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March 23, 2020
I’ve decided to start logging our homeschool journey, more as a journal for myself as well as to share some of the fun things we’ve been doing at Raising Abundance!
Please note: many of the links posted here are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase anything from these links, we will receive a small portion of that sale at no cost to you 🙂 Thank you so much for supporting our homeschooling journey!
Also, to keep our kids’s names confidential, they’ve been replaced with the first letter of their names 🙂 T is currently 6, E is 5, B is 3 and U is 1.
This week, we got our Perler Beads in the mail! Today was spent making Minecraft Perler Bead projects (here’s our Minecraft Pinterest board). E made a 2D Steve with a diamond helmet face and T and E each made 2D Stampy Cat faces. T is asking to make Stampy’s body tomorrow, so I’m researching Stampy skins on the Minecraft Skindex. Hopefully we’ll make a 3D Stampy figure this week, too 😊
After perler bead crafts, we all worked in the yard. The kids picked up branches and toys around their play place (this is the one we have and I’d love to get one of these!). They brought out blankets and set up a fort and had a picnic up there together.
Pre-bedtime was reading a Bad Guys book to the kids (it’s a really cute series and T has been eating them up along with the Dog Man books. Bad Guys are about typical “bad guy” animals (shark, spider, snake, etc) who want to be the good guys! So they blunder about, trying to do good, but oftentimes fulfilling their “bad guy” stereotypes) and then T took a Magic Tree House book to bed.
The kids continued their Perler Bead projects. E and B made a whole bunch of suns, rainbows, cars, etc with their nanny, Natalie and T made a Perler Bead Pokeball. I’m eyeing the Pokemon perler bead projects – I want to make all of them, myself (though, you can buy them from this Etsy seller, too)!
E did experimental artwork with a hot glue gun, watercolors, white glue and salt (here’s the Pin that inspired us). She made some beachy paintings and some abstract paintings and played with the hot glue resistant parts as well as mixed the salt with the watercolors to make sprinkling effects.
We talked about absorbency (the white glue absorbed the colors and the salts; the salts absorbed the water and the colors) as well as resistance (the hot glue repelled and did not absorb the colors). She learned about art room safety and how to handle a hot glue gun properly in order to not get burnt and how to not burn other things and people. We also set up a first aid kit of ice cubes and bandaids for just in case scenarios.
Later, T and I made 3D Steve which was really neat! He’s excited to have a little (actually quite large) Minecraft model to set next to his computer. It was quite the project, but here’s the pin that helped us through it. The boy who does the video for this also has a 3D Villager (so cool!), a 3D Creeper, and I’m sure others, too 🙂
We looked up videos of 3D printers and talked about how you can design products on the computer and then have the 3D printer print them out. We watched a video of someone creating a Minecraft house using a 3D printer, which was super neat and may work into our “building a village” unit study later!
Today we spent a lot of the day cleaning and playing outside. The kids played on the playset and did laps around the house (PE, haha). U got bundled up and played right alongside them. Thankfully no one fell into the perk-holes that are currently littering our yard.
B and I worked on his letters. He doesn’t come by them nearly as easily as T and E both did, so some extra practice has been especially rewarding for him! This lesson was prompted by his want to spell “Plants vs Zombies” in Roblox. I started us off by writing down all of the letters in alphabetical order (actually, I started by trying to ask Alexa to show us the letters, but she was stubborn and was no help).
I then asked B to find the letter P. When he looked up at me expectantly, I realized he doesn’t know what it looks like, so I asked him to sing the ABCs. Still nothing, SO! After a bit of nervous wondering as far as learning styles go (are we working with dyslexia, ADHD, etc?), I helped to sing it with him and to have him repeat the letters after me.
Thus, every time we found a letter that he needed, we’d start the process of singing the alphabet again until we found the next one. Once we found a letter, I had him also find it on the keyboard. We also played a little, “Is this the letter P? No. Is this the letter P? Noooo. Is this the letter P? Yes!” Game with the keyboard and he did such a great job of comparing my notes and the keyboard letters and simply knowing or remembering which letters were which himself.
Honestly, I’m not too nervous about this yet, but I definitely want to practice more actively with him on this!
Update: A couple weeks later with only a few days of practice, he can identify each letter on the keyboard, just by hearing the letter’s name. Success!!
Such a busy day today! We ended up clambering out of bed at 8:30 ish with Mama craving donuts. The kids wanted to take a bath in the morning, so they did that while I showered, and then off to donuts we went!
Donuts eaten, we dropped off the last of our paperwork for withdrawing from T’s school, then headed to their favorite park. They ziplined, slid, swung, played tag with probably 5 other kids, and generally played for about an hour. We left after U took a tumble off the bench and got a bloody scrape on his nose 🙁
To Dad’s office, we went to get some long sandwiches (Jimmy John’s) and then to meet our friends and some other fellow homeschoolers students at a local Wildlife Reserve! We’d never been there before and it was beautiful!
We saw multiple blue herons (our friends saw one eat a snake!), we used the telescope to look at loads of ducks, we listened to the differences between (what we assumed were) toads and frogs croaking and ribbiting in the ponds. We went bird watching and watched ducks with Mohawks dive all the way under water and pop back up somewhere else, and we decided it was too early for the sparrows to be hopping around in the underbrush where they would typically forage for their food (which led to a discussion about seasons).
Squirrels danced up and down the trees that hung over the picnic tables. One tree had a whopping 5 squirrels that would come down and eat out of (other) kids’s hands.
The trail to the barns and picnic tables was a decent length, so we all got LOTS of exercise for the day 🙂 They balanced on the beams that lined the wooden paths. We used an iPhone flashlight to look into a great big hollow in a tree and scorned the person who must have tossed a water bottle into it a while back (“SOMEONE LITTERED!!”).
All that and we ended up leaving early because T got a big sliver. He was a trooper getting it out later!
Looking back: It’s so crazy only a week or two later, we’ve been cooped up daily because of COVID-19. I’m looking forward to having another day like this in who-knows-how-long!
Poor baby is a sicky pie and no one was able to sleep last night. We stayed home and had a lazy day of cleaning. The kids played computer games and practiced their spelling and typing on Roblox.
T has an online friend and they chat back and forth to each other. He’s also been reading his Dog Man, Bad Guys and Magic Tree House books and will typically get through about one-ish each night. It’s encouraging watching him get so much practice with reading and spelling through ways that he really enjoys and is intrinsically motivated to do so!
I researched microscopes (I have this one in my cart) and subscription boxes. I’ve super tempted to get Raddish Kids (use code h8833v for $10 off a 6-month subscription!) as well as MEL Science boxes. They both look great and I bet the kids would love them. We did Kiwi Co for a while and they’re always a huge hit as well 😊
We had a solid egg diet today: I hard boiled eggs for the first time in my Instant Pot Duo Plus (also this thing is a beast and is amazing!! I’ve been making yogurt in it, too – super easy) and they were a great success! Each kid ate like 4 eggs (though B had cereal and milk due to a hatred of eggs). We’ll definitely be Instant Potting our Easter eggs – so easy. And then we had egg sandwiches and apple slices for lunch (B had yogurt and apples).
Today (and yesterday) I’ve been feeling what U been feeling, so we’ve been laying low. Breakfast was Eggos and yogurt and lunch was a Waldorf sandwich made by me (patting myself on the back) from a Costco rotisserie chicken, cheese slices and apple slices. Everyone liked something (B ate everyone’s cheese, E ate everyone’s sandwiches and T ate all the grapes and apples) so I call it a win!
Today I’m also making some yogurt in the Instant Pot, which is aaaaaaamazing. I used the Skyr Icelandic yogurt from Costco as a starter (or you could use this) and my last batch turned out SO tasty. This time I’m double pasteurizing it to see if that will help to thicken it up without using the cheesecloth (looking back: it didn’t thicken up that much more and I still used cheesecloth). Either way, last time using the cheesecloth led to an amazing whey that we used in pancakes which was delicious. The kids said I make the best burnt pancakes ever 😂😂
We watched Super Wings on Netflix for a bit (United Emirates and a town in China were the episodes I noticed) and then T and E played Snipperclips on the Switch which is one of our favorite co-op games ever (there’s a free Demo in the Nintendo shop)! It’s very geometry-heavy, which is lovely for gameschooling, and the kids have to work together to solve the puzzles which are great for cooperative problem-solving, effective communication, leadership skill building, etc.
In the game, each player begins as a shape that’s like a rectangle with a curved top. The players are given a task (usually to form a shape that they have to create together) and they use their own shapes to cut silhouettes out of each other in order to fit the task 🙂 Hard to explain, tricky to play, super fun to watch them work together. Here’s a video of the gameplay in action!
B put himself to sleep in the middle of the day after doing some more alphabet time. Today we didn’t make as much headway, mainly because I had a migraine and he was bouncing off the walls, but repetition is progress 🙂
We ended the day reading a Bad Guys book together on the couch. Everyone was snuggled up and I read to them until T decided to go to bed to read a Magic Tree House book to himself again.
Yogurt was finished late last night. I don’t have the energy to strain yogurt at 9pm anymore! I’ll need to start it earlier…
This morning I set aside the whey to make pancakes, but alas! The kids ate yogurt with graham crackers and banana wedges for dipping this morning. I now have one and a half containers of whey that need to be used. Suggestions are welcomed!
We got the kids all set up on the Homeschoolers’ Minecraft Server and it’s SO cool 🙂 This morning they’re doing the Theme Challenge together where they design their own Easter and Spring related plots. It’s so much fun and so inspiring to see the others homeschool kids and families Minecraft plots! There are some super creative ones and I’m excited to see what our kids come up with.
Creative Minecraft led to Survival Minecraft, so as a family we created a little house, which turned into a big house, we defended our territory from zombies and creepers, and we started a little family farm where T taught us about irrigation and how, by irrigating, our plants will get watered faster and will grow faster. We talked about real-life irrigation as well as where else we’ve seen irrigation in games before (sprinklers in our favorite game, Stardew Valley, for instance)
U also threw and broke a computer mouse this morning, so that will lend to a mouse dissection! E is super excited for that.
Thanks for reading, friends! I’d love to hear how you’ve incorporated gaming into your homeschool and what you’ve all been up to this week!
Raising Abundance is mainly a daily personal journal to look back on while we live our unconventional lives with the additional hope of helping others do better and get more out of life.