Things Worth Observing!

“Let Nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth

Many tools needed for one jobHard work pays off

With the blizzard just a couple days ago, Liam had set to work on building an igloo for himself. A little persistence, many tools and lots of hard work- it finally paid off! He is outside right now as it’s raining to see if it is indeed a good shelter… How wet do you think I’ll get???

Hmmm, we’ll see!

He already observed that the wider it gets the less warm it feels inside.  He says he has to be careful as he plans out how to carve out the inside because it could collapse.

This is all play to the children, but the mother is doing invaluable work; she is training their powers of observation and expression, increasing their vocabulary and their range of ideas by giving them the name and the uses of an object at the right moment,–when they ask, ‘What is it?’ and ‘What is it for?’
– Charlotte Mason

Also, with the blizzard we’ve had many feathered friends out back gathering food! Luke has become interested in them and sits by the window watching and talking to them. He asks me to identify the different birds he’s seeing and wants to see a book with their pictures in it! I’ll be borrowing one of Liam’s bird books shortly for him. 🙂DSCF9989DSCF9990

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Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.  ~Marc Brown

* yup, A day in homeschool*

* We’re not trying to do “School at Home.” We’re trying to do homeschool. These are two entirely different propositions. We’re not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom. Rather we’re trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning in which learning takes place from morning until bedtime 7 days each week. The “formal” portion of each teaching day is just the tip of the iceburg. – Steve and Jane Lambert ( Five In A Row )

The I hate Mathematics! book

Today’s math lesson was taken from The I Hate Mathematics! Book by Marilyn Burns. 

In keeping with our new routine of two Living Math lessons a week I have already noticed improvement in my son, as far as  understanding concepts, and better outlook/attitude all around as he seems to be actually enjoying math?! He even asked yesterday if we could do one more math lesson…What? I almost fell out of my chair. This is a significant turn around for him. So glad I did some research and have incorporated more story form math lessons as well as hands on, seems like we’re heading in the right direction.

Today was CUTTING SIDEWALKS.  We headed outside to the sidewalk and began following along with the book using chalk to cut up the sidewalk rectangles into pieces. Starting with one line, How many pieces are made? How about three lines?

Do the same number of lines drawn always have the same amount of segments? He tried drawing 5 lines in different ways to find out!

After gathering his data. We headed inside and I asked him to write down a few definitions as we talked about a Line, line segments and partitioning.

Next in keeping with the topic of partitioning, we used popsicle sticks and a round tray to begin cutting it up.  I asked questions like: If you had 4 guests how could you cut the cake evenly for all your guests? How about 6 guests? Ok, even numbers are pretty easy to divide. What about 11 guests? And so on….

Preschool Play with Math and Language

  Living Math is a great introduction to the world of math and mathematical concepts. I find the younger years so easy to incorporate those skills, but we’re doing great using Living Math for my older son as well.-Ideas and books are listed under the Living Math tab.

In the preschool years most of the math is actually done through play.  Counting, stacking, sorting, and balancing, patterns and matching are all fun activities that develop mathematical reasoning.  Several times over the last couple of days, my two year old has been busy with math and language skills! I have math mats that I have printed out with various “counters.”  He loves the glass mancala beads and matches up the number dots with his counters. I count aloud as he places down each bead, and more times than not, he will repeat.

After he had filled all the cards, he dumped out the entire jar, filled with beads and buttons, etc.! But, it gave me the next math idea…. I spy game! I took out a big piece of contact paper and poured them all on top (just to keep them still) and then said “I spy three green buttons, can you find them?” We counted them out together. And so on… pointing out colors, shapes and sizes.

I spy one large white button with a hole in the middle!

This morning I pulled out a file folder game made with number cards from the dollar store. Easy math match game! Contact numbers 1 to 10, and let him match the numbers! Again, I say the numbers out loud for repetition!

Early Language and Literacy games:

Well, even though the previous were math games, literacy is involved through speech and general conversation! However, with a bit more structure and focus on pre-literacy- I am continuing to introduce letters to him each week. The letter A is still fun for him and empowering him at the moment, since he can now recognize and say A is for Apple with a proud look.  Today I printed out cards Aa and we played hide and seek with the letter Aa. I hid them all around the living room and he was thrilled to go looking for them. I repeatedly (on purpose) yelled A! Where are you?

A great site for early language is Starfall– fun, interactive and focuses on phonics.

A Prime Nature Walk

 

Tossed aside all planned lessons today and went for a nature walk. It was a bit drizzly outside, but not enough to deter us from heading outdoors. We went to Haley Farm State Park an old shoreline farm. So glad we did! We saw a ton of interesting things and it was filled with beautiful wildflowers too.

I brought along our book, The Handbook of Nature Study, so we could identify things along the way, like this Cup-shaped puffball mushroom.  Luke who’s 2yrs,  pointed out the next one when I asked him which one matched in the book. I was impressed that he got it!

 

There was tons of Milkweed growing along the path and we took an up- close look at a Milkweed pod as well! Felt the texture and read some facts from the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we made our way around we found some great rocks to climb on and take a short break.

 

 

 

 

By the shoreline was very pretty and the boys explored a bit and went right down to the water.

The next thing was spotted by Liam, he found these two cocoons, not sure what type of cocoons they are, but they were neat to see!

Now this last find was so cool! As we were just about to end our trip we spotted this Orange Garden Spider and web! Again, we grabbed the book to find out exactly what we were looking at and read some facts on this spider and it’s cool pattern in the web!

Needless to say, this was a great way to start the day today! We came home and did some art activities with leaves we collected.

 

 

Shel Silverstein Poetry Math

I did much research this weekend on Living Math.  How to apply it, what exactly does it mean and how to begin transitioning over along with a million other questions I had running through my mind! I’ve done lessons here and there that I’d consider Living Math, but not as a my typical method or style.  I found a ton of information and I have many Living Math books on their way. So with new knowledge, ideas and some much needed inspiration-  we kicked it off today with some Poetry Math using two of Shel Silverstein poems! (if interested, just type in a search, found many pdf’s) Under my Living Math tab, I have listed many books and links on this subject.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read the first poem The Googies are Coming, and with the use of our change jar in front of us, we answered the follow up math questions as well as some of my own questions I had for him. He loved it! I actually heard the words “this is fun” come out of his mouth! Words that don’t usually go hand in hand with this 8yr old and math! For the last question on the sheet I grabbed the calculator and showed him how to actually add up a total using the decimal point key, and reminded him to always add it up twice before making your final answer. Normally, I would not take out the calculator for math, but I did read about introducing the different buttons on it and teaching children how to use them. He can add mentally as a rule so I thought the added calculator to the lesson would be a switch and he’d learn another little something. We proceeded on to the next poem Smart and finished the follow-up math questions on this poem as well.

I also use Life of Fred for math and we did a Chapter in that book as well today. The lesson in today’s chapter was about seeing patterns in things. Such as a game of Which of these things is not like the others. Example: 7  36   8    1/2  in which you can see, could be any of them depending on your thought process!  He chose to say the 1/2 because it was a fraction, to which I said is correct, but it could also be 36, it’s a double digit, could be 7 it’s an odd number…and so on.

I took out a workbook for a Grammar lesson next and said there is a lot here, why don’t you just do the first column. He said “hold on” muttered to himself aloud….there’s 24 here, 12 in each row….cut that in half…that’s 6.…How about I do 6 in each column then? Absolutely! Great math buddy!

 

American Heroes

 

September 11th, the perfect time to talk about American heroes, America and The Flag. With today being Patriot Day, I started off on a lesson on how this day came to be. We read a kid friendly outline on what happened here in America on 9/11/01 here on this website along with a short video on the Attack of the Twin Towers. Which led us into a discussion on everyday heroes and who helped us that day and everyday! What it means to be a true American Hero.

As it would be, Liam is in Boy Scouts and had “homework” after his first meeting this week to find two famous and or great Americans and tell things they did or are doing to help improve our way of life.  This tied in perfectly with today.  He’s still working on the second famous/great American, but he without hesitation chose two of our family friends who are both in the army as his first great Americans. He said “Well, my first one is going to be Crissy and Jr., because they help us everyday.” I said “that’s a great choice, how do they help improve our lives?” To which he said “well, they fight for us and protect us in our country.” We both were amused that the print out was a male and female too, worked out perfectly.

Next we read “The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner By the Dawns Early Light” by Steven Kroll

Great story on how the song became the national anthem. Stating with the War of 1812, historically accurate details and beautiful pictures.

We then listened to the song and he sang along via video on youtube.

 

 

I am not usually one to teach with worksheets, however I did come across these and liked them.  Great time line for the American flag, vocabulary words and definitions on the Pledge of Allegiance, poem about the flag. I found them on Education.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continued on with math, took a little break, did some straw blowing art, then wrapped up the morning with some more reading of “The Wind in the Willows” I had made up a book/character study sheet for him to use as we read, trying to get him to connect with the story and characters as well as be aware of essential parts of a book. He’s not overly thrilled but we’ll see if it ends up being a useful tool in the end?! He says he likes to just listen, so I explained it’s just like taking a few notes as we read, not to write sentences and with that he seemed more into it, and wrote more than I had expected.

 

Free Educational Resources

Here are some free sites for books and other online educational freebies! I use most of these, some more than others.  A few are geared toward homeschooling, but can be enjoyed by anyone just the same! If you have   favorite that needs to be added, let me know! Check back often as I will update and add to the list as I come across new sites/resources!

Elementary Math:

Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching- (MEP)

Fun for the brain-mulitplication

Math Fact Cafe

Mothmatic Math-online game

Book and Language:

International Children’s Digital Library

Magic Tree House

Shel Silverstein

Dr. Suessville
We Give Books

Kids Literature

Links and Living Books-lists

Usborne

Shakespeare for kids

Online Mad Libs- Wacky Web Tales

History:

Scholastic-colonial times

History for Kids

British Culture

Lego Castle

Civil War

The Middle Ages

Science:

50 Birds and more

Animals Myths and Legends

Nature Detectives

Kids Biology

National Geographic for kids

Space Place-NASA kids

Biology for Kids

Bats for Kids

Art/Music:

Olga’s Gallery

Classics for Kids Music

National Gallery of Art for Kids

Norman Rockwell Museum

Getty Games-Art Museum

Social Studies and Geography:

Heifer International-build a better world

Connecticut Kids

Social Studies for Kids

Foreign Language:

Spanish for Children

Foreign Language printable worksheets

Online Educational Game Sites:

Funbrain

Brainpop jr

Brainpop

Poptropica

Covers all Subjects!:

Some of these are not free, but can be used for ideas, resource and finding supplies. Easy Peasy is totally free and a complete curriculum.

Easy Peasy-  

Simply Charlotte Mason

Queen Homeschool Supply

The Tanglewood School Supply

An Old Fashion Education

Head of the Class

Oak Meadow

Documentary Tube

education.com

neok12-site that has videos on all subjects

Discovery Kids

Wonder Struck, Mapping and More!

I found by chance a link to scholastic on  Colonial Times yesterday while doing a general search on the topic. So, this is what we started our day with today! We began with reading   “A Journey to the New World” under the Scrapbook tab. It gave a brief journal type overview of the early settlement. Found within the scrapbook, is a section for crafts and recipes, in it we found one on making old paper.  This link will bring you to the recipe.

We headed to the kitchen and made the paper, quick project using coffee and tea. Later after it dried my oldest wrote a letter to his grandparents on it. One of his sentences tells them to smell the paper ;).  He chose to write a letter vs. doing his grammar notebook with out a second thought! He hates to write, but if it’s somewhat of a fun twist, he’ll go for it with minimal grumbles!

While we dried our paper in the oven I pulled out the big map of the U.S. as we continue to learn about each of the 50 states for Geography, as well as our current topic of water in Science.  I blended the two as we had the map out in front of us. I found a variation of this idea on pinterest and just tweaked it a bit. I had him study the map and point out different sources of water, land and water forms. Using blue construction paper to resemble the water, and using green play-doh as the land, I asked him to form these different types and label them.

While the map was still out I handed him a print out of the U.S. found online via my sister. We have read about two states so far, so I had him locate them and color them in and use the states abbreviation to label. Going forward we will fill in as we go along.

Next we read a favorite ” A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle. As I read aloud I asked him to look on and draw from the book. I gave him oil pastels to use, and he thought they were a bit tricky. If you’ve never used them, they are! But all in all I think it came out really well and he was pleased too. I am trying to insert art in various ways with exposure to many mediums in hopes to find one he really likes. He likes to do art, but it’s not high on his list of favorites. Being that I love the arts, I am going to be persistent mostly because I know it can be such a huge tool for children as a creative outlet! My toddler worked on his fine motor skills, playing- bird catching the worm! I cut up pieces of yarn and ribbon, gave him a clothes pin to use as the bird beak and he had to pick up his worms and place them in a “nest”. He kept holding the clothes pin upside down though! I kept trying to correct him but he insisted on using it that way and honestly it worked! They ended up being more like chopsticks I guess?!

After lunch we finished reading “Wonder Struck”! 600 pages later, we made it to the end! We both enjoyed it very much. Wonderful and creative story line-amazing!! I honestly just discovered the above link for it too as I was looking for a link to the book itself…think I know what we’re going to explore later on!

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I also came across a Lego site for Castles this morning and showed my oldest, not surprisingly he played on there for a while, reading the story book, playing games and making his own coat of arms, etc.

Now this afternoon, we’ll probably head to our home away from home…the library!

Have a nice day!

Coat of Arms and Caterpillars

As we progress in our Early Middle Ages studies, my oldest asked to make his own coat of arms today, especially after watching a movie yesterday.  I talked to him about the symbolism of  the  family shields and asked him to think about that and make a plan.  We researched colors and their meanings as well as animals and their symbolism and he began his design.

He was adamant about having the dragon on his shield and chose four of them, because it would represent each member in our family.  He chose to put red behind the family for strength, orange and gray stripes to represent zest and fun, strength and support. He also chose the color green because he loves nature and was trying to decide on a bird to place on it as well. After several thoughts, he found a nice picture of the Robin and said, that’s what I’ll use, it’s our state bird, so that perfect! This lesson turned out to be much more than I had originally thought as I watched his thought process and loved hearing him speak of why these colors and pictures were chosen. He did a great job!

My toddler did some creative work as well this morning. Once he saw the paints out on the table he was ready to get going! I went down to our cardboard collection and saw the egg carton and immediately thought..caterpillar! I asked him if he wanted to make a caterpillar and he said “aww, a pillar! ya!” So he got to painting and then I helped him to glue on two buttons for eyes and two sticks for the antenna. After doing these projects we jumped into grammar, math and some geography and read a chapter in our newest book from the library and continued to read “Wonder Struck”, we are nearing the end and starting to see how these two lives are going to intertwine! I think I might just be a little more excited to find out how it all comes together than he is!

Weekend Visitors

An American Goldfinch came to our backyard feeders this weekend. We have two feeders set just outside our picture window, and this male goldfinch made several visits! My oldest new this bird’s identity already and did not need to use his guide book, so we just marked the date in his book and read a few facts. This fact in particular had both boys giggling: The goldfinch’s twittering sounds like potato-chip, potato-chip!

We also spotted spiders and many webs around the house as we took a walk around the yard.  I’m not a fan of spiders in any way but, this one was pretty neat to see.  This web, and several of the others were just amazing and huge! I do not know what type this is however, and upon a quick look at types of spiders  via internet, I was grossed out! Sorry!

We have a book about nature projects for kids, and in it is a project on how to collect spiders’ webs! First find a large web, spray hairspray on it, shake talcum powder over the web, spray again, then slide your paper behind it and lift up! The web sticks right to the paper and with the powder on it, you can really check out the design pattern!