Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tree Study. Tree Roots~K-1 Grade Lesson

Main Science Ideas
A tree uses it's roots to drink and move water up to the leaves.

Non Fiction
What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen V. Kudlinski

Activity: Experiment to see how roots drink.
Investigate how roots "drink" by dipping the edge of a piece of paper towel into water (food coloring optional).  I recomned food coloring because it will help you see the ater climb. The water will climb up the paper towel.

Record what you did using this simple Science Lab Recording Sheet.

Create roots by cutting and gluing yarn. You can print the picture here.

Printable Below

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Water Cycle/Weather Unit 1st grade (or Kindergarten)

During MFW 1st grade, we read about water cycle and storms in "Things Outdoors". 
The boys really enjoyed this subject so dug a little more into it though different paths.



  • Magic School Bus: Gets Wet All Over

  • Art Extensions:
    • Water Cycle Printable (after watching You Tube video above)
    • Water Cycle on Bulletin Board  (pictured above)
      • Materials- tempura Paint, Paper Plate for Sun. and butcher paper for clouds, rain, and water
    • Read "Cloud Book" by Tommie De Paola and make Cirrus/cumulus, and Stratus clouds out of cotton balls and glue
      • Take book on your next few nature walks and discuss the clouds you see

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Why I chose My Father's World Curriculum

    Congrats, you have made it through the soul searching process of deciding to home school ! Now WHAT to teach? I took years off my life searching and fretting over  curriculum. Overwhelmed by all the options I was sure I would ruin my kids education (and life) if I picked the wrong one.  It came down to Sonlight and My Father's World.  Well, that isn't true.  I. Wanted. Sonlight.  I had a friend who used it and I was convinced it was for me (notice I said me, not my kids).

     I have a another friend who had home-schooled her four kids for 6 years who led me towards My Father's World.  I had seen My Father's World (MFW) online, but dismissed it thinking it was too  traditional for me (again, note I said me, not my kids). Thankfully she was patient with my search for other curriculum, and kindly showed  me the Kindergarten teacher's manual while I whined how overwhelmed I was. After looking at the Kindergarten Teacher's manual, I was HOOKED.  We are now on our fourth year of using My Father's World, and I can't see ever switching. Here is why I love MFW, and why I chose it over Sonlight.

    You may also be interested in my post on how we survived (and thrived) our First Year of Homeschool.

    For more on different Education Philosophies, see this post, Five Homeschooling Styles.

    My Father's World has been perfect for us as it intertwines Unit Studies, Traditional, and Charlotte Mason Approach  throughout all grades. I have felt the freedom to leave out or or emphasize the approach that works best for each child without having to buy a separate curriculum.

    For Example, One boy will zoom through his student sheet (Traditional approach) in about 5 minutes, while the other spends 15 painstakingly finishes his beloved sheets. Both of my kids will sit and read the book basket for HOURS (Charlotte Mason), and read through our read-alouds before I get the chance to read to them! That said, if your kids are not big readers, MFW differs from Ambleside Online/Pure Charlotte Mason because the book-basket is not an essential part of the day; sometimes we get all the books assigned for that week, and sometimes we get none. We also love connecting our Friday night dinner and family movie night by making fried rice and watching Mulan during a study on China (Unit Studies).

    As I said before, I originally wanted Sonlight.  It is truly a great curriculum, I can not emphasize this enough.  But the cost was prohibitive for us.  In the beginning, when I was determined to use Sonlight, I was tried piece together their core program used and even  bought some Sonlight Language Arts materials on Ebay. Once I started adding up buying the books separately, even second hand,  we were taking a larger chunk out of our budget than we could afford. I tried the library, but many books were not available and they did not give you alternatives in the curriculum.

    MFW gives you several book options for each subject in their "Book Basket" lists so there is not need to buy the books when I can borrow them for free, and you  can read any or all that are available at your library. And if my library doesn't' carry that specific book, the curriculum flexible enough I can sub another about the same subject.

    We in use the Basic package. The deluxe is wonderful, but we fill our time very easily with the basic.


    Not only are My Father's World's packages much more affordable than Sonlight while still providing everything you would need, but they utilize profits for translating the Bible into different languages. To see their work around the world go to MFW site-

    Next to cost, this is the main selling point to me. After 1st grade (or 2nd depending on ages of kids), you start a family cycle.  We do Bible, History, Georgprahy, and Science together as a family, then split for more individualized age-appropriate learning in Math and Language Arts.  I honestly can not imagine having to teach 2 different history lessons to two different kids...let alone 3+ kids that many families have.

    Many grades are even set up for "tag-alongs", a.k.a toddler siblings who love to listen to all the great books.  When your older kids separate to do Math and Language Arts, your toddlers can take a nap or do their own preschool materials

    Using one of the many Butterfly (Letter B) book suggestions to draw butterflies.
    MFW  Kindergarten.

    Originally I was leaning towards Sonlight because of all the pretty books (children's books are my Achilles heel).  Sonlight main selling point is it so literature based and each package includes all the books your children will read need for the year. While this is awesome, it is also very expensive.  It also doesn't give you flexibility int he books you read.

     All the essential books you need are included in your package, but MFW also gives you huge supplemental book  list  that you can get at your local library, the list is called your "Book Basket" and is amazing!

     I can pick and choose books from the long list of options in the "Book Basket" depending on what is available at my library or what I think will interest my kids. With the ability to reserve library books online and pick up at the branch closest to me, choosing MFW over Sonlight saved us hundreds of dollars. We all look forward to our bi-weekly Monday afternoon trip to the library, and the boys picked their own books as I pick up the books we will need for the next two weeks.

    The family cycle is full of living books as you study history of our nation and the world, which is the incorporation of my beloved Charlotte Mason philosophy. You learn about history and social studies, while getting filling your reading requirements for the day.

    My Father's World is closely related to Unit Studies because many subjects relate back to one another, especially in kindergarten and family cycle.

    Kangaroo Pouches
    While studying "K" in kindergarten, we integrated science & art by making Kangaroo pouches, Bible with biblical truth that "God keeps us safe", and literature with story books in the book basket about Kangaroos.

    In second grade, while studying that Names of Jesus, we studied how yeast works  as we studied Jesus was The Bread of Life. In third grade family cycle (Exploring Countries and Cultures), you cook global foods as you study missionaries that live in the countries you are learning about in geography.

    Now that I have discussed the integrated curriculum in younger grades, I want to say how much I like how Math and Language Arts are NOT bundled in older grades. Like I said above in money, we buy the basic package.  I do not use the math recommended, or the art. It gives me the freedom to find the right math for my kids.  My twins may not be on different "grade levels", but they have different learning strengths.

     MFW recommends Singapore math, but since it is not included in the basic or deluxe package,I can easily purchase another distributor without loosing money.  We use Math-U-See because I prefer the Mastery Approach as opposed to the Spiral Approach in Singapore or Saxon. The hands on learning and DVD of MUS are great for my visual and kinesthetic learners.

    I must say that NO CURRICULUM IS PERFECT, including My Father's World.   MFW is flexible because I can easily drop something from the manual, while still covering all learning bases for that day.  In kindergarten we used white boards at the beginning of the year instead of the worksheets given. Sometimes we don't do the scheduled nature walk because we are already visiting my in-laws farm that weekend.  Many times we don't memorize the Bible Verses given because the boys are working on AWANA verses instead. We may not copy the English copy-work because my boys have already copied the Geography definition and Hero Tales character trait that day.

    You can visit my My Father's World page to see all the ways we have adapted My Father's world to work for our family, including supplements and work-boxes.

    No matter what curriculum you chose, remember your teacher's manual does not know you kids like you do.:) You may also be interested in my post on how we survived (and thrived) our First Year of Homeschool.