Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Lessons

The first week in March we got back into our themed lessons. Because of Dr. Seuss's birthday, we did a Dr. Seuss theme. We were going to go to a celebration at the mall, but Jessie had to take my car to work that day. :(

Wednesday: We read a ton of Dr. Seuss books.

Thursday: I printed off some fish bowls with a number on each one, and we took Goldfish crackers and counted them out, according to the number on the bowl. (Samantha is not fond of math, so I really want to try to start playing more number games to make it fun. We have recently begun playing games, and one of them is a number game called 1, 2, 3 Duck. Very simple, but she is more willing to count that way.)

Friday:We did a Horton Hears a Who coloring sheet. We were going to make Cat In The Hat hats, but we have been so busy...it just didn't happen.

Saturday: I made a special breakfast for us- Green Eggs and Ham. We also watched both versions of Horton Hears a Who and discussed, on a very simple level, how they were different and alike.

The next week was Recycling and keeping the Earth healthy, one of the first topics we did last year when we began lessons.

Wednesday: We read "The Great Trash Bash."

Thursday: We picked up litter outside and made a little area for our recycling. (I intend to expand upon this, but it is a start.)

Friday: We made binoculars out of old toilet paper rolls-recycling by using "trash." We just painted them and then rubber banded them together after they dried.

The last two weeks were Spring topics. I really wanted to make Spring a two week theme just because there are so many fun things to do with Spring.

Wednesday: We read the cutest book called "Diary of a Worm." It is about a worm and his life. It has some silly journal entries, but it teaches a lot about worms and what they do.

Thursday: We played outside and explored. We took everything in and we talked about the plants and insects. Samantha even started a nature collection. It started out with basic stuff, like rocks, shells, leaves-even one that a caterpillar ate off of, but it has already grown and has some neat stuff in it! Jessie brought her home a turtle shell from his hunting trip. And the lady who leads storytime gave her a maple tree branch with "helicopters" on it, because we told her about her collection. She has her own drawer-for now. I want to buy some pretty shelves for the kitchen or living room as her collection grows. She seems to be really interested in it.

Friday: We made contact paper flowers and butterflies. I gave Samantha a piece of contact paper and we ripped up and cut (fine motor practice) several colors of construction paper. Then She covered the contact paper with the different pieces. (I also did one. She Loves when I do the project too.) Then I put another layer of contact paper on and cut out a flower shape for her and a butterfly for me. We taped them to the window, and it looks really neat when the sun shines through them.

Saturday: We played an activity game called "Spring Movement." We would pretend to be different insects. I would describe what they did. She would act it out and then tell me what the insect was. We went through the development stages of a butterfly and she had to identify that. And then we were worms. Etc.

Wednesday: We read "Spring Is Here." I found it on a recommended reading list for preschoolers and reserved it at the library for Samantha, but I wouldn't recommend it. It didn't hold her attention and it was way to simple for preschool age. We also read an amazing book called "My Spring Robin." I Love Spring books, and I would definitely recommend that one.

Thursday: We took a trip to the local garden store and asked them about how to make a shaded butterfly garden. We got a few plants to start off with. Some simple flowers to attract butterflies. And then in the center we planted an herb for the caterpillar eggs and for them to eat. We bought a hanging pot since there are already some hooks up and that way the pots don't get knocked off the porch. We also got some stuff to decorate the pot with. We will gradually add more as summer goes by, but that was just a start. And we are considering a little dish with sand and water and rocks in it for the butterflies to sun bathe, but I gotta see if there is a spot on the porch where the sun hits directly first.

Friday: We made an egg carton ladybug and caterpillar-didn't get pics though. (We were going to paint a bird house, but then I remembered it would have to go on the back porch, and birds eat butterflies...)

Saturday: We took a trip to the local produce stand while we were grocery shopping. It was awesome! They have such great deals. Everything is organic. And they even had farm fresh eggs, (double yolk). Jessie fell in Love. He Loves farm fresh eggs. It was only $3.00 for 15 eggs-technically 30! And they were all natural!

Lessons with Sam have been very exciting. It is so easy to see the product of what she is learning now. And it isn't just the basics. It is things like life cycles and moon phases, more advanced stuff. She is making connections like crazy! She learned her basic 3 dimensional shapes, and now she points them out everywhere. We walk around the grocery store and she points out the oranges and says, "That is a sphere." She noticed the support posts were cylinders and even realized that her pack of Reece's  were a rectangular prism. She sees a lot of similarities in things that we don't see, until she points them out. These are menial things, like the style of the signs at one park look like the signs at another park, and we are like, "Oh yah, I guess so."

She can also do more as far as activities go, which makes it easier for her to do unstructured learning, like the games I mentioned earlier. I picked them up from a consignment sale for a few dollars. She really enjoys playing them and she is working on reading, counting, listening, teamwork, and all sorts of areas of development.

I am looking forward to taking tons of trips this spring with her! Next week we are probably going to take her to the River Gardens to see the butterfly pavilion. And the activities I have planned...Especially our butterfly garden...it is going to be so much fun! (I know we do a lot of butterfly stuff, but whatever she is interested in, I am all there!) It is so exciting to watch her grow!

One last thing, as I complete this post, that I have been adding to all month, today I went to a yardsale and found a Math U See curriculum, which is what I wanted to use for Sam. It is the first and second steps, and it was only the teacher and student manuals, so no DVD or manipulatives, but I bought it anyway-only a dollar-because I wanted to get a feel for the curriculum before I purchased it next year. It is so amazing! I read through several lessons. It was explained clearly and thoroughly. Everything is so hands on, and requires little written work, with the option of more if you want it. It is not only meant to teach how, but WHY things work a certain way, and it does a great job of explaining that too. I LOVE IT! I can't wait to order the whole set next year!

I read this right before we started her nature collection. 

Just a fun activity-We painted a rock. 

The Start of Her Collection 

Nature Drawer: Her binoculars are at the top to the right. She arranged it how she wanted it. 

Flying "Helicopters" at Story Time


She also sales jars of jelly, honey, and a lot more!
The fruits are turning brown because I took the picture like a week after we bought them, and we leave them out of the refrigerator. 

Flower Pot-Caterpillar

The butterfly didn't turn out as well. 

Cute Garden Tools I Bought Her From Target Last Year-She can actually use them this year!

Left: Impatients Right: Fennel

Root System: She thought that was neat. 

The Finished Product

March PAT Meeting-Bowling and Subtracting

PAT Group Meeting: Music Class

Fun Activity: Butterfly Mobile

Tuesday, March 27, 2012




Saturday, March 24, 2012

Turning Over Some Ideas

It's late...Sam and her friend just fell asleep. I started planning some of her lessons for April, and I got to thinking a little about how I want to homeschool. One thing led to another and I have found a plethora of information on lapbooking. I have been using unit studies since I started "schooling" Sam. She seems to really enjoy them, especially now that she has some say. And after a lot of reading, I had decided that I also wanted Sam's curriculum to be project based, but I wasn't sure how. Well, I figured it out. We are going to do lapbooking. I know I mentioned it briefly before, but then forgot about it. But I have begun looking more into it, and it seems like such a neat and creative way to organize all you have learned! There are hard copy lapbooks you can do, which include anything from colored pictures to small informational bookets stapled to the board. Or, a lot of older kids are now using digital lapbooking which involves movie making, digital sound recordings, and music. It just seems to me that it would be easier to remember what you learned when it is hands on and visual, and easy to refer to. 


I know I have not posted March's lessons yet. I have decided to post monthly now, to save time. I am working on my post little by little, and will probably post it by the beginning of April. Lots of exciting lessons are coming up. Spring is the most fun for activities.