Sunday, March 30, 2014


I wanted to post a short piece about this incredible new educational toy that I found to use in our homeschool. It is called Spielgaben. It is a fantastic set of open ended, wooden educational toys. I had seen it on other blogs, and thought that it was just a beautiful piece. This week, I bit the bullet and purchased our own set, and we have not been disappointed!

It is 14 separate "sets" of toys that are meant to be introduced to the children one at a time. (Or, you can set the whole kit out for some free play) It follows the philosophy of "Froebel Gifts." Froebel was actually the inventor of Kindergarten.

Lily has been having so much fun just playing and exploring the set, and I can't wait to incorporate it into our homeschool!

This was our second day of owning the set, and as soon as she woke up, she decided it was time to start building.

In the evening, Lily was watching Spongebob Squarepants, and decided that she wanted to build Mr. Crab.

 So far, we haven't even scratched the surface of what we can do with this set! It IS expensive, but the recommended ages for this set is 3-12. The goldmine in the set, though, is the educational resources they send you to download with your purchase. Over 1,000 pages of inspiration cards, activities and curriculum come with this set! Check it out here:   I was not compensated in any way to promote the Spielgaben set. I am just excited about it, and the potential it has for our homeschool. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

FIAR-The Bee Tree

 This week's row was The Bee Tree, by Patricia Polacco. This was a cute story about chasing bees to the bee tree and finding some sweet honey. I was hoping that we would be able to see some bees up close, so I posted on a local bee keepers page on Facebook. I asked if anyone would be willing to let us come by and see some bees up close. Just something basic. One of them messaged me, so we went by for a peek!

 Since the bees were underneath the screen, Lily got to get up close to them. It was still a little chilly out, so most of the bees are hiding in the middle layers of their hive to stay warm. We got to see a few. We could hear the buzzing when the beekeeper took the top layer off.

Lily got to see a real honeycomb up close, and touch it.

The beekeeper was even nice enough to give us some yummy honey! We were very excited about this. 
In our sensory bin this week, we had a bag of dry black beans and some mini bee erasers.
We did a lot of activities from

This spin and graph bee activity was a hit for part of our math lessons this week:

We also played a Build a Bee game:

At the end of the book, everyone had some honey, biscuits and tea. Of course, we had to try that wonderful honey the bee keeper gave us, so we had biscuits, tea and honey! ( I cheated and used cinnamon biscuits that you find on the pancake/muffin aisle in the store)

We got a little derailed in the middle of this unit. Both Lily and I got hit with the stomach virus that has been going around everywhere. The beauty of homeschooling, though, is when I have a sick little girl, we can just take a break!
Once we recovered from being sick, we worked on some bee crafts. First, we did some potato prints:

 We made bees out of construction paper:
Honeycomb cereal made a fun (and tasty) art project:

I think Lily's favorite activity of the week was the Honeybee Tree game. You have to remove leaves slowly and carefully, so you won't wake the honeybees!
We finished up the unit with a yummy peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner. :) Lily said that this was her favorite sandwich.
We also watched The Magic School Bus episode about bees, and the Rachel and the Treeschoolers about insects. I have a subscription to Discovery Streaming, so we watched some short videos showing bees in action.
 This was a fun row, even though we got sick in the middle of it, and I kind of lost my motivation. Oh well, it happens. We will just pick up and move on to our next unit: The Salamander Room. Lots of insects to discover in this one. We got a head start on it already! Our caterpillars arrived in the mail yesterday!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Five In a Row (FIAR)-Truman's Aunt Farm

This week we rowed Truman's Aunt Farm. This was a cute book about a boy who sent away for ants for his ant farm, but got Aunts instead! This was a pretty short unit, but we had fun with it.

We read a LOT of books about ants this week.

We sent away for ants for our ant farm, and got ants, not aunts. :) They were hard workers, and by the end of the week, they had made lots of tunnels. Lily enjoyed watching the ants up close.

We talked a little about homophones, and played a little game with some homophone word cards. Lily actually understood that concept better than I thought she would.

I had Lily write a letter to her aunts for handwriting practice. Actually, she traced a letter to her aunts.

In the book, Truman fed his aunts rice pudding for breakfast, jelly sandwiches for lunch and little hot dogs for dinner. So, we had to try all of these things! For lunch on Monday, we had jelly sandwiches and tried rice pudding. It was a hit.

 We love sensory bins. This week, I put some plastic ants in the bin with some Living Sands. This sand is great-it never dries out, is water soluble and vacuums right up. :) The perfect indoor sand.

We learned about the body parts of an insect, and labeled them. We also have a cd with insect songs on it from a preschool curriculum that I used in the past, so we listened to that all week.

If you have never seen the new show Rachael and the Treeschoolers, you should. It is fantastic. We watched the insect one this week. 
We also watched a Magic School Bus episode about ants.

We played games, like guess the number of insects in the cup:
and Ants in the Pants:

We made ant hills out of coffee grounds, and made ants out of fingerprints. Lily added wings to her ants and said they were the queen ants.

I was hoping it would be warm enough for an outside picnic, but it wasn't. We had an indoor picnic instead. We had to have the little hot dogs like Truman did in the book. We also made an ant hill cake to go with our picnic.

 We ended the unit with our indoor picnic. We had lots of fun this week!

We are going to continue with the insect theme, so next week's row will be about bees!