Garden Unit Study: Day 1

It was our first official day of home learning! My children chose to dress like this…

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We had a busy morning of meetings and errands, and settled in to learning after lunch. I think this will be my plan this summer. I want to take advantage of just playing outside in the mornings before it gets too hot outside, and we have been indoors during the hot part of the day anyway.

We started off our garden unit actually in our garden, measuring plants that have been growing for several weeks.

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Then we came in to create a graph of what we found. Grace chose colors that matched the plants – green for beans, orange for carrots, etc. We talked about which plant was the tallest, and which was the shortest. We noticed that we measured the green part of the carrot and not the part we eat, so it would be even taller when we pull it out of the ground. That naturally led to a discussion of which parts of the plant we eat – carrots are roots, lettuce is a leaf, sunflower seeds are seeds, etc. We’re going to measure again at the end of next week and see what we find! I will probably ask her tomorrow which plants she thinks will get the tallest based on what we learned today.

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Halfway through the day, I realized I had way too much planned for my comfort level. I ended up leaving off part of what I had planned. I want Grace & Joy to learn on their own, and develop a natural love for learning. I intentionally chose not to buy a curriculum. Yet here I was basically writing my own curriculum, which was honestly a lot of fun up until I implemented it today. Grace, however, was asking for more school even after we were finished, so I’m going to have to find a happy medium. I did decide to make a Math Journal, and adhered the graph to our first page. I’m also going to do a writing journal. We’re starting those tomorrow. I had designed a whole calendar page with weather charting and writing the date and all kinds of things that today I found too excessive at this stage. It may make an appearance next year, but for now I’m going to stick to the journals. In fact, I’m hoping to move from what I had planned just to lots of reading and the math and writing journals. I’m not sure why I made it harder than that in the first place. (And yes, I know it’s the first day and I should give it time, but it was just not as relaxed as I want it to be and I want to start on the right foot.)

We came inside and read several books from this list of what we either owned already or borrowed from the library. Grace’s favorite is How Does a Seed Grow?, which we own, and she recited most of it to me since she basically has it memorized. (I’m a little concerned that I’m going to have a hard time teaching her phonics since she hears a story one or two times and can “read” it back to me word for word, even weeks after hearing it.) It will be up to the girls which books we read each day. Today we read probably five or six of them before Joy got restless and we moved on. Later I found them both on the couch flipping through the books on their own while I was making dinner. I asked if they wanted me to read to them, but they said they wanted to read on their own.

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After reading we started talking about patience, our character trait for the unit. I’m using Kids of Integrity, which I love! I’m not going to do everything they have mapped out, but I love that there are options to pick and choose from. Today I introduced our memory verse and Grace drew a picture of when she had practiced patience. (We were waiting in line at the grocery store and there were trees outside, she says.)

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We also watched an episode of Magic School Bus (the Goes to Seed episode) on Netflix, and an episode of Little Bear (Little Bear’s Garden was the first part of the episode) on Amazon Prime. We don’t have cable, so we utilize those two resources often!

The girls finally put on normal clothes and we played outside some more. I love this part of our yard – our neighbors lost a tree in a recent storm and let us have whatever we wanted to cut off of it. It’s seriously a dream space for me, and when we go out to play the girls head straight for it every time. There are large stumps to walk across or sit on, a log to use as a balance beam, and smaller pieces of branches to build with. It’s a happy place for nature lovers.

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All in all today was a success. It wasn’t really much different than what we do during the day on a regular basis, which was my goal. I just feel like I have it more planned out rather than making up activities on the spot like usual, but the structure is basically the same. Joy is involved in the hands-on part, but was disappointed that she didn’t get to do the worksheets, so I am hoping to find time to plan more for her if she wants to do it. And time to unplan most of what I had been working on for Grace. I’m learning as we go as well!

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