Day 1: Fruit
I gathered up a bunch of different fruit that we had around the house and put them all in a small bag. Alex would stick his hand in and try to guess what the fruit was by feel. He got them all except the citrus ones that all felt the same. We used a banana, orange, grapefruit, lime, kiwi, apple, peach, and grapes. I would have liked to have a strawberry and maybe blueberries or raspberries, but they are too expensive to buy for just one piece of fruit. I used the books we had that had a picture of a strawberry and a blueberry on them instead.
Then we lined up all the fruit on the table and I printed out and cut apart pictures of a tree, a vine, and a bush. Here's it is in all its glory if you want it. It's sideways.
Alex sorted the fruit according to what type of plant they grow on. I had to help with the citrus again, but he got it right that a kiwi grows on a vine. It must have been a good guess because I had to look it up before we started school.
Then we talked about how fruits are all different. We looked at the little banana seeds, the orange peel, and we cut open an apple to look at the star in the middle.
Next we read the book How Do Apples Grow?
It goes into a bit of detail about stamens and pistils and ovaries and pollen and needing bees, etc, but each little section was short enough that Alex didn't lose interest. I was honestly surprised. I thought it would be over his head. But it had good pictures, and that counts for a lot.
Then on to The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.
This book made me laugh out loud. It's totally cute. It written as though the reader is talking to the mouse, and the mouse's facial expressions are a hoot. Good fun.
The we read the classic Blueberries For Sal.
We've gotten this book from the library at least four times over the lifetime of my kids and they will still sit entranced while I read it. Though they also think the main character is a boy. This kind of book makes me nostalgic for the past.
But enough books. It was time for fun. We took our apple that was cut in half and we used it to make apple prints. The goal was to try and get the star in the middle to show up, but no such luck.
I gave him red, yellow, and green paint in a paper plate, and he smeared them all around to make fun colored prints. When he ran out of room on the small paper I gave him a piece of packing paper my mom found and let him go to town. I wish I could have thought up a creative thing for him to do with the prints, but nothing came to mind.
While he was printing I read to him the story of Johnny Appleseed.
It was not a very kid friendly version of the story in my opinion. It was in poem form and Alex just doesn't get the obscure descriptions and wordings sometimes used. I had to stop after each page and describe what was going on, and then stop and make sure he wasn't getting paint where he shouldn't and then clean up the paint off the floor, and... So maybe it wasn't the best time to read a book.
But the most exciting part of the day was yet to come. We had our first field trip today! There's an apple orchard and cider mill here in town and they do school tours. If you live in the Salt Lake valley, check out Farnsworth Cider Mill. They also do a Great Pumpkin Halloween festival that's fun and free.
We tagged along with a preschool group for our tour since our little school of one doesn't qualify for a personal tour.
There's Farmer Eric telling the kids the rules. Their new apple orchard is in the background. He showed the kids the vegetable garden and talked about different kinds of vegetables. He showed the kids how to tell the difference between apple tree leaves, pear leaves, peach leaves, and nectarine leaves.
He told them the story of Johnny Appleseed and showed them their own 52 year old apple tree.
They got to see where they make the apple cider and how they do it. Alex would have really liked to see them making it right then, but no such luck.
Then we all got a free cider sample to taste. Good stuff.
And the kids got a hay ride! It just drives a lap around one of the orchards and you could see the peach trees on one side and the construction on the other. I think Alex liked watching the construction trucks the best.
At the end we got to go into the orchard and pick and apple.
There's the chosen tree.
And the lucky apple. It was eaten before we got home. The kids also got a little coloring book about all the things they saw on the farm. It was a good tour and only cost us $3.50. Adults are free!
Fruit day was a success!
Day 2: Milk and Dairy
This was supposed to be Friday's school topic but Anton had to work Friday afternoon and wanted to go on our field trip with us, so just pretend like we talked about vegetables today and dairy on Friday, okay? Okay.
We mixed things up today and started out by watching a movie. Yes, a movie. But it was a Reading Rainbow episode where they read the book The Milk Makers and talked all about where milk comes from and what it gets made into.
I had actually planned to just read the book but it wasn't available at the library, and I'm glad, because watching the movie of it was more fun. A lot more info than just the book alone.
We sang the song "This is the way we milk the cows," then we went over to the fridge and I had Alex pick out all the things that were made with milk.
We found milk, yogurt, sour cream, half and half, cheese, cream cheese, and more. And of course we opened the freezer to find the ice cream.
Then we read The Old Man Who Loved Cheese.
This book reminded me how much I hate Curious George. He is always doing naughty things and never gets in trouble for them. Everyone laughs them off and blames it on him being a curious monkey. There is no accountability and it makes me mad. In this book he messes up the ice cream man's big order that he was making and then in the end it was all okay because he brought in other customers. Not okay in my book. oh well.
Now time for fun! I bought a pint of whipping cream and we tossed it into the blender according to the instructions found here and we made butter!
Here we're washing the butter to get all the excess buttermilk out of it. This was so fun. I'd only ever made butter in a baby food jar before, the labor intensive shaking kind, so this was a new experience for me too! Alex drank up the leftover buttermilk and we ate some bread with butter on it. Yum!
And today we had a science experiment. We poured some milk into a pie pan and dropped food coloring around the edges. It stays put until you drip a drop of liquid soap into the middle and then the colors swirl all over the place.
He also dipped a toothpick into some soap and dipped it into the milk to make the colors swirl more. Then we dumped it all out and tried it in reverse. We put the soap in the milk first and then the colors. The colors swirled slower but still made neat patters. This all has to do with surface tension and the explanation was way over Alex's head, but it was fun to do!
And then it was field trip time, again. We went out to Wheeler Farm where everyday at 5 pm you can help them milk the cows! It's only 50 cents per person. And I'm so mad that I forgot the camera, but I did. No pictures. :( Alex jumped right up to be the first volunteer to milk the cow. His hands weren't big enough so I had to help him, but he got it right away. Ella was able to do it by herself and Anton and I both took turns. It was easier than I thought it would be, but not something I would want to do everyday of my life! None of us had ever milked a cow before. I thought it was great fun. We also walked around the farm to look at the different animals before having to make a mad dash to the car because of the rain. Dairy day = FUN!!
Day 3: Vegetables
We played another guessing game today. Alex likes them so I'll just keep right on doing them. We played guess the vegetable. I cut up a bunch of different kinds of vegetables and put them on a plate.
(Carrot, peas, green beans, potato, green pepper, tomato, cauliflower, onion, broccoli, spinach, yellow squash.)
Then I fed them to Alex while he closed his eyes.
He got about half of them right. Not bad since some of them he's only had mixed into other things.
We read the book Growing Vegetable Soup.
It talks about planting vegetables in the garden, so we headed on out to the garden to check things out.
He's actually out in the garden a lot so there really wasn't anything new to see out there. But we needed a couple of carrots for the experiment we were going to do, so we picked a few.
This one was out-of-control HUGE! Our experiment was to see if we can make carrot tops grow. We cut off the leaves and the carrot below them step then put them in a pie pan with dirt in it. We watered it and now we have to wait a few days to see if they'll grow.
Alex keeps checking on them to see if they've started growing yet. (UPDATE: A week later they were all showing new growth and some growth showed up just a couple days after planting. Experiment=success!)
Next we read The Carrot Seed to follow up on the carrot theme.
Then we read Tops and Bottoms.
And that finished off our day. We were going to make vegetable soup using the recipe in the back of the Growing Vegetable Soup book, but we didn't get around to school until after lunch, so maybe another time!