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!

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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.

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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

Ocean Treasures

This week was all about treasures in the ocean! The book, Flotsam was the basis of this week’s lessons for my youngest.

CM_flotsam We live in a coastal area, so we had a few opportunities to do some hands-on exploration around town. The boys explored some touch tanks filed with sea creatures just around the corner from us and rediscovered some treasures they had picked up last time we were at the shore.

 

I vowed to myself in starting this new year of school, that I would implement a “loose parts” play one day a week, based on Reggio Emilia.  The boys had a blast creating things just as I’d hoped! You’re never to old to just sit and be creative said my oldest ;).

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My youngest also worked on the letter F this week, both phonics and writing it. He’s been doing really well with recognizing and trying to spell words! Just last week we went to the zoo, when we came home he drew a picture of the zoo and spelled and wrote it all by himself! I was impressed, this was the first time I’ve seen him spell!

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For math we did some counting and graphing using the story to count the fish on each page. He has a new Star Wars math book he loves, and did about 5 pages in it each day too. We measured shells, and counted syllables in ocean words.

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My oldest has a similar theme as we read Mr. Popper’s Penguins together this week. They both are enjoying the story- this is what I love about homeschooling that they share activities and join in on each others topics!

My oldest keeps a sketch pad in which he does copywork and drawings. This week he copied a poem about penguins and drew a snowball fight.

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Together they both share the lessons of Artist and Musician/Intrument of the month. This month we are studying the works of Cezanne and The Beatles and the Violin. We listened to the sounds of the violin, read the biographies of both artists and talked about their work styles- still life and English rock and roll.

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His other studies were sentence types and reviewing multiplication and division. In science, we talked about Classifying living things and getting ready to dive into studying cells next week. The Mayan and Aztecs were part of our history studies and he worked on weaving “God’s Eye” as part of their culture study.

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He’s also gotten back into designing his own video games on 3DRad. He’s teaching himself about coding as he goes! I have no idea to attach it so you can view it?? 😦

 

Well, those are some of our highlights! We’re trying to get a routine down, but it’s hard in the summer with the heat! 😉 Looks like we’ll be focusing on Dinosaurs next week and my oldest wants to do some creative writing!

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

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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!

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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

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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!

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science, Seuss, Success!..and others things

Let’s start with the Success! The past few weeks I have really been working with Luke on letter recognition and spelling his name. Each night at bed time we sang the Alphabet, went through each letter and looked through his sight words- one being his name. A few days last week, I opened up word on the computer and just had him type his name over and over on the keyboard. He finally focused,  and as promised got himself a happy meal today after spelling out his name and pointing to the letters I said aloud at bedtime last night! He really, really wanted that Lego cup they were advertising at McD’s! 🙂 IMG_20140302_113804_167

Now for the Science…not that it was planned, but both boys ended up studying caterpillars and butterflies at the same time. Luke just loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we have done so many activities with this book! We made caterpillars from egg cartons, cocoons with paper bags and a geometric butterfly with our tangrams!geo butter

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Liam was also reading about butterflies and studied the Morpho butterfly first, in the book -Jack’s Insects. The second chapter was on the Monarch butterfly. Here is his pastel of the Morpho.

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He watched this video of the Monarch Butterfly, then drew up a sketch of the life cycle and read through “An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly.”  We talked about entomology and why the character butterfly in the first chapter swayed Jack into promising not to kill any insects, well..except for fleas 🙂

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Homer Price is another book we have been reading together and incorporating lessons with.  Set in the 1940’s in a little town in Ohio -In chapter 1 Homer takes in a skunk as a pet and together the two capture the town robbers! Chapter 2, Homer and his friends buy comic books and end up saving a superhero who ends up in a car crash. Chapter 3,while  in his Uncles Doughnut shop, the machine ends up breaking and making 1,000’s of doughnuts! Homer comes up with an advertisement and saves the day!

own cops and robbers cartoon

own cops and robbers cartoon

facts on skunks

facts on skunks

facts vs fiction on Skunks

facts vs fiction on Skunks

Math: Luke continues with hands on work and counting as much as possible! He recognizes number up to 12 and easily does math in his head. He will see that four papers are on the table and say things like ” Okay mom, we did one paper so far… only three left.” or “Dad’s at work, so only three people are here right now.”

Liam is running a pet store with the Business Math Series from Simply CM. He’s had to keep an inventory, figure out sales tax, add up monthly sales, write out checks and count in some unexpected expenses as well! Very fun series!

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Dr. Seuss Fun!

I read to both boys “Oh, the places you’ll go!”  I asked Luke what he would like to be when he grows up, he said ” A painter!, I ‘ll paint anything people ask me to…..houses, cars, chipmunks, people..food, whatever!”

With Liam we talked about tools you need for success and what success means. How to handle failures, making good choices and traits he thinks are foul vs. successful.

I asked both boys to make a poster of a “Seuss Land” they would want to live in. Luke asked me to make his and he would paint it like a “Painter Guy” and Liam came up with the idea of a “YouTube World” and sketched out a few of his favorite gamers he watches.

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Liam's

Liam’s

Lastly: A few writing prompts to share from Liam. I find funny pictures and Liam keeps a journal of captions he makes up!

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Waldorf Inspired lessons today

I have always been one to be eclectic in our curriculum because I love so many different styles and philosophies- Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Amelia, Charlotte Mason are a few favorites.

Waldorf Education is based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Its premise is that the human being has three aspects: thinking, feeling and willing, and that education has to come from experiencing the world from all three aspects. Waldorf Education does not use textbooks. The children make their own based on their experiences.

After reading quite a bit this past weekend on Waldorf Education, I had a few ideas and was excited to try out a few things! My top favorite was the Math Multiplication  circle board- being understood that  the child thinks,feels and is willing to learn, the 3 aspects of Waldorf ed.  Here is a link to the video I watched on how this method works.IMG_20140102_134702_470

We made ours using foam board, nails and yarn. I also drew and colored in the 5 different circles as Liam used the board and went over his times tables.  He really loved it and did great! He first did each one orally then wrote down a few as well. We will continue using these as he enjoyed them- they are both visual and physical tools for success!math

Luke did Waldorf watercolor art- I saturated the paper with water so he could just really focus on the colors and movement of the paints.

We then read a fairy tale- Jataka Tales- The Monkey and the Crocodile and we are going to draw an illustration to go with it tomorrow using pastels.

The next book was for Luke- called LMNO peas. Awesome visual letter story- followed by a math memory game that also had visual pictures that we stopped to view as we found each match. In Waldorf education, the letters are presented as pictures which appeal to the child’s imagination. In reality the letter is clothes in the picture…the picture is the key. All letters of the alphabet were once pictures themselves.

Here is a great reference site for Waldorf Introduction

As well as this one : Waldorfhomeschoolers

Adventures that-ROCK!

Today we packed up the backpack with a bunch of supplies and headed out to a local state park.  We went to Hurd State Park, also know as “split rock”  In the granite ledges of the split rock are veins of feldspar which was once mined extensively in Connecticut.

Liam has been studying the industrial revolution and reading a book about mining the past few weeks, so I had the idea to go explore rocks!rocksin the backpack: safety goggles, hammers,cloth,magnets,notebook, paints and brushes, paperbags and insect repelant.

What did we learn: rocks and minerals,  some of CT.’s history, navigation, seasonal changes, geography, navigation,  reading and math skills and team work!

As we entered the park, Liam was in charge of reading the park map as I drove. Of course, Luke chimed in too. We found our parking space at the head of the trail and I had both boys take another look at the trail map and tell me which direction we needed to head to be near the Connecticut River.

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We headed down and found  a beautiful spot to set up our materials. After grabbing their brown bags they headed over to collect rocks at the rivers edge.

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Once they had collected all the rocks they wanted, they came back to the picnic table to investigate! They broke them open using a hammer and had a blast looking at the texture and colors on the insides. We also checked to see if any had any magnetism to them…they did not.  Luke proceeded to paint a few of his and then measured all of his rocks.

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Luke spent time exploring in a variety of ways, while Liam really enjoyed breaking open all his rocks and said he found some  crystals and lots of pieces of mica in his!

We had a quick picnic after they were through exploring and headed back to the car and  over to the Split Rock trail.

Luke was our leaded and pointed out the yellow trail mark to us. Along the way they both spotted a woodpecker, frog and granite and more mica, plus a few other goodies!

Great fun and lots of learning! And…I love how they looked with their safety goggles! 🙂

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