Circle the Stars

This morning we started with an alphabet rhyme from A to Z. I saw it in a movie or a show a few days ago (though I can not remember where exactly) and thought it would be a fun way to start the day.  We sat in a circle and went around alphabetically completing the phrase- goes something like this:

Allie went to Alaska with Apples-Bob went to the Bahamas with Brussel sprouts, all the way to -Zander went to Zimbabwe with Zebras!

Some letters were pretty hard! 🙂

We then listened to an audio book about a  Dragon, a story called Dragon Rider .  Dragons must find refuge as the humans are planning to destroy their valley, on his journey he meets a boy named Ben and they become a team!

Liam then went on to finish the last two chapters in his podcast he’s been listening to. He really enjoyed it and learned a lot of science and history along the way. Luke and I worked on the “ap” family on Reading Eggs, then math in a workbook about Space, which then led to him drawing up his own constellation! -A platypus constellation named “John, the platypus.”

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This morning I set out an entire table with some hands on math activities, so they did some work with the  geo-board, fractions and multiplication activities.


We have used the Waldorf style multiplication circles before and reintroduced them to Luke who was very young the last time they were out. It is a great skip counting way to practice the multiplication facts. Liam went through each one and showed him and refreshed his memory as well. For Luke’s reference I also had the facts written out in flowers and the completed stars laid out on the table.

The boys also read a short multiplication “M” poem out of our LMNOP book and watched some birds out back for a bit, then they made their lunch and listened to an American History Story about the start of the revolutionary war based on how taxes currently work in our society.

And, that wraps up our morning, I’m sure there will be some Minecraft played this afternoon as it has made a big come back in this house!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

African Adventures

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African Elephant Chalk Drawing

This week we are exploring the animals of Africa as requested by my youngest.  We are reading and viewing a couple of animals a day to learn more about the animals and their behaviours and the geography of Africa.

Today the boys began their day setting up some new and old race tracks and did some video recordings of a car being chased by a boulder. They worked together for a few hours, getting new angles filmed and action scenes were reconstructed as ideas were thought of!

IMG_20150121_083116_963IMG_20150121_090339_228 This was an activity with no end! They are still at it 3 hours later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20150121_084656_246After reading about Lions and Cheetahs today. We viewed some pictures of Ndebele house paintings. The people of southern Africa are famous for colorful, geometric designs painted on their houses. Traditionally they used homemade fingerpaints to decorate and believed this type of painting created a connection between the past, present and future.

Using card stock , permanent markers and pastels, the boys each designed their own painted houses! The book Amazing African projects seen here is a great resource!

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Creating Creative Thinkers

It’s been awhile since I have made an entry on our homeschooling days, mostly because I wanted my focus to be in the moment and not behind the camera and due to the fact that our computer was temperamental for a while!
Anyway, when I started this year of schooling my goal was to get some creativity going! I started to read a lot about Waldorf and was drawn to the creative side of this method. I love having a MLB- main lesson book, where the children draw out images from the main lesson being taught at the time. I directed this for a while to get the habit and thoughts rolling, and this week it finally took off and the boys asked me, yup, they asked me to draw from the story we are reading, which is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

I went out and got them each a daily journal to write in or doodle in each afternoon as we close out the “school” day, they have embraced it and I’m mostly implementing this because I want them to be free thinking, creative, and most importantly seeing and observing from their entries and illustrations what they are internalizing and taking away from each lesson personally. Fingers crossed this is our new path and it will continue to grow from here. I also love that they are naturally incorporating writing, spelling, math and fine motor development as well as critical thinking skills!
Here are some documentations they made this week:
IMG_20150108_095717_354In chapter 3 and 4 Milo, the main character visits Dictionopolis and ends up in a word marketplace, where one can buy words or letters that are for sale.

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My oldest loves Tock, the dog and created a drawing of the character from the cover of the book.

IMG_20150113_142511We are also studying Ancient Greece this week and did a Waldorf inspired watercolor painting, First we drew pencil lines for a guide in creating the depth and then worked counter clock wise adding in the rainbow of colors only using primary colors and let/used the water “mingle” and blend and create the secondary and tertiary colors.

Journal entries after watching a Minecraft video set in an Ancient Greece mod on Youtube. They each wrote the three minecraft tools they like the most and why.

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Map of Ancient Greece and an animal drawn using detail by my youngest 😉

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Are we flying or on the ground?

This week one studied Owls and Bats, while the other continued with Botany, studying the evolution of the plant kingdom. Owlets and  pups, nocturnal creatures. Mushrooms to the Fern Family, the earliest plant forms of creation. We were either flying up in the air on deep down in the dirt this week studying the babies of both worlds!

IMG_20141009_121408_002We were lucky with some great library books as Luke discovered the similarities and differences in Owls and Bats. How do they move? What do they eat? What is a predator? Myths and facts about bats. How do these animals see if they are nocturnal? Why are they important to our environment?

Over in the Hollow was a great counting story and he worked on measuring bat wings as another math activity!

10inch wing span!

10 inch wing span!

He drew a sketch of a bat’s anatomy and worked on writing all the letters of the alphabet he knows so far ( he wrote about 10 random letters) as well as making a new letter card- “o” for Owls this week.

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Moving over to the plant kingdom, Liam started with a re-cap of the baby of the plant kingdom, the plant family known as fungi! He then took a look at and sketched the Five Kingdoms of Life, and how they are classified.   Algae and Seaweed were next, the dreamy plants of the underworld in the sea! Since we live on the coast we headed down to the beach to investigate hands on.

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The last three of the week were Ferns, Horsetails and the Club Mosses. From the ancient times through the Ice Age, how did the fern family grow? What is a rootstock, a frond? How do the horsetails develop in two stages?

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making fern prints using a hammer and a fern

making fern prints using a hammer and a fern

Matisse inspired paper art of seaweed!IMG_20141007_095533_035

This week, Liam also worked on Changing units of weight and adding/subtracting weights, fractions and decimals in weight for his math measurement block that is also a main lesson this month. He’s enjoying it so far. The workbook is very hands- on and interactive, so – so far, so good! He does free-hand geometry once a week, this week was and exercise using equilateral triangles!

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We also headed out for a nature hike this week and had a great time! We watched a music documentary, and the boys each made a Halloween picture to send to a dear friend who’s serving our country right now. Luke drew a scary pumpkin guy and a guy holding letters, Liam made a picture of “The Thing” and wrote a little letter to him on the back.

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Luke’s

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Liam’s

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Pretty great week we had! 😉

Photo Collage of our Fall Field Trip

We headed out to Haley Farm to see some foliage and explore some nature by hand since we have been reading about it all week! Not the sunniest day to go, but we enjoyed our nature walk just the same- drizzle and all, we got to see and explore a lot! Seeds, Leaves, Deer, water,reeds, marsh and puddles!

Observing the foliage and seeds

Observing the foliage and seeds

Pretty Purple

Pretty Purple

boys will be boys- sword fighting with reeds!

boys will be boys- sword fighting with reeds!

Liam found and opened up a seed to find it smiling!

Liam found and opened up a seed to find it smiling!

Lots of seeds here!

Lots of seeds here!

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The puddle player!

The puddle player!

The life cycle of the plant- illustrated using lemniscate symbol

symbolGeometry and the Life Cycle of the Plant all came together for one big main lesson block this morning! We are now into day three of our Botany block and today’s focus was following the plant from The Seed, Root and Shoot to The Stem.

I read to the boys about each plant part in depth and read a book from the library as an introduction this morning. We also recalled info. from yesterday and the process of Photosynthesis. IMG_20141001_113419Once we headed to the table to do some more work I handed Liam the page I had printed out of the Geometry book that I had come across that I thought gave the perfect image to represent the life cycle of the plant. The lemniscate! He said “oh sure, I can see that!” Me, really? you are familiar with this? He proceeded to tell me all about it and how it was used to tell time between day and night! I had no idea he knew this! Nice!! So, we talked about how in the diagram on the print out it showed the time differences between the seasons. I explained that we could use this to show the growth in a plant above and below the ground during the seasons! ex.: Winter- empty on land, mostly underground- big circle on the bottom, smaller loop on top!

He did a fantastic job! I love how it came out!                 symbol

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Fall and Winter

Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

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While Liam worked on drawing the diagrams, Luke and I worked on his letters. He practiced writing the letter B and reciting the rhyme Little Boy Blue with me. He did a couple of workbook pages and then we acted out the phonetic sound of B, by pretending to hold a Bat and shouting b b b b b and we swung to hit the ball.

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He then described to me how to create and draw out the new letter B card for him. I loved his idea of the letter B coming out of the horn, and he wanted the pattern of big B then little b!

We then made salt dough and made impressions using leaves from outside. Since they take a long time to bake, we’ll paint them tomorrow!

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The water of life- What is so magical about water?

The rain was just perfect for us today as we were going to study the aspects and energy that water gives to plants!

IMG_20140930_082440_650We started by discussing how the plants and flowers appearance changes depending on the weather. How do they look today? How do they look on a sunny day? Winter? Summer? This is called expansion and contraction! I had the boys get on the floor and act as a plant! They got down, all curled up like a seed and then sprouted up, once full grown they either expanded on contracted their movements depending on weather I said it was sunny and warm, or if it was now a cold winter day! They giggled the whole time!

We then read a library book all about leaves. Then we sang a song from our guide called The Game of the Leaves (photosynthesis). The chorus was their part while I sort of sang the other words! 😉 The chorus was this: Photo-photo-photosynthesis, That’s the name of the game!– We’ve all got it stuck in our heads now!

Let’s head outside and observe the leaves and the changes going on out there!

Comparing leaves

Comparing leaves

What happens when a leaf has fallen off the tree? How does it look compared to one that was pulled off?

Looking at a seed

Looking at a seed

Changes in the Fall

Changes in the Fall

Of course, ya gotta splash around!

Of course, ya gotta splash around!

We gathered some different leaves and headed back inside. Once in, we read more about the process of Photosynthesis and how it all works! Liam was interested to find out the plants make a “sugar” that is essential for the growth of the plant. We talked about the water cycle and the relationship it has with the plants as well.

Since we had some freshly picked leaves, I thought it would be great to grab the microscope and see if we could get an image of the “sugar” while talking about it! We did! Both boys said it looked gross!

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Liam then drew a diagram of Photosynthesis in his MLB. Luke continued to look at different leaves and view items in the microscope. He also worked on writing the letter “F” on the white board.

Photosynthesis drawing/labeling

Photosynthesis drawing/labeling

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From here we went on to some art, leaf prints and a picture study. Then both boys worked on some math, and that’s a wrap for today!

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Today’s book/resources

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Leaf Printing

Botany, Key to Measurement and Seasonal led Learning

Stitching a felt leaf

                   Stitching a felt leaf

A bit about our first day with a couple of new lesson blocks for the month of October!

Liam will be focusing on Botany, and the Key to Measurement (English units for weight, capacity, temperature and time). Our guides for these blocks are from  Christopherus Homeschool Resources and the Plant Study Manual -here.

This first week we will be talking about The Flowering Plant. The plant as a child of earth and sun; the four elements. The water of life; the secret life of the plant.

Luke will continue with seasonal studies of Autumn!

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We began our morning reading a library book called In a nutshell, the perfect little story about an Oak tree in full circle to kick off our new lesson block.

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Then reading from our guide I read aloud The plant as the Child of Earth and Sun. We discussed Why things could not grow without the sun. How do the four elements all interact together? How does the Earth support all living things? The four kingdoms of nature- mineral, plant, animal and humans- what do we have in common and what qualities are different?

This was a great conversation and Liam said he was really enjoying talking about it! After our discussion we read a poem and then headed to the table for Liam to create his Botany main lesson book cover page and table of contents as well as making an entry drawing of the four elements in the book.

white board diagram

white board diagram

illustrating ideas

illustrating ideas

completed cover page

completed cover page

the  four elements

the four elements

Meanwhile, Luke and I sat and read the story Beatrice’s Goat. A story about a girl living in western Uganda, who gets the gift of a goat and then receives the gift of an education as a result. Not knowing before hand, this is a book from Heifer Project International, we were commenting that it reminded us of visiting the farm in Mass. a couple of years ago- this is the post from that trip.

books of the week

books of the week

We talked about how animals and humans can help each other and how the goat and cow both produce milk. What else is a dairy product?

Luke then did a little activity and made us some butter! (though he wouldn’t taste it!)

Spreading his butter on some bread!

Spreading his butter on some bread!

Then both boys worked on some math. Liam’s first pages and a project was on weight in ounces, pounds and tons. He did 3 workbook pages and then had to look through the newspaper and find 5 advertisements that showed these weights, then answer- will a larger object always weigh more than a smaller object? His answer: Weight depends on what it’s made out of, if it’s hollow or solid, etc.

IMG_20140929_103219_118Luke and I did some adding, subtracting and dividing! Using a school bus and some pom poms as the “students” I asked questions like- If 3 kids are on the bus and three more are getting on, how many will there be total? He made patterns with them, then answered correctly when I asked him: if there are 12 kids and only three seats, how can they all fit on the bus? He put 4 kids in each seat!

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I downloaded this template from The Math learning Center-Bridges in Mathematics- on Pinterest. From the same download I also introduced 3-D shape cards and did a hunt in the kitchen to find the shapes!

The boys then both worked on sewing a leaf shape using felt. Luke used yarn and sewed up his leaf with pre-punched holes and then made it into a leaf guy! Liam used a needle and thread and sewed the veins in the leaf (pic at the top)!

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Festival of Michaelmas- day 1

Associated with courage and portrayed as a warrior angel, the Tale of Archangel Michael is on September 29th and our focus this week. We will be focusing on the traits of strength and courage as well as Dragons, the color yellow and the star shape- all related to the tales we read this morning. Michaelmas Story of the Star Children and Michael and the Dragon!

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Michaelmas Chalk Drawing this week- image idea found on Pinterest

We sat and read two different tales and compared and contrasted the stories introducing this new to us celebration. The other enrichment books we have to go along with this week are pictured below.

Dragon Scales and Willow Leaves

Dragon Scales and Willow Leaves

Thomas and the Dragon Queen

Thomas and the Dragon Queen

Yellow is my Color Star

Yellow is my Color Star

The Reluctant Dragon

The Reluctant Dragon

Liam created paper dragon art and we made leaf crowns once outside, sewing the leaves together!

art licrowns

After some book work we headed out to the beach to relax and soak in some of that summer sun while we still can!

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Harvest Moon and Wheat Fields

Autumn is in the air! We are finishing up September discussing the Harvest Moon, Autumn Equinox, changing leaves and Wheat field farming! All things that say “Autumn!” Next week is celebrating Michaelmas, then on to a Botany Block and Measurement Block for Liam using Christopherus Math material, and Luke will continue on with Harvest Time  based on curriculum from WeeFolkArt.

This week we kicked it off with a documentary on Wheat Field Farming. We all really enjoyed it and Liam asked about the process we were watching compared with today’s technology as the film was from the 1960’s. Good question, so we researched and had a discussion and compared the amount of bushels per acre in each era that was harvested in time due to the machinery and hand work by the farmers.

Drawing in Main Math lesson book on BU/AC

Drawing in Main Math lesson book on BU/AC

Luke's Wheat Math

Luke’s Wheat Math- count and draw it out

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Diagram of Wheat in Botany MLB

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We are continuing to read My Side of the Mountain and using the companion book- Pocket guide to the outdoors. The boys enjoyed trying out some knot tying, hearing about the boy’s pet Falcon and lot’s of other outdoor survival tips throughout the story so far! Liam is making his own survival guide as we go along.

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drawing of the mountains and survival guide cover page

drawing of the mountains and survival guide cover page

Luke and I read many books about the leaves changing this week and here are some of his activities, and one they both enjoyed!

Leaf rubbings, and counting the points on each leaf

Leaf rubbings, and counting the points on each leaf

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Luke has been working on paper crafts and building a 500 piece bird puzzle with me this week as well as learning the letter R and counting to 25. We made an R alphabet card and hung it with the others.IMG_20140919_125916_502

Monster paper crafts

Monster paper crafts

Today they did  a drawing of one activity or time they enjoyed this week. Luke chose to trace a chameleon he found at the beach combined with a rocket. He narrated a short story about it and I wrote it down for him. Liam chose to create a drawing about saving the jellyfish this week- both boys ran up and down the beach throwing jelly’s back into the ocean!

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Then we finished up the day with math. Liam worked on Fractions- adding, subtracting, multiplying and reciprocals & dividing as well as adding and subtracting on a number line in his workbook and Luke created robots with base ten counters, ten rods and geometric shapes and we read a counting rhyme together. Liam also did a leaf form drawing this week for geometry, keeping a steady but changing shape as a leaf falling into water would.

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