Homeschool Journey: The First Week Back

Well, we made it through our first week back! Wyatt had a fantastic week. We had our moments where we struggled, both of us, but overall this was a great first few days back!

The first day I got up way too early and got started. I tried to make a special back to school breakfast of french toast but, I totally screwed it up somehow. Lol. I wasn’t awake enough maybe? So we had just a breakfast of buttered toast and we were happy because Wyatt and I are superfans of toast, which I know sounds funny. I gave him his little bin of supplies, some that he had chosen and some that were surprises, and he ate breakfast while exploring them.

After breakfast, we got ready and took back to school photos. He opted for his new lizard shirt – and told me that he was looking forward to learning about geckos. I guess I need to get a unit study together!

I can’t get over how much he has grown since even last year. Where did my baby go?

Then we headed in and got straight to work. I had a week that was structured to let us ease back in. We only tackled reading and language arts, social studies, music, and art last week. Next week we will add math and science back in. We need to form our new routine, get used to the new schedule, figure out how to work around therapy, all that good stuff.

And in the middle of our first day, I discovered we had a runaway caterpillar! I was crawling around the office looking for it everywhere! I finally found it on the baseboard behind my desk. (This is a giant swallowtail caterpillar)

When we finished up our work for the first day, we went outside for a much needed break. Wyatt played and played while I sat in my new yard chairs by the zinnias, enjoying the cool of the day and listening to Wyatt playing. It was a tiring but wonderful day.

What We Learned:

Our week was all about Johnny Appleseed, the state of Michigan, and the artist Thomas Cole.

Our Language Arts curriculum is one that I designed so I was excited to try it out! I need to fluff it out more with some projects that correlate with the book, etc but the actual work and how it went made me very happy.

We are learning about the states this year using a program from The Waldock Way, and we had a blast with it last week! I added in some Motown music, of course, and I had found the book Voices Across the Lakes on Amazon for $6, when other copies are selling for $40! It is described as “Beautifully told and illustrated stories about the Great Lakes region. Historical content, written around 10 authentic songs.” It is really cool, and we are probably going to use it with music class for a few more weeks.

I was also really excited to start our art program. I am not using anything formal, but I have a list of artists I want us to learn about this year and I am sort of making it up as we go along. This week we learned about Thomas Cole. I found an awesome picture book called Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art, which we read together. I also visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site website and they had some wonderful free downloads available to use. It would be an excellent field trip for anyone living in that area too, with free outdoor explore kits for students to use while visiting. Plus that view from the porch!! We are going to complete our art project later this afternoon as a family, by sketching the view from our porch. Not quite as scenic, not by a long shot, but it will be fun to do.

What We Used:

(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

S is for Sleeping Bear Dunes // M is for Mitten // Voices Across the Lakes // Picturing America // Seed by Seed

For a look at what we are using for our curriculum this year, check out my post here.

We ended the week with a crazy road trip – but that is a story for another day!

Chit Chat Coffee Time

So, the weird April snow that we had didn’t last too long, thankfully. The cold weather did bum me out though, honestly. I am in total springtime mode and I really need the weather to participate fully. I am just done with going out in the cold weather, so we were sort of homebound for a few days.

I saw this meme and thought it perfectly summed up how I try to live my life – I know some people make family “mission statements” – maybe I should just print this and hang it up in our house as ours? Lol.

Speaking of the Earth the other day was Earth Day. I don’t usually go crazy on Earth Day, we just read a few books and I had hoped to have a picnic outside. But you know, surprise cold. So, I set one up in our house. I put a blanket down and surrounded it with plants from around the house and we hung out there for a bit reading about some important people – most notably Jane Goodall and Johnny Appleseed, and also Greta Thunberg. Politics aside, that little girl has accomplished so much and is a fantastic example of the power of kids, honestly. I think kids can get overlooked so often and dismissed, when sometimes their voices have so much to add to the conversation! I had also ordered little Jane and Jubilee peg dolls for Wyatt a million years ago and had them waiting to give to him when we finally read about Jane. He really liked Jubilee. But who wouldn’t, it is so cute!

We also flipped through one of my books, The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane. I love this book, it’s little poems, and gorgeous illustrations by Jackie Morris. But the inspiration behind the book sort of breaks my heart. The lost words are the words about nature that have been dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, words like acorn and magpie and otter, of all things! Willow, newt, fern! These words have been replaced by words pertaining to technology, words like cut-and-paste, and blog. How come there is not room for all? Are we going to raise a generation of children that when presented with an acorn don’t know what it is, or the word for it? That won’t know that from just that tiny little seed, a whole giant oak tree grows? Who don’t see little fairy caps, or when reading Peter Pan, not know what he gave to Wendy as a kiss? Our house is filled with nature and our collections, acorns and ferns and lizards and feathers and rocks and yes, a praying mantis. I have ants on the way and this week we are making worm jars. When I think of Wyatt’s education, I want it to include everything, including a love of the little things and the nature that surrounds us.

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday – last year we were under a stay-at-home order, so we are happy that this year we can have cake together in my brother’s yard. I am looking forward to it!

I will leave you with the song that Billy and I have had to listen to a billion times this week. It is Wyatt’s new favorite, but it is an old song.. you probably know it. (for the record, my favorite Beatle is George.)