Sunday, July 31, 2011

(Week 5) Adventures Week 1: Vikings

We just completed our first week of the My Father’s World Adventures and we loved it!

We learned about the Vikings this week, and I’ll be honest, I started this week off with very little knowledge about the Vikings other than the fact that they are Minnesota’s football team, they look really mean and that MANY years ago, a few of them explored some land up in Canada. I’m happy to report that after this week Treyton and I both know much more about them.

The core of our curriculum, I feel, is our book basket. Which includes the recommended books from My Father’s World, some recommended books from Simply Charlotte Mason as well as some stragglers I find in our library system that I think look good.

This week our favorite books were:


  • The Vikings by Robert Nicholson
    • This book had some good real-life pictures of Viking artifacts, as well as illustrations.
  • Eric the Red by Neil Grant
    • This book included the stories of both Eric the Red and Leif (the Lucky) Ericsson (Eric the Red’s Son).
  • Vikings Usborne Beginners
    • The simplest of all the books we used this week, I liked how this book was easily understood by Treyton with no explanation by me.
  • Life as a Viking: An Interactive History Adventure by Allison Lassieur
    • This book was by far our favorite. It’s one of those books that you decide what happens, you choose which direction the story goes. We read three different stories on three different days, Treyton loved being in control of what happened in the story.
  • First Facts About the Vikings by Jacqueline Morley
    • We read through this book, but it also proved to be a great reference book when we were working on projects and such.

One of the first things we learned about the Vikings was that they raided Europe for about 300 years from the year 793 – 1066, I wanted to add a line on our timeline wall indicating this time period, so we made some simple longships (complete with the vikings shields hanging over the side, like they did) to serve our purpose. I’m happy with how they turned out.




We decided to make lap-journal pages to go into our United States Notebook. We had a viking notebooking page from the Adventures Students Sheets, which we included in our lap-journal pages. This was Treyton’s narration: “Vikings were farmers, they needed land so they became explorers and raiders to find new land.”

IMG_0052We made a few small matchbook pieces for both Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky. Treyton said:

“Eric the Red founded and settled Greenland.”

“Leif was Eric’s son. He explored North America.”

In the Things I learned about Vikings book, Treyton wrote:

  • Vikings killed people.
  • Vikings worshipped false gods.
  • They were good at making things like ships, tools and clothes.
  • Where they lived it was cold. They ate lots of meat.

IMG_0051 I also stumbled across some Viking Paper Dolls, Treyton and Lexie both enjoyed playing with them. I love adding these types of elements that make the people we are learning about more real.

Our Viking Memories

One of my favoirte things that happened this week was when Treyton and I were reading the Interactive Viking Book, Treyton actually pouted about the fact that “he” (because it was him in the story) believed in false gods. He was NOT a big fan of that, and made it very clear.

Viking Longship Craft

I found this Viking Ship Craft, that Treyton and I completed.


He needed quite a bit of assistance with it, but it was still a fun craft to do, and now we have a great long ship replica to look at.     IMG_0034It was a great first week, and we learned a lot, I think we are really going to enjoy our year in Adventures.


Extra Links

Viking Paper Dolls

Viking Information BBC

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week 3 & 4: What My Child is Reading

I’m a little behind in my “weekly update” postings. Weeks 3 & 4 were pretty cut and dry as we were working to finish up My Father’s World First Grade. We finally made it to the New Testament stories in our Bible Reader and finished the Phonics Blue Book. Which means we are ready to start Adventures next week.

Because there weren’t very many “extras” to our school (other than our nature posts, which I’ve already posted on), I decided to simply post our read-alouds for the week, which have been a huge part of our schooling the past two weeks. 

  • Smelly Feet Sandwich and Other Silly Poems by Allia Nolan
    • A book with silly little poems that Treyton really got a kick out of. Probably not much on the side of educational value as much as entertainment and enjoyment – which is just as important when teaching your child to love reading and literature.
  • Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
    • Treyton was very upset by this book and the “bad” boy next door. He kept asking me, “Why doesn’t he get in trouble?” :)
  • Sammy and His Shepherd by Susan Hunt
    • After reading this book for several weeks now we finally finished it, it was a GREAT children’s devotional on Psalm 23, I highly, highly recommend it
  • Red, White, Blue & Uncle Who? The Stories Behind Some of America’s Patriotic Symbols by Teresa Bareman
    • Treyton begged to read this book. He was overly interested and excited to learn about our nations symbols and where they came from. I was surprised at his level of interest, but it came at a perfect time as we celebrated the 4th of July and are about to start MFW Adventures.
  • The Three Grasshoppers by Francesca Bosca
    • A cute little story about three grasshopper friends that love to play music, but allowed the worries of impending winter to come in between them, for a while. This book went along perfectly with our nature study of grasshoppers.
  • Scarecrow Pete by Mark Moulton
    • I LOVED this book! It’s the story of a boy who develops a friendship with an old scarecrow in his garden who loves to read. After some convincing the little boy begins to read to the scarecrow, throughout the summer, the two bond over several classic stories. This book promotes a love of reading and shows the child what adventure reading can truly be. Loved it!

Nature Study Books We’ve Enjoyed

Sunday, July 24, 2011

B4FIAR: Play with Me

This week while studying frogs and toads in our nature study, we rowed Play with Me. An adorable little story about a little girl who goes to the meadow and tries to get some animals to play with her. After they all run away from her, she finally sits down by the meadow, and after she sits awhile each of the animals slowly come to sit with her.

Alexa loved the story. 

IMG_0065Paper Plate Frog Craft

I found a cute paper plate frog last year, that I had Treyton do, it was neat to have Lexie do it now, too.

IMG_0014I cut the paper plate in have and then I had her paint the back of the paper plate.


After it dried we taped/stapled all the pieces together, and Alexa insisted on coloring on the eyes herself instead of using googly eyes. She is a very independent worker, as well as efficient and quick – our biggest challenge is keeping her occupied.


Paper Frog Craft

Alexa completed this paper frog craft from DLTK completely on her own (minus the cutting out). I showed her how it was supposed to look, but she did all of the placing, gluing work herself.


Frog Science

One of my favorite activities was when both of the kids completed a frog parts page from 2 Teaching Mommies.



I also had Lexie color and assemble a frog life cycle wheel to add to her lapbook. Treyton was doing one for his, so it seemed appropriate. She appreciated the big girl work.

Where’s the Frog?

I got this game from the Homeschool Creations Preschool Pack and it was so much fun for both of the kids!!

We ended up playing it 5 times on the first day!!

First I had the kids work together and to put the numbers 1-20 in order.

IMG_0057Then the kids got to pick one number at a time – they had to state the number before they could look under it, until one of them found the hiding frogs.  IMG_0064

Frog Number Bingo


Play-Doh Fun

IMG_0040 Lexie made lots of play-doh animals – she was very proud of her turtle :) (below) and insisted that I took a picture of it. IMG_0041

Turtle Tanagrams

Lexie pretty much has her shapes down, but one of the ways we like to review is to play with our Melissa and Doug Pattern Shapes. One of the ones I picked out for her to do this week was the turtle, to go along with our book.


Frog Number Order


We did two different number activities from 1+1+1=1 pond preschool pack. Lexie put numbers 1-6 in order as well as matched the numbers 1-6 with the correct number of frogs.


Frog Patterns

This was a large game, so I only did 2 of the 4 pattern pages. She had a hard time with the different green ones, but overall did really well.


Don’t Froget Audrey 

Audrey got in on painting, too, while Lexie worked on her paper plate frog. I got her a bowl of water and a paintbrush and she went to town on her high chair --- I think she might be a great painter some day!! IMG_0025 




We kept really busy this week with lots of frog activities, Lexie loved all the attention and kept asking for “More, more, more” I actually had to find more activities half through the week – the kind of problem you want to have!!

At the end of the week I also had Lexie narrate the story herself to add to her lapjournal pages. This is what she said:

“Went up the sun and a grasshopper went away in the tree, and the froggy went away in the grass, a turtle sitting down to get warm and them don’t play with me now.

And an acron went away in the tree, the chipmunk went right in the tree.

And the bird go away and a rabbit go away in the trees – and she was trying to get him with her hands.

And the snake had to go.

Her sitting down at the water. The water was making noise, I hear a spider making noise on the water.

Now the animals play!!”

For more Frog Links Visit my Frog Board on Pinterest

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My First Homeschool Mother’s Journal Entry

image In my life this week… I am in the process of canning some of our first harvest from our garden. We also went to pick some more raspberries this week because I wanted to make raspberry syrup in addition to the raspberry jam I made last week. It feels so great to see our hard work paying off.

In our homeschool this week… We finished up the gut of our My Father’s World First grade curriculum this week, which is a huge check mark of relief in our school. We are four weeks into school and about to start MFW Adventures. I think we will be taking next week off of school, as we are going to start swimming lessons next week, and then we will start up the week after that (August 1st).

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Relax, teach the child, not curriculum.

I am inspired by… my husband.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… this feels like the first week we haven’t been coming and going, it’s been a home-bound week for me, sigh, and it’s been great.

What’s working/not working for us… nature study, we have been loving, loving, loving being outside, studying our frog, and learning from real life.

What’s not working is a strict schedule. :)

I’m reading… I just started “The Ministry of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson and I finished this week “Living The Cross-Centered Life” by CJ Mahaney and “Indelible: A Novel” by Kristen Heitzmann. Both great books.

I’m grateful for… my family

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

IMG_0035 (Lexie reacted to some sort of bug bite while camping, this is it after it had gone down. At it’s biggest point it was double this.)

Nature Study: Frogs (Lapbook)

We put a lapjournal together to go along with our toad and frog nature studies. Treyton did all of the work himself, except for some of the cutting, which I helped with.



Most of our pieces are from Homeschool Share, though I gathered a few other pieces from other places.


Frog Questions

IMG_0034 IMG_0035 



God created frogs on the 6th day


The differences between a frog and tadpole


Treyton dictated to me all that he learned about toads and frogs over the last several weeks.

IMG_0040 IMG_0041To fill in the last pages of the book, Treyton added in his frog parts page and paper frog craft from DLTK.



Homeschool Share Frog Lapbook

Dynamic2Moms Toads & Other Amphibians Lapbooks

For more Frog Links Visit my Frog Board on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nature Study: Toads & Frogs

So the most amazing thing happened!!

After we had to let our “pet” toad go while on our camping trip, after we nearly poisoned him, I was a little bummed that our daily (nearly hourly) table top nature study had come to such an abrupt end. Tim had tried to reassure me with the old “Don’t worry, we’ll find another one.” IMG_0005But I will be honest, I didn’t want another one. The toad we had was really active and fun, and I knew any toad we found wouldn’t be as “cool” as our first one.

Even still, Tim “happened” to see a toad while unloading the truck from our camping trip. He had mentioned it to me, and I said “No, just leave him, he won’t be as cool.” But later that night when we had brought it up to Treyton, he seemed genuinely excited, so Treyton and Tim headed outside to see if the toad was still where Tim had seen him.

Low and behold… he was. After a couple big jumps and even falling through the net, Tim caught him.

Tim said “Look at that, Mama, he’s even prettier!”

I took one look at him and said “That’s not a toad! That’s a frog!”

This one had a much more contrasted belly color, smooth skin and webbed back feet.


What a perfect chance to study the differences between a toad and a frog than to house a different one two weeks in a row! You can’t make this stuff up, folks!!  Of course, the first thing we did was start researching to make a good home. After googling “Wisconsin Frogs” we discovered that ours was a Green Frog (scientific name Rana Clamitans). And after looking at several pictures we are pretty sure it’s a female. I had to mostly convince Treyton (he obviously wanted a boy), but after he gave-in he named her Melanie. (He’s never come up with this original of a name which is fun!) IMG_0061

This time instead of having all sod on the bottom of our cage, we had it half land (part sod and part rock bedding), and half water (about 2 inches of water) as well as a few sticks for covering. Truth be told, I LOVE the set up we got going on. I mean if I were a frog temporarily held in captivity, this is definitely what I’d be looking for.

As soon as we got the cage set up the boys went out to catch some bugs, to feed Melanie.

IMG_0001We have now had Melanie for 2 days and she is SO neat to watch. She in the water a little over half the time. I read somewhere that you can over feed frogs, so we have fed her a little less than what we fed our toad. We have seen her eat a few times, which is such a cool experience.

Treyton and I are in the process of making a Frog Lapjournal, which I plan on posting pictures of as soon as it’s done. We have learned so much the last two weeks, it’s hard to record it all. We’re loving all of the hands-on learning and this extraordinary opportunity that God has blessed us with.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nature Study: Toads

On Monday of this week we were doing our daily board when I looked up and saw a toad in our basement window. Of course as soon as I pointed it out to Treyton we all had to run upstairs to take a closer look. IMG_0005To our surprise we saw that there wasn’t just one, there were three!! One big one and two smaller ones. I really didn’t want to catch the toads, our history with catching toads and keeping them alive for even a few hours is not good, but Treyton begged… and I’m a sucker for nature so we caught all three of them and I started researching. IMG_0006

While I read all our nature books had on toads (in order to prepare a nice temporary home for them) Treyton drew the toads in his nature journal. IMG_0010


By simply preparing the home we had lots of fun and learned a lot about toads. For example, Toads cannot survive in dry places for very long at all. So the first thing we did was to take some sod and put it in the bottom of an aquarium, we put a shallow dish in the bottom with some water, and also sprayed the grass with a spray bottle. I have a glass lid on the aquarium, to prevent the toads from jumping out but it has also created a nice humid atmosphere for them.  

Toads absorb water through their skin, so we placed a shallow dish (a large lid) in the cage for the toads to rest in. This was oftentimes their favorite place to rest. IMG_0002


As soon as we put the toads in the aquarium, we went out to catch some food for them. We ended up catching 3 grasshoppers, 2 large ones and 1 small one. The next morning Tim actually realized that the large toad was “hunting” and we were to see him eat one of the large grasshoppers. It was AMAZING! We really wanted to see his tongue come out, but they are sooo fast!  IMG_0001

After that first night, the toads developed an appetite, and the kids, Tim and I spent lots of time in the yard hunting for bugs. Come to find out, Toads are natural gluttons and they can not be over fed. A healthy toad is a fat toad. If your toad begins to get skinny, it’s probably about to die.

We were able to watch the toads eat lots of bugs, particularly at night, which is when toads are most active. Come to find out, Toads eat pretty much any bug they can fit into their mouths. We only caught one bug they didn’t like – a yellow fuzzy caterpillar) in fact, two of the toads tried to eat him, and left him. Which is saying something, because we couldn’t keep bugs in there for more than an hour or more.

Something else interesting we learned was that Toads will only eat their food if it is moving – meaning no dead bugs. If the bug dies or become immobile it won’t eat it. At one point we saw the large toad bite the leg (and a little more) off of a large grasshopper, which killed it, and he wouldn’t finish eating him.


We kept the toads from Monday – Friday, we left for a camping trip on Friday morning and let the 2 smaller toads go before we left. IMG_0003We decided to bring the larger toad with us, so we transferred him to a plastic Rubbermaid container. That night he began to act a little “goofy” I had read somewhere that Toads (amphibians in general actually) are extremely sensitive to chemicals. So I was worried that maybe we were poisoning him somehow with the plastic container, so we ended up letting him go that evening (in the woods). IMG_0004

I’m not sure who had more fun, me or the kids. I personally, learned so much through having them for 5 nights. As an added bonus, Treyton learned a lot, too.   

I love homeschooling! I love nature study!! I mean seriously, you can’t make this stuff up – only God can!!