Friday, July 30, 2021

Quick Start Guide to Homeschooling in Arkansas


Before we even start, let me say how proud I am of you for exploring options for you child's education! You are about to embark on one of the hardest, yet most rewarding and life changing journeys of your life."Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." ~W.B. Yates. Let's get that fire going!

WHAT DOES THE STATE REQUIRE OF ME?

Currently the only thing you need to do in Arkansas is file what is called a Notice of Intent. It can be done online in a matter of minutes. You have to do this every year by August 15th. Right now, Arkansas does not require assessments, state mandated subjects, or teacher qualifications, so it is a pretty easy state to homeschool in. However, I am not a legal expert, so please seek the help of an attorney or legal advisor if you have any questions. These requirements could also change. Here are some websites to familiarize yourself with and stay up to date with the latest requirements. 

Arkansas Department of Education

Arkansas Education Alliance

Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

I AM NOT A TEACHER. HOW WILL I TEACH MY CHILDREN?

Ponder these two quotes:

"I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." ~Albert Einstein

"Teaching is a function, not a profession. Anyone with something to offer can teach." ~John Taylor Gatto

You know your child better than anyone else. You know his or her strengths and weaknesses. You know what motivates your child and what he or she is passionate about. You can do this! Plus, we live in a day and age when there is literally a world of help at your fingertips. You will also be amazed at how much YOU will learn! Some days I wonder what I did in history class at school growing up, because I feel like I am learning much of it for the very first time! 

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT CURRICULUM TO USE?

Arkansas has no requirements for what must be taught, so you are literally free to use whatever you want. The downside to that is that there are so many different subjects and curriculums that it can be very overwhelming for a new homeschooler to decide what to use. Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate your different choices:

What is my child interested in learning?

What do I want my child to learn?

What does my child need to learn to go into his/her desired profession?

What are my child's strengths? (If reading is not one of them, do not choose a curriculum that is heavy on reading unless there are audiobook versions)

What are my child's interests? What are they passionate about? How can I use that to help my child learn? (Did you know that there are entire courses designed around Minecraft, legos, and board games?)

What are my child's weaknesses? Will the curriculum help your child overcome weaknesses without exacerbating and frustrating him or her?

Is the curriculum visually appealing? Is the font big enough (but not too big)? Is there enough color or pictures throughout the book (but not so much that is is distracting)?

How hands on or independent do you want to be in your child's education?

What kind of learner (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) is your child?

What is the cost? 

Here are a couple of things to remember:

1.If you try something, and it doesn't work for you or your child, you can always change it and try something else. You can see how our homeschool curriculum changed and evolved over the years: (2021-2022), (2020-2021), and (2018-2019).

2. Remember, homeschooling does not have to be public school at home. There is so much more to an education! Ponder this quote: "Do not let schooling interfere with your education." ~Mark Twain

WHAT IF I HAVE A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD?

Congratulations! I do too! And I can tell you that homeschooling is hands down the best thing I ever did for our children. You not only see their "disabilities", but you also see their abilities. You see how incredible your child is. You know what motivates your child. You know how to get that fire burning in your child. You can move at the pace that your child needs. Homeschooling does not mean that you have to do everything on your own. Over the years we have had an incredible team of speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, Orton-Gillingham tutors (for dyslexia), counselors, and psychologists. As I learned more about my children and how to help them, I took on some of the interventions myself. We also still use some specialists. Over the years I have also learned to redefine "normal". Our children are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yes, I want them to become all that God designed them to be and help them be the best version of them that they can be, but I also understand that they are all individuals, designed by God to be different. Our one son has been very delayed in all areas and has a long list of learning disabilities, but he is absolutely brilliant when it comes to engineering. He sees things in a completely different way than others. His ability to problem solve is mind blowing to me. He would not do very well in a public school system (we actually tried when he was little for about two days because I bought into the lie that he would be best off there). However, here at home he is thriving, learning, growing, and we are finding ways to let him shine with his strengths. As a homeschooler he has the opportunity to attend homeschool programs at the local Construction and Trades academy. I am confident that because of homeschooling he will be far more prepared for adulthood.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? IS THERE A TAX BREAK?

In Arkansas, there are no tax breaks or state funded programs to help homeschoolers (and that's a good thing because it also means less government oversight). So, how much does it cost to homeschool? Well, that is completely up to you. If you are choosing to do a lot of co-ops, online courses, enrichment classes, field trips, tutoring, music lessons, art lessons, sports, and everything else out there, then it can cost you a whole bunch. Some curriculums cost a whole lot more than others. On a budget? Me too! Here are some helpful tips for homeschool on a budget.

1. Shop used whenever you can! I literally stalk our thrift stores all summer long. Check facebook marketplace. Go to used curriculum sales. I buy as much as I can secondhand.

2. If you buy new, see if you qualify for any discounts (teacher, military, missionary, etc.). You can get a Home Educator Card  to use for teacher discounts. See if you can find coupon codes from other homeschool bloggers (Like my $5 off Not Consumed). Not only do these coupons save you money, but they also help out another homeschooling mom. Also, see if there is a rewards program offered through the curriculum. With Masterbooks and Not Consumed I can earn points on my purchases and for things like leaving a review that can be cashed in to save on my next order. 

3. What can you get for free? What books would it be ok to borrow from the library? Take advantage of YouTube and other free online programs. Our daughter loves art, but she already is involved in gymnastics and plays several musical instruments. She can find lots of art classes online for free. Someday we may make the decision for her to take art classes, but for now this is an option that is allowing her to continue to learn and advance while keeping us on budget. We also use Treasure Hunt Reading, a free online reading program. There are numerous free resources like this online.

4. Shop around and take advantage of sales. You'll start learning the rhythm of different retailers and when their sales are.

5. Is what you are buying consumable or reusable? Will you be able to either sell the curriculum at the end of the year to help you out with next's years curriculum, or will you be able to save and use it for another child?

6. Be creative! You don't need the latest and greatest and fanciest. One year we chose not to get all the math manipulatives and counters. We used a lot of beans, rocks, sticks, and lego men. Guess what? They probably had more fun and were more engaged (thus learned more) than they would have with the plastic counters. Before I buy anything I always ask myself, "Do I really need this?" You may be surprised at how often the answer to that question is "No."

WHAT ABOUT SOCIALIZATION?

Unless you live way out in the country and never leave your home, there are probably hundreds of opportunities for socialization. Are co-ops and play dates a good thing? They absolutely can be! But so can a trip to the grocery store. Teach your child to hold the door for an elderly person. To show sympathy to the mom there with a small, screaming child. To thank and make small talk with the cashier. To be able to respond to the comments of "wow, you have your hands full" and "shouldn't they be in school right now". To grab a cold fruit punch to share with the homeless man on the corner and share the love of God with him. If you pay attention you will soon realize that socialization is the least of your concerns as a homeschooler, and your child will learn to interact not only with children their own age, but also the young and the old. 

IS THERE MORE TO KNOW?

Absolutely! Isn't there always more to learn? Isn't cultivating a love of life-long learning one of the great advantages of homeschooling? Life-long... that's the key. It's ok to not know everything right now. I am 9 years in and still learning more everyday. You know enough to get started. You've got this! August 15th is fast approaching so get that NOI filed today and dive in. You've got this momma! Check out my Homeschooling Tab for more resources, give me on a follow on Instagram, and check in to let me know how your homeschool year is going!


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Diving into another Homeschool Year




It is hard to believe that I am already entering our 9th year of homeschooling. This year we will have a preschooler, 1st grader, 2nd grader, 4th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader. In case you lost count, that is SIX children that I will be guiding through their education this year. Oh, and we will have a toddler at home. 


I admit that I may be a little crazy, but I am so excited about this year. I am also not going at it alone this year. I have Jesus and coffee 🤣



Plus we decided to outsource some things this year. Our preschooler to a Mother's Day Out program two days a week, which will help him break out of his shell, give him some age appropriate opportunities for play, and allow me to focus on the older children. We will also be participating in a homeschool co-op for some extracurriculars, and our older two will be utilizing some video/virtual classes.



(Not all school takes place in a “classroom”. We love Roadschooling and a lot of our learning takes place out in nature).

 The number one question I get asked as a homeschooling mom is, “What curriculum do you use to teach all those kids?” I will share with you what “boxed” curriculum we use, but it’s important to know that our homeschool does not fit inside any box. I don’t even teach neatly inside one particular methodology. We fall someone between Charlotte Mason and unschooling with a strong pull towards wild and free. We have two goals for our children. The first is that they grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is that they develop a life long desire to learn. In everything we do I try to connect it back to God and also to experiences. The curriculum books we use are simply a springboard. A typical day starts in our textbooks, which may lead to a “living book”, which may then lead to some imaginative play in the woods, which could lead to a discovery, which then leads to a YouTube video, which leads to a journal entry, which perhaps leads to an art, which inspires and leads to a music, and so on. The textbooks we use to jumpstart our learning have changed some over the years (you can see what we used in the 2018-2019 school year and 2020-2021 school year and check out my Homeschooling page), but here is what we have planned for the upcoming school year.




HISTORY: Everyone (yes, our preschooler all the way through our 7th grader) will be doing World Cultures. I decided to go with MasterBooks' Passport to the World as the backbone. Because we have so many ages I have had to put some work into expanding this curriculum to engage all ages, but I'm really happy with the Teacher's Guide and accompanying books. I have been scouring the thrift stores on a weekly basis for picture books on the countries. We received Little Passports for a couple of years, so I consulted with those guides and other homeschool blogs to find supplemental activities. I planned a lot of crafts, sensory bins, recipes, composer studies, missionary spotlights, and more! We will also be starting our mornings with World Watch News. Be sure to follow us on Instagram because this is sure to be a fun year!

(One of my thrift store hauls… everything here totaled only $6.50!!!)

Anatomy & Physiology

SCIENCE: I was first introduced to Apologia science a few years ago when I was teaching Physical Science and Physics at a co-op. I fell in love with the curriculum and we have been using Apologia for science ever since. This year we are studying Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology as a family. Again, I have been hitting up the thrift stores on a daily basis to add some picture books to engage our little learners. I am also putting together a sensory bin that I am pretty excited about, and added these cool finds from Amazon.

General Science

Our 7th grader will be doubling up on sciences this year. Human Anatomy is the one Young Explorers textbook that she never went through. She thinks she wants to go to college for Physical Therapy or Sports Medicine so she doesn't want to miss out on this course, but she also wants to stay on track and take General Science. While I absolutely love the sciences, I do not have the time to prepare lessons for two sciences and we are trying to increase independence, so we decided the best route for her would be to use the Video on Demand General Science Homeschool Course offered by Apologia. She got a head start this summer since she knows she will have a heavy load this school year, and so far she has been very happy with the videos and the course.



MATH: We are still using Math for a Living Education by Masterbooks with each child in their own level (with the exception of our 6th and 7th grader whom will be doing virtual math with my sister). The stories at the start of each chapter help our children see the real world connection, plus I love how it has character training and other subjects interwoven. A great place to teach math is in the kitchen, and boy are there some yummy recipes in the book! I'm sure we will be using some of these recipes as we travel through our World Cultures studies. 


ENGLISH: We are also still using English for a Living Education for our 1st through 4th grader. Again, I love how it incorporates bible study and character training. 

We will continue with daily writing prompts, as these were a huge hit in our homeschool last year. We fell into a rhythm last year of Imagination Monday (creative writing), Tea Time Tuesday (poetry prompt), Wacky Wednesday (silly prompt), Think It Thursday (problem solving prompt), and Free Write Friday. 

Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to grab your FREE Ants Writing Prompts. While you are there be sure to click "Follow Me". More fun resources to come!

READING: We have a few children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and working memory dysfunction. They were receiving tutoring until the COVID shutdown. During the shutdown we discovered Treasure Hunt Reading, which is a free program by Prenda Learn (we did buy the workbook, but you can print yourself). Their website describes it as following “an Orton-Gillingham, multi-sensory, systematic approach to literacy to support learners of all levels and abilities.” Two of our boys will be working through the remainder of this program. We supplement with lots of other hands on activities, games, and early readers. As they near the end of Treasure Hunt Reading I add in the Abeka Readers, and our elementary aged children will continue working through the Abeka Reading program at their own page. 




 I have a fun CVC Treehouse Climb in my Teacher's Pay Teachers store that is a fun way to get lots of practice. You can even use an army man or other figurine to climb the ladder.

Our 6th grader will be doing To Every Nation 2 by Not Consumed, which will use the 12 books from the Christian Heroes Then and Now series to tie together history, geography, language arts, and character study. (Save $5 off your order at Not Consumed with this link).



Our 7th grader will be taking English Literature: Exploring Biblical Principles through Literature. It will be her first live, online class through Apologia. Our little extrovert is very excited about having "classmates".



TYPING: Also designed with dyslexics in mind, we will continue with TTRS (Touch Type Read Spell). It is a no frills typing program but I absolutely love that I can customize and add in their reading lists, science vocabulary words, history facts, and more. It really helps to reinforce all of our other subjects while also teaching them to type, which we believe is a valuable life skill. 


EXTRACURRICULARS: The girls are involved in competitive gymnastics and the boys do BMX racing. Music is a big part of their education. They five oldest take piano lessons, and they also have started learning ukulele, guitar, violin, and most recently added mandolin. It’s not uncommon for me to say, “Why don’t you write a song about that.” Whether it is a history lesson, science lesson, bible memorization, or even math facts, we have found that putting it to music helps us learn. Our 7th grader will also be learning calligraphy and our 6th grader will focus on drawing and possibly add some watercolors this year. Which brings me to another aspect of our homeschool -  entrepreneurship and financial literacy. They are never too young to learn how to make and manage money. I love seeing the creative business plans they come up with. Check out their online Etsy shop to see their latest projects for sale. 




That about sums up our homeschool! Are you a veteran homeschooler, new homeschooler, or considering homeschooling? I’d love to connect with you on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

***This post does contain affiliate links.*** 
If considering TTRS, use coupon code JBAKER at checkout
If considering MasterBooks, please use https://www.masterbooks.com/r/4aPJUldU/ 
If considering Apologia, please use 
https://www.apologia.com?a_aid=6102053bad9a6
If considering Not Consumed, please use Not Consumed Link


***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com***

Friday, May 28, 2021

Return to Palo Duro Canyon - Lighthouse Trail


 We went to Palo Duro Canyon in 2017 and immediately put it on our list of places to return to. Well, four years later we finally made it back! It is still just as breathtaking as we remember. Located just 27 miles southeast of Amarillo, TX, this impressive 120 mile long and 20 mile wide canyon suddenly appears out of nowhere.  It is thought to be the 2nd largest canyon in the US and is definitely the most scenic part of the Texas panhandle.  


In 2017 we were able to just show up without a reservation, but nowadays I would not recommend that. We planned ahead this time and were thankful we did because the campground was indeed full when we arrived. Last time we stayed in Sagebrush, which is one of the first campground loops you come to and is the closest campground to the play "Texas". This time we stayed at Mesquite which is several miles more down the road at the southern end of Palo Duro. It is located closer to the hiking and equestrian trails. The Mesquite campsites all have 30/50 amp electric and water hookups, as well as a fire ring and/or grill and a picnic table. During a heavy rain, this area can get a little flooded and the red clay turns into a slippery, muddy mess. Thankfully it didn't rain until the morning we were leaving.


Palo Duro Canyon had nearly 50 miles of trails. We hiked the Paseo Del Rio trail in 2017, an easy 2 mile trail that follows the river and passes a Cowboy Dugout. It was the perfect trail for a quick morning hike, but we had some more time this trip and were finally able to hike the Lighthouse Trail that leads to the iconic 310 foot "lighthouse" rock formation that you'll often see on souvenirs. 



There are many warnings heading into the trail about making sure that you are prepared with plenty of water and sunscreen. If you forgot sunscreen, there are dispensers by the trail head that look like hand sanitizer, but are actually sunscreen that you may use. If you have never hiked in a desert before, bring 2-3 times the amount of water you normally would (the state park recommends one gallon of water per person). There are no trees so you are exposed most of the hike. During the summer, temperatures on the canyon floor can reach 115 degrees. 



We had the perfect evening for a hike! The temperature was in the 60s, and the canyon walls cast some shadows on the trail. Still, we had more water than we thought we needed since we were hiking with 7 kids. I carried the baby, but this was the first long hike that our 3 year old completed by himself (and he totally rocked it). 



The trail is 5.7 miles round trip out and back hike. The first 2.5 miles of the hike are relatively easy. There are some gentle slopes as you follow the canyon floor, but nothing crazy.



 Do be aware that mountain bikers share the trail and come flying through here, so be alert and ready to move out of their way. 


The views of the desert and canyon walls are beautiful and you'll spy plenty of cacti, lizards, and possibly some other desert creatures along the trail.




After about 2.5 miles the easy, sandy, flat part of the trail ends and you'll have a near vertical ascent up to the lighthouse. It is not treacherous, but it is strenuous. Thankfully it doesn't last too long and you'll soon be rewarded with jaw-dropping views. Congratulations! You made it! 




You can either return the way you came (which is what we did), or for a longer hike back you can connect to the Givens, Spicer, and Lowry Trail.



We were so proud of this little dude for hiking the entire trail himself that we rewarded him with a souvenir hat from the trading post. 



Before leaving the Amarillo, TX area, stop by Cadillac Ranch and leave your mark! Don't forget to bring the cans of spray-paint!




Roadschooling in Amarillo? You may want to also check out the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. 


Be sure to follow us on all of our adventures on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures and check the Travel tab here on my blog.

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com*** 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Splash and Relax at Galveston's Premier RV Resort



When I found out our daughter's gymnastics competition would be held at the Galveston Island Convention Center, I went straight to RV Parky and google to start researching RV parks in the area. I came across Stella Mare RV Resort and instantly fell in love with the pictures of the amenities - this place has it all! Heated pool, splash pad, playground, and more. I booked three nights. The "Daily Rate" listed on the receipt came up as $150ish... Ok, that may be a lot more than we typically spend at a resort RV, but this trip was doubling as our vacation and we had a lot of accomplishments to celebrate. Plus, it beat the $300 a night hotel rate at the Hilton convention center. So I went ahead and paid the $150ish deposit for what I thought was just the first night of our three night stay. Boy was I surprised (in the best way possible) when we checked in and I was informed that we were all paid up. The $150 wasn't our daily rate! It was the right for the entire 3 night stay!!! I could not believe that this gorgeous resort that we had just pulled into was about  $50 a night (we did stay in the off season and had a promo code we used during booking). We have stayed at some rustic campgrounds for more than that! So if you want an affordable RV Resort with all the amenities in Galveston, this is your place! 



The roads are paved and the sites are level concrete pads with lush green space. The pads are plenty big to accommodate even the largest camping units and have full hook ups. Upon arrival, you will be guided to your site by friendly staff. Each site has a bench which flips up to double as a table. There is complimentary Wi-Fi (that actually worked!) throughout the park. The bathhouses are clean and spacious with laundry facilities. 



A 3000 square foot observation deck allows you sit, relax, and enjoy the ocean view. If you want to go to the beach, there is beach access directly across the street (it is a busy roadway, but with patience we were able to safely cross with our 7 kids).



The resort itself offers so many water activities that our kids actually preferred to stay and play at the resort the rest of the time rather than go anywhere else. The pool is heated and offers several different points of entry, including stairs and a walk in incline that was perfect for our littles. There is also a shallow area with an in-pool lounging areas that is perfect for moms to relax while the toddlers play. You can also sit and relax under one of the poolside fountains. 



Nearby is a spacious splash pad - the largest of any on the island. It provided hours of fun for our kiddos. 



When you are ready to dry off, there is a large playground on a sand island for the kids run off any energy they have left. Nearby is a covered tiki bar and porch swings to relax on.



We stayed on site 17, which backs up to a field with beautiful horses. One woman mentioned that they are retired police horses, but I have not been able to verify that. The horses would come to the fence and allow the kids to pet them.



My husband ran into a buddy of his that he deployed with several years ago (small world!). He has been living at the resort for a few months as he is working in the area, and agrees that it is the best around. 

If you plan to leave the resort, it is just like any other touristy beach town. There is a lot of traffic and parking is hard to find. We used Jeff's Cab and Shuttle Service. Drivers were on time and prices were reasonable. 

Roadschooling in Galveston? Don't miss Moody Gardens and Anahuac National Wildlife Center. Here are some books you may want to check out:


Oh, and if your route to/from Galveston happens to take you through Longview, Tyler, or Marshall, Texas, be sure to check out Jucy's Hamburgers. They really are the best burgers in Texas (and the best burger we have ever had!).

For more adventure guides be sure to check out our Travel Page and follow us on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com*** 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

WWII Part 3: D-Day and Resistance Fighters

We continued our study of World War 2 using MasterBooks America’s Story 3 as our backbone. Even though our focus this year is on American History, I still felt that it was important to expand upon this subject and understand what was going on in other countries as well. I decided that while we were learning about D-Day we would also read some historical fiction that focused on the French resistance.



The Magic Treehouse books are enjoyed by all our kids. They are quick reads and spark curiosity. The World At War Magic Treehouse Super Edition was the perfect introduction to tie in D-Day and the French Resistance. The front cover shows Jack and Annie parachuting into France. So on one rainy afternoon we decided that we were going to explore paratroopers of WW2 a little bit more. We watched the US Army Paratrooper training video. 




We made paratroopers out of army men and coffee filters. And all week long the kids played on their jungle gym and jumped off pretending to be paratroopers. 





CREATIVE WRITING PROMPT: You just parachuted behind enemy lines... finish the story. 

We then watched several YouTube videos of D-Day. On one of the videos the soldier talked about low crawling to safety once he hit the ground. We watched an Army training video on low crawling, and then the girls set up a low crawling training course in our bedroom.



We discussed couriers of the French Resistance and how sometimes you would have to quickly hide or camouflage yourself or your bike to stay hidden from Nazi soldiers. Our kids were riding their bikes in the back yard pretending to be couriers when a member of the French resistance approached them with the V is for Victory sign and warned them that Nazi soldiers were coming down the road. They quickly had to ditch their bikes and hurry into my house to hide.





We discussed air raids and the sounds of World War 2



We read Twenty and Ten, another heart warming story of bravery and courage during the French Resistance. Learn for your Life has an activity guide with some engaging activities and questions, which we used to help study the book. 



Our boys are also huge Curious George fans, so we read The Journey that Saved Curious George and followed their travels on our globe.

I hope your little learners enjoyed these activities as much as our children did! Be sure to Follow us on Instagram @Pocketful_of_treasures and tag us in your photos! Check out the Homeschool Tab for more learning inspiration.

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com***

Friday, March 12, 2021

Learning through Journaling - A Homeschool Science Study on Trees

 We have used Apologia science curriculum for 7 years now and absolutely love it. However, a few years into our homeschooling journey we ditched the notebooks and started journaling. Please know that just because this is what is working for us, it does not make this method better or right for everyone. If you are new to homeschooling like we were 7 years ago, you may need the structure of the notebooks. You may want to do the notebooks and a nature journal. That was simply too much for me to us to keep up with and I found that less structure leads our crew to more learning. Or perhaps you use a different science textbook. The concept of journaling can be applied to other curriculums and even other subjects. So, here is what that looks like in our homeschool. This year we are studying botany, which included a study on trees.



Our kids are awesome at identifying trees by their leaves. They have done leaf rubbings in their nature journal since 2015 when were roadschooling and started keeping nature journals. And while they have certainly noticed different types of barks on our nature hikes, we had never formally discussed identifying trees by their barks, which since we are in the middle of winter can be quite useful.



They did several bark rubbings, taped them into their nature journals, and labelled the trees. 



We keep science vocabulary and definitions in our journals, so they drew a cutout of a tree and labelled the layers.



Did you know that you can measure tree growth not only by its rings, but also by measuring the distance between the terminal bud scars? We did not know that before reading it in Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany. We headed to the yard and measured some trees. All experiments and activities are recorded in the journals. This time we chose to graph the growth.



When it was clear that the trees grew the most in 2018, we headed to the internet to do some research to find out what happened in 2018. It turns out it was one of the wettest years on record!



When we read about phototropism, we went on a nature hike to try to look for examples. Guess where we drew the examples we found? That's right! In our journals!



I then had our little learners brainstorm some ideas about what happened to the tree that caused it grow like that. I like to tie in life lessons whenever possible, so we discussed how resilient God made trees. Sometimes when we are trying things one way and it's not working, we just need to find another way. They wrote a creative story from a trees perspective about the day another tree fell on top of it.



We also read about the great sequoia trees. Our oldest remembered that I had been there years ago and wanted to look through my scrapbook of the trip. They were fascinated, so I kept that learning spark going and we headed to YouTube to watch more videos on the giant sequoias and even found a drawing video for their journals. 

We tie in other books with the little ones. After reading The Giving Tree they journaled some of the ways trees benefit us.

The children have a journal for every year of science and love looking back through them; reliving their learning adventures again.

We'd love for you to follow us on our homeschool journey on Instagram. Check out the homeschool tab for more learning fun.
K-6 Science MP3AudioBooks

***Pocketful of Treasures is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com***