Sensing a New Season

Today is the beginning of my favorite season! My kids are already sick of me talking about how much I love Fall! But I really do! I love all things fall! The cooler weather, which allows us to open our windows and enjoy fresh air comfortably! I already love hot coffee, so now I can drink that more comfortably now wherever I am! Fall just makes me happy!

So studying our five senses today with our Mother Goose Time curriculum was a perfect way to end our school week, since mine were already heightened with excitement!

And the kids were stocked because Fridays mean a little bit of a different routine, where we all stay at the table to engage in our Mother Goose Time lessons instead of the kids having separate lessons mid-morning.

Since Natalie is going to be joining us, I have been bringing in a few more resources, so that I can give her additional information on any topic we discuss, as well as expose Peter to a little bit more of a challenging approach to a topic in hopes to learn more about his natural interests and abilities as well. So I’ll be highlighting some of these materials as well!

We started off our day today talking about our bones and muscles, focusing on an X-Ray exercise from Day 3 of our September Theme, My Amazing Body. I knew the kids would enjoy looking at the pictures of the different x-rays, and it would be a great lead into our discussion on our different senses by looking at the main framework of our bodies.

We’ve briefly discussed what an x-ray does and talked about how amazing it is that we have technology that allows us to see into our bodies without having to cut them open. I, for one, am thankful for that!

Nat got to cutting up her bones pretty quickly.

Peter decided he always wanted to create a full body skeleton and was trying to decide what to do with the longer bones provided.

I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t quite sure what bone was being represented when Natalie asked, but we both agreed that it did look a lot like a hairbow, so she decided the top of the skull was a good place for it.

We had a great discussion about why there were holes in the skull where the eyes would normally be, and how are bodies are made up of a lot of different materials.

And then we moved right into our discussion of the five senses.

Thanks for this nifty overview in the Teacher’s Guide, I was able to peruse the upcoming lessons quickly this morning and pick out one from each day to highlight as we discussed the corresponding sense. Since Mother Goose Time is not own only curriculum, it was WONDERFUL to have it so well organized so that I really can determine pretty easily what will work best in our lesson for the day.

Here are my choices:

For Sight, we were going to check out the fun Hidden Picture Language exercise!

For Hearing, we were going to make our bowl bands.

For Taste, I was interested in the writing lesson for “A is for Apple” and for Touch, the Soft Circles activity looked fun with the soft dice and red discs.

And lastly, for Smell, we were going to read the “It Smells” I Can Read book. (I LOVE these! I love the word pointers that help Peter identify the words throughout the book. Such a clever idea!)

So I was pretty ambitious, thinking we could easily get through our six activities today, but we only ended up getting to Sight and Hearing. However, the kids were really engaged the whole time and so I think they will look forward to possibly even some Saturday school tomorrow as we wrap up the other three senses.

Here are the Hidden Picture boards that were provided for Day 6, Sight.

I loved how they provided the little pieces to cut off the bottom. Super easy, but so effective!

Loved these bright and colorful images!

This activity also caught my eye, so we decided to learn a little bit more about Piet Mondrian and his artistic style.

This was Peter’s initial take on Mondrian’s approach.

Then he got to work cutting and adapting his design.

Peter’s finished work! I personally like his better than Piet’s, but I’m a little biased.

Nat’s, not surprisingly, was more geared towards the rectangles and lines of Mondrian’s style.

Moving on the Hearing, we focused on our bowl band and also another activity, not pictured here.

This was a fun exercise, asking the kids to identify images that they immediately correlated with one of the five senses. Of course, with most of the images, there was more than one correct answer, but it was fun to see what the kids immediate reactions were to the pictures.

I failed to get pictures of the finished bowl bands! Peter was still diligently at work coloring the inside long after Natalie had finished and moved on!

And as I mentioned above, we had pulled out a few additional resources to go a little bit deeper into the biology of our senses. I didn’t realize until I started compiling for this post that they were all three Usborne books! They are very naturally becoming my favorite Science go-to books this year!

This has easily become one of our new favorites, period! Several times this week I found one or both of the kids looking through this book at the dining room table on their own. I snagged this when I hosted an Usborne book party on Facebook the other month! (It’s a great way to get some discounted books!)

I love how visually appealing this book is, with the graphics, colors, and also the tactical appeal of the flip tabs!

Natalie was quick to tell me that we had more than 200 bones in our body because she could remember it from a Storybots episode (another super cute resource!).

Aren’t these great? I love the little snippets that I can share with them and see if it peaks their interest. If there is a natural bent there, then I will spend more time discussing that topic and gather other resources. Otherwise, it’s great information for them to be exposed to, nonetheless.

We spend some time talking about how our bodies were created so wonderfully (which we are also discussing this month in our Experience God Bible curriculum through Mother Goose time).

I had also pulled out this gem right here. I also snagged this book, along with the previous one, during my book party. Seriously – hostess rewards are the way to go if you are a book nerd on a budget like me!

We focused a lot on the descriptions here for each of the senses, discussing the examples they gave of each animal. For sight, we focused on how our pupils dilate and expand, depending on the amount of light its exposed to. We also discussed why it’s so helpful for rabbits to have long ears, and how grasshoppers hear through their legs! So fun!

And then last, we pulled out what is actually Natalie’s Science book for this year in her My Father’s World curriculum, Adventures in US History.

I was really encouraged to hear Peter explain to Natalie why the butterfly in the middle of the eye was upside down (a topic we had discussed earlier this week from an image he had seen in the flip-tab Usborne book listed above).

I remember thinking when I was explaining it to him that this was probably going right over his head, that he’s only four, but I might as well talk about it since he’s asking. It was so neat to hear him repeat the information back to his sister, finally getting a chance to be the teacher to his older sibing for once.

And it reminded me to not underestimate my kids, but continue to expose them to more and more resources. If it’s too advanced for them right now, then there will be time for that and plenty of review ahead. But if it’s not challenging enough, then I’m doing them a disservice and not helping them reach the potential that God has placed inside of them. This was definitely a good reminder of that for me today.

And honestly, it’s teaching me a lot along the way! I’m finding myself in awe of God’s creative design and loving to learn about the intricacies of His creations!  So we’re all just learning together!

As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about our honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.

Hidden Treasures

I’ve found that sometimes the simplest of plans are the most effective.

Take our set-up routine, for example. Each month with our Mother Goose Time curriculum, we receive a new calendar with separate date pieces to assemble. The first go-around with Mother Goose Time, when my oldest was 4, I would the calendar, along with the other Circle Time board pieces, before we started our month. Everything was in place and ready to go come the 1st of the month. We would identify what day of the week and date it was, mark it off, and get going with our day.

Now with two, more out of necessity any strategy, the first month we received our cute little school bus curriculum box,


I decided that I would pull out the calendar and get it ready while the kids were exploring the rest of the box. I just didn’t have the extra time and energy in the evenings to pull together my Circle Time board on my own.

And just organically, I found myself leading my youngest, who is now 4, through assembling the calendar with me. What was really just happenstance became an awesome, impromptu time of learning.

It was a great exercise in counting, talking about the days of the week and the months of the year. We identified the pattern for that month, that is represented by different graphics on the date pieces, and it became an exercise of small motor skills, using tape or glue sticks to apply the dates to the calendar.


So that is what we do now. We pull out our Circle Time bag full of materials for the month, grab our calendar, pop out our perforated date pieces, and get to learning. And bonus – my kids now feel a little bit more ownership and inclusion when it comes to our homeschool. They recognize that they can be a part of setting up our environment and contributing to the learning environment, and I love that.

I love it when God slows me down enough to show me the beauty and fun in just going along with Him instead of feeling like I need a plan and to be super organized all the time. Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for all of that, and I am usually there, loving life. But I am also learning to enjoy the beauty of the casual and the spontaneous fun in the moment.

Effective teaching doesn’t have to look like a full two hours worth of lessons and games, videos and fun dances. It can, for sure! But it can also look like spending 15 minutes connecting with your student, exploring what is in front of you – whether that’s a calendar or nature or book – and just learning more about how your little one thinks.

Effective teaching looks a lot like a less-stressed teacher finding her own rhythms and joy in the teaching, and it tends to overflow into whatever activities are being facilitated.

Now one of my goals is to no longer dismiss the less the ideal because it wasn’t what I originally expected, but to hunt for the treasures that God has hidden in those moments and days that I’m just not out ahead of it and don’t really have a plan. Because He still does. And it’s much better than mine could ever be!


As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about our honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.

September’s School Theme: My Amazing Body

While we are not officially starting our 2017-2018 school year until next Monday, when your little boy asks you if you can do some Mother Goose Time, you pull out your lesson for next Monday and just decide to dive in early. Now, don’t get the wrong impression. My kids are not constantly asking me for school work! HA! Far from it. But when they are ready and especially with a fun curriculum like Mother Goose Time, it’s easy to pull out a lesson on the spur and get going. And so that is what we did!

We started out our lesson with the second Bible story from the Experience God add-on from Mother Goose Time. The theme this month is The Miracles of Jesus, and the memory verse for this month is “I praise You, God, for I am wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14.  So we started out our time reviewing the verse and getting into our second Bible lesson, Jesus healing the blind man. (More on our first lesson here.)


Before I read the story (which was not necessarily new to Peter, but also not a story we often talk about), I asked Peter to tell me what he noticed about the picture. It was neat to see what details he picked up on, like the mud on Jesus’ tunic, and also the lines near the man’s eyes that brought attention to them.


I then proceeded to read the story, and then asked Peter to tell me what he could remember.



This was his super cute recap. (And my daughter’s hand at the very end, because like in real life, she needs to be a part of everything.)


We then practiced writing for Peter. I initially wrote his name and asked him to trace it, and then moved on to give instructions for Natalie. Since she can already write her name, I wanted her to just practice her spacing and handwriting. When I came back to check on Peter, who apparently didn’t quite get my instructions, he had started writing his name on his own, and was asking for an eraser because his second “e” was backwards. It was so sweet to see him writing on his own (something he usually groans about even at the suggestion of), and so we worked together for him to finish his name on his own, and then to go back and trace what I had written. It’s neat how what can seem like such a simple, 2 minute exercise like writing your name on a name tag, can become such a point of learning and instruction. It reminds me to slow down with them and see that we’re accomplishing a lot more than I think I often recognize.


So we continued on with Day 1 of My Amazing Body (September’s theme from Mother Goose Time), focusing on the Self-Portrait activity.


We briefly looked at the example print that was included and then discussed what features we wanted to include in our self-portrait. The activity actually calls for the kids to look in a mirror, which I think is great and we will probably try that again sometime, but this time around, I decided I thought it would be fun to see how the kids see themselves without their reflection freshly in their minds.


Peter got started right away, starting with his face and then his shirt (which he quickly told me was his green shirt with the race car on it), and then with his legs and hair. Although we didn’t really talk about our bodies, it was fun to see him a holistic portrait (minus the arms, which I had to remind him about). When I asked him why he chose to draw his whole body, he looked at me like he didn’t understand why he wouldn’t. I just love to catch a glimpse into their little minds.


Peter, by Peter. Note the backwards 6 for his date. I didn’t have the heart to correct him and I kind of love that we’re at the stage where letters and numbers are reversed.


Natalie, by Natalie. Of course, she is stylin’.


We then went into the living room for a little dance break and listened to the CD that was included in this month’s box. Day 1 recommends we listen to “Head to Toe,” and we continued on for a few other tracks before heading back to the table.


And then we finished off our lesson with Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. I didn’t realize until we started reading it that we actually own this book upstairs, in a much smaller version, but this large one from the library was a great version with bright, colorful images. The kids had fun mimicking the poses on each page.



And this is a glimpse of what our school table usually looks like most mornings. As much as I love organization and tidiness, that is not what happens in the midst of the “schooling.” I have learned to embrace the mess, which doesn’t bother the kids one bit, and just allow our resources to be readily accessible during the lesson, not losing time (and their attention) to tidy up between activities. Maybe we will get to a smoother flow in the future, but for now, this is our reality.


As an official Mother Goose Time Blog Ambassador,
I receive curriculum in exchange for posting about our honest and authentic experiences with the curriculum.
Click here for more information on Mother Goose Time.