Just a Day at the Park: When Homeschooling Happens Naturally

 

After breakfast and literally seconds before they started asking for TV (believe me I know when that’s about to happen), I was all packed and suggested we go to the park.

We had nothing else planned that day so I was ok with turning my poor car into a sandbox after our visit and bringing home two dirty tired kids.

Our four hours at the park unfolded into an ideal lesson plan, though none of it was planned. We ended up covering all of our subjects without the girls even realizing it. This is what we did:

Science:

Naturally upon arrival it was all about the swings. After standing there for 20 minutes and pushing both of them, we pretended that they were astronauts giving high-fives to the moon.

After some more unstructured play, we went for a walk and collected and compared different leaves. We tried to find leaves in different stages, such as young new leaves, older mature leaves still attached and not willing to let go of the tree, and those that had fallen. We looked at some that were very green but had fallen to the ground, and others that were already brown and decaying.

The best part was concluding that the shedding of leaves is the tree’s way of going potty. This brought out lots of giggles!

Then we visited aka chased the ducks. We looked at their poop on the ground and talked about what they prefer to eat and why there are signs saying NOT to feed the ducks.

 

 

We also went for a stroll in the botanical garden and found some funny looking citron fruit, and other drought tolerant plants.

 

 

Language Arts:

Our “big park” is adjacent to the library so we also checked out 5 books. Our favorite is Interstellar Cinderella. I really think every little girl needs to have this book next to the original. We read it a couple of times and the girls compared it to the original story. It was a great opportunity for me to bring up “my beef” with and character flaws of the original Cinderella and to expand their minds beyond  “love at first sight” and hero Prince Charming.

We journaled our thoughts about the story and  N5 drew her versions of interstellar spaceships that she would want to repair one day.

We read a few other books together, one being Curious George. N3 selected a monkey puppet from the library that resembled George. Later on N5 accurately summarized the entire plot for a friend.

Social Studies:

At the library N5 insisted on finding a “Mercy Watson” book on the shelves but wasn’t successful. So she proposed going to the librarian and asking for it. Without any help, she politely said hello, stated her name and then asked for the books, independently specifying the Title and Author.

On the playground, the girls befriended another little girl, and together with N3’s help, N5 set up a pretend lemonade stand and asked the friend and N3 to bring more and more lemons (sand) for her to sell to another little boy. She would close down her lemonade stand when the supply was low and then reopen when they restocked it with more sand. Then she would tell the boy that the stand was open again and offer new flavors. It was serious business.

Math:

So one of the common core elements in mathematics for this age is to be able to estimate a number based on sight.  So at the pond, we wondered how many ducks were there. They yelled out a whole bunch of numbers and we settled on 100.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the serenity at the park. There were two other homeschool families there with their kids, which was great for casual socializing.

My girls were amazing at listening to me, especially when it was time to leave. Without tears or yelling we sat in the car and they couldn’t stop talking about the park.

 

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