Fullerton Arboretum

It’s spring break!  There’s no speech this week and I’m only focusing on basic reading and math, because a complete break will be a disaster when it’s time to start back up again.

Of course, we still went to our weekly nature study and since I haven’t written about one in quite some time, I thought it was time.

This week we checked out the Fullerton Arboretum. It always brings back memories for me since I went to school at Cal State Fullerton so the drive there and parking always makes me think of college. Parking is free at the arboretum and they only ask for a small, optional, donation.

It’s spring time and everything was in bloom, including the cactus! I loved all the colors and the kids had fun playing.  There were field trip kids here the day we went so we weren’t able to do what we normally do, but still totally worth it.

After our hike we were able to check out their museum where they had a seed exhibit as well that was interesting.  Well, interesting to the adults.

The arboretum is always a relaxing day for our nature study without a prolonged hike or drive to get somewhere.  Check it out yourself.

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Princess School Update

I haven’t figured out how to school two kids at the same time!  I need to work on that since Little Miss will be in TK next year.  That pretty much means Princess School stopped when 1st grade started for Green Bubbles.  I’m making an effort to try and include her back into her Princess School time since it really was an important part of her week and helped her feel loved and included.  Since I missed a lot of months, I thought I would just link up to my Pinterest board for each month for ideas for anyone who wants to do Princess School as well.

Snow White (September)

Cinderella (October)

Pocahontas (November)

Belle (December)

Anna / Elsa (January)

Jasmine (February)

Rapunzel (March)

I’m going to try and actually get caught up with Rapunzel, and we did do one craft from Jasmine in February, that I didn’t get any pictures of!  I hope this helps and gives me more incentive to do the arts and crafts my daughter craves.

 

History Co-Op

I have no idea how long it’s been since my last post.  So, surprise, I know this blog still exists!

I thought this blog post could be about the co-op I started!  Earlier this year, after thinking about how last year’s school year went, I decided I needed a way to make sure we actually did the projects from Story of the World.   For my boy, the hands on activities far outweigh the stories and coloring pages.  It’s fun.  And we weren’t doing it at home.  Either I decided we just didn’t have time that week, or I didn’t plan in advance and have the supplies on hand, or I just didn’t want to deal with the mess.

That had to change though!  So, with the help from a friend, I created a weekly c0-op for Volume 2.  We met every Friday for one hour at my friend’s house who had already set up a few co-op classes.  I planned out the first semester with projects from each chapter and… it was fun. After the Winter break I moved the co-op to my own house, and planned it out for a quarter instead of a semester.

Some of the projects I would never have done on my own, and ended up being my favorite things we have done this year.

We made crusader surcoats with pilgrimage badges, a tapestry about our favorite day (Green Bubbles drew about when Megatron was born!), and created Charlemagne’s crown.

History has become a win in our house.  This is our third year homeschooling Green Bubbles and I finally feel like I have a handle on almost all of our ‘subjects’.  History, Reading, and Science are all set in stone for what works.  Now I just need to figure out Math and Writing!

Co-ops don’t have to be organized, huge affairs.  You don’t have to hire professional teachers.  And they aren’t nearly as scary to teach by yourself as you think it is.  Trust me.  I was so nervous the first few classes, but it was much easier than I thought it would be!  As long as you have a plan and are prepared for each class in advance, the class just flows.

 

 

 

Mom’s Nature Journal

Outdoor-Moms-Journal-@handbookofnaturestudy

I’ve subscribed to the Handbook of Nature Study blog for years now and, while we don’t always follow the monthly theme, I do love getting the emails for ideas to help focus our nature study.  Now that Green Bubbles is in 1st grade, we might start a more intentional nature study with a monthly focus as she sends out.

She encourages Mom’s to also have nature journals.  I LOVE when I’m able to draw and write in my journal but with a toddler and preschool joining us on our nature outings, I rarely have the time to do it.  I noticed I’m a much better artist than I thought I was when I just took the time to try. It’s the time that’s in short supply however 🙂

She started a monthly Mom’s nature journal blog post so I thought it would be interesting to try it out.

During our outdoor time this month we went….

August felt very rushed!  We managed to visit zoos, beaches, and a nature center.  I felt like we were rushing to fit in every last bit of summer we could before September.

The most inspiring thing we experienced was…

For me as a parent, watching how much more independent the baby has gotten in just this last month.  Megatron is now walking most of the way on our short hikes and prefers it!  He doesn’t want to be carried or be put in the baby carrier I have.  While I am loving his growing independence , because it makes it much easier on me, it’s also bittersweet since he is growing up and is more than likely our last baby.

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…

This past month I noticed a few new things in our yard that made me do more research.  We watched a June bug burrow under the grass and Green Bubbles wanted to know why.  (They lay their eggs under ground by the way!).  I also noticed a beautiful orange spider in the trees in our side yard and wanted to find out what it was.  (Orb Weaver.)

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….

We planted a pumpkin seed!  Well, actually 10 of them. Only two sprouted however, and I had to remove one of them because of how close they are together.  So we only ended up with one pumpkin plant.  It’s still very small but the kids are excited to grow their own pumpkins.  I’m not sure it will be before Halloween though!

I added nature journal pages about….

None 😦  I need to draw more in my journal.  It’s been a long time.  Maybe I should find my nature journal first.

A photo I would like to share…

Only one??  How about my picture of the orange spider because I’m rather proud of it. 🙂

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Story of the World History Co-Op: Ch 1, Roman Standard

2015-08-15 12.33.38Last week started our first official week of school, although I think the only thing that makes it official is it was the start of our co-op class!  Our full school load doesn’t start until after labor day when we add in science, grammar, and spelling.

I started my own history co-op at my friend’s house on Fridays.  We’re doing Story of the World Vol 2: Middle Ages.  While this is supposed to be for 2-4th grade, we started history in Kindergarten so it will be Green Bubbles 1st grade year.  I loved Story of the World last year but, at the end of the year, I kept thinking how many of the wonderful projects we kept skipping over.  He loves the hands on activities.  So, I started the co-op as a way to make sure we keep the fun in history and do the hands on that is so easy to skip.

Chapter 1 is a review of the Roman Empire.  Or the fall of it.  For our project this week we followed projects straight from the activity manual and colored flying carpets.

Roman Standard

SOTW Vol 2 Roman Standard Co-op Project

The highlight was the Roman standards though.  We have a full class at 6 students ranging from 4 to 9 years old and everyone really liked this.  Green Bubbles was very proud of his standard and I loved seeing how different all the kids made theirs.

I printed up some pictures of real, historical Roman standards for the kids to view so they would have a reference for what they were making.  One of the oldest kids in our class actually used my gold sharpie to make the little ‘medal’ disks look just like the ones in the photos!  Other supplies we used… Cardboard mailing tubes (I bought a huge box of them from a local shipping store since we have other projects coming up using these), cardboard box, cardstock, tin foil, and yarn that we never used!

Helpful advice, this project took a bit longer then I was expecting.  It probably could have easily taken up the full hour by itself and the kids were a little rushed through it.  Hot glue would work a LOT better then white glue on our cardboard tubes.  They were to thick and the glue was taking a long time to dry.  Even staples didn’t go through the tube. We didn’t even get to the yarn to decorate the standards, or write anything on the cross bar, but the kids still had a lot of fun and didn’t notice those details were missing.  Green Bubbles decided he didn’t want to do those anyway when we were at home.

I’m going to try and post our projects each week because I’ve noticed a lack of activities to draw inspiration from.  Hopefully my tips will be useful for someone else!

Ariel Princess School: The one with a photo op, a beach, and a birthday!

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Last week was our first ‘offical’ week of school and the first time Little Miss got to take a first day of school photo! Princess school was lacking a little this week though. She decided she wanted to do some pages out of a workbook instead and drew a lot of pictures!

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We did manage to go the beach though, and I can’t think of anything better to do for Ariel Princess school then to hang out by the sea. Little Miss doesn’t like the water much and this was the closest she would get to the waves. She did have a lot of fun playing in the sand and made friends with a few girls not far from where we set up our towels and toys.

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For our project this week, we made a Sea Jelly! The original project I found used a brown paper bag but, even though I know I have a lot of them sitting around somewhere, I couldn’t find any! I folded a piece of paper into thirds and glued it together to make the shape of a paper bag and then let Little Miss pick whatever color paint she wanted to use to color the bag. She decided she wanted her sea jelly to have a purple head and blue legs, and some mixed a little in-between.

After our Jellyfish dried, it didn’t look much like a jellyfish. I let her pick out some googly eyes and drew a little line where it’s head ended. Then I gave her some scissors and let her cut the tentacles out by herself. I’m trying to be more mindful of letting her do these type of activities by herself because I hovered way to much over my oldest and, don’t we always try to fix our mistakes the second time around? I think she did a great job, even though she did cut the top of his head too lol.

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The googly eyes couldn’t be stopped though. After we glued the first two on our jellyfish, she wanted to keep going so here’s her eye monster she made! After this photo she drew circles around all the eyes and said they were in different houses.

We didn’t have a second project this week because it was Grandma’s birthday! Little Miss made a bracelet for Grandma using a pipe cleaner that she threaded buttons and beads onto.

Books we’ve read this week include Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures which is what led to Little Miss wanting to do the Jellyfish project.  This was really just a bit to old for her, but she listened to the entire book.  I’m sure the rhyming helped her focus.  There’s a lot of information in this book and would be much better for a Kindergartner.

We also started The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson so she can see how different it is from the Disney version.  While she likes the story, it was a little long for her attention span so we are splitting it in half and reading the second half this coming week. She’s had no problem following along, but her brothers are a bit of a distraction at times!

Be sure to come by next week to see our last week of Ariel Princess School!  Or check out all the other princess school’s we’ve done here.

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2015-2016 Southern California Homeschool Days

homeschool days

I did this last year and decided to try it again.  Please keep in mind this list is in no way complete.  I’m sure I’m missing locations!  This is also intended as a single family trip and does no include any classes, field trips, or anything that really needs much planning in advance.   If you have anything you think should be added to this list just leave a comment!

Like before, these are listed by month.

Monthly –

Medieval Times – While this isn’t a homeschool day, they do offer a special educational show during lunch times on weekdays through the year.  For 2015, most of the dates have passed but there are still a few remaining.  (Nov 17, Nov 19th, and Dec 9th).  2016 dates have not been released yet.   If you have problems with the java of the first website, here’s a second way to see the information.  But the dates haven’t been updated for 2015-2016.

Pretend City – The 3rd Friday of every month.  This costs $9/person and tickets need to be reserved in advance.  Meant for preschool – 3rd grade.

September

Wednesday/Thursday, Sept 16-17th: Aquarium of the Pacific: Highly discounted tickets to the aquarium, $6/person, must be RESERVED in advance through the link.  Classrooms and other activities will be available from 9am to 12pm.  Even though the ‘homeschool’ part ends at noon, you are welcome to stay and enjoy the rest of the aquarium at your leisure.

L.A. County Fair – Tickets and parking are free, reservations are REQUIRED.  Every Wednesday-Friday in September is Fair Kids Day.  Lots of hands on activities, booths, and general fair fun.  Public Schools are here too, but the fair is closed to the public until afternoon so if you go early you’ll get a lot done!  Stay afterwards and enjoy fair food, rides, and more.

October

Wednesday, Oct 7th: The Children’s Museum at La Habra:
Homeschool Day at the Museum! – We are welcoming Homeschool families to discover, learn and play! For a discounted price of $7 per person (children under 2 are free), visitors can enjoy 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits during our less crowded season. Visit our changing exhibit Construction Zone and make art in the Family Art Center too! Visit us on January 6, 2016 for another Homeschooling Day!

Tuesday, Oct 20th: La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum: Dig It!  Like the Natural History Museum, there’s no need to register anywhere in advance.  Just pay for parking and tell them your a homeschooler at check in.  They also give away free tours of the tar pits so arrive early to make sure you get your tickets before they run out!

San Diego:  Yes, I realize that’s an entire city.  But October is Kids Free in San Diego.  Follow the link for a huge list of activities that are free for kids including museums, zoos, adventures, tours, and food!  Not exactly a homeschool day, but there’s a lot of educational activities to be had!

November

Thursday, November 5 – Los Angeles Natural History Museum: Archaeology Adventures – The LANHM has wonderful homeschool days that include many touch carts, volunteers everywhere ready to answer questions, and of course, free admission to the museum!  The hours are 9:30am to noon, although everything is self guided so you are more than welcome to stay later, although activities will be put away after noon.  I recommend getting there as early as you can because special limited tickets for events go quickly.  Make a day of it and enjoy the rose garden right next door or the California Science Center, always free.

Thursday, November 5 – Petersen Automotive Museum: Join us from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a special day of fun and learning at the Petersen for homeschool families! Take a guided tour of the Museum with our trained docents; participate in fun, hands-on, car related educational activities; meet students and families form other homeschool communities; and learn about the history of the automobile and its influence on Los Angeles.

Friday, November 6 – Six Flags Magic Mountain – “Be a part of Home School Family Day and enjoy all day park access to the most thrilling rides and attractions in Southern California. The park will be open exclusively from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and is completely closed to the general public.”  Cost is $30.99 for admission or $43.99 if you want to include a catered lunch!    Follow link for more information including how to get your tickets.

Kidspace Children’s Museum – Although dates are not yet released for this year, last year homeschool days were in November.  Cost is $10/student and parents and siblings not participating are $8.  Includes admission into the museum as well as a 45 minute program, to be announced.

December

Aquarium of the Pacific – While the dates are not released yet, the aquarium does another homeschool day in December right around the holidays!

January

Wednesday, Jan 6th – The Children’s Museum at La Habra:
Homeschool Day at the Museum! – We are welcoming Homeschool families to discover, learn and play! For a discounted price of $7 per person (children under 2 are free), visitors can enjoy 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits during our less crowded season. Visit our changing exhibit Construction Zone and make art in the Family Art Center too!

Thursday, January 14th – La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum:  Hancock History. Like the Natural History Museum, there’s no need to register anywhere in advance.  Just pay for parking and tell them your a homeschooler at check in.  They also give away free tours of the tar pits so arrive early to make sure you get your tickets before they run out!

Friday, January 29 – Los Angeles Natural History Museum: Gardens and Grubs – Same as the one in November, but with a different theme.  No need for advanced reservations.  Just show up, the earlier the better! And don’t forget about the California Science Center right next door, always free.

February

March

Friday, March 28th – La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum: L.A.’s Carnivores.  Like the Natural History Museum, there’s no need to register anywhere in advance.  Just pay for parking and tell them your a homeschooler at check in.  They also give away free tours of the tar pits so arrive early to make sure you get your tickets before they run out!

April

Monday, April 18 – Los Angeles Natural History Museum: Art and Nature –  No need for advanced reservations.  Just show up, the earlier the better! And don’t forget about the California Science Center right next door, always free.

Three Dates in April – California History Education Program at Irvine Regional Park: Tickets go fast for this!  Registion opens in January. Train rides, mine shaft tour, water wheels, and panning for gold.  Learn all about California history. $14/student, $3/adult.

May

June

Tuesday, June 14th – La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum: Citizen Science.  Like the Natural History Museum, there’s no need to register anywhere in advance.  Just pay for parking and tell them your a homeschooler at check in.  They also give away free tours of the tar pits so arrive early to make sure you get your tickets before they run out!

Thursday, June 16 – Los Angeles Natural History Museum: Fossil Fanatics –  No need for advanced reservations.  Just show up, the earlier the better! And don’t forget about the California Science Center right next door, always free.

As always, if you see something not listed, just leave a comment and I’ll update the list!  No links on this page are affiliate.  They are just to be helpful, both for myself and anyone else who is interested.

Ariel Princess School: The one with a lot of glitter

Welcome back to Princess School!  We are on Week 2 of Ariel, The Little Mermaid.
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This week Little Miss loved our read aloud, Rainbow Fish. So much that we detoured from my planned projects and decided to make our own special fish.  I took our Green Bubbles drawing book, The Usborne Big Drawing Book.  He really never had any interest in it but Little Miss loved this book.  I remembered the very first page had a how to draw a fish.  While this drawing book really isn’t intended for three year olds, she loved it!   Later in the book is a mermaid, which I drew with my very limited art skills.  Then I let Little Miss have at it and draw as many fish as she wanted.

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After she was done, I traced her fish in white glue and let her go to town with glitter.  It may not be a rainbow fish, but it sure did sparkle!  She liked it so much she took her own pictures of it.
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Here’s a closer view of her drawing. We used a mixture of white glue and normal glitter, but also used glitter glue, like the hair on the mermaid. All I did was the tracing, Little Miss did the rest!

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If you notice, Megatron was missing from our glitter fun. While some messes are ok, I was not prepared for a toddler glitter project. He was able to join us for our next project this week though!

I didn’t take any pictures of the process for this one but it’s really not hard.  I printed up black and white photos of each kid before hand onto cardstock and cut out their heads.

IMG_4869On another piece of cardstock I let the kids paint!  Green Bubbles always leaves when paints, crayons, markers, or anything ‘art’ related comes out.  It’s not his thing.  Thankfully, Megatron was more than happy to paint a second piece of paper with Mommy’s help. (All I did was spread out the globs of paint so they actually filled in the white spaces of the paper).  We used just two colors, blue and white. Little Miss painted her paper all on her own with no help at all.

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After the paint was dry, I glued on their heads!  Then I cut out some ‘masks’ from whatever color construction paper the kids picked out.  Except for Megatron, I picked out his 🙂  I glued on a straw and then the mask.  The straw is the snorkel, get it 😉

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Even though Green Bubbles didn’t participate in this craft, he really liked seeing his picture up with the other two.  And Little Miss liked pointing out how Green Bubbles and Megatron were both wet! (I picked pictures from when we went to the beach or pool).  Little Miss didn’t have any good ‘wet’ pictures so hers was dry.  She questioned it, but after I explained it was because she was actually a mermaid, she was much happier!

We ran out of time, but might add it in later.  I saw this project with little fish swimming around in the open space and bubbles coming from the kids.  I think I might add Little Miss’s name in the bubbles to help work on how to spell her name.  But even if we don’t get to it, I think they still turned out really cute.

We read a few other books from the Rainbow Fish series as our read alouds this week since, as I mentioned above, Little Miss liked them so much.  They are cute stories about sharing, being kind, being brave, and more.  All great values to teach kids.

Ariel Princess School: The one with seashells and a lot of paint

A little late, but here’s our first week of Ariel Princess Preschool!

We found this great activity involved sea shells.  You would think we would have plenty of sea shells laying around our house with how often we visit the beach but… we don’t.  The beaches we go to are either over populated and the only shells you can find are tiny or broken, or they are protected wildlife areas where you are not allowed to take any shells back with you, mostly the later.  I ended up buying some seashells for our project similar to these.

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Then Little Miss’s favorite part, paint!  I pulled out our normal tempera paint and paintbrushes and let Little Miss and Megatron get to work.  Any art project with a one year old is bound to make a big giant mess. I had to take a deep breath and just let him go knowing it could all be cleaned up.

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We ended up using every color except white and black and had a whole tray of rainbow shells!  And green paint all over the table and baby….
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I let them sit over night and our second project was creating a seashell pencil holder.

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Then came the fun part.  We put air-dry clay all over two washed, cleaned, and no sharp edges cans.  Little Miss needed a lot of help with this part so I let her have at it while I did one can by myself, and then we switched and I fixed her can while she started on the next step.

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Little Miss began sticking our painted shells into the clay.  We also used beads and buttons we already had in our craft stash.  I had to go over Little Miss’s creation and really push the shells and beads in so they wouldn’t fall out.  I showed her on the second can how you can make prints with the shells to add texture to the clay, but she really had no interest in this.

Just a tip…. The clay shrinks and, when it’s placed on a structure, cracks. This isn’t as much an issue if you are building something without a structure under it, but it is with this method. It wasn’t that bad on the can on the left in the picture, but Little Miss’s can on the right fell apart and can’t be salvaged.  She’s ok with this and we did it totally for the experience rather than having any lasting keepsake.  I knew this was a strong possibility and wanted to warn anyone else doing this same project.

Books we’ve read this week!

The Mermaid and the Shoe –  A cute story about a little mermaid who goes on a quest to discover what the strange object (a shoe) is for.  Her sisters all have great talents and poor Minnow doesn’t.  That is until she discovers her special talent while on her quest.   Little Miss loved this story.  It’s got mermaids, and little girls, and everything she could ever want.

What It’s Like to Be a Fish? – A science book all about fish.  This book talks about gills, fins, swimming, and even eye lids, or lack there of.  While this book was full of information, it’s not much of a story and had problems holding Little Miss’s attention.  I think it would be a much better book for an older child, probably Kindergarten age, who might have more interest in details about fish.  Little Miss is much more about stories at this point though.

As always, affiliate links are included.  This doesn’t affect your price if you choose to purchase, but will help support our homeschool.