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

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!

 

 

The Cricket in Times Square- Elephant Math

The past two weeks we have been reading The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon.  A cricket who finds himself transported from Connecticut to New York’s Times Square when trapped inside a picnic basket.  We follow him through many adventures and meet his new friends along with him.

square  cricket

We live in Connecticut and visited Times Square last year as a family, so after a quick reminder of our trip and watching a video on Times Square, we had a discussion of the two places and the FEEL of them. As Liam gets older I really want him to start connecting with the stories just a little bit more and so we talked quite a bit about how the cricket must feel after coming from a quiet grassy country side to the loud busy city.  I also started a new writing/spelling lesson as we go through the book chapter by chapter. He is keeping a Writing Response Journal. The purpose is to record personal experiences, explore reactions and interpretations, record and analyze. To think about the book and connect literature to his own life.

We are up to Chapter 8 and here are a couple of his entries so far:

“The best Character yet is Tucker Mouse. ”

“I think Chester and Tucker are Friends now. Chester is from Ct.”

“This Chapter is SO FUNNY! I liked Sai Fong.”

Elephant Math:

We are just finishing up our Unit on Ancient India and came upon this great Living Math idea in a handbook I have called A trip Around The World.

Tradition in ancient India called for respect of all forms of life. Asian or Indian elephants are dressed in a small house called howdahs. Many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are created for these wild animals.  With many interesting facts about elephants we answered some mathematical questions about them.

ele math The bull elepjant stands 9-10 feet tall and weighs approx. 8,00 pounds.

Weigh 5 textbooks and determine how many would equal the weight of one elephant?!

eleph math

The skin of an elephant is about 1 1/2 inch thick and weighs about 2,000 pounds.

How many sheets of paper are equal to the thickness of an elephants skin?

What fraction of the elephant’s weight is its skin?

We ended up meeting fellow homeschool friends at the zoo and seeing the elephants there.

Science:

lightlight reflect

light game

This week Argon was added to the Elements folder. The boys watched a video on how a light bulb is made. Played a game on reflecting light VS. absorbing light and tried it out in the bedroom with a mirror.  Liam drew light bulb and added it into the pocket, then finished the week with an online quiz!argon light pocket

Another fun/busy week! We plan on heading out to meet a small group today for some outdoor games! Enjoy your day!

 

Ask Mr. Bear Unit

luke bookLuke  “spent” a week at the farm!

luke barn

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!

color puffplaydough stick

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

luke egg

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?

rain walkrain walk a

 

 

 

 

Art: Tractor Painting and Cow spot prints

 

The Magic Peach Unit

liam books

The Magic Peach by Janet Palazzo-Craig, a folktale from Japan that teaches admirable qualities. Peach Boy has many!

Go-Along Books: A-Z Japan, How’s the Weather?, Weather and Climate, World Atlas Book

Math: This week was combined with the topic of weather and so Liam did a Mathbooking Weather Journal! Words Worth Money Game- using a list of Good Qualities Peach boy. Money game for travel.words worthlaim math a 6X table copywork.

liam math

Language Arts: Japanese Picture Cards, Tanka and Haiku Poetry, Listing good qualities of Peach Boy, and one about himself. Japanese and English Words. The Tongue-Cut Sparrow folktale story. Read-Aloud this weeks story. Writing Japanese Kanji! Awesome Alliterations after our weather walk from Nature Detectives. kanji

Crafts/Art: Cherry Blossom Prints, Clay Model Shape of  Japan, Pipe Cleaner: Action and Expression Study, Noted; the boy looked strong, the parents looked tired and hard-working.

liam art

liam claymappipe studystudy ch

 

 

 

Health and Fitness: Yoga and a Wet Weather Walk

rain walk  rain walk a

 

 

 

 

We searched for things to add to our Awesome Alliteration Sheets! This is what Liam came up with:

Wet Walk-Broken Branches- Soaking Seeds-Slushy Snow- Under Umbrellas

 

Social Studies/History: Japanese Customs in the home, Religion in Japan, Animals, Buildings and Cities in Japan, Dress, Exports and Food of Japan. Government, History and Important People of Japan.

Geography: Land, Maps of Japan. Weather Maps.

Science/Nature: Weather Focus: Made a cloud Jar. Does a Peach Float? Cloud Experiment and journal sketch. Air and Air Pressure. Weather Forecasts!

liam cloudcloud typefloat peachrain cloud

 

Luke’s Campsite/ Liam’s TeePee

luke campA simple request of Luke’s this morning, turned into a whole day of camping! He asked me to make him a tent, marshmallows, sticks and a fire.  He sat and roasted a few marshmallows and I joined him inside his tent since he was so eager to show me. It didn’t take long before Liam had the idea of being the wolf who creeps in at night and steals the food from us! He even got some paper and drew some food items to keep by the fire that he would creep in and get before we could wake up and catch him.  This went back and forth for awhile, then Liam and Luke went camping together and we had use of  Luke’s sound machine and turned it to the “thunderstorm” setting. The boys had to quickly find shelter and then the sun came up (lights on) and we turned the sound to “stream” and Liam the wolf was able to catch fish in the nearby steam for lunch.

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On a similar note, Liam worked on making a Teepee this morning for his scouts. He copied the template, and once assembled he began thinking of how to decorate it. He wanted a river and then we looked up Native American symbols and he chose, The Hunger Moon-February Moon. I helped him draw the symbol and he worked on lining the river with rocks and drawing the other details. I had some nature stickers and he chose the bird sticker to go on the door.  It came out pretty good!

 

The Giving Tree on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013

I decided to take out a favorite book of mine and the boys – The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein today and use it as our base for all activities in lieu of Valentine’s Day.  gtreecI have read this story many times myself, so thought it was a good idea for them to hear it from the author himself : found here on youtube: The Original “73 Movie

After we listened to the story I had Liam complete two worksheets found here on Education.com  

He labeled the tree parts and then recalled each item the tree gave to the boy and what the boy used it for. Then thought of things the tree gives as gifts, such as food and paper, oxygen and shelter.

I then took an art activity we had used at Halloween time and tweaked it a bit to go along with The Giving Tree.

First the boys painted the “ground” flipping a paper plate over and used greens and brown for the forest floor.

Then using a brown paper sandwich bag, they each stuffed tissue paper into the bottom of the bag for a base of the tree.  Then twist the bag just above the base. Next cut long strips going down the bag for branches. Then they used a bit of glue on their hands and twisted each strip to form the individual branches.

While they worked on this part, I cut out foam shapes for leaves, stopping to help Luke out once in awhile with his branches.  They glued the leaves on, used a piece of red tissue paper for the apple and added a heart to the tree just like in the story!

They came out awesome!! gtreeagtreeb