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!

A Valentine’s Day for the Birds

All the way back in the 14th century, Chaucer wrote a little poems called The Parliament of Fowls (Parlement of Foules), in which he describes the day as being one where birds found love and their mates. Before his poem, there had been no connection between Valentine’s Day and romance. These little love birds of his started a whole new holiday!

Since we are bird nerds over here, we decided to do a little something to honor this idea of birds and Valentine’s Day, just for a little fun, and decided to make bird feeders in the shape of hearts, an idea I got from Wyatt’s teacher. This was a super fun and super cute little craft, with very little mess, something I am not used to. We usually tend to make messy crafts around here, with paint or glue everywhere. So this was a nice change! Lol.

It’s very simple as you can see, using only yarn, pipe cleaners, and Cheerios!

Then we simply bent the pipe cleaners in a sort of heart shape to start with, strung on the Cheerios (which was great OT for Wyatt – fine motor and bilateral use of both hands!!), closed the heart off, and added the yarn! Voila. Then we took them outside and hung them in our apple tree. I hung them on itty bitty branches, hoping that squirrels and Pippin my possum friend don’t try to eat them. I am afraid that they would try to eat the pipe cleaner too. I am also keeping a close eye on them too, just in case.

We finished up by reading In the Snow by Sharon Phillps Denslow, which was a super cute read about a little boy who leaves birdseed out for his feathered and furry friends. It’s a simple little book that talks about the backyard birds and animals that might visit your feeders in winter. And it reminded me that we actually are out of birdseed, so I need to put it on our shopping list!

If you are interested in other Valentine’s Day nature crafts, I found so many cute and creative ideas around the internet!

Heart Leaf Lanterns (I am hoping to squeeze this one before Valentine’s Day!) from Rhythms of Play

Twig Centerpiece from Crafting a Green World

Pine Cone Love Bugs from Fireflies and Mudpies

Heart Shaped Homemade Bird Seed Feeders from Jen Loves Kev

These are just a few of the many I found! My Pinterest got a serious workout this week with all of my pinning.

We have a long winter break weekend, five days off for kiddo, ahead of us, I would love to hear about any craft or activities that you might do!

What Wyatt’s Reading – December

This is a very image heavy post, I apologize! We read like crazy this month! When I returned books to the library the other day, I could barely lift the bag, and this is with us going every week as well. I check out books for the month and also weekly, and rotate them out. The favorites we keep for the time, which is only one week longer than we are allotted (I of course renew those) and then some we read just once and they go back. And then of course our own well stocked library here at home contributes to our reading…. Anyway, I have listed here our favorites this month, some Wyatt’s, some mine, some both of us.

Wyatt is a big fan of the Duck and Goose books, as well as the Bear Stays Up books. I like the Bear Stays Up books too, they are cute! And I also like Duck and Goose purely because sometimes you need a quick fast read, and those are perfect for that. We also really loved Marion Dane Bauer this month, reading Winter Dance and The Longest Night quite a few times. I enjoyed Long Night Moon, and discovering different names for the different full moons and it was well done between the illustrations and text. Owl Moon is a winter favorite around here – this is one of the first books we ever bought Wyatt, and we read it to him all the time. And I have to admit, I checked out The Christmas Quiet Book as a hint to my child…. lol. An introvert raising an extrovert over here.

Jingle Bells and My Christmas Treasury are great reads for learning about how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, something I have loved since first reading about it in My Christmas Treasury when I was around Wyatt’s age. I actually had to buy that book used, I couldn’t find it anywhere! Bear’s First Christmas is just beautiful and a story of a bear waking up in the winter – it’s a long one but good. Wyatt loved Christmas Wombat and Merry Christmas from the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I have to admit, I did too. I love A Homemade Together Christmas, about a family who opts to make their gifts that year. A very sweet story told in a very easily accessible way for kids. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree has been a favorite of mine for years, and Wyatt really liked it too. I love this tale of how one tree can make so many different families happy! Then Wyatt’s two stand out favorites this year – Little Christmas Tree and The Animals’ Christmas Eve. We probably read these two books a million times. The Animals’ Christmas Eve is about the stable animals remembering a long ago Christmas in Bethlehem, while Little Christmas Tree is well, about a Little Christmas Tree in the woods, and all the other flora and fauna in the woods. It is beautiful and glittery and has little lift the flaps.

Did your families read any good picture books this month? Let me know, we are always looking for more!