Rachel and the Treeschoolers: Extraordinary Earth

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When it comes to homeschool science for my 4- and 7-year-old girls, all three of us LOVE the show Rachel and the Treeschoolers, created by the makers of Signing Time. Nine episodes have been released so far, and they all come with FREE activity guides to extend the learning.

Several months ago, we helped with the activity guide for Episode 8: Extraordinary Earth.

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Ep. 8 Extraordinary Earth
(Affiliate link to the digital download)
When Chroma Chameleon discovers that her cousin’s habitat is endangered, the TreeSchoolers naturally want to help. With Rachel’s guidance, they discover that there are lots of things they can do to take care of our Earth! Along the way, they learn about

  • Months of the year
  • Seasons of the year
  • Geological formations
  • Natural resources
  • The seven continents
  • Conservation and recycling
  • Being an everyday hero

Our girls created a “handy craft” showing a tree during each of the four seasons. This month, I’d like to work on some of the other activities found in the guide. Spring seems like a wonderful time to celebrate our EXTRAORDINARY Earth!

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Download your free guide today!

Homeschooling: 2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

Can you believe it? We are two weeks away from our first day “back to school.” We’re trying a six-weeks-on/one-week-off schedule this school year, so that means our first six weeks will run from July 27th-September 4th. Personally, I’m excited to get the first chunk of learning out of the way during the hottest weeks of the year!

See our curriculum choices for our second grader over at Lone Star Signers!

Here are our curriuculum choices for 2nd grade (2015-2016):

After a lot of consideration and conversation, we have decided to skip the community day aspect of Classical Conversations this year. This is Kate’s last year in preschool, and I want to be sure that we use this special time focusing on all the things that really matter to our family culture right now: spending time together outside, reading books aloud, visiting special places, etc. I want to continue savoring the simple things into the fall–and that means that we’ll be starting out each week at home rather than at CC.

Please note that Lone Star Signers does use affiliate links, but we only recommend items that our family has used and loved. Thank you for supporting our small business.

In planning our lessons for all the fun “extras,” I have pulled some ideas and resources from our Classical Conversations Foundations guide. We will continue to learn about artists and musicians, practice our timeline song, and complete science and art activities that go along with everything that we’re learning. I also utilized our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the terrific book What Your Second Grader Needs to Know to build a great year full of science, history, geography, and fine arts! (Read more about my planning process here.)

See our curriculum choices for our second grader over at Lone Star Signers!For math, we will be continuing on with Saxon Math 2 (link). It works for our family, and I love how much Kate picks up just from playing nearby while we do our lessons. I’ve written more about our reasons here: Why Saxon Math Works for Us!

For language arts, we’re continuing with First Language Lessons (link), Spelling You See (link), and our eclectic mish-mash of reading library books and writing/illustrating our own books for fun. We’re also hoping to put together a Young Author’s club for the fall.

I’m looking forward to this school year–what curriculum choices have you made?

Like this post? Read about our 1st grade curriculum choices here!

This post has been linked up at iHomeschoolNetwork’s 7th Annual “Not” Back-to-School Blog Hop.

Homeschooling: Planning for Second Grade Science & Social Studies Using Evernote

Public schools all over San Antonio let out for the summer last week. My Instagram feed is suddenly full of pool pictures and summer bucket lists.

Meanwhile, here at Casa Droegemueller, I’m hard at work getting Addie’s second grade curriculum organized for the year! We’ve decided to do a six week ON, one week OFF rotation, which means that our first day of school will fall on July 27th. Here’s our schedule for the first semester:

1st six weeks: July 27th-September 4th
OFF: September 7th-11th
2nd six weeks: September 14th-October 23rd
OFF: October 26th-30th
3rd six weeks: November 2nd-20th
OFF: November 23rd-27th (Thanksgiving)
(continued) November 30th-December 18th
OFF: December 21st-January 1st

In an effort to build more margin into our homeschooing routine, we have decided not to participate in our Classical Conversations community this coming year. It was challenging to have an all-day commitment on Mondays, followed by a morning at church on Tuesdays–we seemed to struggle with momentum every week. I feel like we have plenty of opportunities for socialization throughout the week, so we’re taking Mondays back as an at-home school day for second grade.

Now that we’ll have a little more time in our week, I’m looking forward to new opportunities for fun with science and social studies! Addie is a strong reader, so I know we’ll be borrowing a lot of books from the library and following her interests.

Using Evernote to Plan Science & Social-Studies | Lone Star Signers

I also wanted to flesh out a scope and sequence for the year, in case we end up returning to CC (or entering school) for third grade. I downloaded Evernote on both our computer and iPad to get organized! (If you haven’t tried Evernote, oh my goodness–don’t delay! This is a great series to help you get started.)

I set up a 2015-2016 Planning Notebook and created individual notes for each subject I wanted to start planning: art, music, memory work, science, social studies, and geography. At the beginning of the planning process, the note is a “drop box” to catch all my ideas (no more random pieces of paper to track down!)–I can type in text (or paste from another source), add a picture of something I want to remember, or save a screenshot.

Just a reminder that Lone Star Signers uses affiliate links for book recommendations. I only suggest books that we have used and enjoy as a family.

Once I set up my notes in Evernote, I pulled out all my planning resources for science and social studies: our state’s second grade standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS), What Your Second Grader Needs to Know, science books by Janice VanCleave, and our Classical Conversations Foundations guide. I listed a year’s worth of topics from both of my main resources, then added in the corresponding CC memory work and science experiements.

Homeschooling: Planning for Second Grade Science & Social Studies Using Evernote (Lone Star Signers)

A sneak peek at our History/Social Studies topic list for second grade!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be dividing the topics into our six-week sessions so I have a general plan for the year. I know some concepts may capture our interest and take more time, but I don’t want to run out of time at the end of the year, either!

Have you tried Evernote? Can you think of ways it can help your family get organized?

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Using Evernote to Plan Science & Social-Studies | Lone Star Signers

NEW Rainforest Adventure Exhibit at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

Back in October, we were invited to the San Antonio Botanical Garden to view the LEGO exhibit. We were so impressed that we immediately signed up for a family pass. We love the special events (Family Flashlight Night) and the exclusive members-only sneak peeks of new exhibits. We are so thankful for this San Antonio treasure–this is not a sponsored post, but Amazon affiliate links are included.

The NEW Rainforest Adventure Exhibit opened at the San Antonio Botanical Garden earlier this month, and we’ve been twice so far! Our girls love experiencing the maze, and I love the layers of learning that are added each time we walk through.

The NEW Rainforest Adventure Exhibit at the San Antonio Botanical Garden | Lone Star Signers

The exhibit is outside in the conservatory area (next to the palm trees), which allows for excited outdoor voices. There are several activity stations set up throughout the maze: opportunities for sensory exploration (sound and smell), as well as gross-motor movement (monkey bars, over-sized spider web for climbing, and more) and quiz areas to test adventurers on their acquired knowledge.

We requested a bunch of rainforest books (thanks, San Antonio Public Library!) so that we can explore new concepts even further. Addie even brought the books with her on her last trip so she could keep learning on the way home.

Here are a few of our favorite non-fiction books about the rainforest:
* Rain Forest Food Chains (A. Royston)
* Rain Forest Babies (K. Darling)
* Amazon Rain Forest (G. Watson)
* At Home in the Rain Forest (D. Willow)
* Tropical Rainforests (S. Simon)
* And a little fiction: The Great Kapok Tree (L. Cherry)

Spring at the San Antonio Botanical Garden | Lone Star SignersThe garden is beautiful this time of year with all the new blooms! Our girls love racing the rubber ducks in the fountain and running around the lake.

Spring is the perfect time to visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden!