Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished~Lao Tzu

Last week our hiking friends contacted us, as we had not been able to join the group for our weekly hikes for a couple of months now. Gratefully, they were flexible and accommodating to our availability this week and we met for a two-part hike yesterday.  The quote “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” fits perfectly as our hike was one of the longest yet; 7hrs on the trails!

-Haley Farm State Park and Bluff Point State Park-

Upon our arrival our friends were there to meet us as well as a new family! It was great to see our older family and we immediately hit it off  with the new family.  We set out and the boys all ran ahead, grabbed sticks, talked about legos and such 🙂 It wasn’t too long before they spotted a nesting area in the woods and took guesses on who’s home it may be. We then stopped by the water’s edge and they climbed along the rocks- the imagination and conversations never stopped!

Next, they all spotted a huge boulder to explore and had a quick quiz on what type of rock it was and how it was formed. A few of the puddles surrounding the rock had baby spiders  in them! They all loved this find!

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We headed out took a new path that led us to a foot bridge over the train tracks and as luck would have it, the train came by. As we continued walking the boys continued with games; hiding behind trees, climbing rocks spotting different specimens to examine and throwing rocks into a small body of water we came across. We stopped for a snack, explored some rocks and shells then turned back to head towards the cars….again many stops for exploring, conversations and climbing rocks!

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Once back at the cars, we decided to head over to Bluff Point about five minutes down the road for a picnic lunch. It was only down the street, but the difference in temperature was drastic! We all had to bundle up as the wind was pretty constant and cold by the picnic tables. As we all cleaned up and re-packed our bags for our next hike, the boys had gathered their legos and started a new games chasing each other around and making plans for a get together to trade pieces with eacNew Image09h other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once everyone was ready (many bathroom trips and last minute adjustments later) we headed out to make our way to the Bluff. As we came to the first beach area, the boys found many rocks to collect, jellyfish and clam shells to explore, etc. This stayed true for the entire walk! We kept joking that we were going to be hiking back in the dark! A normal hours walk out to the bluff turned into  about a two hour walk- We finally made it to the bluff, took some photos and then headed down to the rocky coast just down below for some more explorations and a lesson on types of rocks as one of the parents has vast knowledge on rocks and their formations.

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At this point the sun was starting to set, so we started to head back. We were using flashlights by the time we made it to the parking lot! It was a beautiful sunset and a great way to have spent our day! A round of hugs for all, plans to get together soon-we were off! Nothing was rushed, and everything was accomplished!

 

 

 

 

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Wrapping up a whirl-wind week!

With the hurricane this week, we didn’t get a whole lot accomplished, but we ended on a good note! We were only without power for two days which was very lucky when compared to what others were and still are without and struggling with as I sit in my warm living room with all family members safe and sound.

It’s funny how things work in retrospect, I was feeling unmotivated and not really enthused by my lesson plans last week and this week…so this morning I jumped online to search the library catalog and find some inspiration as well as pulling out my original outline for the year.  I found several books I ‘m excited for and they just so happened to co-inside with a few of today’s lessons.

Today we did a Chapter in LOF for math multiplying 10’s, 100’s and 1,000’s.  I also used our money flash cards and asked him to use real coins to match the total cents using other combination of coins other that those featured on the card.  Both were fairy simple lessons and not too challenging for him, so I think I’ll go ahead with the idea that popped into my head while lying awake last night… making some multiplication wheels with paper plates and begin introducing/reviewing some facts. I also found some great lessons on ratio’s in the I hate mathematics! book.  So I ‘m feeling some motivation there….

Next up, we did some science reading some books on Sea Otters.  A great book called Sea Otters by Peter Murray, featured lots of great facts on life, diet and behavior etc.  We also read Otter on His Own by Doe Boyle, a fictional story with factual information that led us into a discussion on the differences between river otters and sea otters and the climates they prefer. Again, perfect lead into next week as I plan to discuss hibernation upon finding the books: Going Home: The Mystery of Animal Migration by Marianne Berkes and Over in the Artic: where the cold winds blow-( same author)

In History as we discover the Westward Expansion, I read the next chapter in the book Westward Ho! The story of the Pioneers by Lucille Recht Penner. Today’s chapter featured Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett led us into the discussion of tall tales which funny enough is the next genre of literature I picked to start next week! I chose The enormous egg by Louis Darling.

I’ve been slack in our studies of the middle ages so I found the story The World of Quest by Jason T. Kruse.  I’ll say we’ve also switched gears a bit for Geography as well, seems we’ve not really stuck to the plan of one featured state a week and sort of got off track and did a lot just on New England. To regroup a bit I decided to do a general study on the 50 States and found Our 50 States: a family adventure across America by Lynne Cheney and Celebrate the 50 states by Loreen Leedy.

Here’s hoping to get back on track with some motivational books and topics! 🙂

Willow Branch Lantern

 

With all the beautiful fall leaves falling to the ground I was in search of a fun and different fall craft to do today. I found this Leaf Lantern idea! Over the weekend I purchased the willow sticks at the local craft store as we already had all the other materials on hand.

First I asked him to measure out four equal sized sticks for the base and two cross pieces for the bottom. Then four tall and equal sticks for the pyramid shape which we tied together and then began adding cross pieces to strengthen and add design to the lantern as it will show through when lit.  He read the directions out loud, step by step with some team work as it does get tricky attaching all the pieces we got the base completed.

Next he tore pieces of tissue paper, he chose red and layered them across the sticks to cover it in it’s entirety.  The instructions called for an actual tea light candle, but we are using a battery operated one! The last touch was to gather leaves from outside and add them to the top of the lantern-done! It took roughly an hour’s worth of work, and looks really neat!

Heifer International Farm Visit

We visited Overlook Farm again today for the Harvest Festival. This is a working Learning Center that is part of Heifer International. In a previous post called Moo-ving project you can view our other visit.

Today we had the best experience with the kids learning hands on global issues concerning hunger and poverty. The farm had hay rides, lots of activities for the children, scavenger hunts and we walked through to explore the homes in the Global Village and learn about traditional harvest celebrations in Peru, Poland, Kenya and more. There was also a delicious lunch prepared from the farms products! My oldest was really able to see the process from garden to table! Though I really didn’t think about “schooling” today we walked away with a lot of new knowledge! All of us!

Heifer offers free Global Education kits. They are amazing- I speak from experience! We took action after using the kit and raised money to buy a few Living Gifts!

If you are able to take a field trip, please do so! Here are the locations. We live about and hour and a half away, but so worth the trip every time!

Older children and those of 18 and older can volunteer and live on or off the farm! My oldest who’s eight already has said many times, he wants to volunteer as soon as he is old enough!

The Scavenger Hunt took us a while! This was one of the clues : There are many purple plants in the garden, and although I’m one of the smallest, none of the other purple plants smell as good as I do or have prettier flowers. If you can find the other purple plants, write them down but be sure to  get one leaf from me and smell it! I taste particularly good with tomatoes and mozzarella.

Really make you think and look closely! We got all 12 of them! Whew!

Garden Scavenger Hunt

View of the cattle

Making a bees wax candle

Playing Instruments Together

Guinea pig in Peru

Learning to weave a bookmark

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!

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!

A couple of Bumps,Birds and Sunflowers

 

We began our morning with math today, this is the subject that gets the most complaints, so I figured lets dive in and move on! This is a new program for us, so I wasn’t sure where to begin, we are using Singapore Math and started with 3A. After three days starting with exercise one, we jumped up to 14, which was more like where we left off last year.  Only a few grumbles, then we did indeed move on. I ordered a small book on spelling as most of his spelling comes from copywork, but I did want a backup source for those days that required something new to keep the campers happy. I have to say I do not like the pages or the exercises, so my thought is to use the word list for each week, if he can spell the word orally we move on to the next, if he’s not able to, he is to write it down and we will memorize it until he’s got it! There’s always a few bumps in the curriculum as the new year begins and getting a smooth routine going. Tweak this and change that, forget this and add that!

Part of this years studies are on the 50 states, and as we study them one by one, I am asking that as we go through a resource card is made with facts for quick referral when ever needed. He chose to write the state name and abbreviation on one side and the capitol and state bird on the backside. He loves birds, so I wasn’t surprised that this was one thing he wanted to remember! For this particular state he chose a yellow card to write in on because of the state bird, good choice!

He then asked if he could look through the rest of the book to see which bird was which for each state and proceeded to do so only to find himself questioning the book and saying this has to be wrong!…..some states have the same bird? Shouldn’t they each have a different one? I asked, so you think they made a mistake in the book? Go look it up on the computer then. So he did, and turns out that one bird is indeed the bird of more than one state! Ok, next!

After doing some writing, time for a creative break…. we studied Vincent van Gogh’s biography earlier in the week and I placed the picture of “Fourteen Sunflowers in a Vase” for a picture study, then grabbed his picture/art journal for him to apply his own artistic take on sunflowers.  He wanted to use markers, but I persuaded him to use colored pencils as it has a more “fine arts” appeal to them and not so “kiddish” as I put it. Well, his eyes lit up on that one! He always likes to feel more grown up… He to my surprise, planned it all out and took his time, and even asked how to make it look shaded around the sunflower seeds at the bottom. He was very proud of it and asked if I could take a picture of it to show everyone.  So here it is!

Vase with 12 sunflowers

Vase with 12 sunflowers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, my 2 year old is fascinated by trains, trucks, and anything else with wheels right about now! The only books I have taken from the library lately are all bout transportation! We read a whole pile together each night, I start, my husband finishes and he’s off to sleep. He helped me put tracks down and had certain spots he wanted either the tunnel or the bridges to go and he took it from there! Early math and language skills, perfect for a toddler!

We wrapped up the morning with the first chapter in “The Burgess Bird Book for Children” meeting Jenny Wren as she explains to Peter Rabbit why she’s been away all winter long.

Another great living book about birds! Very enjoyable, with gentle lessons on wildlife.  Next week we look forward to meeting, The Old Orchard Bully!

Then off to the dentist we went!

 

Camping Lake Side

 

My oldest son and I camped outdoors last night- first time for him. He’s been dying to try it but just a little to scared to actually spend the night outside.  My sister’s children have been asking as well, so she planned a camp out in her yard for all of us to “try it out.”  It ended up being a success- all children made it through the night, and seemed to have really enjoyed it!

The festivities began with some swimming and other water games they kept coming up with together. Followed by dinner, making S’mores (watching them hunt for sticks was amusing), lots of “glowing” games, reading a camping story together in the tent and sparklers. Concluded by star gazing!

Time for S’mores!

See my sparklers!?

Glow stick ring toss

Story Time

This camping things not to shabby! 🙂 Relaxed

Swimming together. Played games such as marco polo and other group games

Getting the fire started