Monday, April 18, 2016

K4 December - Tundra Habitat

Yeah yeah December was awhile ago. But it was December folks, I've been busy. Plus then after December comes homeschool mommy burnout. Then throw pregnancy exhaustion and... well, yeah. It's been fun.

Aaaanyway, In December we learned about tundra/winter habitats as well as what animals do in the winter (hibernation, migration, or staying put).  Most of this was through library books, as December seemed more of a "cuddle up and read" month than a "lets do some worksheets" month, but here are some awesome resources for learning about tundra habitats and winter in case you are more on top of things than lazy me:

Whole month resources:

Week 1:
Hibernation and Migration Hibernating Animals cut and paste book Bears in winter book

Week 2:
Narwahl, Seal, Walrus, Whales, penguins Penguin dice game penguin pack penguin color by number penguin alphabet book

Week 3:
Polar Bear, Caribou, Snowshoe Hare, Snowy Owl Polar Bear Verbs Polar Bear counting

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Gospel Learning Plan - Book of Mormon Heroes

This year (2016-17) our gospel learning will be focused on the Book of Mormon.  You have probably seen the "Scripture Hero" every month in the Friend magazine.  When I saw it I felt like it was meant just for my boys, who are obsessed with super heroes, so it was decided that we would drop whatever other ideas I had and do the Book of Mormon Scripture Heroes this year.  I think the Friend did a great job, so I just added to it a little bit in order to make it work for our family.

(You will need access to the Friend magazine in order to follow along. Luckily it is published free online! Visit for access to the pages/issues referenced throughout the year.)

Our goal for the year is to assemble a "Scripture Heroes" book.  Each month we will add a few pages: I turned the poster from the magazine into a coloring page, reformatted the reading chart, added a few things to the checklist, and made a simple handwriting worksheet for the memory verse.  I will also try to incorporate learning about and practicing the hero's "super power".  There are often more practical ideas in the issue of the Friend that the hero was featured in. We have been spending 2 weeks on each scripture hero, which should equal about a whole school year's worth of study.

If you start the first week of September and spend two weeks on each section, leaving an extra week for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you *should* have the theme of service just before Christmas in December, Love just after Valentines Day in February, and Belief in the Prophets around the time of April General Conference and the April 6th anniversary of the restoration. Quite fitting!

*The links should pull up a 4 page free printable pdf for each hero so you can make your own Scripture Hero book.  Please let me know if the links don't work!*

Book of Mormon Scripture Hero pages:
0. How we got the Book of Mormon
1. Nephi (obedience)
2. Sariah (testimony)
3. Enos (prayer)
4.  Abinadi (courage)
5. Alma (repentance)
6.  Ammon (service)
7. Abish (missionary)
8. Captain Moroni (bravery)
9. Maidservant (speak up)
10. Samuel (testify)
11. Jesus (love)
12. Brother of Jared (faithfulness)
13. Lamoni's Queen (Belief in the prophets)
14. Mormon
15. Moroni

Sunday, November 1, 2015

K4 November: Woodland forest

Prepare yourself for printable overload!!!  People really get excited about their forest animals.  Seriously... wow. There is no possible way you could come close to doing all these fun things, but here's a roundup of some great resources for the animals we'll be studying this month. (seriously, I had to stop myself from listing more... I didn't even get into crafts!)  Remember, all the resources I share are free, but some sites require a free membership or limit the number of free downloads per month.

Due to this being the start of the busy holiday season, and the fact that I live a great many miles from any type of forest, there will be no field trip this month.  Our homeschool field trip group will be having a "first thanksgiving" feast, and we will likely be visiting a museum or two (unrelated to the unit, just as a fun outing).

NOVEMBER: Forest/woodlands – moose, chipmunk, ladybug, raccoon, beaver, eagle, monarch butterfly, blue jay, bat, owl, fox, stick insects

Week 14: insects, bugs, and birds – ponds bird anatomy birds, bats, and bugs pack birds pack bugs pack ponds pack pond math and literacy frogs and ponds pack pond patterns pond rhyming pond cut & paste pond addition pond graph pond graph pond animal babies

Week 15: moose, fox, owl moose counting fox rhyming fox and bear rhyming fox letter pairs fox letter pairs fox letter pairs fox counting on fox rhyming owl counting owl counting owl rhyming owl counting to 20 owl counting owl greater than owls and bats venn diagram

Week 16: beaver & chipmunk letter practice Beavers 3D shapes beavers letter pairs beaver graph beaver numbers to 15 beaver letter pairs beaver consonant pairs beaver letter pairs Squirrel and Acorn addition

Week 17: (Thanksgiving) turkeys Thanksgiving/turkey math Turkey 10 frame Turkey color by number Turkey number order roll a turkey game turkey add & sort turkey CVC words turkey facts cut & paste label a turkey turkey count and color turkey count backward turkey number order turkey matching letters turkey numbers to 10 turkey beginning sounds turkey beginning sounds turkey beginning sounds turkey subtraction to 6 turkey/pumpkin counting turkey rhymes turkey alphabet turkey reading short vowels turkey counting turkey counting

K4 October: Desert Habitat

Okay, October ended up being a bit of a bust.  We realized that all the outside house work we missed during the summer of sickness needed to be taken care of, so we spent some time outdoors playing in the leaves.  If you want to stretch just a bit, it could totally count as hands-on learning since we live in a desert. ;)  October is widely known as burnout month and I was definitely feeling it.  Thankfully our fieldtrip group also felt it and we had a fun field trip every week!  We went to the water treatment plant (saving/recycling water is essential in a desert!), to a corn maze/hayride/pumpkin patch, and had a Halloween costume party.  Also, would you believe our local library does not have a SINGLE book about camels?? for realsies.  I was annoyed.  But never fear, we watched some fun shows on Netflix and found some other great desert themed books.
OCTOBER: Desert – rattlesnake, viper, skunk, lizards/chameleon, beetle, tarantula (spiders), toad, cockroach, scorpion, camel, tortoise, kangaroo, bat
*field trip: st. George or west desert.  (We didn't end up doing either since we had so many other trips locally)  Here are the things we did instead.  Scroll through the pics for the learning resources. :)
Water treatment plant with some of our homeschool friends

Desert nature walk

Corn maze field trip

Desert exhibit at the aquarium

Monthlong: armadillos worksheet

Week 10: camel & kangaroo

 Week 12: snakes & lizards

 Week 13: (Halloween) bats & spiders Bats and Spiders activities Bats unit study bats activities counting bats bat race game

Since Halloween was on Saturday, we didn't do any candy math this week.  We'll do graphing with some of our candy in November.

We also had a discussion the week of Halloween about skeletons - they are really inside every animal (and human) but they couldn't stay together or move without muscles!  I'm not a big Halloween fan, but the boys both really loved seeing all the decorations around.  Little brother learned some new vocabulary: Spider, web, skeleton, monster, ghost, pumpkin, and bat.

Ghost craft we made at the library preschool time

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

K4 September: Ocean habitat

Okay I've gotta be honest here... July and August were mostly filled with morning (and noon, and night) sickness. School consisted of lots of books and Netflix... and that's okay! We learned a lot about dinosaurs and practiced our reading skills, which is all I really cared about anyway.  We still did some of the fun things I'd planned, but we certainly didn't get to everything.
Now, September has been filled with trying to catch up after being on survival mode for two months (and I do mean survival, we were eating from food storage and then the water was out for a week.  Not only was I stuck in bed, but we were camping out in our own home!)

So, now that it's halfway through September, I'll post everything I had planned to do for our ocean unit here, even though in reality it's been mostly reading books and watching Octonauts on Netflix. :)  Obviously it would be impossible to do all of this, but it's good to have lots of options!

Our field trip to the aquarium

-Ocean animal counting cards (free membership required)
-Ocean activities at this site
-Ocean animal classification game
-Coral reef seek and find game
-paint and make ocean
-3Dinosaurs printable ocean animal learning activities

Sea turtles, crabs, lobsters, crustaceans

-scripture story (2 weeks) Jesus calming the sea (yes, I realize it wasn't the ocean.)
 Verse: What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41)
-check out and read library books
-make crab pencil toppers (fun foam) to make writing practice more fun
-decorate theme wall with streamer "seaweed" and brown paper "sand"
-sea turtle writing page
-crab counting/match game

squid, octopus, jellyfish

-check out and read library books
-make octopus pencil toppers (fun foam & pipe cleaners)
-octopus counting:
-octopus subtraction worksheet
-octopus writing page
-field trip to the Great Salt Lake (closest thing we've got to an ocean around here!)

Whales, dolphins, and sharks

-check out and read library books
-scripture story (2 weeks) Jonah and the whale
 scripture verse: "Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" -Jonah 1:17
-dolphin sand art (purchased from Michaels - will help number recognition)
-3Dinosaurs shark activity pack
-Royal Baloo shark activity pack

fish, starfish, anemone, clams, deep sea creatures

-check out and read library books
-field trip to the aquarium
-sea life growing sponges (seen at Michaels and Dollar Tree), then sponge painting with them
-fish counting booklet
-fish phonics worksheet
-numbers to 5 schools of fish worksheet
-shark and fish word sort game

autumn - leaves, pumpkins, apples, corn, etc
(I know it's not animals, but I'm a sucker for fall! This is a good time to catch up on any activities you didn't get to, as well as do all the fun autumn crafts, activities, and nature walks that you possibly can! It's also a crazy time at our house with a birthday, harvesting and canning, making Halloween costumes, etc so I knew we'd need a week to slow down.)

-check out and read books about leaves changing colors, pumpkin life cycle, etc
-autumn opposites worksheet
-autumn addition worksheet
-autumn AB patterns worksheet
-autumn AAB patterns worksheet
-leaf patterns worksheet
-autumn pack
-pumpkin pack
-pumpkin shading practice

Autumn nature walk with some of our homeschool friends

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Master list of Netflix shows about animals for Preschoolers

I'll be honest, we watch a lot of TV around here.  Some days I'm good and don't allow any screen time, but some days its hours of television.  I do try to make it educational, though.  And I've found that my kids actually learn a whole lot!  Not only that, but they stay quiet and don't make a mess, which means I can actually get stuff done (or rest).  It is amazing!

So needless to say, we will be utilizing the TV and our Netflix subscription for school this year.  To help me gear the programming toward the themes we are studying, I made this master list of Netflix shows (mostly from PBS) my kids like and the episodes that might relate to things we are studying.  Hopefully it can be of help to you!  We will also be watching some documentaries and getting DVD's from our library, but for the sake of this list I just added TV programs.



With typical Dr. Suess silliness, this show presents real facts about real animals in a fun and simple way.  Not only that, but the kids are always sure to ask permission from mom and buckle up their seatbelts before heading out on any adventure.  Some support materials are available from PBS Kids' website.
Season 1:

1: Bees/ Bird Migration
2: nocturnal animals/ Hermit Crabs
3: Ants/ Robins & Nests
4: camels/whales
5: flowers/water & ice
6: silk caterpillars/ how animals clean themselves
7: tree-dwelling animals/ animal camouflage
8: rainforest/ snake moulting
9: animals using their tails/ beavers and dams
10: fireflies/ snails
11: penguins / wind
12: birds of paradise/ bats
13: maps/ termites
14: bowerbird / limpet
15: jumping animals / sloths
16: rainbows / animal footprints
17: reindeer / spiderwebs
18: bears & hibernation / trees
19: animals helping each other / dairy products
20: salmon / bamboo
21: cells / seeds
22: rabbits / squirrels
23: armadillos / wolves
24: compost / wren
25: skunk / aye-aye cat
26: fruit eating animals / seahorses
27: blue-footed booby bird / sea creatures
28: ocean / water cycle
29: kelp / giraffes
30: meerkat / leaves
31: animal hair / polar bears
32: desert creatures / elephants
33: honeyglide bird / chimpanzee
34: 4 seasons
35: animal maturity / animal environments
36: garbage / water conservation
37: eyes / water strider insect
38: butterflies / flamingos
39: animals with stripes / making wool
40: big cats / making flour

Season 2:

41: gravity / sneezing
42: space / hippopotamus
43: rubber / klipspringer
44: Mexican jumping beans and moths / animal hearing
45: beetles / animal tongues
46: manatees / making chocolate
47: waterbear / coral reef
48: the sky / skeletal system
49: stomachs / planets  
50: how animals carry babies / peregrine falcon
51: lemmings / the heart
52: gorillas / animals that look like dragons
53: giraffe weevils / pelicans
54: paper and recycling / polar bears
55: animal feet / octopus
56: crickets / peafowl
57: snow leopard / making glass
58: animals walking on many legs / cotton
59: ostriches / ears
60: skin / cleaner fish

Cat knows a lot about Christmas: caribou, elephants, dophins, crabs


The Kratt Brothers from my youth (remember Kratt's Creatures and Zobomafoo?) are back with all new adventures in this series from PBS.  The real life Chris and Martin introduce the episode, then transform into cartoon form where they don creature power suits to become different animals and learn about their interesting features, usually while fighting a villain (a Cruella DeVille-esque fashion designer making earrings from endangered seahorses, for instance).  Some additional resources are available from PBS Kids.


1: Koala
2: cheetah
3: cheetah
4: proboscis monkey (Asian jungle)
5: caracal cat (africa)
6: zebra
7: orangutan (Asian jungle)
8: deep sea creatures
9: African food chain
10: raccoon
11: bees
12: gecko
13: wolf
14: porcupine
15: bat
16: shark
17: birds of paradise
18: nocturnal animals
19: birds of prey

Season 2

1: lion
2: hippo
3: African animals power challenge
4: termites
5: turkey
6: giraffe
7: spider monkey
8: spiders
9: jaguar
10: hummingbird
11: rainforest – monkeys, jaguars, sloths
12: seahorses
13: dolphins
14: frogs
15: sea turtle
16: plankton, blowfish & coral reefs
17: road runner & lizard
18: frogfish, coral reef
19: snowshoe hare, lynx
20: woodpecker, beetle
21: rattlesnake
22: skunk
23: gila monster
24: elf owl (desert)
25: groundhog
26: north American winter/snow animals


I was wary of Octonauts at first, it seemed like another annoying kids show.  But once I sat down to watch it I really liked it.  These guys work as a team to rescue various marine animals while learning interesting facts about them.  At the end of each episode is a "creature report" to summarize what we've learned.
Season 1:

1: lobster / squid
2: crustaceans / walrus
3: flying fish / narwhal
4: octopus / urchin & carrier crab
5: humpback whale / remipedes
6: crabs & orcas / blobfish
7: crab / whale shark
8: shark / jellyfish
9: sailfish / vampire squid
10: humuhumu fish / spider crab
11: kelp forest / hermit crab
12: pilot fish & shark / beluga whale
13: sea cucumber / sea turtle
14: slime eel / orca
15: sea star / comb jelly
16: snapping shrimp / kelp forest
17: elephant seal / sardine
18: eel / dolphin
19: parrotfish / electric torpedo rays
20: deep sea worm / blue whales
21: seahorse / anemone
22: cuttlefish / lemon shark
23: dolphin / spookfish
24: oarfish / combtooth blenny
25: marine iguanas / lanternshark
26: penguin
27: octopus

Season 2:

1: shark / sea krait
2: penguin / coconut crab
3. Squid / jawfish
4. Swordfish / fiddler crab
5. Puffer fish / manta ray
6. Sperm whale / squid
7: bowhead whale & narwhal / damselfish
8: Amazon River
9: parrotfish / sea dragon
10: manatee / octopus
11: triggerfish / crocodile
12: eel / lionfish
13: sea snot

Season 3:

1: waterbear / barracuda
2: cone snail / artificial reef & frogfish
3: humpback whale / platypus
4: mudskipper / jellyfish
5: sea skater / siphonophore
6: urchin / jellyfish
7: pelican / hammerhead shark
8: crabs / sea pig
9: sea sponge / sea turtle
10: seal / yeti crab
11: arctic
12: mariana trench
13: Antarctica , sea star, urchin

I'm sure we all remember Magic School Bus, and so did the folks at Netflix!  I've loved re-watching this show with my kids, who aren't phased by the 90's-ness of it all.  Not all the episodes are about animals, but I've listed the ones that are. (some resources are available online and from your local library!)
Season 1:

4: ocean
5: frog / habitats
7: animals of the desert
12: bees & social animals

Season 2:

3: butterflies
4: dinosaurs
9: bats
12: reptiles

Season 3:

1: arctic
2: praying mantis
4: bees
8: salmon
11: plants
12: rain forest

Season 4:

1: chickens
2: mussels
3: swamp habitats
11: underwater
12: wild animals


As the name implies, this series focuses on dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.  It also brings up natural disasters, family dynamics, and other things kids face.  Honestly, I don't love it, but we'll be watching some episodes during our dinosaurs unit.

Season 1:

1: theropods, laramidia
2: cryolophasaurus
3: starts and nests
4: sanajeh, life cycle
5: raptorex
6: dinosaur vs. other prehistoric animals, flowers
7: protoceratops, earthquakes, dinosaur eggs
8: ancient birds, forest fires
9: drought
10: hurricanes
11: volaticotherium, lambeosaurus
12: winter, aurora borealis
13: elasmosaurus, cryolophasaurus
14: shonosaurus, saurosposeidon, microcraptors
15: dinosaurs A-Z
16: more dinosaurs A-Z
17: alamosaurus
18: diplodocus
19: Apatosaurus
20: sauropods, geysers
21: prehistoric crocodiles, ancestry
22: eggs
23: dilophasaurus, meteor shower
24: pachycephalosaurus, amber
25: mosasaurus
26: eggs


I just discovered this show today.  It's more of your traditional nature documentary, with live footage and narration rather than adventure cartoons like the PBS shows.  That being said, my kids also found it a little more boring than the cartoon shows listed above.  However, it's nice to have some 'real' video, and the narration is all from the animal babies and mother's perspectives about what it's like to grow up as a zebra, or a bird, or a cheetah.  One more issue: it's Australian, so some of the animal names are pronounced differently.  Get ready to explain to your kids that a "brumby" is a horse!

Season 1:

1: ants & elephants
2: cheetah & tern
3: horse & turtle
4: parakeet & zebra
5: sea horse & dingo
6: kangaroo & echidna
7: butterfly & crocodile
8: clownfish & bear
9: sea lion & gazelle
10: pelican & koala
11: falcon & cat
12: sea & air
13: African savannah

Did you know that Netflix made a collection of Sesame Street episodes that are about animals?! I didn't either.  But sure enough there is an "Animals & Nature" collection of six episodes:

1: Fireflies
2: bugs
3: birds
4: baby bird
5: spiders
6: dog

Sid the Science Kid is not a show about animals, but it's got a couple episodes related to animals.  I actually like this show as it makes the scientific process and real science accessible for kids, and am planning to use it as a springboard for K science next year.
Season 1:
26: how animals communicate
27: how animals build their homes
28: dirt as a home for bugs
29: leaves as a food for animals
30: bugs

Here they are, the traditional wildlife documentary!  There are 8 50 minute episodes in this collection:

1: polar bears
2: crocodiles
3: leopards

4: eagles
5: humpback whales
6: wolves
7: natural wonders of the world
8: great wildlife show through the seasons

A less traditional approach to wildlife documentaries, these take an animals-eye view of the world through some very interesting camera angles, and by zooming in to their tiny homes.
1: African shrew, grasshopper mouse
2: chipmunk, tree shrew
3: urban marmoset, rhinoceros beetle

The complete opposite of Hidden Kingdoms, this short series features large ocean animals.
1: humpback and blue whales
2: dolphins
3: how whales communicate

Honorable Mention:
BINDI’S BOOTCAMP (reality/gameshow for kids about various wild animals)
This is mostly for the older set, a kid's gameshow hosted by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's daughter.  Looks cute, but we probably won't be using it.
DID I FORGET SOMETHING?  If you know of a show about animals on Netflix that I forgot, please share! I'd love to include it here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Resources and Room Organization for K4 2015-2016

Okay... This post will be heavily edited later on, right now I will be pooling all of my ideas and online resources here until I sort them where they need to go.

As far as the room, on our short wall (under the window) we will feature our biome/habitat of the month with simple decorations, books, and the animals we'll be studying.  On our big empty wall, I will have a space for each class of animals where we can classify all the animals we learn about and display them on the wall. Somehow. Haven't figured out the logistics yet.


Of course loads of library books, Wild Kratts episodes, and Netflix documentaries. We also have a National Geographic Kids subscription, books on Mammals and Reptiles/Amphibians from National Geographic, and a few different kids animal atlas books (I believe one is Usborne and one is DK.) animal games for kids more online animal activities easier animal activities sorted by habitat more kids animal information (forest items) Butterfly lifecycle Bats and spiders birds bugs Desert Dinosaur farm plants ocean penguins ponds sharks zoo winter/tundra/arctic flowers, bugs frogs, etc spring, bugs, frogs, etc winter, tundra, ac Woodland/forest animals reindeer/Christmas reindeer/Christmas bat unit study sharks unit study arctic animals Dinosaurs dogs turkeys Sentence work, many with animal themes word families activities (not all animals) Kindergarten sight word worksheets (not animals)
Teacher's Notebook downloads (free, requires free membership):