Wandering in the Woods!

After doing our normal routine this morning; journals, reading and Liam working on his research paper, Luke and I browsing through his new Pathway Readers and did some Polar bear Unit work, I couldn’t wait to get outside!! It was over 40 degrees and sunny! Spring Fever!!!! Get me outside!

We headed over to our local Refuge in Charlestown and hit the trails. The sun felt great, there is still a lot of snow but the trail was pretty packed down.  It felt great to be outside and not freezing. I warned the boys that if they were somewhat quiet today we’d probably be lucky to see some wildlife.

The trail was only a mile round trip so, on our way back the boys took off their coats and laid back basking in the sun and listening to the birds. Before we knew it, we were surrounded by a bunch of black- capped chickadees and saw two different woodpeckers working, and a tuft titmouse who was busy flying from branch to branch. They were in awe and loved every minute of it.

I think we all just laid there on our coats for about an half an hour just observing and listening. They met a snowman along the way and played various games, marvelled at how soft the birch trees were and kept repeating we need to do this more often and when are we coming back?! (I always have to drag them out for hikes, then they have a blast)

We noticed trees are budding!!

We noticed trees are budding!!

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Quick photo op of the black -capped chickadee

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Found a snowman friend along the trail. Boys added a nose and Luke checked on him and said good-bye

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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! 😉

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

symb art

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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