Lessons from Nature- Strength

Even though the boys were feeling under the weather today we were very productive! Luke fell asleep while eating a snack yesterday at 4ish on the couch and slept until 4:30 this morning- glad he was able to get some much needed rest and it allowed for us to do lots of activities this morning!

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We started the morning off with a Sink or Float science activity.  I gathered lots of materials and filled a plastic storage box with water. Luke had his clipboard with all the items listed and circled S or F as he put each item in the water. I also wrote down his prediction on the chart.  He guessed most correctly and searched the house for more items. He also started coming up with his own questions…. He noted the bowl was floating, then told me ” put the apple in the bowl and see if it sinks, I think it will!”   We had a great dialogue going and kept adding different scenarios- full bottle of water vs. empty bottle, etc.

Then he moved on to some art! I think the simpler the materials the more the imagination! I handed him a large piece of tissue paper, cotton balls, Q-tips and some paint.  He narrated a whole story as he created and added colors…. Art with his own personal purpose! Beautiful art! 🙂

IMG_20131112_080531_839Luke then went on the math website- math is fun and did a few games.

As he went on to play with Legos and have a snack, Liam and I did some daily lessons on Easy Peasy.

He is just finishing up the history on WW1 and coincidentally, today we read about the significance of the poppy flower and Remembrance day, as yesterday was Veterans Day and poppies were being sold here in many places.  We read the poem “Flanders Field” , viewed photos of the field itself, and then he drew his own poppy flower. I love it! He drew the flower first, then with his own artistic touch, drew muscle shaped petals to represent the strength of the poppy flower.IMG_20131112_103312_382He went on to practice some multiplication problems and some spelling work on his own, then we came back together for some Zoology on Easy Peasy.

He’s in the middle of learning about birds.  Last week he studied and drew the different parts of the feather, this week he is observing the beaks.  After viewing videos of each type of beak on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, he drew each beak and food in his notebook.

IMG_20131112_103451_723I would say, once again, we learn so much from observing nature! Today’s big lesson was STRENGTH! Keep trying, shine through, never give up.  Water: a strong element, birds possess strength to survive/adapt.  The poppies persistent, strong- pushed through amidst the tragedy!

Enjoy your day!

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1st day of school!

We kicked off the new school year today! I have to say I love having structure back in our lives!!

This year instead of a planning book, I have changed to a journal style record keeping attached to a clipboard with an attached paper holder. This way I can just record what we actually do each day and refer to my outline of the year to help keep us on track. I found last year, planning a week out ahead of time, we often finished everything by Wednesday or scratched/ added ideas all the time!

Language Arts: Luke worked on the letter A today. He watched a video and sang along to the alphabet song. Then played a letter A game on Starfall sorting Upper and Lower case A’s.  He also made up a game with all his magnetic letters by putting them on a cookie sheet and I had to “order” by “breakfast letter.”

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Liam recapped his knowledge on Nouns. We talked about the different types of nouns then watched School House Rocks Grammar on Nouns. After he was done the video, he went on a Noun Scavenge hunt and filled in his worksheet!

Math: Luke played a pattern shape maze puzzle on line. When he was through he came to the table and filled in the number blocks along side the numbers 1-10 with mini marshmallows, and of course go to eat them after counting!

Liam reviewed his multiplication tables 2-5 by filling in a graph sheet of Factors,Repeated Addition, Groups, Array and Commutative Property.

Science: Liam’s first day was an introduction to Zoology and Animal Classification. Luke listened on as well as we went from one animal to another. They both wanted to do more, but since we started with Science I said we had to move on, so I think we’ll save Science for last in the future so we can continue with more next time.

History: Liam watched a 10 minute lesson on the Growth of Our Nation 1720-2000. It was a great recap of a lot of the History we went over last year, before moving forward into the  post civil war time period for this year.

Art: Luke used a roller and paint to paint a bubble wrap cut out shape of the letter A.  He then pressed paper over the A and made an image for our fridge.

aHe had wanted it to be red. As we viewed many images of the letter A on google images-He saw many that looked like they were on fire. He started singing ” This A is on F-ire!!” 🙂 If you know the song, then you can see how this will stick with him!

Liam’s art lesson was on Art Nouveau. An elegant decorative art style. He chose two art pieces: one by Aubrey Beardsley the other by Gustav Klimt and filled in a Venn Diagram comparing the two.

All in all it was a good first day!

We are Growing! Ancient India&Art and…Puppies

This week’s literature was The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle- always a fan of his books!

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We all sat together and read the story and discussed the seasons and life cycle of a plant. Liam could tell  me the whole cycle and all parts of the plant, so I decided we wouldn’t spend too much time on that in particular and more on growing and planting instead.

Science: Well..I’m sure you guessed! We planted our own herb and vegetable garden!

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Liam is also continuing his study of atoms, molecules and states of matter, which went along pretty nicely with the gardening.  He added another sketch in Science Journal -H2O

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We all watched a science video on polymers and everyday science secrets that their grandfather gave them.

A bonus activity: Liam took it upon himself to grab a hammer, rocks and goggles, and cracked open some rocks to examine.  He found a few different ones and then we used them to line the flower beds.

We also did an experiment with molecule vibrations. Which makes a louder sound and why? Liam then drew in his science journal again to record his findings.sci journ

water scie

Math: A focus on fractions and finished up figuring out Elapsed Time. He played a few online math fraction games, one being Flowering Fractions which was fitting! A worksheet on planting word problems, a timed game on double digit subtraction and more time telling.

  Living Math: hands on fractions with “pie pieces”  and counting up and dividing seeds.fractions

Language Arts: Reading a Plant Life Poem, Listening and recording adverbs and adjectives while I read this weeks literature aloud- then completed a cluster all about seeds! For some spelling fun we played Hangman too

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A new favorite of theirs is Nate the Great stories on CD for the car. We listened to them as we drove around this week.

Both boy attended a Book Club for homeschoolers this week. Luke listened to an Eric Carle story, followed by a collaborative mural making and then some dramatic play with blocks and home-living toys with other pre-ker’s. Liam was in the older group who led their own discussion on their favorite books, he was apprehensive at first, but then he really didn’t want to leave.

Art: In studying the ancient Indus Valley we took a look at ancient art and what some of the earliest art pictured. We found many cave drawings and many contained images of animals. Liam followed a step by step website and drew the following. (he asked to do two! that never happens) He also made a flower using modeling clay from the image in The Tiny Seed book.

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ancient artHe really enjoyed it and I think he did wonderfully!

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History/Social Studies/Geography: This week began a new look at Ancient India and the Indus Valley. We took a look at the land of the Indus and mapped it out, labeled it. Liam kept an organizer and wrote down information as we came across it in our readings. We read about life, occupations, building and life in the Indus Valley.

 

indus valley

Luke spent a few days playing games,some dramatic play and math all around puppies! He found the book Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee in his brothers room and just loves to sit and read it.  He ‘s been very much into dogs and acting out their characteristics! 🙂 We talked about the letter “P” –puppy, had pancakes and pretzels.puppy please

puppypuppy ,askpuppy bingopuppy math

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Music: This week we continued on Ancient Music and some more of the first Instruments and items used to make sounds. Learning about communicating with drums and played a virtual drum log! This led us into patterns of music and we tried out virtual unifix cubes,  musical fraction bars, counting music and even some Morse Code music! This is a great site- found here.

 

Stones and Mirrors

In preparing for our new adventure of Unit studies based on Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row, I took a trip to the dollar store this morning to gather up some supplies! I must say I am super excited to dive into our Units next week! I just finished up our lesson plans and I am inspired and looking forward to next week!

Luke was the first to break into some of the new items and did some mirror art today! This picture says it all 😉

lukerocka He had a great time! So much creativity came out! He first wanted to line the circle and and look at himself in the middle of it. He then decided to line up the stones straight across both mirrors and declared it a bridge and used his fingers to walk across it. He asked me to do the same with my fingers because the trip became too long!

lukerockWhat did he take away from this activity?

Physical Development: Fine Motor, handling small objects

Intellectual Development: Focus, Communicating Ideas, Language skills, Dramatic Play

Social and Emotional Development: Active Imagination, pretending and independence

 

 

A colorful day!

Our morning started off at the dentist. This was Luke’s first visit and he was a little shy and apprehensive at first, but everyone who worked there did a great job and he was soon sitting in the chair and doing a great job!

We then headed off to gather some supplies for Liam’s scout cake for his banquet this weekend. After much contemplation on what kind of cake to make, we settled on going for the most colorful cake. I found a tie dye cake idea online. I think it came out pretty good… I did the tie dye and he did the candy decorating. It is colorful!cakeLuke and I continued on with his Unit this week of Goodnight Moon. For art he painted a print out  of the moon and stars, and I put together this mobile for him. moon mobile

For Language we sang the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as he painted it. He picked up the words pretty quick and then wanted to out his little stuffed chick to bed and sand the song to it while lying down on his bed looking at the mobile! Loved it!

This afternoon I washed and rinsed out the long forgotten water table in the basement and made “Goodnight Moon Water”    a.k.a: glitter for the shining stars, a foam moon, a foam star, a measuring cup and funnel with scoop. One half of the table blue water, the other half yellow. As he filled the cup, he could and did observe it turning green! Just like the great green room. 😉

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Name: Squirrelly Man

Super Powers: Flying, laser eyes and throwing nuts

Job: Hero

Base: Secret

Liam’s writing of the day wasn’t “colorful” but so fun I had to share, plus he was very proud of his cleverness on this one! 😉

Each week I choose one photo for his to do some creative writing. I found this “superman squirrel” picture and thought he’d get a kick out of it and come up with a good story. He came up with a better idea. He wanted to make it look like a character in his Marvel Encyclopedia and give the squirrel a name and super hero stats!

Luke’s Campsite/ Liam’s TeePee

luke campA simple request of Luke’s this morning, turned into a whole day of camping! He asked me to make him a tent, marshmallows, sticks and a fire.  He sat and roasted a few marshmallows and I joined him inside his tent since he was so eager to show me. It didn’t take long before Liam had the idea of being the wolf who creeps in at night and steals the food from us! He even got some paper and drew some food items to keep by the fire that he would creep in and get before we could wake up and catch him.  This went back and forth for awhile, then Liam and Luke went camping together and we had use of  Luke’s sound machine and turned it to the “thunderstorm” setting. The boys had to quickly find shelter and then the sun came up (lights on) and we turned the sound to “stream” and Liam the wolf was able to catch fish in the nearby steam for lunch.

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On a similar note, Liam worked on making a Teepee this morning for his scouts. He copied the template, and once assembled he began thinking of how to decorate it. He wanted a river and then we looked up Native American symbols and he chose, The Hunger Moon-February Moon. I helped him draw the symbol and he worked on lining the river with rocks and drawing the other details. I had some nature stickers and he chose the bird sticker to go on the door.  It came out pretty good!

 

A little less screen time, a little more imagination

Last week was filled with field trips to museums – a new “screen” time schedule for the boys to follow in order to minimize that immediate -go to- reaction when there is downtime.  It is winter and has been very cold to get outdoors, but I know if they just took a minute to think of something to do rather than sit in front of a tv, computer or video game, I’d see some imagination and creativity! It seems each winter we go through thThey each have an allowance of time slotted for each day, it can be either planned out in advance or used as wished throughout the day, subtracting the time left as used. I have to say after a week now I haven’t even heard a grumble, Liam has been monitoring his own time and using it fairly well, Luke is a bit too young still and doesn’t really sit down very long to really bother with (but to be fair)…

What have they been doing with their time once schooling is done? Liam has been doing some woodworking in the basement carving a stick, building forts, making up games and characters with his legos, yesterday we built forts and made ice bird feeders, did yoga all together and played “our neighborhood” a.k.a. Luke and I mailed Liam letters under his door, wrote back and forth, he even asked for some bills to be mailed to him so he could use play money! I am so loving the creativity and seeing them play together! Yeah! I think I finally found a “screen time allowance” that is practical fair and working!!

Today we are headed out to a science museum and then tomorrow we are joining our happy homeschool hikers for a day on the trails!

Meteor Shower Spelling, Civil War and Potato Chip Science

Over the past couple of weeks the focus in Science has been the Earth and it’s layers, combined with the planets and outer space. This morning I had some extra time to prepare for today and came up with the idea of a meteor shower game for the boys to play. They loved it! I wrapped up site words for my oldest inside tin foil and for my younger son, shapes and numbers.  I hid all the “meteors” around the house- they each had to go find one and bring it back to me, if they found their own and either spelled it correctly or could identify the shape or number, they got a point. Whoever got to five points first won.  It was tricky because you didn’t know if you were going to get a point for yourself or your opponent! If you misspelled or gave the wrong answer you lost a point!

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We then moved on to finish up the book The  Littles   by John Peterson.  As we move into the Civil War time period our next book will be The Orphan Train Adventures  A Dangerous Promise by Joan Lowrey Nixon. It is recommended for ages 10 and up, so we’ll see how it goes…

The other story (which I know is age appropriate)  Civil War on Sunday from the Magic Tree House Series #21. We are always happy with these stories and Liam always asks to keep reading when it comes to these books! One more book on the Civil War that I ‘m excited to read is Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco , a story of celebrated friendship and humanity, based on a true story.

Our other favorites for the week are :

Owl Moon by Nicolas Brunelle

Civil Was Sub by Kate Boehm Jerome

Abraham Lincoln by Anne Colver

A picture book of Abraham Lincoln by  David Adler

The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta

You wouldn’t want to be a Civil War Soldier! by Thomas Ratliff

Our last project of the day was Potato Chip Science- a gift received at  Christmas, with many hands on experiments.  Today he chose to try out the “Chip Ship”  How many pennies can you float inside a chip bag? Method was to fill an empty chip bag with 50 pennies and see if it would sink or float?? then take it back out and this time lay a flat chip lid on top of the pennies and watch it float! Then pile pennies on top of the lid to see how much cargo your ship can hold before it sinks. Meaning : the chip ship needed buoyancy just like all cargo vessels!   By  broadening our hull, we increased our volume and displaced the water on the outside of the chip ship!

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Cook Book for Christmas

As a Christmas present Liam received a Children’s Cookbook. I hadn’t really planned anything for the day’s lesson and grabbed the book for a possible cooking project. Well, it turned out to be a whole day’s activity! The book entails many great recipes and a bonus introduction with a How to eat Healthy page. We read together about Protein, Carbs, Fiber, Fat and Vitamins and Minerals. Liam asked do I get all those things with what I eat?  So we headed to the kitchen to read labels and see if he in fact has a balanced diet.  With that I suggested he make us a balanced family dinner. He liked that idea.  He chose a meal, and dessert. I had him look through the kitchen to see if we had all the ingredients and make a grocery list of what we needed to pick up at the store.

He chose to make Cheese and potato pockets for the meal, with broccoli, and brownies for dessert.

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He prepared the whole meal, with little assistance.  Luke ended up making the brownies with me once Liam discovered how much work the pockets entailed!

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Everything came out great, lessons learned in nutrition, preparation, measuring, team work and reading and making adjustments to the directions!

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“The Mitten” Play

Today’s language lesson was based on the story The Mitten by Jan Brett. I first read the story aloud to the boys. The illustrations are beautiful and it’s a perfect story for winter! The both loved it! I had found a few ideas and downloads to go along with the story on pinterest and they are on my board if you’d like to follow or pin for yourself.  I printed out the animals and a mitten template, one for each of them. school play 008 We attached the mitten on to a brown paper bag so the animals could actually go in “the mitten”, at first I was just going to read the story to them again with the props in hand, but then I thought….let’s do it as a play! They both loved it! We set up a blanket to set the stage. Liam went first and put on his play for Luke. I read it as he acted it out with his puppets. Luke clapped and yelled “good job Liam!” “My turn!”

He went next and did great with finding the animals as I read the story. He came across some new animals too…What’s a badger? he asked.

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After they each took a turn Liam asked if he could make up his own play now and perform it for us. Of course! He made a new title called The Animal Opera. Each animal sang for us. Some animals rapped, some sang opera, and the rabbit was nervous! I started giggling and Luke reminded me to “not laugh, and calm down” 🙂  We had great fun!

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While on pinterest getting the downloads, Liam spotted that I had pinned Going on a Bear Hunt for a future idea, since he had asked about it on our last hiking trip. He really wanted to watch the video I had found today.  So we did and they both had a blast with that too.  Luke listened to it a handful of times as we acted out the actions in front of the screen. I think I know what our next play will be come spring time!

Cover of "The Mitten"

Cover of The Mitten