Super Simple Pumpkin Unit: another easy Halloween add-on!

Another simple halloween lesson, for those who want some #easyenchantment while reading, playing games, doing math, covering science, and a craft. It’s raining here, so our outdoor fun is a little limited today.

We read the Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston. If you don’t have the book, they have several youtube clips that have people reading it. Here’s one!

Then, we played The Vanishing Pumpkin by making a spoof off of Doggie Doggie Where’s Your Bone and Hide and Seek. One kiddo would sit in a chair, and another kiddo would get up, “snitch the pumpkin,” and hide it in the room.

Then we’d sing “Happy Halloween, Happy Halloween, you’re pumpkin’s been snitched./ Happy Halloween Halloween, was it me or a witch?” (Do your own thing here, cuz we just made it up and sang it to the tune of “Happy Halloween” from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Which incidentally, my kids have never seen, but are familiar with the tune, just by hearing it here and there.)

After that, we did some math by playing the “Roll a Pumpkin” game! We rolled two dice and followed the rules laid out by Happy Home Fairy’s post.

Our pumpkins definitely were… creative. 😀

We had to add the dice together to play the game, and since we have a preschooler and a first grader, it definitely counts as math for us. In fact, covering simple addition in a fun way? Yes, please.!

Still to do today:

1) a video that covers the anatomy, life cycle, picking, types of a pumpkin, and treats you can make with pumpkin…

AND…

2) painting pumpkins!

Happy Halloween! Enjoy enchantment today! 

Super simple skeleton unit: an easy Halloween add-on!

Want to sneak in some reading and science/anatomy, disguised as a Halloween unit?

Behold, our “halloween” themed impromptu morning time we did this morning!

We started by snuggling on the couch and reading Skeleton Hiccups.

If you have the book, awesome! If not, snag it from amazon (linked above), or here it is to read/watch at home.

After we read, we got up and danced “the skeleton dance.” The 1 year old boogied, the 4 and 6 year old giggled through it, and I’m counting it as exercise for the day. #winwin

After that, I pulled out an anatomy book, and we talked about how the

Then we pulled out an anatomy book, and talked about how the skeleton couldn’t have REALLY had hiccups, because muscles (specifically the diaphragm) controls hiccups. But… it’s a cool story anyway.

(Side note: LeapReader has a Human Body game that covers the skeletal system that would be fun to incorporate. We were going to, but our pen wasn’t charged… #cantthinkofeverything)

Then, we went over the real names of the bones on our skeleton picture in the book (vs. “hip bone and leg bone” like the song), and listened to this song to reinforce:

And finally, we finished off our impromptu lesson with the Scishow Kids show about our Super Skeleton! It’s chock full of neat information that older students could spring board off of, if you have upper elementary/middle school needing to flesh some ideas out more. 🙂

My almost 7 got a lot out of the video, but my 4 yr old was even fascinated. He lifted up his arms and went, “I didn’t know my bones made blood!!!” 

We had other things planned for math today, so we went ahead and did that, but you could easily add that to a skeleton unit by counting the vertebrae in the back, subtracting how many bones babies are born with by the amount of bones adults have, or check out this blogpost for several different skeleton math worksheets, etc.

Hope our little impromptu skeleton lesson this morning makes it easy for you to snag an idea or two that makes school on Halloween more fun for you!

Fairy Tale, STEM, and Brave Learning… oh my!

If you are a learn-at-home family, you know the decision to educate your own children comes for a lot of different reasons.

But no matter what the reason is, one this is for sure: the bulk of your child(ren)’s time will be spent with YOU.

This can be a wonderful, amazing, awesome thing… but if most of us are honest, it is probably daunting, overwhelming, and maybe occasionally claustrophopia-inducing. (At least for fellow introvertish parents like myself.)

Part of living the Brave Learning lifestyle is paying attention to the “Super Powers” (which you can read about in The Brave Learner or snag in her free companion guide!). One of those super powers is “Collaboration”– where insteading of “momming” or “dadding” your kid, you decide to “big sibling” them instead. The idea is to come alongside to help them accomplish something, versus “reign down” the ideas from above.

Sometimes, collaborating means finding something your kid loves, connecting her with people who do it and sitting beside her with a fan to the flame the learning.

That’s exactly why we decided to do a class or two on Outschool!

I enrolled my daughter in a Fairy Tale STEM class— which is just perfect for the ongoing Fairy Tale Jot it Down Project we started in the summer!

The class is super fun and engaging!

Here’s my girlie, holding up a mini-Rapunzel that she is going to design an tower escape for. 🙂

The first week, she watched her class via my laptop, using her unicorn band headphones. I had her stocked with crafty tower-building “tools.” Each week, the teacher sends an email with the things that the next class will need– things that you probably have at home already, but just need to gather for the hands-on part of the class. Each week, they read a fairy tale, have some fun idea time, and then find solutions!

You can see E’s work in progress– a Rapunzel tower. Not pictured: a straw and pipe cleaner ladder. Other students in the class made swings, slides, etc. It was fun seeing all the ideas!

The next week, was Robin Hood… where they crafted their own bows and arrows and figured out the science behind shooting. (We are still figuring that out over here. Ha!)

Here’s E, looking all tough with her bow and arrow! I actually put her class on the ipad this week, which worked better as she was about to move it easily if it got in the way. (She tends to spread all.the.stuff.out.everywhere.)

She would look a little more menacing without the unicorn smile on her forehead, don’t you think? 😀

E looks forward to her online class every week and loves it, and she enjoys “teaching me” and showing off her projects to me each week.

We chose the Fairy Tale STEM class because it fits with what we are doing right now, but I am definitely looking ahead to other classes that can add more surprise, curiosity, and celebration to our homeschool, Brave Learning journey!

My Fall Mother Culture Event Line-up!

I don’t know about you, but in the middle of doing the mom/wife/work/homeschool thing, it can be too easy to forget that we women need community and learning of our own.

It’s the whole “can’t pour from an empty cup” thing.

I’ve said this before, but before I learned about Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy, I came across her advocacy for “Mother Culture” and…

I. was. sold.

Because it can be hard to find something in the community to fit my schedule for me to come to, I’ve started making small events in my home for others to come and attend. As a result of this time, I find motivation I need to tie up cleaning loose ends around the house (ahem…), learn something new, feel the fulfillment of seeing a project/event “completed” (versus chores, etc., that never stop), and opening my home to both my friends and any friends that *they* have… which allows me to meet new people at the same time.

I’ve just spent some time plotting out the fall classes, and can’t wait to get started prepping for them.

If you are in the upstate SC area and happen to come across this blog post, please connect! RSVP to one of these events and come on over! I’d love to meet you!

For those of you who are interested in doing events like this for yourself and want some tips on how to get something like this started, shoot me an email or leave me a comment! I’d love to chat and walk you through the process! It really is easier the more you do it!

Without further adieu, my upcoming Mother-Culture-inspired Community events!


(Click on pics to read more details!)

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Consider yourself officially invited to our Beanie & Brunch event! Grab yourself some thick, soft yarn and come learn how easy it is to knit with a loom!

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Are you a fan all things fall, pumpkin, and latte? Me, too!

I’m planning a small paint, sip, and sniff event at my home, and would love to see some old friends… and make some new ones!

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Did you know that November 14th is National Pickle Day?

In preparation for this amazing new-to-most-of-us holiday, come join us to learn an amazing new pickle recipe, packed with fresh veggies, herbs, and even some essential oils!


Fellow momma teachers, do yourself a favor…

If going to or planning events isn’t your thing, no worries. But please DO something for YOU.

As you plan a lesson for your kiddos, or sign them up for some class or extracurricular, make a commitment to invest time– and even money?– in your own enrichment, too.

YOU are worth it!

Our 1st grade line-up!

So I’ve already mentioned how we have chosen a secular curriculum as our spine this year, and why…

Now, let’s look–specifically– at what we have to look forward to this year!

For the bulk of language arts, science, nature study, and art/math appreciation, we are so excited to use Blossom & Root!

I went ahead and got the full bundle for first grade, since it all looked wonderful. You can piecemeal what you want, however.

Language Arts

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that my degrees and background are all things Communication, Story, and Persuasive speaking. It is so very important to me that my kids grow up with QUALITY literature that’s appropriate for them– not twaddle. Of course, literature selections will look different at each age and stage, but I believe that exposing children to quality stories young shape them so well to love Story and become great Storytellers themselves. (It’s no secret that great readers make great writers.) There has to be good input to get good output.

B&R’s LA merges quality literature with age-appropriate analysis/discussion with wordplay with copywork with journaling with poetry. By default, it incorporates several elements of the Brave Learner lifestyle that I want for our homelearning journey. So when I saw it laid out with beautiful booklists… the curriculum had my attention. (See a sample for yourself here.)

We are also using The Good and the Beautiful as a supplement, as she has done really well with that during kinder.

But what sold me– like, literally made my searching for 1st grade curriculum come to a blazing halt and made me push the “add to my cart” button– was the science.

Science & Nature Study

The irony is not lost on me that it was science that sold me (literally) on this curriculum– in a couple of ways.

  • I’m much more of an LA and history curriculum junkie than a science one.
  • the Science is secular, when I’m definitely faith-based/Divine Design/creationist

So what was it?

THE OPTIONS. ALL OF THE OPTIONS.

Here’s the thing. I want to be the mom that doesallthethings with my kids every day. I do. I want to do all the science experiments and all the nature walks and all the everything so my kids don’t miss anything.

But.

Um.

That’s not life. I have 3 kids– the oldest that is six. The youngest doesn’t walk yet, and the middle child is a boy that has one setting: non-stop. The interruptions are more than FEW. They are constant. I’m sure I’m not alone here, as there are many mommas who know exactly what I’m talking about.

There are other things that press for my time, like cleaning and laundry and meal prep and shopping and alltheotherthingshavingahome means doing.

I also work from home in two capacities: I teach and coach a high school speech & debate class and team (which means lesson planning and debate case grading) and I am a part of a wellness team that advocates natural living. As much as I love both… they take time.

So I needed something that I could still pull out and do, even if it was a heavy grading/working week and still feel like I covered science well. I also still wanted all the options available to me for when I could incorporate them.

Check out the science sample to see how B&R breaks it all down! Look specifically on pages 15 on to see what I mean. Six different options to choose from! The separate lab guide really breaks down the experiments and activities into super-useful steps. The students then can record what they have done/found into an open-ended workbook.

On to the nature component!

I love how she merges/overlaps the nature study with the science week so it all has a really great cohesive feel!

She has weekly nature tasks, but combines a few weeks together to create larger projects, like A Book of Firsts, etc. Again, there’s the ability to record it all down.

Check it out here.

Integrated Studies

When you get the full first grade bundle, you also get a really neat art/math integrated studies unit!

I was already planning on having art as a part of our enrichment basket, so this was a nice bonus for me to be able to get with the other “required” parts of our curriculum.

Every week, you study a new piece of art and change artists every few weeks or so. Each piece is linked to a math concept– like geometry, symmetry, etc. so you can see how the mathematical principle plays out in a visual, artistic way. It’s a great way to cover different art pieces, have artist study (since you cover the same artist for a least a couple of weeks in a row), and introduce all kinds of math.

It isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be, a complete math curriculum, so we have another thing for math itself… but hey! Showing kids math while doing art?! Bonus!!!

And yes, they have a sample for this as well… Here it is!

Other B&R stuff

We are using bits and pieces of B&R’s kindergarten ARTS program for composer study and also for Geography/History.  The K History and geography workbook focuses on the child’s own ancestry, family, and community. Besides being a great way to introduce what history is, and how it works, the workbook is an amazing keepsake, as it begins to show and track what the child’s personal ancestry is. Cool!

I’ll show you how I’m incorporate it with our 1st grade history below.

Other Curriculum

Math

I’m super excited about trying a few different things this year!

First off, I was able to get Miquon Math stuff at a great price at a homeschool consignment store earlier this summer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Miquon, it is a hands-on “math lab” for early elementary students.

Here’s a video that explains a little more about the what/why behind it…

Our 1st grade girlie has already begged to get the Cuisenaire Rods out, so I’ve let her explore with them a bit. I know she’ll jump right into the workbook/lab part really easily once we gear up!

We are also excited to be taking some of our math outdoors with Wild Math! I’m doing this more for our 3 yr old to tag along and learn/play during nice days… so many of the activities can be done anywhere and are super adaptable for grade level. Check it out here!

I’m also incorporating Life of Fred as a part of what we are covering as well. I’ve actually started reading it as a part of our summer enrichment, and E thinks it is funny and quirky– so it keeps her interest. She is remembering the math portions as well, and it just another good way to show how math can be incorporated into stories as well, and isn’t just numbers on a page. (I’m looking at you, word problems.)

Also, this past spring, Teaching Textbooks had a “free sample” download period, in which I download 15 free lessons of their 3rd grade math. On days where we just need a change of pace or she wants to work on the computer, I will sneak that in here and there as well.

History/Geography/Social Studies

E’s 1st grade History time is going to be divided and rotated into 3 parts: personal/regional, national, and international.

For the personal/regional component, I’m doing the B&R workbook like I mentioned above.

For the national part, we are doing a couple of things. We are going through a workbook on states that I’ll use as jumping off place to learn.

She will do the little activity, we will find the state on a map (found a fun interactive felt one at Target in the dollar section!)… and then we will incorporate this fun US Bingo game here and there to reinforce things that each state is known for!

Lastly, for the international component, we will be studying different continents through this Thinking Tree’s Funschooling book.

It has great prompts for learning about each continent. This workbook would be great for older ages… and to be honest, I’ll probably be jotting down her words until her reading/writing skills develop further. However, she is super interested in learning more about different cultures and LOVES maps, and I thought this would be a great way to fan that interest now, versus waiting until she is older.

Here’s a nice walk through of the book, for those who are interested!

Also, we are going to incorporate info from The Hungry Planet (a book that is a part of a unit in B&R) to see how different cultures and countries eat as we cover them.

A fun little add-on that we are going to do is courtesy of Target’s dollar section (yes, again… ha!) They had an inflatable blank globe, complete with plastic cling continents that can be placed and replaced on the sphere. So it will be a neat way to get her to practice geography and figure out how the continents relate to each other.

ALRIGHTY!

So that’s most of it!

Language Arts, Math, Science and History (<— we are looping those)

I’m also super excited for our Enrichment Basket, and will share what are plans are for that as well. Stay tuned!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Brave Learner Checklist

I didn’t realize how popular my hand-copied Brave Learner checklist would be when I posted it the other day! For those of you who mentioned that you wanted to make one, I went ahead and threw this together for you!

It’s not my handwriting, because I don’t have one of those fancy IPad pros and pens to draw it electronically… so I just used what I do for graphic design and made a close replica! Just right click, save image as to your desktop, and print away!

Hope it is helpful, friends!