In preparation for our road trip across the U.S. to Shil’s wedding this summer, the kiddos and I have been following a relaxed pace through our “On the Road” unit. I am behind on posting what we’ve done, including a great morning lesson with the Bergon family emphasizing “left and right.” Katie and Eric and I have been working on the U.S. map, the compass rose, map reading, and so much more. We’re also working our way through some lesson plans pertaining to each state (or as many as we can fit in before we leave, anyway!!)  through which we plan to drive.

Recently we finished our lessons on Arizona (I had posted about our southwest stencil work, study of kachina dolls, and our map work). We watched videos from YouTube and BrainPop Jr. on the desert and, in particular, the growth of saguaro cacti. We also worked on a saguaro craft, and we enlisted my dad for a practical lesson. Dad has been growing cacti for years.

I pre-cut cactus shapes, and then the kiddos made saguaro blossoms from tissue paper and glued them on.

We had, at this point, watched several small instructional videos about saguaros. We used our craft time to review everything we knew about them.

A couple of days later, my dad came over and offered a very well prepared lesson about growing and caring for cacti. We talked about what they needed to grow, did a test to see how water runs down them, cut one open, discussed how they reproduce, looked at one that had dried up, and transplanted them into the stenciled pots we made earlier in our Arizona studies.

Boppa teaches the kiddos. He was so prepared, which I very much appreciate!

Transplanting part of a cactus…my parents have had that cactus since before I was born!! It has bloomed only once, which I remember from when I was little. It used to sit on the front porch of our Yorba Linda house.

As a bonus, my dad brought his compass and helped to map out directions in our yard.

We’ve had a busy social calendar lately and the kiddos both caught a cold late last week. The cold really had Eric in a state, so we just took it easy and, I have to admit, watched a lot of TV. Katie and I spent time reading Island of the Blue Dolphins whenever we could (we’re finished, and she LOVED it). As of today, though, we’re back into our unit with New Mexico. For New Mexico, we’ll continue to talk about maps and legends and the desert, but our emphasis is Georgia O’Keeffe. Although she was born in Wisconsin, she really is known for the paintings she did while living in New Mexico. We’ve been working on our O’Keeffe plans today, in fact, but the kiddos are currently taking a break to build a fort.

Time for lunch, now!