Monday, September 29, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #32 Trees-Pines

Before going outdoors we read aloud the section on pines and the boys were very interested in the "evil insect" laying its eggs in the "leader" of the pine. They were eager to see whether or not the trees next door (that we were planning to observe) had only the central stem or if it was divided near the top. The easiest way to determine this was to stand right beneath the tree looking up the trunk all the way to the top. We found that one of the trees was divided into two segments near the top. The others had only one central stem all the way up.
Next we gathered up pine cones and fallen needles. The lowest branches were too high for us to gather any green needles. The boys quickly discovered the sheath at the bottom of the three- needled bundles. Our needles measured between 9 and 10 inches. We also noticed that the foliage was toward the end of the branches and on the upper side with the pine cones hanging down. The bark was light and dark gray and it was in scales.
After we got home we examined the cones and even found a seed with its wing. Our cones did have a little spine and the closed cones were very painful to carry. We drew the scale and the seed.
We did both a needle rubbing and a bark rubbing along with our nature journal enty.
This was a very fascinating study and was enjoyed by all! (Special thanks to our kind neighbors for letting us roam their yard gathering up needles and cones.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #31

Trees: Introduction
It was probably two years ago that we did our first tree study. We were living in student housing while my husband was in seminary. We went through our small neighborhood gathering leaves to press and identify. I was surprised at how difficult a few of them were to identify. Yet we finally managed to get them all labeled and put into a small book. After this whenever we would take a walk I would quiz the boys on what kinds of trees we passed. Sometimes I would say things like, "Ride your bikes to the sycamore and then stop" or "let's walk to the pecan tree." In this way they memorized some of the more prominent trees that we saw everyday and then when we were away from home they noticed trees that looked different and asked about them.

Once we were away from home and came across the Lace-bark Elm. We didn't know what it was so we named it the tiger bark tree until we could get home to look it up. Now whenever we see it we always remember solving the mystery.
Now we live in a new town and we are looking forward to discovering what trees live in our neighborhood. This week we went out to look at the trees and primarily we talked about the parts of the tree. The boys picked up the names quickly and in turn tested their grandmother to see if she could name the parts.
I think the boys mostly enjoyed climbing the trees and making leaf rubbings in their journals. We also drew a tree and labeled its parts.
Mesquite rubbing

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #29

Sunflower Study

This post is a week late, but our computer was down last week so I am doing a little catching up. The sunflowers were just perfect for our sunflower challenge. We were also delighted to find a lady bug larva crawling around on the ray petals of the above flower.

We were able to see the flower accomplishing its task- due to the fact that they were attracting numerous bees. The bees caused the boys to not want to get too close, but they were able to see the separate flowers that make up the whole sunflower.
They enjoyed pulling back the florets and spying the seeds underneath. This has been a helpful study because we have other composite flowers in our yard and around town that the boys are able to compare with the sunflower.

After finishing our study we did a watercolor of Van Gogh's painting, Sunflowers in a Vase.

Outdoor Hour Challenge #30

Weeds and Seeds
This week the boys had to go through the yard and flower bed looking for weeds. They each brought a specimen to the house to look at and draw in their nature journals.

We looked to see if they had seeds and talked about the best way to rid our yard and garden of these little plants. We also talked about the types of weeds we like, such as; dandelions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars

This is a recipe that I found on There Is No Place Like Home. She has lots of good recipes. Here is the most recent one that I have tried.

Fruit Filled Oatmeal Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
2/3 cup brown sugr
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup of your favorite jam

In a mixing bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of the flour mixture. Press remaining flour mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8 pan. Spread with desired jam. Sprinkle with reserved flour mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the top is golden. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Helpful Blogs

Over the last couple of years I have come across certain blogs that have been a huge help to me in our Homeschool. So, I thought I would pass them on to anyone interested.

Higher Up and Further In, is full of information on the Charlotte Mason method of Homeschooling. She gives sample schedules and answers many questions regarding the How To's.

The following two blogs are by the same person. They are amazing helps if you are using, The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, or Drawing With Children by Mona Brooks. If you are not using either of these books you will find plenty of ideas for Nature Walks along with weekly challenges to get outdoors. On the second link you will find art tutorials and weekly assignments for "Sketch Tuesday." I highly recommend both blogs.

The following blog is full of seasonal ideas and organization plans. She has, for each month, a Plans and Themes page. I find this helpful in thinking about all the possibilities for the month. She also has a "tea and craft" time where she teaches her children about Catholic saints. I am not Catholic, but this is a great idea for teaching Church History or about special Christians with whom you want your children to be familiar.


Our School Week

Here is a peak inside our school week.

Term 1

Day 1

Math- This year we are using Developmental Math: Book 8

History- Our Island Story By H E Marshall

Poetry- Walter De la Mare

Nature Walk and Observation

Day 2



Burgess Animal Book (this book is written in story form and tells about mammals)

Composer Study- Vivaldi

History Tale- The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge

Day 3



Art Lesson/Nature Journal

Geography-Tree In the Trail by Holling C. Holling

Church History- Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (this does not happen every week, but about once every 3 weeks)

Day 4



Burgess Animal Book

Artist Study- Vincent van Gogh

Day 5


Timeline (this is where we add to our timeline any new events or people we have read about during the week)

Art Lesson- Water Colors

Zoology- Birds

Added to all this my 2nd grader studies Latin and a Bible curriculum with his daddy each week and has a free reading time each afternoon. My Kindergarten student studies Phonics each day and joins his brother for Art, Nature, and Composer Studies.

For the most part we are finished with school by lunch time and the boys have the rest of the day to play and explore. This gives me the time to attend to meals and other homekeeping duties, not to mention my sweet 3 year old!