Birds of North America- Art & Nature Science project today!

John James Audubon was an American ornithologist, artist and naturalist known for his studies, drawings and paintings of North American birds.

We have been studying his book, The Birds of America, which has over 400 reproductions in it.

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After viewing many of the birds and listening to a biography of Audubon, we started an art project; transparency bird prints!

We used our own Birds of the Northeast book, chose a bird, using transparency sheets, lay it on top of the chosen bird, color with water-based markers and made prints on to white construction paper!

Supplies- bird book, markers, transparency sheets, damp sponge (not very wet at all or maker will bleed!) construction or printer paper

Here’s the steps and the prints:

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Choose a photo of the bird and trace and color in with markers on the clear sheet-

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Try blending as many colors together as possible, when you’re done- dampen the white sheet of paper and press down the transparency sheet (marker side down)

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Carefully lift off and view your print! We did touch up a few areas with the marker to make the image sharper afterwards, but they came out beautifully!

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Happy Days are here: Making note of Milestones!

With our new routine and plan under way, I’m seeing smoother days, more relaxed and engaged! The boys are loving the installation of the daily morning journals! Each morning I write a prompt on the white board and hang it on the fridge- they are always eager to see what it’s going to ask and keep saying how fun it is!

Luke’s been learning to read now that we’ve gone through all the letters, and has been practicing the “at” family and a couple of sight words. Today….-drum roll- he read two BOB books! I was very proud! He was not as impressed, he shrugged and said, “ya, but they’re just short books…” Good grief! I reminded him how far he’s come since this summer when he hardly knew all his letters yet! BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!!! You just turned 5!

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He also played a card game of word pairs with me and then made up a sequence story using the cards. The story: 0211151002Mrs. Boots put on her boots and got into her car. She drove over to her garden to check on it and headed over to the chickens to feed them and put the eggs in the basket. Then she went to the train station, got a ticket and took a train ride to the field of sheeps. Then she took a hot air balloon ride back home. The End.

He’s also doing fantastic with math, especially mental math! He can add or subtract easily and is just starting to multiply and divide using picture stories!

He started being able to swim underwater this week and is super creative in all areas!

Liam as I said wrote in his journal every day this week and today he also worked on writing a stanza in ABABCC order. He had to choose a mood (silly) and then create a poem using that order. Now, this is progress for him! He hated writing at the beginning of this year and now I hear no complaints and see a proud smile when he’s done! He’s started a Blog and it’s really helping him to be confident in spelling and story telling.  If you would’ve asked me 5 months ago what he likes to write, I would’ve said not much unless it’s related to video games! Very proud of his progress!!

0211151005 The other thing that has helped this year was discovering the Key to..Series for math. He’s completed 3 workbooks so far and is at the end of his decimals book now. Then it’s just a review of all concepts thus far and we’ll continue on from there. Today he added/ subtracted decimals to find length, width and the negative space where the window or doors are in the picture problem.

0211151020He’s loving his Spanish course as well, this week is relating words, comparing and distinguishing what words mean and how they are related in Latin, English, French and Spanish languages. He’s viewed A Tale of Two Princesses a few times to begin relating the origin of the Latin words heard in the story.

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Both boys are learning about Biology- today they read and played a game about the muscular system. They had to “poke” the muscles that were told to them! They thought it was hilarious 😉

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They had to speed up the recognition time – started at 10 and ended up at 85! Great job!

We ended the day looking at more Birds of America by John James Audubon and now they are outside playing an ancient treasure game they made up!

Great milestones noted and Happy homeschools days are back in action! phew!! 😉

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!

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

symb art

Fall and Winter

Spring and Summer

Spring and Summer

geo book

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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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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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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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

england 005 eye geoboard

 

 

 

 

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

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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:

Greece 003Greece 004Greece 005Greece 006

 

 

 

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!