Nature study

Wild Mammals: Living Books

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

We recently wrapped up our nature study unit on wild mammals, and I realized that it may be useful to share some of the living books we used for it in our homeschool.

We follow the nature study rotation set out by Ambleside Online and it is these books that make up the nature lore, tales and nature study components of that Charlotte Mason education.

For more information on our Homeschool Curriculum Choices, CLICK HERE.

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

This blog-post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see our Disclaimer.

To get a better feel for, and to see inside, these beautiful living books, watch the video below. It’s always useful to see inside  children’s books before you purchase, so please take the time to watch this video.

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

 

Wild Mammal Nature Study: Living Books

Below you will find a list of the books that I recommend for the study of wild mammals. Please note, you do not need to purchase them all!

Rather, just chose the ones that suit your family’s needs.

Britain’s Mammals: A Field Guide to the Mammals of Britain and Ireland

This book is part of the WILDGuides series, and I have been so impressed with the quality of this reference book, that I am looking to buy more in the series!

This reference book lays out very interesting facts about British mammals, alongside detailed scientific diagrams, charts, maps and stunning photography.

The information in this book was so extensive, that we did not need to look in any other reference book during the duration of our nature study unit.

To purchase this book, CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

 

Enid Blyton’s Nature Series

These delightful living books are a collection of stories featuring wild animals from the British Isles. The stories capture the child’s imagination and interest, whilst also teaching them important information about the species’ habitat, behaviour and other natural history.

There are three books in this series, and they cover wild animals from all the major animal kingdoms; including mammals, birds, reptiles,fish and amphibians. These books are suitable for children aged 5-8 years old.

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Country Tales:

Species covered include: Deer, Dormouse, Bat, Mole, Hedgehog, Blackbird, Rats, Stoats, Weasel, Rabbit, Robin, Bullfinch, Kingfisher, Moorhen, Eel, Toad.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Hedgerow Tales:

Species covered:Rabbit, Hare, Hedgehog, Swallows, House Martins, Field vole, Water vole, Toad, Frog, Cuckoo

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Woodland Tales

Species covered: Fox, Badger, Adder, Grass snake, Nuthatch, Woodpecker, Spider, Sparrow, Red squirrel, Grey squirrel,Bumble-bee, Wasp, Otter.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Collins Animal Lives

This charming living books narrate the story on one specific species per book. They are aimed at older children, aged 8 -12 years old. Through their study, children will become intimately acquainted with the animal, and associated species, and it’s natural history.

There are five books in the series:

Talpa: The Story of a Mole

Amazon UK

Capreolus: The Story of a Roe Deer

Amazon UK

Vulpina: The Story of a Fox

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Sciurus: The Story of a Grey Squirrel

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Lutra: The Story of the Otter

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

For Friends in North America

For those of you homeschooling in USA or Canada, you can use the books I have mentioned previously, and make it relevant to your locality. In addition, I would also recommend the following books:

The Burgess Animal Book for Children

This is a collection of stories about animals in North America, and is widely used by many in the Charlotte Mason communities.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

Handbook of Nature Study

This is an extensive collection of lesson plans, and information about the nature found in North America. It covers teaching nature study, animals, plants, and earth and sky.

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

 

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

In addition to these books, I have heard that books by Arabella Buckley are excellent sources of Nature lore, although we have not yet read them ourselves.

I hope this list help you to select the best living books for your children, and makes nature study even more enjoyable for your homeschooling family.

If you have any further recommendations, please share them with us all in the comments below. I’m always looking out for new books!

Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them for me in the comments section below.

Peace and love,

EASY Ramadan Activities for children

Wild british mammals living books Charlotte Mason Homeschool

 

Nature Study Resources | BIRDS

Birds Nature study resources

We have just completed another term of nature study in our homeschool; this time focusing on British birds. Nature study is one of our most-loved subjects and part of our Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool curriculum.

Below, I have listed all the resources we love and have found useful in the study of birds; including living books, beautiful children’s literature for all ages, reference books, preschool picture books, our treasured nature journal supplies and more!

This blog post contains affiliate links. See Disclaimer for more information.

Nature study Birds resources

Make sure you WATCH THIS VIDEO to get a closer look at these resources and take a peek inside the books!

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Living Books about British Birds

Here is a selection of wonderful literature about birds; stories that are infused with scientific facts, as well as noble morals, memorable characters and moving storylines.

Tales of Wild Birds Life by Harry M. Batten

A charming collection of 15 short-stories featuring various wild birds from around the U.K.

An Owl in the House: A Naturalist’s Diary

This is the diary of a naturalist who rescued an abandoned owlet from the woods and hand-reared it at home. This true story also features tips on how to keep your own nature journal and original black-and-white photos.

Deep in the Woods – Richard L. Bell

A beautifully illustrated book about all the animals found in the woods. Perfect for children aged 5-8 years old.

Literature about birds

Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

Poetry of Birds compiled by Simon Armitage

This collection has been a great source of poetry for memorisation and for copying into our nature journals.

Picture Books for Early Years

The Eagle and the Wren by Jane Goodall

My children are still talking about this delightful book!

The Little Books of Woodland Bird Song by Caz Buckingham

Press the buttons and hear the bird song of 12 different woodland birds. This board book also has interesting facts about each bird.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Set in New York and utterly charming!

Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett

A sweet story about chickens that children under 5 will enjoy.

Bird picture books

Reference Books about UK Birds

Collins Lifesize Birds – The Only Guide to Show British Birds at their Actual Size

This book has been such an asset to us these past few months. We have used it to sketch the birds from into our nature journals. For each bird you are given a variety of large high-quality photos and plenty of information.

Usborne Spotters Guide: Birds

This lovely little book is our trusty guide to identifying birds when we are on nature walks. It is small enough to carry with us, with just enough information to help us identify any new birds we see.

Looking at Nature by Elsie Proctor

Looking a Nature is a collection of nature-study lessons for children aged 4-11. It is perfect for those people who are unsure how to begin the study of Nature in their homeschool.

The Usborne Complete Book of Nature

This charming book is an lovely introduction to nature study for children under 6 year-old.

The Usbourne Little Book of Birds

This book from Usborne focuses on birds from many different habitats. It discusses many aspects of their behaviour, life cycle, indientifaction and some myths and legnends! The illustrations are beautiful too!

A Nest is Noisy  by Dianna Hutts Aston

OK, confession time…I don’t have this book….But I want it!

Bird reference books

Other Resources

For Mum: Online course: Navigating Nature Study by Modern Miss Mason

Bird Bingo – A delgihtful board game featuring birds from all around the world.

A Guide to British Garden Birds  CD or Audible.

Learning about the Bird Songs has probably been my favourite aspect of the study of British birds, and this CD played a massive part in that! I highly recommend it.

At the moment, you can get it for FREE with the Audible Trial.

 

YouTube video: John Muir Laws: How to Sketch Birds

If you’re not confident at sketching birds, this YouTube video is fantatic. My boys followed along and really enjoyed it.

Nature Notebooks: Wiro Bound Sketchbook

Prang Watercolour Paints

Brush Set

Bird Feeders and Feeding Station

There is nothing quite so heart-warming as seeing tiny birds, of many coours and varieties, flock your garden, to eat the seeds you put out. They even develop a routine so you know what time each bird will arrive at your feeders that day!

Birds feeders, if placed close enough to your windows, can even be a way to do nature study on those days you cannot leave the house.

Local park

Your local park or woodland is a fantastic resource for you and your family. Get outdoors and explore the nature to see these incredible birds first-hand.

Enthusiasm

Your example and enthusiasm for nature study will influence you children far more than any book ever could. If you, as a parent, enjoy learning about birds and take part in nature journalling yourself, you children will be eager to follow your example. And besides, you might actually learn something…right?!!?

Birds Nature study resources

If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comment below.

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth our muslim homeschool

 

 

| Day in the Life | + Arabic Flashcards GIVEAWAY

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

Since we began using the Ambleside online homeschool curriculum, our daily routine has changed. We are spending more time reading living books, less time doing worksheets and even more time outdoors!

WATCH THE VIDEO below to see a typical day in our Muslim homeschool.

Also, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to enter this month’s GIVEAWAY!

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

This blog post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Word United, who generously sent me their products to review. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

 

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards

We are using the write and wipe flashcards from Word United to enriched our homeschool English and foreign language curriculum.

These cards provide a hands-on approach to learning a language that has kept my children engaged and enthusiastic to learn more!

Word United Enlgish flashcards

The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.

Each card showcases the word or letter with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has the word written out, and then space for tracing and hand-writing practice. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

Word United English flashcard

If you would like to learn more about these flashcards, WATCH THE VIDEO above, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Word United Arabic flashcard

Other Products Featured

Arabic Flashcards
English Flahscards
Abacus
Scythe
How to Read a Book
Home Education: Volume 1
Charlotte Mason Summaries
Primer Free and Treadwell
Matilda
Harry Potter

Wizards of Once
Mr Poppers Penguins
Beatrix Potter Collection
Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

 

GIVEAWAY

This month, I  am thrilled to be sharing the beautiful Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards with THREE WINNERS!
Each winner can select ONE SET of the Write and Wipe flashcards from WordUnited.com.
The giveaway will run from Saturday 28th November  2017 until Saturday 4th November 2017 at 12am GMT.

This giveaway is OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY.

All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (click HERE is you would like to know more about Rafflecopter).
I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email.
The winner has 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I know it can be fun to see how other families home-educate their children; but more than that, I hope you found something useful in our YouTube video. Whether its a new book to read, or a new idea, I sincerely hope that by sharing these moments of our lives with you, I am helping you and your families in someway.

If you would like to see more of us, and an almost daily look into our homeschooling day, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love,
Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

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

A Week in our Homeschool | 11-15th September 2017

Muslim homeschool week

Take a peek into our homeschool week! In this blog post, I am excited to share snippets of our week!

This week was officially our 2nd week of using the homeschool curriculum Ambleside online. So far, I have found using a set curriculum strangely liberating!

Up until this point, I have always enjoyed piecing together my out curriculum. However, with my work online and my homeschool shop growing, I wanted to find something that took the pressure of me a little. So far, Ambleside online’s curriculum is doing just that!

Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in blog posts and sidebar ads. See Disclaimer for more information. 

Monday 11th September

Monday usually means recovering from a busy weekend! This Monday we kept things simple with morning school, Quran class and then a trip to the park. Today was also the first time we read from A Child’s History of the World and we loved it!

Muslim homeschool week
Pizza and Shakespeare!
Muslim homeschool week
Baby doll goes first!

Muslim homeschool week

Tuesday 12th September

Tuesdays are usually busy day for us, and this Tuesday was no exception!

With swimming, French AND wrestling classes all on one day, we struggled to do all the subjects that I had planned.

We managed most things, but we didn’t have time to read from Our Island story or Understood Betsy. Don’t worry.. we made up for it later in the week!

Muslim homeschool week Muslim homeschool week

Wednesday 13th September

The boys had fun today adding to their Book of the Centuries. We added in the historical figures Harun al-Rashid, Charlemagne and King Harold II . We also managed to start reading Understood Betsy, but my boys were not impressed! I will keep persevering!

In the afternoon, the boys went for Quran classes and Muslim scouts. Muslim homeschool weekMuslim homeschool week

Thursday 14th September

Today we read from the Burgess Animal Book and my children really love it.

They have learn so much about Rabbits and the rest of the rabbit family from the two chapters we have read. The stories are rally engaging and are a wonderful way to introduce children to biology and natural history.

We are currently in the middle of landscaping the garden, but with the torrential rains and storms we’ve had all week, nothing has been done for awhile! But the kids are enjoying the mud!

Muslim homeschool week
Happy toddler!

Muslim homeschool week

Friday 15th September

On Fridays the books are put away and we go outdoors!

This morning was spent exploring nearby woodland.

Muslim homeschool week nature walk

Muslim homeschool week nature walk
He spotted a hare! Run!
Muslim homeschool week nature walk
If you were a hare which way would you go?
Muslim homeschool week nature walk
Are you in there?

We didn’t have any kind of agenda today except that I asked them to find a leaf to take home to paint into their nature journals.

It’s been a long time since we used watercolours and I wanted them reintroduce watercolours by painting something simple.

I had a go too and it was so relaxing! I’m very keen to add to my nature journal again!

Muslim homeschool week Muslim homeschool week

Unfortunately, because we were having too much fun in the woods, and because I forgot to bring my watch, we got home too late to go to Friday prayers at the mosque. Astaghfirullah. Next week I will be better prepared insha’Allah.

In the afternoon, after their French class, the children spent time with their grandparents!

Muslim homeschool nature walk
That light….

Today, whilst out for our walk, I was struck with gratitude; how fortunate I am to be spending my days with my children and walking outdoors in the beautiful British countryside today.

In the thick of it, sometimes forget how blessed I am but being outside reminded me of how lucky I truly am. It forces me to slow down and reflect. There is something about the light in a forest, the way is peeks through the canopy and illuminates pockets of the woodland floor, that always strikes me. There so much to learn from being still and observing creation.

This week with Ambleside online has gone very well. Although we have fallen slightly behind in our reading of Understood Betsy and Poetry, I am confident we can easily catch up insha’Allah. The only thing left to do this weekend is work through the next chapter in our Islamic studies books.

I have really enjoyed sharing our week with you, and I hope you enjoying reading about it!

If you have any questions, please leave them for me in the comments below and I will try to answer them as best I can.

Peace and Love,

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

 

Getting Started with Charlotte Mason for Young Children

Getting started with Charlotte Mason for Young children

Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and sidebar ads. Please refer to my Disclosure Policy for more information

The following post is from Shannen at Middle Way Mom

It just me, or do very few homeschooling methods refer to little ones being in the mix of a typical homeschooling day?

One of the things that has drawn me to the Charlotte Mason method, especially in the season of life with three kids 6 and under at home, is how welcoming it is for young children.

Not only is there a focus on letting children have lots of time for free play, exploration, and short lessons, but she even addresses the youngest of children in her book Home Education.

Charlotte Mason for Young children

Using Charlotte Mason as a guide, our homeschool is just in the very beginning stages of formal learning. No formal lessons are to start before age 6, but let’s not confuse this though with the idea that we do not teach a child anything.

Instead, a child learns from their environment. How?

Getting outside

Ms. Mason spent a good deal of time in Home Education explaining what an ideal day looks like, and how one should spend hours out of doors each day, even up to 6 hours a day.

What do you do during that time? She gives a lot of guidance, and adds that we shouldn’t bring a story book to read. Instead, the child should be fully engaged in playing and exploring. It’s not like there isn’t enough for them to do!

Also, the mother should not be giving lots of instructions or information while they are outside, but rather a small nugget of information, or pointing out something interesting in nature from time to time.

Overall, her advice is to let the child’s mind have time to think and process what is around them.

A game she suggests to hone the habit of attention from an early age is this: While the children at a park or nature reserve, ask them to go and look at something, maybe a house or farm, and remember all that they can. The child should come back and retell it to you in the most detail they are able. It’s fun for children if mom takes part in this game from time to time as well!

Honestly, when I first read the advice to get out for 6 hours a day, I thought, “Yeah, maybe if I was the nanny! I have to cook dinner and manage the house!”

6 hours is a lot, and unless I get a meal in the crockpot before I go, that’s not something we can always do. Of course, 3 hours is better than 2 and 2 hours is better than 1.

Do what you can. Especially if you have a small child that needs to nap, don’t beat yourself up over not spending 6 hours a day outside.

 

Charlotte Mason for Young Children

Habits

“The formation of habits is education, and education is the formation of habits.” – Home Education, pg. 97

Ms Mason makes no question about it: habits are the foundation to a strong education and personal life. Without them, we flounder without direction.

I wish I would have been turned on to this idea far sooner in my life, and as such, I have to believe that helping my young children build habits might be one of the best gifts I give them.

Even as young as an infant, she mentions the value of habits. We know that a toddler who is in the habit of using the potty from an early age, whether they successfully use it or not, is more likely to be fully potty trained earlier than a child who is introduced to the potty haphazardly.

For young children in the modern age, it’s not hard to get them started with simple things like emptying a dishwasher, putting their clothes away, and picking up their toys before they go to bed. When it becomes part of the natural rhythm of their days, they don’t fight it as much as a random command when Mom just can’t take the mess anymore.

I could go on an on about habits and young children. If you are wanting to jump right in with working on building strong habits, a good book to start would be one where Deborah Taylor-Hough compiled all that Charlotte Mason said about habits throughout her six volume series into one book: Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success: Volume 1

Reading and number sense

When my oldest daughter was young, in the early 00’s, there was no pressure on parents for kids to learn to read before Kindergarten. It was generally expected that in Kindergarten kids would learn their letters and numbers formally for the first time.

Now, just 10 years later, the conversation is completely different. Now kids are expected to have a foundation of reading before they reach Kindergarten. So often I read moms in groups sharing their worry and stress about their 3 year old not knowing their letters.

Either the tide is turning again, or it’s just the circles that I’m surrounded in, but the philosophy Charlotte Mason has of waiting until the child is 6 before teaching them to read is catching on.

Waiting to teach children formally does not mean that we don’t teach them anything at all. Naturally, numbers and letters come out in day to day life and there’s nothing wrong with pointing out things like what a road sign says or letters in their name.

What is encouraged though, is to leave the worksheets and easy readers until the child can be successful with them right away. Let learning be a joy for them instead of building the idea that learning is a struggle.

With my own 4 year old, she knows some letters and most of her numbers. While my 6 year old is working on her own lessons, I may give my younger kids wipe clean books and white board markers. The wipe clean books have letters and words in them, and we’ll point out sounds that letters make, but she’s never tested on it later. The information is presented, and if it is worthwhile to her, she’ll try to remember it.

As for numbers, my Kindergartener knew her numbers, but didn’t have much number sense before we started Right Start Math. Since my preschooler usually sits with us for math lessons, she has picked up on things a little earlier, but again, she’s not tested on any of this at any time.

Your purpose

First and foremost, building strong habits and morals are the core purpose with young children. Ms. Mason did not direct attention to anything more than she did to habits throughout her book Home Education (which focuses on children under 9 years old).

Your purpose as a parent and educator is not to fill their minds with information, but rather to build character traits as best you can in them so they can be effective students when it is time for them to study in a more serious manner.

In regards to education, the purpose of the young years with the children is not about memorizing letter sounds or math facts. The entire purpose of creating an environment where children are exploring (ideally mostly out of doors) is for children to build a love of learning.

Formal lessons should be enjoyable to them when they get to that stage, and something they look forward to when they are young.

Our Muslim Homeschool blog

Shannen is an American Muslim convert, homeschooling mother to 4 daughters and mediocre housewife. She enjoys blogging, knitting, quilting, and avoiding housework. Read more on her blog about their Islamic homeschool, green(ish) living, and the ups and downs of parenting. You can connect with Shannen on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Awesome Volcano Experiment for Kids

Kaboom! Bang! Whooooooah!

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to do this experiment with my boys this week in our homeschool. Making a volcano is one of those science projects that I have always wanted to do with the kids and it was so much fun!

This volcano experiment is so simple and you with probably have everything you need already in your home. 

If you are interested in how we made our Erupting Volcano, please keep reading!

Homeschool Volcano Experiment

Since a young age, my boys have been obsessed with dinosaurs. So much so, that it had taken over my house. Dinosaur toys, stickers, books, bed sheets….it was driving me CRAZY

Thankfully, this interest has now evolved into an interest in fossils, geology and volcanoes.

As I try to encourage the kids to explore their interests, we decided to make this a part of our homeschool, doing an experiment/project on this topic, once a week.

We have been using the book Rock & Fossil Hunter for our experiments, It’s full of different activities that kids can do, using materials that you can easily find in the house. 

This blog post will look at the first two experiments: 

– The Erupting Volcano
– On the Lava Trail

Check out this VIDEO we made of our experiments:

As you can tell, they had so much fun doing these activities! I’m sure your kids will too!

Awesome Volcano Experiment

homeschool volcano experiment

Materials Needed:

Small plastic water bottle
Water
Measuring jug
Tray
Sand
Dessertspoon
Bicarbonate of soda
Red Food Colouring
Washing-up liquid
Vinegar

  1. Place the bottle in the middle of the tray, and pile up the sand around it, to look like a volcano. If the sand is not sticking, dampen it a bit to help it hold in place. The decorate the outside of the volcano however you like…obviously in my home that meant with dinosaurs!
    homeschool volcano experiment
  2. Pour enough warm water into the jug to fill the bottle 2/3 full. Then add 2 dessert spoons of bicarb, 1 dessert spoon of food colouring, 1 dessert spoon of washing-up liquid to the jug.
    homeschool volcano experiment
  3. Pour this mixture into the bottle.
  4. Then get ready for the eruption…..it will happen quickly!!!

       Pour 100ml of vinegar into the bottle and jump back!

Don’t worry, it’s not explosive….just very foamy! Perfectly safe for little kids!

Homeschool volcano experiment
homeschool volcano experiment

This could also work for a chemistry experiment if you have older kids. It’s a simple acid-base reaction.

Why are volcanoes different shapes?

This is the second experiment from the book Rock & Fossil Hunter.

It aims to illustrate how the temperature of lava affects its flow and the ultimate shape of the volcano

The cooler the lava, the slower it flows, resulting in conical volcanoes. 

The hotter the lava, the faster it flows, leading to flatter (shield) volcanoes.

Materials Needed:

2 tins of treacle
2 plates
Heat-proof pan
Boiling water

  1. Put once tin of treacle in the fridge overnight.
    Homeschool Lava Experiment
  2. Put the other tin into the heat-proof pan, and surround it in boiling water. Leave it to warm up the treacle for thirty minutes. 
  3. Open both tins, and pour onto separate plates. 
    Homeschool Lava Experiment
    Cold Lava

    Homeschool Lava Experiment
    Hot Lava
You should find the cold treacle piles up on the plate, like viscous cool lava would.
The hotter treacle will spread out to form a wider puddle, like runny lava.
Both of these experiments should be done under the supervision of an adult and are suitable for child aged 4+.

Are your children interested in volcanoes? 
What volcano activities have you done with them?
If you have any great resources on the subject, or if you have written a blog post on the topic, please share it in the comments below.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and reading this blog post.

To make sure you don’t miss the next one, just Subscribe to my mailing list and you’ll be sent an email to let you know it’s out!

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Peace and Love.

Nature Study in the City – April 2016

Spring is here!!! …Hurray!

In our homeschool we have been making the most of the glorious weather and observing the changes in nature

Nature study is an integral part of our homeschool curriculum. We make an effort to try to spend at least two hours every day outdoors. Sometimes this is at the park, or nature reserves, sometimes we go for country walks…and when the weather is not great we just do a bit of gardening and play in our back garden!

Nature study in the city

Being outdoors is so important for children. It encourages creativity, concentration, and even improves academic performance! If you’d like to know more about this, please check out last months Nature Study in the City blog post.

But there’s more than just the physical and academic benefits… 

I find that being in nature reaffirms my faith! I know it sounds crazy, but witnessing creation in all its beautiful complexity, makes me certain there is a creator, and I want my children to experience this too. 

Nature study is not only for those who live in the picturesque countryside. If you, like our family, live in a city there are many ways you can teach your child about nature too.

Here is what we did for Nature Study this April:

Observing the Seasonal Changes

Change is all around us! We’ve spent a lot of time taking note of the new flowers that are appearing and teaching the children their names. 

We’ve paid particular focus to the primose and bluebell, looking at its petal and leaves, and where they grow. 

Nature study in the city

Another focus of our nature study has been bird-spotting! We recently purchased a pair of Children’s Binoculars
. They have been so useful and a sure-fire way to get the kids involved in our bird-watching.

Nature study in the city
They spotted two jays up there!

It’s been a lot of fun looking for bird’s nests in the trees and trying to listen out for baby chicks! The kids love creeping up on the nests, and looking for ‘clues’ on the ground that there might be babies in the nest. 

Nature study in the city
Birds’s Nests

We’ve been using this book the Usborne Spotter’s Guide: Birds
to help identify the birds we’ve seen. I’m pretty good at the larger birds, but I need help when it comes to the small finches and tits.

Nature Study in City Homeschool

Nature Study in City Homeschool

Pet Caterpillars

It’s a bit of a spring-time tradition of ours to raise Caterpillars
and watch them turn into butterflies. The boys were over-the-moon and decided to make them a card to welcome them to the family! They’ve been named Roy, Joy, Poi, Moi and….Jibreel! Oh I hope none of them die!

They arrived in this small tub, that contained all the food they would need. We have watched them grow bigger and bigger, and we are now waiting anxiously for them to make their cocoons. When they do, we will carefully move them into our butterfly habitat, and watch them emerge. It’s all so exciting!

Nature study in the city homeshool

We have set up a small ‘invitation to play‘ in the corner of our kitchen. Along with the caterpillars, I have set up a Magnifying Glass
 and a Usborne Book of Caterpillars and Butterflies
to encourage independent learning. 

Nature study in the city homeshool


Children’s Garden

The children began planting their garden last month. Their sunflowers are growing well…too well! I have no idea what we’re are going to do with them all! They also have runner beans growing and we just planted some nasturtium seeds too. 

Nature study in the city homeschool
Planting nasturtium seeds

Nature study in the city homeschool
Watering his runner beans

Nature study in the city homeschool
Sunflowers galore!

Nature Collection

Whenever we go out, my 3-year-old son always insists on bringing a few ‘finds’ home with him. 

We had accumulated so many leaves, twigs and stones that, instead of throwing out when he wasn’t looking!… I decided to respect his interest and give him a corner of our home to store them. He stores flowers, leaves and twigs in one tub, stones in another, and anything else in the other one. 

nature study in the city homeschool
His grownig collection!

It’s so wonderful to watch his love of nature grow and to see the pride he takes in his collection.

We have been using this diagram from a Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth
 picture book to help us identify the stones he has collected. I’m learning so much myself!

nature study in th city homeschool

I hope this will encourage you to get outside with your children, wherever you live and enjoy the wonders of  Spring!

Do you have any spring traditions in your family? Do your children ‘collect’ everything they find outside too? I would love to hear about your outdoor experiences with you children.  Please leave me a comment below 🙂

Nature study in the city homeschool



I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Make sure you don’t miss the next in this series!
I’m hoping to get it out the same time next month insha’Allah.

To make sure to don’t miss it, just Subscribe to my mailing list and you’ll be sent an email to let you know it’s out!

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.


In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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Nature Study in the City – March 2016

We all want our children to spend more time outdoors. However when you live in a city, connecting our children to nature can be difficult.

In this series of blog posts, I hope to inspire you with some ways you can teach your children about the natural world, and give you some creative activities to do indoors or in a city garden.

Nature Study in the City

Spending time outdoors in a natural environment has been proven scientifically to benefit children.

Since the release of the book Last Child in the Woods, which brought attention to the developmental effects of nature on our children, there have been multiple studies that prove likewise.

Some of the benefits of outdoor play include:

  • Supports development intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and
    physically (Kellert, 2005).
  • Encourages creativity: Studies show that children engage
    in more creative forms of play in the green areas. (Bell and Dyment,
    2006).
  • Improves Concrentration: Exposure to natural settings increases
    children’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive
    abilities (Wells, 2000).
  • Improves Academic Performance: Children who partook in outdoor
    science programs had an improvement in their science results by 27% (American Institutes for Research, 2005).
  • Reduces ADD symptoms (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).
  • Improves eyesight (American
    Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011)
  • Encourages healthy eating  (Bell &
    Dyment, 2008) 
  • Reduces stress  (Wells and
    Evans, 2003)

Book Recommendation

Before we start, I want to let you know that we have been using this vintage nature book, Looking At Nature, by Elsie Proctor, as our primary text.

It is fantastic. Unlike most nature books, it is not just pages of facts, but it also poses lots of questions for the children to answer and gives great ideas for outdoor activities and experiments.

This is what we have been doing this March:

Observing Germination

We began this month with a trip to the supermarket to by some compost and plant seeds. I read in the book Looking at nature
, that Sunflowers
Nasturtiums
and Runner Beans
are easy to grow…we’ll soon see!

Nature Study in the City

I decided to begin with an activity I remember doing at school. We filled jars with kitchen roll, and then carefully pushed two Runner Bean
seeds in the gap between the glass and the tissue. Then we added enough water the to jars to make the tissue damp, and left them on a sunny window-sill. 
Within 5 days this is what we saw:

Nature Study in the City

The children drew what they saw for their Nature Notebooks, and we discussed all the parts of the plant and what plants need to grow. They learnt the words germination, shoot and tap root.

Nature Study in the City

Nature Study in the City

This is something you can do indoors, in a small space, and at very little expense!  

Began Planting Our Children’s Garden

This year I am giving a part of our small garden to the children. They will be responsible for growing the plants in that patch, weeding, watering etc.  If it works…it’s going to be a fantastic source of learning opportunities
The boys planted their Sunflower Seeds
, and left them in our cold-frame to grow.

Nature Study in the City

Nature Study in the City

Looking for catkins

Thankfully we have a number on trees on our road that have catkins. We collected what we could find, and brought them home to identify.
Nature Study in the City

Visited our City Parks

At this time of year, there is so much to see in the park. The daffodils are blooming, the birds are back and building nests, and everything is stirring back to life!
We spent several hours looking for the first signs of spring. The boys drew some daffodils for their nature notebooks, and I just allowed them to explore. The only rule we have in the park is ….You Are Not Allowed To Walk On The Path! 


Nature Study in the City
Drawing daffodils

Nature Study in the City
Playing hide-and-seek! He’s  counting…

Nature Study in the City
He’s hiding!


They found this muddy pond and were in there wading through the murky water…They loved it!

Nature Study in the City

I hope this will encourage you to get out into nature with your children, wherever you live. 
What activities have you done outdoors with your kids? Do any of you have any recommendations for other plants we can put in the children’s garden? Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Make sure you don’t miss the next in this series!
I’m hoping to get it out the same time next month insha’Allah. 

To make sure to don’t miss it, just Subscribe to my mailing list and you’ll be sent an email to let you know it’s out!

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.


In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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