Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week in review: Gardening (weeks 28-29)

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Gone are the days of cool Spring weather, summer heat has taken its place.  Still we have managed to use the early morning hours to explore and have fun outdoors.  The boys explored the subject of gardening (as part of their  homeschooling) the past two weeks. 

Note: For those who do not know my sons are nicknamed Godzilla boy, age 11 and Turtle, age 5. My oldest son has some learning disabilities. Most of the boys’ subjects are done together.

My youngest son Turtle has been enjoying school time so much that each morning he can’t wait to sit down and begin our homeschool day.  He loves working alongside his older brother Godzilla boy and I feel so blessed that they love schooling and playing together.  We have been doing our schooling in the afternoons so that we can spend our mornings outdoors before the heat sets in.     

Language Arts
We had several discussions and questions about the stories that were read together on Gardening.  I was able to integrate the garden vocabulary words and growth of a plant sequencing cards from the Garden preschool pack created by Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations in our lessons throughout the week.  My youngest son, age 5 was able to learn the words by using them in a matching game. As he was able to find a cards matching pair, I asked him what the word said on the card.  This activity helped him learn the words through play. Many thanks to Jolanthe for her Garden Printables!          

Phonics and Penmanship
We are continuing to use our Explode the Code books. This curriculum works great for the boys in phonics but we have had to go back to using Handwriting without Tears with my oldest son who needs more work on handwriting.  Fortunately, we have the whole set of books for HWT that I got at for free with our Paperback swap points. For those who do not know, Paperback swap is a great way of recycling your books for others that can be used for reading and homeschooling.        

We have been continuing to use Rod and Staff arithmetic with the boys.  Turtle just finished his Horizons Preschool Book 2 and wanted to begin a new Math book.  Rather then begin with Horizons K (which is what we did with my oldest son when he started Kindergarten), we are using Rod and Staff.  We will be continuing math throughout the summer.  

Science and Nature Study
We discussed how the rain, sun and dirt help plants and flowers grow. We talked about  fertilization and what it does for plants. 

Petunias and SalviaDuring our Nature Walks, the boys identified some our flowers and plants. Last year the boys learned about some of the parts of a flower.  We used a some printouts from Sparklebox on parts of a plant and parts of a flower for the boys to label.

Sweet basilAs a treat, last week we went to the Farmer’s market to see the produce that is grown in our area.  It was indeed a wonderful Saturday morning to visit so we went early before the afternoon heat. 

There were plenty of vendors selling vegetables, fruit, and potted herbs. We were glad to see a fairly large amount of herbs from basil parsley. basil, spearmint and thyme.  While there, we picked up some herbs that were in pots that we could continue growing at home in our patio.  We picked lemon thyme and sweet basil (pictured left) to take home. The boys we were able to speak with the growers and ask them advice on growing our herbs at home. I thought it was nice of them to take the time answer the our questions. 

Patio Hanging BasketsWe have been planting flowers and plants in hanging baskets for our patio area.  The boys have two Pothos Ivy hanging baskets and three hanging baskets of Petunias (the shade variety). They have been watering and tending to them every other day.  With the extreme heat we have been having in the triple digits, the boys and I have been careful to check on our plants to make sure they don’t get dried out.    

Sometime ago one of the Pothos Ivies lost a branch accidently so I used the incident as a way to teach the boys about Propagating plants.  We took the leaf cutting and place it in a small vase with water a few weeks ago.  I told the boys that the stem cutting would grow roots and then we could transplant it to soil.  The boys were surprised to see roots form from the cutting. 

Leaf cutting 01  Leaf cutting 02

As part of a science lesson the boys examine the seeds from various fruits: lemon, apple and tomato.  I sliced each of them in half and they notice the seeds inside. We talked about the differences in color and size of the seeds.      

Fruit seeds  drawing seeds

My youngest son drew an illustration of a tomato and its seeds (pictured above on the right).  Examining and drawing the seeds provided the boys with a hands on learning activity and I was happy for that.       

Book-One-Bean3We read the book One Bean by Anne Rockwell that explains the life cycle of a bean sprout.  In the book, the boys learned what happens when you take one bean and soak it with a wet paper towel and then plant it in some soil.

It was the perfect book to teach the boys about the growth cycle of a bean sprout.  We used this book for our science lesson this week: growing bean sprouts from a bean.  The boys were excited about growing bean sprouts.

Soaking Lima beans  Soaking Pinto beans
This Friday, we soaked some lima beans and pinto beans and when the beans opened,  we placed them in a Ziploc bag so that the boys could observe the seeds as they sprout and grow. 

Lima Beans zip lock bag  Pinto Beans zip lock bag
The boys are using a bean plant diary to document their bean sprouts for the next 4-5 weeks.   For other information and printables on how do seeds grow, visit Kidszone.       

We have been using our Galloping the globe curriculum much this Spring and that is not to say we don’t love using it but I wanted to give the boys some foundation on the basics of geography.

Book Beginning GeographyWe we are using the book Beginning Geography from Evan Moor for grades K-2 for the boys to use over the summer in preparation for our Galloping the globe studies that we begin in the Fall for our our new school year.    

Originally,  we had planned to begin using it in the Fall after our review of the book in March of this year but  since we are schooling over the summer months I figured why not?  The book is a great introduction to geography for young children. We will be expanding the lessons by supplementing with books on oceans, continents and animals around the world.

Arts and Crafts   
Book-Zinnias-flower-garden4We read the book Zinnia’s Flower Garden by Monica Wellington.  It was a fun and interesting book to read. From the book, the boys learned that it takes patience and care to help flowers grow in addition to water and sunshine.    

The boys made out of tissue paper flowers with stems, leaves and roots to represent the parts of a flower that we learned about in the book.  

Parts of a flower craft 

Votive candleWhile learning about flowers,  we preserved some to use for a craft this week. We pick some petunias and pressed them into a book.  With Mod Podge, the boys sealed the flowers onto a glass for a votive candle.     

The flowers on the candle holder did not dry as well as we hoped, mainly because the color of the petals faded but it was a fun craft for the boys to do.   

Next week we plan on painting several of our mini pots in anticipation of our bean sprouts that should be ready to plant in a few weeks.  Overall, it was a fun week and I’m glad we were able to share the highlights of our last two weeks.
Books we Read:

Resources: Waddell Schoolyard Habitat Plant List
teaching with plants from The Garden Wizard 
KinderGARDEN ideas for gardening with children
Great Plant Escape online mystery game Kid's Valley garden
types of Plant Propagation
Gardening lap book from Homeschool Share
Sparklebox Plant resources   

We are linking this post to-
-  Homeschool Creations’ Preschool Corner and 5K too 
StArt at a Mommy’s Adventures
-  Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap up


1 comment:

Our Side of the Mountain said...

What a GREAT time studying plants and flowers! It looks like your garden is coming along! Awesome books! (We just picked up the Zinnia one, but haven't read it.)