Our last day with The Bee Tree

For our last day with this wonderful book, we did 2 special things at our house today!

First of all, we made beeswax candles! I have been looking forward to this for a LONG time! It turned out so neat and I’m so glad we were able to do this craft together!

Secondly, we had a treasure hunt that Aunt Valerie worked on for us. She wrote out clues and hid them around our house. The kids had a fun time of figuring out where to look for the next clue! Each time the kids found a new clue, we all shouted, “EUREKA!” (this is a vocabulary word from this book!) At the end of the hunt, the kids each found a treasure bag with their name on it — CANDY! This was a lot of fun! And such a wonderful way to complete our week with this book!

~ Finding and reading clues! ~

~ The kids and their treasures! Eureka! ~

Bee Tree Fun

More on The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco today! First of all, if you are rowing this book anytime soon, you really SHOULD read another book by her…In Enzo’s Splendid Gardens. TOO CUTE!!

Today, we started off our day by reading a few more books about bumblebees. Then, I got out the pattern blocks and asked if they knew what shape I was holding up – a hexagon! I asked them why I was using a hexagon for today…and they knew immediately that the bees formed hexagons with the wax! So, all 3 kids found all the hexagons from our box of pattern blocks. Then we counted them all together. And, then we did a printed sheet from homeschool share – how many sides does a hexagon have? 6 and Draw a hexagon by yourself – they did well! Then I had them practice drawing a few more hexagons on the back of the sheet. Hannah decided to draw her own hive with them!

I also got out the Crispix cereal I had bought for this lesson. I told them to look at it and see how many sides it had – they seemed so shocked that there was a cereal in the shape of a hexagon! LOL! So, we ate those while we continued drawing hexagons.

Then, Aunt Val called and asked if we could include Will in our fun today…I think she and Will had a rough morning, hee hee hee. I can’t imagine that feeling?!?! HA HA! So, Will came over and we started coloring our bee hives. They all colored fabulously…and then we painted yellow fingerprint bumblbees onto our hives. Then little black wings and stingers.

While waiting for them to dry, I played several versions of the Flight of the Bumblbee and had the kids do the bumblebee dance. This was too cute! I told them to BUZZZZZ while they danced and hold out their little stingers behind them. Of course I had to get a picture of their stingers.

All in all, a fun day while learning more about bees!

Our first day with The Bee Tree

Can I just say how much I LOVE Five-in-a-Row curriculum! I am SO thankful that God allowed me to find this awesome, literature based, gentle, full-of-fun curriculum while my kids are young! What a blessing!

Here are some pictures of our first day with the Bee Tree! First of all we read the book, by Patricia Polacco. The book looked a little longer and I was a bit worried, but the girls enjoyed the book – and so did I! I had never read this story before!

~ Here is our table as it was set up this morning. ~

Today we learned that our story took place in Michigan, so we read a little about this state, pointed out the 5 great lakes and colored a map of Michigan. We also placed our story disk for The Bee Tree on Michigan.

Then we colored a picture of a honeybee. We also started new vocabulary words for the first time. I printed off the pictures from HSS that correlate with the vocabulary words in the FIAR manual and pasted them on index cards. I wrote the definitions on the back and the word and picture on the front. I had them laminated as well. Today, we went over each word and then I gave each girl a few words to be listening for in the story. They did a good job with this! And we have also used these words in our conversations a few times later on in the day! The girls already seem to have learned a few of them…so that is encouraging!

We also had our Tea-and-Craft time today! To go along with the Bee Tree theme, we had biscuits with honey and butter! I also made some iced tea to drink for us. The girls asked to invite Nana, so we had a guest today! I will post pictures of our tea time in a separate post!

Valerie and I had also found some of those little GROW capsules in the Target Dollar bins, and one of them had insects in it! So, I decided to let the kids do these today. Well, be forewarned, they don’t just turn into insects FAST or anything…it took awhile, a long while! The kids actually got pretty impatient and just left them on the table in the water. But when they came back they had quite a surprise! We had all kinds of colorful insects to play with!

Hunting for Salamdanders

On Friday a few of us went up to Sugarlands visitor center in the Smokies for our final salamander event with this book. What a fun week we had!

It is so beautiful up in the mountains…I’m so thankful we live close enough to enjoy days like these. I should take advantage of our location more often!

Daddy was the first to catch a salamander! Yipee! We brought along our big ziplock bags and put a little bit of water in, just like the park rangers taught us to do. We each took a few looks at the slimy things and then released them to their homes. The kids had a lot of fun! (Well most of them, not mentioning any names, lol!)

David Christopher and Atalie were also good salamander catchers! Both of them just got right in the creek and picked those things up! More brave than me! Uncle Peter caught one also…so we had quite a successful day of salamander catching!

Then we went back across the street to the visitor center museum and looked at the animals again.

And finally, Holly knew of a wonderful spot along a creekbank with picnic tables to have lunch! The kids really enjoyed this creek! We all got our feet wet and the cold water felt so good!

Oh – and here are our finished salamanders we painted! (From the day we made them with Will out of clay!) The girls wanted spotted salamanders…LOTS of spots! And mine is in the middle with stripes.

More Salamander Fun

Here are some more pictures of our fun week with The Salamander Room! A huge THANK YOU to the Lamberts and FIAR for choosing such WONDERFUL books for us to enjoy! And another big THANKS to Homeschool Share Site where I got nearly all of my printables and “extras” for this book. These really helped give my crafty girls some extra fun this week! Not to mention all they learned from these pages!

~ A Nice House for a Salamander ~

inside this book we listed all the things that Brian put in his room for the salamander.

~ We learned that TN is the salamander capital of the world! ~

~ We hung our story disk for The Salamander Room on TN and found it on the map. ~

~ We learned about the different stages that a salamander grows in with this little flap book. ~

~ Here are the pages open. ~

~ A tab book about vertebrates – with pictures of the different types of animals that have backbones. ~

~ The first page of the tab book. ~

Today we made salamanders out of clay with Aunt Valerie and Will. We gave them each a ball of clay and sorta talked them through it…rolling it out to make the body, giving him 4 legs, giving him a long tail, beady eyes…they loved doing this! They are baking to get hard and then tomorrow we will paint them!

Then we can add our homemade salamanders to our own salamander ROOMS we made! We went outside and hunted for leaves, rocks, branches, flowers, anything to put in the boxes we had to make our own salamander rooms. We talked about the things that Brian put in his room for his salamander and tried to find some of those same things. We also added some plastic insects that I found at the thrift store! Tomorrow we will add our painted salamanders!

~ Finding leaves for our salamander rooms ~

~ The girls and our salamander room ~

Salamander Coloring page

Also, If you log into www.learningpage.com and click on “reptiles and amphibians” you will find a fact sheet to read and color about the spotted salamander. There are lots of other amphibian pages on this site as well!

I have checked out several of Jim Arnosky’s books for this week. I just recently have learned about his books and just LOVE them! If you look under him for the author, there should be a lot of excellent books that come up. We read Crinkleroot’s Guide to Walking in Wild Places and this was a PERFECT follow-up to our nature hike at Panther Creek! We also read Crinkleroot’s Guide to Butterflies and Moths this week, as well as All About Frogs and several others.

Nature scavenger hunt

One of the lessons in the FIAR manual for the Salamander Room is to go on a scavenger hunt to find different things in nature. I had this planned for next week at some point, but late this afternoon David and I decided it might be fun to do this as a family! So off we went to Panther Creek State Park! I had typed up a list of items we were going to search for and let the girls check off the items as we found them. I also took pictures of most of the things we found.

The most exciting things we saw were a deer family and several beaver dams! The deer family was just far enough away that we couldn’t get good pictures, but we believe it might have been a mommy and daddy (or 2 females even possibly) but the exciting thing is that there were 2 babies with them!! We walked along the path as quietly as possible trying to get better glimpses of them! This was very exciting for all of us! Thank you, God, for little surprise blessings like seeing deer in the woods!

The creek ran along most of our walk and we noticed several dams built up that we showed the girls, there is a picture of us crossing one of them.

We also saw several butterflies, lots of leaves, moss, rocks, several spider webs, wild flowers, as well as other insects. Towards the end of our walk we found a dead cicada on the path, so we scooped it up and came home and looked at it under a magnifying glass. Cool! We saw several things that we wanted to find out as well…I’m learning new things as well! I love it!

Our bird watching center

I’ve been talking about it and finally got it done! We have an official “bird watching” window now! I color copied 6 of the birds we see most often at our bird feeders and made a chart out of them. The girls are going to mark the chart each time they see one of the birds. I think this will help them be able to identify the birds we see, learn their names and see which birds come the most often, least often to our home. After we have learned these 6 I may put some others up.

We also have a basket with our nature journals, a bird guide and colored pencils sitting by the window where the bird feeders are. This basket has been there for about a week and the girls are enjoying drawing birds more and more! The first few times we drew in our nature journals (months ago) they would say “I can’t do it, I can’t draw that…” and now they are EAGER and ASK to draw things in their nature journals all the time, without any prodding from me! I love it!

Here are a few pictures of our bird watching window, as well as a few drawings that Hannah has done this week!

The handiwork of God

…at its BEST! (and nature journaling at its best too!) We live just down the street from my BIL and SIL and their 3 boys…and a new little family has just recently moved in to a flower bush in their yard! A family of birds! The mommy bird gave her birth announcement just days ago and her babies are GORGEOUS! After seeing God’s creation up close and personal like this, I am just more in awe of the job He gave me as a MOTHER. This momma bird is just as protective and “hovering” as I am! And it has been so sweet to watch! The babies are so tiny and precious…with their little mouths just open and waiting and TRUSTING that their mama is coming back with food for them!

Now, my BIL Peter got some much better shots than I did, so please check out Val’s blog, link to the left. But, since I took my kiddos down there to “observe” for awhile, I had to share our pictures here…as well as the one that Hannah drew. I just love her little drawings, and this one is no different! I think I’ll cherish them always.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

Look closely and here is the nest…see how long it is?

Do you see the tiny little heads and eyes? Amazing!

Look at that mouth open and ready!

Hannah’s nature journal

Big Green Pocketbook

Today we finished up our weeks of GREEN and our fun activities with the book, The Big Green Pocketbook! What a fun time we have had! Today to finish up our week we went on an adventure. First, this morning when the girls woke up, they found green pocketbooks made out of felt waiting for them at the table. There were holes punched so they could “sew” their pocketbooks together by themselves. The girls love doing this!

Next, we got in the van for our adventure…the kids didn’t know where we were going, but they are always up for some fun! We first went to downtown Knoxville, where daddy works. We went up to his office – which is in a bank! So, we pointed out the bank tellers and such, and reminded them of the bank we saw in our story. When we got to daddy’s office, daddy took all of us around to see all the different people he works with. We even got some candy from some of them! (Mommy needs to remember to go visit daddy more often at work, because it’s a real boost for her! Everyone keeps oohing and aahing over our beautiful children!!)

After we get done touring daddy’s office, we go outside and down the street just a bit and find the trolley stop! We tell the girls we’re going to ride the trolley bus just like the little girl and her mommy did from our story! They really got a kick out of this! And the busdriver lady was so friendly with us, it was fun! The trolley’s are free and they just go in big circles every 15-20 minutes, so we rode around in the big loop and then got back off again. We got off in front of Chick-Fil-A and ate lunch together with daddy.

Next, we walk daddy back to his office, then we keep walking and go down to the general store down the street. This store is SO neat! They have big barrels of old-fashioned candy, so I let the kids pick out 1 treat each. Of course this was great fun! Then, we headed home from our adventure for naptime. What a fun day we had! The only bummer, and mommy was VERY disappointed, I left my camera sitting on the countertop! I took it outside to take pictures of the girls and their pocketbooks, then took it back in and left it! So, here is a picture of the kids from their adventure, and our green pocketbook school items…but no pictures from the bus ride…oh well, maybe next time. Daddy thought we should come do this more often, the kids loved it and it was free! Can’t beat that!

Snow crafts

Sierra Exif JPEG

Well, pretend snow that is! Here are some pictures from more snow crafts we have done. We have used q-tips to paint snowflakes in the sky, we have used shaving cream to play “in the snow,” we have used big sized marshmellows to paint with too! Those turned out to be my favorite, I think! The 2 snowman pictures you see below are Hannah’s artwork! She did them all by herself, I’m so glad my girls love crafts! We’re having a lot of fun learning all about snow this month!

**For more ideas & a full WINTER UNIT STUDY click here!

Q-tips and marshmallows make GREAT snow! 

Find tons of ideas for a WINTER UNIT STUDY here