Love, Joleen

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Preschool Theme: Leaves

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
I'm working on two preschool theme recaps but have decided to share them out of order. We're just about 6 weeks into the school year and already things have evolved some from my plan. That's one of the most beautiful things about homeschooling -- there isn't just one way to do things and you can adjust as you go. For us, I've noticed that sometimes it takes us a couple of weeks to get through all things I'd like us to do on a subject. I've shelved themes all together and I've changed up what we focus on based more on his interests and capabilities. There are some days that Benjamin wakes up super engaged and excited for our activities -- and we'll spend hours playing and learning together until I realize it's past time for lunch. Other days he isn't interested in any formal "work" at all. I'll be honest, he spends more than enough time playing on his Kindle or watching Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, too. 

In recent weeks, we've had many nature days and our art time has significantly increases as well. The cooler weather draws us outdoors and we're spending as much time as we possibly can out in it. We're currently taking 3-4 weeks off of Bible story themes in order to study an introduction to leaves, the human body, and rocks. This last week and a half or so, we've been learning about leaves. 
There was quite a good selection of books at the library on the theme and a Fall-themed Storytime-A-Go-Go kit available. I especially loved "The Little Yellow Leaf", which read like a beautiful short poem, and the two books named "Leaves". The kit included a poem + finger puppet that we really enjoyed. It went like this:

Five little leaves in the autumn breeze
Tumbled and fluttered down from the trees
The 1st leaf said “I am red
I shall rest in a flower bed”
The 2nd leaf said “I am yellow
I’m a happy-go-lucky fellow”
The 3rd leaf said “I am green
I change color so you shall see”
The 4th leaf said “Orange am I
Brightly colored I will fly”
The 5th leaf said “I am brown
I shall blow all over town”
It also included an activity + song to be sung to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus (Benjamin's favorite). It went like this:

The leaves on the trees turn Yellow and Red
Yellow and Red, Yellow and Red,

The leaves on the trees turn Yellow and Red

All around the town. 

The leaves of the tree come tumbling down,
tumbling down, tumbling down,

The leaves of the tree come tumbling down,

All Around the town.

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish,"
"swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish,"

The leaves of the trees go "swish, swish, swish"

All around the town.

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!
Jump right in, Jump right in!

We'll rake them in a pile and jump right in!

All around the town.
We spent a lot of time last week collecting treasures. Benjamin was able to fill a jar and then move to a larger jar with all the acorns he collected. After collecting, he would line them up and count them several times to see how many he had. This wasn't a planned activity, but just one example of how learning happens organically. 
On another day, we walked down to our trail, where we sometimes like to work on the picnic table. I cut-and-pasted half of several different leaves, into Benjamin's art journal. Then he drew and colored in the other side of the leaves. While he did this, he told me, "Mom, I'm a leaf-drawing expert." Ha! 
Another activity we did together was to paint leaves. If you haven't noticed by now, we pretty much paint any and everything we can get our hands on. Benjamin really enjoys painting and I love it for him too. After our leaves dried, I strung them up and hung them in our outside space. I also filled the water table with potting soil so that Benjamin can still enjoy outside free play as the weather cools. This was my first time doing this and it's been a huge hit. 

This summer, Benjamin's Nana sent him two Usborne Wipe-Clean books. They each came with a dry erase marker and were perfect for giving Benjamin writing practice and working various skills such as pen control. We loved them! I decided to place a big Usborne order going into the school year and the "add on special" was a set of 5 more wipe-clean books! Some of these are beyond him for now but I'm happy to have them when he's ready. When Target's back to school supplies went 50%, I bought two colored dry-erase marker sets so that Benjamin could get a little creative. 
Perhaps our favorite project last week was creating these bird feeders out of old milk cartons. I found the idea on Pinterest (of course). You'll notice are just a little different than the ones that inspired this project (here). I had thrown out the caps and didn't want a bird getting stuck in the small opening so I pushed it in and covered the "hole" with cardboard I cut from the carton. I adhered with washi tape and then we painted right over it, like the spout never existed. We also added colorful paper clips to hang the yarn from just for intrigue.
I usually have a YouTube video picked out for Benjamin to watch at some point during the week. This week I chose Parts of Plant. It's only a few minutes long and after Benjamin watched it, he said he wanted to draw it! I ran inside to get his art journal and crayons. He watched the video 3 times while he drew it and when it was over he wanted to keep going. I looked up another video that was a "how to draw" for kids, and he watched while drawing a butterfly next. So fun! 
On Saturday we visited Dunwoody Nature Center, which has quickly become a favorite for us. There was supposed to be a homeschool meetup but either we were in the wrong place or no one showed up. There were still kids there and Benjamin had a great time. We went on a nature walk and he completed his first Wild Explorers Club task. More on that in another post. That evening we went backyard camping at a friend's house. It was our families first time sleeping together outside in a tent (I grew up camping) and Benjamin loved it! I hope it becomes a thing we do. 
This was a fun theme for us and one that we're definitely continuing on, especially through autumn and into other themes. 

Source Links: 
More Ideas:
Find more ideas on my Homeschool Preschool Pinterest board.
Image Map

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Preschool Theme: Noah's Ark

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, as the end of summer often is. We spent the first two weeks of school covering Creation and God Made Me. I opted not to blog the second part because we didn't do much that was different than our first week, which I shared. This last week we studied Noah's Ark
Memory Verse: "Do not be afraid for I am with you." 
Isaiah 43:5
Text: Genesis 6-9. The Beginner's Bible pages 26-33; I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook pages 10-15
The Beginner's Bible Video: Noah's Ark
Letter: Nn
Skill: Scissors
Not pictured: The Animals Came Two by Two: The Story of Noah's Ark
Heading into the week, I put in a request at the library for just about every Noah's Ark book I could get my hands on. We started with the book on the bottom left, Noah and the Mighty Ark, which is pretty straight forward and read it again through the Bible storybook. The others (besides the Nn book - our letter this week) were options for Benjamin and I to read at any time, should he so choose.
On Tuesday Benjamin participated in his first Preschool Adventure program at Autrey Mill Nature Preserve. I signed him up for all of the September nature classes as our weekly nature day. It was our first time at the nature preserve and we both really enjoyed it. It was the first class of the season so attendance was on the lower end (5 kids) but there is only a 10 child max, which I like for him.
This week's theme was "neat feet". They learned about different animal feet (even making their own plaster cast of a foot print -- Benjamin chose an opossum) and the "foot" 12 inches makes. After the craft, storytime, and inside activities, we went outside where each child was given a ruler to measure what they could find and try to find things that were a foot long. Then they visited the visitor's center to see the animals (and their feet) there before ending outside where they had an opportunity to feed the resident chickens, ducks, and bunny.
The class was about an hour long and we both enjoyed it a lot. I was so happy to see Benjamin thrive in the small group atmosphere and he really liked his teacher. After the class we retrieved our packed lunch from the car and ate it together on the picnic table under the gazebo. Then the two of us set out on a short hike before we headed home. It was beautiful! I've got him signed up for the remaining classes this month and we're both looking forward to them.
After reading Noah's Ark in the Bible storybook, we read a couple of the other books. Benjamin loves painting with "Mommy's paints" so we brought those out. He painted a rainbow and a "really huge ark".
On the right, he drew a treasure map. That's not a sun, but sparkling treasure. Obviously. Hehe.
We got our first baby succulent this week! I'm pretty sure I'm the most excited.
It's not hard to find dead bugs this time of year. (Yikes.) We found these guys less than 20 feet from our front door and took them upstairs to investigate. Benjamin opted to draw the cicada in his art journal and I think he did a great job! I've been feeling super inspired to start trying to draw better myself. I picked up a journal just this weekend so that I can start practicing with him. I love looking at nature journals on IG!
Our apartment has its own trail and in fact, that was a selling point for me when we picked this place initially. It's about a mile long through a protected nature preserve. The most awesome thing about it? We almost always see deer! This time we saw two of them. The photo below is a bit shaky but I was trying not to use my flash. Other animals we've seen are turtles, squirrels, hawks, cardinals, and other birds. A neighbor told us there were once beavers in the creek but I'm not sure if that's true or not. We've never seen anything in the creek.
On this particular hike on the trail, we set out to make a journey stick like I saw here. We brought string and Benjamin's scissors, since that's the skill he was practicing this week, and he picked things along the way to tie to his stick. (I helped with that part.) It was a fun activity but one I think he'll enjoy more when he's able to tie things on himself. The best part about the hike was that he spotted the perfect walking stick for himself, almost straight off the bat! It's the perfect size and even has a handle.
We took the stick home and Benjamin painted it. IT LOOKS SO COOL!! I have to admit that I'm a little jealous. ;) I told him that next time we need to be on the lookout for a walking stick for Mommy that he can paint for me!
Printable Scripture Stories from Keeping Life Creative
Image Map
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...