Potatoes to Pumpkins

Although I planned to begin an exploration of the continent of North America this week, we were having so much fun learning about the universe that we stuck with it for another week.  Bop had fun reviewing all of the planets; she is especially enamored of Mars’ potato shaped moons and the egg shaped dwarf planet of Haumea. We read a little bit more about the stars and Bop drew a sky-scape using the five colours of the stars.


We have been reading the Junior Great Book story “Guinea Fowl and Rabbit Get Justice” and finished our work this week. I really like all of the different activities we work through – I feel like no matter what sort of learner you are, there will be something that really appeals to you. This story was much better than the “Princess and the Frog” – it felt more complete. I record the JGB stories and put them on our family ipod and Bop really enjoyed listening to the story that way – she would put it on while she was working through the activities. The dramatic play activity was really great – she created stick puppets with her sister and they acted out the story.  It was so amazing to listen to Bop help her sister figure out how the extravaganza should proceed.

We also started working a little more directly on letter formation. I have to say again how much I like the Nellie Edge program – it is so low pressure. Although there are handouts to use, they are really just an opportunity for Bop to practice more story writing. She really likes the little sayings that explain how each letter is formed – letter a, curve around, up and down and after she practices the letter, she gets to write a sentence and draw a picture. There is no expectation that she write within lines or anything like that, it is more about refining the motion needed to form the letters in aid of the important work of purposeful writing. I remember endless letter practice as a child – I love that she gets to see how useful writing is right away rather than after months of learning how to write each letter “correctly”.

Our pumpkin hypothesis was supported by the appearance of several green seedlings showing their little heads in our pumpkin. Bop was delighted but she was even more delighted when the pumpkin began to melt. We had read the Magic School Bus meets the Rot Squad recently and she could not have been more happy to see decomposition occurring right on our window sill – I admit I was not quite as thrilled but the pumpkin has been relocated to a planter on the patio to be admired in all its goopy glory.


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Leaves, fog and chickens – oh my!

We had a really fun week. We began looking more closely at the Sun and the planets in our solar system.  We really like the National Geographic Kids Solar System book – it has just enough information to be interesting but not overwhelming. We created a sun – it was a coffee filter project that we were supposed to blow the paint onto (which was sort of a fail) but we grabbed our paint brushes and ended up with some great suns.

We worked on a couple of different science projects this week. First, we talked about what might happen if we filled a pumpkin with soil and watered it and put it in the sun. We wrote out our hypothesis and the steps of our experiment. We followed the steps and we will continue to observe the pumpkin to see if our hypothesis is supported.

We also completed an activity from the Science as Inquiry chapter of Science Adventures – Nature Activities for Young Children. The activity was called “A Picnic Basket Full” and worked on the skill of measuring. Bop enjoyed gathering different foods for her animals to eat and then lining up and counting the food items.  I asked her to write the number of items on a slip of paper as an extension for some writing practice.

Bop had the opportunity to explore some very autumnal phenomenon – falling leaves and socked in fog. We did an activity at Sparks where we cut a leaf in half and used one side as a guide to draw the missing side. We then talked about how both sides of the leaf were not actually exactly the same. She was so excited to see the pile of leaves that her Sparks leader brought in that we promised to find her a pile to jump in the next day. We collected leaves and jumped in leaves (and later fed some leaves to our animals in our picnic basket activity).


Bop and I finished off the Frog Prince story. I got to enjoy an Bop and Bell dramatization of the story that I am sorry to say I was not permitted to photograph! She wanted to work with the Montessori Pink Series and enjoyed picking pictures out of a pouch and using the moveable alphabet to spell the words.

She also got some small motor skills practice with a cute craft I picked up at the Dollarama. It was a challenge for her to peel those tiny foam squared from their backing and line them up just so. We discovered toward the end of the project that she would not have enough of one colour to complete the photo so we had a problem solving session and came up with a pattern that would allow her to use extras of another colour . She was very pleased with the outcome.


Finally, Bop had the opportunity to speak with a family who raises chickens and sells their eggs. She loved learning about their diet and care and all about gathering eggs.  I am pretty sure we won’t be allowed to purchase grocery store eggs again.




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A week for Apples

We began a mini apple unit this week in anticipation of the Autumnal Equinox. We read a family favourite,Up, Up, Up, It’s Apple Picking Time by Jody Fickes Shapiro. This year Bop chose to read the book to her sisters as well and although she has it memorized, she did point out the words she recognized when she was reading it.  She also brought the book out when she was working with the moveable alphabet to use as a source of inspiration.

She combined her writing work with some scientific exploration of apples and some vocabulary expansion. We looked through Apple Fractions  by Jerry Pallotta and were inspired to check out the inside of one of our apples. We cut an apple in half and she drew a detailed photo of what she saw. She used the illustration from the book to label her drawing. We also talked and sang about the life cycle of an apple tree. Unrelated to apples, Bop worked with the knobless cylinders. She has worked with these in the past but she is getting more specific on her observations of the cylinders’ spacial differences in relation to each other – “these are all skinny but these are flat to tall”.  Apple Fractions also inspired us to do a little work with apple juice and fractions, looking at 1/4c, 1/2 c, 3/4 c and 1 cup in different glasses and combining different amount to try to get two equal glasses for Bop and Bell to drink.


Bop worked on her scissor work by cutting out a circle, cutting out strips and cutting those strips into little squares to paste on her circle. A leaf and a stem and we had a beautiful apple decoration for the cork board.  We ended our week at Willow View farms with some apple picking.  We visit every year but we were lucky enough to meet and speak with the owners this year. Bop got to chat with Farmer Avery about the sheep and sheep-pen he was working on. Later Farmer Cheryl told us all about the hens and their laying cycle. She also directed us to the huge illustration of the life cycle of the apple tree. We picked an awful lot of apples and Bop used her sense of taste to make sure each variety was delicious.



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L.E.A.N Start eWorkshops now available!

I am excited to announce that the L.E.A.N Start eWorkshops are now available. Now you can participate in the Dr.Sears L.E.A.N. Start program from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace. This is a wonderful solution for busy parents and caregivers who cannot take the time to attend a workshop in person. You can now tuck the kids into bed for the night, grab your computer and take the first steps toward a healthier, happier family. As always, I will be there every step of the way to answer questions, facilitate conversations and offer any support you need. I hope to see you soon in our exciting new online classroom!

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Welcome to L.E.A.N Family

I am so excited to welcome you to the L.E.A.N. Family website. As a Dr. Sears certified L.E.A.N coach, I am honoured to be given the chance to get to know you and your family. With the resources available to me from the L.E.A.N team, I am sure we can work together to create solutions to your unique challenges. Please take some time to check out the site. You can learn about me and the Dr. Sears workshops, check out upcoming dates and find out how you can attend a workshop for free! Don’t forget to check out my blog, where I’ll be posting recipes, personal stories and new health information straight from Dr. Sears research team. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me; I appreciate all of your comments and questions.

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