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Nature study

Eagles, Apples and Bears! Our Homeschool Week | 2nd – 6th October 2017

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason

It’s been wonderful to get back into our homeschool curriculum this week, after the disruption of last week! We’ve been learning more about the Vikings, have enjoyed some great works of literature and made loads of art projects from our Toucan box.

Read on to take a look into a typical homeschool week with us, using the Charlotte Mason approach to education and the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum.

charlotte mason homeschool uk hawthorn

Monday 2nd October

This morning the kids worked through a few lesson of CTC Math, on the computer. They are enjoying the programme and benefiting from the way it approaches maths. My eldest learnt about map co-ordinates and different types of graphs; whilst my younger son learnt about the concept of symmetry. It was a fun morning!

Today in circle time, we learnt about famous viking explorer, Leif Erikson and looked at another famous painting by Hokusai, “Mishima Pass in Kai Province.”

We have been using a wall calendar for picture study, as they are very inexpensive compared to art books, and can hang easily on our wall; allowing the kids to look at it and learn from it throughout our school week.

Muslim homeschool circle time

Tuesday 3rd October

The highlight of the day was the Toucan box came in the post! Thankfully the boys had already done most of their school work before it came, otherwise nothing would have been done! It was all very exciting!

We have recently upgraded to the largest of their boxes, the “Super box”, which contains 4 different craft activities and a picture book. To read a review of the Toucan box and see an un-boxing video we made, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Toucan Box, visit their website HERE and use the referral code GEMMA-9E6X to get your first box free!

Out of the four, the boys decided to do the underwater scene first. It turned out lovely, and we read the picture book that came at bed-time.

Toucan box

Underwater sea craft from toucan box

The postman also brought a new new book to go along with our study of Medieval Britain, A Knight’s city by Philip SteeleThis book is AMAZING!

It is filled with the most incredible pop-ups that are so intricately designed. The book takes you on a tour of life in a medieval city, and it is full of great information along with pop-ups of a cathedral, castle and bridge. It really sparked my boy’s imagination and has helped them to visualise the scenes in the living books we are reading from.

Medieval history pop up book for kids

Sight word game for kindergarten

After all the excitement, we spent a little time in the afternoon reviewing sight-words with the game POP from learning resources.

Wednesday 4th October

Today we learnt about Hereward and his battles with William the conquerer. Never heard of Hereward….me neither! But if you are covering medieval history this year you should look him up!

We also raed about Prophet Nuh (Noah) from the book Lives of the Prophets by Leila Azzam. We discussed how Nuh’s wife and son were not from the believers, and how faith is a gift from God and should be cherished.

The afternoon was filled with activities outside the home; like Quran class and a Muslim beaver scouts meeting.He came back with even more badges for me to sew on! MashAllah.

Thursday 5th October

Along with the usual school work, the boys had a swimming class this morning. The long drive there gave us an opportunity to listen to the literature component of our curriculum Understood Betsy.

We have really been enjoying listening to the audiobook version on Audible. In fact, I have personally enjoyed it so much, I have been tempted this week to put it on for myself to listen to whilst I was getting on with housework! It’s really good!

After swimming, and a Seerah class with their other home-ed friends, we went into our garden to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

We have been using these flashcards from word united to teach handwriting and reading to my 5-year old, as well as using their French and Arabic range for foreign language study.

Handwriting flashcards

Toddler fun!
Keeping herself busy…You have to pick your battles with 2 year-olds!

Friday 6th October

It’s Friday! Hurray!

Friday for us means nature walk! This week we went out to a patch of scrub-land near the river and explored. It was beautiful!

Homeschool UK Charlotte Mason
RUN! Woohoo!

Charlotte Mason homeschool

Along the walk, I noticed some beautiful cowslip flowers by the pavement. I stopped, without saying anything, took a photo of them and walked on. A few minutes later I turned around and found my sons sat down by the same flowers having their own discussion and conversation about them.

There was no need for me to say anything, and “force” a learning opportunity. Instead of saying, “Look at these boys,” or “Do you know what these flowers are called?”, they were able to make the discovery themselves! These are the moments that will stay with them and that they will retain, not incessant lecturing from me!

I have to remind myself often, to follow the advice of Charlotte Mason, and stay quiet! I find it so tempting, in my enthusiasm, to give constant prompting to the boys. This was a beautiful reminder to myself, that they don’t need me to do that! They have each other! mashAllah.

Nature study

Amongst some other discoveries, we found a few apples trees growing along the route, and a muddy puddle full of different foot prints; different kinds of birds and dogs (although my boys were convinced they were bear foot prints!)

My 5 year-old also found the biggest feather he’s ever seen! He was so excited and, as we had seen birds-of-prey in the area last week, and decided it was an eagle feather!

Bear footprints nature study
Bear footprints?

After a stopping off for hot-chocolate at a cafe, we started walking back to the car. It was a long walk, so I decided to distract them with Quran!

Each of the boys had to recite all the Quran that they could remember. We talked about how the Quran is the word of Allah, and everything in creation wants to hear it. So as they recited, we talked about how the clouds in the sky, the grass under their feet and birds in the trees were listening to them. Subhanullah! Before we knew it, we were back at the car!

We made it to Jummah prayer at the mosque. Although we went to a mosque I don’t usually visit, there is something very powerful about standing shoulder to shoulder with women, whom I didn’t know, praying together. Unity.

We didn’t have time to sketch and paint in our nature journal’s today, but the boys did make a lovely chicken a mushroom pie! It was a great end to the week.

How was your homeschool week?
Please do let me know and tell us all about it in the comments!

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

All about SNAILS! – Homeschool Unit Study

Snails Homeschool Unit Study

This blog post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclaimer for more information.

Homeschooling gives you the ultimate freedom to chose and adapt what your children learn, how they learn it and when!

This month we decided to follow the interests of my youngest son (4 years-old), and learn more about snails!

We found some fantastic resources, and have put together some fun snail-related activities, to create a rich and well-rounded unit study for young children.

This snails unit study incorporated literature, language arts, science, nature study, art, and even maths!

 

Snails unit study homeschool

We postponed some of the read-alouds and activities I have planned, and instead dived whole-heartedly into the world of snails!

If you decide to give any of these ideas a try, please share you photos and tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

Snails Homeschool Unit Study

Snail Nature Study

It all started when we discovered snails hiding under the ivy that grows over our garden wall. The kids and I collected a few of the snails and sketched them for our nature notebooks.

I ran into the house, pulled out the Comstocks Nature Study Handbook, and turned to the lesson about snails. This book is amazing!

It had a few pages about snails for me to read and familiarize myself with, and then loads of questions and points of interest for me to ask the children. It’s a fantastic resource for nature study.

Nature study snails

Pet Snails

Well, as you can imagine, the kids didn’t want to part with the snails, so we set up a special snail environment for them in the house so the boys could continue to observe them.

Snails Homschool Unit Study

To create the snail tank, we spread an inch on damp soil across the bottom, and the added some bark and stones for the snails to hide under. We added a very shallow jam-jar lid for water, and various fruit and vegetables for food.

Snail Homeschool Unit Study

We kept them with us for 3 days, careful to position the tank in a cool and quiet spot, out of direct sunlight.

snail habitat for unit study

When those three days came to an end, my youngest son was very sad to release them back into our garden. He had enjoyed having them around!

This was my children’s first introduction to the responsibility of having a pet. They had to feed “their” snails and look after them. It was a very valuable lesson.

Science

The study of snails lends itself wonderfully to learning more about life cycles. For this we watched this YouTube video, followed by a read through our science encyclopedias.

Whilst we were looking through these encyclopedias, we discovered how snails fit into various food chains. After some discussion and drawing various food chains out, we watched this Youtube video for some fun! It’s a song all about Food Chains!

The encyclopedias we used for this unit study were:

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia

The New Children’s Encyclopedia

Science: A Children’s Enyclopedia

Learning about food chains for homeschool unit study

Language Arts

Whilst the snails were with us, the children observed their behaviour and their “personalities”. From this they decided upon names for them all (Leo, Sweetie and Apple) and together we talked more about their characters.

Snails Homeschool Unit Study
…excuse the spelling!

This character development exercise was the first step to begin writing an adventure story featuring our snails as the main characters! We’ve had a lot of fun with this activity!

Living Books

I hunted all over the internet looking for some good literature about snails. I wanted a book that would capture my children’s imagination, whilst at the same time teaching them more about snails.

My favourite find was Are you a Snail? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. This picture book is aimed at children under the age of 7. It is a charming little book that goes through many of the physical characteristics of snails, their habitats, what they eat and their predators in a narrative style. On top of all that, the illustrations are beautiful!

Snails unit study

Another book that we used was Amazing Pictures and Facts about Snails by Mina Kelly. Although I do not believe this would meet Charlotte Mason criteria for a living book, my sons enjoyed reading from this book. It is essentially a collection of interesting facts about snails, accompanied by some interesting photos! Don’t be put off by the initial appearance of the book (it’s self-published) …the content is great!

Snails Homeschool unit study

Art

In addition to their initial sketches, we copied pictures from the Are you a Snail? book to create some lovely water colour paintings for out nature journals.

Snail Homeschool Unit Study

My toddler joined in the fun too, creating her own snail from coloured tissue paper!

Snails Homeschool Tissue craft

Another craft, that keep my children’s attention for days, was this Hama Bead Snail Kit. They came out beautifully! The boys were so proud of their work that we have been using it as a centre piece on our dining table!

Hama bead snail craft for homeschool unit study

Hama beads homeschool snail craft

Maths

Did you know that the spiral of the snail’s shell perfectly correlates with the Fibonacci sequence?!?! Neither did I! This is the same sequence that is seen throughout nature in the petals of flowers, bracts of a pinecone, hurricanes and galaxies.

By chance, we came across the Fibonacci sequence in my son’s Maths book: Marvellous Maths by Jonathon Litton and Thomas Flintham. If your child enjoys maths, I’d recommend this book It’s full of pop-ups and flaps all about Maths, and is suitable for children aged 7+.

Maths snails unit study

Maths book for snails homeschool unit study

We looked at the numerical pattern and then tried to draw our own “snail-shell-spiral” using the Fibonacci numbers.

My younger son (4 years-old) enjoyed measuring the length and shell height of the different snails, and recording it in a table.

Measuring snails for homeschool unit study!

 

This unit study was not planned. Instead it just evolved on its own!

We were able to incorporate literature, maths, science, nature study, English composition, and loads of arts and crafts.

My children and I learnt so much from this unit study. I can’t wait to see what interest my children next develop for us to explore!

 

What unit studies have you done recently in your homeschool?
How do you develop your children’s interests?

 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth