Afternoon Comforts

Monday Recap: Ashes, Squid and Clay

An eclectic day of learning, to be sure! :)

First of all, did you know it's International Take a Child Outside Week? My goal is to take the boys outside once every day this week - though tomorrow looks to top 90 degrees, and Thursday promises rain! Yesterday was a cinch though ~ gloriously sunny and warm. We headed out right after breakfast, eschewing pencils and paper for burnt logs and bugs.

First the log:


Remember a while back we had a bonfire to say goodbye to summer? Well, we checked on the ruins and found it an utterly fascinating mess. Loved the smell, not the residue so much. The blackened log had an almost iridescent quality to it, reminding us of crow feathers. Bookworm observed the texture of the charred wood to be like meringue cookies. :)

A stick of ashy wood makes a fine crayon, though, almost like an oil pastel:


Next we watched a spider in the sun for some time. We thought his shadow was cool, but not so much the debris of death he left all over his expansive web. Sure a spider's got to eat, but we were pretty repulsed by the hollowed out wooly bear caterpillar (not shown in the picture).


Circle of life stuff, right in our own backyard.

Next we collected leaves to do rubbings. EB opted to freehand a few planets.


And Bookworm made several colorful panels for his science notebook.


While we were looking at the galls on this leaf, this handsome dragonfly stopped by.


Higher up in the canopy, we spotted some strange fungus growing on the underside of the oak leaves. No idea what this is, but it can't be good. (See all the holes?)


We spied a lot of spider webs, a big dead green grasshopper, songbirds aplenty, and a pale fluttering white moth moving through the piney woods like a fairy or maybe a ghost (depending on who was telling the story, lol).

Inside, we watched a bit of a Discovery Channel show called Giant Squid Caught on Camera. My boys have a thing for large scary sea monsters like the kraken and giant squid. I found this neat online lesson plan about sea creatures, and this book might be worth checking out. I've also placed this on request at our library.

So next we dug out an old ocean-themed floor puzzle - something that appealed to all grade levels.


As you can see, like most puzzles in this house, it's missing a couple of key pieces (belonging to the whale and the squid it's attacking). It was still cool to look over. Did you know that we (meaning People) know more about Mars than we do our own ocean?


At lunchtime, we ate a pile of homegrown raspberries. Our bushes are nearing the end of their season, and we are trying to savor every last berry. This also happens to be Massachusetts Harvest Week, a week when schools across the state will serve local foods to their students. Well, this is right up our alley, so my students will participate!

Yesterday we ate our own (very) locally grown berries, tonight we'll enjoy produce from our local farmstand, and tomorrow we'll take a trip to the town farm. We'll also investigate what foods are grown locally here in our home state. I printed out a seasonal schedule so we can talk about eating with the seasons and why it's important to support our local farmers.


Shortly after lunch, Earlybird headed down the hall for his nap, and we worked on a project for history. We are currently studying Ancient Mesopotamia, and the invention of writing. To make our own writing tablets, we formed a bit of pottery-colored Sculpey into flat shapes and then the boys used sharp pencils to make their own cuneiform script.

Crackerjack really got into it:


And here they are, set to bake:


For follow up, I'm going to show the boys this site today, and have them copy their ancient names in their notebooks.

Well, it was a good day - lots of learning inside and out. Today we'll start off with math and spelling and later this afternoon, we'll kick off our state capital study (with flag-adorned cupcakes, of course). I have some Johnny Appleseed books to read, too (tomorrow being his birthday) and a little apple activity for Earlybird.

The weather report predicts we'll hit 90 degrees today, so I'll have to "take my kids outside" early before it gets just too plain hot. New England is fickle in any season, but it always seems especially fall.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this peek at our Monday - but Tuesday's here now, so I'm off to get things rolling. Have a good one, my friends!