Grow with the Flow

growing

This week has been a rather rough one with a few unexpected bumps,  and incidentally not much in the way of quality school work had gone on. I sat down early this morning to plan out a new rhythm/ schedule to follow to get us back on track. We still have some issues to get through to get fully back on track but, just implementing this new routine did wonders for us all today! I could see the boys growing “edgy” without a good routine going,  falling into the “I’m bored” routine. I heard both say today-“this is fun like this!” – yeah!

Our new flow looks like this:

8-8:30 Breakfast/Get Dressed

8:45-9 Clean Up rooms and toys

9-10 Outside or Morning Walk (Nature Walk on Wed.)

10-10:30 Read Together/Liam 15 min on own

10:45-11:15 History/Geography

11:15-12:00 Language Arts

12-12:30 Lunch

12:30-1 Math

1-1:30 Science/Nature Study

1:30-2 Art or Music

2-3:00 Board Games/Outside/Snacks/blocks etc

3-5:00 Free Time – Screens/Video Games allowed

Look at how much we got done following this schedule today (and the time frames seemed just about right!)

Chart of the Seasons

Chart of the Seasons diagram was finished!

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Visited the Art Gallery at the Library

Read together at the Park

Read together at the Park

Boys read one together

Boys read a book together

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary

Liam worked on a Geography Picture Dictionary of Landforms

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

Luke and I talked about the 7 Continents

We all read Captain Cook together

We all read Captain Cook together

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Wikki Stick Math for Luke

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction "Unicorn at Six Flags"

Liam wrote a math story- 1/3 non-fiction 2/3 fiction
“Unicorn at Six Flags”

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water!

Nature Study of leaves and how they drink water! After we read Splash! by Nadia Higgins

We finished up a bit early, but we accomplished some good stuff! 🙂

Colors of the Seasons

Today was more on Thirteen Moons on a Turtle’s Back, continued from yesterday’s Social Studies block. If you missed it, click here! We explored the Native American’s first calendar and natural rhythms yesterday.

This morning I read a poem from one moon in each season to the boys. We discussed the colors and the animals in the illustrations.

13moonsThe boys then each did a seasonal project. My youngest drew a tree on his watercolor print from yesterday. He used frozen iced cubes on wet watercolor paper. He decided the colors looked like Spring to him! He used his arm to begin the basic shape of the tree! Great job!! My oldest made a seasonal lantern, melting crayons between wax paper and (using an iron for the first time) with popsicle sticks and tape/glue. It came out beautiful too.

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Today for math was a writing prompt for my oldest. I’m trying a new routine out to make the lessons a bit more engaging. (See the page in the menu on the home page). Anyway, I read him a story from a book I found at the library called Animal Math by Rourke Publishing. We read a short story about temperatures in both gorilla and penguin habitats and talked of negative numbers. This fit in great with another book we are currently reading- Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Once done with the  short story I asked him to write his own penguin story using negative numbers in it. Here is his story: (He loved this btw!)

There were 15 penguins, they all like to play around. They next day they discovered there was -5 penguins! They didn’t care, they wanted to eat fish and the next day came and again, -5 penguins! So, they were happy cause they got more fish to eat!

My youngest took a break with legos and then later worked at his light table with tangrams, making animal shapes!

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Up next, we all sat as I read my youngest his story of the week; The Little House! He loves the story and first told his older brother about the plot before I read it. They both enjoyed it and it tied in nicely with our lesson block on the moon phases and the seasons.

little house

We finished the formal part of our day with beginning the first chapter in The Birchbark House! This will be our main book as we go along with our Native American lesson block. We are really enjoying this topic and I’m finding really easy to teach it at different levels for both boys!

birchbark

Moon and Stars- Natural Rhythms

This week we took a step back and read some Ancient Indian stories called creation accounts for our Social Studies lesson block. They explain how the world began, and how all beings once lived together. We took a look also at recent Scientific evidence and combined the two worlds together for some great discussions!

The first story was called “How Raven Helped the Ancient People” from Brown Paper School USKids History:Book of the American Indians. The boys both enjoyed the account as it was told, that the Raven is a black bird with feathers that were blackened by the smoke of a firebrand.  He was once an eagle who hated people so he kept guardian of the moon, stars and fresh water and fire; because of love for another he put them back, but was tarnished by the smoke while doing so.

As a craft to go along with the story, my oldest designed a bullroarer in his art book. It is a tribal toy from the Pacific Northwest Coast Tribe that was used to call the rain and sounded like the wind. He chose to draw lightening with a thunderbird on it!

IMG_20140714_101722_992 bullroar

moon bookToday, we all read The Moon Book together. They both enjoyed this one as well. We really studied the Phases of the Moon and how it follows a rhythmic pattern. The weekly, Monthly and Yearly cycles/Seasons.

This tied in perfectly with how the Ancient People also followed the Sun, Moon and Stars to calculate the seasons.  Native Americans used a Turtle shell as their first calendars following the pattern of the shell as well as a reminder to keep our hearts close to the Earth so we notice the natural rhythms mother nature shares with us.

turtle

Both boys really loved discovering this pattern that exists in the shell! They are both animal loves and in particular my youngest LOVES turtles! So, I went on pinterest this morning and found this great activity/blog for  the boys to do! On this blog there is also a little story on a the turtle to go along with the calendar.

Here is their own Turtle calendar and they are going to follow the moon pattern for the month to see the rhythm!

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Next, we created some paper stars as part of our newly introduced (what I call Waldorf Wonders) lesson block. I did not have any colored waxing paper, but I think the colorful recycled paper came out just as pretty!

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After a morning of all this creativity, we then concentrated on some workbooks- both did a math page and math activity,  as well as microscope work on Cells.

IMG_20140715_104955_006 I think we’ll relax and watch a movie with lunch next!

Measuring Dinosaurs!

Measuring Dinosaurs!

White board- Math Assoc. and Cumm. addition

White board- Math Assoc. and Cumm. addition

Camping Unit- Day 1,2, and 3

This week’s Unit study is themed “Camping.”

Language Arts:

Youngest: I focused on the letter “C” as in C is for Camping! I wrote out Camping and Canoe on the white board, and we came up with a verbal list of “C” words. Then it was his turn to practice writing “C” within the square shape. Day 2, we talked about rhyming words and learned the words to the “Moose Song” we found. Day 3, The boys came up with the idea to write a short skit about Owls in the forest.  They found costumes and put on face paint, rehearsed together and put on a little show!  Being the youngest at 4 yrs old.,  he worked on memorization skills!

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We then read ” Just Me and My Dad” by Mercer Mayer, a story about a boy and his Dad on a camping trip. (one we read often)

 

Oldest: My oldest has an art journal we use to combine spelling and art. He likes to draw/paint and the whole process of “writing” goes a lot smoother this way! First, he used watercolors to paint a camping scene as I read Camping Poems to him from “Toasting Marshmallows- Camping Poems” by Kristine O’Connell George.

Once he completed his art, he wrote in this weeks spelling words. We noticed his Bee poem from previously are re-read that poem as well.

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He also worked on Grammar, filling in a Mad-Lib story, titled: A Spooky Campfire.

Day2, He did copywork, copying a poem from the book.

Day 3, He chose to  do some creative writing and wrote/ directed a little skit about Owls in the forest! He did a great job with it, and helping out his little brother!

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Math:

Youngest: I grabbed the bag of Geometry shapes I have and asked him to grab all the triangles (tent shape) and group them together.  He did, and noticed a Hexagon in the pile and then asked to use those pieces too. I said, Let’s stick to triangles for now and after you can use any shape you’d like. He started putting the triangles together and in his eyes, it became The Falcon Millennium! So, we went with it! I asked, how many triangles did it take to make “the falcon millennium?” Five, was the answer- So, I said.. How many total groups of Five did you make? Quickly he replied : “3!” I was impressed! 🙂  Guess I need to “up” his math!

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Day 2, We went to a near by swimming spot and dug holes together. I say this was his math, because he had to keep digging to find the right perimeter to fit himself inside the whole! This is what I consider Living Math at this age/stage!

Day, 3- I took out the package of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, and we worked on patterns together. Ex: chocolate, chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow- repeat! We did this both horizontally and vertically.

Oldest: Going with the camping theme, I chose to focus on Geometry this week, concentrating on Angles. (tents) We have done Angles in the past, but I thought a review wasn’t going to hurt! We watched this great video called, Types of Angles, Suess Song on YouTube. Then we looked for Angles around the house!

Day 2, we took out the white board and drew and measured angles! He really enjoyed it and drew all different degrees to measure with his protractor.

Day 3, we worked in his new math workbook- Math for a Living Education and then watched Cyberchase, All the right Angles.

Social Studies:

Together; both boys looked at a map of the U.S. that had National Parks highlighted.  My youngest, loves maps and looked it over for a while. My oldest, I asked him to pick 20 of them and write down the Park and the State in which it is located in. They got a kick out of few of the names.. I think “Death Valley” was their favorite name..go figure!.

Day2, we all read the story The camping trip that changed America; Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and our National Parks

CampingTrip

Science:

Together;

We viewed a short video titled, Should we control wildfires? Quick but, very informative! They loved it and learned a lot, now they know, fire can be helpful!

Day3, We took the Marshmallow Challenge! Can we sink a marshmallow??!!

It was very hard! They tried several different ways: poking holes in it, submerging it, tearing them up, and pounding on them! Just as it looked like we were not going to succeed, I read a hint (from Steve Spangler Science)  to break off a small piece and roll it in cornmeal….success! Two marshmallow’s  sunk! Great lesson in Density!

Art:

Youngest: First craft of the day was to mold a playdough canoe and see if we could get it to float in the tub. Next, not on the lesson plan, but, his idea; and it came out awesome was a diorama of a campsite with things from around the house!

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Oldest: Going along with National Parks..I showed him pictures of the Joshua trees, mostly because I think they’re so cool looking! Using tin foil I asked him to try and sculpt similar looking trees! He did a great job, they look neat.

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Music: We listened to the songs This land is your land, this land is my land! My youngest happened to pick it up a the library the other day- it went perfectly with our unit!

 

 

Unit on Dogs- week 1

This month the topic is Dogs in our house! So far our Unit has been very fun and enjoyable!

doggs

Day 1. Golden Retrievers

We kicked off the first day watching this video on Animal Planet about Golden Retrievers.

History: After watching it, we researched where this breed originated and wrote down the physical features of this particular breed of dog.

Writing: Next we added key words of this breed onto the clipboard for the week. His words were: Large, Strong, Newfoundland and Canada, working dogs.

Reading:   We started reading the story of Balto

balto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2:  German Shepherds

He enjoyed the video so much yesterday he watched this one on German Shepherds.

History/Geography: Where did this dog originate? What is the history of his dog into the United States?

Writing: What is a purebread? What is a mongrel?

Math: Fraction worksheet Feed Jack! the dog from education.com

Reading: Finish the Story of Balto

Fun: Watch the movie Rin Tin Tin

Day 3:

Review

Writing: Write 2 facts or things you have learned about the two breeds.

Activity: I created a Venn Diagram and he wrote comparisons between the German Shepherd and the Golden Retriever.

G.S- good Cop/ really good noses

G.R- Soft mouths/needs to be brushed often

both-Farm dogs/easy to train

Living Math:  Adding with decimals. Pretend you are bringing home a new puppy. Make a list of all the items you will need to care for your dog. Then I asked him to use Amazon or Petco to find the prices and add them up!

His list totaled $282.33! He said whoah! lol

Fun Activity: on Animal Planet he played Mutt Maker 🙂

Day 4:

English Springer Spaniel

Copywork: Quote- ” Dogs are not our while life, but they make our lives whole.”

Geography: Where did this breed originate and what is the language in this country?

How do dogs help in society? His answer: Working digs sniff out drugs, bugs and land mines! They aid in search and rescue missions and assist hunters. They help with livestock. Service and therapy, help the blind.

Next he watched this video on Springer Spaniels and then a video on How this breed is groomed and what tools were used.

Art: He colored in a drawing of an English Springer Spaniel

Day 5:

Eco Dogs

We picked up the book Eco Dogs by Judith Bauer at our local library this week.

I pre-read the book and left the following questions for him to research.

What is a scent trail?

How can Eco dogs find plants and animals that humans can’t?

Jamberry’s job is what?

How many scents do the Scat team learn in training? Name 3 animals they know the scents of.

Where else besides outdoors do Eco dogs work?

What scents are Eco dogs trained to know in airports in Germany?

I then left him the video “Maggie Diabetic Alert Dog in Training” It was an incredibly cute/educational video!

 

treats

 

 

 

Baking: Next he made Doggy Treats!

Here is the recipe we used:

Items:

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup corn meal

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 medium, egg

1 cup water

Mix all ingredients and then use cookie cutter for desired shape.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have we been up to?

We’ve been back in action for about three weeks now, and I’d have to say it’s going rather smoothly- It seems very relaxed and easy going (so far). Some days I have to make more reminders to focus than others, but I’d say overall we’re all enjoying the topics!

bros

Here’s a briefing on what we’ve done so far:

Language Arts:

Liam

Grammar: Studied/Reviewed Verbs, Writing Complete Sentences, Nouns- proper and common, and Adjectives- daily lessons with a game, such as a scavenger hunt and then reinforced by watching School House Rocks -Grammar.

Spelling: I’ve been giving 16 words a week- day 1 and 2 is copy work of the words, followed by spelling aloud and then choosing three words and writing a complete sentence.

He’s also brushing up on his cursive work- I think he’s doing fine, but he likes his penmanship perfect, so he gets easily frustrated!

Luke

Luke has been working on recognizing his letters and playing games on Starfall  learning both,  visually and hearing the phonics.

Reading: He’s starting to “read” on his own and by that I mean when young children start using random letters to “spell” things and copy “reading” books at bedtime- he’s memorized certain books and will read them to me in his own words, similar and in sequence of the actual story.

He starts story hour at the library this week too- he’s excited to meet some friends 🙂

Math: Again, much review from the end of last year for Liam. Luke is working on counting to 15 and recognizing numbers out of order.

Liam’s reviewed telling time, reading bar graphs, double digit addition, matching fractions, adding decimals and reviewing multiplication facts.  I have to say two weeks ago, he was a bit rusty on his multiplication facts, but he wanted to take a quiz on the site multiplication.com and got 38/38 correct  with facts up to 7×3 in  3 minutes! I have to say I was honestly relieved! He’s getting it! phew!

Luke is also showing progress while we watched a video counting to 20 in a Spanish lesson, he was shouting out- it’s a 5- it’s a 4 it’s an 1 and a 3!  He’s been counting everything he can, really- on a nature walk he counts the rocks or trees, as he eats snacks, or counts for the light to change as we drive around town.

History:

This is Liam only but of course Luke will watch or listen in.

We’ve so far studied the Biography of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and watched videos about these men. In studying Edison, we also did a writing lesson where I “interviewed” Liam while he was an inventor who just completed an invention.

Here it is:

” I can still remember like it was yesterday. I had been working for weeks perfecting my time machine. I found a bunch of parts around the house.”

Q: How far back did you travel?

A: to 1812

Q: What did you see?

A: The War, on the battlefield, but I was wearing an invisible cloak.

Q: What are you going to do with the machine?

A: Going to go back in time and bring back weapons from then and bring our weapons from today to help them end the war quickly.

We also just started studying the Industrial Revolution this week and learning about Coal Mining. We’ve watched a few videos on the Revolution and coal miners and books from the library.  I borrowed the story Rocket Boys for literature to go along with this topic. We’re both enjoying it so far.

rocket A memoir of a teenager growing up in the 50’s in Coalwood, West Virginia- a town built for extracting bituminous coal.

 

 

 

Science:

This year we’re focusing on Zoology.

So far we’ve looked at Classifications- through videos, books, and games. Extinction and endangered animals. Ecosystems and drawing a diagram of the rainforest. While watching a presentation on the different Biomes, Liam took notes on a chart, noting the Location, Climate, Nutrients, Layers, Flora and Fauna, Threatend? and other differences worth remembering. This week we started to take a look at food webs and chains. Producers, Decomposers and Consumers. He played a fun game making a habitat, with a food chain in order to see how it all works together.

Music: We’ve looked at/ listened to pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky,and Ravel.

Art: Natural objects, and Henri Matisse – sketching of seashells

Spanish:  listening to and recognizing Common Phrases, counting and matching games- Spanish alphabet song and phonics.

 

 

 

First Week back was a home run!

We officially started back with daily lessons this week! I think we’re all feeling rejuvenated and productive and in better spirits with some routine back in our days!

Luke had several 5-10 minute lessons this week in which he really got into! His lessons were based on the letter A. He  listened and watched the alphabet song and played a few letter A games, both on the computer and at the table.  He even made up his own song ” This A is on Fi-re!”  He did a craft of a Superhero A for “Apple guy”.

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He practiced counting 1-10,watched a 1-10 fire truck video and used his new wikki sticks for some tactile counting practice. I asked him to show me the number 1 and 3 out of order and he was able to identify them- doing very well!

For extra fun yesterday, we all went to visit a new homeshool group at the lake and the boys played in the sand, swam and played field games, while I got to chat with my sister who also homeschools her children. When we returned home the boys were invited by their grandfather to go to a baseball game. Liam declined he’s not much into sports and had to attend his karate class last night anyway. However, Luke was thrilled at the thought and had his first “men’s night out” with grandad! He came in around 10pm last night all excited with baseball in hand, and lots of stories, and covered in a significant layer of dirt! 🙂 First thing this morning he woke up and said the baseball game was so fun (he’s still holding the ball!)IMG_20130816_065012_679Liam’s lessons this week were based on Zoology and Animal Classification. He did several online games and watched some videos as well as some library books on all the criteria in classifying the animals. IMG_20130816_064914_198In his History lessons he is starting the year “working on the Transcontinental Railroad.” As part of the introduction to this time period he played a game where he had to choose which side of the railroad he wanted to join,  he chose to “work” on the Central Pacific team and had to make choices and read facts, and answer questions along the way in order to make his rail line complete. He also watched an informative cartoon on Alexander Graham Bell.

He reviewed Nouns- proper and common and did a scavenger hunt around the house finding and labeling nouns.  He began Intro. to Spanish and loved it! He listened to the Spanish alphabet several times and played several games matching the phonetic sound to the correct letter and then listened to a word and had to choose the correct first letter. He also listened to common phrases and copied them onto his clipboard in Espanol and in English.   He did great!

Liam also reviewed some math from last year: multiplication facts, dividing groups and Angles-Obtuse, Acute and Right as well as Lines and Planes. He drew and labeled them all in his math journal. Along with several online math games: Time Math, Garage Sale and Making number through 9,000.

Now we are going to listen to Dad as he DJ’s on the radio from the local College!