Tree and Flower Art Study

IMG_20140612_080054We recently moved and live across the street from a beautiful 15 Acre Victorian Strolling Park! Ever since I first walked through it, I thought, we’ve got to come here and draw/paint/color all these beautiful trees and flowers! The weather was perfect and so we did it, packed a bag of art supplies, a blanket and paper!!

Before heading out the door, we watched a documentary on the art of flowers, just to get us inspired 😉

We took the pamphlet that listed all 61 types of trees within the park and walked around until we saw a great one to draw! We’ve been to the park many times and my youngest always yells when he sees one of the trees with a marked plaque stating the type of tree it is!

The first tree we thought was really pretty was the Japanese Snowbell. We took a photo and continued on. Here is the photo:

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The first tree to sit down and draw was picked by my oldest a little ways down the path. He chose the European Beech tree. He said it looked cool! The description of the tree in the pamphlet fit too; it said The specimen is a weeping form and a favorite play place for children on hot summer days.

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The next art study was a switch from trees to a water fountain, I warned them drawing water is tricky, but lets give it a try! After all, it’s the process, not the product!!

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Here are some other highlights of the park we found beautiful. The boys noticed flowers growing in rows in the open field and decided to run and jump over each “line” of flowers!

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For our third drawing my oldest wanted to do one “free style” as he calls it! 🙂 My youngest by now, was just wanting to pretend to be a “dog at the park.” So, we found another little spot and set up the blanket again. While Liam “free-styled” and Luke was a “dog” I looked around and loved the colors of the branches on the Japanese Maple, and decided on that one.

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A few other photos of prettiness in the park:

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After the park we headed to a nearby playground to wrap up the day!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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.”

letters

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!

Landmarks, Art & Architecture Unit-Week 1

For our last Unit of this year, my oldest requested to study Famous Buildings, Landmarks and Architecture. I loved the idea and got busy right away requesting a bunch of Library books!

Book List:

Architecture A Visual History by James Neal

Joan Steiner Look-A-likes:  Discover a Land where things are not as they appear… and Around the World ; An Album of Amazing Postcards

Monumental Versus by J. Patrick Lewis (poetry)

13 Buildings Children Should Know by Anette Roeder

Buildings in Disguise by Joan Marie Arbogast

Pop’s Bridge by Eve Bunting

Using both these books and worksheets found on Education.com in a “Let’s Travel” series we set out to visit the Landmarks!

                                                   First Stop: England!

We viewed and became familiar with Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Big Ben.

History/Social Studies: Landmarks of England. Where is England? Using the World Atlas to locate England.

Language Arts: Copy work and discussed the following words:

England, London, Europe, Queen, British Monarchy, Gables

Math: My youngest built with blocks that had two landmarks on them : Stonehenge and the London Eye. Liam used the geo-boards to create the London Eye as well as some multiplication problems.

england 001blockengland 004 luke build

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Art: Re-created the look of Stonehenge with rocks from around the yard and constructed Tower Bridge with Clay and Pipe Cleaners.

england 006 stonehenge

Computer: Liam loves (to say the least) the game Minecraft, each day as we finish learning about some Landmarks he is re-creating them in “his world” within the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Stop: Greece!

Using the books -Architecture A Visual History and 13 Buildings Children Should Know and the World Atlas we took a look at The Parthenon!

History/Social Studies: Locate Greece on the Map. Using a worksheet from the same Travel set at Education.com, he matched the Landmarks to the locations on the map of Greece; The Parthenon, Meteora, Santorini, Delphi Theater and Mount Olympus, followed by a series of True and False questions.

Language Arts: Copy work of the following words: Athens, Greece, Greek Antiquity, Columns, The Parthenon, Doric, Iconic and Corinthian.

Art: After discussing the 3 types of Columns : Doric, Iconic and Corinthian- today’s art was photography! We drove around our local towns and looked for these types of columns! Here are the photos he took:

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Luke did watercolor painting on printouts of the columns and Liam also designed his own Parthenon on his game minecraft :Greece 001Greece 002

Science: Optical Illusions! We viewed a video and took a closer look at the design of the columns after reading about little tricks architects use in their designs that are not immediately apparent. The end columns are slightly thicker than the others, because they are better-illuminated than the others, it makes them appear thinner!

Math: Multiplication/Division using the pillars for math word problems. Measuring with a measuring tape to see just how tall the pillars stand.

pops bridgeNow in The United States!

We began with the story Pop’s Bridge about the Golden Gate Bridge. Followed by a closer look at The Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, The Chrysler Building and The Guggenheim Museum using the book 13 Building Children Should Know.

Language Arts: Poetry: Monumental Versus book by J. Patrick Lewis -I read the poem “Empire State Building” we then reflected on it and discussed the form of  First Person Narrative.  

The following were today’s copy work vocab/spelling words: San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building, Modernism, Spiral.

Science: We discussed the design of the Guggenheim Museum and Frank Llyod Wright’s design which is a long spiral-shaped ramp in which visitors take an elevator to the top and simply walk down.  As a repeat from Greece we also talked about optical Illusions again as the building gets progressively wider towards the top.

Math: The term “Cross-Section” as well as some Division lapbook problems.

Art: Frank Llyod Wright as well as Joseph Strauss, designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, were both persistent against critics and branched out in a new direction. With this thought, I asked Liam to design his own “cutting edge, Modern, unlike anything seen before” structure!

He designed a Robot shaped building that would be a Museum for Electronics, Video games and Robots.robot desing

Next week Visits: France, Brazil, Thailand, Spain, New Zealand!

Week Three: India, Denmark, Portugal, China and Australia!

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!

seeds

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!

plantingplanted seed

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

molecules

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

seed burst.

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!

clay flower

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

pup wash

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.

 

Egypt, Literature and State Government

A busy, busy week around here! We kicked this week off with two new stories- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Blueberries for Sal.  We continued studying Ancient Egypt, with a field trip to the local children’s museum featuring Egypt! Then, Wednesday brought us a trip to Connecticut’s State Capitol and Connecticut’s Old State House.

Language Arts:

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel– we watched the story this week and both boys loved it and continued to sing the songs around the house! I chose this as it went along with our current science topic.

Writing: List of the different types of machines

Discussed: Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax and Denouement

Worksheet: Personification

Copywork: Cursive Writing

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Luke’s story this week was Blueberries for Sal. book

Language Arts: Focus on the Letter B, What sound the Letter B makes and watched a video on the Letter B on Starfall and a video with cookie monster featuring the letter B.

Science: Continuation with Hydrogen and a field trip to the Science Center. Liam received a science kit from his recent birthday, so we took that out and experimented with water and air pressure, trying out different scenarios. Liam also played a survival game in which he had to turn a liquid into a gas in order to clean the drinking water on an excursion!

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Music: In focusing on Ancient Egypt, we took a look at Ancient Music as well. Where did music first begin? In Nature! This website features making music with nature- animals, weather and seasonal sounds! They had a blast with this!

Math: Liam continued to work on his multiplication tables. For Living Math we worked off the literature and talked about square polygons and searched around the house to find some. He also drew up a blueprint and we all played Monster Math game. He also tried his hand in an Egyptian Math game placing the time periods in chronological order.egyptmath  Another interactive game was building a pyramid using angles and navigating a boat down the Nile River.

math anglesblueprint

Monster Math:monster math

The winning monster!

The winning monster!

Runner Ups Monster

Runner Ups Monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luke counted with “blueberries” and used beans in the sensory table with measuring cups and measuring spoons. I used the words- half full, and a whole cup while he filled and emptied the cups. We also read the book One Brown Bunny this week.

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Art: Paper Mache Egyptian Tomb,  Ice Cube painting and painting with Blueberries

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History and Social Studies/Geography: Ancient Egypt and The State of Connecticut.

At the Science museum the boys got to see artifacts from Egypt and did a scavenger hunt for certain items, dug for artifacts and made a boat to sail on the Nile River. We also went in the planetarium and watched a movie about polar bears and the arctic.

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On our trip to the State Capitol building we toured with our homeschool hiker group. We were led through the building and heard about the tree branches of gvt. Saw the legislative office and House of Representatives office. We all took a turn in the “wish chair” in the Legislative office in which our tour guide said is a once in a life time opportunity, many do not get to sit in this chair, especially on a tour, since most days this room in is progress. (Luke said he wished for a turtle, Liam wished for our family to live / be together forever and I wished for our family to always be happy and healthy)

The building was beautiful, with stencils, statues and amazing architecture!

During dinner I printed out this quiz from the tour to see what Liam had learned/retained and he did excellent! All but two of the questions he knew! (even though he thought it was “a bit boring”)

We then headed over to Connecticut’s Old State House. This building was all historical highlights on Connecticut. We started in the Hands-On History center, where the kids could dress up in historical clothes, run a farmer’s market and go inside an old camp site.  The next floor featured History all around us, a few of the boys built a replica of the city following the coordinates on an over-sized floor map. We saw and engine from 1912 and tried on costumes, saw Twain’s Bike and did some interactive videos on the history of Hartford! Upstairs we toured the Senate and House rooms.

state housegstate hoouse a state house

St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning!

This week we chose to read St. Patrick’s Day in the morning and focus on St. Patrick’s Day.  I figured instead of doing two separate books this week, the boys would both share and enjoy this unit together and it’s easy enough for me to tweak the activities to each level. My youngest listened to the story and danced and viewed most of the videos we watched.

The story is set on an Irish countryside on St. Patrick’s day. A little boy struggles with being to small to walk in the parade. He sets out early in the morning to prove he is big enough and has his own parade through town where we meet neighbors and animals. “They say I’m too small- but what do they know”

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History/Social Studies:

Who is St. Patrick?

Irish Potato famine.

Irish Folk Song : Bog Down in the Valley ( the boys loved this song)

National Geographic Kids: Irish Symbols, History and Geography

Continued study of Ancient Egypt: Studied Civilization and built a 3-D Pyramid

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Language Arts: Copywork of the Irish Blessing

Repetition: Discussed what phrase is repeated throughout the story and how does this personalize the main character?

Writing -Short Story: Tell about a time you felt or were told you were too small to do something. How did you feel? What did you do?

Copywork of a Limerick:  Note the AABA pattern

Health: Green Nature Walk and journal entry

Talking about being a “Cheerful Giver” (based on the story) How does it feel to receive/give?

Science:

Phys/Chem:  Atoms and Molecules. A look at how small Atoms are (ripping up foil into tiny bits as example) began Elements of the Periodic Table, starting with Hydrogen.hydrogen
Luke enjoyed looking at the table too, and pointed out the bullet train.
States of Matter: Then both boys took a turn as the conductor on a steam train, while learning how steam is made and the different parts of an engine, while solving a mystery! Really fun game!!

-Train Site Gametrain

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List of Five Senses Used in the Story.  (younger) Ask what can you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell?

Math:

Continue on weekly math lessons

Unit Living/ Math:

Jelly Bean Graphing- (boy receives jelly beans at town sweet-shop)Give Range, Medium, Mode and Mean

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Luke categorized by color.

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Art: Colored the Irish Flag and had own parade around the house.

Field Trip: Birthday Trip to the Zoo this week!

luke zoobday zoo

Ask Mr. Bear Unit

luke bookLuke  “spent” a week at the farm!

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Daily Warm -Ups!: Pom Poms and clothes pins into matching cups. Sticks and playdough. Computer Farm Game. Colored Glass on Mirror and Farm Sticker collage!

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Language Arts: Ask Mr. Bear. Here is the Barn finger play. Song: Old Mac Donald and an animal puppet show!

Math: Counting Farm Animals. 12 Eggs in a Carton game. Bear Bingo. Geo-Boards

luke egg

Social Studies: “Milked a Cow” Map Puzzle milk cow

 

 

 

 

Science: Where do eggs come from? Who Gives Us Milk? Weather Walk. Where do we get honey and how does it taste? Gifts from Animals: Who gives us what?

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Art: Tractor Painting and Cow spot prints