Homeschool Week in Review—The One that Grew Sprouts

Another busy week amidst the call of spring fever! πŸ™‚ We did manage did get most of our planned school work for the week completed, but between the outdoors calling us and a nasty (but brief!) virus that seemed to travel like lightning through all five of us(but of course not at the same time) we didn’t complete all of it.  Ah well, that’s the beauty of year round schooling: a day or two of schedule doesn’t really do us much harm except to mess with my Type A slightly control freak style mental schedule.

We started out the week with a science experiment that tied in to our lessons on photosynthesis.  You may have heard of this project before, but I found it on Pinterest.  I bought four white carnations and brought them home.  We filled four glasses with water and then dropped about five drops of different colored food coloring into each glass, mixing well.  Gabby chose green, purple, yellow, and blue.  We placed the carnations in the glasses and put them on our kitchen counter (right next to our carrots that we’re growing in 2 liter bottles (ANOTHER idea found on Pinterest!).  My kitchen counter is loosing space by the hour it seems with all the things we’ve got growing indoors this year. 

I may have lost my usual make-a-sandwich spot, but I’m excited to see what we can actually produce from our little make shift container garden!

Speaking of taking up counter space, our flowers that both of the older children planted in the terrariums they  built last week at the Lowes Build and Grow Clinic.  Aron’s is doing phenomenally well with sprouts poking out everywhere.  I’m a bit concerned that this container isn’t large enough for them, so we make be looking into transferring them soon.

Amazing what can grow in just a week!

Last week, Gabby was disappointed that Aron’s had started to sprout and hers had not.  I kept reminding her to have patience and finally we saw two little sprouts poking out of the soil!  She was incredibly excited and ran around the house to find Alec and tell him all about the two little flowers that SHE grew ALL BY HERSELF!

About midweek, we checked in on our carnations and were excited to find that the color had definitely seeped up the stems and was visible along the edge of some of the petals.

The darker dyes were more obviously noticeable, but each flower had some color.  This really cemented in Gabriella’s mind how the flowers pulled water up from the ground using their roots and stems (if they’ve been cut).  She kept trying to tell Aron all about photosynthesis(which was a word that she mispronounced adorably every time).  She even remembered from our fall unit study back at the beginning of our school year about chlorophyll and how it gives leaves their green color. 

This week, we learned about John Bartram (who planted the first botanical garden in the US) and his son William who was also a naturalist.

Gabby enjoyed pouring through a book we checked out from the library that included information and pictures of botanical gardens all around the world.

We journaled about botanical gardens and then she chose a picture on the computer of one garden to add to her page.  Of course, she chose a picture that was lush with PINK flowers.

While studying the parts of a plant, we used this website that has an interactive diagram of the main parts with explanations about what each part contributes to the overall function of the plant.

We added a neat picture of the main parts from the gardens printable pack from Homeschool Creations to our journal.

We also read and copied several verses from the Bible that talk about gardens.  We included verses that spoke of gardens such as the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane.

We also learned about Beatrix Potter.  I think that this has been Gabby’s favorite person to learn about thus far and she devoured one of the biography books we checked out in less than a day and narrated back to me all sorts of details about Beatrix, her life as a child, and how she came to write the tales about Peter Rabbit and friends.

We’ve had great fun reading many of Beatrix’s well known tales (and some of the lesser know ones as well).  I rented a movie from Netflix(listed in the resources below) that was a rendition of some those tales using dancers from the Royal Ballet.  Gabby, being a little ballerina herself really enjoyed those performances.  We also watched some of the regular animations of the tales as well.  Here is her picture that she drew in her journal of Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin Bunny.

We also went over the parts of a flower by drawing our own diagram in our journal.  Gabby readily recognizes pistils and stamens on flowers in our own yard, but some of the other parts(sepal, filaments, etc) seem to be lost on her.  Ah well, I think she already knows more about plants and flowers at age six than I knew at age twenty!

At the end of the week, we checked back in on our carnations.  They were starting to brown around the edges of the petals, so we took our final pictures.  The color had certainly darkened on the petals, but I was a little disappointed that it hadn’t saturated the flowers more.  Gabby thought it was really neat, so I guess that’s all that matters.  πŸ™‚

Remember those two liter carrot containers I mention before? Well we’re beginning to see the first little sprouts in those as well!  I was more excited than anyone.  We’ve attempted to grow carrots for two years in our outdoor garden, but haven’t had any luck.  The red clay outside is just not very conducive to carrot growth or we’re just not that great at growing them outside!  These are rainbow carrots too, and I can’t wait until I can pluck one out!

Also, the bean that we planted in a jar on week one is growing very nicely!  The roots have spread to the bottom of the jar and the bean has split apart, allowing the plant to start growing upward.  Once they start to stand more upright, we’ll transfer them to a pot.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it before or not, but after wavering back in forth with whether to stick with Singapore math and supplement or switch programs altogether, I ended up purchasing Horizons Math K to supplement our Singapore studies.  So far, Gabby is really enjoying the extra practice and it is slightly comforting to me to have a more traditional approach to math being taught as well as the unique mastery based mental math component of Singapore.  We’ll use this for the remainder of this school year, and next year I’ll probably go back to using only Singapore, but adding in some of their Challenging Word Problems and Intensive Practice problems to soothe my fears( which are more about my confidence as a teacher than with the program). 

In phonics news, we’re still plugging through Abeka’s A Handbook for reading to cement skills(although we’re nearly through with it) and reading, reading, reading.  In two days, Gabby read both The Cul de Sac Kids: Green Gravy and the new chapter book about Fancy Nancy, Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth, along with the aforementioned Beatrix Potter biography with very little help from me.  She’s definitely my little bookworm.

Next week, we’ll be wrapping up our gardens unit and also going on a fun field trip!  What have you been learning this week?

This week’s new resources:
About William Bartram:
The Flower Hunter: William Bartram, America’s First Naturalist by Deborah Kogan Ray

About Beatrix Potter:
Beatrix Potter: Children’s Storyteller by Patricia Dendtler Frevert
The Country Artist: A Story about Beatrix Potter by David R. Collins
Peter Rabbit: The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit Based on the original tale by Beatrix Potter
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter’s Nursery Rhyme Book by Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit’s Natural Foods Cookbook by Arnold Dobbin
The Tales of Beatrix Potter with Dancers from the Royal Ballet (DVD)
The Beatrix Potter Animated Collection (DVD)

Other Resources:
The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus Gets Planted: Helping a Tiny Sprout Grow Tall (VHS)
Great Botanical Gardens of the World by Edward Hymans
Life Cycle of a Broad Bean by Angela Royston

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What We’re Learning


  1. This post is packed with great information. I love that you included book titles as well, especially since I am on my to the library with a budding botanist. Love the carnation science experiment. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love all the hands-on plant/garden learning going on at your house. No wonder you’re reading The Secret Garden. So neat! Thanks for stopping by today.

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