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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Handbook of Nature Study week 1

I have been eying up this website for a while now. This week my very own copy of The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock arrived! After a few days spent gazing lovingly through its pages, we were ready for nature challenge #1! And, being me, I forgot my camera!

Everyone bundled up and we headed over to South Park, since we were out anyway. I decided that a look at the creek in winter might be a good idea. On the walk down to the park, we saw an odd tree; it was quite thorny! This is one of the things we decided to investigate further. After a little research, we found it was a honey locust tree.

(thanks to http://www.hiltonpond.org/ for this picture)

As we approached the creek, my oldest, Scrappy, noticed some berry bushes. We have no idea what kind of bushes they are. There were red and bluish-black berries on them and the berries were very small. Scrappy noted that the berries were all missing from the lower branches, but up higher, the berries were still present. He thinks that deer may have eaten the berries, but maybe they couldn't reach the top. So he wants to find out more about what deer eat. We decided that it was probably not a popular spot for birds, since the dog park was right next door.

The kids spent a few minutes throwing twigs into the creek. They loved it when a twig would become stuck on a rock, get spun around by the creek, and then continue on its trip. Everyone was refreshed and excited after our walk. I used to be so much better about taking the kids out and it is so great to have these challenges to nudge me back into spending more time outside with them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A reminder to myself to be thankful!

I'm the first to admit that I am a total slacker. Those of you who can make a schedule, and then stick to it...well, you're amazing. I am EXCELLENT at making schedules. I am, however, very bad at following them. It is a real struggle with homeschooling! I know it isn't just me, which is rather liberating. I do struggle with always knowing that the kids are learning okay, despite my lack of discipline. I feel like I am just passing my slackerism along to them, which I hate. But at the same time, in my attempt to find the positive, I am pretty flexible and rarely do I really get worked up about falling behind or things not turning out exactly as I had planned. Hm, which really is interesting, as I recall posting on my old blog about being behind and how it was driving me crazy. It seems I've grown! I don't know if it's good or not... I am still a bit, shall we say, undisciplined. But I do see that they are reading, writing (but still complaining--can't have it all), adding, subtracting, and largely enjoying being home and learning. I thank God for this chance to homeschool them, according to their own needs and abilities!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Holy powwow, Batman!

In my blog's struggle for identity, I've decided to throw in some homeschooling goodies in addition to the recipes and flowers. Basically, you've just entered the realm of my random thoughts. Good luck to you.

My 3rd child, Goofy, is in Kindergarten. Today he did a few pages of math, including a 1-10 dot-to-dot (he's so beyond that, but sometimes I like to throw in something fun and easy) and an alphabet dot-to-dot. You might notice that I like to trick my kids into learning. I'm a big fan of school being fun! Learning is awesome and amazing, and it is one of the main goals of our homeschool program--that our kids love learning. In addition to the three Rs, we also read through a pre-K/early elementary version of the Weekly Reader that was about Powwows. What a fun topic! We finished up by watching powwow dancers on youtube. And I am proud to say, we did not end up in a swirling youtube vortex, for once.

Check out the video here.

Sadly, I wasn't quick enough to catch Goofy's version of a dance, which ended up with him crashing loudly to the floor, then laughing hysterically. That's how it's done, right?