Thursday, July 25, 2013


We have a great nature center near our house that offers summer programs for children for $2 a day.  Needless to say, we go to A LOT of their programs!  We have actually been to two different turtle programs in the last few weeks.   These pictures are all from the second visit.  The first visit was a discussion on turtles and turtle racing.  It was a lot of fun watching the turtles "race" each other.  The second visit was called "dirt and decomposers."  The children went outside and dug for worms.  Then they went inside and fed the worms to the turtles.  As you can see from the pictures, the feeding was quite entertaining.

Ocean Adventures from Scholastic

A while ago (probably over a year ago now), Scholastic was offering a deal of buying a lot of their downloads for a $1 each.  (I think it was like "Buy 10, Pay $10" or something like that; like I said, it's been a long time since I actually purchased this.)   I knew my son would like the one on oceans, so I downloaded it along with a whole bunch more of the lessons.  I put them in a large 3-ring binder and placed them on our homeschooling shelves for later use.  Well, "later" finally arrived :)  My son was asking to do something with whales since our family vacation this year is a trip to Maine to go whale watching.   Somewhere in the back of my head I remembered that I had this printed ocean themed unit waiting.  So I pulled out the unit and really looked at it for the first time.  

Here are some things I quickly learned about the unit and things that I would have done different. 
1.  I would have read the entire thing before printing the entire thing.  The unit is geared for classroom use.  So it has lots of directions and activities that are simply not applicable to a homeschooling one child environment.
2.  I would have read the directions and realized that I needed multiple copies of some pages.  Oops!  Some of the games and coloring were hard to do because I only had the original copy.
3.  Do NOT print this double sided!  As you can see in the picture above, there are some cutting and crafts involved in the unit.   I did not realize this.  So every time we had to cut out a page we were cutting through another activity on the opposite side.  So I just would ask my son which activity he wanted to do and we simply did not do the other activity.

All-in-all, my son liked doing the unit.  For me, it was an "eh, not my thing".  I am not really a worksheet kind of person.  My son though liked the cutting, coloring, and glueing of the activities.  I felt that the unit was definitely weak on content.  This was definitely something to do as a homeschooling-lite activity.   I am sure we will continue to do the Scholastic downloads as my son wants to do them.  I am also pretty sure that I won't be buying any more of them, even for the $1.

Practicing our Alphabet

One great blog idea I came across was from the Stay At Home Educator.  The parent of the blog had posted lots of ideas on different ways to practice the alphabet.  My son knows all his letters and we are currently working on the sounds of each (basic phonics).   We have this great set of letters from ThinkFun.  They are just a set of the entire alphabet in little tiles.   I carry them everywhere in my purse and give them to my son to play with when we need some sort of distraction.   So I thought they would be perfect for this blog lesson.  All we did with them on this day was line them up in order.  I had my son do all the work of figuring out which one came next.  It was really hard for him to do the entire alphabet but he eventually figured it out.  The Stay At Home Educator had other suggestions of doing things like making words and practicing spelling.  We did not do that yet because my guy was having a hard enough time just identifying each letter in its correct order.  This was a good lesson for him and definitely helped with his thinking skills.

Bugs!!!! Our Mud Sensory Bin

I follow a lot of homeschool blogs.  I look to get ideas on things I want to do with my son.  One idea that we decided to try was a "mud" sensory bin.  My son is totally into bugs and insects.  He has lots of plastic toy bugs that I picked up at the thrift shop.   So when I saw this blog post about a mud sensory bin, I knew he would like it.  It also helped that we were studying insects using Amanda Bennett's unit study "Incredible Insects".  Below are some pictures of our bin.  The blog it came from was   The "mud" was really easy.  It was just baking soda, food coloring, and water.


This year we decided to grow some butterflies using a kit.  We learned a lot about the caterpillar to butterfly cycle.   Here are some pictures of our butterflies before we let them go.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dragons, Dragons by Gabe

We recently read the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Eric Carle.  It's a wonderful book that goes "Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?"  And then the Brown Bear sees a creature and that creature then asks "what do you see?"  Well, my son LOVES that type of concept!  He started going around the house asking all the object "What do you see?"  So, for example, he would say to our cat "Yellow Cat, Yellow Cat, what do you see?" and he would make a reply like "I see my dinner looking at me!  Dinner, dinner, what do you see?" etc.   He started to do this with all his toys and eventually came around to the topic of dragons.  I should also mention that my husband has been teaching him about "Dungeons and Dragons."  So my son combined the two concepts to make his own little book mimicked after "Brown Bear, Brown Bear".  He titled his book "Dragons, Dragons".  Here are pictures of his book.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sink or float?

I love when learning happens during every day life.  My son was playing in the bathroom sink with three toys.  All of them were Percy from Thomas the Tank Engine.  He had one that was a plastic bath toy, one that was a solid wood train piece, and one that was a plastic matchbox car size.  He decided to fill up the sink to see which one(s) would sink or float.  The plastic bath toy floated and the other two sank.  So then we had a great discussion on WHY each floated ir sank.  I asked lots of probbing questions like "what are they made of?". Then we had a great discussion on solid objects.  He determined that the bath toy floated because it has air in it.  Since this "experiment" he has been playing with his other toys deducing if they would float because they also have air in them. :)