Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

One of the benefits of currently living on the Forgotten Coast here in Florida is enjoying all the natural beauty around us.

This weekend we took a family field trip to nearby Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Located near East Point, FL just before you drive over the Apalachicola Bay to St. George Island, this Reserve has an incredible Nature Walk, an Overlook for observing the Bay, and a wonderful Nature Center with lots of specimens, exhibits as well as aquariums.

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Welcome to the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR)!
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The littles exploring the Nature Trail.
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Purple Martin houses near the Bay Overlook.
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The kids loved looking across the Apalachicola Bay at St. George Island.
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After thoroughly exploring the Nature Walk and the Bay Overlook, we headed up to the Nature Center.
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The boys were amazed at the size of this whale backbone that was found.
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This wonderful interactive map showed the various boundaries for nearby parks and reserves and sensitive areas.
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Aquarium residents Horseshoe Crab and Atlantic Stingray. We loved watching them interact!
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Aquarium resident Diamondback Terrapin.
water collection
ANERR collects rain water and it’s quite the show! There are two pipes for observing water moving from the roof to cisterns below the building, where it is used for flushing toilets and other non-potable uses.
activity guide
My book worm already working on the Activity Guide she got from the gift shop.

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Curriculum 2016/2017 – Fifth Grade and Kindergarten

We have officially started our new school year around here – lots of new books on the shelves, and new binders are set up and ready to go! Kyri is now working on Fifth grade, and Ender is Kindergarten.

We have started using a few new programs, so look for some detailed reviews on those soon. But this is a good overview of our resources for the year.

Fifth Grade

Math

Singapore Math 3B/4A/4B – We decided to change direction in Math and work on Mastery of concepts rather than the Spiral approach used by Saxon. Kyri has responded well to the change in pace and approach and we will continue with Singapore through the remainder of summer and into the new school year.

Additional Resources:

Usborne Dictionary of Math (3 book series) – not a curriculum but a great resource. Colorful and engaging, these are fun to read and glean knowledge. Click here to check them out.

Family Math (series) – this is a wonderful resource, with games and activities that teach and reinforce math concepts. the series is being used over a range of ages, down to preschool.

Mathmania – this is a subscription magazine through Highlights. Two issues each month arrive, full of math-based puzzles and activities.

Language Arts

Vocabulary from Classical Roots – Grade 4 and Grade 5 This series presents new words that are grouped according to Greek or Latin roots. Covers root words, spelling, meaning and usage.

Writing and Rhetoric: Book 1 Fables and Writing and Rhetoric: Book 2: Narration 1 We are working on writing skills through reading good examples and modeling.

Well-Ordered Language 1A and  Well-ordered language 1B This is an depth study of grammar skills. Each chapter focuses on one part of speech and has extensive practice. Sentence analysis, a precursor to sentence diagramming, is introduced.

Junior Great Books Series 5 – We will be reading short stories and working through the Interactive Activity book for reading comprehension and in-depth analysis.

History

Beautiful Feet – Ancient History this is a literature based curriculum, with Streams of Civilization as the spine, and including a large selection of books, through the Ancient Roman Empire. Each lesson includes several reading selections and discussions.

Beautiful Feet History of the Horse – This study goes through the physical characteristics of horses, specifics of the various breeds, as well as cultural significance of the horse.

Science

Beautiful Feet History of Science – this is a lesson guide that goes through major scientific discoveries and inventions, starting from ancient times up through modern times. This is literature based, with in depth reading on the discoveries as well as the people involved. The two spines (along with various living books) are:

The Picture History of Great Inventors

DK’s The Way Science Works

Experiments are included in the lesson plans and will be extended as interests, time and resources allow.

Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding  – This isn’t our spine this year, but Volume I  and Volume II are excellent resources for planning lessons as well as having a flow chart of topics in an intuitive order to be studied. I will be using this as a reference and support.

Additional Resources:

Carson-Dellosa Just the Facts: These provide excellent supplemental exercises to enhance and expand lessons.

Earth and Space Science (4-6 grades)

Life Science (4-6 grade)

Physical Science (4-6 grade)

This is a great series that provides in-depth activities and puzzles. I will be pulling from all three volumes to go along with our BFSU lessons.

Real Science 4 Kids – We are using the Elementary level books (Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry) as supplemental reading this year. These are written for children to be able to read independently, so they serve as a gentle introduction for many of the topics we are covering this year.

Nature Study

Handbook of Nature Study – an extensive resource for implementing nature study time. Incorporates nature notebooking and various nature guides, including as a main resource:

Nature of Handbook Study by Anna Botsford Comstock . This is a must have for a personal library. It is packed full of information about the nuts and bolts of nature study, details on pretty much anything you could want to find during nature study, as well as lessons to carry out during nature study.

Geography

Beautiful Feet – Teaching Geography Through Literature This is a literature based lesson plan. Four spines are read, and detailed discussion and mapwork are used to develop key geography concepts throughout the year.

Bible

AWANA – Kyri is going into her second year of TnT (Truth in Training) this Fall, and is very excited!

Bible Road Trip – This has been a great study this past year. We typically do the daily reading and discussion in the morning during our Kidschool. This year I would like to put a little more emphasis on Notebooking for each week’s reading.

Additional Resources:

How to Study Your Bible – For Kids by Kay Arthur

What the Bible is All About: Bible Handbook for Kids

Reproducible Maps, Charts, Timelines and Illustrations

Health and Wellness

The Care and Keeping of You 2: For Older Girls (book and journal) an excellent resource for learning about body issues, changing bodies, peer pressure, emotions, etc. We have used The Care and Keeping of You 1 extensively and love the series.

Vintage Remedies for Tweens (continuing) – covers a variety of topics from food, natural health

Raising Vegetarian Children  more of a guide for me, but we will be pulling recipes and discussing healthy habits.

Hebrew

For writing practice and mastering the Alef Bet we are using a couple of different resources:

Sarah and David (Read Hebrew Now)

Hebrew for Christians

Torah Tots

For reading and speaking we are using:

Mango Biblical Hebrew

Latin

Song School Latin – this is a wonderful resource aimed at a younger audience. It teaches vocabular and simple sentences. It also teaches about the many words that are Latin derivatives. We are using the workbook, DVD, CD and flash cards.

Character Development

This may go along with Health and Wellness, but I will list separately for organization.

Beautiful Feet Teaching Character Through Literature – this includes a wonderful reading list appropriate for both Primary and Intermediate Readers, as well as Study Guide lessons geared toward Primary and Intermediate Reading Selections.

Laying Down The Rails – this is a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writings, organized to cover wellness topics (such as Cleanliness) as well as Character topics such as courtesy. There is a book for parents/educators along with a student book that includes discussion topics.

4-H Kyri has participated in our county 4H program since the beginning of 2016. She is active in the Horsemasters Club as well as the Green Thumbs Gardening Club. This year she will continue. In addition, she is working independently on 4H projects, including Cooking 101 and Entomology.

Kindergarten

While more formal education is taking place, a lot of focus this year is still on free play, exploring, read alouds, interactive games.

Math

Singapore Early Bird Kindergarten. A gentle and colorful approach to early math concepts. Counting, sorting, weigh and capacity, etc. are covered.

Starfall – we are a Starfall family. we have subscribed for years. Starfall has continued to add activities to their online lineup, and their Teacher’s Lounge has also expanded. Starfall Math reinforces counting, place value, geometry, addition and subtraction, weight and capacity.

Language Arts

In general, lots and lots of reading together is our focus for the year. But we are tackling some specifics.

Starfall – For language arts we are using Starfall to reinforce letter recognition, phonics and CVC words. There are also rhymes and songs, and talking books to enjoy. From the Teacher’s lounge, I am printing handwriting pages that cover upper- and lower-case letters as well as simple words.

Science

We are not using a formal curriculum for Science. We are pulling activities from a variety of sources, including:

More Mudpies to Magnets – simple experiments for preschool and kindergarten ages to explore basic science concepts

Evan Moor Learning About Animals – reproducibles for teaching about animals.

Handbook of Nature Study – while Ender won’t be expected to keep formal notebooking pages, he will participate in nature outings and will be encouraged to record observations in his own binder.

Bible

AWANA – Ender is officially a Spark this year! He will be working on memoring key biblical concepts and verses throughout the year.

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Review: Teaching Character Through Literature

One way we cultivate character in our children is to expose them to beautiful, quality literature.

Well-written stories allows our children to experience things, good and bad, in a safe environment. We may find literary mentors that guide us in our personal development, and characters may embody personality traits or behaviors that we want to incorporate into our lives.

While there are wonderful reading lists available elsewhere, I wanted to share one particular resource that I am excited about.

teachingcharacter1This past year we have been exploring the study guides from Beautiful Feet.

Can I just say how impressed I am with these study guides?!

This particular one, Teaching Character Through Literature, is such an incredible resource.

The study guide would be worth the cost of purchasing just for the wonderful leveled book lists. These are quality works of literature with characters to relate to and lessons to learn.

There are two levels of reading lists – Primary and Intermediate. Within each level, there is a list of favorite authors (along with some of their more notable titles), as well as a list of favorite titles.

But the “meat” of the study guides are the lesson plans (entitled Study Notes in the guide) that are included. There are two sets of lesson plans – one for Primary (PreK through grade 3) and one for Intermediate (grades 4-6), each with age appropriate books selected.

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Each lesson includes a reading selection (either some number of pages, or chapters) followed by a couple of questions. These aren’t simple comprehension questions, they are designed to promote thinking and reflecting. Several lessons include a suggested scripture passage that can be included and ties directly into the reading.

You can view sample pages of the study guide here at the Beautiful Feet website to see how the lessons are laid out.

Even though the lessons are ordered and numbered, the lessons for one book do not necessarily build on a previous book. So in our case, we have actually jumped around in the study guide as we have obtained the books. And because I have a 4th grader along with three younger children, I am  selecting books from both the Primary and Intermediate book lists.

I typically use the questions from each lesson to guide discussion during and after our reading. The questions also work well as essay or journal prompts, and in fact I have asked for written responses on occasion from my 9-year-old.

This study guide is versatile – use it as merely a book list, use the lesson questions to direct discussion, or for more formal written assignments.

After using this guide, I have been so impressed that we are switching to the History Study Guide for Ancient History in the fall. I’ll put together more details as my fall planning comes together.

We are also starting our History of the Horse study this summer. Look for a full review of this study guide soon.

Homeschool Reads – March Edition

I think our school motto could be summed up with “Read Good Books, Often.”

I purposely seek out quality literature that will not only be enjoyable to read, but will feed us intellectually and spiritually.

Our reading basket usually contains several books, and we rotate through two or three each day, reading at least one chapter in each. Here are the titles we are currently working through.

Classic Independent Read:

Heidi (Johanna Spyri)

Recommended Literature Read:

Breadcrumbs (Anna Ursu)

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness)

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (Jeanne Birdsall)

Spiritual Read:

Pilgrim’s Progress: One Man’s Search for Eternal Life–A Christian Allegory (John Bunyon)

Character Read:

The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Nature Study Read:

The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Thornton Burgess)

 

Homeschool Reads December Edition

I wanted to share what books we are currently reading, or have finished reading, in December. Most of our morning school time is devoted to reading good books. Here are our recent selections.

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

This is the first title we covered in our Teaching Character Through Literature Study (available from Beautiful Feet). This is a quick read, and we covered it in just a few days. I purposely kept us at two or three chapters per day so we could discuss what was going on in the story and with the characters. The children quite enjoyed this and (I think) took several lessons to heart. This story prompted a very good conversation about pride.

With holidays in December, our school schedule has been light. We have started a few new titles, mentioned briefly below, but I won’t comment too extensively until next month when we are finished reading them.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyon

This book was added to our Reading list because it is the book that the March sisters are reading throughout Little Women. This is the first allegory for Kyri, and I have been so impressed with how well she is following the story and understanding the deeper meaning.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

As mentioned above, Kyri is working through Little Women. She is reading an Illustrated Classics edition (abridged) but I recently added a lovely unabridged volume to our library so we will read the unabridged together when she finishes.

The Burgess Book of Birds by Thornton Burgess

We have recently added in this selection to our morning reading time. I love it because it is a wonderful way to introduce real facts about animals, like migration and nesting, but in a delightful, fanciful way.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Kyri finished the Illustrated Children’s (abridged) edition last month, and has started the unabridged version this month. She is so enamored with the entire story. I think we may have to get some goats and a hay loft for her!

King Arthur and His Knights by Elizabeth Lodor Merchant

This is a wonderful collection of stories about King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. This has been our family read aloud and we will be finishing it in January.

A Fresh Start – Our School Curriculum 2015/2016

KyriEnder2015schoolWe’ve had a hectic year with selling our house and living somewhat as transients in Georgia while we figure our where our next home is going to be. We haven’t always gotten all of what I had planned (for school) done, but I think we’ve had a productive year.

 
I shared this past fall our plans for the 2014/2015 school year, how I prepared for the entire school year to help keep us on track during the upheaval. I just posted how I’ve revised my 36-week folder system to instead use an Arc Notebook. But I’d like to share the specifics of our academic plan for the upcoming year.
 

Fourth Grade

Math

 
Saxon 5/4 – we started this curriculum in 2nd grade and have been slowly working through it. We are on “schedule” to finish the book this school year.
 
Usborne Dictionary of Math (3 book series)  not a curriculum but a great resource. Colorful and engaging, these are fun to read and glean knowledge. Click here to check them out.
 
Living Books – We have been investing in Greg Tang books this summer and will include them for use during Kidschool as a way to get our “Math” brains working. Kyri also loves reading these on her own.
 

Language Arts

 
First Language Lessons – Level 4 Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbook.
Evan-Moor Daily Reading Comprehension Grade 4 – daily reading selections that include several questions that reinforce understanding, finding the main idea and supporting facts. 
Evan-Moor Nonfiction Writing Grade 4 weely lessons that introduce nofiction writing and puttig together topic sentences, supporting facts, writing, and the various types of writing
Evan-Moor Building Spelling Skills Grade 4 (continuing) – weekly spelling lists and activities to reinforce spelling, phonics and                   other areas such as synonyms/antonyms and homophones.
 

History

 
Story of the World 4 – We stepped back from SOTW this past year to focus on American History, but we are picking up with SOTW 4, which also includes later events in US History.
Story of the World Activity Book – We will mostly be working on the outlines and mapwork for each chapter.
 
Beautiful Feet History of the Horse – Kyri is OBSESSED with horses and when I came across this literature-based study guide, I knew she would love it. The curriculum pulls from a large selection of both fiction and nonfiction books about horses, so I won’t list them all out here. I will be putting together a separate post as I get all the texts together and organized.
 

Science

 
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding  – We started using this curriculum last year. Volume I is geared toward K-2, and we have been moving through these topics fairly quickly since we have seen much of the material in previous years (though not always in as much depth). Volume II is geared toward Grades 3-5 and we will be moving back and forth between the four “threads”, including topics from Volume I as prerequisites as needed. 
 
Carson-Dellosa Just the Facts:
     Earth and Space Science (4-6 grades)
     Life Science (4-6 grade)
     Physical Science (4-6 grade)
 
This is a great series that provides in-depth activities and puzzles. I will be pulling from all three volumes to go along with our BFSU lessons.
Evan-Moor Daily Science Grade 4 – This is a great resource for exploring concepts in earth science, life science and physical science. Each week has a Big Idea and daily readings and activities introduce and reinforce each concept. I am planning on using these as a supplemental science reading for Kyri’s independent study time. While our main focus will be on our topics in BFSU, these daily readings should be interesting without going into too much depth.
 
Geography
 
Evan-Moor Daily Geography Grade 4 – we started using Evan-Moor Daily Geography for 3rd grade and Kyri just loves it, so we will be continuing the series.
 
Bible
 
AWANA – Kyri finished her third year in Sparks this Spring, so she will be moving to TNT in the Fall, and is very excited!
Bible Road Trip – This has been a great study this past year. We typically do the daily reading and discussion in the morning during our Kidschool. This year I would like to put a little more emphasis on Notebooking for each week’s reading.
 
Additional Resources:
 
 
Health and Wellness
 
The Care and Keeping of You Book 1: Book and Journal (American Girl) – discusses body changes and emotional changes, and geared toward girls ages 8-10.
The Feelings Book – Book and Journal (American Girl) – deals with feelings, emotions and communicating about feelings through journaling and talking to others.
Vintage Remedies for Tweens (continuing) – covers a variety of topics from food, natural health
Raising Vegetarian Children   more of a guide for me, but we will be pulling recipes and discussing healthy habits.
Laying Down the Rails Book and Workbook.
 
Hebrew
For writing practice and mastering the Alef Bet we are using a couple of different resources:
 
 
For reading and speaking we are using:
 
Mango Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew
 
Character Development
 
This may go along with Health and Wellness, but I will list separately for organization.
 
Beautiful Feet Teaching Character Through Literature – this includes a wonderful reading list appropriate for both Primary and Intermediate Readers, as well as Study Guide lessons geared toward Primary and Intermediate Reading Selections.
 
Laying Down The Rails – this is a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writings, organized to cover wellness topics (such as Cleanliness) as well as Character topics such as courtesy. There is a book for parents/educators along with a student book that includes discussion topics.
 
Art and Music Appreciation
 
While we pull projects from our DK Book of Art, I have been keeping Art and Music as an area of interest-led study. Kyri loves being creative and doing crafts and I try to provide outlets for this – with craft supplies and ample opportunity to check out art books at the library. As far as music, she was gifted an acoustic guitar which she loves, and she is slowly becoming more comfortable with holding it properly and using her hands correctly. Once we relocate she will have more time and space to spend working on learning chords.
 
Classics Reading
 
One of the shifts we have made in our homeschool approach is to spend a lot more time just reading together. I am always looking for excellent book suggestions to work into our reading schedule, and we usually have two or three titles we are working on at any one time. Over the summer we have been working on the Little House series, and I have a list I’m putting together for this school year. With the Beautiful Feel study guides, I have even more books to include. I will be putting together another post with our reading list later in the fall.
 

Preschool/ PreK 

 
We started off slow last fall, mainly just to get Ender interested in learning and working on “school” work together. This year, he is ready to go! He is always asking me to do school work or to read to him. I am looking forward to an exciting year with him! His younger brother Julian is only 2 1/2 but I am expecting him to tag along a bit and participate a little. Julian is already able to count to 15, so he may end up being fairly interested in some of our school work.
 

Math

 
Saxon Kindergarten  As with Kyri, I am starting out early with the Saxon curriculum to allow us work at a slower pace if needed. Saxon K covers a lot of basics like patterns, shapes, and counting, as well as Calendar basics.
 
Confessions of a Homeschooler – Letter of the Week. I use several of the resources from this curriculum for teaching number recognition and basic counting skills. I have laminated flash cards and put onto rings for easy review.
 

Language Arts

 
Confessions of a Homeschooler – Letter of the Week for letter recognition and basic writing skills
 
Starfall  this is a wonderful resource for teaching the ABCs and phonics. Ender, like his sister, really loves the interactive games that introduce phonics and simple words.
 

Science 

 
While I expect Ender (and possibly Julian) to tag along with Kyri’s science lessons, I want to have some simpler activies planned as well.
 
More Mudpies to Magnets – a great book with age-appropriate experiments for ages 2 through 6.
 
Evan-Moor Learning About Animals (Science Works for Kids Series) Grade K-1 – A great introduction to animal basics. Includes simple worksheets and coloring and gluing pages.
 
 
Miscellaneous Resources
 
For practice, we use a variety of flashcards – these are a fun way to practice letters, numbers, colors and shapes!
 
For handwriting practice (numbers and letters) I love to pick up little workbooks from Target – Busytown workbooks are our current favorite around here.
 
Notebooking Pages
 
This spring I took the plunge and purchased a lifetime membership to Notebookingpages.com. This is a wonderful resource for notebooking pages on a wide variety of subjects. I have been incorporating notebooking pages into our history and science reading, as well as character and nature study. The site membership also includes a web app that allows members to create their own notebooking pages, from start to finish, or simply including their own clip art or images in preexisting pages. While I enjoy making my own notebooking pages, it is great to have so many pages available ready to go.
 
Starfall
 
While Kyri is growing out of Starfall‘s content, she still loves to explore the site with her younger siblings. They continue to add new content, and they do have multiplication and division activities, as well as basic geometry and probability activities to explore.
 
Nature Study
 
We don’t follow any schedule or planned curriculum for Nature Study. Instead, I make sure we have a wealth of resources available that encourage exploration and discovery, along with sufficient identification guides. Local park and rec programs are a great way to round out our home nature study program. I will be putting together a separate post where I share the variety of resources I have put together over the past couple of years for the children.
 

 

Arc Notebooks for Homeschool

At the beginning of the school year, I knew we would be having a challenging year, with back and forth trips to Atlanta while we were in the process of selling our house, and being in a state of flux. In what can only be described as a Herculean effort (for me at least…), I spent a couple of days getting the ENTIRE school year planned out, printables prepared and organized into folders for 36 weeks. Each week all I had to do was reach for that particular week and distribute any printables between our daily folders. 

This has worked well for the most part. The one drawback I have had, though, is not being “with it” on a Sunday to fill the upcoming daily folders. Some weeks I have scrambled on Monday to get our week started out right.
 

I had a friend recommend the Arc Notebook system from Staples recently, and seeing how I am always looking for ways to be more efficient and productive, I decided to try it out and see if it meets our needs. The Arc system uses a special punch and the pages slip onto a series of discs via openings along the edge, rather than closed holes that are bound by rings. This system allows for easy removal and placement of papers and notebook components. 

Ready-made notebooks can be purchased in letter and junior sizes, and individual components are available separately.
 
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(left) the press and various components for making Arc Notebooks. (center) discs are available in two sizes. (right) We’ve made several notebooks recently, for school, personal bible study and weekly planners. They work great!
 
I have prepared arc notebooks for Kyri, my rising fourth grader, and now for Ender, my 4-year-old starting pre-K. 
 
For Kyri, I have made sections for each of our subjects.  Rather than our weekly folders, all of our printables are now contained in a single notebook, organized by subject. A full year of spelling printables, spelling test pages, math printables and facts practice sheets, geography printables, etc. Now I don’t have to worry about filling daily folders on a Sunday to prepare for the upcoming week because everything is already organized in our notebook. 
 
arcnotebook002
(left) We used the larger discs for Kyri’s school notebook. (right, all panels) Kyri’s notebook contains all printables and consumables for her math, spelling, history, geography, bible, and science.
At the beginning of Kyri’s notebook I have included blank checklists, where I list daily tasks I would like her to complete. While most of our morning is spent reading together during Kidschool, she does have independent work as well as some guided work she does in the afternoon (and this material makes up the brunt of her notebook). 
 
arcnotebook004
(top, left) We have made junior notebooks for general note taking. (top, right) Weekly planning pages for Kyri’s notebook. (bottom, left) One section of Ender’s notebook contains several Arc zipper pouches. (bottom, right) One section of Ender’s notebook contains letter and number cards for daily practice.
For Ender, his notebook is more for organizing laminated activity packs in zipper pouches. I have letter cards, and matching games, puzzles and sorting activities, all printed and laminated. I have one section for many laminated letter and counting cards, followed by a section of zipper pouches that contain printed and laminated preschool activities. Lined paper and printouts are in another section. I’ll go into specific resources for each grade in separate posts.
 
 

 

Spring is for Plants!

In my previous posts, I have mentioned using Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for our elementary Science. We have been working through A thread (Nature of Matter) of BFSU Volume 1 all year. I had originally planned for us to start in Volume 2 and continue A thread (this is the Classical schedule coming through…), but over the past several weeks there has been a lack of interest in continuing with atoms and molecules. I think the beautiful weather outside has a lot to do with it! So I did some thinking and decided to reevaluate how we are doing our science. 

 
Bernard Nebel, the author of BFSU, encourages moving between the four “threads” or disciplines (Nature of Matter, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Physical Science). I’ve resisted this only because we’ve followed the classical schedule for the past several years, with one subject each year in a four year cycle. But as we move away from the classical schedule a bit, I find myself wanting to jump around a bit (though in an organized way so not stress out my Type A personality). 
 
With that being said, I decided to cover Plants this June. Everything is in bloom, the weather is nice, and we’ve got a great garden in our front yard to study as well.
 
Over the past week or so, we have been studying the basic structures of plants. The core of our lesson has been B10: Plant Science I – Basic Plant Structure. We started with the three basic parts of a plant – roots, stems, and leaves. We discussed how even vastly different plants all have these parts, though often in a modified form. She was fascinated to learn that the spines of a cactus are actually highly modified leaves. 

 

We have a membership with Notebookingpages.com, and I printed up several pages from the Plant Study collection. Over the past week, we have been working through these pages, identifying various plant parts, margin types, leaf arrangements, etc. The Visual Dictionary of Plants is a wonderful resource for learning plant parts.

 
Kyri and I went on a Plant Walk this week, armed with a few nature books and plant identification guides. As we explored, we discussed the three basic parts of a plant, and I asked her to identify various aspects of plants we found, such as:
 
type of leaves – simple or compound
arrangement of leaves – alternate, opposite, whorled, fascicled, or clustered
leaf venation – parallel, pinnate, palmate or arcuate
leaf margins – smooth, serrate, dentate, crenate, sinuate, lobed, or cleft
 
On our plant walk, she was particularly interested in finding a Sweet gum tree, because she had read about it and its identifying features in one of her books. We wrapped up our walk with the triumphant discovery of a Sweet Gum tree at the end of our street.
 
We have built up quite a collection of nature study books, and Kyri absolutely adores them. I can often find her with one or more tucked under her arm. Here are some of our favorites:

Here are several pictures from our walk!

plantwalk_combined1 plantwalk_combined2 plantwalk_combined3 plantwalk_combined4