Hello there, fellow Gather ‘Round users! Although I don’t used GR for our main curriculum during the school year, I LOVE using it for our breaks. We loved the Christmas unit, and decided to use the Oceans for “summer” school this year. I find our family works best with some “structured” time during the hot months– and this Oceans unit study seems like it will fit the bill so nicely!
We just finished our first lesson, and are already loving it!
Before starting Oceans, I did hit Thriftbook.com and an Usborne party to snag some great picture books, etc. (You can check those out in my saved “Oceans” Insta Story!)
I would normally head to the library to snag most of these, but since libraries are closed right now (thanks, Covid!), these links are the next best thing!
These videos are in no particular order, but all of them are recommended in either the pre- or early reader levels, and both ages are close enough to enjoy them together in my opinion. 🙂
Here we go!
The Dolphins at Daybreak Chapter Book Links
There you have it!
Hope these links help you and your kiddos enjoy your Oceans unit even more!
Want a little St. Patty fun tomorrow… but don’t have time to print a bunch a stuff out or prepare a lesson plan?
Here’s a handful of ideas to throw together a great day of Irish-themed learning!
Irish Storyteller Michael R. Kasony-O’Malley of Columbus, Ohio shares “Bridgette and the Lurikeen,” an old Irish folktale about a girl and a leprechaun. Fun storytelling and Irish culture combine in this fun retelling!
Feel free to ask your kids to narrate the story back to you, ask them their favorite part, or even to reenact it to check their understanding and attention. 😉
For those kiddos who are older and might want try their hand at some creative writing, have them try writing their own limerick! According to britannica.com, “the origin of the limerick is unknown, but it has been suggested that the name derives from the chorus of an 18th-century Irish soldiers’ song, “Will You Come Up to Limerick?” So, definitely some strong Irish roots there!
Cooking (and math. and science. and snacks.)
Make a whole Irish meal! Or just pick one or two! Snacks are good, too!
What’s great about being in the kitchen is that it can cover soooo many subjects! Measuring? From counting, to fractions, to multiplying (if doubling or halving a recipe), it’s math.
For those of you who don’t know, prior to becoming a homeschool momma and having an at-home wellness business, I used to teach. You know… like, outside my house.
In fact, I still do. One day a week, I get the major blessing of teaching some pretty amazing homeschooled highschoolers speech and debate. They work hard, learn a lot, and go out and actually compete with their communication skills. I’m pretty proud of them. 🙂
Before that though, I taught communication courses in storytelling/performing and public speaking on the University level. I traveled as a debate coach and judge in colleges and universities from SC up to PA and through the midwest. I was the faculty advisor for our collegiate debate program. I was crazy busy, but it was so fun and rewarding.
Since then, I’ve exchanged road trips with college students for field trips with my own kids… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been asked so many times if I can tutor speech and debate, but I don’t want to spend my all day trying to arrange and remember tutoring slots.
Instead, I’ve come up with the idea of an online communication coaching “club” of sorts. There are lots of perks for a very reasonable price. Space is limited, however, because of me wanting to keep things in balance over here with my own kiddos and responsibilities/privileges.
As the instagram post below mentions, my kiddos and I had fun this week reading the Vietnamese folktale, The Fly. It opened up a lot of fun conversations about how to be clever with words and use them in creative, problem-solving, even funny ways.
Language Arts is such a GREAT way to sneak in some of those Big Juicy Conversations that we love to have over here… but you know something else I love to use Language arts for?
As a springboard for Art… art.
Today, staying in theme of flies, we decided to draw them.
Now, we do have a separate, more “classical” art curriculum that we use and enjoy. It officially covers things like shape and light and balance.
But there’s a time and a place for all types of learning, right?
If you don’t already know about, please check out Art for Kids Hub on Youtube. My 7 year old, especially, could watch several of their videos and just draw her day away!
Now, their channel isn’t an art curriculum, per se. But there is definitely value in learning basic things like step-by-step instructions, watching how people make and do certain techniques, etc. It’s nice to see a demo and to be able to pause and rewind if they need to see something again. There’s also a more immediate “look at this!” pride that comes from doing these little videos and being able to draw something in just a few minutes.
Art Hub has SO many videos of all different types of things to draw (and even simpler ones for pre-school ages) that you can more than likely find a video to incorporate in whatever you are learning about. (Hello there, unit study activity!)
With easy resources just a click away, there’s no reason to not incorporate a drawing or two on a Friday.
We do a LOT of “together learning” over here, so one would think that all the kiddos would be okay with breaking up and rotating through some one-on-one time for individualized language arts and math. But no…
Anytime I just needed to work with my 7 year old for a few minutes, the 4 year old and 18 month old would interrupt 24,301 times… drawing our simple 15 minute individual lessons WAY TOO long. Frustration would grow, and it just wasn’t happy. So, I started saving those quick lessons for 7 o’clock at night– after the two youngers went to bed. Uninterrupted, we breeze through the lessons, especially since E is excited that she gets to stay up “late.”After we finish the “leftoevers” from the day, I let her choose something she wants to learn with me. Sometimes, something from our learning from the morning inspires it… sometimes, it’s just her and her amazingly random interests.
It is so fun, sitting together, looking through resources, using keywords on Google to find articles. Of course, YouTube comes in super handy, too. (Depending on what she is wants to look up, I’m a little more careful about videos. Sometimes innocent-looking videos suddenly can throw language or content in there that I don’t prefer for her at her age.)
Here’s a sample of how nightschool looks for us most nights.
I honestly love what we are starting here. I love the collaborative feel of the last hour together. I love being free from distractions and just concentrating on her– my oldest. I love learning beside her, and fanning the flame on her interests. I hope she learns a lesson that is more important than spices or mummification or cricket or whatever it is that strikes her fancy– that learning doesn’t stop at a certain age.
That life itself is learning.
We just need to take whatever tools we have at our fingertips…
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…
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!!!”
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.)
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!
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!)
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!
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!
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.