The first 6 weeks back to school Whoa!

It was such a fun start to the year! Even though it’s been hot and humid, we had a blast making a garden schedule, planting seeds and making garden beds, learning about Ancient India and aboriginal art, and reading books (like one about dog training).

We started off making a garden schedule for the new school year. While we have not stopped planting I wanted to remind the kids that gardening is a year round project and there are many things to consider.

Planting schedules, harvesting, bugs, preparing, canning or other forms of prep, and when to start germination for seeds. Plus we went over beneficial and not beneficial bugs, what to use instead of pesticides and how to take care of the problem before it gets too bad.


There were a few days of rain, and tons of humidity (which we are not used to) but overall this has been an exciting time. I’m looking forward to seeing all the new things we’ll be learning throughout the year!

Photosynthesis was our 5th grade topic and we learned how plants gather their food, water, and energy (light).

We also went over how plants absorb carbon monoxide and release oxygen for clean air.

We talked about why you would want a variety of plants in your garden as well as flowers to keep a small ecosystem of diversity.


6 weeks of math, STEAM, art, science and history

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Week 6 is Complete

We had a very good week learning new things and reviewing what we have learned so far in Health for K, 1st, and 4th. We are almost done cleaning out our garden beds for the next seeds and plants. Even though we are not on track we will still be fine planting in the greenhouse and outdoors with some shade tarps. We also have a huge crop of eggplant which we are going to salt, skin, and cook down to use in soup bases and curries.

Always eager to learn. Our Kindergartner has been having so much fun doing story time with her older sister in 1st grade and she loves doing the coloring pages after we read the stories.

Letters and a cute quote I found

We have been doing old fables and stories each week and this week we did the story of Prince Darling and Stone Soup. These were such fun stories, I especially loved the stone soup story because it taught a valuable lesson why you should not judge someone with nothing. Then I found this cute funny page where it said “Gardening is a Revolutionary Act”. I liked this because we teach our students the value of a single seed. One see can produce food for many.

The pictures with letters allow the students to learn their alphabet and letters without getting bored with writing letters on a single piece of paper in order. Turns out they are learning without learning.

Lets get ready for Arts & Crafts week!

Week 5 is Complete

Learning is always something we do, this we had new lessons and new concepts we learned. When the students struggle they are letting us know they need a break to regroup and refocus. Just like adults, they get distracted, upset, unmotivated and grumpy. We need to make sure we allow time for them to decompress and then get back to businesses. We have found that coloring pages and the Time In Corner has been a great addition to our schooling.

Click on picture to learn more about Generation Mindful

Gardening & Animals Outdoors

We are getting ready to have the students plant the fall garden. We have 3 of the 7 planter beds cleaned out and ready for seeds. We just have to decide what seeds we want to go where and this time we really need to get some beneficial bacteria and bugs to help our garden not get eaten. This week we harvested one of our watermelons and it was 30 Pounds!!! We put a 5 gallon water jug next to the watermelon so you can imagine how big it is!

Our Kindergarten and 1st Grader went on an animal track expedition in the back yard. While it was rather amusing to us they were not sure what to look for so we had them draw the different types of animals they saw.

Prodigy (Math Games)

We are finding ways to make math fun and so we created a free Prodigy account for the students. The first day this week they were on it after school! I don’t want them to get over stimulated with it so I will do limits of 30-45 minutes depending on the grade.

It is time for a Microscope

After these last few weeks in science it is time to get a microscope. The students have a small magnifying glass which has been good for them but you can see they are interested in more.

Which one will be based on our search this weekend.

As we closed out the week we learned about the last day of Summer and the first day of Autumn. We have also been collecting different items for art and crafts which we will be doing after week 6.

Morning Walk, Tomatoes, and Eggplants – Week 4

We began a new morning routine at 7:30am we walk around the block for 30 minutes, picking up seeds, flowers, leaves, or naming trees and plants along the way.

Mother Holle (Story)

We read Mother Holle this week for Kindergarten and 1st grade. It was a good story about hard work, kindness and being rewarded even when it is not expected. We had the students draw pictures about what happened in the story and they did an amazing job.

Abundance from our Garden!

We are so excited about our eggplants and tomatoes. When we get a few more eggplants we are going to make Eggplant Parmesan. We also had a surprise in the garden when we saw some golden raspberries on our bush. Also, our bell peppers are in full bloom as well and we are getting some beautiful red bell peppers.

Lots of Seeds

This week we gathered lots of seeds and learned the cycle of a seed. When the tree is ready to prduce its fruit it creates a bud, next a flower, then a seed, last a fruit, nut, or vegetable.

Life of a seed

1st: seed

2nd: sprout

3rd: Tree

Here are seeds we collected and discovered about this week.

Week 3 is Complete

So Music we did not start again because the kids go their dad as their substitute teacher on Thursday and Friday while I was at the Doterra Convention (online)!

Spanish has been a hit!

We have had all the kids on Rosetta Stone this week and they all enjoyed the Lessons. They did Lessons 1.1 to 1.3 and pronunciation. While our Kindergartner and First Grader struggled more than our 4th and 8th Grader they still were able to understand La and El in the Masculine and Feminine the other words like come (to eat) and bebe (to drink) were a little more tricky. I think because they sound familiar.

What about Khan Academy?

Khan has been used by our Kindergartner and 1st grader and it was fun to see our Kindergartner understand how to add 1 to numbers 1-5 and how to take away 1 from 1-5. We used blocks along with the lesson and the hands on was a fun visual. The lesson was a little more challenging for our 1st grader for adding double digit number even while using blocks. We will continue to learn about how to add with block and how to subtract.

Science was a blast!

1st Grade gathered leaves and looked and them under the magnifying glass to see their veins and drew pictures.

4th Grade we had a fern leaf that we looked under a magnifying glass. – – Now I wish we had a Microscope!!! We also looked at fungi on a leaf and talked about what fungi is as well as what it does.

Week 2 is Complete

We have gotten a good schedule going and we will be starting Music in Week 3. We had a little bit of acclimating to do and to allow the students to get back to their studies daily.

  • Language Arts 3 days a week
  • Social Studies 3 days a week
  • Mathematics 3 days a week
  • Science 2 days a week
  • History 1-2 days a week
  • Music (Recorder (K-4) & Ukulele (8th)) 1-2 days a week
  • Health/P.E 5 days a week
  • Art 3 days a week

Online programs

  • Khan Academy – 1 day
  • Typing.com – 1 day
  • The Spanish Experiment – 1 day
  • Rosetta Stone – 2 days

We decided this would give the students more freedom in their studies to decide how they want to plan their day. The 4th and 8th grader can choose what subject they would like to work on and use the schedule to plan accordingly. We utilized this schedule last year but instead of doing English and Math everyday we decided 3 days a week would be more adequate.

P.E. is scheduled monthly

Last year we did running once a week on Fridays and during the week we had them chose between riding their bikes, jumping on the trampoline or we would go to the park. On days it was raining or too cold we did You Tube Videos for stretching and exercises. This year we have monthly goals for students and have running a few times a week.

Smart Games are a Success

The Smart games are fun and challenging for all ages and we picked up a couple more games at our local Toy Store. We have Cube Puzzler GO, Diamond Quest, and

We have been busy making Pickles!!

Week 1 is complete

The students are back to their lessons and refocusing their minds to stay on track and enjoy the new school year. This first week was a success for all of them. They love their new classroom set-up and the schedule for the week (which I am sure will be modified at least once this year).

  • Language Arts 3 days a week
  • Social Studies 3 days a week
  • Mathematics 3 days a week
  • Science 2 days a week
  • History 1-2 days a week
  • Music (Recorder (K-4) & Ukulele (8th)) 1-2 days a week
  • Health/P.E 5 days a week
  • Art 3 days a week

Online programs

  • Khan Academy – 1 day
  • Typing.com – 1 day
  • The Spanish Experiment – 1 day
  • Rosetta Stone – 2 days

We decided this would give the students more freedom in their studies to decide how they want to plan their day. The 4th and 8th grader can choose what subject they would like to work on and use the schedule to plan accordingly. We utilized this schedule last year but instead of doing English and Math everyday we decided 3 days a week would be more adequate.

Obsessed Reader Challenge

We also have an Obsessed Reader in place for our 4th and 8th Grader. For the obsessed reader challenge they have a list of subjects to choose from such as; history, nature, just for fun, culture and to name a few. We will do a library excursion once a week and they can choose books to read for the week. Our 4th grader has a list of over 4,500 books to choose from and our 8th grader has a list of over 1,400 books to choose from. If they complete their challenge they will get $100.

4th grader – 136 book challenge

8th grader – 72 book challenge

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

We also started some new seeds for our fall garden this week and we are looking forward to learning about how plants grow with our Kindergarten and 1st grader and have them draw pictures of the plants growth process for science class. Plus our watermelon is huge! I think it is over 20 pounds now.

We also went over what books the students will be using and how many pages, lessons or stories they will have each week which gives them an idea on what to expect. They also have activities they can do throughout the week to decompress and have a 10-20 minute break. We have the Calming Corner to help with feelings and moods, thinking putty, mosaic coloring pages, and at any time they can stop to read one of their books.

The New School Year is upon us! 2021-2022

As we say goodbye to our last few days of summer we know that our new journey will begin. We have made changes to some of the curriculum for our students and we are setting new goals for others.

First, we decided on a new schedule for the school year that is different from traditional schools. We are beginning on August 23rd and doing 6 weeks on, one week off. This will allow the students to have a decompression week instead of doing 3 or 4 day weekends throughout the year. We do have 3 holidays we included withing the year as well. The last day of school being June 17th. Here is the schedule for 3 Trimesters.

1st Trimester: August 23rd-November 26th (Break October 4th – October 8th, Thanksgiving Holiday: November 22nd – 26th off)

2nd Trimester: November 29th – March 11th (Christmas/Winter Break December 20th – December 31st, Week Break February 14th – February 18th)

3rd Trimester: March 14th – June 17th (Spring Break April 4th – April 8th, Week Break May 23rd – May 27th)

We continue to work for the students to keep them focused, motivated, and creative. The only way we can do this is to utilize students opinions and thoughts throughout the school year to create a space in which they thrive.

Our focus for the new year:

Kindergarten with work on reading, writing, letter teams, and math. There will also be a morning circle for our Kindergarten, 1st and 4th grader with crafts each week.

1st Grader will be doing a new curriculum from Oak Meadow and we hope this helps her move forward in her journey in education. We will be doing more hands on and real world scenarios to help her understand what she is learning. Making a calendar, understanding the moon phases, the seasons and how they compare to each other are some of the concepts we will do together. We decided to hold her back because she was not grasping English (basic sentences, word recognition, reading comprehension), science, and history but we are very hopeful for this new program and we are not worried about her being held back because she was in a combo class last year and had to learn everything from Kindergarten over because the public school she attended passed her when she had failed.

4th Grader will be doing more with writing, math concepts, and hands on crafts with the younger students. We decided to skip 3rd grade since we did a combo course last year and she understood the concepts she was given. We are also doing a new science course with Elemental Science. We decided on this because we wanted her to pick her own science and be able to enjoy what she is learning. She chose Botany and Earth Science.

8th Grader will be focusing on book reports and more writing to help structure her English for high school when she begins doing essays. Math will be Algebra 1 but we will not push it because she may take it for 9th grade so we may just review decimals, fractions, and pre-algebra again. There is also physical science for this year that is completely different from the ch

Reading list for 4th and 8th Graders

  • Aleutian Sparrow By: Karen Hesse
  • Catherine, Called Birdy By: Karen Cushman
  • Counting on Grace By: Elizabeth Winthrop
  • Esperanza Rising By: Pam Munoz Ryan
  • A Wrinkle in Time By: Madeleine L’Engle
  • Baseball in April By: Gary Soto
  • Echo By: Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Criss Cross By: Lynne Rae Perkins
  • Out of the Dust By: Karen Hesse
  • The Giver By: Lois Lowry
  • Moon Over Manifest By: Clare Vanderpool

We just have to see when the books are available at our local library so we can check 3 out at a time.

We will also be utilizing Khan Academy for our students so they can get help with Math and English. We will have them go on once or twice a week to do activities and even some computer programming.

8th Grade: What are we using?

Our oldest is going into 8th grade and she is excited about challenging herself this year. She made a lot of progress in English, grammar, and spelling last year and she wants to push herself more this year. She decided she wants to do 8th grade English and grammar to get better at reading and writing.

We make photocopies of books to write or have a separate notebook for writing the answers so we can use them for our other students. So what did we decide to utilize for our 8th Grade Kit?

English

Math _ Undecided

  • Math-U-See Algebra
  • Horizons Pre-Algebra
  • Saxon Algebra 1/2
  • Saxon Algebra 1

Science

Social Studies/History/Geography

Art

STEM/Thinking Skills

4th Grade: What are we using?

We decided to challenge our 3rd grader and move her to 4th grade. She excels in English and Math. We figured she could do 5th and 6th grade Math. We still have arts and craft activities suitable for her age but other subjects we did the next grade or 2 up.

We make photocopies of books to write or have a separate notebook for writing the answers so we can use them for our other students. So what did we decide to utilize in the 4th Grade Kit?

English

Math

Science

  • Sassafras Science Botany & Earth Science
    • Workbook, Textbook & Lab Kit

Social Studies/History/Geography

Art

STEM/Thinking Skills

  • Gravitrax Set
  • Critical and Creative – Grade 4
  • Chasing Fireflies
  • Gridblocks
  • Color Catch