Showing posts from September, 2016

Our Class Pets

A new school year means new class pets, especially when you have a science-minded family.  I have been researching "self-feeding" ecosystems for several months and decided to put on together for our classroom.

I started with real lake silt from a nearby lake.  The silt contains microorganisms, which help keep the ecosystem stable.  The grass pieces came from the same lake, but I want to replace it soon with duckweed or a similar aquatic plant.  The plant matter provides oxygen and food for the ecosystem.  Next, it was time to add the animals.

From our local pet store, I added four live animals.  The male guppy as been named "Bubble Guppy" after the TV show.  The two shrimp and snail haven't been named at all.  In our ecosystem, the fish provides the waste matter for the shrimp and snail to eat.  The snail and shrimp will also eat algae, dead plant matter, and bits of fish food.  I think the only thing I will need to add to the tank is a bit of fish food every …

v is for vulture (year 3, week 3)

Yet another unpopular unit for kids!  This week, we studied "v is for vultures" in Africa.  We have two more weeks in Africa before we take our week break for school.  Then, it's off to a new continent!

Gymnastics class!  We had car trouble, so we couldn't go.  The kids were so disappointed.  Shortly after that, I began not to feel well, so it worked out.  The kids woke up extra early because they were so excited.  They were very tired all morning and took good naps.  I'm so glad that my kids go to a school that allows them to nap everyday!

The kids worked on their shoulder strength by drawing pictures on our new chalkboard.  The board came from Home Depot already blackened, and my husband made the frame.

We talked about the food chain today, using the illustration of grass as the producers, zebras for herbivores, lions for carnivores, and vultures for scavengers.  The kids found it very interesting that there were animals that ate other dead animal…

Rainforest Review Game (Editable)

I made this rainforest game to be used for many years by making the "paw print" cards fully editable.  I plan on laminating them and using wet erase marker to add whatever information we need to review.  Perhaps one day, we'll be working on sight words.  Another day it might be science facts about animals.  We could write multiplication problems, letters, or anything else we need.  I intend to use a dice and little toys (perhaps the Safari rainforest toob animals) as our game pieces.

The free 2-page game is available for download here.


Literacy Scavenger Hunt Bottle

The idea for a letter i-spy bottle has been around for a long time.  I saw lots of ideas on Pinterest (listed below), but none using Safari's Good Luck Mini Wild Fun Pack.  For this week's #HowiSafari blog post, I'm featuring a Safari themed literacy bottle.

First, gather your Safari mini animals, something to use as a filler (usually a grain or something similarly small), and an empty plastic bottle.  Depending on your literacy focus, you could add mini letter tiles, letter beads, or words written on cardstock.  You might also chose to add more animals or objects and challenge the student to write the animal's name from memory or to mark it off on a worksheet.

For my preschoolers, I chose to make a Letter Safari Bottle.  I added yellow lentils, letter tiles, and Safari's Mini Animals to a Smart Water brand plastic bottle.  I chose not to glue on the lid, and I'm glad that I took the risk.  After playing around with it for a while, I decided that the beads wer…

Nesting African Food Chain

This next week at Mommy School, we're focusing on vultures and scavengers.  Like my gorilla unit, it's been tough to find activities or ideas for this theme.  I ran across the idea of a food chain from a different ecosystem, and decided to make one for Africa with the vulture at the top.

This is a very basic, four-step food chain, suitable for kindergarten or first grade.  The four steps are producer (grass), herbivore (zebra), carnivore (lion), and scavenger (vulture).  The printable is set up so the student can make a tube of each animal (cut out and glue at the shaded section).  If the tubes are stacked smallest to largest, it gives them impression that the one on top has eaten the one below.  I think my kids will enjoy the "magic" of the process.  I'm planning on printing on cardstock.  Alternatively, the pieces could be attached to toilet paper rolls that have been reduced to be different sizes.

Visit the blog on Saturday to see how the completed project (v…

g is for gorilla (year 3, week 2)

Last week, we focused on the entire globe as we learned about apples.  This week, we're narrowing our focus to Africa, where we'll stay for about a month.  Our theme this week was on monkeys and apes (and some lemurs).  I was surprised how hard it was to find information or resources about this topic.

Our weekend was very busy.  We went to a county fair with my parents and sisters, where the kids rode lots of rides.  We stayed for the rodeo, which meant a late night for everyone.  The next day, Dragonfly went fishing for the first time with Daddy and Grandpa.  On the way home, our car broke down.  With all the event of the weekend (and the crowds), we started the week tired and behind.

Gymnastics class!  That's pretty much our entire day.

Dragonfly did 2 math worksheets today.  She's doing very well with her concepts and is still enthusiastically desiring to move ahead.

We tried a new thing with handwriting, where she traced in pencil words that I had wri…

a is for apple (year 3, week 1)

The kids have been begging me to start "Mommy School" for weeks.  I've been holding them off as I've prepared and to build the anticipation.  At last, the time has come.


This week, we started gymnastics.  All three of the kids are in the same class.  They all wished that they could do gymnastics every day, and have been very good at practicing what they learned.


Daddy had an extra day off so we gave ourselves an extra weekend day.


Wednesday was our first day of school. We started with some carpet time, then moved to the table to work on our notebooks.  Dragonfly colored a booklet of the world's continents, while the boys colored a letter A with pictures of words that start with short "a."

 We ate green and yellow apples and talked about the parts of the apple and the tastes sour and sweet.  After naps, we took first day of school pictures!

We practiced laying out our rugs for carpet time and rolling them up again.  One of my child…

Even More Themed 10-Frames

This blogger is very honored to be part of Safari Ltd's blogger campaign #HowiSafari!  I'm going to be posting twice a month about the ways that our family uses Safari Ltd products in our homeschool.  The following is my first Safari sponsored blog post:

Last week, I posted a bunch of fun, themed 10-frames.  I just couldn't stop adding to the list, so here are a bunch more!

Firstly, I did spiders, which I think are pretty cute.  We're planning on using them for our spider unit this spring, but they would also be appropriate for Halloween.  If you want to go 3D, you can use plastic spiders like these.

Our back-to-school tradition is to focus on all things apple-y for the first week.  We make pies and sauce, sample different apple varieties, and to lots of apple-themed activities.  I made this set of apple 10-frames in honor of that tradition.  The PDF comes with a 20-frame game board and two sets of apples.  The apple pieces could also be used for patterning and additio…

Montessori-Inspired Addition Board

It is my belief that you can never have too many math visuals and manipulatives.  This Montessori-inspired addition board is yet another one to add to the pile.  The free printable features an 8.5x11 "addition board," and two sets of numbers.  The blue number bars go on the left and the red number bars go on the right.  The white numbers should meet in the middle to show which numbers are being added together.  The board shows the total.  The 2D model will store easily in a page protector or math resource notebook.

To download the free printable, click here.


Kindergarten Curriculum 2016-2017

This year, we're adding some "real" curriculum to our homeschooling year.  We're going to continue our science-based themed weeks (more on that in another post), but we're also going to add some reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic books.  Dragonfly is very excited to start kindergarten.

I had originally planned on using a curriculum for phonics, but Bullfrog (hubby) and I decided against it.  We're going to use the resources that we already have in the house and on the internet to guide us.  I also intend to make use of audiobooks and read-alouds from Youtube.  Of course, we'll continue to do lots of chapter book reading as a family.

I really like the Charlotte Mason idea of using copywork to teach handwriting, grammar, punctuation, etc.  The copywork allows the child to practice meaningful handwriting without having to think of a subject to write about.  I'm sure that we'll do some Scripture copywork (maybe in relationship…

Our 2016-2017 Homeschool Year

This is my most complete curriculum scope and sequence so far, and it's really just a sketch of ideas.  Suitable for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary, the year covers an animal for every letter of the alphabet from all 7 continents and the ocean, covering all major zoological classes.

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