A little more relaxed.

Whew! So all those worksheets and blogging have already worn me out. We switched gears last week and are much closer to what I envisioned our homeschool looking like. I am not a planner by nature, so trying to schedule the week with a theme was not falling into place for me.

My children, like all children I’m sure, love to explore and discover and learn on their own. I want to support and encourage that and not get in their way. At the same time, I don’t want to miss any important windows of learning. But we have found our groove now. A happy balance of curriculum and play and child-directed learning. Exactly what I had hoped it would be.

We did finish the letter part of her BrainQuest workbook. I’ve been trying to get her to sound out words on her own and spell them how she thinks they are spelled, but Grace is a perfectionist and always wants me to tell her the right way. I finally got her to try rabbit, and at first she wrote it RBET, which was great! All the sounds were there! But she knew it was missing something and asked me, so I said the word slowly and she erased the R, moved it over and added an A. She still wasn’t happy when she asked if she had spelled it right and I told her all the sounds were there and that’s what I wanted her to do. She wanted it to be spelled correctly, but we did move on.

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Our girls love science, and science based toys and activities. I can’t say enough about Magna-Tiles. We love love love them! Joy made 3-D shapes and identified them, and just played while Grace was flying through her workbook.

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We visited the science museum last week, and I could not get Grace away from the water table. In fact, we went there with friends, and they went ahead through other parts of the museum while we stayed there for a long while before meeting up. (My husband is an engineer, so Grace gets this honest.)

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Grace has been picking the dead flowers off our marigolds and burying them in other parts of the garden, so I told her that she only needs one seed to make a whole new plant. She then proceeded to pick every dead flower and take out the seeds. She drew a picture and we made seed packets (from this template) and she has been giving them to her friends and really anyone she sees. She is waiting for all these blooms to die so that she can get more seed.

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We are also keeping daisy and sunflower seeds, so she headed out in her nightgown one night to draw those flowers so I could get started on the seeds packets. While she was drawing the sunflowers, a honeybee landed on her foot. I was surprised how calm she was – she gently knocked the bee off into the grass, then watched it until it flew away.

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I keep trying to end the bug unit study, but things like this keep happening in our backyard. (And yes, Joy’s face looks exactly like she felt about this bug! Hilarious!) Grace would put her hand to the ground and this little guy — green cricket maybe? — would hop on every time! She loved it!

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Grace asked Gammy to read her favorite book from the library, which we have to return in a few days.

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Grace also discovered a wasp nest on their playset, so daddy killed the grown up wasps, then brought this over for us to check out — wasp larvae! Very cool!

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And tonight this horsefly was stuck in our trampoline net. I nudged him out gently (with a golf club) but he didn’t seem to fly away. Probably best he’s not flying around our trampoline anymore with little ones around.

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We went through the first lesson in our reading curriculum, and Grace absolutely loved it! We played a little while memorizing the poem, and then did lesson two. She has known her letters a long time, and learned letter sounds in preschool the last two years, as well as at home, so the first part of this book will be more of a review. We’ll probably do two lessons a day, spaced out, not back to back, until we get into putting the sounds together.

We also started using our Spielgaben set for math today. It comes with tons of lesson plans, so we started at the beginning. Today we just played with the colored cotton balls — we talked about colors and shape, explored the difference between the plain ones and the ones with the string (of course my girls wore them as necklaces immediately after flinging them around by the string), we matched the colors, talked about mixing colors (I made a color wheel out of the balls), they tried to juggle, tossed the balls to each other, made a caterpillar, and whatever else you can do with balls. We also got out toothpicks and made creatures that could stand. Grace, inspired by the wasp nest I’m sure, made a mosquito, and put its proboscis into every hole of the geoboard because the mosquito was laying eggs. (She also knew that mosquitos lay their eggs in or near water – thank you Wild Kratts!) We talked about the stages of life – egg, larvae, pupa, adult. I really am trying to be done with the bug unit. But they played with just the colored balls for at least 30-45 minutes.

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My children learn so much as they play, and the Spielgaben set is perfect for encouraging all types of learning. I am so excited to use it daily!

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