck.

And we all chose our favorite ducks! Wyatt liked the Cayuga and Red headed ducks, I liked the Khaki Campbells, my niece liked the fancy Wood ducks, and my mom liked the Mallards.

Overall this was a fun, easy, springtime unit! This weekend we are hoping to get to a farm to see domesticated ducks and a marsh to spot those wild ducks – so crazy they are, those wild ducks.

Resource Round-Up!

Duck Unit Study Guide by Stephanie Hathaway

Books That We Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Ducks by Gail Gibbons || Lucky Ducklings by Eva Moore || On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen || Ducks Don’t Get Wet by Augusta Goldin || Just Ducks by Nicola Davies || Duck, Duck, Dinosaur by Kalie George || I’m a Duck by Eve Bunting

Next week is a request from my niece, for flowers!

**Our theme units are always extra in addition to our regular curriculum from Blossom and Root**

Homeschool: Rainbows and Sheep!

This was our last week of school before our Easter break! I wanted to finish up our month with some fun themes, so I went with rainbows and sheep – because March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Plus, we had been talking about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day last week and these tied in nicely. (I read that Ireland has more sheep than people! I am not sure if this statistic is correct but wow!) We always do extra themes in addition to our normal curriculum from Blossom and Root.

We didn’t have as many projects this week, it was just a rough week timewise for many reasons, but we did enjoy what we had time for. We started the week with rainbows, and followed up Tuesday with talking about colors and formation of colors and color mixing. Then we moved on to greener pastures and learned about sheep! Parts of a sheep, what a sheep eats, their life cycle, and the importance of shearing a sheep. I pulled out some of my wool roving as well, for Wyatt to handle and we discussed how it originated from a sheep! I am hoping to find somewhere to take him this weekend where we can see some sheep but so far I haven’t found anywhere to go.

Resource Round Up:

https://www.stephaniehathawaydesigns.com/freeprintables/primary-color-study

Simple Living Creative Learning – Sheep printables

Books We Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

The Sheepover || Brave Charlotte || Wally Does Not Want a Haircut || Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep || How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow || The Rainbow

I loved all of the books we read this week! Wyatt loved Wally Does Not Want a Haircut and Farmer Brown the best; I loved The SheepOver. However, for learning purposes The Rainbow and Farmer Brown were excellent! Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep is a fun fictional look at the process of where yarn and wool comes from, while The Rainbow breaks down the science behind rainbows in an easy to understand, entertaining way. However Farmer Brown might be hard to find in book form! All books mentioned are also available as read-alouds on YouTube.

I will leave you with Baarack the Sheep, who was covered in 80 pounds of wool!

Homeschool: The Arctic Week 2

Our Arctic Exploration, week 2 is coming to an end. Good thing we have two more weeks; we are having a ton of fun. This week was all about polar bears!

We started off by learning the basics of a polar bear – their anatomy, about their little ears which are little to protect them from frostbite, about camouflage, about how their skin under their fur is black (and why), that their fur doesn’t actually have white pigment, it is hollow, and how some arctic animals stay warm.

We had a fun week of activities and art..but it was also a very messy week!

This art project is one of my favorites that we have done. I think it looks so pretty! You can read about how to do it here. Wyatt used his fingers for most of it but then also wanted a brush. He hates having stuff on his hands (me too) so I try to have him do some like that, but then let him use a brush as well. Although, if you can see in the first photo he also decided to paint the table too..

He also made a paper plate and cotton ball polar bear. Who would have thought some glue and cotton balls could make a mess? But they did. My mom told me that she and my niece also made a giant mess with both of these are projects. Maybe we are just a messy family? Regardless, it was a lot of fun.

We also did a few activities! One about camouflage, the other about blubber! At least the camo activity was tidy, because the blubber one was super gross. Lol. I think Wyatt felt a little betrayed by that one. He had to put his hand in cold water, then also in crisco. It was pretty interesting though! I tried it and it actually did keep my hand warmer! I think I will just stick to wearing gloves though.

Before things got messy…

Our resource round- up is a bit of the same for some:

Note: If printables include penguins, save those for a separate unit, as they live in the South Pole, not North

Little Spark Arctic Animals

Preschool Mom Arctic Animals

Arctic Animal Fun Pack

Arctic Animals Like Cold book

Arctic Animals Learning Pack

Books That We Read:

(I have links to Amazon Affiliate links, but most of these can be found at the library or even as read alouds on YouTube)

The Bear Report by Thyra Heder || Little Polar Bear by Hans de Beer || Over in the Arctic by Marianne Berkes

Activities and Extras

How do animals stay warm?

Why are polar bears white?

Polar Bear Cotton Ball Picture

Polar Bear in the Snow Process Art

And we also watched a few Wild Kratts cartoons on PBS (we have the PBS Kids app through Amazon), Polar Bears Don’t Dance and Snowy Owl Invasion

Next up: Arctic Foxes and Walruses!

Homeschool: Pine Trees and Porcu”pines”!

Last week we studied conifer trees and pine cones – and porcupines! We started off by going on a pine cone and conifer tree hunt – and found that there are not huge areas of evergreens near us! Most of our hikes are through woods filled with oaks and hickory and walnut trees, but hardly a conifer to be seen. We did find one place that had a bunch, so we were able to get a few different pine cones at least, but we were never really able to do a big walk and work on identification. But that is ok, we have years for that!

I chose to focus on more hands-on type work for this particular study. I believe when you are studying nature, you should feel it and smell it and experience it. Except for when we got to the porcupine portion of our week, we didn’t need to experience that firsthand..

We started with a fun scientific investigation of pine cones, where Wyatt chose a particular pine cone, and did some observations and an hypothesis or two. Then we put the pine cone in water to see if if would sink or float, and also to see what would happen to the open pine cone. We looked very closely at one to see if we could find any seeds left inside, and we found one little seed, then discussed the life cycle of a Christmas tree. We also talked about the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and how that little owl was in it this year! Then we read a book about two cardinals in the same situation.

We discussed the parts of a pine cone, the parts of a pine tree, looked at features of different types of conifers, and then made our own little Christmas tree ornaments from twigs. They turned out so cute and individual! Wyatt’s is very patriotic, mine is traditional, and Billy’s is very fluffy. We also turned a few pine cones into peanut butter bird feeders, but the squirrels stole them immediately.

For our creature study this week, we did porcu”pines”! I think this turned out super cute! I cut out the template and had Wyatt snip the needles off the branches and glue them on. We talked about the similarities between the pine needles and a porcupine’s quills, and learned a few simple facts about porcupines. We also watched a video of a porcupine eating a pumpkin and it was super crazy! I will link it below. As always we do themed studies as a supplement to our regular curriculum.

This week we are exploring the world of The Nutcracker ballet- which I have learned from practically everyone in my family that they don’t like! Only Wyatt and I seem to like it. Lol. I figured Wyatt would, he loves music so much but I was shocked that it is not well liked in my family (mom, dad, husband, niece..) Oh well, some weeks turn out better than others!

Resource Round Up:

Life Cycle of a Christmas Tree – The Preschool Tool Box

Pine Cone Science – Playdough to Plato

Identifying Conifers and Flash Cards – Playful Learning

Books Read:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (one of my holiday favorites) || Red and Lulu || Pick a Pine Tree

Videos:

Teddy the Porcupine Eating Halloween Feast

Rockefeller Center Owl

Homeschooling: Owls Week

I was so excited to start Owl Week! Our whole little family loves owls so this was fun for all of us. We actually did this last week, but I am behind on posting – this week we worked on one of our Heritage Studies, Scotland! I will share about that next week though. (We always do a special unit study in addition to our regular curriculum)

Many of our activities were based around reading, which is my kind of activity. I love book and activity tie in, and there are so many great owl picture books out there! I used some old favorites, and found a few new ones!

First we started with Owl Babies, one of the cutest little books out there. We read the book, and worked on the flip books I downloaded, which were super informative and fun. Then we created some Owl Babies inspired art! (always always Wyatt’s favorite part)

The next day we read Owl Moon, which if you haven’t read it is one of my favorite books ever, about a father and child on a cold silent winter night, looking for owls. We completed some work pages I found online, then created an owl moon artwork. I cut out the silhouette and he did the moon, face and glued it all together.

We spent the rest of the week reading, looking at different types of owls that live all over the world, having a poetry and book teatime with my mom and niece, crafting, and watching owl videos. We finished up our week with our very own owl prowl at the park! We met up with my cousin and his girls, my brother, SIL, and niece, and my friends and their two girls. We think we may have heard an owl straight away but other than that, nothing. It didn’t matter though, it was a beautiful night for a hike through the woods with with friends. And sadly, it was our last for a while as we all agreed to not hang out for a while, even masked and distanced outside, due to our surging COVID numbers. But, for the night we had fun and felt free under the dark canopy of trees, the kids playing, Wyatt hooting trying to call owls, and everyone seemed happy. So not a bad night to end social events on at all.

Resource Round-Up!

Owl Babies Free Printables – Homeschoolshare.com

Owl Moon Free Printables – Wildflower Ramblings

Owls of the World – Little Spark

Books Read:

Contains Amazon Affiliate links

Adopted by an Owl (too long for Wyatt but I loved it) || Little Owl’s Night || Owl Babies || Owl Moon || Tanna’s Owl || Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry

Crafts and Other Resources:

Owl Babies Craft – I Heart Crafty Things

Owl Moon Craft – Liz’s Early Learning Spot

Molly of Denali – Bird in Hand Episode

Next week I will share our Scotland Studies week! It has been really fun.

Homeschooling: Bears!

This was a pretty good week! In addition to our regular curriculum, we added in a small bear study, and we had a lot of fun. Some weeks work out better than others, and this was a good one!

We started the week by reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and learning about different types of bears. Wyatt’s favorite is the American Black Bear, and I am partial to the Moon Bear. My niece and mom were doing the same study and Dinogirl said her favorite bear is the Spirit Bear while my mom liked the pandas. We also went on a “bear hunt” around our house, playing hide and seek with a toy bear. We discussed the anatomy of a bear (the basics) and created our own bears out of playdough.

Midweek we talked about hibernation, read some books, and made a little bear in a den scene. It was also a gorgeous if a wee bit windy fall day so we took school on the road to the park, where we worked on science.

Today we are going to finish up with some fun stuff, like participating in Fat Bear Week by voting for our family favorite, and then if the clouds cooperate, looking for Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the bears in the sky tonight!

Next week we are doing a mini-study based on ravens and Edgar Allen Poe… should be fun with kindergartners lol! But I found a few resources to make it more their speed- I just felt it would be fun for October! Or at least, appropriate. Lol.

Resource Round-Up:

Fiddlesticks Education – Bears of the World

Fiddlesticks Eductation – Bearly Awake Journal Pages

Join the Bear Hunt Activity Pages (designed to go with We’re Going on a Bear Hunt)

Books Read:

This section contains Amazon Affiliate links

Bear Make Den || Welcome Home, Bear || Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze || Bear Snores On || We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Videos Watched:

Bear Snores On

Black Bear: Animal Facts for Kids

And I rented We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from Amazon

If you are interested in the National Parks Fat Bear Week, you can find it here! If you do check it out, let me know which bear you voted for! Update: This challenge is over but you can still check out the participants!

Homeschooling: Acorns and Squirrels!

I was super excited about this study! I am such a fall person and this felt very autumn to me. Plus, squirrels are cute, except when they eat my pumpkins that have been growing for months.

We did take things a little slower than usual this week, but Wyatt and I both seem to do better when our days have structure so we did do work, just more spread out throughout the day. We started the week with acorns and ended with squirrels, which was a fun progression. We learned about the parts of an acorn, the life cycle of an oak, and he made this cute little tissue acorn. Later we talked all about the different types of squirrels in our area, colored a picture of his favorite (the flying squirrel), learned about their habitats and diet and looked at their fluffy tails and pointy ears. My niece loved the red squirrels for their big ear tufts actually – they are pretty darn cute! My favorite were the fox squirrels though. We also took a short little hike through the woods, spotting squirrels and their nests. I found a little wood sprite too!

With Blossom and Root, we studied the letter I, read from Frog and Toad all year, and did some nature lessons around trees – and squirrels!

Billy always loves the evolution of the learning area through the week – it changes from start to finish and this week I tried to capture the different stages. In one you can see the game that we played this week too – one of my friend’s had given Wyatt this game when he came home from the hospital, and it fit so perfectly with our lesson plans this week!

So the resource roundup!

Resources and Printables

Squirrel Lap book and activities – Homeschoolshare.com

Acorn Anatomy – KinderPapery

Squirrel and Autumn Printables – Natural Beach Living

Fall Math and Literacy Packet – The Moffatt Girls

Books We Read

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Full disclosure: we only did a picture walk through the Chester Raccoon book, as it is about death and loss which I was not ready to discuss this week. However, if you need or are looking for a book on this topic for kids, this is a fantastic one.

Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories || Little Acorn || Because of an Acorn

Extras

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Wooden Acorn Lacing Toy

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game

Next week we move on to bears!