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

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!

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!

Dinosaur Park Adventure

Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, Rocky Hill,...

Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, USA. Close-up of dinosaur prints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, Rocky Hill,...

Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, Rocky Hill, Connecticut, USA. General view of dinosaur prints. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful day, with a last minute thought to head out to Dinosaur State Park.

We had the company of my sister and her three boys joining us, a total of 5 enthusiastic boys!

When we first arrived, we headed indoors first for a hands-on look at dinosaurs and the different types of footprints and fossils on how to “read” and study them. For example, we explored one station that explained how to determine if the tracks showed a pack with young ones traveling, or if it suggested that a dinosaur was running.

Next up was a snake Q and A outdoors in the small ampitheater. The children and parents all gathered around to hear all about the snakes habitat and how his environment conditions are very crucial to these animals as well as other animals.  It was interesting. We headed back inside to continue exploring in the classroom- two animals on site, crafts, puzzles, puppets, and made footprint bookmarks as a souvenir! Then the Bill Nye movie started, featuring Volcanoes! As you  can imagine boys and volcanoes go together! They all sat and watched this short film and came out with many theories of their own! Think we’ll be doing another volcano experiment in the near future 🙂

Picnic lunch outdoors, then we were off for a hike on a couple of the trails! First stop at the butterfly garden, which was apparently a very peaceful area as the older boys all began to spontaneously meditate! We continued along on the swamp trail, spotting frogs and various plants. The trail was very pretty and had information boards posted along the way. As we neared the ending we could see the boys all still had plenty of energy so we decided to explore another trail. We set out on the wildflower trail next (which ended up being about a 30-40 min hike) beautiful flowers, trees and sounds to take in. Even spotted a rabbit who quickly ran for cover! We listened to different bird songs, spotted some birds, bugs and insects, examined and listened to ideas on how and why this big tree we came upon was turned over with it’s roots as equal in height as the older boys.  We spotted different “faces” in the trees trunk- “bat”, “scary face”,” owl ” and a “spider.” By the time we ended this trail it was time to head home!

Think we’ll return again soon though! Maybe we’ll bring supplies and make a fossil of our own on the next trip!

If you’re in the area, definitely stop by for a visit, there is so much to do there!

First Day of Summer Break

Love of Great Books

A rainy day that cancelled our weekly happy homeschooler’s hike.  So instead we went and did errands then watched a movie together as I worked on a book list containing our favorite books from this past year. Then started my new daily journal here!

We started this past year doing mostly eclectic homeschooling and as I researched and observed my sons learning style and what I found I liked most about homeschooling..it was a no brain-er! We slowly transitioned into the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling! Sitting a reading books aloud is and has always been one of my favorite things to do!

Growing up my mother always took us for trips to the library and then read our favorites to us each night. I believe this is where my love of great stories comes from. It was my favorite time of the day, just sitting together on my bed and hearing the stories and sharing laughs. My all time favorite as a child was Muffin, Brown bear and Me (as you see in the photo) My mother found the book and gave it to me as a gift not so long ago. A true treasure from my childhood!

I see why the Charlotte Mason method spoke volumes to me. I have always treasured the time spent reading books and love to hear a great story and retained information much better through a story as well as hands-on. It didn’t take to long to see these were two learning styles my oldest son enjoys as well. As for my youngest, he’s two, so we’re still exploring everything!!

So, as we move forward into the next “school year” we will share all the great stories we read and all the great hands-on activities we get our hands into!

So, please I encourage you to follow along with us on our journey!