Homeschool Journey: Happy Little Trees…

“There are no mistakes, only happy accidents..”

Gosh, we love Bob Ross in this house. Such a happy, gentle, uplifting soul he was. I needed some Bob Ross vibes last week and I was so happy I had planned for him to be our artist of the week all the way back when I was planning in the late fall. This time of year can get so blah you know?

We focused on Bob Ross quite a bit. We read about his life, we read as many picture books as I could find at the library about him, we watched him every night before Wyatt went to bed, and then had a family paint day. Wyatt now is a big fan of Bob Ross, which tickles me.

I did not know about Ross’ life other than watching him on Joy of Painting. I had no idea he was in the military, that he had been stationed in Alaska, that he taught in person classes that at first no one attended. When he got his television show, he was happy with just a simple little set, he didn’t need anything elaborate. He raised baby squirrels, and saved injured animals. I just adore him. He brought some lightness into our week last week, and into this week as Wyatt continues to watch him.

Our family Bob Ross inspired painting day was a lot of fun. There was no way I was using oil based paints with a 7 year old however, and knew I wanted to use the watercolors that come in the tube, to get that whole feel. I actually hit up our dollar store and was able to get everything I wanted! We usually have all of our materials on hand, but I didn’t have what I wanted for this particular project. I needed canvas boards, and instead of big paint brushes, which I thought would be hard for Wyatt to use, I opted for sponge brushes. We set up at the table, put on the Bob Ross episode “Mystic Mountains”, and got to painting!

The plan was for Billy to demonstrate in person along with Bob, and he also controlled the pause and playing of the video, in case Wyatt and I needed to catch up. I wanted Wyatt to use (sort of ) the techniques that Bob was using (although not the wet on wet since we were not using oil paints) but the brush movements, so instead of setting him free with paints and the canvas and going alone, we did a lot of hand over hand. There were parts of the painting I let him just paint freely, but other parts I helped him out, and I ended up doing the mountains because the knife work was hard for him with his current motor skills. So his painting is actually our combined painting.

Wyatt painted the water and sky freely, then I helped with the trees, clouds, and mountains, hand over hand for the trees and clouds. He also did the tree/island in the water. He was so happy!! He loves painting and asks to paint constantly. And usually, I let him.

Wyatt also learned about Idaho last week. His favorite facts were all potato based, that they grow a ton of potatoes, that there is a potato museum, and that frozen french fries were introduced to the world by J.R. Simplot in Idaho in 1953. We of course had to have frozen french fries with grilled cheese sandwiches that night.

We had a fantastic week last week!

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.

Books:

P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet

Bob Ross and Peapod the Squirrel

This is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross

Videos:

And thanks to a friend, the Bob Ross episode of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum on PBS.

In parting, I want to leave you all with a few Bob Rossisms.

“You can do anything you want. This is your world.”

“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

“It’s hard to see things when you are too close. Take a step back and look.”

“There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.”

“Go out on limb. That’s where the fruit is.”

Homeschool Journey: Alaska, Cranberries, Evergreens (still)

It’s December and that means Christmas school in the homeschool world! Some people drop their entire regular curriculum and supplement with all Christmas themed special unit studies; I have done this in the past, but Wyatt is in second grade now, and I am not feeling like that is the best choice for him at this time. So, I am adapting our regular curriculum around the holidays. I wasn’t going to include Social Studies this month, but I decided to take one state and just run with it for the whole month. That state – Alaska! I guess the biggest state in our country deserves an entire month, don’t you think? And, it so easy to adapt it to our needs. We still have our The Good and The Beautiful math and language arts everyday, but for everything else we are sliding into Christmas school.

Where to start… let’s start with science as this was where I really focused the bulk of our Christmas themed studies. In our regular curriculum of Blossom and Root we are actually on conifers and evergreens, so I didn’t have to do much there. But then we are putting the rest of the weeks on pause until January to study a few more wintry botanicals.

This week we looked at studied cranberries in addition to learning about conifers. (I honestly had no idea that not all evergreens are conifers!) I tied it into Alaska with the help of The Museum of the North’s website. I find so much cool stuff on museum websites! I have a few different lessons that I printed from The Museum of the North, but the first one we did was the Berries and Animals lesson and collage. We talked about how important berries are to the animals that eat them, and tried to think of alternatives for what they would eat if they couldn’t find the berries. Then Wyatt used the template of animals and berries to make a collage.

This month I also wanted to add a baking component to our school – I have some different kitchen projects planned, but for our first one I had Wyatt make his very own sourdough starter. We read The Sourdough Man, which is an Alaskan folktale based on the gingerbread man. Sourdough Annie is doing well so far, and in a few days we will turn it into our little Sourdough man cookie (biscuits?). We also talked about how sourdough has a long history in Alaska, and how some strains have been around for 200 years!

We also read the book Berry Song, which is one of my very favorite picture books that I have read all year. We read it in August, and I liked it so much that I added it to our curriculum. Here is the book description:

On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.

Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.

Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.

Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade’s luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.

We also started a berry book, which I found on the Museum of the North website as well. We are going to continue working on it this week. And art – we are a bit behind! I plan on doing two art projects this week and since this is a bit more relaxed month with everything kind of flowing over and through the weeks that will be ok.

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.

The Littlest Evergreen || Christmas Farm || The Sourdough Man || L is for Last Frontier

If you are interested in The Sourdough Man but can’t find it, I did find a YouTube video of someone reading it.

The Museum of the North

Sourdough Starter recipe

Saturday Morning Coffee Catch Up

The coffee is excellent today – Billy made it this morning and isn’t it always better when someone else does the making? We are back to Post Alley, our favorite. Billy also told me the other day that my coffee is always made strongest on Mondays – hmm. I wonder why that could be?

It was a bit of week around here. In the overnight hours of Tuesday/Wednesday Wyatt woke up with some quick illness that came and go very fast, like within two hours. I really don’t know what that was about, but it was an intense two hours!

Then Wednesday was my birthday! It was extremely low key, with basically 100% laying around by Wyatt and I. I could have had worse birthdays, and in fact I have. It was actually sort of nice to be do absolutely nothing for a change and to spend the day with my little guy just chilling. I very, very rarely allow myself to completely relax and it was amazing. Billy gave me a book, my friend dropped off a gift, and my parents gifted me with money to spend on me. They were very specific that it had to go to me and not something for the house or a bill or Wyatt. We will see.

The other night I nestled up in bed with my cup of mint tea, my new book, and a cat and it was all very cozy. The wind was whipping outside and it was so cold outside, but warm and happy inside. And I am still loving our bedroom refresh! The other day was so grey outside but our room still felt so open and light.

I’ve done some online Christmas shopping this week and feel pretty good about where I am! I have one thing for Billy, two of my three nieces are halfway done, and for Wyatt, I need to get just a few things still. I still have more shopping to do but I like to know the kids are covered first, then I move on.

In all my relaxing time from my birthday I took an online quiz on my phone to see what my “booksona” is. It was actually a really fun quiz. It was interactive and different from most little silly quizzes. I mean it was still silly but it was fun too. And I have to say I agree with my booksona! It feels really accurate.

Tonight my brother Devin and his family are coming over here for dinner. We are using a recipe for pizza dough that Jeanie from The Marmalade Gypsy sent me that her partner Rick uses. We are all going to make our own individual pizzas. I think it will be fun! Last week we had a really laid back dinner at my brother’s house, soup and bread and homemade pumpkin pie. It was a very simple, perfect evening. Even though I had Wyatt dressed like Doc Boy from the Garfield Christmas Special. (well Wyatt is super cute in anything) And for a little bit of reality, that is Wyatt being sassy! Then, one second later trying to charm us. Stinker.

This weekend we have to do a lot of around the house stuff. Cleaning, getting groceries including the ingredients we need for our contributions to Thanksgiving and Wolfenoot, and work on the gifts we are making. Busy but also fun, with a nice break for pizza with family.

Next week is a little wild, and the introvert in me is freaking out already! Tuesday we have a get together with my cousin and his kids, my mom, and my brother and fam. Wednesday we have early Thanksgiving with Billy’s family, and Thursday Thanksgiving at my brother’s. It will be a lot of fun but Friday Wyatt and I will be doing a lot of nothing.

And that is about it for today! I hope all is well in your world!

Homeschooling Journey: North Dakota, Edward Hicks, and Peace.

Last week was well, peaceful. I wanted to explore the concept of peace and mindfulness and home this month with Wyatt. It just felt like the right thing for November. It is an ongoing theme, so we started reading a few books on the topic of peace, talked about things that felt like peace to Wyatt, and made those cute peace dove hearts with his cousin one afternoon. Inside the kids had to write three things that peace is and they did a really good job.

When I learned that North Dakota was home to the International Peace Garden, which is situated on the border of the U.S. and Canada I knew it was the state we were going to work on in social studies. I mean, obviously. We didn’t get around to making our own mini peace gardens but maybe before the month is over we will.

We always cover the key facts of the state, talk about the state animals/trees/flowers etc, and then always pick the interesting facts that are most appealing to us. I am not expecting Wyatt to memorize the date of statehood or what number state they are, or even the capitol of the state right now. I want him to learn about the area the state is in, the region, what the landscape and climate are like, the flora and fauna, and those interesting things that stand out. I am always a little surprised by what he chooses! This time he chose as his favorites the W’eel Turtle, which is an 18 foot turtle built out of 2000 wheel rims, and that the National Buffalo Museum is there, and home to a rare white buffalo named White Cloud. I didn’t tell him that White Cloud passed away in 2016 so he is on display there, not actually living there. I kept that tidbit to myself.

We always have fun in art! This week Wyatt was a bit bored by the actual art and artist I had chosen – Edward Hicks and his work The Peaceable Kingdom. And from his perspective it probably wasn’t super exciting to look at, but it did give us the opportunity to talk about how the animals in the painting are usually animals that wouldn’t normally get along, which was the point of the painting, that they were a peaceable kingdom. He then picked an animal from the painting and then together we created one out of oil pastels. It was again an art lesson with Dad, which has been a fun trend! Wyatt chose a lion from the inspiration artwork, and then I helped him with the actual outline of the lion using hand over hand due to his motor control, although he is getting better and better everyday! Sometimes he just wants my hand over his wrist as a confidence boost while he does all the work. Anyway, we got the lion drawn, he made all the wild marks for the mane, and then Billy showed him how to blend the pastels to make it look smooth and soft. It turned out really well! And Wyatt did enjoy that part!

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.

P is for Peace Garden || Peaceful Pieces || Peace is an Offering || Peace Train || The Peace Book

For the peace dove heart craft

Homeschool Journey: Took a wrong turn in Albuquerque

This homeschool update is a combination of two weeks – I just didn’t have time to write an update Monday. Plus, our house is a giant mess due to our bedroom reno and it seems to be affecting my productivity.

We have been hanging out in the Southwest the past two weeks, learning about Arizona and New Mexico in Social Studies. It is a part of the U.S. that I am fairly unfamiliar with, only having driven through it one time on the way to Vegas. Let’s see.. we read Dona Flor as part of our tall tales series for September, who was new to me as well. I really enjoyed her story, as did Wyatt. It is the tale of a giant woman who has an equally enormous heart, for her neighbors and for all the animals. She makes huge tortillas, sings to flowers, and solves problems for her community. Dona Flor is delightful!

We also read about the potter, Maria Martinez who is known for her amazing and beautiful pottery. We tried our hand at making a coil pot; this was a lesson in patience for us both. Wyatt wanted to just create whatever he wanted, and I usually encourage free creativity, but I really wanted him to see the process of coil pottery. It was a struggle but between the two of us we made it. He ended up rolling the clay into snakes and making the base, I helped him etch the coils, and then I stacked the coils. He also used water to smooth areas, like the base. It turned out pretty cute!

We started outside but some pretty aggressive wasps forced us back in. Wyatt absolutely loved this project – his grandmother is a potter so I am hoping to have him make a project with her that we can actually put in her kiln and everything. She is the reason he loved this by the way. He thought it was neat he was doing something like Grandma. I had originally planned for her to do this with us but she had COVID! (She is recovering and doing well)

We spent a lot of time on the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website. It has so much content for kids and educators! Wyatt had told me his favorite fact about Arizona is that they have javelinas, so we learned about javelinas, including what they sound like. He loves pigs so I am unsurprised that he liked javelinas. I really liked the Gila monsters, of course – which sound crazy! Wyatt colored and decorate a picture of a Gila monster, and I love that is totally disco with gold glitter sprinkled all over it. Maybe one day we will get out that way and visit!

In science we were talking about vascular plants vs. non-vascular. We focused on moss for our desk work, and then since we had been visiting the desert, I ordered some Rose of Jericho plants for us to observe. They arrive like little dried out tumbleweed balls. You add them to a wide, shallow bowl of water, and they spring back to life over the course of a day. If you don’t water them, they revert to their dried out version but can be “resurrected” all over again! I thought they were so neat I ordered a few extra to give away to some people who I thought might like to watch the process too.

We managed to squeeze in a quick field trip as well! Since we had read John Henry, I thought we at least needed to ride a train.

Then, the following week, this week, we read Federico and the Wolf, a really fun retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, studied New Mexico (and now I am obsessed with that state – I didn’t know much about it before), and talked a bit about Diego Rivera. Our week this week was a bit pared down from normal, due to the renovations in our bedroom. When you have a tiny house and empty everything out of one of the rooms, it ends up everywhere else. We just didn’t have the right space for some of my planned projects. But we did have a good week of learning, just less hands on than normal, and few more videos than usual.

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.

Shaped by her Hands || The Three Little Javelinas || Diego Rivera His World and Ours || G is for Grand Canyon || Dona Flor || Federico and the Wolf || E is for Enchantment

Next week we continue our southwest journey, as we mosey on down to Texas!

Homeschooling Journey: John Henry, West Virginia, and Clementine Hunter

Last week was a great week of learning around here! We are getting settled into a routine and getting used to the new curriculum and the things I am supplementing myself are going well. I designed my own literature arts curriculum for Wyatt and I to use and not to pat myself on the back, but we are both enjoying it a great deal. I am also winging it with music and art, and honestly it is all going together very well! We will see how that continues.

First, lets talk about John Henry. Wyatt LOVED the story of John Henry, but seriously, why did it have to end the way it did! We read the book by Ezra Jack Keats, watched the John Henry cartoon by Disney, and sang many many John Henry and railroad songs, including one by John Denver and another by Johnny Cash. This was by far Wyatt’s favorite though. I can’t tell you how many times we have sung this now. We talked about how brave and strong John Henry was, and talked about times Wyatt has been brave and strong as well. We talked about how machines and industrialization made life both easier, but also took jobs from many people, which was something that also came up when we read Paul Bunyan.

I read a few versions of John Henry, some mentioned states, other didn’t, but I ultimately decided West Virginia was a good state to accompany the story for our Social Studies portion of the week. There is a statue of John Henry in West Virginia and it seems to be part of their folklore so it made sense. We learned about railroads, about the state symbols of West Virginia, and chose some interesting facts and favorite things. I of course loved the history about John Denver’s song Country Roads, how he sung it in D.C. and received a five minute ovation. The song has naturally become the state song. Wyatt chose as his favorite fact the Mothman myth, which was just a little mention in the book that we use as our “spine”, The 50 States. Sometimes it is so 100% obvious he is my kid. As we read a bit more about Mothman, I learned we had just missed the Mothman festival in West Virginia! How cool would that have been to attend together as a field trip?

Art was also really cool this week. We learned about Clementine Hunter, and if you are unfamiliar with who she is, I encourage you to look her up! She was fascinating and brave and talented. We learned that she had a gallery show that she wasn’t even allowed to attend since she was Black, and so we talked a bit about that, as well as an age and developmentally appropriate discussion about slavery and racism. We read Art from her Heart, which is a fabulous picture book, and then recreated her painting of zinnias. I picked zinnias from our yard, brought them in, and Wyatt got to work. I helped him with the shape of the jar in the painting, but the rest was all him and I think he did amazing!

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.

Disney’s American Legends || John Henry An American Legend || M is for Mountain State || Art from her Heart

Other Resources:

The Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer

Overall, a very good week here!

Homeschooling Journey: Paul Bunyan, Wisconsin, Photosynthesis, and Grant Wood

Last week was a crazy week! It was our second week back and we were still working out our rhythm and routine. We also added in the subjects we didn’t do the first week back, so we had a very full second week! Music, art, phonics, reading, math, science, social studies… we did it all.

Let’s start with..music and social studies. Wyatt is absolutely loving The Waldock Way’s Traveling the States curriculum. It is by far his favorite subject that we cover. I have to admit, it is pretty neat! I loved geography and history as a kid, and even in college so it makes sense. I was even in school to become a Social Studies teacher when they got rid of that degree and I had to choose sometime else (I picked History – I should have picked Geography) Anyway, back to Wyatt and our school! I have been starting every school session with a folk song or song that pertains to our lessons and this week we listened to the Wisconsin state song as well as songs from Bunyan and Banjoes, and Voices From Across the Lakes. Wyatt loves this – and was super pumped up by the Roll Loggers, Roll song. It also tied in with our Literary Arts for the week. We have been making our way through legends and tall tales, and last week we read about the mighty Paul Bunyan, and Babe, his blue ox. I asked Wyatt who he liked better, Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan, and Wyatt is sticking by Johnny Appleseed.

Wisconsin facts we learned: toilet paper was invented there, which for some reason was hilarious to Wyatt, and that the first ice cream sundae was made there as well. Those were Wyatt’s two favorite takeaways. My favorite Wisconsin fact though is that Laura Ingalls was born there.

Science this entire year is all about plants, and we started at the beginning, with photosynthesis and how we get oxygen from trees. It’s still such a perfect design, that we need to live hand in hand with trees, as they use our carbon dioxide and we need their oxygen. We also had a very simple observation experiment to complete. We took two freshly cut leaves (I used my pothos) and put them in two jars of water. One was to be put in the sun, and the other in a closet. After an hour we needed to see the difference, were there any bubbles, etc.

Art this week was about Grant Wood, probably best known for his painting American Gothic. We read a few different books about Wood, looked at pictures of his work, and then we were supposed to make a sculpture over the weekend – but it didn’t happen. Note to self: Do not save work for the weekend, at least until the weather changes. Wyatt loved Wood’s sculpture work which were made out of just anything he found. I loved his portraits best, especially the portrait of his mother holding her snake plant, called Woman with Plants.

The sculpture is named “Lillies of the Alley”, and I found this photo online at Antiques and the Arts, photo credit to Stephen Gassman.

What We Used: (contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Living Sunlight // B is for Badger // American Gothic // Grant Wood: The Artist in the Hayloft // Paul Bunyan

Bunyan and Banjoes // Disney American Legends

I am sure a lot of these resources can be found either available online for free or at the library.

We also use curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful, The Waldock Way, and Blossom and Root.

I am hoping to get my blogging situation with timing of posts, replies to comments, and visiting you all and commenting under control this week!

2022-2023 Homeschool Curriculum Reveal!

If you have ever homeschooled, or know someone who does, then you probably know just how much time, effort, research, conversations, and comparisons go into picking the curriculum your child uses. Our position is unique – we do not need to choose something that will be effective for an entire school district of children all with different needs. We need only choose based on our own child and their educational journey. However, despite having a much, much smaller student body, it is just as important and just as time consuming.

After weighing Wyatt’s needs, where he is academically, and how he best learns, I FINALLY made my choices and started purchasing them, always with the slightest trepidation and anxiety about making the wrong choice. And then I remind myself, when I start doubting myself, that if it doesn’t work, then we find something that does. Wyatt’s education is probably our biggest expense outside of our actual bills, and it is something we sometimes make sacrifices for. But it is 100% worth it.

The homeschool world has so many options. Secular, non-secular, nature based, wildschooling, unschooling, roadschooling. We sort of take a little bit of everything over here, and have a very eclectic approach. The past two years we have used Blossom and Root for everything, for the most part, and then in January I decided Wyatt needed more structure in math and in grammar, so I added in another curriculum. We will be using bits and pieces from a few different curriculum this year, including one that I am designing myself.

This year for Math we are using The Good and the Beautiful, which is what we started using in January last year. Since we started using it late in the year, we will finish up from where we left off before moving on to Course 2. We both like it quite a bit, and math is Wyatt’s least favorite so that is a definite win! It is academically strong, easy to follow, hardly any preparation, and very aesthetically pleasing, which really isn’t important at all but does make it nicer. They also utilize a lot of nature themes, which we enjoy, and use inclusive and diverse images. Wyatt and I were very pleased to see one of the lessons included an illustration of a little girl with braces and crutches! Kids like to see themselves reflected in books and Wyatt definitely liked that lesson.

Since we are talking about The Good and the Beautiful, I will just say we are also using it for reading and grammar, for all of the same reasons. One other thing about The Good and the Beautiful – you can purchase the whole kit and caboodle, or you can get a download of the curriculum for free! I think this is spectacular. The program is fantastic, and I like that anyone can have access to it for their child.

We are sticking with Blossom and Root for science, as their science and nature program is very strong. It looks like this year is going to be learning all about the world of plants – which is pretty exciting to me as well!

I was looking at Michigan’s Common Core because I do try to make sure we follow along in our own way, and it didn’t look like there was much on there about history/geography/social studies. It seems to focus quite a bit on community so we will make sure to include that in our studies, but I also added in Traveling the States by The Waldock Way. I think it is perfect for where Wyatt is right now. It gives him a nice overview of the fifty states, and it looks like it is very fun and engaging. It was originally designed for roadschooling, but can be used in a home classroom as well, as we are doing. It would be neat to include some long distance field trips this year though! You can check out an inside peek video here!

Music! I always struggle with this one, as I am the farthest from musical anyone can be. So this year I am pairing music appreciation, learning about different instruments and genres, with our literature and art program. I am also looking for music lessons for him nearby, that will take special needs children. And Jeanie at Marmalade Gypsy has told me about a program at MSU called RicStar, and I think I am going to try to get him in to their camp next summer. It looks like something Wyatt would absolutely love!

And finally, literature and art. This is separate from The Good and the Beautiful program we are using to learn the mechanics of reading and writing. This will be all literature based projects and activities, based on the readings for the week, and will include poetry, geography, history, comprehension, art, vocabulary lists, copywork and narration. I am designing this myself, so I am super nervous about it but feel I have all his bases covered with the other programs we are using so it should be ok. This will just supplement everything we are doing in a nicely complimentary way.

As for physical education, Wyatt does go to physical therapy once a week, as well as occupational therapy and speech. However, I did find swim lessons specifically for special needs children.

And since I have made my choices and started buying them all, I have also begun planning – and have some awfully fluffy assistants.

And.. that pretty much sums it all up! I can’t wait to share all of this with you when we begin in the fall!

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: 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:

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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!