Homeschool 2021/2022 School Year Choices {5th, 3rd, 1st, and K}

This homeschool year, we are starting slowly. This is the first year we have taken a full blown summer break … we have done maybe a week’s worth of school since the end of May, and filled some time with lap books and other fun schooling activities. We’ve really taken off the majority of days for pool time (because I just can’t resist!), gardening time & family trips; and we have loved every minute of it!

Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2021

Our main core as a family this year will be continuing through Sonlight Core D (Bible, History, and Read Alouds), which is American history. When we finish this core, we will move on to Core E, the second half of American history.  After doing several years of wold cultures and world history, we are very much savoring American history. I’d like to focus on President’s and state capitols this year. There are so many great read aloud, and readers for US History. Just not enough hours in the day for all the books!

I am also finishing reading through the P4/5 Core with my youngest 2. They will be K and 1st this year; they are less than 2 years a part, but one is a fall baby and one is summer, so they’re close in grade levels. We made the choice a long time ago to keep our fall babies back a grade (they don’t meet most cut offs anyway, and like many states we aren’t required to school until age 7). We are very happy with that decision; but I like them being the older in their “grade” for the purpose of Co-op, sports, and church activities. I will start Core A with them at naps and bedtime once they finish P 4/5.

Math- We will be using dating apps in chicago for our math, as always. My kindergartener will be using their K2 books, and I hope this bridges the gap between K math and 1st grade math for her. I will probably add in http://quietinthechaos.com/how-do-christians-feel-about-online-dating/  for her as well. I think CLE K2 combined with some math games and a little Saxon K, will be a fine math foundation.

Science- I just haven’t made up my mind here. I really love Apologia’s science programs. We would do theclean bandit dating if we go with Apologia … we really need to complete the Sonlight Science for Core D *but* every time we go to do the science, my kids already know  everything we are discussing (thanks Wild Kratts), so I just feel blah continuing with it. I know I don’t have to finish it, but I hate to leave it incomplete; also, it isn’t only animals and biology. Core D Science covers lots of other fun topics, so I should just persevere.

We will also add in No Sweat Nature Study again. We have really enjoyed these classes, and are building some great nature journals.

Language Arts- My beginning readers (K and 1st) will be using AAR plus The Good and the Beautiful. My older 2 will continue with The Good and The Beautiful, in levels 3 and 5. This includes spelling, some phonics, grammar, some writing, and geography. The 1st grader is a great reader, so lessons with her are pretty smooth. The K wants to read so badly, and was killing all the CVC words we practiced on our Florida vacation (during snuggles in the morning). So we are looking forward to her reading this year.

We add in Explode the Code, and Wordly Wise to our language arts. My children love both of these, and it does improve their skills, along with giving extra handwriting practice. I like them because of all this, plus they provide independent work for my children; so while I work with one student on language arts or math, the others have some independent work that keeps them on task.

Handwriting- We begin with Handwriting Without Tears, and after the PreK and K books, we move on to A Reason For Handwriting book K and then A. I like giving my children lots of good handwriting practice. They usually fly through both K books, but then Book A isn’t as difficult and they’re better readers by then, making the copywork easier. My 3rd grader is in their first cursive book. My 5th grader has done so many handwriting copyworb books, and she likes them so much. This year I got her the Memoria Press cursive book … I think it is a poetry copywork.

Extras- We are doing logic this year, with some workbooks I found on Rainbow Resource. They do problems logic in their math, but this is just extra practice; my husband wanted to be sure they were hitting logic, so we are going to try it this year.

My 5th grader is doing French from Memoria Press, which she is sooo excited about. I think I couldn’t given it to her for her birthday and she’s been just as excited. We are adding in some new sets of Brain Quest for fun, Fandex Presidents and States, and Kanoodle for a little brain teaser game.

We are using the Answers For Kids boxed set for our Bible discussions, along with the Heroes of History and Christian Heroes added to our morning basket time.

We are praying over our homeschool year that each step taken is led by the Lord, and that our words glorify Him. I am truly grateful for the blessing of our homeschool journey, even during the hard days (especially) or mornings when life feels heavy, I know the relationships we are building are worth it. At the end of the day, the math and reading, and science topics don’t save my children. Jesus does. And while we love learning (just one reason we homeschool), learning to love each other and serve one another on really hard days, is maybe one of the best things I can give my children. Or at least show them day in and day out.

I hope yall found this helpful. If you have any questions about what we do, or why/how we do it, let me know and I can go more in depth for you!

Are yall ready for the school year? Or school week? Or school semester/term?  You’ve got this mamas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2019/2020 Homeschool Year- 3rd grade

Instead of posting everything we are doing in one very overwhelming post, I thought I would break it down by grade level this year. I am late … I know. I’ve been in a deep first trimester exhaustion of random naps and no motivation beyond sleeping and eating. We’ve been sick with one stomach bug after another, and of course with 6 people in the house, it takes forever to get over 1 thing just in time for another to hit! (But I’ve stepped up my elderberry syrup and vitamin C game for the family, so hopefully the rest of the winter won’t be so bad).

And I’m feeling better now, that I’m closer to second trimester! Woo Hoo!

This year, my 9 year old is doing 3rd grade, for all intents and purposes.

Math- CLE Grade 3 math. We like this math so far because it is clean, simple, straight forward, and has students becoming more independent at an early age. I am involved in their lessons, but they aren’t dependent on me for learning 100%. I like this because one of our goals as homeschoolers is to create intrinsically motivated, self taught students who love to read and learn as they grow.

Grammar/Writing/Language Arts- This area is a little more gray. We are using The Good and the Beautiful, and also Easy Grammar (which we have reviewed before). For my 3rd grader, this is working out very well. I would like something that is a little more consolidated so I am not using 2 different programs (we don’t use the reading and spelling in TGTB). I’ve ordered BJU English which includes writing, grammar, and mechanics all in one book. I found it used for super cheap, just so I can look through it. We will see how it is, and may give it a try. Other than using 2 different programs, I *really* like TGTB and also Easy Grammar. Both bring a lot of their own qualities, and most importantly, my daughter enjoys both and does well with them.

Reading and Spelling- This is still All About Reading, and All About Spelling. We don’t really use AAR very often … she just doesn’t need it as much as spelling. I have started implementing he reading aloud to us from our History Core, so I can hear her reading, and help with any difficult words. She is a very fast reader, which is great when you’re studying or looking for key words in notes, or need specific info. But I want her to slow down and enjoy what she is reading, read with inflection, and wait for the good parts. haha  When she reads on her own, it is fast and for the purpose of finding out what happens … which is also great; however reading aloud is so beneficial and she is willing to do it with joy!

Homeschool 2019/202 3rd grade

All About Spelling is what we are working through with her brother, still. They just do it together since he is naturally a great speller, it is easy for them to do it together (and takes some pressure off of me to get one more thing done in the day).

Science– Oh dear science, how we love you. We have really slacked in science since last year, short of nature exploration. So it is my intention this winter to take this season of cold weather, and do a *LOT* more science. We will utilize Apologia’s Creation series because frankly, it is just so good. We love listening to the text on audio, and the activity book that goes along is also great. We have reviewed Astronomy and Anatomy, and really love both. I can’t wait to try their Botany and zoology series.

History/Bible/Read Alouds- This is Sonlight Core C for us, this year. We are finishing up our second year of world history, and will move on to American history next year. I am not entirely sure if we will use Sonlight Core D for American History. I *think* we will, but I also want to look around and see if there is anything else we may want to use for AMerican history years.

Other Stuff- We are using Wordly Wise for vocabulary. I do like to pull words from our read alouds for the kids to learn, but this is something they all really enjoy, can do on their own, and helps develop more than just vocabulary skills. These books are simple, yet awesome.

We get to use lots of other fun stuff throughout the year, like Lit Wits, STEM activities, and foreign languages. We have co op and of course all our handicrafts and arts we enjoy freely.

This homeschool year I definitely feel more organized, and like we have stayed on top of things better so far. Last year was full of concussions, flu, puppies, baby goats, and travels. We got behind and did math through August! NOT FUN; I didn’t enjoy it at all. I DO like doing school year round, because we want to … not because we have to, if that makes sense.

So this school year we do math every single day, whether we are sick or not, or we double up if we miss. Any independent or workbook pages are divided into week in folders, like every year. We put that work each week on their clipboard. Some weeks we do 2 weeks worth of work when things are going really smoothly, to account for any sick days we may have.

Baby #5 should be here in June, so I want us to have plenty of time to enjoy the spring weather, play in the pool, and be homeschool work free! Life is going to change a lot with a newborn, so it will be important for the kids to have a solid routine, without me having the stress of “we must finish.”

What are you using for homeschool this year?

 

Sonlight Curriculum All About Reading Botany Apologia Astronomy

 

 

 

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Horses in History with Mattie Richardson {a review}

Y’all know when there is a chance to review a book in our home, we jump on the chance. =) We have been reading the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. Formerly known as North Dakota’s Teen Author, Mattie has written a series of books your children and family will love!

Appaloosy Books by Mattie Richardson

Each book centers around the story of a horse (or horses) from history-of course as a mom and homeschooler, this greatly appeals to me! My history buff daughter, 9, also loved the historical aspect of the books, and how the stories were told from the horse’s perspective. Mattie has written books full of love, adventure, integrity, and strength. All characteristics we want for our children. I hold my book standards pretty high; we don’t need ugly words and harsh language to get a point across, and these books definitely held up to my standards.


The first portion of each book begins with a dedication, which sometimes offers some insight to the author’s inspiration for writing the book. Dusty’s Trail, told from the view point of a horse on the Pony Express, begins with an article about the Pony Express, first published in 1860. Next, the reader will find a section of Words and Terms You Should Know. This section is in each of the books, with a small variation. In Day and Night, Mattie has made Civil War-era Words and Terms Used in this Book section. Golden Sunrise offers a Spanish Words Used in this Book section. So each book has a great intro to the topic through a helpful guide in the beginning; my daughter often referred back to this while reading, as did I. Appaloosy gives us the Nez Perce Words and Their Meanings as a helpful glossary to better understand as we read.

Appaloosy Series

The books are nicely bound, with a colorful paperback cover. Day and Night comes in at the thickest with 148 pages, Appaloosy with 125 pages,  Golden Sunrise with 98 pages, and Dusty’s Trail at 66 pages (plus a few un-numbered informational pages). Some books have a few illustrations throughout, the text is appropriate for early readers (not too small), and the pages are a smooth, high quality, crisp white.

Appaloosy is about a horse who wants nothing more than to be wild and free, until he finds the love of a girl named Faith. But when he is stolen and escapes captivity, Storm must decide if he wants his freedom or to go back to Faith on her family’s farm. My 9 year old says:

Faith gives her locket necklace to take Storm home from the man who had him. She was only the 2nd person he let ride him, of all the people that had owned or ridden him. I like his decision and the way the book ended.

Golden Sunrise tells the story of Cheyenne and Jared- “Jared is a man who wants to marry Olivia; they’ve been courting for about a year. But then he has to go off to war to fight for Texas’s freedom. He rides Cheyenne throughout the war, and they are buddies. Cheyenne becomes friends with Davy Crockett, which was really funny. I won’t tell you the end, but it is sweet.”

Golden Sunrise

Day and Night was my daughter’s favorite of all the books. “This book is about 2 horses, Shiloh and Tucker, they take turns having a chapter, so it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. Tucker is the older horse and Shiloh is the younger sibling horse. Shiloh is lighter in color and smaller; he is gentle and gets very attached to people he likes. Tucker is older and brown. Neither of them wanted to fight in the war but Shiloh was stolen by a girl in the Confederacy, and Tucker got sold to the US army. You will have to read and see what they go through and if they find each other again.”

We also enjoyed using Mattie’s Enrichment Guide for Day and Night, along with the answer key. It includes: vocabulary, history, comprehension, creating your own stories, further reading, and even more! These include activities, coloring, developing character attributes for a story, biographies, geography, and the list goes on! This is definitely worth the small purchase price, and something you can integrate into your homeschool for a large range of ages.

 

Dusty’s Trail is about a boy, Levi who runs away with his horse, Dusty, to join the Pony Express. “When someone starts stealing the horses and killing their riders, Levi and Dusty push through more runs  (I think 3?) until they find someone they can tell. Eventually Levi gets captured, Dusty gets separated from him … and you have to read the rest (haha).”

Dusty's Trail

As you can see, the books were greatly enjoyed by my oldest daughter. They will be wonderful reads for my horse loving 5 year old. These books will be best understood by those 8 and up, but I think they can be read aloud to just about any age.

Mattie Richardson is clearly a talented young lady, she has more books coming out, that I know we will be reading! We have enjoyed the Horses in History Series immensely. There are countless way to use it as part of a homeschool curriculum, and they are wholesome books.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

A Living Book for Fall Nature and History Study: Indiana {a review}

We have reviewed By the Way books in the past, this time we were able to review By the Way Book Series: Indiana (Discovering Biblical Truth in Everyday Life).We have enjoyed it tremendously.

This book is part of a larger series of geographically based Christian worldview children’s books; it has most definitely sparked some interesting conversations in our family.

How We Used it and What We Think

The 48 page, full-color book is absolutely gorgeous (and ourcopy is signed by the author! insert googly eyes here!). The first thing I saw when I opened the book is the most gorgeous fall foliage spread with scripture… insert google eyes again. *love* This is perfect for our fall book shelf! And if ever someone wanted encouragement as a homeschool parent that the world is our classroom to be seen through our children’s eyes and with a filter of our faith, this book is it! (Thank you, Joy!)

By the Way Book Series: Indiana makes a note in the beginning that it is:

  • informative-put the wow in learning
  • integrated- science, geography, and history (and scripture/Biblical truths-score!)
  • intentional- God’s message is right there the whole way
  • inspirational- touching our children’s hearts and minds with God’s beauty

All the above are quotes or paraphrases from the introduction of the book, but I couldn’t describe it’s purpose or message better myself! It is such a rich addition to our home library. What is the best part? Probably the conversations we had while reading parts of it. The story allows you to pick the book up and begin on just about any page, while still getting so much from your reading; this allowed us to discuss the scripture on pages, how the animals or events on that page reflected that scripture, how they relate to each other and most importantly to us and our loving relationship with God.

By The Way Reading {QuietintChaos}

This then became a conversation of all these things we see in our own world, our own back yard, on our farm, that make those same reflections. This week I heard one of my younger children trying to explain the Monarch butterfly’s “God given compass” from page 21, as we watched Monarch caterpillars on our milkweed plants.

There are fun activities such as finding specific animals and pictures (the 4 year old’s favorite) & learning how to geocache with links provided, as well as a precious story line that is sure to keep everyone’s interest. The illustrations are just beautiful, rich, and captivating, along with a little humor.

We still enjoy the Colorado book from the By The Way series (especially since we love visiting CO), but I *think* I may love this book even more. It is perfect for a fall nature study, history studies, and of course a state study. I think children of any age will enjoy the book; it can certainly grow with small children, while older children will enjoy all the information & beautiful illustrations/photography.

I cannot wait to add some of their state card packs from their website, and add more of this series to our home library.

Connect with By The Way

By The Way Read the Reviews

 

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Nature and Risk Taking: why we should allow children to take risks outdoors

Most of us grew up in one of the last generations in our country to have safe freedoms- freedoms that don’t put children in direct danger, but allow them to take risks within safe boundaries.

We know children need to take risks. Risk taking is essential to brain development, emotional well being, and expanding our physical abilities, which are all part of a foundation for success.

Yep.

It is that dramatically important that children are allowed to take risks, without adult guidance, or interference. In the last 60 years we have created one generation after another of children that are more susceptible to mental breakdowns, chaos, and an inability to still their minds.

They simply haven’t had the experiences in childhood to build the stamina needed as adults to process and regulate emotions, environments, and problem solve. It is that simple.

Rigorous school instruction before developmentally appropriate is detrimental to the development and well being of our kids.

In our modern educational world, with access to too much of everything at too young of an age, we have:

  • limited physical movement and unstructured recess time for children
  • reduced or removed outside time, thus reducing sunshine and fresh air
  • removed mental, emotional, and physical risk taking for children
  • increased sitting (… no, adding a fidget toys or bouncy bands does not replace outside free play. Do they help some children, sure! We use tools here for sensory relief and movement for those cold, windy days, but they are not a substitute for movement or being outdoors)
  • reduced natural body positions-movement such as squatting, writing in large motions vertically while standing, sitting on the floor, laying on bellies while listening or writing
  • increased screen time at school and home- screens and technology are addicted and dangerous to the brain, especially developing brains; our brain chemistry literally changes when given too much screen time.
  • Increased dangerous light sources: “A study published in late 2010 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that LEDs contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially dangerous substances. LEDs are touted as the next generation of lighting,” says Oladele Ogunseitan, one of the researchers behind the study and chair of the University of California (UC)-Irvine’s Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention. “But as we try to find better products that do not deplete energy resources or contribute to global warming, we have to be vigilant [about] toxicity hazards….”
  • reduced nutrition via boxed and canned food, fast food, improper preparation of foods, limiting healthy fats and vegetables
  • increased toxins via foods, pesticides, plastics, our water sources, beauty products, medicines, fabrics, and cleaning products

We have turned ourselves and our children, into caged animals, over exposed to heavy metals and xenoestrogens, y’all. Miserable, anxious, pacing, animals with occasional recreation time outdoors … which many children don’t enjoy because they are constantly told what not to do by adults that are glancing up from their phones just long enough to give correction.

What happened to free play outdoors? Running barefoot in grass that isn’t covered in chemicals? Climbing trees, rolling down hills, and jumping over creeks are the days of the past for many children, and adults. The solution is as simple as creating an outdoor area in your home that they will want to spend time in; make it inviting, for example visit https://www.lawncare.net/service-areas/missouri/ to learn about better lawn care, do some planting, and fill it with interesting activities. This will then encourage children to go further afield, perhaps exploring nearby fields and forests.

what is happening

When we keep our bodies in a constant state of stress, via all the above bullet points, we destroy our hormones**, drain our adrenals, and create unhealthy environments in our body’s immune system (gut bacteria), resulting in many ailments created in or increased in diagnosis over the last 50-60 years.

So what is a remedy for our children’s bodies, minds, emotions, and ourselves?

Fresh air! Slowing down daily: walking, playing, romping, risk taking, and getting sunshine on our skin are proven to decrease cortisol levels and anxiety while increasing seratonin and the synthesis of nutrients in our bodies. We often feel a closer connection to God, our friends and family, and ourselves when outdoors.

God created a perfect system in His world for our bodies to function-real, nutrient dense foods raised the way He intended, clean water, sunshine, and natural movement are the first steps to feeling better and helping our children overcome the cycle of stress, “failure,” and melt downs as children, which carries on to adulthood. He didn’t design His world for us to be stressed, caged, fat, tired, miserable, depressed, and addicted to screens- none of those things glorify Him.

Risk taking is where boys learn to conquer, be knights in shining armor, and carefully work outside the lines. It is where girls learn to let go, realize they can do all things, and live outside of fear. Risk taking creates freedom from constant boundaries; freeing our bodies and minds.

Is there a time and place for convenience foods, chilling inside, and sitting for instruction or work? Sure! But these should be in balance, basically at the very tippy top of a very large pyramid; when they replace the foundations on which our bodies were meant to build, we end up with a very messy, stressed out life.

Make a plan

Plan a time each day to get outside! Maybe it is in the morning, or after dinner as a family- if you’re a planner, write it out as something you will do! If you homeschool, after morning time, lunch, or before naps/rest may work well for your family.

To keep it safe our family has instructions- if you get lost or injured, confused or scared, sit down and scream! Don’t keep walking, don’t keep circling or panic- sit down and yell. We WILL find you. Last year for Christmas we each got safety whistles to use in case of emergency during our walks in the woods or on the property; even with the best supervision, we all know children can escape our sight, so this is a good precaution. Don’t let fear or worry keep you from exploring or getting outdoors.

Many of us are living by to-dos; let go of the to dos for 30 minutes- finish the dishes, tidy the house quickly so you can come back feeling refreshed, leave the rest for later-and GO!

Don’t fill your time outdoors with demands, tasks, and stuff- sure chores need to be done, outdoor toys are fun and healthy- but be intentional about quiet and natural movements, natural play, being creative and noticing Gods creation!

There you will find peace; there we can quiet the noise, be closer to Him, build stronger connections, and enjoy living.

Came out taller than the trees

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D is for Ducks {on the homestead}

We have thoroughly enjoyed our ducks here on the farm. We raised 5 ducklings this spring, and they have turned into lovely crested blue swedish adults. Judging by the behavior of our male Campbell, I am going to say we ended up with 1 female, and the rest drakes.

Joy.

But so far they’re all getting along fine, so we will see how it goes. I am not against finding some more females to add to our flock. =) Ducks are just too much fun to watch as they wobble about the yard!

This year, our Mammy duck made her nest in the chicken coop (which is her usual spot) and hatched a chicken egg! So now she is raising a 4-5 week old baby chick. What’s hilarious is the chick is surrounded by 30 chickens, but thinks Mammy and our drake (Mr. Quack) are its parents! He follows them around everywhere, but they never take him to the pond … it’s like they *know* he is a chicken and can’t swim? They keep him near the coop, call for him, and he calls for them! Mr. Quack will take the other 5 ducks down to the pond, and has in general taught them to be ducks, but he and mammy protect that chick something fierce!

I never realized drakes could be good daddy ducks?! Who knew …

 

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Homeschool Weekly Wrap-Up {April 7th}

The last 2 weeks we’ve spent our days adjusting our routine. I think I’ve said it before … at least I’ve thought it-vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors make reading aloud SO. HARD. I feel like I am yelling over a toddler the entire time. At this stage everyone fusses over my lap, so we’ve moved our reading aloud to my room, on the big king sized bed where they can spread out and hear me better.

Our new routine involves mama tending to the farm chores before the kids wake, getting her workout in after breakfast ,and brain warm-ups for all the kids! Day light savings really threw me for a loop this year as far as waking early goes. I am finally getting used to it. I strive for my mornings to look like this:

  • 5:30/6am- mama wakes, breakfast for the hubs, pack his lunch, coffee with him before he leaves
  • tend to meat chicks & LGD pup outside
  • Jesus devotional & coffee with my Help Club for Moms book
  • Prep Breakfast
  • 7am Kids up, eat, morning basket
  • Kid chores and 7yo practice violin- dishwasher, waste baskets, laundry, pick up floors if not done night before
  • 8:15/8:30 Mama works out, kid brain warm-ups (videos on youtube for crossing midline)
  • 9:00 Begin read alouds in my room
  • 9:30/9:45 begin table work- each day includes Reading/LArts for each child, math, handwriting/copy work We do other activities on various days, looping them (Latin, Apologia Science we are reviewing, art, messy play, game school)
  • During that time, the tot (20 months) goes to independent play in her room, and after the 3yo has done school along with us for a while, she also goes to IP
  • 11:30 Lunch
  • 12:15 Tot’s nap, others play outside
  • 12:45 Preschooler’s nap
  • 1:30 5yo naps, 7yo rest time or time with mama
  • 3:00 everyone up from naps-play outside, nature study, handicrafts of their choice
  • 5:30 dinner
  • This time of year, depending on what daddy is doing outside after work and how everyone napped, we are outside after dinner then come in for baths and wind down. We’ve been spending several evenings a week at the table coloring, doing more learning time (science, or new spelling, writing letters, practicing cursive, etc). I LOVE this time because it brings Daddy into our homeschool setting for just a snippet, allowing the kids to tell him all about what they’re learning, show him new skills, inviting him into their world.

**Some evenings are spent folding laundry as a family while watching Create TV on PBS-Martha Bakes, This old House, Lydia, America’s Test Kitchen, etc. They are our favorites! We have pretty much written off all the mind numbingly ridiculous kids shows on Netflix & Amazon. They truly hurt my brain- We are already very picky about what our kids take in (supposedly targeted for kids … targeted being the key word here) but even the appropriate shows are just stupid. These days our shows consist of Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, and sometimes the book adaptations of If You Give a Mouse, or The Snowy Day, or nature shows. Nothing else seems worth our time or brain cells. (If you have any suggestions for quality kid shows that aren’t “twaddle,” please share in the comments!) The amount of content out there that you really wouldn’t want your kids seeing really seems to be overwhelming these days but at least parents have access to more information than ever on how to combat this harmful material being consumed by their children.

Our studies this week have included:

  • David and Saul in the Bible
  • each day we read The Little Island– focusing on narration and seasons (3yo loooves this living book!)
  • read The Apple and The Arrow from our Sonlight Core A, and our missionary stories from The Good News Must Go Out
  • commas in a series, writing sentences, list making and narrating an item from that list (from The Good and The Beautiful LA), spelling from our new Memoria Press (for review), handwriting letter review (5yo),
  • naming and measuring line segments using linking cubes, writing numbers, skip counting (5yo)
  • handicrafts- my daughter is finishing a bag for her co-op sewing class, all of the kids are really into card making, and other paper crafts. We made crowns this week
  • All About Reading level 1-beginning and ending blends, read stories from reader (5yo)
  • the 3yo is learning her letter sounds, enjoys Starfall 1 day a week, and literally writes and draws all day long
  • Science right now is coming from Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Anatomy & Physiology We are loving this just as much as their Astronomy, and I will have a review on that very soon!

In between lessons we have planned special plants for our garden, played outside, studied the bees collecting pollen, taken nature walks in the woods, and observed the changes that come with SPRING! (though this morning we have played in SNOW, and made snow cream … Because winter just doesn’t want to leave us!)

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Bird Watching {Nature Study for the New Year}

This winter (Mostly Jan-Feb) has been bitterly cold on the farm. Between the ice and wind, we have been inside with very little nature study in our school days. When My Dad sent the kids a see through, window mounted bird feeder as a little Valentine special, we were all so excited!

We spend our mornings at a big table my husband made, eating breakfast, reading Bible stories, reciting poems, listening to hymns, and singing little finger play songs (surprisingly my oldest 2 enjoy the songs and nursery rhymes along with their youngest sisters). Now, we get watch birds eat right at our big window!

This may be one of my favorite gifts we have ever received, and oooh how it enriches our homeschool days! It will be fun to add in bird watching with our nature studies, right from our breakfast table. We’ve already had a few different visitors perch and enjoy their seed. And the kids are loving the idea of comparing these birds to other ones in other regions. We’ve had a look at some of the more tropical birds like Toucans after deciding to check out Costa Rica Focus, and the burgeoning birdwatchers are keen to see them up close. Maybe one day!

Part of our nature study this spring will include some beautiful field guides I got the kids this fall-I chose guides from the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide series. I could sit and stare at the pictures in these guides all day long. My oldest pours over books like field guides, and her younger siblings are following suit. I plan to rearrange some nature and science books for spring in the coming weeks, so these are moving from our science book shelf, to the science basket near our bird watching window. 🙂

This week I am so thankful to be thawing out, and have birds to watch, I could care less about the formalities of nature study! Haha but, I am excited to get back into the routine of it.

(As a side note, the bird feeder is very well made, sturdy, and we have had No problems with it mounting to the window. Even in crazy high winds, the feeder stays put! I followed the directions that came in the box for cleaning the window, dampening suction cups, etc, before mounting.)

How does your family nature study? What will you be studying this spring?

DIY Fall Nature Banner Handicraft {nature craft}

This last week in one of our co-op classes we had SO much fun making a DIY fall nature banner. The timing was uncanny! A few weeks ago, we came across a PVC banner printing that we thought was just amazing. So when we found out that we were doing banners, I was extra excited! I wanted to share with you what we did, so you can do it at home as well!

This could be adapted for spring, Christmas, summer … any season or occasion really. I would say it is an appropriate activity for ages 2+; a 2-5 year old may need extra assistance with the mallet, obviously. My 5yo son was able to do most of the hammering himself, he did get tired once or twice, so I would hammer and give his arms a break.

diy fall nature banner handicraft #charlottemason #naturestudy #handicraft #homeschool

First you will need to gather supplies:

  • thin fabric such as a light, thin linen or muslin
  • leaves, buds, flowers, grasses from nature
  • rubber mallet or hammer
  • tarp or cardboard (for laying everything on before hammering)
  • 3 hole punch or knife (we use a 3 hole punch so the kids could do it, and the holes would be evenly spaced)
  • twine for stringing
  • small piece of clear tape (for taping the end of the twine so it doesn’t unravel)
  • decorative leaves/acorns/etc from craft store that you may want to add
  • hot glue gun

You can either punch your holes before or after hammering, that is up to you. We did it afterwards.

  1. gather leaves, flowers, buds, & grasses of all different colors-the brighter the better!
  2. cut fabric into neat triangles (print a triangle template the size you want). You can do this by hand if you’d like or if you’re planning to make quite a big garland, I’d recommend looking into the best fabric cutting machines for precise cuttings. It’ll be a lot quicker than cutting it free hand too.
  3. warm up your hot glue gun if adding decorations
  4. lay out your tarp or cardboard, the harder the surface the better the colors will come out of the leaves and flowers. So maybe on top of concrete or a garage floor would be good.
  5. place leaves and flowers *under* your fabric triangles
  6. use the mallet or hammer to bang away!
  7. leave the bits of leaves and petals on the fabric, once they dry they are easy to roll off
  8. using a 3 hole punch, place the triangle, top edge in, under 2 of the holes and punch on each triangle
  9. cut your twine. For 4 triangles, we cut twine 36″ long, you would need more if you do a longer banner.
  10. wrap scotch tape around one end of the twine, for weaving through the holes
  11. weave twine through the holes, then tie a knot on each end
  12. *IF* you want added decorations, hot glue them onto the banner now
  13. Hang and enjoy!

Some of the students really liked using a hammer better; it does give a lot of bang for your buck. The rubber mallet covers more area, so for smaller/younger students, the mallet made the job a bit easier/less tiring.

I want to give a shout out to our wonderful “Maker’s Space” class teacher. This is one of my favorite activities we have ever done in our homeschool! It was so enjoyable, and simple to do. I look forward to doing it at home with all my kids, another season.

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