Kindergarten Home School Week 7: Tuesday

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For the second time, I built Travis’s school lessons around a summer K-to-1st grade workbook instead of the school’s lesson plan. This method continues to engage him far more.

9-9.30: STEM. The corresponding workbook page was about following directions for a train maze (words like up, behind, left, right, etc.). Travis gamely followed with a pencil…and then it was time to engineer the real thing!

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He set up a track with masking tape and then gave me instructions toward “treasure”. Things got a bit off track (pun intended!) when he started adding Magna-tile structures as traps along the way, but I guess it was good to encourage extra building and imagination!

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As a bonus, the train play kept baby sister busy, too.

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9.30-10: Weather. The corresponding workbook page was about packing for a trip to the hot desert, crossing off items that didn’t belong in the suitcase. We made this hands-on with a real suitcase after!

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Travis selected shorts, baby swim diapers, summer sandals, and other hot weather gear. We even threw in a little subtraction: If I have five items and angry pirates take two, how many items are left? Get silly with your subtraction stories!

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10-10.30 – Snack/free play. Chances are that suitcase full of items will spark a game or two. Meanwhile I kept baby sister busy with magazines.

10.30-11: Science. Our encyclopedia page of the day was about sunrise and sunset, as well as a solar eclipse. Travis followed the QR code to a video about a total eclipse. We then tried to recreate one at home! How could the tiny moon block out the enormous sun? With a Styrofoam ball on a pencil as our moon and a big beach ball as the sun, we explored the idea.

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We took turns holding each item and walking down the hall away from each other to see how perspective (his big word for the day!) allowed the small ball to block the bigger one.

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11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-2: Outside. A nature walk was also a mini lesson on migration today.

“School” ended thereafter since Tuesday is his half day. We rounded things out with a board game and a little movement play, but he also had time to socialize with a friend online.

Our bedtime story for review was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, an old favorite, but it was interesting to read it in a new light. He answered questions after like who was the main character, and what problem needed to be solved.

Tantrums today? Only when I made the mistake of seeing if he wanted to do the actual lesson plan sent home from his teacher (rainbow writing, writers workshop).

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These suggestions received lots of attitude, confirming my decision to “go rogue”. I thought he might enjoy the day’s social/emotional learning on the Power of Yet, but this too received only tantrums. Onwards!


Migration Means Moving

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Spring is in the air, and with it all the migrating animals that might be returning to your area. So it’s the perfect time for a little lesson on migration! This lesson kicked off what will be a series of spring-themed recipes from Raddish Kids in the coming weeks.

The lesson plan from Raddish featured the movement of both animals and people. However, I felt that the topic of children migrating, particularly due to conflict, would be upsetting to Travis. So we focused on the animal aspect of migration, beginning with a few suggested videos. If your child is older, consider sharing an online read of Where Will I Live, by Rosemary McCarney. You can ask your child about times your family has moved, and reasons why people might move, or discuss what makes migration different from a vacation.

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After the intro videos, we set off a nature walk in search of a migrating animal! I thought the best we might luck into was a duck or a goose, so we were legitimately thrilled to spot two great blue herons. Wow!

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We also spotted what might have been a snake hole, which was a great opportunity to point out the difference between hibernation versus migration as a winter strategy.

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When we got home, it was time for a research project. This kind of project is new and advanced for Travis as a kindergartner, so I helped him pull up a picture of the great blue heron online, as well as a map of its range. He color-coded the map according to their winter, summer, and year-round habitats. We watched a few final videos about the bird to finish the lesson.

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Older kids can again get more detailed. Consider painting aspects of a particular animal’s migration, or posing bigger questions like how the animal finds its way, and how far it goes.

Vegetable Baked Risotto

Vegetable Risotto

Oven-baked risottos are my favorite way to prepare rice these days. Throw all the ingredients in a pot, cook for about one hour, and forget about it until dinner is served. No stirring required!


  • 1 cup short-grain rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup trimmed green beans
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed canned great northern beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a casserole dish.
  2. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

Let cool slightly before serving.


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“Stop” and “go” are important concepts, and there are lots of fun ways to introduce them to your toddler through play. Here’s a movement game with a few props thrown in for extra enjoyment.

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To make STOP and GO signs, I cut shapes with the words on colored construction paper: a red octagon for the former and a green circle for the latter. You can attach these to craft sticks, but I found that wooden kitchen spoons made for sturdier handles that Veronika could hold easily.

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I picked Veronika up and twirled her to the following ditty, holding the green sign:

Round and round and round we go,

Round and round and round we go,

Round and round and round we go.

Round and round and STOP!

Hold up the red sign and stop spinning on the last word of course! After dancing in my arms, the siblings took a turn holding hands and walking in a circle.

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Or sometimes Veronika just twirled herself about, holding the signs and grinning.

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Big brother Travis was a super helper showing her how to freeze at the right moment.

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Chances are your toddler will want to play with the signs even once the ditty fun is done.

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Magazine Ripping with Toddlers

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I find myself running low on craft supplies these days with stores closed due to coronavirus; it’s just not an option to dash out and buy one or two items! Luckily there are so many items around the house that turn into perfect toddler toys. To whit, today Veronika payed with old magazines!

I sat down with her and a few publications I’d already read, and simply showed her how to rip the pages out. She didn’t need to be shown twice!

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If it’s hard for your child to rip out full pages, you can alternatively rip about 20 or so pages ahead of time and give this stack to your child. Or give him or her the option of both: 20 loose sheets plus the rest of the magazine lying nearby.

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As for ripping individual pages into small pieces, I started out by making a tear for her to follow on each page, which she could further rend apart.

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But as she got the hang of it, she was able to rip even without this helpful start.

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I set a little canister next to her, for her to place the ripped pieces of paper into, but she wasn’t terribly interested in doing so.

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She did love looking at the pictures as she ripped the pages, though! When she spotted stars (a favorite), so even ran over to proudly show her brother!

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In sum, an easy way to keep hands busy.

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