Whew, another whirlwind of a day here at Hitchcock Center Homeschool! It really was migration madness, as we all hopped into the van and travelled to Mount Sugarloaf for a look at animals migrating through the skies. But I'll start at the beginning...
First, homeschoolers decorated their own "binoculars", which instead of magnifying things from a distance, helped focus our eyes onto objects we wanted to look at. Then we played "Park Ranger" a favorite running game outside, in which children become whatever animal they choose, and have to cross the park if the park ranger describes them. For example, "Animal animal cross my park if you... have fur!"
Then it was time for morning meeting. We did a greeting of shaking hands, practicing eye contact with the person we greeted. Afterward we played "Have you ever?" a get to know you game in which children move across the circle if something is true for them. For example, "Have you ever... been to California?" We then looked at the schedule for the day, which includes words and pictures. From now on, the schedule will be posted on the wall at each homeschool class.
For our morning activity we read the story of Martha the monarch and charted her migration to Mexico on a map of the United States. Kids loved taking turns taping monarchs, milkweed, and arrows on the map! Each color arrow stands for a different monarch making the journey. In our story, it was Martha's great granddaughter, Maya (pink arrow), that repeated the journey of Martha (blue arrow)by migrating south.
After having a good look around, we played a game to demonstrate the hazards of migrating. Children were geese trying to migrate south, trying not to get tagged by hungry predators: falcons! Unfortunately not everybody made it. But that's how it goes in nature, folks. It seemed like we were only there a few minutes before it was time to go. We arrived back at the Hitchcock Center and wrote in our journals about the day's theme and drew pictures of migration.
See you next week!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Wow! What a wonderful first day of homeschool today. I was so excited to meet all of the children and share one of my favorite parts of fall with them: Storing Food for Winter. We started the day with a rainy game of Red Light Green Light, Animal Style outside.
Then we had our morning circle time, where we discussed the schedule of the day and our class rules. All children picked a “rule tree” out of the basket and talked about what rules like “Raise your hand to talk” and “Try something new” mean for our class. Kids had great ideas about how to help each other learn and respect each other. We will be practicing these rules in each class. Afterwards we stretched and sang a “repeat after me” song called “Head and Shoulders” – a twist on the original version!
Then we read the morning message, another important part of every homeschool class. Important information such as today’s date, the theme of the day, and today’s “password” can be found on the morning message. Today’s password was “harvest” and we talked about what harvest means to us. Many people brought up their own gardens and talked about how they harvest food when it’s ripe. We also mentioned the wild harvest, that is, what is ripe in the great outdoors for animals to eat.
Then it was time to go outside and play “Squirrels and Blue Jays”, a game in which children act out squirrels storing acorns for winter and blue jays stealing from them. It was a lot of fun, especially because the squirrels got to wear squirrel tails!
Luckily it stopped raining. After lunch, we embarked on our outdoor adventure. It started with a scavenger hunt in partners. Children looked for signs of fall such as a leaf with three colors, an autumn sound, and an insect home. Feeling inspired, we spent a quiet moment at frog pond listening for more autumn sounds. We heard children playing, rain falling, wind blowing and more.
Then we trekked to the old formal garden and lay down to look up at the trees to pause and consider what the trees are doing now that it’s cooling down outside.
The rest of our woodland adventure took us through Larch Hill and then onto Bramble Hill Farm, where kids collected cattails and jumped in the mud. It was awesome to take apart the cattail heads and take out all the fluff inside.
Soon it was time to go back to the Hitchcock Center to work on our journals. First the kids made leaf rubbings using dry leaves I had collected yesterday, and they came out beautifully! I was so impressed with the art they made. When they were done they glued their leaf rubbings onto their journals to be the cover art.
Next, with help from the morning message, kids wrote the date and theme of the day in their journals and wrote and drew about what we did today. Last, we all shared a snack made of food I had preserved for winter: pesto, raspberry jam, and pickles!
This week’s home project is about how homeschool kids can preserve food for winter with their families. Feel free to work on a drawing, writing, or photo about how YOU could preserve the harvest this week, then bring it in to share next week.
Our next class will be a field trip! We are going to Mount Sugarloaf to see who is migrating this time of year. As always, please pack a lunch that can travel and weather-appropriate gear. PLEASE send a booster seat if your child uses one!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Hello and welcome to the first ever Hitchcock Center homeschool blog! I am delighted to launch this blog as a way for parents to keep updated about what we are doing in our homeschool class this fall. Parents and families can visit this blog each week for photos and stories about the games, experiments and adventures we are having in each homeschool class. Our class theme this fall is The Nature of Autumn, and we will be exploring all the changes that people, plants and animals go through as the weather cools down and we arrive at winter. We will be paying special attention to the lessons humans can learn about sustainability by observing the transition of the natural world during the fall season. Thank you for joining us and please check back again after our first class!