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““I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
This week started with blisteringly hot days and ended with the arrival of autumn, but only after a two hour haul into the mountains on Saturday to see the aspen gold. Every year, we drive up to Summit County to celebrate the equinox because it usually aligns perfectly with peek colors in high-country leaves. Autumn is my favorite season, and this day trip didn’t disappoint.
The week prior to the equinox was a good one. I started working with a new client and that was a bit of a tumultuous whirlwind. I realized in the midst of it that I really need to set aside some time to purge and organize my workspace–the digital one and the physical one. I’ve put it off because, well, I’ve been so busy. Just being a homeschool mom is, really, a full-time job. But if I don’t make the time right now to set things into order, I feel like I’ll be chasing my tail the entire season–not my idea of a good time.
The Cat in the Hat
This week’s book for Blossom and Root Early Years Vol. 2 was The Cat in the Hat. Brice had declared before the week even started that she wanted to make puppets for her activity this time. She’s been going through a bit of a puppet streak lately. I love the way her stick puppets turned out–so cute! I also had a Pinterest moment and made cute food. If you’re doing Vol. 2, this is a really easy snack to add in for The Cat in the Hat week–have your child stack slices of strawberry and marshmallows (or bananas) on a blunted skewer to make a cat “hat.” Easy peasy. 🙂
Aluminum Foil Boats
As usual, the STEM activity kept Brice busy for the good part of a morning. This week, she made aluminum foil boats and tested to see how many of her peg people and figurines they would hold. If a project involves water, Brice is guaranteed to be transfixed.
Gratitude for Our Relaxed Homeschooling Approach
Weeks like this makes me feel such gratitude that we chose to embrace a relaxed approach to homeschooling, especially for the early years. Even during busy work weeks, I feel like Brice gets a really varied and rich learning experience while still having the majority of her time committed to free play and the activities she loves (like gymnastics.)
First Grade Fun
This week was really fun for my first grader. We played “first grade Yahtzee” from the Wild Math curriculum we’re using and it was a blast–what a fun way to practice addition skills! Blake really loved the story of the snapping turtle in Blossom and Root First Grade and spent a long time on her narration picture. I can’t get over how cute the turtle and the water bug are in this picture (they’re going after a “turtle-turning boy” to rescue the father mud turtle.) If you’re not familiar with the Among the People series from Clara Dillingham Pierson, you should definitely look into these wonderful nature stories. They’re short and sweet and full of learning opportunities. The first nine weeks of Blossom and Root First Grade: The Stories We Tell uses stories from three of the books, and I plan to continue reading them long after we’ve moved on to the fairy tales and folktales units.
Making Turtles for Our Storytelling Basket
This week’s stories were both about turtles, so we painted rocks to look like turtles and added them to our storytelling basket. (Of course, we had to play “pond” and act out this week’s stories first.) Our storytelling basket is a basket filled with colored scarves, rocks, little figurines, sticks, and other things that we use to construct the world of the stories we are reading in Blossom and Root First Grade. Rather than doing straight oral narration, we playfully act out the stories with the items in the basket. For kids with a theatrical streak (like mine) this has been a big hit. 🙂
It’s the Little Things…
When I’m scooping up pictures from my phone to decide what to use in these posts, I love coming across the random little pictures that capture the magic of homeschooling. The picture of our rapidly-growing pup that reminds us how fun it is that dogs are a regular presence in our little school. The snapshot of the girls eating a doughnut at a sidewalk table while we do our history reading. The picture of my daughter’s little hands making an equinox lantern–proof that things like art and beauty have a prominent place in their education here. <3
Field Trip to an Apple Orchard
On Friday, we took a field trip up to Longmont to visit Yaya Farm and Orchard, a sweet little place tucked into a stand of trees at the base of the northern foothills. Blake immediately fell in love with the pair of donkeys parked at the entrance, and spent most of our visit feeding them carrots. Brice helped me to pick out a beautiful bag of Honey Crisp apples, and we all enjoyed apple cider doughnuts and honey sticks. We walked around the orchard and talked about all the different varieties of apples, how they grew, and why the orchard was planted in such a particular order.
Apple Picnic at Chautauqua Park
After we left the farm and started driving south along the foothills to go home, Blake piped up and suggested that we stop somewhere to have a picnic and try our apples. We happened to get stuck in afternoon traffic in Boulder, so I decided it was the best place to stop for awhile. We had visited Chautauqua this past spring to meet up with some friends, and the girls wanted to go back. We spread out our picnic blanket / poetry tea tablecloth and spent a few hours eating apples and running around the park. Despite some scrapes and bruises from climbing all over the rocks that dot the park, a good time was had by all.
The Autumnal Equinox
Our weekend could not have been more magical. Saturday welcomed in the first cool day of the whole month, perfect for our annual equinox trek to Summit County. We had lunch at our favorite place in Dillon and my husband shared stories of the years he spent living there when he first moved to Colorado. Then we drove up to our “secret forest,” a little patch of open land just above Keystone where the prettiest stand of aspens flanks the side of North Peak. We wandered and climbed and splashed in the creek, drinking up the golden light and delighting in this fleeting moment, the most beautiful moment–autumn in the Rocky Mountains.
How did you celebrate the equinox? Please share in the comments!
The Curriculum We Used This Week:
The Games We Played This Week:
First Grade Yahtzee from Wild Math First Grade
The Books We Read This Week:
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Meet Kaya series (American Girls)
Africa is Not a Country by Margy Burns Knight and Mark Melnicove
Moja Means One: A Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (for me–an excellent choice for plant nerd autumn reading!)
Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977 – 2002 by David Sedaris (for me–I am admittedly a multiple-books-at-one-time reader)
Movies We Watched This Week:
Our Favorite Classroom This Week:
Our secret forest in Summit County <3
Second place goes to Yaya Farm and Orchard in Longmont, CO
A new Book Seed is schedule to be released later this week–celebrating the harvest season and the autumnal equinox. Keep an eye on our store for it!
It’s the Last Week of Our Autumn Sale! Don’t Miss Your Chance to Save 30% on Everything In Our Store!
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