Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Monday

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Week Ten? I had to do a double-take typing in that title, but I’m happy to report that things feel… good. We’ve settled into a nice rhythm and I dare say we’re all getting the hang of it. There even was a magical moment for about 5 minutes today, with both kids learning from screens, when nobody needed me for (gasp!) just a moment.

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9-9.30: STEM. After a summer workbook page about drawing and labeling the parts of a plant, Travis and I turned it into reality; a ripe avocado was all we needed. Pit the avocado, then pierce it with three toothpicks (they’ll poke in more easily than you think).

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Fill a glass jar with water nearly to the top. Position the pit, broad side down, so it just touches the water, then place on a sunny windowsill and wait! We hope to see the roots growing within a couple of weeks. (Meanwhile, little sister was planting seeds of her own!).

9.30-10: Math. Travis did workbook pages counting the number of animals (or Star Wars creatures!) in a group. This involved topics like greater than/less than, as well as skip counting by 5’s. Then we made a “Star Wars space train”. We pretended our train was arriving at a new planet and made up a math problems for each stop. “Two people got off, so 20 minus 18 equals…”) and so on. Needless to say, then it was time for…

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10-10.30: Recess/snack. Travis needed time to play with all those Star Wars toys (and little sister’s birds!).

10.30-11: ELA. He did a page in his writing workbook, then drew a picture to go with it using 5 colors for his age, 5!

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11-11.30: I tried to interest Travis in his Spanish teacher’s video about big and small (grande and pequeno). But after pointing out to me drums that were big and small, Travis told me the kids were having “brother/sister time” and they were having so much fun I let them be and made muffins!

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Zoom. The time with his class did not go well today. Travis was rudely making faces the entire time. I’m reminded that our kids learn a lot more than “learning” in a classroom, and there will be a bumpy ride getting back into a routine in 1st grade.

2-3: Outside. This portion of the day, on the other hand, was glorious. Nixing any lesson plans, I just watched the kids run around in a meadow filled with butterflies and dandelions.

3-3.30: P.E. To get moving for his Monday special, we danced to a favorite song (the Imperial March of course) and then Travis did Star Wars-themed yoga.

We finished with a bedtime read of This is Me: A Story of Who We Are & Where We Came From.

See you tomorrow!

Zucchini Muffins

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We’ve had carrots in our cookies and sweet potatoes in our pie, so next up in our garden tour of dessert was zucchini baked into muffins! If you prefer, use 1 flaxseed “egg” in place of the Ener-G eggs below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  1. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Stir in the zucchini, then add the olive oil, almond milk, vinegar, vanilla, and Ener-G eggs. The batter will be thick.
  3. Divide evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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Baked Agave Fishless Filets

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Gardein makes a wonderfully flaky, just-fishy-enough fishless filet that has been a nice intro to fish for my two little vegans. This homemade sauce adds just a touch of sweetness, and makes frozen food feel gourmet!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 Gardein fishless filets
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the agave, mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice; set aside.
  2. Arrange the fish in a baking dish and drizzle with the sauce. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.

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Plant a Seed

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Although toddlers won’t grasp the idea of a plant life cycle yet, or how a single seed can grow into a full plant, toddlers do love the components of gardening, namely: water, dirt, and seeds. So today Veronika “planted” her first seed, partly as a sensory experience, and partly for a little science.

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First I set out a little cup of dried beans for her to play with, simply to explore. She loved transferring these back and forth between two cups.

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Using a little dirt from the yard outside, we began scooping dirt into one of the cups.

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I filled our watering can with just a little water so she could make the dirt damp but not soaked. Of course I knew this would turn into lots of play scooping dirt and pouring water, and that’s exactly what happened. But that was half the fun! A little bug even hitchhiked its way in with the dirt, and she loved watching it on the tray.

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Before she could tire of the game, I showed Veronika how to sprinkle a few of her bean seeds into the dirt, and press them in gently.

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We gave them a little extra water as a finishing touch.

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I don’t expect these to really sprout, since we didn’t germinate them properly). But the cup is in a sunny spot on our windowsill, and Veronika looks at it proudly! Either way, the whole process is a fantastic intro to gardening.

Note: If you want to include a little art, use a paper cup instead of a plastic one and have your toddler draw on it first. Or you could even decorate a proper clay pot!

Bird Busy Box

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If you’re not familiar with “busy boxes”, the idea is to fill a small craft bin with just a few supplies, from which a toddler can keep occupied solo for a time. Veronika was a bit too young for this particular box to be a true busy box, but we did have fun with it together! The bird theme felt just right for springtime.

As prep, I glued wiggle eyes to several small Styrofoam balls, then placed them in a bin along with the following: little pieces of pipe cleaner and feathers.

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I showed Veronika how to poke a piece of pipe cleaner into each face as a beak.

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Then the feathers can be inserted any which way to complete your birds! Older toddlers could take it from here as a busy box, but Veronika needed help with the mechanics of poking in the sharp point of the feather. “Yellow bird!” she said with delight to one that featured predominantly yellow feathers.

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We mixed and matched colors, and then started experimenting with the placement of the feathers. If they stuck upright, the birds looked like turkeys. (In fact, you could consider this as a busy box around Thanksgiving and design all the birds with upright feathers!).

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If the feathers trailed towards the back, the birds looked like peacocks.

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Out to the side and they looked like little song birds or eagles.

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Big brother Travis was the one who came up with the idea of adding additional pipe cleaner pieces to be feet.

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Soon we were fluttering and tweeting our birds through the air.

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These brought such a big smile to her face!

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So a fantastic craft, whether as a true busy box to entertain your toddler solo or to engage in together.

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