Homeschooling: Pirates, Raccoons, Magical Fish!

First, can we talk about how big this kid looks these days? What is happening? Where is my baby? Lol.

We have been so busy the past two weeks! We have established a pretty good routine – we start with Language Arts and phonics, then move on to math in the mornings. Then in the afternoons we rotate between history and science, along with whatever extra unit study I have thrown in the mix. It seems to be working well!

This week in Language Arts we were supposed to read Magic Fish but being me, I remembered we had a similar book, The 1000 Star Hotel. Wyatt absolutely loves this story, written by the Okee Dokee Brothers, whom he also loves. And even better, there is an accompanying audio for it! We were able to read it together, and then listen to it (for the 1000th time maybe but he loves it so it was perfect), before getting to work on our copywork/journal/narration pages and projects. The “fun” project was decorating a magic fish, which was supposed to be made from a sock, but I didn’t have an extra so I sewed these little felt fish instead for him to decorate. They turned out pretty cute! We skipped the rabbit trail suggestion of studying a specific fish, Wyatt just wasn’t that thrilled with any fish suggestions and I figured we had enough to learn about so we moved on.

For our extra study unit, that I will probably refer to as our nature study, we started a month long unit about nocturnal animals. Our animal for this week was the raccoon. It was a cute little study – we read a few books about nocturnal animals and raccoons, played a matching game, and then matched shadow pictures to the animal. Wyatt also completed his journal page about raccoons which I am going to put together in a book at the end of the month. I also felt quite clever in finding this craft. We are talking about simple fractions in math, and I talked about halves and equal sides and all that while I was showing him how to cut hearts out of construction paper. We have to do this sort of thing hand over hand, so I did a few as demo and then cut a few together before he assembled it all. I think it turned out super cute!

We are using The Waldock Way’s Passport to Adventure for our history unit this year, although I am doing a rather poor job of connecting the historical parts to it in our lessons. It is turning into more of additional language arts right now – although, one of the GLCE goals for first grade is about maps, and we made a treasure map, so I guess I hit one goal. This curriculum is based on the Magic Tree House series and this week we were reading Pirates Past Noon. These books are super fast reads and pretty cute! We completed notebooking pages and journal pages based on the reading, talked about pirate treasure, what Wyatt would choose to put in a buried treasure (fruit snacks, a Mickey Mouse toy, and a book), made a map, crafted a cute pirate puppet, and painted a treasure chest, which I filled with “treasure”. This was Wyatt’s favorite thing we did. I find him going through this treasure chest all the time, and putting on all of the jewelry. I think today we are going to watch Peter Pan, eat Pirate Booty, and hide the treasure somewhere and make a map for Billy to find when he gets home. We also have to make time for our art project today as well.

We did other things as well, like sight words (which we call cake words) and word family activities, learning about the layers of the earth, make a felt model of the layers, fractions, telling time, and all the other things you learn in first grade.

I will post about our nocturnal animals study in a future post, with links and activities for anyone who is interested! I am going to combine that post into multiple weeks as well, so I will probably post that information next Friday.

Next week is all about coyotes, mountains, turtles, and the Choctaw Nation! And with that, I better get moving! I have a lot to get together before Monday!

Our Butterfly Project – Update #5

Good morning butterflies! Good morning caterpillars! This is a pretty common thing in our house these days, greeting all of our little friends that share our space, however temporarily. Wyatt still remains more in love with the caterpillars than the butterflies, but the magic of a watching a butterfly emerge from the chrysalis then fly away into the wind never gets old to me.

Last week all of our butterflies emerged from their chrysalis! At the time of my last posting, we had 14 monarchs in chrysalis, and 1 black swallowtail. As of today, that group, which I am calling The Toad Hole group after my friend Kelly’s house’s “name”, are all living their lives, free and wild and gathering nectar and hopefully creating more butterflies.

One morning I woke up to 6 butterflies! I actually had to work that morning, but I work for my cousin, and he is working from home these days, so I took them with me to release there. You have to give them some time to allow their wings to dry, and they would be ready while I was working. So, the butterflies went with me. And as a bonus, his daughters were there too, and got to watch and help out.

Although I had to laugh at myself, driving with a car of butterflies. I wonder what they thought, if anything?

So last week was all about these beautiful creatures – releasing them and collecting eggs for the most part.

I am planning on keeping a running tally though for those who are interested of the number of butterflies released, either in the sidebar or somewhere else. Maybe a whole dedicated page? I’ll have to see what works best. I am also hoping to start tagging monarchs, but I need to order the tags today or it won’t happen. If I do, it would be really cool to see if my blog friends down in Texas find any of the monarchs that I release! Tagging happens in the fall, we will see if I can order the tags today, since I think today is the last day to order!

So, the breakdown of butterflies last week:

14 released monarchs : 5 female (Janet, Scarlet, Wendy, Penny, and Freya) 9 male Larry, George, Peter, Frank, Captain, Loki, Odin, Thor, Fenrir.

1 released Black Swallowtail – male, Cavendish

If you are wondering why I am doing this, here is a great article. I can’t imagine a world without butterflies, can you? I remember going to Jack Miner in Canada as a child, and seeing trees just covered in monarchs and thinking it was the most amazing, wonderful, enchanted thing I had seen. I want to take Wyatt one day so he can feel that too.

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: Snow!

In addition to Wyatt’s regular curriculum, every month we focus on a different theme (or themes). This month is all about snow! I feel sort of like I dared Mother Nature with this one, as we have gotten more snow this month than we have all winter.

I haven’t blogged yet this month about our snow studies and I feel like we have done so much! We started the month by talking about well, snow. How it forms, different types of snowflakes, the life cycle of a snowflake, the basics of snow really.

We also did some great art projects. Wyatt loves painting and books so I tried to focus a lot this month on incorporating more of those into our month.

An online friend gifted Wyatt with the book Sneezy the Snowman for Christmas and he loved it so much that I wanted to use it this month as part of our studies. We read the book, discussed melting and freezing, worked on sequencing, and then followed it up with this great activity. This was Wyatt’s favorite thing we have done so far this month.

My little painter. He also painted two pictures, inspired by the books Snow Falls Karen Gardner and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. (I did help him with painting Peter though, full disclosure in light of the whole North West controversy) We also did some extra studies with The Snowy Day, including sequencing just like we did with Sneezy the Snowman.

Then yesterday we read The Snow Globe Family and Snow Globe Wishes, which were both adorable. We followed up the readings with a little writing assignment, answering the question what would Wyatt do if he lived in a snow globe (answer: paint), and then he wanted to see an actual snow globe. How I don’t have one, I don’t know. So we made this spur of the moment, slapdash, what we had around the house version of one, using a jam jar, a small toy fox, some crystal beads, and then me, wielding a hot glue gun. The beads are too heavy so I need to add some glitter in there, but kiddo loves it, and that is all that matters.

I am going to do a huge resource round-up of printables next Saturday, after we finish up the month’s activities, so stay tuned for that! I will share the books we have read and videos we have watched though.

Books We Have Read So Far:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Snow Globe Wishes || The Snow Globe Family || The Snowy Day || The Tea Party in the Woods || Sneezy the Snowman || Snow Falls || Snow || The Snow Rabbit

Videos:

Wild Kratts How a Snowflake is Formed

Caitie’s Classroom Snow

Maddie Moate Snow

We have one more week left of our snow study, then in March we are mixing it up! Our own March Madness I guess.

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: Pumpkin Week!

As we move further into fall and closer to Halloween, we have been tailoring our special unit studies to the season. This week, we studied pumpkins!

As you can see, I had many on hand for us to physically use in our study. Wyatt learned about the parts of a pumpkin, the life cycle of a pumpkin, and completed pumpkin themed worksheets. We did not get to our craft or other activities this week though due to our field trip and the planning of our Wild Hunt! (soon to be explained..)

One thing that Wyatt loves is to play memory matching games, and I find them so helpful in teaching him the vocabulary for that unit and also to work on his speech! He is doing amazing with speech lately, talking so much.

We have also been focusing a lot on letters and sight word reading – I get so excited when he recognizes words! Not many yet, but it is a start and one I am so proud of. Things come a little less easy to this kid with his delays and so every little thing is so celebrated here.

We did a fun pumpkin letter patch, and then matched upper case to lower case letters with a very fall theme.

Then we finished our week with a trip to the pumpkin patch! It was a family/homeschool field trip, as both kids were learning about pumpkins this week, and we had a blast.

Next week we turn our attention to bats!

Resource Round-Up!

Pumpkin Life Cycle Printables – 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Pumpkin Unit Study – Stephanie Hathaway Designs

Books We Read:

And that sums up our week! I am excited to start bat week next week!

As a reminder, here is our regular curriculum that we do in addition to the special unit studies every week.

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!

Homeschooling: September

It’s been a month. From starting homeschooling to Wyatt’s surgeries, it’s been busy. We are using the Blossom and Root curriculum, supplementing with Chickie and Roo’s Kinder Nature Beginnings, and I am also throwing in my own stuff as well. It’s a lot to sort and juggle, but it is worth it. We read Aesop’s Fables and Stone Soup this month so far in Blossom and Root, and did some fun activities to accompany the readings.

We started September by studying apples, then moved on to red foxes because I love them, then ended the month with a two week leaf study. We didn’t get to everything extra I had planned but that is ok.

And frankly, this month has been such a roller coaster I can’t recall most of the resources I used for the first two units of extra study. Our leaf study though at least is fresh in my mind!

We discussed the parts of a leaf, played with a leaf ID puzzle, traced and colored leaves, worked on leaf IDs, did a My Leaf report page, and painted an autumn tree. We made a leaf squirrel after being inspired by Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, as we also read a bunch of books. My favorite was our leaf rubbing day, where we sat outside in the sun and read and created.

So, the resource round up!

Printables:

Kidsparkz Fall

Leaf Investigation Freebie

Wildflower Ramblings Leaf ID

Parts of a Leaf from Twisty Noodle

Books:

(Contains Amazon Affiliate links)

Pooh’s Fall Harvest || Fletcher and the Falling Leaves || Leaves || The Gold Leaf || Leaf Man || Hello, Fall || Illustrated Stories From Aesop || Stone Soup

Hello, Fall was a big favorite here – so adorable. And we always love David Ezra Stein, and the Fletcher books too. Wyatt is a fan of Winnie the Pooh so that is always a winner for him, but his favorite this time was the Flip-Up Fairy Tale of Stone Soup, which had lift the flaps and a CD.

Extra Materials and Links

Crayon Rocks – perfect for leaf rubbing!

Wooden Leaf Puzzle

Stone Soup Board Game

Next week we are learning about acorns and squirrels – it should be a fun week!

Homeschooling, Summer Ed: France, Part 2

My little artist. This week we spent a lot of time reading and playing around with art, which made both of us happy. Our allergies were crazy so we had to stay inside a little more than we wanted sadly, but at least we made the most of it.

We started the week with Renoir and The Wave, as our inspiration piece. I found this great idea on Pinterest and thought it worked perfectly with our unit study! Since we are homeschooling for the upcoming year, I bought a really nice set of finger paints, and Wyatt was excited to break it open and use it, so instead of the sponge he used finger paints mostly, with a little sponge for dabbing, but not much. As you can see…

We also talked about the lavender fields of France, and made another finger painting rendition of these fields. We added a little extra to this project though – Wyatt helped me to cut the spent blooms off of our lavender plants and we saved them all, and sprinkled the seeds over the painting. He completely loved this project, with the cutting and sprinkling. I loved it because it smelled so good!

Friday we worked on little paper miniature things. Wyatt has a love of tiny toys, he calls it baby size, so he really liked playing with his “baby Paris”. I cut it all out and he just moved the little paper cut-outs where he wanted them. Then he/we made a tiny art museum, complete with Degas stickers for the “exhibit”. Elmo was excited to visit this art gallery!

It was a pretty easy going week, but a good one.

Resource and Reading Round-Up!

(Contains Amazon affiliate links)

Travel Size Paper Paris – Made by Joel (free to print)

Kitty Kat, Kitty Kat Where Have You Been? Paris || Degas Stickers || Linnea in Monet’s Garden || Escargot (a favorite of ours- Wyatt gives this little snail so many kisses lol!) || Arteza Finger Paint

We are taking next week off, as it is Billy’s birthday week! When we pick up again we will do a week about the night sky and a week “exploring” Hawaii, then a break again before we start up again for fall. I am really looking forward to all of our future projects!