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Nature Walk – Page 2

Nature Walk

Nature and Grammer~ Homeschooling is Awesome!

Today we had a chance to head out to the park with some friends today for a nature walk! It turned out to be a really beautiful morning and it is a perfect time for beginning of fall nature walk! The acorns and buckeyes are on the ground, the leaves are starting to get some colors, and the weather is perfect! The kids had some bags to collect a few seasonal treasures and it was fun to wander the trails of the forest! Our wandering led us right over to the playground, which was of course an amazing way to end a pretty awesome morning!


I love so much that as homeschoolers we are able to get out and just be sometimes! I cant tell you how much benefit it can be for the kids to just go out a walk in the world. It seemed like when we got home they were more interested in really thinking, playing, and going back outside (as opposed to watching tv). Later on in the day, when we finally got downstairs to do some school work, they were both interested in getting to work! Bunny and I did a new grammar presentation (the adjective) and Pup worked on some zoology puzzles with me! Pup seems to be starting to entering into a sensitive period for words! She was trying to “read” the words on the control chart. So I told her what they said and then she “read” them back to me! It was sweet and it is really cool to watch her growing and learning!
Bunny love love loves the grammar symbols, so I have been presenting them to her in a rather quick way. Today we did the adjective! We did the first presentation and she loved it! It was alot of fun and we spent some time writing some descriptive word in her notebook afterwards! I think that we are going to have to really get those grammar boxes made quickly!

So there you have it for today! We got to have a lot of fun out in nature and we also did some great work! Does learning get better then that? It is a beautiful option that we have to be able to learn however is best for us. Sometimes it seems like I forget what a great gift, and opportunity homeschooling is. It is easy to get caught up in the work, the worry, and the requirements that come with it. But when we remember that this is a gift given to us to give our children, it all seems like the greatest chance of a lifetime! So Happy Schooling Everyone!

Beauty and Education

That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life. ~Maria Montessori
Have you ever watched a child as he discovers nature at his own pace? Today I took the kids  to the park again. My nephew is staying with us for a few days and I thought he would have fun! He did, and so did the girls! They ran and played and then they sat. That’s right they sat….in a mud puddle! Before I knew what was happening, shoes were off, hands were busy, and everyone was dirty. But what did they gain from this? The felt the soil of the earth. They found clay soil and worked it into shapes. The were free to discover life in that moment of play! They saw the beauty of life in the messiness of the earth. They saw life is beautiful! That is what I think it is my job as parent/teacher is all about, to help my kids know that no matter where they go, or what they do, there is the beauty of God there. Be it messy, organized, successful, or unimpressive…beauty is there.God is there. Life is exciting and amazing and being open to it is something that is invaluable! Without being able to love life, education would be pointless. After all, education is all about learning about life!

How are your kids opening up to life and real education?

Taking Time Tuesday~ Fort Building in the Park!

Welcome to our second Taking Time Tuesday Party! Last week was awesome and I am so glad that I had so many wonderful links! It is so much fun to see everyone’s ideas! I really hope you take a second to link up here again! I cant wait to see what you too time to do this week!

Today we had a playdate with some friends at the park and I thought it would be fun to pack some stuff to make forts while we were there. The idea was a hit! There was so much brainstorming, laughing, helping, and fun going on all over! After our amazing creation was built, the kids played there all morning! They played house (I think) and since I had brought dishes, there were alot of interesting dirt/ grass creations made! What I loved the most was seeing all them happy, in their own imaginary world working together! Since we set up really close to the playground, I noticed there were alot of curious glances and a few of the other kids even wandered up to see what was happening! Nothing inspired more then a world of fun right?

When all things considered this was a really simple idea that didnt take too much thought! In fact you could do it anywhere really, so long as there is something to hold your fort up! So why dont you make a fort building kit for your next trip to the park? Here are somethings you need:
~ Sheets or tablecloths can can get dirty
~ Twine or thin rope
~ Clothes Pins
~ Safety Pins (Wish I would have had these)
~ Scissors (to cut the twine)
~ A Hammer (this would have made things ALOT easier)
~ Some little play dishes to make it all come together
See how simple? A great day of fun and learning is right in your closet! 🙂
Now its your turn! What did you do this week with your kiddos? Did you do a craft, take a trip, bake a cake, read a book? Link up and share your ideas! And spread the work! Dont forget to link back here in your post! If you want my adorable button, you can grab the code on the top left sidebar of my blog! Happy Tuesday!

Finding Fossils!

That’s right, we were out fossil hunting today with friends!!!! Near where we live is an old quarry that is “what is left of the shallow sea that covered Ohio during the Devonian period, 375million years ago”! (I took that quote directly from the hand out they have). Basically they turned it into a park where you can go and hunt for fossils that are left over from the mining. They are chunks of shale that are in piles for you to dig in to your hearts content! How wonderful is that? While we were there we found a bunch of Brachiopods (shelled animals). Some of them were still intack with both shells. We also found some bits of Bryozoans, Crinoids, and Aulopora! What that translates into is lost of shell shapes, some coral bits, and some bits with a linen pattern! It was super fun and the kids had a great time getting really dirty!

Here are the fossils we found:

After all this work in the sun, the kids were all hot. So my friend suggested some ice cream and this suggestion was met with great joy (obviously)! With cones and cups in hand, everyone had a pure summer experience!

Summer is a wonderful time and since the heat has finally gone back to normal, we are able to be out there! I really love that we were able to do something as unique as dig for fossils and I know we will be back! Especially when we start the Great Lessons! What a perfect going out! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Summer Learning!

Natural Problem Solving!

 Today we headed out to the park with some friends to spend the morning on the playground! The girls were excitied and to be honest, so was I! 😉 I love having some time with friends to sit and talk while the kids play. We got to the playground and kids ran off to play. After a while though, they found a path in the woods behind the playground that they wanted to explore. So off they went (and so did we)! What they found was huge pile of logs and branches! HM (age 5) started moving them all into a pile. He said he was making a fire! But then a huge log caught his eye! He was climbing on it and having a great time. Before we knew it, all the kids were over there with him! Looking at this log, finding walking sicks, and adding to the “fire”. While they were playing, one of them had the idea to move the log over to the “fire” So all 5 of them tried to move it, but it was too big. So Bunny stood back thinking for a bit. She took a smaller log and stuck it under the end as a lever to life it up. It worked and she was very excited! Her friend CM (age 6) quickly decided that she could lift it up after Bunny got it up in the air! Well it was still too heavy, so they thought that they could try rolling it, but was facing the wrong way. So Bunny came up with the idea to roll it on an angle till it was the other way, then roll it to the “fire”! This almost worked! After that they decided that it was too much work! 🙂 I really thought it was so amazing though to sit and watch them work ideas out together. They were so enthusiastic and so happy to try and work all this out! This is one thing that I really think Bunny will miss not going to a Montessori school. There just isn’t as many opportunities for her to work in a group to learn and I can see how that is important! I am thinking of some more ideas to try and make that happen this year, but we will see! I really think that the ability of kids to find ideas and try them out is just amazing! When left alone, they really can find some creative solutions and even try ancient tools to accomplish they want to!  I really love moments like this. Having a moment to observe the kids is like getting a glimpse into their minds and how they work! This one showed me so much in a few minutes! 🙂 Witnessing moments like this are a blessing that keeps me excited about learning more about how kids learn! 🙂 Happy Schooling!
PS: Sorry about the bad pictures. All I had was my phone and it really doesnt take good pictures. The kids kept saying, “Ms. Stephanie take a picture” and I didnt have my camera! So Sad!

Montessori Monday~ Seed Collecting and Giveaway Winners!!!!!

Well today we went out on a seed hunt! This is one of the awesome ideas from the waseca study and I really wanted to do it. We didn’t get to it last week, so I thought we would extend our plant study a week! Bunny has been really interested, so I thought we would keep going with the plant learning and get into the plant classifications and stuff like that while we are on the subject! So after a bit of work here at home, we headed to the park to see how many different kinds of seed we could find. Before we left I found a chart online about the different ways seeds are spread and we took that with us so we could compare it to what we found. We found several different grasses, but since it is spring, there really wasn’t too many types of seed that were out there to see. But it was fun to look!

Another amazing thing that happened here today was that I finally took Bunny’s training wheels off her bike! Yes, I know, it is rather late. She really was ready, but I just hadn’t taken the time. Bad mommy! 🙂 But today was the day and guess what, she only needed me to hold the bike once! She just took off and rode! No kidding! I have never seen a kid just ride! She fell once, but that was because I tried to catch her and the bike slipped from underneath her! She was more then ready! She is so proud of herself and so an I!!!!

Now she is all big!!!!
Now on to the part you all really want to know….who are my two winners of the Montessori At Home Bundle!!!!! Drum Roll please……the winners are:
Comment 91:
 Ajar who said: We would like it as a shared gift between my friend (who is still rather skeptical about homeschooling) and myself.
Comment 106:
Tanya M. who said: Thank you for the giveaway! Would really love to win!
Congratulations both of you!!!! You will both win:
The Montessori At Home! Second Edition eBook from John Bowman

The Montessori At Home! bundle of 21 printable materials from Montessori Print Shop.

A free copy of the eBook: Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori by Deb Chitwood and John Bowman

AND at $20 gift certificate to a Montessori Supplier!!!!

All I need from you is your email address.
You can contact me at hopeleader{at}gmail{dot}com
The sooner I hear from you the sooner you will get your prize! (I need to hear from you by Wednesday or I will have to pick a new winner)
Now I really wish I could give each and everyone of you a bundle, but I really cant. 🙁 I can however give you all a discount on buying this amazing book! I REALLY cannot recommend this book enough! It is an AWESOME resource for anyone who is trying to start or is using Montessori in their home! Plus its affordable, especially since John Bowman is giving it to my readers for the next week for $7.95!!!! What a deal!!! You can buy the book (or the bundle) here! I hope you will all go and check it out! Happy Schooling Everyone!!!!

Plants~ For Big Kids!!!!

*** Dont forget to enter my giveaway here! The more you enter, the better chance to win!***

Today we got right into out plant work this morning! Breakfast was a little earlier today and I really needed to make material for my presentation today (yes you hear me right, I made the material right before I presented)! Our presentation today was about flowering and non flowering plants. I was panicking because I really had no idea what was a non flowering plant (I learned alot as I research this morning)! I thought I needed to find pictures, but then I looked in the waseca masters and I realized that they were all there! I just needed to color them! Whew! I was so happy about that! So while I colored, the girls popped by and wanted to color too! So I printed off the parts of the flower cards for them to color! Pup just colored hers in, Bunny made a book with all the parts! The parts of a flower are something we have gone over a million times, so she knew what she needed. I did add Stomata though, so she learned something! 🙂 After she made her book, we wrote out the work plan for the day. Like I said before, this is working REALLY well for her. We sit down each morning for a meeting and talk through what she needs to do, then off she goes! She started with handwriting and then I gave her the plant presentation! Finally we did the stamp game and she read a book. Pup worked on a little bit of this and that. Here are some pictures!

Later this afternoon I took the kids outside and Bunny found some maple seeds she planted and grew. I was surprised to know that for the past couple of weeks, she has been planting maple seed in the garden, watching them grow, then pulling them out since we don’t want to grow trees! She knew so much about the seeds and how they have a seed coat, they start with a root and two leaves. She knew that they leaves start out looking like the big ones and when we talked about the dicot and monocot leaves, she knew exactly what I was talking about! I was SHOCKED! She knew so much and it was all self led in the backyard by herself! I guess letting her dig in the garden was a good idea! It was Montessori all the way! She she was telling me this, I was thinking about the Montessori Theory album I have been reading. The elementary child is capable of great intellectual feats and as a Montessori teacher, you need to make sure that they have BIG projects to work on. They need it, they want it, and this looked just like a perfect way to help her have a project! So I told her where we had some carrot seeds if she wanted to try and plant something for real! She thought it was a great idea and after helping read the package direction, she planted some of the carrot seeds. She was very proud of them and I hope to do some more talking about plant needs as we go! The planting let to making some seed makers for the plant we have growing! Bunny thought of the design and she made all the pictures herself! I helped her do some of the spelling after she sounded them out! She did her best work she told me! I think she is right!

While Bunny was making her garden markers, Pup wanted to do something too. I gave her a butterfly and some markers and she got to work too! What surprised me wasn’t that she liked doing this, but how long she concentrated on this! For about 30 minutes, she colored with so much focus. Each part of this butterfly, both sides, even the edges were all colored! She even outlined the butterfly shape! It was really awesome to watch her concentration !!!

So that is what we were up to today!!! 🙂 Lots of fun and I think that we are getting to a place where the learning is happening naturally! It is such a beautiful thing to witness. Bunny is really starting to think more like an elementary kid and reading my albums has helped me to change how I think and teach! This has made her feel better and this is good for everyone! Don’t forget to enter my giveaway with Montessori at Home! You can enter here. Happy Schooling!!!!!

Biome Study and Work time!

Well today we had another really great work period! Bunny worked with our stations of the cross box and did some great reading practice!I wrote words on the chalk board and she read them! She did a wonderful job! Pup and I worked with a few more sandpaper numbers and she also did some pink tower extensions!!! She really has mastered this work and it so sweet to see her working with the materials in a older way. I have noticed that she seems to have grown into the next level of development and is thinking like a pre-primary kiddo! Here are some pictures of our work time!

Water Work

Egg Transfer

Here is Pup “doing her silence”. She actually requires all of us to be silent when she picks this work! 🙂

Sandpaper numbers

Stations of the cross box. I made this last year.

Here is Pup doing the pink tower extension. I placed half the cubes on one mat at the far end of the room, and the other half on another mat on the other side. Pup then had to build the pink tower by finding the right cubes! She did it twice and loved it!

Polishing the cross.

Pup also worked with the red rods. She found out that small block could be put together to make a shorter one the same length as a longer one! This really interested her and she did it with a couple of other ones as well. I then represented the red rods (she still cant get it all laid out correctly) and showed her how to check it with the small rod. She liked this too!

Here is her red rod layout! She did really well!

Here are some of the words that Bunny read today. In addition to these, she also read some verb phrases and did what they said to! 🙂

Bunny ended her work time with the snake game! We did alot of work in the hour and half we were downstairs. I think that if we keep in a good rhythm we will really get into some longer more involved work time!
After lunch we headed out to the part to see if we could find the all the part of a biome! It was sunny and chilly, but we saw alot of different things! We saw energy, air, water, soil, plants, and animals. It was fun to see all the elements in real life! Here are the pictures of what we saw!






Bunny and Pup were excited that we found a frog! We also saw a small snake, a bunch of different birds, and a deer!

Can you see the deer? I took the picture from the car so it wasn’t really very good.
After some biome fun, we headed over to the park!!!!

It was a fun day! I think that tomorrow will good too! I hope that your week is going well too! Happy Schooling!

School Days

Today we took some time to do some work today just the three of us! It went really well for most of it! Bunny was given her first presentation in static division and she LOVED it! She told me it was her favorite! We did a problem together and then she did two on her own! I should have done it a while ago I guess! 🙂 Pup really was at loose ends for a bit. Then I pulled out the Continent puzzle and globe! She loves pulling out the pieces and matching them to the globe. So we said the continent names as she did it. She was really enjoying it. After that, I put the puzzle back by the continent boxes and I sort of directed her attention to the pictures on the boxes! She saw they were the same as the puzzle! 🙂 So she started exploring the North America box. Inside she found a dolphin and wanted to know about it. So we talked about how it swims in the warm ocean, it eats fish, and it lives in North America. She retained quite a bit of the information! I was really surprised and I think that we will be doing more of this soon! While we were doing that, Bunny was actually upstairs overcoming her frustration over some words. She wanted to read a book after her math. I suggested that we work on a few words before she read the book. I made words that had the sounds we have been working on. Some were short, some longer, but all of them contained sounds she knew or was working on this week. For some reason she had a meltdown about the first word and it took a long time to get her to relax. After she finally did, we managed to read all of the words! This reading is something we have done at other times in the past week and it has worked well. So I guess that she was just having a hard day!

Playing “eye spy” with objects!
This is something that I have started doing more with her, and I think that she is ready! She likes to play it, so I think that this is something that we will do alot!

Here we are working with the blue knobless cylinders to make an ocean for the dolphins! 😉

Here are the words for Bunny. I think that as I look at the picture, I should have done only a few at a time. Huhhhh……I will get it eventually! 😉

After that we ate some lunch and headed out to the park for a walk! It was a really wonderful day! The sun was out and the temperatures were warmer, and everything screamed “get outside”! So off we went! We walked (and ran) some trails, and climbed over a break wall to get down to the beach! It was really awesome! No one is down at this part of the beach much, so there was a lot to see and it had a much more natural look. Here are a few pictures that I took there!

I have also been searching though ideas for the next month of work. I think that the girls are just about done with the Body unit and I need a plan for a new theme. However, with all the other issues that we have going on, I think that we may need to change things up. So I was thinking a bout studying Biomes. This isn’t something we have done before and I think that the girls would like it. So I did a web search and came across this program written by a Montessori teacher. It look amazing and its free! I have to read a bit more, but I think that this is something that I want to do, either this summer or even next fall. If you want to check it out, here is a link to the website! So that is what we did today! I hope you all had a wonderful day! Happy Schooling!

Hunting for Hearts

Today was unseasonably warm here, so instead of heading down to the basement, I herded them outside! 😉 I wanted to have a nice quite peaceful walk with my girls, and we did. It was so sunny and so windy, and the girls loved it! To add an element of fun, I told Bunny that we were hunting for hearts. We looked for them as we walked. We walked on the board walk through the forest, then we headed up to the beach! There was so much for them to look at and explore! They both told me it was a really great day and that we should do it everyday!

Here are the hearts we “collected” on our walk! I think that we were able to find quite a few! 🙂 Bunny did a great job finding them and I had fun looking too!

I love these simple moments with the girls! They are just simple and peaceful! Simple is something that I have been thinking alot about lately (you can read my thoughts here). We sang silly songs while we walked and talked about the thing that they were thinking. We looked at everything and played follow the leader. We had walking sticks, and rode the “sand” escalators (sand cliffs). 🙂 It was wonderful! I hope you all had a wonderful day too!