Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Starting a Nature Journal

We're still enjoying this beautiful autumn weather!  The windows have been open so we can enjoy the lovely breeze through the house.  Iron Man still likes themes to go along with his school work, so we are still doing the autumn theme.

Iron Man:  5 years old, Kindergarten
Hulk:  3 years old, Tot School

Science:  1st Nature Journal entry
This is something I have no experience with myself, but I realize a Nature Journal is an important element to enhance nature study in a Charlotte Mason education, so I wanted to at least try to get started.  I want to encourage more detailed observation skills, and I really think this is the way to go.  We are starting with a cheap sketch book (0.99 at a discount/buyout store) since I don't know how seriously he will take it.  I chose one that was half blank - half lined, so the blank space wouldn't be too overwhelming, and he can start writing information when he is ready.

I wanted to start with something simple, so we decided on fall leaves.  After gathering a variety of fallen leaves, he chose two to document.  He did a rubbing with one.  I asked if he wanted to draw the other one, but he only wanted to "trace" it and then color it in.

These are his two leaves side by side.  We're going to press the leaves he picked out, and affix them to his journal later.  He also asked how to spell "leaf" so he could write it in his journal.  I've decided I'm only going to give him guidance, not instructions.  I want him to really own this nature journal and have a connection with it.

He loves nature study and nature walks, so I shouldn't have been surprised that he really enjoyed this.  He asked what else he could put in his notebook, so I gave him suggestions for things we could do next.  He decided he wants to look for mushrooms to draw tomorrow! I'm excited that he is excited!

Math:  Addition and Subtraction
For a game, I was going to create a large construction paper tree and let the boys add fall leaves or acorns to it.  Then I realized I had brown paper bags with a fall tree on it already.  Less work for me!  We cut out the tree, and used a basket of acorns for our math manipulative.  Iron Man rolled and put a dice on each side of the tree.  Then he had to put the correct number of acorns on each side, and add them.

Acorn Addition

We later turned it into a subtraction game.  We started with the higher number, then the smaller (or equal) number was how many acorns fell out of the tree.
Acorn Subtraction

Math:  Patterns
I was initially planning to use this fall confetti as a sorting game for Hulk.  He wasn't interested, but Iron man was.  So instead I made up a few patterns for him to try...

He continued them by gluing on the next few sets before he decided he was finished.

Sight Word Nerf Shoot Out
We have been trying out a new program, Samson's Classroom (review coming in October), and focusing on sight words with it.  I printed their flash cards for the first set of words, laminated them and put them on the wall.  As he read/identified words, he was allowed to shoot them!

Iron Man picked out The Pumpkin Plant that Almost Ate Our School by Frederick B. Williamson, Jr. which I wrote a review on last year.  It happened to be our only seasonal book this week.

Hulk was sick at the beginning of the week, and not interested in much of anything later in the week, which is fine with me!  I never force him to do anything with us.  So there's not many pictures of his activities this week.

He does enjoy the iPad, and joined us for a music app we've been using for another review.  Here he is playing a Lego Duplo app that he enjoys.

He also worked on this Mickey Mouse Clubhouse puzzle, and was so proud when he put Minnie together!

Create a Jack-O-Lantern Lunch
One day the boys wanted a "fun" lunch, which is something I haven't done in a long time, but I threw together something quickly for them.  They had a grilled cheese sandwich cut out like a pumpkin, celery "vines" with orange ranch dressing, and banana slices.  Then the raisins were so they could make their own jack-o-lantern faces.

Iron Man's Jack-O-Lantern sandwich.

Hulk's sandwich...

Another light week for us, as we spent Thursday on the road.  We did get to visit the grandparents though, so that was a treat for the boys!

Linked Up:  Weekly Wrap-Up, Preschool & Kindergarten Corner, TGIF, Show and Share Saturday


  1. I love the idea of a nature journal. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. lots of great autumn ideas. thanks for sharing and look forward to trying some out xx

  3. Maybe one of these days we will do nature walks and a nature journal. Good job!

  4. What a pretty design to already have on hand on that bag- the acorns made that game perfect. Your pumpkin sandwiches are cute, too. It looks like school with you is fun.