Sunday, March 31, 2013

Building a community

It's one of the things that concerned me most about home schooling from the beginning...making sure that he grows up into a community of people that know and love him.  I think now that I was wrong to make this an issue about home schooling.  I think it's an issue for kids in general.  Unless you belong (and are very active) in a church, it's hard to find a group of people to call your own.  There are definitely home school communities and we have a great group that we see almost every week now, but I really felt like we needed a little more.

Enter the community garden.  It's new in our little town and we're VERY excited to see it come together!  We went to a work day yesterday to help finish the building, mulching, and digging that needed to be done before the grand opening next week.  It's a fabulous, energetic, loving group of people and we had a wonderful time!

Chipmunk spent nearly two and a half hours filling wheelbarrows with dirt.  With a Chipmunk-sized trowel :)


 He really worked over there by himself for a long time - people kept coming up to offer help and he would tell them "No, thank you. It's MY job!"

I'm so excited that we're getting to be a part of this.  He's going to be able to learn about where his food comes from, gardening, friendship, helping people, and so much more!

Happy, dirty, and exhausted.  Just the way we like him!!  (Thanks so much for the photos, Gretchen!)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plants and Flowers

Granddad bought this wonderful book not too long ago and we've been reading it just about every day...several times a day...for weeks!  :)

Today was a science day, so we followed up with our bean sprout and spent some time looking at it in detail and identifying all the different parts.  It had come far enough along that we could see the leaves coming out of the bean and the roots were developing really well.  (please excuse the nasty rag - it's one we use for painting)


To see how water travels through a flower, we did the classic food color and daisies experiment.  It's still so much fun!

Fresh white daisies!


I filled them ALL UP with water!


All of the color added in...they're so pretty :)


10 minutes's turning blue already!  We could see the blue and the green pretty quickly and in about an hour we could see the yellow and red starting to come into the petals.  I can't wait to see what they look like in the morning!


More tomorrow!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shapes and Puzzles

A wonderful friend gave us a bag full of puzzles and games and we're really enjoying them!  These shape puzzles require that The Chipmunk find (and name) the shape he needs and match the colors to the card.  After that, he uses them together to make a picture.

He gets so excited that he just can't sit down.


Matching shapes and colors


Naming everything


And putting it all together!


He's known his shapes and colors for a while, but this is great reinforcement.  He's having to makes choices about size, shape, and color and figure out how they all go together to finish.  The puzzles get progressively harder and we're looking forward to doing more!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beautiful weather and good friends!

Sometimes you just have to forget about everything else and go outside.  I don't think we've come in except to sleep for the past three days!

Just enjoying the sunshine :)



A little time at the park...


A ride (or three) around the block....


Flowers for Mama!!


A trip to the creek....




Friday, March 15, 2013

A little Montessori

We've been working on phonics a lot lately and really enjoying these printables.  I can't find the link right now, but I'll post it when I do!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Building a beaver dam

Little Man is really enjoying his book about beavers this week, so we went out after the rain and built a beaver dam!  He gathered sticks and rocks and made a (tiny) functioning dam.  We spent some time talking about why beavers build dams (to create ponds where they can build lodges to live) and the benefits of dams to the local environments.  We watched to see that the water on the other side was cleaner - the dam acted as a filter and sent cleaner water 'downstream'.  We had a lot of fun stopping the water and watching it move faster when we let it go and then finding ways to measure how fast the water was moving (we ran along side it).

Photos by Granddad!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


The Chipmunk LOVES to read - we spend close to two hours every day curled up with books.  I love the choices he makes and the variety is hard to keep up with some weeks!  These are the books that he's interested in right now - we read each of them at least a couple of times every day and follow up with activities that reinforce what he's reading.  On the list this week....writing a letter to a friend and mailing it, building a weather station in the yard, starting more seeds, and building a beaver dam!


Monday, March 11, 2013

We love the Nature Center

It's a guaranteed afternoon of fun and learning and the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Mama!  It's an owl!!


What's down there?



Sink or Float is one of our favorite games right now (mostly because he gets to throw things in the water)


On the boardwalk, looking for signs of beaver activity.


I'm pretty sure those pants weren't this short on him yesterday!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

We're dreaming of Spring

even as we work on our numbers!  These printables are from



We found the perfect way to start our tomatoes this year!  It's keeping them nice and warm and happy and preventing the cats from eating them as they sprout :)  Little Man just cannot wait for them to "turn into plants and have tomatoes and then we can EAT THEM!"


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Big Experiment

We've said before that we love our bird feeders and watching the birds. The Chipmunk gets very excited when a new bird shows up and he knows all of their names now. His bird book that we made has seen plenty of use!

We've been expanding on our bird watching and talking about how different birds sometimes like different things to eat. So, we made a chart to put on the easel next to the big window :)


Across the top, we put pictures of all of the things that the Chipmunk wanted to try to feed the birds.  We started with bird seed of course, and then moved on to try apples, peanuts, and blueberries.  Since he's two and not reading yet, we used pictures that he could glue or tape up in the right column.

Yes, the squirrel is playing a banjo.  Want to guess who chose the pictures from Google images?  :)


Next up.....mealworms!

Big Snow

OK, so we're in the South. There IS no big snow here most years, but we did get a little dusting the other night. We had a great time (in the hour before it melted)tromping around and playing in the ice.

This is what? Snow?


THIS is snow?  Are you sure?


Is there more of it over there?



A Trip to the Mandir

We took a field trip with our local home schoolers to the Hindu Temple in our area last week.  What an experience!

 From their literature: "A Mandir is a Hindu place of worship - a haven for spirituality and a place for paramount peace. It is also a center vibrant with social, cultural and spiritual activities. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir was inaugurated on August 26, 2007 after only 17 months of construction utilizing 1.3 million volunteer hours. The Mandir is comprised of 3 types of stone (Turkish Limra limestone, Italian Carrara marble and Indian pink sandstone). More than 34,000 individual pieces were carved by hand, shipped to the USA and assembled in Lilburn like a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle."

The scope of the temple is really difficult to describe - it's a little unbelievable that it exists in the outskirts of Atlanta. The carvings seem to cover every inch of the building and the whole place is as peaceful as it is



The Chipmunk really enjoyed the reflecting pool, of course.  I even managed to keep him out of it.


Here he is outside after our tour


There is no photography allowed inside the temple and I'm not sure I can describe it justly.  It's white marble, lit by bluish LED lights sunk into drilled out holes.  Every surface is carved with religious iconography and the shrines are sunk back into the walls at intervals.  The shrines open and close throughout the day, but the temple itself is open to visitors from 9-6 every day.  We'll definitely be going back soon!