“There’s nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as messing about in boats.”

~Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

To bide my time while I compile lessons and give order to the United States/Tall Tale/Road Trip unit I am planning for June, the kiddos and I are going through a series of mini lessons. There really is no particular rhyme or reason to what topics I am picking (I know, tsk tsk), but I am trying to focus on summery or nature topics, anything that will allow me versatility among disciplines and that is easy to differentiate.

Today’s topic: B is for Boat. Most of my printables (and even the idea for the craft) were from Enchanted Learning, and I have to say how thankful I am that our ES gave me RSCS’s subscription login now, instead of having me wait until school starts. I also want to encourage anyone thinking about purchasing a membership to Enchanted Learning to do so. I had thought and thought about it for the past couple of years, as link after link kept sending me to the site, but I was trying to wait it out until at least Katie’s official K year. I actually had no idea that River Springs Charter purchased a group subscription, and that was a GREAT surprise. Knowing what I know now about the site, it would have been totally worth it to us to have purchased a membership for this past preschool year. Most of the material is K and up, but there is much we could have used.

Both kiddos started out with a rebus poem about boats, glued into their journals. Then Eric colored a “Bb” while Katie did a fill-in-the-missing-letters phonic boat-themed worksheet. Both of them (well, mainly Katie, colored a picture of a mother and child in a boat based on a work of Mary Cassatt’s, which Katie knows well).

The best work from Katie and Eric today:

Katie did a color-by-adding boat themed addition worksheet. Truthfully, this took a loooong time. There were many sums, and we talked about shortcuts…but being right after lunch (we saved this for Eric’s nap time), she was more tired by then and I did need to redirect her attention a few times. She did complete it all, though. Math and Katie get along well. In order to help her take a few shortcuts, I talked to her for the first time today about the commutative property of addition. Strange as it may be, since it is fundamental to addition, I have never brought this up before now, partly out of waiting to see if she discovered it.  Still, I gave her the hint to use the work she had already done on problems like 4+3 to solve problems like 3+4 without having to use her counters. She started catching on, and the latter half of the sheet went a bit faster.

And I was proud of Eric for his work on this worksheet, especially in his ability to follow directions. He caught on that every vessel or boat-part was a different color, and he really focused on doing this. It is so sweet to see how proud he is to be sitting with Sister in their little school room at their table. He wants to please—I can see it in the way he smiles when he is praised. A few more months of training him to have school with us, and hopefully we’ll be in a smooth place come September.

After our morning school session and dance party, we got dressed, tidied up the play room upstairs (finally!), and then came down for our science/craft: making boats! We used two Greek yogurt container lids from breakfast this morning, Play Doh, construction paper, and straws. Easy, easy…and they both could do it. They spent time decorating their triangle sails. It was an opportunity, too, to talk about buoyancy.

Sister and Brother are ready with their homemade boats.

We filled up the water table and tested them out. Eric’s capsized. I envisioned a whole set of tests to conduct with our boats, but by the time we got to this point, everyone was starting to get hungry for lunch.

Sister pushed Eric on his bike while I got lunch ready

My babies

And, a true surprise and treat this afternoon: a postcard all the way from Thailand! Our cousins have been abroad for a few months and are coming home soon. It was great fun to read the postcard (and learn a new Thai word!) and look at the postage and the pictures. Thanks, J, F, V, and O!