Puppets- through the primary years

Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments.”

As a former Early Childhood Educator this was the foundation of all activities and lesson plans in the classroom, children naturally learn through play when exposed to materials that stimulate imagination and creativity- which is now implemented in my home as well.

Recently I have noted how the use of puppets has really impacted my sons learning. We visit the library regularly (as most homeschoolers do!) and each time he borrows a puppet to take home. I didn’t think much of it at first….but, now I see that they are very influential and a useful vehicle across the curriculum!

  1. They create critical thinking.
  2. Foster creativity and design
  3. effective tool in writing and vocabulary
  4. Science and Research-STEM
  5. Provide a focus for play
  6. Art becomes active-drawing and constructing
  7. Emotional development and empathy
  8. Responsibility

With every puppet he borrows, he comes up with a name for it. He has so many questions about their habitat, life span, and diet etc. that we end up on the computer researching all about it! -(critical thinking,science, research, vocabulary expansion)

Through his play with them he ends up making lists, building habitats and making signs- he becomes attached and responsible and takes care of each puppet while it’s at our home. -(focus for play, art, writing, constructing, responsibility and creativity)

Simple, sweet and effective! So far he has borrowed such animals as: crow, turtle, penguin, otter, groundhog, an owl and more!

He says ” Puppets are fun because I can pretend to be them and control them!”



Drawing and Writing


building a crows nest using math


A good read here:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09575146.2010.529425?journalCode=ceye20 “Observations of active learning in class Two classroom types were observed: traditional approach and an active learning/play-based approach. In the traditional approach the children were engaged in many actions, including listening; looking; chanting responses; giving answers; counting, adding; measuring; making number stories; identifying words, letters, sounds and rhymes; rehearsing tasks/skills; responding to behavior rules; using the interactive Smartboard; assembling; tidying; waiting; and demonstrating disengagement. In the second classroom type, the play-based/active learning, observers noticed the children giving answers; negotiating roles with others; ordering words or numbers; copying patterns and drawing pictures; listening to stories and songs; using the computer or Smartboard; practice reading; did jigsaw puzzles; building with construction materials; measuring, counting, and adding up; lining up, clearing up, moving around. More signs of disengagement were observed in the traditional learning environment. “

Nature of homeschooling- What’s the meaning behind the name?

I would say I began homeschooling with a leap of faith…I had no idea what it really entailed or what it would come to mean for myself and my family.  As all things new to us, I did research: library books, connected with the one person I knew at the time who had homeschooled her children from the get go, felt out the support from those around me and…jumped into it. Sink or swim, here we go!

Well, that was almost 7 years ago now, and though I took some time off from blogging, the name of my blog has always brought me back to why we began homeschooling in the first place. I guess you could say the name and meaning of  “Nature of Homeschooling” has several key meanings to me.

  1. When my oldest asked me to homeschool him (I had never even thought of the possibility of homeschooling) he… I guess you could say WE were struggling through the “normal” routines of society- you go to school and I work 40 hours a week like most families…that’s how life goes, right?!  Well, we were both stressed out. He was bored at school, I was stressed at work. Family time was minimal (quality family time) etc., etc.- So,  The best advice I had gotten was, ” If you want to homeschool, then you CAN do it!” It’s a natural occurance…you naturally teach your child everyday, and children are naturally curious and learn naturally each day. Image result for nature is our greatest teacher quotes
  2. The second meaning of the name for me is that I want my children to spend as much time outdoors as possible! We hike as often as possible and learn something new each time. The quote above is one of my favorites! I also wanted my children to learn at their own pace. As homeschoolers you often here people ask “Aren’t you worried they ‘ll be behind?” My response, “Behind Who?” Do you think every 10, 20 or 50 year old have exactly the same knowledge? To me as long as I see them making personal accomplishments and setting their own goals- I’m good!

So….Long story short: nature is an important part of our homeschool, children are natural learners, we are all in this journey called life on our own path and we might as well enjoy it.  Nature is our greatest teacher! -Simple, Natural -Balanced and ever-changing and growing!

Image result for nature is our greatest teacher quotes

Be bold enough, brave enough and strong enough

It’s been almost two years! Dusting off the keyboard and getting back to where we left off.

  Having the memories to look back on and watching our progress is one reason I started blogging in the first place, and I hadn’t really missed it with all the social media out there, but this is a bit different, more of a personal journal. A simple way to log in our memories that I do miss reading through. It encourages me to be bold enough, brave enough and strong enough!

I am just going to pick up where we left off; following our own path…

Thanks for stopping by!

Above and Below the Pond

We decided to head out to investigate at a local nature center today! It’s finally warm out and we’ve been reading about pond ecosystems above and below the water. So, what better way to spend the morning than seeing and exploring what we’ve been reading about!

These are some of the books we’ve been taking a look at:

0505151236We were able to see turtles, wild flowers, fish, skate bugs, owls and geese.0505150956

Luke wondered if this was a vanilla bean flower?!

Luke wondered if this was a vanilla bean flower?!


Two character that were very entertaining!


Tiny, delicate and beautifully amazing!

This bird drinks from flowers, can fly 500 miles without stopping and has flexible wings that allows them to hover and fly backwards- just to name a few amazing facts!

0428151023We read a few great books and watched a documentary on these amazing little creatures. We learned about their nesting habits, the flexibility of their wings, their heart rate and wing speed, where they live and their migration route. There are about 341 species of hummingbirds.

Twice a year most in the States migrate south and cross the Gulf of Mexico- flying about 500 miles!

Liam dew a map on migration

Liam drew a map on migration

We did an art project using tissue paper to enhance the delicateness of the hummingbirds.

04281511400428151139While watching the documentary, Luke began to mimic the behavior and built himself a nest!

0428150929~2The boys also did some journal work and math before lunch:

Luke picked the word “Growth” and” Birch” said “Oh, that’s perfect since we are learning about birds!” – He dictated the sentence to me and I wrote it in his journal, then he drew the art work.



I love how poetic the Birch sentences are!

Liam’s word was “Notch” “Jest” He wrote out the definition and then drew up the sketch of a prank being done.

0428150943The other night I was reading Shark Vs. Train to Luke once again, and he really wanted to keep track of their score this time to see just who it is that wins! So, I told him about tally marks and he kept a running tally as I read the story.

0428151036So, today I wanted to reinforce this concept once more and practice counting to 30. He counted out 30 counters, then grouped them into sets of 5 and drew up tally cards for each group- we then counted by 5’s to 30!

0428151044Liam did some math review of multiplying 3 numbers, word problems and did some flashcards and then some Hummingbird math fact word expressions:

0429150922Ended the day with surf lessons!


A week in photos-

A week of our favorites in photos; California, Maps and Globes, Phonics, Fractions, Decimals and American Sign Language and a couple of workshops!

This is a great app for phoincs/reading! It has a nice progression, very thorough! (free)


phonics reading- McGuffey app- CVC          


pick the letter that matches the sound you hear


learning to divide fractions


Living Books of the week- I recommend all of these! the Redwoods was my favorite!


Atlas Scavenger Hunt from A-Z


tracing a map house template


paper houses- Luke’s is a map of Thompson so he can live near his Aunt 🙂


California Redwood- Wood burning project

04211514270421151427alife cycle of birds and learning about chicks at the library- Egg samples and size comparisons


a Rhode Island Red chick


reading a complete sentence!!


building words with letter tiles, using CVC pattern

3-D shape collage

3-D shape collage


Expensive shopping! 😉

0420151238   Living Math- he set up  grocery store, priced everything then added them up on the cash register calculator!

A-Z Atlas Scavenger Hunt

A-Z Atlas Scavenger Hunt Completed

Journal Entries: Pick a random word from the dictionary (Reliable)- Liam writes out definition and a picture-( Nay) Luke copies the word and draws a picture. A great change from journal prompts! Great way to incorporate grammar, vocab, spelling and copywork! I’m planning to do this a lot more often!!!


First to Fifty Fraction Game

First to Fifty Fraction Game

Storytelling Workshop

0423151100b0423151118The boys listened to stories, learned about history through songs and interacted in a couple of stories, then completed the handouts together once home.

We ended the week learning to sign the song “You are my sunshine” and completed reading all our library books! Next week we will continue with world geography mapping, hummingbirds and a bit more on California 🙂

Hiking to the Harbor Seals!

We headed out to Rome Point this morning hoping once more to see some harbor seals. It was sunny and the tide was out, so our hopes were high….

The boys each worked on math and then we all listened to the audio book of Same Sun Here as we drove. We’re on disk 4 and Liam is loving this one! He said he’s sad it’s almost over, he’d love to listen to the story for a longer period of time.


In this extraordinary novel in letters, an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son find strength and perspective by sharing their true selves across the miles.

Meena and River have a lot in common: fathers forced to work away from home to make ends meet, grandmothers who mean the world to them, and faithful dogs. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals, sharing thoughts and, as their camaraderie deepens, discovering common ground in their disparate experiences. With honesty and humor, Meena and River bridge the miles between them, creating a friendship that inspires bravery and defeats cultural misconceptions.


Once at the nature preserve we began our hike and finally got to watch the seals! (mostly through the binoculars) I counted about 40 of them! They were all on the rocks sunning themselves, unfortunately my camera doesn’t have the greatest zoom lens, but I can see them in the photos.









Wednesday’s Treasures!

A 3 mile hike that helped reground me to my homeschooling roots and reasons why I’m on this journey! (Especially after this long…long winter)

While we collected all kinds of trinkets; shells, crab pieces, sea glass and cool rocks- I couldn’t help but think what a “treasure” this time is that we spend together and how much we all get out of days like this! My youngest is totally at the imagination/dramatic play stage and had a running personal dialogue the entire time we walked! I love to hear his imagination at work! My oldest, I’m just happy he still likes to chat with me as we walk and that he found a little hobby to keep him occupied as we walk. They both always find discoveries and yell with excitement on our weekly walks- dare I declare Wednesday’s as “Wednesday Treasure Walks” I’ve really been searching for a new journal type style of blogging and I think this may be it!? -Just a quick excerpt of the “treasures”  of our nature hikes/times together that really count…..hmmm, going to think that over- we can all blog about projects and curriculum- but, honestly as much as we’re all different, we’re all pretty much the same….(I’m bored of it) This seems to me. a great way/idea for a personal story journal, scrapbook etc. and truly why I began and continue to homeschool in the first place! – The treasured moments- not the projects and curriculum choices!

Any way here is the photos of our trinkets and time together just having fun together:

Napatree Point

Napatree Point


Stealthy ninjas practicing balance!



Observing the sand texture from wind and waves


Trinkets we picked up!

Trinkets we picked up!

Created a science discovery container!

Created a science discovery container!

Treasures to examine as we wish!

Treasures to examine as we wish!

Wandering in the Woods!

After doing our normal routine this morning; journals, reading and Liam working on his research paper, Luke and I browsing through his new Pathway Readers and did some Polar bear Unit work, I couldn’t wait to get outside!! It was over 40 degrees and sunny! Spring Fever!!!! Get me outside!

We headed over to our local Refuge in Charlestown and hit the trails. The sun felt great, there is still a lot of snow but the trail was pretty packed down.  It felt great to be outside and not freezing. I warned the boys that if they were somewhat quiet today we’d probably be lucky to see some wildlife.

The trail was only a mile round trip so, on our way back the boys took off their coats and laid back basking in the sun and listening to the birds. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by a bunch of black- capped chickadees and saw two different woodpeckers working, and a tuft titmouse who was busy flying from branch to branch. They were in awe and loved every minute of it.

I think we all just laid there on our coats for about an half an hour just observing and listening. They met a snowman along the way and played various games, marvelled at how soft the birch trees were and kept repeating we need to do this more often and when are we coming back?! (I always have to drag them out for hikes, then they have a blast)

We noticed trees are budding!!

We noticed trees are budding!!


Quick photo op of the black -capped chickadee



Found a snowman friend along the trail. Boys added a nose and Luke checked on him and said good-bye



Ancient India and the art form of Rangoli- Amazing!

Rangoli is a folk art from India in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals. Traditionally, Rangoli is made on a square grid in North India and on a hexagonal grid in South India while Onam Rangolis are typically circular.

We tried our hand at following a couple of grids using chalk on construction paper while watching a demonstration on Youtube. It was trickier than it looked! It’s a beautiful art that we were in awe of!

Here are creations: