cattails and kites: our homeschool day

Early this morning the sun began to shine from behind the clouds, so I knew we needed to spend some time outside today.  February in Northern Utah is a mix of snow and rain with occasional bursts of  sunshine--so it's important to seize a sunny day when it presents itself!  But I also have some things I wanted us to work on inside--so I hoped that the day would cooperate and allow us some moments in the sun in addition to our inside work.  We were so fortunate!  The day was beautiful.

We missed our morning devotional that we typically do at breakfast.  I'm not sure why we missed it, but we did, so we did our song and scripture as part of the beginning of school time.  A while back I introduced this version of Amazing Grace to my children.  They love it and often request to sing that.  My little Abraham tells me "Grace" in the sweetest little voice when he wants to sing that song.  I read the boys our scripture story for the day. I love our devotionals--they are so enriching to me as I share the stories with my children.  Matthew has become quite the question asker, and that helps us to have some pretty wonderful discussions over gospel topics.  I will share more specifics about our devotionals in a future post.

Next up we did the Pledge of Allegiance.  I love doing the Pledge of Allegiance with my children.  I have a great love for country and its founding.  I grew up in my early years of public school reciting the pledge and singing a patriotic song in the mornings--I want my boys to also grow that sense of patriotism; a love and gratitude for God and country.  


Then I spent a few moments helping Abraham with his alphabet puzzle.  He is very intrigued with letters right now--especially because he sees me working with Matthew on writing and reading.

We went through Matthew's sight reading flash cards.  I introduced the cards a couple of weeks ago, and it has been so great.  After that I took out our sand paper block letters--both capital and lowercase.  I have Matthew (and Abraham after he hears Matthew) tell me the name of the letter then tell me a word that starts with that letter.  

Some mothers wonder what homeschooling different ages looks like.  From my experience, it looks and is wonderful!  Abraham loves to be involved, and I always work to involve him in whatever we're learning about.  First off, it helps him feel included, and secondly--even very small children are so capable of understanding more than we sometimes realize.  When Abe loses interest in what I'm helping Matthew with, he goes and plays on his own.  When I'm working with Abraham on a work (I love a Montessori approach if you've noticed by my wording), Matthew will sometimes come over to see and help or he will begin working/playing with something else.

Next off we did our reading time.  Right now we are reading Henry Reed Incorporated--a delightful book about the adventures of a young entrepreneur and his summer ventures.  Sometimes the boys will sit and snuggle while I read chapter books, and sometimes they'll get out the train set or blocks and play while they listen. My goal is to read at least a half an hour five days a week from our current chapter book.

Matthew went out in the backyard after lunch while I put Abe down for his nap.  I took care of some things inside and loved overhearing Matthew's pretend play.  His imagination is something so special and listening in is pure delight!  I cleaned up the kitchen and got out Matthew's writing and reading bin.  He requested to do his writing outside, so we went out on the patio table working on his spelling words.  And we also spent some time going over the lowercase letter "e" and the lowercase letter "g" --those two letters can be a little rough!  It was a little bit breezy, so we ended up coming inside.  He told me "Mom, I just want to do it all by myself then show it to you as a surprise."  "Okay," I said.  And so a few minutes later he showed me his work--delighted with his good work.  "So wonderful, sweetheart!" I told him.  I try to ask him how he feels inside when he works hard and finishes and does something well.  I hope it's helping him build personal intrinsic motivation.  I hope to help encourage within my children a desire to do things well for personal satisfaction rather than external validation.

About the time he finished, my husband came down (he works from home) and asked me if we wanted to all go over to the Bird Refuge.  So we packed up in the car and went over.  Being outside in nature is so renewing.  I feel it, my husband feels it, the kids feel it.  We walked around listening to Canadian Geese, throwing pebbles in the water, and enjoying the time together.  We love talking as we go, but also listening.  Abraham often pauses and says "bird" when he hears the geese or other birds chirping.  I believe that stopping to listen builds so much within little ones and adults.  My husband is quite the naturalist and can identify so many types of birds and animals.  He can even identify the type of animal by seeing its poop (gross--I know!) but also so interesting.  We live in the wetlands where there are a lot of cattails everywhere.  The boys were absolutely intrigued to see how they could blow cattail seeds and the wind would catch them and gently carry them to a new resting spot.  He explained that God made cattail seeds like a kite.  We all wondered at how amazing our beautiful world is--the intricate workings of all of it, then also the grandeur.

Not every day we homeschool takes us on adventure outside with Dad, but sometimes it does, and we love it.  Today we got our structured learning time and our more abstract outside learning time.  I love and value both and feel grateful for the beauties of this day.