This post is sponsored by Oak Meadow! Check them out for nature centered, fun curriculum!
We are finally getting settled into our new home, which means school is back in session at the Aliano house! We tend to homeschool year-around — in a very loose sense. We work harder in quiet seasons and take breaks when we need to (like when Mama has surgery or we need to move across the country). The ebb and flow works for us most of the time. We’ve had quite a few breaks this spring and summer, so I am ready to get into the routine of working with the kids.
Using Oak Meadow for so many years has taught me the power of a daily routine with the kids. When I start the day with our routine, with some music and chores, then some “circle time” together, things go so much more smoothly. I am hoping that the familiar routine will help all of the kids feel more at home here, and we can all feel more grounded.
So, this school week, we kicked off with a special breakfast of Blueberry muffins (my favorite!), some kitchen dancing, and then, we packed up to explore our new neighborhood.
One of the things I need the most in a home is a green space near by. There is something healing about being able to breathe in fresh air, and feel the breeze and play in a nice green space. We moved to suburbia – I am telling you, I am not sure the midwest has realized that online shopping is a thing because there is nothing here but houses and every single store you could ever dream of. But, despite the fact that they’ve paved paradise and put up a parking lot, we do have a small green oasis just around the corner.
Today, the goal was to gather small samples of as many different leaves as we could find. We wandered around the path (and off the path a bit) and gathered leaves, and some flowers too. We stopped by the playground to meet some of the neighborhood kids, and then we hauled our leaves home. We’ve never been to this part of the country before, so we really enjoyed examining our leaf samples. We pulled out our nature guide to try and identify the trees from the leaves.
We’ve never been to this part of the country before, so we didn’t recognize all the trees in our part. We really enjoyed examining our leaf samples to see if we could guess what they were. Luckily, we have a wonderful nature guide that has many of the leaves illustrated.
Once Bug had finished identifying all of the leaf samples, we set up some trays with paint, and opened up our Oak Meadow Crafts for the Early Grades for a little project. Creating art with the leaves was incredibly simple (whoo hoo for that!). I cut up a few inexpensive kitchen sponges and then showed the kids how to use them to sponge around the outside of the leaves to create a stencil of the leaf.
All of the kids got really into the project, layering the different leaves and creating beautiful patterns on their papers. Little Miss was so careful and deliberate to stamp carefully (it does take a certain level of fitness to hold the leaf still while sponging around it). It’s fun to see how much she has matured just over the summer.
This project was the perfect nature-centered activity for our new school year. Now, I have to admit, it’s not always easy for me to say “yes” to hands-on, messy projects like this one. One thing that helps is having a variety of materials on hand, organized and ready to go.
Luckily, Oak Meadow understands parents like me, and they have craft kits for each grade level — and, they’re giving away one craft kit to a lucky OPC reader. I hope this kit encourages the winner to get their hands a little bit dirty this year in the name of art and exploration with their children!
Enter to win using the widget below!