We experienced the most gorgeous weather during our Leaf unit! We had compiled a long list of activities for the week and the majority required nice weather, so you can imagine our thankfulness! Here are a few things we did in addition to our scheduled MFWK work….
We started the week out by reading “Counting on the Woods” by George Ella Lyon. This is a nature based counting book with lovely photographs and a memorable meter. He carried this book in his mind on all our nature walks that week, repeating some of the rhymes and looking for similar finds. When we got home he made his own “Counting on Woods” book filled with the things he saw, numbered and recorded.
Later that day we read Louis Ehlert’s wonderful book, “Leaf Man.”
We bought a pack of double sided punch out leaves from the craft store and made our own leaf men. He loved this project! We ended up with an army of leaf men, all with their own backstory and role to play. We ended up teaching our leaf men all of our bible lessons this week.
We continue to use our little sand box for tactile letter practice along with our sand paper letters. His letters are slowly improving as we practice each week. He works on these small whiteboards first and then we work on our handwriting student sheet which we have a higher standard for. Of all the worksheets in each unit, this one always takes us the longest. We take our time to do our work carefully with great diligence and attention to detail. As one of my Classical Conversations students recently reminded me, “Ms. Elsie, practice makes permanent.” First we learn, which takes time and is often sloppy as shapes and ideas are sorted out; and then we practice, which takes time and requires great effort and excellence.
As I mentioned, we went for several nature walks during the course of this unit. Our local cypress dome was a must see! We found such a large variety of leaves on this particular walk.
He loved the cypress trees, but his favorite was the sawgrass. Ah, the river of grass. How beautiful it is.
By his request, we studied leaves later on in the week. He left the house early in the morning with one of his older brothers in order to collect specimens. We laminated them against white paper and took a half hour to identify them all. He made several water color paintings of different leaves to add to his notebook. We sorted leaves by shape and size and color and texture. We skip counted smaller leaves in various groupings with our songs from Classical Conversations.
The rest of the day was spent playing. He made several leaf crowns for different family members and spent a few hours playing outside in his “Fern Palace.”
This evolved into muddy, muddy play with all of his siblings as the afternoon wore on.
We also use The Homegrown Preschooler curriculum in our home and I love how easily everything blends together. It has really kept me on track! Gentle learning in the morning and non stop play in the afternoon.
There is pressure everywhere to make things much more rigorous at a much earlier age, but the research stands strong that children need play and a later start date with rigorous academics. I am reminded everyday that I do not teach to standardize my children, I teach to bless them with the opportunity to learn in their own unique way in their own time.