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! 😉

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

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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What have we been up to?

We’ve been back in action for about three weeks now, and I’d have to say it’s going rather smoothly- It seems very relaxed and easy going (so far). Some days I have to make more reminders to focus than others, but I’d say overall we’re all enjoying the topics!

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Here’s a briefing on what we’ve done so far:

Language Arts:

Liam

Grammar: Studied/Reviewed Verbs, Writing Complete Sentences, Nouns- proper and common, and Adjectives- daily lessons with a game, such as a scavenger hunt and then reinforced by watching School House Rocks -Grammar.

Spelling: I’ve been giving 16 words a week- day 1 and 2 is copy work of the words, followed by spelling aloud and then choosing three words and writing a complete sentence.

He’s also brushing up on his cursive work- I think he’s doing fine, but he likes his penmanship perfect, so he gets easily frustrated!

Luke

Luke has been working on recognizing his letters and playing games on Starfall  learning both,  visually and hearing the phonics.

Reading: He’s starting to “read” on his own and by that I mean when young children start using random letters to “spell” things and copy “reading” books at bedtime- he’s memorized certain books and will read them to me in his own words, similar and in sequence of the actual story.

He starts story hour at the library this week too- he’s excited to meet some friends 🙂

Math: Again, much review from the end of last year for Liam. Luke is working on counting to 15 and recognizing numbers out of order.

Liam’s reviewed telling time, reading bar graphs, double digit addition, matching fractions, adding decimals and reviewing multiplication facts.  I have to say two weeks ago, he was a bit rusty on his multiplication facts, but he wanted to take a quiz on the site multiplication.com and got 38/38 correct  with facts up to 7×3 in  3 minutes! I have to say I was honestly relieved! He’s getting it! phew!

Luke is also showing progress while we watched a video counting to 20 in a Spanish lesson, he was shouting out- it’s a 5- it’s a 4 it’s an 1 and a 3!  He’s been counting everything he can, really- on a nature walk he counts the rocks or trees, as he eats snacks, or counts for the light to change as we drive around town.

History:

This is Liam only but of course Luke will watch or listen in.

We’ve so far studied the Biography of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison and watched videos about these men. In studying Edison, we also did a writing lesson where I “interviewed” Liam while he was an inventor who just completed an invention.

Here it is:

” I can still remember like it was yesterday. I had been working for weeks perfecting my time machine. I found a bunch of parts around the house.”

Q: How far back did you travel?

A: to 1812

Q: What did you see?

A: The War, on the battlefield, but I was wearing an invisible cloak.

Q: What are you going to do with the machine?

A: Going to go back in time and bring back weapons from then and bring our weapons from today to help them end the war quickly.

We also just started studying the Industrial Revolution this week and learning about Coal Mining. We’ve watched a few videos on the Revolution and coal miners and books from the library.  I borrowed the story Rocket Boys for literature to go along with this topic. We’re both enjoying it so far.

rocket A memoir of a teenager growing up in the 50’s in Coalwood, West Virginia- a town built for extracting bituminous coal.

 

 

 

Science:

This year we’re focusing on Zoology.

So far we’ve looked at Classifications- through videos, books, and games. Extinction and endangered animals. Ecosystems and drawing a diagram of the rainforest. While watching a presentation on the different Biomes, Liam took notes on a chart, noting the Location, Climate, Nutrients, Layers, Flora and Fauna, Threatend? and other differences worth remembering. This week we started to take a look at food webs and chains. Producers, Decomposers and Consumers. He played a fun game making a habitat, with a food chain in order to see how it all works together.

Music: We’ve looked at/ listened to pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky,and Ravel.

Art: Natural objects, and Henri Matisse – sketching of seashells

Spanish:  listening to and recognizing Common Phrases, counting and matching games- Spanish alphabet song and phonics.

 

 

 

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

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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

 

All about Winter-Books, Activities and Animals

Briggs' illustration of the snowman.

Briggs’ illustration of the snowman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The month of December is always festive, hectic and full of events! Knowing this, I planned to have an easy breezy December homeschool schedule this year. (Not to mention a full 40 hours of work each week, being in retail) Most days we just did some quick math sheets with either a winter or Christmas theme, copywork of multiplication facts, LOF and patterns and shape matching with Luke- the rest looking back just fell into place! In covering the topic of Winter, we read many books on Hibernation, Snowflakes, The Arctic and Antarctica, The History on Christmas and Christmas traditions around the world, baking in the kitchen, and several winter outings as well.

As we wrapped things up this week before the Holiday ahead, my oldest put together this Arctic/Hibernation poster on the highlights of his studies over the month.

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Luke has been working on his patterns and using scissors as well as the what seems like…the never ending potty training! ;p His favorite book this month was  Pooch on the Loose by Steven Kroll. A story about a dog who wants to explore New York City at Christmas time. He loved it mostly because it had a map on the inside front and back cover of the book. He just loves, loves maps lately!winter 005

His other favorite is the story Jingle, both boys now have the story and the dog and have sat together a few times to read together. Love those kind of moments!

I wanted to share the books we read this month for anyone who is interested in a Unit type study on Winter, Hibernation, Snow etc.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season and hold those memories in your heart! This year in wake of the recent Sandy Hook event, I will be extra thankful I get to spend mine with my family and friends (near and far)  Enjoy and I’ll share again real soon as I already see a break in work hours for January, so I’ll be planning to get more accomplished with some activities!

Cover of "Welcome to the Ice House"

Cover of Welcome to the Ice House

 

Book List:

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Come Look with me Animals in Art by Gladys Blizzard ( great picture study book)

The Story of Snow The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino

Ice Bear and Little Fox by Johnathan London

Welcome to the Ice House by Jane Yolen

Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Wind Blows by Marianne Berkes

Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes

How do you know it’s winter? by Ruth Owen

This is why I visit Pinterest so often!

We’ve been busy trying out ideas I’ve found on Pinterest. These were all a success! One experiment led to another and as I type this they’ve got a whole new experiment going on with items from the kitchen cabinet! They have been showing a lot of brotherly co-operation!! All the projects were basic, but they really worked well with each other and came up with some great solutions and worked as a team- just one more reason to love homeschooling…the bonding and time spent together is fantastic! We’ve done some formal learning at the table too, but I’m really trying to branch out and give some self-guided games/activities for them to work together and just sit and observe…letting them use their imagination and creativity.

Constructing roads with paper plates and blocks!

Marble Races!

Snow Plowing! Shaving cream and a snow plow truck!

Drizzle and Fizzle! Dropping colored vinegar onto baking soda!

Glue, salt and then drop watercolors on to it!

A little Imagination and Creativity! TMNT and Arctic Animals

Yesterday my oldest was feeling very generous and sweet, and bought with his own money a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for his little brother.  Luke has been obsessed with the old cartoon version we have on DVD, watching it over and over again! So, this morning we all got together and made a home for the turtle! Using a cardboard box, magazine pictures and some imagination and creativity we did a pretty good job building his home down in the sewers! 🙂

Both boys loved it and played with it all morning. This also led to more block building ideas that just kept expanding by the minute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the turtle house was completed, they worked on towers, then cities, creating bridges and stories to go along with them, trap doors etc. After about and hour and half, I had to interrupt for some table work, but it was still all about imagination and creativity…..

In preparing for this weeks lesson on Arctic animals and hibernation I discovered this great book that has endless extensions to incorporate into many subjects areas!   

Over in the Arctic

Where the cold winds blow by Marianne Berkes

 

 

A beautifully illustrated book easy for preschoolers to follow, yet can be altered and made challenging enough for early elementary.  The book contains several ideas for extended activities too. This book is going to be my tool in lesson planning over the next several weeks as we dive into this topic, studying each animal and the Arctic Tundra in depth.

For more of her books on animals and ideas click here

For starters today, we read the book out loud and as the book suggests, as I read it, Liam listened and wrote down the verbs that were used to describe how each animal behaves. Tomorrow we are going to make a chart listing the parent names vs. the baby names, then compare/discuss which creatures migrate and which live in the arctic year round.

For an art activity we made a story page of our own, using the style within the book. (another inside book suggestion) The illustrations were created using layers of cut paper.  I have many decorative papers on hand and he chose the Wolf pack (image search/printed out) as pictured on the cover of the book, but turned it into a mountain scene at sunrise instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon request, while at the library the other day we checked out another Shel Silverstein book; A light in the Attic. After reading several of them, Liam began making up his own and wrote down a few :

“There’s a rabbit stuck to my ceiling,

There’s a rabbit stuck to my floor. There’s a

rabbit stuck to my chimney, or maybe it was just on the floor…”

 

“Birds, Birds, Birds

I think about them everyday.

I don’t know why, because

they keep flying away!”

 

We also read Celebrate the 50 States by Loreen Leedy which gives a brief overview of each state; natural wonders, remarkable people and historic events along with questions.  He recalled more than I had thought he would, although he worked on folklore yesterday with his dad for a boyscout project so he knew a little bit about that and other historians that we’ve covered. Apparently he’s been listening to the news too, because when we got to New Hampshire he said “they vote first for the president right?”
Good enough for me, so we were off to the kitchen to start a recipe for dinner in the crock pot an they both helped before getting back to the blocks!

Brought to you by the letter A- “Aa” Andy Warhol and Arithmetic Patterns

Before Mr. Sun made his appearance today, we were already busy at work! Over the past few weeks Luke, who will be three in January, has been more and more interested in computer games, puzzles, patterns and loves reading books. I’m taking his cues as time to start with some basic introductions of preschool skills; games and activities to enhance early reading/math logic/motor skills. Time to take it to the next step with some more formal one on one time!

I had saved many months back a free download called Exploring Letters in My World by Teacher Book Bag. It is a hands-on approach using a variety of learning techniques.  It isn’t always free, but here is the site I got it from when they were having a special: Currclick.

Starting with the letter A! As I printed out a few pages to start with, I set him up at the computer to play on a terrific site called Starfall. He was giggling and repeating the phonetic sounds and saying “A” as he clicked along.

 

 

 

 

While he was enjoying himself, I started laminating the letter A, putting together some letter A cards and thinking of some game to play using the giant letter A page.

He came to the table and looked through the My Letter A Book, then I had an idea of coloring some salt and hiding the letter A under it so he could find it. Placed the laminated sheet on a tray and covered it with the salt. Then using the hand over hand method, we’d trace the letter together a few times. He loved finding it under the salt and shouted “A” and said “cool game, Mom!”

He did this repeatedly and had lots of fun doing it! With one more extension to this lesson I grabbed the popsicle sticks I had handy and laid them down on top  of the A for an added visual and a puzzle type of activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy Warhol study was next for my older son. We watched a short cartoon video via youtube, then I had found a downloadable booklet from an art museum that explained his pop art and contained a few images and excersizes. I have a few more books coming from the library to further study his life and art, so today was just a kick off! Learning about his work explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. I asked Liam to think of TV, Pop Stars or a product he’d like to feature in his Warhol inspired piece that we were going to do today. Using one image or product and repeating it as Warhol did. Well, Beyblades are his favorite things right now, so we took photos of them and then used some editing (he chose the images, features and colors)and came up with this! Now it’s a poster on his bedroom wall.

” 4 Battling Beyblades”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next “A” thing of our day today was to my amazement, much more than I had expected it to be.  I bought some geometric plastic shape pieces, and put them out on the table.  We all automatically started playing around with them.  Luke placed all the big yellow hexagons together and I said “hey, it looks like a caterpillar” to which he said “ooh, he’s hungry!” Referring to The Very Hungry Caterpillar story.

So, I made him a carrot. Then Luke said “now his stomach hurts.” So, I made him a nice green leaf! We continued doing this over an over for quite awhile, it was so fun and great lesson in size, shapes and colors as well as recalling the story!

Liam grabbed shapes and made a whole village and proceeded to make up an entire story about a village under attack! -” There was a guy with a sword and shield who came to attack the village and castle, he attacked two of the homes. The castle defended it using fire balls!  So, since the castle failed, they paid the two houses to buy them to make new taller and safer homes. ”

As the story was told in sequence the shapes were moved around to match the story being told.

And they all lived happily ever after……

More on learning math through play

one topic/many subjects and lots of art!

 

 

We kicked this rainy Tuesday off with a math lesson, mostly multiplication facts on MEP, and Chapter Four in LOF, which was also about multiplication and similes! Yes, the Life of Fred math books include more than just math topics! We also covered some Geography today, this week’s state is Arizona. We broke out the map and read the book “Unique Arizona” then colored in Arizona on the U.S. map sheet using the states abbreviation.

 

U.S. History was also covered, reading a few pages on colonial life and what kinds of medicine people used, what went on on Sundays and what a watchman’s job was. “…If you lived in Colonial Times” by Ann McGovern, is the book we’re reading. Nice child friendly book, gives a quick glimpse into the daily lives.

 

 

Another favorite book of mine is “The Big Handbook of  Nature Study” by Anna Botsford Comstock. Today we did a bird study on the White-Breasted Nuthatch.  We have one that we frequently watch in our yard and who comes to our feeder every now and then. As I read all about the bird, I provided a picture of the White-Breasted Nuthatch as a visual study. This came in handy as we read about the coloring as well as the footing it has that enables them look at the world mostly upside down. We then proceeded with a narrative speaking exercise in which he answered and discussed the questions at the end of the chapter as well as things he has observed with the birds in the yard.

 

Within this chapter was a poem about the nuthatch, so I typed it into Word, added lines for copywork.

 

He will copy two sentences each day until complete as part of his grammar and spelling lessons this week.

 

In keeping with the topic of the White-Breasted Nuthatch, we next did an art activity. First studying the picture I asked how many colors does one see in the birds feathers. I then asked him to choose the tubes of paint that best match, and if there wasn’t one, such as the silver blue of the bird, he picked three colors to mix to create this color. He got it right on with the first mix of colors! I then talked about negative space in art. Today I wanted him to use the coloring of the bird and make a negative space collage using feathers.  Using the watercolors, he held down the feather and painted on top of it letting the water do the work! It came out really pretty!

 

 

Meanwhile, my two year old is playing with his trains on the floor since 5:30 this morning! So with him still occupied, we started reading our second book of the year. We just finished a Fiction book (Wonder Struck), now we’re headed into the genre of Animals.  I chose “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame.  We managed to get in about 10 pages, just enough to get started!

 

Good timing, now my two year old is ready to “play a game” as he always says. I had planned on doing shape printing with him today. I had kept a variety of circle objects aside from various objects: caps, tubes, lids etc.  I handed him the tools and he did the rest!

 

 

Once he was finished with this, he still wanted to do more! So we did another circle print using bubble wrap this time!

 

Paint the bubble wrap, press the paper down and lift!