Kindergarten Corner – Butterfly and Frog

With May flying by and June not far behind we started moving at an accelerated pace with our remaining units. This was a pretty easy transition for the girls, who are very used to the regular activities that come with each unit (sound discrimination, handwriting, blend ladders, cut and paste pages, etc). The girls were troopers though.

Unit 21 – Butterfly

So, we did not purchase the recommended butterfly kit way back when it was suggested. I’m cheap, what can I say? On Day 2 the activity was to make a home for a caterpillar. We had a nice sized jar that we filled with dirt, a rock, a few good sticks, and a yummy leaf. The next step was to find a caterpillar. Since moving in we’ve found quite a few so I thought it would be easy. It took a little while but we found one. Abigail named it “Greeny” and Sarah nick-named it “Priscilla”.

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I kept replacing old leaves with new ones. It was fun to see Greeny eat. I knew she was getting plenty of nourishment because, well, she disposed of it as well. It got to the point where I was wondering when she was going to do her thing and make her chrysalis. Then it got to the point when I was wondering if she had gone and died. Then this happened:

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After much google searching (don’t eat lunch when you google search things like “caterpillar parasite”). The girls thought Greeny gave birth. I’m pretty sure a wasp or something laid an egg inside of her. As of today Greeny is no longer with us. And what was in this “egg” stopped wiggling. But, in the name of science, I decided to let it be and see if anything ended up hatching from it. As of today the egg did hatch and out flew an insect.

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On Day 4 when we talked about the butterfly life cycle we displayed it using a cute craft I found on Pinterest.

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Sarah’s

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Abigail’s

We also went on a field trip to The Butterfly Place in Westford. I’ll write up a separate post for that in the coming days.

Unit 22 – Frog

We talked about frogs last year during preschool so it was a good amount of review for us. On Day 2 the activity is to make a book of frog facts. I thought it would be fun to use these instructions on how to draw a frog. This quickly led to mini meltdowns. After that we traced the frog badge instead. On Day 4 we were to discuss the life cycle of a frog. We used this printable, cut out the stages, and pasted them to a page of our book. Finally, when it came to our book activity on Day 6 we read Frog and Toad Are Friends. We discussed the difference between frogs and toads. I found this site particularly helpful.

Kindergarten Corner – Rock and Jewel

Rocks and jewels went together well, so I’ll cover them in one post. Unit 19 covered the letter R and rocks while Unit 20 covered the letter J and jewels. We covered these units while in the midst of packing, moving, and unpacking – so they were spread over more days than I’d like to admit!

Unit 19 – Rock

We followed the plan per the manual pretty closely. Because rocks are made up of minerals we did decide to grow crystals. We found instructions for making overnight crystals using epsom salt and water. I think ours would have turned out better if I hadn’t placed our glasses in the very back of our refrigerator as things tend to get too cold and freeze a bit. It was still fun though.

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We were also scheduled to make our own volcano using clay on Day 4. We didn’t have any clay. What we did have was a ton of mixed up and old Play-Doh. This was the perfect way to use it for a last hurrah and then toss it. Sarah put two and two together once we had our eruption when she said, “But Mom, now the Play-Doh is ruined!” I reassured her that we had others she’d be able to play with later.

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Unit 20 – Jewel

We stuck to this plan as well. Though, when it came time to makeĀ  our own jewels I opted out of the dough ones and instead we made paper beads. Basically I cut strips of construction paper, wrapped them around a wooden skewer, and applied glue. We then covered them in glitter for a little extra sparkle.

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It amazes me (and I know it shouldn’t) just how much my girls absorb during lessons even though they don’t appear to be soaking everything in. Our Biblical concept for this unit was “Jesus is more valuable than anything else.” Sarah was having a particularly rough time on the day our Bible lesson covered Philippians 3:8 (What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” and Matthew 16:26 (“What good is it if someone gains the whole world but loses his soul?…”).

Sarah wasn’t even in the room, but concluded that she was throwing her life away because Jesus wasn’t in her life. I couldn’t believe my ears. This came out of the mouth of my four year old. So be encouraged homeschoolers out there-they listen even when it doesn’t seem they are.

Kindergarten Corner-Catching Up!

Needless to say it has been quite some time since I’ve posted about our Kindergarten adventures. I thought I’d do a quick catching up post summing up any particularly fun or additional things we did for each of the following units:

Unit 14 – Horse
We pretty much stuck to the program for this unit. One thing I was looking forward to though was our biblical concept: I obey right away (hard to see why, right?). Here is a small peek into a few activities:

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Unit 15 – Elephant
Our only deviation from the curriculum for this unit was on Day 4. Instead of making elephant masks, we made art work with the girls’ hand prints. Then we added our biblical concept: I will remember what God has done for me.

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Abigail’s

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Sarah’s

Unit 16 – Penguin
I enjoyed this unit. I loved telling the girls all about Emperor Penguins and how they care for their young. Plus we read nice stories to go along with the biblical concept: I show love to everyone, especially my family. The girls had fun pretending to be penguins waddling with hardboiled eggs on top of their large feet (Daddy’s slippers).

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I also couldn’t resist making these chocolate covered bananas resembling penguins.

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We also did two crafts involving construction paper. Both were Pinterest finds.

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Unit 17 – Kangaroo
I love how even in Kindergarten I can learn new things. I know about marsupials-how these animals carry their young in a protective pouch. But did you know that a little joey is born at the size of a jelly bean, then makes its way up to his mother’s pouch before settling in for much more growth and development? Oh, you did? Never mind. Seriously, though, God made some pretty awesome animals. Oh, and some kangaroos can travel 25 FEET in one single hop. And, they can’t really “walk”. Their feet can’t move separately.

I replaced the suggested pencil holder craft with a very fun aboriginal style dot art. I found this to be so relaxing. So much so that I didn’t blink an eye when Lily proceeded to paint herself. I printed the kangaroo, traced it on card stock, and painted it brown. That way it was dry ahead of time and the girls could just do the dots. I’ll be honest here, I found it relaxing, but Sarah got frustrated when hers didn’t turn out just the way she wanted hers to. So she opted out of this activity. I’m trying to help her enjoy this sort of thing more instead of being a perfectionist.

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Unit 18 – Zebra
We really didn’t deviate in this unit. But the girls’ cousin and Lily joined us in making Zebra masks.

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100th Day of School!

We made it to 100 days! It took us a bit longer than most-due mainly to sickness and having Levi. We broke away from our elephant unit (which I’ll post about later) to have fun with the number 100.

We started out by taking pictures similar to our first day of school pictures. We did nice smiles and silly faces.

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Next we prepared our snack-colorful fruit ring cereal necklaces-serving size: 100 rings. I had the girls make piles of 10 so we could count by 10’s to 100.

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We had fun with q-tip painting, filling diamonds with 10 dots each, to add to 100. I found a similar idea on Pinterest, I just made my own sheet. The girls got a little carried away on some of their diamonds by making 11 or 12 dots, but it was fun anyway.

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While searching Pinterest for other 100th Day ideas I found a website offering a free gumball machine printable. We worked together to fill it up with 100 gumballs using do-a-dot markers.

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We finished our day putting together a 100-piece puzzle, being sure to count them first using our 100-chart. We had trouble putting the pieces on neatly, so it seemed we were missing a few, but this former-auditor mommy new better (I had counted them the night before). Lily woke up from her nap at this point, so she helped out too.

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We’re looking forward to continuing on in our studies. Hopefully as the weather begins to warm we’ll even get to fit in a field trip here and there. I am very proud of all the progress the girls have made. When I look back on their accomplishments it makes this whole homeschooling thing seem doable. I’m pretty sure we’ll continue on into first grade with how things have gone this year!

Kindergarten Corner – Cow Unit

This unit marked the halfway point in our curriculum. We talked about the letter C, cows, and how God’s word helps us grow.

The highlight of our unit was making our own butter. We had school at my Mom’s so she and my niece Bridget could join in on the fun. Plus, we had a butter churn on hand (one my grandmother had for decoration) so we could talk about how butter was made a while ago. All you need is a few containers that close tightly, heavy cream, and salt at the end (optional).

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We all took turns shaking our containers. At first we wondered if it would work out. The more we shook, the less room in the container there seemed to be for the cream to move around. The cream turned into a whipped cream consistency. Then, it got pretty thick before, almost suddenly, you could hear a solid mass sloshing around in liquid. At this point you get a solid-type butter that looks mealy. We separated the buttermilk out and kept shaking to remove all the liquid. Then we were each left with creamy butter and a decent amount of buttermilk.

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Nonna being the awesome grandma she is, decided to use the buttermilk to make biscuits-the perfect medium for trying our butter.

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We pretty much followed the rest of the curriculum as it was laid out.

Kindergarten Corner – Goat Unit

Our 12th unit covered the letter G, goats, and other farm animals.

Day 4 suggested sampling cow’s milk and goats milk. As much as I encourage the girls to try new things, I was just not ready for goat’s milk. Instead we did a cut out mountain goat and learned about them. One of the many great things about homeschooling is that I get to learn things along with the girls. For example, I had no idea that mountain goats only lived in North America, specifically the northwestern part.

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We pretty much followed the curriculum for each other day. I found these matching puzzle sheets so Sarah could match baby farm animals with their parents.

For our classical music activity we listened to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and made art with finger paints. I hung their work in our very own art gallery. Sarah wanted me to throw hers away because she didn’t like how it turned out. I tried explaining that there isn’t really a wrong way to do art. I think her piece has grown on her.

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Stay tuned for the fun we had during our cow unit!

Kindergarten Corner – Insect Unit

We got back into the swing of things school-wise with our 11th unit which covered the letter I and insects. Wwe started the week off learning about what makes an insect an insect (six legs, two antennae, three body parts). Then we focused on a different insect each day. We talked about ants on day two and what hard workers they are. On day three we talked about ladybugs and the girls painted ladybugs on rocks.

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I really enjoyed day four when we learned all about bees. The girls made their own hives with paper hexagons and filled each cell with either eggs (grain of rice), larvae (balled up cotton), or honey (brown paper). The girls also got to eat honey and learned how God’s laws are sweeter than honey.

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Abigail’s

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Sarah’s

Once again, on day six we listened to classical music and danced around as if we were bees. There were plenty of smiles and giggles. We listened to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight Of The Bumblebee.