This week marks the halfway point in our fall curriculum, and honestly, this is the farthest we’ve ever journeyed into homeschooling, especially with this much consistency. That being said, we were all feeling a little burnt out this week. I started earlier than planned so we’d have built in days off in case this happened. I wanted to make sure it still lined up that we would be doing Christmas stuff around Christmas time and that we wouldn’t constantly be behind or trying to cram stuff in before spring rolls around.
I didn’t want to experience a harder week next week if we didn’t do anything at all though, so I took a more relaxed approach and started the week out with making nature journals. Instead of handwriting worksheets, Amelia drew in her nature journal and asked how to spell words. We also pointed out letters when we saw them and guessed what letters certain words started with. I read this week’s books to them outside while they played.
We discovered a show on Netflix called Math Monster Squad and both girls absolutely loved it. This resulted in a lot of cuddling on the couch and getting a great reinforcement for using math in everyday situations.
We began a nature study curriculum called Exploring Nature with Children. It’s over 240 pages and covers all four seasons with weekly topics, nature walk ideas, book suggestions, craft ideas, and a lot more. The first week of September is all about seeds and the second is about bugs so I decided to group those two together. Bugs are a current obsession with the girls and this was a good way to introduce the nature study format. What I like most about the curriculum is the ability to use it again and again every year. It has more suggestions for each topic than we will get through in a week so each time we hit another topic, we can delve in deeper.
On our walk home from gymnastics, we looked at plants to find where their seeds were at. Both girls correctly identified the seeds on a plant and some type of grass. We discussed why it would be beneficial for seeds to be taken away from the parent plant, and the different ways the seeds can be dispersed. Mimi’s confidence has grown when she answers questions. In the beginning, she would hesitate to answer and be afraid that she would be wrong. It’s great to see her make guesses more confidently, and most of the time she’s pretty spot on with her answers. The same thing has happened with our weekly art discussion. Once I explained that art is up for interpretation and that there aren’t any wrong answers, she has really gotten into it.
There are sprouts in our garden! We were able to identify radishes, beans, peas, and calendula. There are a lot of little weeds, but until they’re big enough to know they aren’t vegetables, we’re waiting to pull them out. After this growing season, we’re going to try a new gardening method that should come close to eliminating all weeds.
Our weekly topic for the Harvest Time curriculum was apples. We learned about Johnny Appleseed, made apple stamp prints, learned about how an apple grows, and all the parts of an apple tree. The main book we learned from was How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro. A bunch of other people are learning about apples right now too so we’re pretty far down the list on the holds queue at the library. I put in hold requests on the books we’ll need for the next few weeks so we can hopefully get those ones in time. For now, we’ve been finding those books on YouTube.
This week was a wonderful reminder that we can actually end up doing more “schoolwork” and learn more by keeping things gently structured. I have a feeling this is a lesson I’ll have to learn a few more times.
You might have noticed the girls wearing headphones. We have a concert in a couple of weeks and they’re wearing noise-cancelling headphones to get used to them. Fortunately they seem to love them!