Nature of homeschooling- What’s the meaning behind the name?

I would say I began homeschooling with a leap of faith…I had no idea what it really entailed or what it would come to mean for myself and my family.  As all things new to us, I did research: library books, connected with the one person I knew at the time who had homeschooled her children from the get go, felt out the support from those around me and…jumped into it. Sink or swim, here we go!

Well, that was almost 7 years ago now, and though I took some time off from blogging, the name of my blog has always brought me back to why we began homeschooling in the first place. I guess you could say the name and meaning of  “Nature of Homeschooling” has several key meanings to me.

  1. When my oldest asked me to homeschool him (I had never even thought of the possibility of homeschooling) he… I guess you could say WE were struggling through the “normal” routines of society- you go to school and I work 40 hours a week like most families…that’s how life goes, right?!  Well, we were both stressed out. He was bored at school, I was stressed at work. Family time was minimal (quality family time) etc., etc.- So,  The best advice I had gotten was, ” If you want to homeschool, then you CAN do it!” It’s a natural occurance…you naturally teach your child everyday, and children are naturally curious and learn naturally each day. Image result for nature is our greatest teacher quotes
  2. The second meaning of the name for me is that I want my children to spend as much time outdoors as possible! We hike as often as possible and learn something new each time. The quote above is one of my favorites! I also wanted my children to learn at their own pace. As homeschoolers you often here people ask “Aren’t you worried they ‘ll be behind?” My response, “Behind Who?” Do you think every 10, 20 or 50 year old have exactly the same knowledge? To me as long as I see them making personal accomplishments and setting their own goals- I’m good!

So….Long story short: nature is an important part of our homeschool, children are natural learners, we are all in this journey called life on our own path and we might as well enjoy it.  Nature is our greatest teacher! -Simple, Natural -Balanced and ever-changing and growing!

Image result for nature is our greatest teacher quotes

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Circle the Stars

This morning we started with an alphabet rhyme from A to Z. I saw it in a movie or a show a few days ago (though I can not remember where exactly) and thought it would be a fun way to start the day.  We sat in a circle and went around alphabetically completing the phrase- goes something like this:

Allie went to Alaska with Apples-Bob went to the Bahamas with Brussel sprouts, all the way to -Zander went to Zimbabwe with Zebras!

Some letters were pretty hard! 🙂

We then listened to an audio book about a  Dragon, a story called Dragon Rider .  Dragons must find refuge as the humans are planning to destroy their valley, on his journey he meets a boy named Ben and they become a team!

Liam then went on to finish the last two chapters in his podcast he’s been listening to. He really enjoyed it and learned a lot of science and history along the way. Luke and I worked on the “ap” family on Reading Eggs, then math in a workbook about Space, which then led to him drawing up his own constellation! -A platypus constellation named “John, the platypus.”

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This morning I set out an entire table with some hands on math activities, so they did some work with the  geo-board, fractions and multiplication activities.


We have used the Waldorf style multiplication circles before and reintroduced them to Luke who was very young the last time they were out. It is a great skip counting way to practice the multiplication facts. Liam went through each one and showed him and refreshed his memory as well. For Luke’s reference I also had the facts written out in flowers and the completed stars laid out on the table.

The boys also read a short multiplication “M” poem out of our LMNOP book and watched some birds out back for a bit, then they made their lunch and listened to an American History Story about the start of the revolutionary war based on how taxes currently work in our society.

And, that wraps up our morning, I’m sure there will be some Minecraft played this afternoon as it has made a big come back in this house!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

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.

Napatree Point & Math Game Mistake

In planning for today’s lesson, I read ahead in our newly bought book Math for Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns, I found a the game $1.00 word search. The $1.00 word search is to find words in the book that equal a dollar by giving each letter a cent value: A = 1 cent, B= 2 cents and so on. So, I thought it would be fun and a great way to combine spelling and math together if we came up with our own words and added them up to see if we could make a $1.00 word.  I printed out the alphabet and labeled each letter with the appropriate value.

Within the chapter is says there is a Halloween word worth one dollar so he started coming up with words and adding them up, he came close, but no dollar! “Mummies” was the closest we came but it was over by one cent! After several more words, he decided to line them all up in ABC order…. Aha!! Mom! you missed a number here! – I had skipped a number while labeling them! So, Mummies was the word after all since I had made the mistake in numbering them!! ;p Guess I do not do my best prep work at 6am! But it was fun just the same and he actually learned a double lesson…. one number off can throw the whole thing!

Next we watched a video on New England which tied in both History and Geography.  The tour guide on the video stopped at many different historical places within New England and talked to the heritage of the area.

Moving on: At our most recent visit to the library, the Librarian asked what grade my oldest was in, to which I responded, Well, we homeschool, so he’s 3/4th grade I’d say.  She says, I thought you might with this selection of book ;)- would he be interested in joining our book club for 4/5 ers? There is a group of about 11 of that 8 are homeschoolers. Sure! So, we read the first chapter in his book club book titled Dial – a – Ghost by Eva Ibbotson.

We then got ready and headed out to hike along Napatree Point Conservation Area, a trail along the Narragansett Bay and the Ocean. The area is filled with history and provides a habitat for many species/bird watching.  It was absolutely beautiful, quiet and peaceful at this time of year.

Just a few locals were out and about. On the beach only a few other people were roaming and picnicking/dog walking. We did get to see many birds, sea creatures, shells and rocks as well as tons of beautiful butterflies!

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.

 

 

Family Field Trip-Grossology!

We decided to take a field trip today.  My husband had the day off from work and wanted to get out and do something together.  So we took the boys to the Ecotarium!

This is an indoor and outdoor science museum.  Lots of wildlife animals, outdoor trails, and hands-on exhibits and a train ride around the grounds!

Grossology is the featured exhibit right now and yep, you guessed it! It’s gross! The discovery of all the gross things your body does! Smells, slime, sounds and ooze! They played games against each other, got to smell things, hear things and learn why and how the body works from the inside out!

In the weather area, the boys tried out the wind machine to feel just how fast it feels during a hurricane! Liam tried climbing the rock wall while Luke and I played with the different effects wind has and how it carries and forms around different objects in nature!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside we had fun making bubbles using different shapes and tools.  Said hi to the porcupine and skunk and snakes!  Then the boys tried out a Crow’s nest and sat on some eggs! We visited several animals inside and out, turtles, fox, several types of birds and my favorite the otters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
A stop by the gift shop before leaving, Luke chose three baby turtles and Liam got some tasty astronaut ice cream. Fun and educational with the family= day well spent!

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!