Weeks One and Two

Health and Wellness

Lake Hiawatha adventure at pool then play park

Checking out the boats on the Mississippi River at Harriet Island

During our school day, we bike, play tag and kickball outside, and take walks for our ‘movement’ breaks.  There are a few more weeks until soccer and family swim begin again.  The boys are looking forward to our Minneapolis community school to begin, which means regular late-afternoon play park meetings with friends.


One of our last monarch chrysalises.  When it turns black, the butterfly will emerge within hours.

We continue to be amazed at the life cycle of the monarch and were excited when the butterfly ‘hatched’, all wrinkly.  It took about an hour for it to fully inflate its wings to full size.

We brought in some flower ‘food’ from our yard  (nectar) while we observed the butterfly.

Checking to see if the butterfly is male (two dark spots on the lower wings) or female (no dark spot on the lower wings)…it’s a boy!  Adver.net

Releasing the last two monarchs and discussing their migration.  Info from Monarch Butterfly.

Gleeful to see one of the four sunflowers finally opened (just four plants survived out of the four seed packets we planted months ago).

Green bean seeds we planted earlier this summer are producing tasty results
One zucchini growing well.  We also planted and are enjoying grape tomatoes and basil in our potted garden.

Language Arts

Week one’s letter was ‘C’.  We made cake, practiced writing the letter, and read many books featuring the letter.

Week two’s letter was ‘M’, and looked at Monet pieces in Monet by Parkstone Press, read books featuring the letter including Maiasaura by Susan Gray.

Ruby works in her preschool Brainquest book.  Parker practices phonics and printing through is homework and his Pearson phonics book.  He will be starting a reading log in his homework where he reads various BOB books to/with Dad.

Miles reads daily and completes a log which captures the titles and his impressions.  We have weekly spelling tests, and the words are usually Dolch sight words mixed with challenge words.   Cursive (Scott Foresman’s work book) is an exciting, new subject that Miles eagerly practices.  Explode the Code is our phonics work book.  Miles also uses Spectrum’s Writing exercises.

Math and Logic

In addition to our Singapore Primary math work books 1 (Parker) and 2 (Miles), we play math games similar to this one from First Grade a la Carte.


Art lesson inspired by Mrs. Brown’s Art, featuring horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines.

Learning about Monet and making a Water Lily painting (lesson similar to ARTASTIC!) using oil paint.  Miles and Parker liked how dark the paint could make the paper and how thick it was to apply.

The boys enjoyed following directions from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Weirdos and many an assortment of creatures on paper and in chalk on the sidewalk.

Trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Looking for scavenger hunt items


We were surprised to see a piano outside when we arrived at MacPhail for lessons.

We continue to enjoy summer lessons with our teacher!  In addition to music playing games and practicing various pieces, we are incorporating singing (as in learning new songs) into our music time at home.  This week we listened to and sang ‘Home on the Range’ from Let’s Sing Together! book and cd by Peter Yarrow, in preview of next week’s trip to Yellowstone National Park.  Miles thought the song made him too sleepy, but we talked about what the ‘range’ is and animals that live in that region.  Our next songs will be from Children’s Songbag by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, which has the music, lyrics, history of the song, and ideas for movement.

Social Studies

Looking at state abbreviations and coloring the letter ‘M’ states.

Read Blizzard of the Blue Moon by Mary Pope Osborne and finding New York on the map and discussing The Great Depression.  We also have begun Evan-Moor’s Beginning Geography.

We got our first globe (we had been using a wall map up until now) and the boys have been pouring over it!

Summer Stay-cation Week Five


Solar oven plans from Ecohearth…pizza box meets foil, black construction paper, and newspaper.  This day we melted the cheese on tortilla chips in about thirty minutes.  Using our oven thermometer,  we saw that the solar oven warmed to about 150 degrees.

Another day we placed the solar oven in an even sunnier, all pavement area and it warmed to 250 degrees (it was about 98 degrees this day).  We melted a quarter cup of chocolate chips in about fifteen to twenty minutes (even after the oven got sprayed by the hose!).

Chocolate covered pretzels using the chocolate melted in our solar oven.

Language Arts

Checking out Central Library

Over a couple days of self-directed pace, Parker completed the word search.

Animal Jokes compiled by Pam Rosenberg was Miles’ favorite.  We also picked up many from the Berenstain Bear series and some by Chris Van Dusen.

Happy 4th of July!

Wabun Splash Pool


Ruby working on an ice sculpture, idea from The Chocolate Muffin Tree.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A favorite piece from Dale Chihuly.

Reading scavenger hunt items

Throwing a coin in the fountain

Health and Wellness

Checkers using items on hand.  We played lots of Star Wars Monopoly and war using decks of cards (and read lots of books) during the 100ish degree temperatures this week.

Cooling off at our local pool in the late afternoons.  We talked about heat-related illness and why we stay out of the sun and drink lots of water on upper-90 degree days.