Watercolor Oregon Alphabet

Friends, it’s finally here!! The Oregon Alphabet featuring 26 of my original watercolor illustrations is finally complete!

It’s been my biggest project to date. 26 letter sounds to illustrate is a lot of drawing, painting, scanning, and editing! The beaver took three tries 🙈

While I originally started this project hoping to make a Pacific Northwest Alphabet … I eventually saw it come together as a celebration of the state I call home: Oregon.

I’m so pleased with the final result! These little painted sketches aren’t perfect, but I like their quirky style — and I hope you will, too!

Now that the artwork and first set of flashcards are complete, I will be working on an assortment of alphabet themed items for the shop. Think: cursive flashcards, tracing cards, matching activities, initial sound activities, and the like.

You can look at the Oregon Alphabet in my Shop here.


Limited Time Offer

Right now (9/16-9/22) when you purchase the Fall Montessori Mega Bundle via my affiliate link, I will send you a FREE digital copy of the Oregon Alphabet Flashcards!

View Bundle

Amazon Rainforest Fundraiser

In response to the heartbreaking news about the excessive forest fires in the Amazon Rainforest, Green Urban Mama is raising funds to donate to the assistance of animals affected by the blaze.

Two new original watercolor paintings are now available for purchase as digital downloads from the shop. 100% of proceeds from these paintings will be donated to Rainforest Alliance.

From now through the end of September, 20% of all sales at Green Urban Mama will be donated to the Rainforest Alliance.

Art to Help Animals >>> Amazon Parrot and Jaguar watercolor paintings by Green Urban Mama benefit animals suffering from the Amazon Rainforest fires.

How You Can Help

Purchase a Poster: Jaguar or Amazon Parrot

Join my GoFundMe

Donate Directly


Learn more about Rainforest Alliance at their website Rainforest Alliance.

Butterfly Unit Study

“Putter-whys” (as my 2 year old calls them) have been the central theme in our homeschool preschool for the past several weeks. Despite having my kids tell me they were “tired of butterflies,” we’ve actually had a colorful, enjoyable experience studying these pretty creatures! Read on to learn more about the curriculum, resources, books, and activities we used for this Montessori inspired unit study following the outline of Gentle + Classical Preschool.

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Please see disclosures for more info.

Butterfly Unit Study Resources

Our Gentle + Classical Memory Board for the Butterfly Unit

Life, Abundantly Blog

Wilkinson Nest

Green Urban Mama

Steph Hathaway Designs

Fiddlesticks Kids

The Helpful Garden

The Hidden Way

Butterfly Unit Study Books

Butterfly Unit Study Activities

Butterfly Morning Time

We primarily use the Preschool Morning Binder by Life, Abundantly for our Charlotte Mason inspired Morning Time. I place the pages of the Morning Binder into a restaurant style menu. We always use the calendar, weather, emotions, and name writing pages — and then I fill the remainder of the menu with letter or number worksheets that relate to our unit study topic.

For this unit, we used my own Swallowtail Butterfly Anatomy & Handwriting Kit as the second half of our menus. The pages have very simple beginning tracing practice, which is perfect for my 3 year old just learning to recognize and copy letters.

Butterfly Color Sorting

Following GCP’s outline, the Math & Basic Skills focus for this unit was Colors. I included the colors from the previous unit as well, since we didn’t get to that subject last time. Our colors to study were red, blue, yellow, and green.

We used the lovely and comprehensive Basic Color Theory Unit Study from Steph Hathaway Designs to discuss primary colors and the formation of green by mixing blue and yellow. We looked at the Color Wheel and identified the colors.

To coordinate Basic Skills with Science, I arranged a Butterfly Sorting Activity for the kids. You can read all about it in this blog post!

Butterfly Playdough Mats

Is there anything quite so nice as freshly made playdough?? My kids are obsessed with it. I’ve discovered an easy, quick recipe to make my own playdough. I usually double the batch and save the extra for later. I love adding essential oils to the dough to add another sensory element! This batch had lavender essential oil.

I broke off four pieces of dough and then dyed them red, yellow, blue, and green. (A word to the wise… making red playdough is truly a nightmare and makes your countertops and hands look like a murder scene!)

Color Wheel and 3 Part Cards by Steph Hathaway Designs. Colors Art Journal by Green Urban Mama.

We discussed the colors, matching them to 3 Part Cards. My 2yo immediately began making “hot cross buns” on each color card — which is, of course, what one should do when sorting playdough by colors.

Butterfly outlines from A Year of Tales by Wilkinson Nest.

My 3yo was delighted by the butterfly outlines from A Year of Tales Unit 18. I am using this beautiful curriculum to supplement GCP, primarily for our Morning Time but also, like this, for expanded activities. My daughter instinctively (accidentally?) began creating playdough patterns on her butterfly outline which were symmetrical — and this fostered a perfect teachable moment to constructively introduce the concept of symmetry to her!

Butterfly Life Cycle Sequencing

We are big Steph Hathaway Designs fans here — and the Painted Lady Butterfly Unit Study does not disappoint! Besides the praiseworthy illustrations, her work often includes many easy-to-understand child-led activities.

The Butterfly Life Cycle Sequencing by Steph Hathaway Designs is pictured lower left. Click this photo for tags on other materials.

My kids loved the Butterfly Life Cycle Sequencing! I used Velcro dots for the pieces, and I hung the Sequencing activity on our main display board at kid-height. I loved hearing my son pause in his car play to ask, “Is it a putter-why? Is it, Mama? Can I pway wif it?”

Butterfly Symmetry Matching

This fun activity hails from The Helpful Garden. What’s not to love about these free, vivid photographs of many types of butterflies? The photos are designed to be cut in half for a puzzle/symmetry/matching activity.

However, I quickly discovered that this was too challenging for my littles. To differentiate, I printed a second set of photos but did not cut them in half, which made a set of photos for the kids to match butterfly halves and self-correct at the same time. For my 2yo, this was still a bit much, but my 3yo enjoyed it.

Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle

Fiddlesticks Kids has many creative educational games available, which is helps me so much because I’m not particularly interested in games myself — but my kids love them!

We used the Butterfly Symmetry Puzzle, similar to the concept in the above activity by The Helpful Garden but more advanced. As such, only my 3yo was interested, but she was fascinated and enjoyed thinking through the multiple ways a triangle if half-butterflies could match others.

Butterfly Coloring Pages

These sweet drawings of various butterflies and moths by The Hidden Way made lovely coloring pages. We all enjoyed them!

Raise a Caterpillar

Ok, this seems like the most obvious activity to do for a Butterfly Unit — but sadly, we failed. We did have s caterpillar earlier this year, which we found in our garden. I believe it was a type of moth rather than butterfly, but we so loved watching it crawl around and eat leaves!

We did make it a make-shift canning-jar terrarium with dirt, sticks, and leaves, etc., but ultimately we must have done something wrong. Although he burrowed into the dirt, he never emerged.

I hope that any attempts you have of raising a caterpillar into a butterfly will be much more successful!

What’s Next

Our next unit study will be Bees! Follow us on Instagram to keep up to date with our progress!

Butterfly Color Sorting

With three very small children, “sweet and simple” is my motto for any activity. This precious little butterfly color sorting activity is just the ticket!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosures here.

We are working through a preschool unit study on Butterflies with Gentle + Classical Preschool. It’s a super fun unit with so much potential for fun projects and activities. What’s not to love about butterflies??

To offer my kids a little practice sorting colors while looking at the gorgeous diversity of butterflies from across the globe, I set up this sweet and simple butterfly sorting activity. Since we are also introducing primary colors (and green) during this unit, this activity uses these colors to create sorting categories.

There are many, many, many wonderful options available for Butterfly printables. Pinterest is practically bursting with them. I found our butterflies for this activity on this site. There are easy-to-download free photograph collages of butterflies. I love the variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and patterns offered in these files!

Gorgeous butterflies from stampomania-challenge.blogspot.com

After printing, I simply cut out all the butterflies that matched my color guides. I placed the butterflies in a small basket next to the color cards we are using (by Steph Hathaway Designs). My 2yo was right by my side as I set this little project up — he was soooo ready to dive right in and begin sorting!

I’m amazed by how much the kids enjoyed this little project. It was fun to hear them saying the colors outloud, discussing together the conundrum of butterflies with multiple colors, and carefully placing the butterflies on the related cards.

Sweet and simple indeed.

Gentle + Classical Units 3 & 4: Birds

It’s the end of July and our Oregon summer has finally broken into sunshine. Our urban backyard is riotous with swallowtails, sparrows, and creeping wild blackberries. While we’ve been taking a slower pace with our homeschool during these rare, warm days, we are now wrapping up our study of Birds with Gentle + Classical Preschool.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Please see my disclosures for more info.

My littles ages 3, 2, and 7 months are using some awesome curriculum for enriching our home environment and family time. Our primary resource is Gentle + Classical Preschool Level 1 by Erin at Life, Abundantly.

We are also weaving in elements of A Year of Tales by Wilkinson Nest. Both curriculua are Charlotte Mason inspired materials that encourage literature and nature study with faith-based character development. G+C is our core curriculum, and we are utilizing A Year of Tales for our Morning Time. I’m working on full blog post reviews of both programs, so check back for updates!

Literature for a Bird Unit Study

Bird Themed Books

A Nest is Noisy

An Egg is Quiet

Birds in Their Homes

  • I could not find this book on Amazon, and I think it may be out of print. However, it is a rare jewel of a book — if you can find it, get it!

Bluebird’s Nest

The Big Book of Birds

The Tale of Jemima Puddle

Core Living Books

Nature Anatomy

A Treasury of Children’s Literature

Curiositree Natural World

Spanish Books

Mango, Abuela, and Me

Abecedario de los Animales

Resources for a Bird Unit Study

Here is a variety of resources that are perfect for any bird study! We weren’t able to use them all this time, but I hope to incorporate them gradually as our studies allow.

Green Urban Mama

Life, Abundantly

Fiddlesticks Kids

Chickie and Roo

Twig and Moth

The Silvan Reverie

Firefly Nature School

Montessori Nature

Gentle + Classical Preschool

We use G+C as our core curriculum, and I choose to add in other materials for extra variety (or maybe because I’m just a curriculum addict…?). G+C is designed to function fully on its own but has the flexibility to work alongside pretty much whatever other resources you might want to include.

In our home, we use G+C to set out pace, structure, and direction for each unit study. I have a memory board with printable memory statements that I (get way too excited to) update each unit. Erin’s printables are lovely and make my life so much easier by creating instant structure. I love anything that helps make my life easier these days!

G+C has eight subject areas: Math + Basic Skills, Science, Social Studies, Scripture, Character + Catechism, Health + Safety, Motor Skills, and Language Arts. This can be a lot to focus on between my scattered brain and busy littles, so we primarily emphasize the Science portion plus Scripture and Catechism. Realistically, I’m discovering that I can successfully incorporate 1-2 of the other subjects each unit. Maybe I’ll get better with practice!

G+C Units 3 & 4 emphasize Birds! We have two parakeets, who have names but are affectionately known as Blue Bird and Yellow Bird by my kiddos. It was great using G+C as an opportunity to learn more about our birds!

Activities

In G+C, Units 3 and 4 feature the memory statements, “Birds Lay Eggs” and “Birds Fly in the Sky.” In my head, I envisioned spending one week on each of these themes, and included coordinating activities each week. The reality (as so often happens with small children) was far less organized…  However, we did do a lot of bird related things, mostly as the moments arose in our day rather than strategically planned out.

Birds to Eggs Matching

The kids absolutely fell in love with this printable set of photo cards to match the adult bird to a nest of its eggs. We referred to it many times, and the kids especially enjoyed sharing it with their Grandma.

My favorite aspect of this set is that it is very well designed for young, preliterate learners. The nest photo cards also have a small image of the adult bird, so no reading is needed for children to easily match birds to eggs and check their own work. Montessori success!

(So sorry this photo does not do these cards justice — these were the only cards I could find when I needed to snap a pic. There are many more which must have run off with all our singleton socks…)

Backyard Bird Watching

Homeschooling has its perks — and hanging out in the backyard listening to bird calls and identifying our flying friends is surely one of them. Also, trying not to bust a gut laughing as my daughter ran after a sparrow screaming, “Birdie! We have snacks for you!” Serious life highlight.

In Gentle + Classical Nature, Erin includes a routine of taking a walk and viewing the same area over and over. I am not brave (crazy??) enough to take my three-3-and-under out on a walk since our street is so busy, so we enjoy the blessing of our huge and glorious backyard. For the kids, it must feel like Wonerland.

During this unit, we made friends with a young sparrow who now regularly hops along the top of our fence asking for little tidbits when we are outside. He developed this attachment to us one morning after the kids had left pumpkin pancake crumbs all over their picnic blanket… (We do not intentionally leave “people food” out for our wildlife — please be aware of what foods can harm animals or wary of what animals it might attract should you desire to feed the birds, too.)

It was truly amazing to see the kids develop an awareness and attention to detail in their surrounds each day as we did the simplest exploration. Just being active participants in the little happenings outside our door was a great opportunity for conversations about bird habits, songs, colors, flight, nests, eggs, food, and behavior. Kids are outstandingly resourceful question-posers — give them a rich experience and they cannot help but ask you all about it!

Eggs Hatching Reenactment

Let’s just say this… every laundry basket, box, or blanket in our house has probably been converted to a nest during the past few weeks. The kids went nuts making nests and acting out various roles of Mama Bird, Egg, Hatching Egg, and Baby Birdie.

They have sat on each other, hidden under and flung off blankets (to “crack their shells open”), and done pretty remarkably accurate pantomime of Mama Bird feeding wide-mouthed, screaching Baby Birdie. Things have “hatched” around our house that I didn’t even know were in the hatchable genre… butterflies, for instance.

This photo is of the kids in their basket nest absolutely overjoyed while watching a hummingbird documentary.

What’s in an Egg

I wrote a detailed post on my Instagram account about this little incident… but the gist of this mini study was that while making cupcakes from scratch, my sweet 2 year old boy began to cry because he thought he had cracked open a baby bird’s egg. Can you say teachable moment???

Also, we had a good hug over his concerns, and he now knows the eggs we buy at the store don’t have baby birds inside. Whew.

Bird Nest Playdough Invitation

This playdough invitation was inspired by A Year of Tales. I made a huge batch of playdough, then divided small portions into three sections, which I dyed pale green, mud brown, and natural color (no dye). I added a little lavender essential oil to this batch of dough — and it was heavenly to work with!

Then we trekked outside to “make nests.” The kids scampered around collecting nesting materials: twigs, grass, flowers, leaves, moss, lichen, feathers, etc. I laid out the raw materials on a tray, afterwhich they went to town building their own mini nests. We used small wooden eggs to enhance our nests when we were done.

I highly recommend this activity! Besides sensory play, I felt that I gained a lot of appreciation for birds through this activity. It’s not easy to build a nest from whatever you can gather in the backyard, and even with the help of playdough it can be a nighmare getting the nest together.

Social Studies / Spanish

For a break from birds, we also focused on the G+C Social Studies component about the persons of our family. We did this almost entirely in Spanish!

Was my Spanish perfect — LOL, no. But did the kids gain exposure to the language being used in a practical way when they were already intrinsically motivated to listen and learn? Check and check!

We used some great free printables by Spanish Mama, which I highly recommend if incorporating Spanish interests you!

We also did a fair amount of reading in Spanish that was bird-related. One of my new favorite books is Abecedario de los Animales, a book is overflowing with rich language and illustrations. Each letter of the alphabet is given two poems about animals. We enjoyed the P for Pajaro poems very much!

I have also fallen in love with this Montessori 3 Part Cards in Spanish by Eve Herrmann. They are so beautiful and perfect for nature exposure with a second language application!

Field Trip

As a casual field trip to experience some real, live birds, we went to the zoo for a day. While our entire trip was far more interesting than in times past because the kids are getting older, it also provided me with an informal way to test how well they had taken in all our studies. The kids were in awe of all the animals, but their eyes lit up at a nesting area. A display of how a nest is built fascinated them.

Conclusion

Once again, we had more learning resources than we had time or focus to experience, but I’m sure we will revisit Birds again. I have to keep in mind that my primary goal with our homeschool is to build a founding on which to scaffold future knowledge. I’m learning to tell my perfectionist self to let things slide a little in the name of organic experiences. It’s a good thing.

I learned many new things with our Bird Unit Study, and I enjoyed following the guided structure of G+C to make it happen. My kids are now well aware that birds hatch from eggs (except those ridiculously confusing store bought ones).

Goals for the Next Unit

Is there anything I would do differently next time?

So glad you asked! I have discovered that our Memory Board is not enough for me to expose the kids to their statements for memorization each week. Next time, I’m going to try adding flashcards of their statements to very briefly review during our Morning Time. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Preview

Follow along on Instagram for our study of Unit 5: Butterflies!

Unit 2: Fish Swim in the Ocean

It’s time for my review of our second unit in Gentle + Classical Preschool: Fish Swim in the Ocean. Read on to learn what we did, how we did it, and which resources helped us with our exploration!

This post contains affiliate link. Please see disclosures for more info.

We loved our study of Oceans and Fish so much that we stretched this unit out for almost the full month of June, and we still have materials we didn’t get a chance to cover! Marine life is a big topic afterall.

As our unit study framework, we start with Gentle + Classical Preschool and Gentle + Classical Nature by Erin Cox. It’s a free, faith-based and Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that emphasizes memorization and character traits through nature exploration, literature, and habit training. You can find out all about it at Life, Abundantly.

Books on Oceans & Fish

Pagoo

The Big Book of the Blue

Lift the Flap Nature: Hidden World Ocean

Nature Anatomy

Resources for Oceans & Fish

Activities

There are undoubtedly countless activities available for young learners adventuring into ocean studies for the first time. We did my Rainbow Trout Lifecycle Activity Bundle, one craft project, some sensory play, 3 Part Card matching, and the Fiddlesticks Kids Ocean Learning Pack.

Rainbow Trout Activities

To introduce the kids to fish life cycles, I created a Rainbow Trout Activity Bundle. The bundle features my own watercolor artwork, plus a few activities and facts about this interesting fish.

I don’t know much about fish in general, so researching Rainbow Trout and Steelhead was fascinating! As you probably already know (but I didn’t), Trout are naturally fresh water fish but for reasons scientists don’t fully understand random Trout will undergo physiological changes to adapt to saltwater before migrating to the ocean… hence Steelhead. Mind blown!

My daughter Alyce especially enjoyed this bundle. Her favorite activities were the Math 10-Frame and Count & Clip Cards. Who was surprised? Yeah, English major and decidedly-not-math-minded me!

Click here to check out the Rainbow Trout Activity Bundle in my Shop!

Ocean Layers Painting

For our craft, we painted the ocean zones. We used washable Tempera paint, a large sheet of kraft paper, large kid paint brushes. Following a printable Ocean Layers poster by ChickieandRoo as our guide, I divided the paper into zones with a pencil, then mixed paint in various shades of black, blue, and teal. I gave each kid a cup with paint and uses the Ocean Layers poster to show the kids our goal. First, I modeled painting the top layer, and then each kid eagerly painted their own layers.

This super simple activity was the very first thing we did for this unit. It sparked curiosity and encouraged conversations about the animals who live in the zones and the zone names. My 3yo quickly memorized the names of the zones in order, and it was so fun for her to share her new knowledge with any visitors to our home!

We hung the painting on our main wall display rack, and I added the layer names with a few photos of relative animals from the What Lies Beneath the Ocean Deep Science Unit by Natural Beach Living.

Sensory Play

For our second main activity, we got to break in our new Ikea Flisat-turned-sensory-table! This little table is a great addition to our home, with its removable recessed bins. Perfect for sensory play, this table served us well for our ocean themed small world set ups.

Having said that, I’m not going to lie and say that a 3 year old and a 2 year old can play with bins full of sand, beads, rice, or small toys without making a mess. Or without getting excited and throwing things. Or without getting upset that the way one child wants to play is different than how the other child wants to play.

But perhaps that’s just my crazy kids?? Anyway, we persevered through the issues, and our subsequent attempts were incrementally better.

We made our own colored rice for this activity for the very first time — and that was a blast! I followed this post by Happy Hooligans for directions. Basically, we added rice to a container, then a tiny bit of vinegar and a tiny bit of food coloring. My daughter then put the lid on the container and we took turns shaking (and dancing, because how can you not when making such a fun noise??).

Then, I poured the rice onto cookie sheets and let it dry in the sun for an hour or so. We repeated these steps with various food color combinations to create a spread of blues from bright teal to pale seafoam.

The pretty colors didn’t stay separate for long once added to the sensory bins plus our Safari TOOB sea creatures — but half the fun is mixing everything together, right?

Oceans of the World Felts

My daughter is obsessed with our play felts. She loves taking all the pieces to our various puzzles and playsets to create completely unrelated art scenes or “cakes” — but I’m totally ok with it because that’s the joy of open ended play!

To introduce her to oceans as a geography lesson, I designed an Oceans of the World Felt Pattern. I paired it with the free oceans card printables and map by Imagine Our Life and the Oceans & Continents flashcards by Fiddlesticks Kids.

You can check out the Oceans of the World Felt Pattern in my Shop.

Matching Activity

Speaking of TOOB creatures, I also set up a very simple matching activity for my 2 year old using TOOB fish plus printable 3 Part Cards by Life Abundantly and Welcome to Mommyhood.

I’m not perfect at implementing the Montessori model in our home, but one thing I love about it is the concept of presenting the child with an activity in a way that naturally sparks their curiosity. To this end, I simply set out a pile of 3 Part Cards and a box of fish in the living room.

After nap time, Lewis noticed it immediately and began his own exploration. He’s done this kind of activity before, so pretty quickly he noticed similarities between the cards and the figures and began to “Match! Match fish!”

Ocean Creatures Counting Cards

As part of our Morning Basket, we incorporated the marine life counting flashcards by Habitat Schoolhouse. The kids identified the various creatures, then carefully counted the animals on each card. Then we matched wooden numbers to the cards. Sweet and simple!

Ocean Learning Pack

The Early Years Curriculum Ocean Learning Pack by Fiddlesticks Kids is hands down INCREDIBLE. We had so much fun with this pack and barely had time to explore this huge assortment of activities.

My daughters favorite element? The treasure map, of course!

We also enjoyed the pearl counting, pirate ship phonics, layers of the ocean, and ocean animals flashcards.

We are subscribers to the Early Years Curriculum, which is a beautiful growing bundle of many themed and seasonal learning packs. It’s a big discount to purchase the growing bundle rather than individual learning packs, and each pack contains a rich selection of original and highly creative games, activities, and nature study.

Click here to learn more about the Fiddlesticks Kids Early Years Curriculum.

Field Trip

The timing of this unit coincided perfectly with our family’s mini vacation to the beach. Am I genius, or am I genius?? No, it was a complete coincidence, lol.

We visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. It was a fantastic opportunity for the kids to see some ocean animals up close and in person! They were especially in awe of the jelly fish and the sharks.

We also got in some great beach time splashing in the waves and rolling in the sand. Why yes, it was a stellar 65 degrees out and the water was so cold I was reminded of the Titanic… but for an Oregon coast vacation we had a shocking amount of sun and beautifully sea-breezy days!

What’s Next

Unit 3 Birds Lay Eggs — Follow me on Instagram to see our progress! Plus check out our mini unit on the Strawberry Moon.

Homeschool Supplies

This is a growing post of the materials and supplies we are using in our home to create a positive academic atmosphere. My kiddos are small (3, 2, and 6 months) so our supplies are primarily catered to wee littles. I hope this lists is helpful to you in designing your learning space!

Simply click the product photo of the item you’re interested in to check it out on Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosures for more info.

This is our primary display for the units we are studying. It’s perfect for our assorted printables! I love that the kids can see what we’re studying over and over during the day. They frequently refer to this display and ask more questions!

Laminator

Laminating Sheets

Cardstock

Printer Paper

Paper Cutter

Corner Rounder

Mini Clothespins

Ribbon

Clips

Montessori Moveable Alphabet

Sandpaper Letters

Large Circle Clips

Small Circle Clips

Comb Book Binder

Binder Combs

Small Wicker Baskets

Color Printer & Scanner

Printer Ink

Watercolor notebooks

Watercolor paper

Washable Tempera Paint

Kids painting aprons

Paint trays

Washable Finger Paint

Large finger paint paper

Erasable colored pencils

Washable crayons

Safari TOOBs

Frogs & Ponds: Unit 1 of Gentle + Classical Preschool in our Home

The past two weeks in our home have been full of frogs and ponds as we have been working through Unit 1 of Gentle + Classical Preschool (G+C). Erin Cox at Life Abundantly Blog is the author of this comprehensive Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum — and she offers it for free on her website! We are following the general structure of this curriculum as well as adapting it to our family’s needs and interests. For us, this primarily looks like emphasizing the science portion and building the other subjects and activities around it like a unit study.

Frogs & Ponds

“Tadpoles grow into frogs” is the objective for Unit 1 of G+C. Suffice it to say I may have gone a little frog crazy, lol. I arranged several wall displays to give the kids continual exposure to our lessons and create a space to showcase our completed projects. The kids loved this! The displays fostered frequent informal conversations about frogs, plus helped me remember what we were supposed to be learning.

We used a variety of truly lovely learning resources for our frog and ponds study. In addition to Gentle + Classical Preschool, our favorite resources came from Stephanie Hathaway Designs, Fiddlesticks Kids, ChickieandRoo, and The Helpful Garden. The Frog Anatomy Poster is my own watercolor creation. Click the photo above to go to my Frogs & Ponds Resources blog post for more info!

What G+C Looks Like in our Home

The beauty of G+C is that it can be adapted easily to suite just about any need a student or family might have. Erin even mentions in her notes that we should feel free to do things in a different order, skip things entirely, or expand on topics as needed. I love this level of flexibility!

Unit 1 Gentle + Classical Preschool Memory Board

We are leaning heavily on the science portion of Gentle + Classical Preschool, and I am incorporating aspects of Gentle + Classical Nature (GCN) as applicable. (Many of the resources accompanying GCN are available as subscriber freebies at Life Abundantly, plus the entire course framework/guide). The advantage to using both resources is that it helps me balance the learning demands of my voracious 3 year old learner with those of my steady-as-you-go 2 year old by providing a variety of options for studying in more or less detail.

Science

Have I mentioned frogs yet? We read frog-themed books, watched a documentary about frogs, practiced creating frog life cycles, made frog pond playdough, and colored frog pictures. We used some gorgeous materials to supplement our studies, particularly the watercolor art by Stephanie Hathaway and Fiddlesticks Kids. Click here for our full list of resources.

Frog life cycle printables by Fiddlesticks Kids

The Helpful Garden Frog printables — Free!

We used my watercolor frog anatomy poster to study the parts of a frog. Click the photo to see it in my shop!

Language Arts

We focused on the letters F and P, for frog and pond. This is different from the G+C outline, which starts with letter A. In an effort to follow the Montessori concept of teaching letter sounds out of alphabetical order, we are simply going to work on 1-2 letters each unit that relate to our main science theme.

To practice the letters, I laminated posters by Steph Hathaway Designs, which we used repeatedly to trace with fingers, draw with dry erase markers, or make playdough letters. We also used our sandpaper letters and moveable alphabet… but not as much as I had intended.

Character/Catechism

This may be the number 1 most valuable aspect of using G+C in our home. I love these memory statements for building positive behavior by setting clear, reasonable expectations and building positive self-affirmations for my kids. This week we did, “I am patient. I put off for later what I want right now.” Erin recommends singing this phrase to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?” — and this worked brilliantly! Even my 2 year old asks to sing “I yam pay-tent.”

Memory Verse

“I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) was this unit’s verse. We learned this as a song using Songs for Saplings from Amazon Music. We sang this song every day while swinging on our new swing set, and during snuggle time before bed.

https://greenurbanmama.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/img_9160.mov

Art

We will be focusing on one author or composer each unit, which isn’t part of G+C — but guess who was so excited to see that Erin is adding this aspect to the forthcoming Level 2 of G+C??? Yes, me. Things to look forward to!

For this unit, we looked at Monet’s Water Lilies. Linnea in Monet’s Garden was a lovely book to add to our study. You can check out the craft project we made in this blog post.

Math: Count to 5

Math almost felt like it didn’t happen, it was so easy to find incorporate organically into everyday activities. We practiced counting any time an occasion arose: over peas at dinner, while playing with blocks, and during morning Octonauts (yes, we watch some TV).

I did do one official activity with a sensory tray using split peas to make a lily pad pond. The kids hunted for and counted lily pads. Mission accomplished.

Two weeks ago my 2 year old could barely chatter about numbers. Now he can consistently count to 3 while pointing at related objects!

Reading

Books were a key aspect of our “study time.” Erin has created a great book list, which we used as well as adding our own selections. For all the details, check out this resources post.

My Unit 1 Takeaway

During this Unit, I realized the absolute joy that a visual learning display is — not only for the kids but also for me! I tried only posting a few of the memory statements for G+C, but I honestly felt I needed all the statements posted. There are so many subjects covered by this curriculum that my never-resting mommy brain simply cannot keep up without a visual reminder. So, for our next unit, I will be posting all the subject memory statements on the board and giving my poor brain a break, lol.

Coming Soon: Unit 2 “Fish Swim in the Sea”

Follow me on Instagram for updates as we continue our homeschool journey!