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Yellow Ball {Before FI♥AR}

I was not sure we would get a chance to row The Yellow Ball, since it is out of print and hard to find. But after hearing how much others on the FIAR forums loved this book, I decided to get it through interlibrary loan. It was such a short and simple book that I honestly did not think we would have enough to do. . . boy, was I wrong! Along with the activities and discussion in the manual, here is what we did this week:

Yellow Ball Prints
I used powdered tempera with water and a little cornstarch to thicken it. The cornstarch gave it a textured appearance when dry, but made it unusable for the lap journal (I was going to use it for the back ground of their journal).

Letter Y (Y is for Yarn) Activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler tied in perfectly with our Yellow Ball theme. If you notice, we did most of these activities in one day - it just worked out that way. I set up stations at the table and the kids moved from one station to the next. My plan was to stop when they tired of the activities, but they never did.

Do-A-Dot Letter Y
After last week, I was smart to print 2 Do-A-Dot letters this time. =)

Yarn Ball Sequencing

Lacing Yellow Yarn Ball
(I've always loved the look on her face when she is concentrating).

Lapbook Activities

Create A Memory: Punch Balls
My kids have all enjoyed playing with these.


I made a Yellow Ball Ordinal Numbers activity for Malachi. I did the counting orally with him and wrote the numbers for him and he put the yellow balls in the boxes.
Beach Ball Phonics Toss
Mali is working on vowel sounds. He played several versions of this game with his brothers. They stood in a circle and yelled "short" or "long" and whatever was called out by the thrower, the catcher had to name that sound. Another version, they played where they said all the sounds of the vowel. If their hand did not catch the ball on a vowel, the order reversed. I loved that he played this with his brothers - in fact Mali sits in with the review part of their spelling (All About Spelling) and I think that helps so much.
Throughout the week, Mali did a few pages in his Kumon Numbers 1-30 book and also in Explode the Code 1, lesson 2. First, I gave him a spelling test (Madsen Method style) with the words from the lesson, and then I had him work on a lesson out of his ETC. By having him take the test first, he is spelling by sounding out the words and then the phonics activities in the book reinforce what he knows. (My combination of the two methods). This way I know he can read the words without memorizing or guessing. I can see by his spelling test that he needs work on lower case handwriting, so we also worked on that. Then I had him read the short a three letter words from the lesson.

Yellow Ball Science: Motion, Force and Friction

Force is pushes and pulls. Friction is what slows the ball down. I used this web game to help teach this concept then we explored different ways to move the ball. (Why is the ball moving? Are you using a push or pull?)

Then I had them stand up and drop the ball and we dialogued about it: Did he push or pull it? No, he just dropped it. What pulled it down? Gravity. Then I explain that gravity is a force.
Then I set up a rain gutter and a small yellow ball to demonstrate rolling speeds of the ball, ramp levels, and friction surfaces (carpet versus the laminate floor). I had Malachi make a prediciton and then experiment to see how far the ball would roll. Eliana had fun playing along too!

Ball Coordination Activities:

Dribbling ball with feet, stopping, passing, etc. Mali is playing soccer right now, so this tied in perfectly!

Art Media: Pastels {Chalk}

Mali is recreating the artwork on the cover of the book using chalk. Mali loved this and made several more works of heart after this one.

Lap Journal/Memory Book:

Delightful Links:

The Spring Journal: Dandelion Study

Our nature study has been focused on completing Spring Series #4: Wildflower Study ~ Dandelions. We did this series on 2 different days over a period of 2 weeks.

I was purposefully looking forward to this study because I knew that dandelions are edible (and a good source of vitamins) and I just needed a good excuse reason to try them.

So, the first half of our study focused on dandelions as wild edibles.
We harvested them from our own backyard.
Nice tap root.
To prepare the roots, we scrubbed them good and boiled them in water for 20 minutes. Then I sliced them and sauteed them in butter with some onion powder.
I didn't make enough! They were very good and disappeared quickly, much to my delight.
Next, we tried some dandelion greens. We looked for greens that did not have flowers yet, since I read that mature greens can be bitter.
I also read* that cooking them with a sweet veggie, like the carrot, takes away some of the bitterness. So, I sauteed the greens with carrot peels in olive oil and then salted them.
I served them with chick pea burgers and they were a hit! Luke said he liked them better than the burgers. (Not sure I agree with him there, but I am glad that he liked them!).
After our success with the carrot/dandelion green medley, I decided to steam some greens.
I prepared them just like I would swiss chard - steamed until tender with a little butter, salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar.
Nathan was the brave one to try them.
He dug right in, didn't he? This time they were a little bitter ~ edible, but not necessarily enjoyable.
I had full intentions of making dandelion fritters with the flowers, but my plan was to finish our study today and our lawn is covered with snow - so maybe another time.
*One of my favorite sites for wild edibles is Naturalist "Wildman" Steve Brill's site. Under Foraging, click on Wild Plants and then on Dandelions for more info on harvesting and preparing dandelions and their nutritional value.
In order to finish our study, we did decided to dig off the snow to find our dandelions to observe and sketch.
Well, we learned that not only do dandelions close at night, they also go to sleep under a blanket of snow.
We read the lesson from The Handbook of Nature Study and talked about the parts of this composite flower (disk flowers, ray flowers, bracts, etc.). We may have to revisit this study so that we can observe the flowers going to seed, and all the other suggestions for observation that we missed.
One of my favorite things about dandelions - my youngest boy still likes to pick them for me.
He brought me a bouquet of dandelions and asked me to take a picture of him. =) So sweet.
Be sure to see all the great entries for this challenge! (You might even find some recipes).
We missed the Bird Study, but will have to come back to that . . . cattails are up next, and they are edible too!
Delightful Links:
Before I go, I want to mention that the Outdoor Hour monthly carnival is up and there are a lot of great entries. If you need some inspiration to get started with nature study, check it out!

The Spring Journal: Spring Tree Study

We participated in The Outdoor Hour's Spring Tree Study. I am not sure who enjoyed this study more, me or the kids, but I think it might be me. I love the changes that Spring brings and we have taken our time observing the changes to get the most out of this study. Once a week, since the beginning of Spring, we have observed the changes in our trees. The changes were very subtle at first and I began to wonder if Spring would really come to Wyoming, but then the changes were more evident and now I can't believe we have leaves on our trees! Winter goes long into Spring in Wyoming and begins in early fall; in fact, it is snowing and the wind is howling as I type this.

Here are a few pictures from our study.

We had a beautiful pouring rain one day last week. . .

The water was running like a river on the sidewalk. . . calling young feet.

I wonder if she thinking of jumping in that little puddle or just watching the ran drops ripple in the water?

Since we observed our trees over several weeks, we got some good shots of the leaves and buds forming.

Sometime soon, these buds will open up to pretty pink flowers and they will cover the tree. This is my favorite time of the year - it is so pretty to see the Flowering Crab Apple in full bloom. I will have the children observe the tree again when it blooms.

The boys did leaf rubbings for their journal. I had them pull out their botany book and make a note of the leaf margin, shape and venation.

Here is our Winter Tree Study for comparison. We have already started our Dandelion study. We have lots of young greens, but only a few flowers in our yard, so we are waiting for more to bloom before we journal about it.

Goodnight Moon {Before FI♥AR}

This is a lovable bedtime story that I have been reading with my children since I can remember. Saying good night to all the familiar things in our room as we prepare for bed, just like the bunny in Goodnight Moon, has become a fond bedtime memory. In fact, as we rowed the book this week, we read it each day and again at night before bedtime. And as much as I have read this book, I was impressed with details mentioned in the B4FIAR manual that I had never noticed! I enjoyed pointing these out to Mali and Elli and talking about them. My little one's also noticed the picture of the mother bunny fishing for her Runaway Bunny with a carrot. It was neat to see the two stories tied together.

We also read My World: A Companion to Goodnight Moon. A few days into our unit, Malachi came down with the flu. He had a fever for 3 days with an ill tummy, so we also had some down time with a great video collection: Goodnight Gorilla... and More Great Sleepytime Stories .

Along with the activities in the manual, here is what we did this week:

Create a Memory

One of the things I will try to do with each story we row, is create a memory that is just for fun. And since there is a red balloon in the story, I bought the little ones each a red balloon. . . along with a bouquet of colored balloons. I put them on the table with the books to surprise them.
Then I served them a bowlful of mush (cornmeal mush) just like in the story.
After eating their mush, they had fun playing with the balloons. . . . which lasted for several days.
Lapbooking Activities:

Another day, we worked on lapbooking activities. One of the things that I love about this element of our week is that it gives us a visual memory of our time together. And now, that I discovered how easy it is to order prints online and pick them up locally in just one hour, I will be printing our learning photos regularly to stick in their journal.
The next two photos won't mean much to my readers, but they make me smile each time I read them. I printed one copy of the Letter M Do-A-Dot from Confessions of a Homeschooler, thinking that only Elli would want to do it. . . and well, they both wanted to. So, in these pictures we were dialoguing about what to do about our problem.
Eliana had already started on the uppercase M, but decided she would rather do the lower case m, and Malachi could finish the upper case M. They were both happy with the arrangement. I could have printed another one, but it was good to see them work through their problem.
Painting Moon Shapes:

Painting a Night Sky:
This was a self-initiated activity that I thought was a great idea to go along with the book.

Same or Different - Shapes Match-Up:

Lap Journal:
Malachi's Narration:

Good Night Moon Story Sequencing:
This was a favorite activity by both my children and we played it several times. As I read the story and said goodnight to all the objects in the story, Mali and Elli found the picture card and put them in order.

Moon Cheese Snack:
(swiss cheese on round crackers)
Hanging Mittens Up:

Since there are a pair of mittens to say good night to in the story, I had Elli hang some mittens, that I cut out of felt using her hand print for a template, with some clothespins. This was just the right amount of challenge for her.
Delightful Links: