Web of Life- Our Homeschool Class today

We headed out to our National Wildlife Refuge for our homeschool program this morning. The topic was called Web of Life an ecology lesson on how everything is connected to each other and is dependent upon one another!

In short, the class topics: (it was a 2 hour class)

The Ranger started with asking the children to color various animals and plants he handed out and then to gather in a circle with their cards.

0224151157_Burst01The sun card went in the middle of the circle, then each child who had a plant went next as they are directly effected by the sun, (string was given to child from sun to plant) then they were to yell out if they had a plant eater,then an animal that would eat the plant eater and so on, as they built and connected the string- it was the visual connection, building the Web of Life!

The Ranger then showed various skulls, taking a close look at the placement of the eyes. Giving the rhyme of “Eyes to the side, like to hide” -( prey ) it gives them a wider field of vision to see predators. They need to be able to see forewards, sidewards, backwards and upwards incase a predator attacks.

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 The children then observed the three ducks, the names of each- The Golden Eye, The Wood Duck and the Merganser.  Then had a lengthy discussion on the shapes and sizes of the bills and why they are built in such a way, especially the Merganser who has a saw like teeth for catching his prey.

0224151149After the classroom session was done we headed out to watch the frogs being fed and did a scavenger hunt in the visitor center. They had a blast, learned a lot and can’t wait for the next classes! Liam loved it so much and walked over to the Ranger and shook his hand, thanked him for such a great time! Before, leaving Luke brought his money and wanted to buy a bird he saw last time. He was so excited and built him a nest to live in once we got home.

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0224151300 Once home each of them did some math on Khan Academy- Luke earned “Geek of the Week” , High Five in Math and Making Progress badges. Liam earned Finger or Toes in Math, Five is Alive and Challenge Accepted! badges;)

One more STEM class this afternoon at the library to go!

Winter Boost!

This weekend I worked on giving our homeschool days a boost, change, overhaul..whatever you want to call it! The past few weeks we were all dragging our feet, just not feeling it (even with our new books, they helped but, eh)

So, I put together a new outline to finish out the year, same subjects as before but more organized! I also put together a new daily routine for us.

Today went more smoothly, more fun and felt more”put together” if you will.. we really are almost to the end of our year- we tend to do “school” Aug. 1 through May, so not much longer really, and I wanted this year to flow into next and so on as my oldest hits middle school. Let’s end the year on a high note and complete what we’ve been focusing on all year!

Our Focus:

PreK/K-

Through Easy Peasy all in one Homeschool: Learn To Read & Getting Ready 2,

Math: Picture Stories, First Grade Math Book

Music: Geography and Cultures

Art: Artist Study

Grade 5:

Math- Decimals and Fractions, Review of all concepts thus far, Getting Ready for Middle School Step 1

History: Ancients

Health: Nutrition and Swimming/Par Core Class

Language Arts 5 and Middle Grades Language Arts Book

Science: Biology

Spanish: 6th Level

Music: Geography and Cultures

Art: Artist Study

Computer: Start and Maintain Blog

Health: Nutrition/ Spin Class/Swimming

Daily School Routine:

Read Together

Luke- 1st Lesson (LTR)/ Liam -Journal Prompt

Liam 1st Lessons (L.A., M) Luke-Journal prompt

Break for 45 min- free play and snack

Lessons together- (Music, Health, Art)

Lunch

Luke 2nd Lesson (G.R. 2) Liam Math

Liam 2nd Lessons (H. Sc. & Sp.) Luke-Math

Outside/Games/Swim/Free time etc.

Monday- Music and Computer

Tuesday- Health

Wednesday- Artist Study

Thursday-Workbooks and Nature

Friday- Wrap up/Field Trip/Family Day

Today Luke reviewed his new “at” family words and played a “at” family game on Starfall. He then watched and listened to 5 new words being introduced for this week.

His Journal Prompt for today was – What do you like best about being a kid? A:”I like being small and fitting into small places! Like Cabinets!”

He played an Orchestra game learning about the woodwind section and had fun controlling the pitch and seeing each instrument play!

We also did Art today, due to a field trip later this week, I moved things around. We are studying John James Audubon this month.  Today we all viewed his American Robin piece and discussed how his art pieces were to educate others. I asked each of them- What would you do as an artist to educate others?

Liam said he would draw pictures of sea animals and the pollution problem- referring back to our recent trip to the aquarium and the “trash models” they had on display.

Seal made from trash found in the ocean

Seal made from trash found in the ocean

Luke said his would be about Ice Cream and how the different flavors are made, and how you don’t want the ice cream to fall off onto your foot!! 😉

We have many bird reference books, so each looked through and found a bird of choice to draw!

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“Snowy Owl outside the Audubon Door”

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“A Turkey that is a Male”

Liam started with reading a stanza excerpt and copying it down.

His Journal prompt for today was- If you could invite someone famous over for dinner who would it be and why?

Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons, because he makes awesome music! He’s my favorite person in the band.

Math was figuring our word problems- not so much fun 😉

Music he learned about the Violin and “playing it” using the mouse and keyboard! Observing the notes and sounds as well as creating his own song.

Spanish looking at Latin words and related words. He watched a short video that had Latin words throughout the story and tomorrow he will write them down and figure out what he thinks they mean, by relating them to English words that sound similar!

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! 😉

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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Plans are finally, Finalized! Next years Curriculum….

For Luke: Preschool-image

Preschool Montessori Yr 1 Plan

This year – 2013/2014

Following the Montessori approach! Specifically this site:

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum

Games

Songs

Movies

lots of literature and hands-on life learning!

Letters: Recognition, Sounds and Copy work in My First School Book from Handwriting Without Tears

hwot

Art and Music– Lots of exploration/ all hands on!!

Math: Numbers 1-10 then 1-20

Counting , Recognizing numbers in and out of order, Patterns and Puzzles, Shapes and Board Games

Literature Topics: Nursery Rhymes, Friendship, and Self- Help/Character builders

Pre-K 1Book List

They are categorized by topic, but like all good literature many contain multiple subject areas.

Self- Help/ Character Builders:

I can be anything!    Jerry Spinilli

I can be a real boy    Guido van Genechten

I can count    Bobbie Kalman

I can do it! A first look at not giving up    Peg Thomas

I can do it myself!    Stephen Krensky

I can fly super high!    Zuma Ayriyan

I can help    David Hyde

I can help    Liz Lennon

I’m 3! Look what I can do    Maria Carluccio

Friendship:

Family and Friends    Honor Head

Friends    Meg Greve

Frog and Friend: Outdoor Surprises     Eve Bunting

Very Special Friends    John Seven

Nursery Rhymes:

28 Best Nursery Rhymes Ever –Sound Recording

100 Best-loved Nursery Rhymes – no author

Clare Beaton’s Nursery rhymes read-along book and CD- no author

Favorite nursery rhymes from Mother Goose    Scott Gustafson

Three Little Kittens and other favorite nursery rhymes    Tony Ross

Wee Sing nursery rhymes and lullabies    Pamela Beall

Math:

Colors and Shapes     Ruth Owen

Dear Dragon’s fun with Shapes     Margaret Hillert

Dinosaur Shapes    Ava Saviola

I see shapes    No Author

Play with Shapes!    Joyce Markovics

Shapes Around Us     Daniel Nunn

Shapes in Animals    Sebastiano Ranchetti

Shapes in Art      Rebecca Ressman

Shapes that Roll     Karen Nagel

Three dimensional shapes: Cones    Luana k. Mitten

123   Anne Gedes

123 Chicago   Puck

123 favorite kids songs

123 I can make prints!     Irene Luxbacher

Animals 123: one to ten and back again   Kate Sheppard

Thomas’ 123 book     Richard Courtney

ABCs in Nature   Daniel Nunn

Biscuit’s ABCs    Alyssa Satin

Dinosaur ABC’s    Ava Saviola

Little Critter ABC’s     Mercer Mayer

For Liam, Year 4:

Year 4

Lessons for this year; 2013/2014

Modern Time period: History, Arts and Music. Zoology, Language arts and Math.

An Eclectic Combination with use of:

Easy Peasy all in one Homeschool yr.5-8

Math Lessons: Easy Peasy and My Business Math: Pet Store- Simply Charlotte Mason

Language Arts : 6 genres of literature, The Grammar Ace and School House Rocks DVD

Music: Pop Music, Iconic Stage, Movie Compositions

Art: Imitating the Classics, Study edges, outlines, repetition and perspective. Natural and Arbitrary Colors

Year 4/5 Book List

Modern History: Post Civil War to Current Day         E.P. yr 5-8

Books:

A picture book of John Washington Carver     David A. Alder

The Transcontinental Railroad   John Perritano

Born to Fly     Michael Ferrari

Ground Attack Planes    David Baker

Animal Farm   George Orwall

Captured off guard; the attack on Perl Harbor   Donald Lemke

Women in the Civil Rights Movement   Judy L. Hasday

John F. Kennedy   Wil Mara

Science: Zoology      E.P.   yr. 5-8

Main branches in the animal kingdom, habitats, behaviors, diets and adaptations. Endangered species and classification. Food webs, ecosystems. Nature walks and hikes.

Books:

Amazing Fish   Honor Head

Shark Wars   E.J Altbacker

Sharks, the super fish   Helen Sattler

Bees   Debbie and Brendan Gallagher

These Bees Count!   Alison Fermento

What if there were no bees?: a look at the grassland ecosystem   Suzanne Slade

Animal and plant mimicry   Dorothy Patent

Hide and Seek: creatures in camouflage   Phyllis Perry

Jungle bugs: masters of camouflage and mimicry   Bruce Percer

About Birds; A guide for children   Cathryn Sill

Whistling Wings   Laura Goering

A bird’s life   Ellen Lawrence

Amphibians: water to land    Laura Perdie

The complete guide to reptiles and  amphibians    JinnyJohnson

The life cycle of amphibians    Darlene Stille

City Food Chains   Julia Vogal

Deciduous forest food chain   Julia Vogal

Desert Food chains    Julia Vogal

Art and Music:  E.P 

Music: Pop Music, Iconic Stage, Movie Compositions

Art: Imitating the Classics, Study edges, outlines, repetition and perspective. Natural and Arbitrary Colors

Read Aloud Book List Covering 6 Genres:

Fairy Tales: Random House Book of Fairy Tales

Animals: James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

Tall Tales and Fantasy: The Swiss Family Robinson

Fiction: Follow My Leader

Science Fiction: A Wrinkle in Time

Mystery: Encylopedia Brown: Boy Detective

The Cricket in Times Square- Elephant Math

The past two weeks we have been reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon.  A cricket who finds himself transported from Connecticut to New York’s Times Square when trapped inside a picnic basket.  We follow him through many adventures and meet his new friends along with him.

square  cricket

We live in Connecticut and visited Times Square last year as a family, so after a quick reminder of our trip and watching a video on Times Square, we had a discussion of the two places and the FEEL of them. As Liam gets older I really want him to start connecting with the stories just a little bit more and so we talked quite a bit about how the cricket must feel after coming from a quiet grassy country side to the loud busy city.  I also started a new writing/spelling lesson as we go through the book chapter by chapter. He is keeping a Writing Response Journal. The purpose is to record personal experiences, explore reactions and interpretations, record and analyze. To think about the book and connect literature to his own life.

We are up to Chapter 8 and here are a couple of his entries so far:

“The best Character yet is Tucker Mouse. ”

“I think Chester and Tucker are Friends now. Chester is from Ct.”

“This Chapter is SO FUNNY! I liked Sai Fong.”

Elephant Math:

We are just finishing up our Unit on Ancient India and came upon this great Living Math idea in a handbook I have called A trip Around The World.

Tradition in ancient India called for respect of all forms of life. Asian or Indian elephants are dressed in a small house called howdahs. Many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are created for these wild animals.  With many interesting facts about elephants we answered some mathematical questions about them.

ele math The bull elepjant stands 9-10 feet tall and weighs approx. 8,00 pounds.

Weigh 5 textbooks and determine how many would equal the weight of one elephant?!

eleph math

The skin of an elephant is about 1 1/2 inch thick and weighs about 2,000 pounds.

How many sheets of paper are equal to the thickness of an elephants skin?

What fraction of the elephant’s weight is its skin?

We ended up meeting fellow homeschool friends at the zoo and seeing the elephants there.

Science:

lightlight reflect

light game

This week Argon was added to the Elements folder. The boys watched a video on how a light bulb is made. Played a game on reflecting light VS. absorbing light and tried it out in the bedroom with a mirror.  Liam drew light bulb and added it into the pocket, then finished the week with an online quiz!argon light pocket

Another fun/busy week! We plan on heading out to meet a small group today for some outdoor games! Enjoy your day!

 

Ask Mr. Bear Unit

luke bookLuke  “spent” a week at the farm!

luke barn

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!

color puffplaydough stick

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?

rain walkrain walk a

 

 

 

 

Art: Tractor Painting and Cow spot prints