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:

(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!

Homeschooling: Ice Age..

This week just sort of evolved organically. We are reading all Jan Brett this month for language arts, and when I remembered The First Dog, I thought about Sunset of the Sabertooth, and we just leapt from there. This was a very fun week!

Since our language arts revolves around Jan Brett this month, most of our reading/literature work centered around her book The First Dog. This is such a cute book! We discussed whether we thought Kip should have befriended Dog or not (yes of course), characters, setting, and vocabulary. We also learned about the different ice age animals that pop up throughout the story – sabertooth cats, woolly mammoths, cave bears – which were also present in the Magic Tree House book we were reading as well. Wyatt diagrammed each animal, we read books about them, and watched a few videos about them as well.

Wyatt’s favorite part of the week was the cave painting he did. It was very messy but sometimes being creative is messy. This kid loves to paint, no matter how. We found some Native American flute music to listen to while he painted; Sunset of the Sabertooth focused on a flute and that was as close as I could get. We both really enjoyed it. Wyatt’s second favorite thing is music.

Science this week actually sort of meshed well. We were learning about weathering, erosion, and metamorphic rocks. I had a bunch of experiments lined up for Wyatt that I thought for sure he would love, but he seemed sort of ambivalent about them. Lol. Our science curriculum gives a few different options – the book basket crew, outdoor crew, the tabletop demo crowd, and arts and crafts crowd. I switch it up all the time, but it seems Wyatt is definitely in the arts and crafts camp pretty solidly, so if I do switch it up, we will also do the arts and crafts project as well.

And for a fun finish, tonight we are going to watch Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas.

What We Read:

(this section contains Amazon affiliate links)

The First Dog by Jan Brett || Sunset of the Sabertooth || Woolly Mammoths || Sabertooth Cats

Resources:

Besides our Blossom and Root curriculum, we also used:

The First Dog by Jan Brett Book Companion and Ice Age Animal Diagramming from Curriculum Hound via Teachers Pay Teachers

The First Dog by Jan Brett Book Companion by Amy Labrasciano via Teachers Pay Teachers

Next week: Reindeer!

Homeschool: Fairy Tales, Wolves, and China

I debated posting about our homeschool week this week, since we it was primarily a week of reading and information collecting, and not a ton of creating and doing. So basically, we did a lot but not really much to show. I will just have to tell instead!

Wyatt’s curriculum this year is based on folk and fairy tales, which I think provides more than one might initially think. We can explore the same tale from other countries, different versions, go down those rabbit trails that the books spark interest in, whether it is place setting, a particular animal, a theme. So many opportunities for learning! This week we read Lon Po Po, which is a Little Red Riding Hood story from China. It is fantastic honestly, without any violence toward humans if that is something that will bother your child. The wolf dies but it is sort of understated and not violent. Then we were supposed to create a wolf peg doll. I helped Wyatt with his and I have to be honest, it scares me. Lol. It turned out super creepy, which was not really the intention, as part of our week this week was about Wolf Awareness! Lon Po Po has a dedication thanking wolves for taking one for the team all the time, and being the “bad guy” in the story more times than not. Wolves are predators, they hunt, that is how they live, feed their offspring. And humans and wolves do butt heads at times as humans spread farther across our planet and use the land. It’s hard to share. And it’s hard to remember that they are not evil or malicious – and certainly will not gobble you up whole as they do in the original Little Red Riding Hood story!

We followed Lon Po Po up with the James Marshall version – I just love his illustrations and storytelling. This one does stick to the traditional story, and both granny and little red get gobbled right up, and the hunter slits the throat of the wolf. I have to admit, I did not read that line to Wyatt! I substituted the hunter rescued granny and red without going into detail. As we had been reading these tales and also learning about wolves all week long, we made a comparison chart between real wolves and the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, which was a great way to talk about differences in fact and fiction.

China was also part of our lessons this week. As Lon Po Po is a Chinese folk tale, I thought I should probably introduce the country and culture to Wyatt. We skipped ahead in our Magic Tree House reading to Day of the Dragon King, to keep the theme similar. This week we sort of just talked about China, found it on the world map, watched Let’s Go Luna Beijing, and read our Magic Tree House book. Tonight Wyatt will be trying an assortment of Chinese foods, and then next week we will delve further into the topic.

This week worked out perfectly in sync with Wolf Awareness Week, which was totally unplanned. A happy accident. (I love Bob Ross..) We talked about how important wolves are to our ecosystem and planet, to the state of Michigan, and about wolves in general. The New York Wolf Conservation Center has educational resources online for older students but they are still neat to check out. I used them as a base for what we talked about. (A bucket list item for me is to visit the NY Wolf Conservation Center and camp there!) You can find their resources here.

So this week was more of an information gathering week! Next week we read about foxes, and continue to learn about China!

We use Blossom and Root First Grade for our curriculum, and math lessons for living education for math. I also don’t share the different phonics, math, etc we do generally.

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.