We started with a trip to the Royal BC Museum a couple of weeks ago when the admission was by donation. I have a post in process about that visit, but I will summarize here. We took all five kids, ages 5-13. Each child has different sensory needs and learns at a different level and by different means (not that this is news to you), so it made the museum visit very challenging and fast paced. We spent almost 2 hours, had a great time, and got out just before closing. It was a great experience all around.
Videos to Watch
We watched a video series called Biologically Speaking: Ecosystems and the Cycles of Nature from Discovery Education (You do need a subscription for this.)
We watched some good videos on YouTube about ecosystems, including the following:
What is an Ecosystem?
Keywords to search on YouTube: ecosystem, biomes, abiotic and biotic, habitats
Vocabulary and Spelling
I made a list of vocabulary words that I wanted to cover (based on the teacher’s guide that came with the videos from Discovery Education). Then I created a PDF download, of those vocabulary words, in architect’s font (all caps), for my kid/s with dysgraphia (don’t worry, I made a list in lower case for you too). Download the list of ecosystem vocabulary words here –> Ecosystem Vocabulary
(the graphic below is NOT the download linked to above)
Then I took those words and hoped on over to Spelling City (we have a subscription). I created a spelling list using the vocabulary words and definitions that I wanted us to use. You should be able to see my Ecosystems Vocabulary List without a subscription. Then I selected the worksheets that I wanted to use. I saved them as a PDF, to a file called ecosystems, for the twins who will do this unit in a few years. I also printed out copies for myself and the big boys who are working through this time.
Please note: There are also online games at Spelling City that your child could use in place of each of the worksheets that I printed.
Biome and Habitat Resources
Use the Canadian Geographic Kids website to learn more Animal Facts about Canadian animals and their habitats.
Explore the Creature Feature and click on the animals at National Geographic to learn more about them and their habitats.
The Animal Fact Guide has a large collection of resources about a variety of different animals and their habitats.
There is an excellent selection of Biome/Habitat resources on Enchanted Learning (we have a subscription) that we will be using as we continue our studies this week.
I also purchased a good resource called Elementary Biome & Habitat Packet from Teachers Pay Teachers. It was on the pricey side, but full of resources and ideas that I can make use of.
We are easing back into school after a lazy Christmas break. I had high hopes for Christmas break, but we stuck to focusing on getting the basics done and that was more than enough for all of us.
One of our goals, over the next little while, is to make “school” less like “school” and evolve into a more “everything is a learning experience” kind of homeschool. We started out that way, but somewhere along the way the air went out of our balloon and our learning has been kind of boring.
I want to inspire young minds, not simply fill them.
So today I had this brilliant idea that the kids would help me bake bread. I searched around My Pinterest for a quick and easy bread recipe (my bread board on Pinterest) that would work. I found one and adapted it to suit our needs.
Bread making and baking are two of those things that I have put aside (even though I love them) since I have not been well for the past several months. Today we braved the fear of messes and decided to do most of the work at the coffee table (after it had been given a good scrub) so mommy could just sit.
The kids gathered all the ingredients – yeast, sugar, oil, flour, salt, and hot water (as needed) – and brought it to the coffee table.
We gathered all of our bowls, but when we went to gather our measuring cups and spoons we discovered that we didn’t have many. We only had a tbsp, 1/4 cup, 2/3 cup, and a glass measuring cup.
So, in comes the MATH.
Okay, we need 2 1/2 cups of flour, how are we going to make that using the measuring cups we have? (you can see my chicken scratches on the recipe).
We mixed the yeast, sugar, oil, and warm water and let it proof. Then we talked about it. We watched it bubble and grow.
Sifting Flour Is Hard Work
We tried out the new flour sifter that I got for Christmas. The three youngest didn’t have strong enough hand muscles to work very long, but Moses and I toughed it out through 5 batches of dough. (3 loaves of bread, 1 batch of pizza pretzels, 1 batch of cinnamon buns).
Sifting the flour (together with the salt) made for a lighter bread and our hands felt the hard work.
Speaking of Hard Work (and Patience)
We learned a lot about hard work and patience today.
Not running to the store to get bread, was a lesson in patience.
Having to bake three separate batches of this bread to get enough bread for lunch, was a lesson in patience.
Waiting for bread to bake….
The bread tasted SO good, simply because we made it ourselves.
Can you believe it took us all day to make 3 loaves of bread (by hand), 1 batch of pizza pretzel dough (to be baked tonight at bedtime), 1 batch of cinnamon bun dough (to be baked for breakfast tomorrow morning), and enough pizza dough for 4 large pizzas for dinner. Phew!
We had a good day. We worked together. We learned to take turns, We helped each other. We practiced listening. And we got to reap the benefits of our hard work.
This recipe can also be altered to create pizza pretzels, cinnamon buns, and pizza dough, but those will have to wait for another post/s.
The kids have been hard at work making claymation characters. Mom made a practice character, Dad took it apart to teach the kids how to make their own. Then each kid got to make their own characters with bones. We started with characters with no arms as they are an easier place to begin.
Then the kids each got to practice a walking sequence with their character. Creating the walking sequence consisted of taking a picture, moving the character, and repeating over and over until you have the desired number of pictures.