A Week of Homeschooling involving caves, rocks, and paleolithic people


Fern has a long list of requests for her first grade year. She’s becoming more interested in the idea of regular school, mostly from shows she watches and books she reads. If we were to find a good, small school that’s more in-line with how she’ll be successful we would definitely explore that route. But for now I’m just trying to make her school days reflect the things she’s interested in, or what appeals to her about traditional school. If you ask her what it is about school that she’s curious about she always says recess, which is funny and ironic if you think of it. Other than that, she says she’d like to do more projects, posters, and learn a lot of stuff, so that’s the plan. I hesitate to mention paper cut-outs, worksheets, etc. because they’re pretty much the antitheses of why we learn at home. But to Fern they are totally a novelty. She doesn’t have to fill out a worksheet precisely and she can even draw on it, cut it up, or write all the answers in gibberish. However, if I just refer to something as “doing schoolwork” it immediately has an air of legitimacy and I think that’s ok for now.

Here’s her list of things she wants to learn about:
Rocks and Minerals
Native Americans
Marine Life
Science Experiments

So here’s what we did our first week. I used Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times as inspiration for a few of our activities and it was pretty great. The only problem I have so far is that there’s just one brief chapter on nomads and paleolithic people. I think we’ll stick with these first concepts for at least another week. There’s so much potential for really getting into the Ice Age/cave people that I really want to be taking it as far as Fern’s interests will go. Other than that the reading is compelling and the activities are fun.


Change the date on the calendar and note the season and weather.
Spelling // dig, artifact, collection, obsidian, study, family, history, show, time, people //
Come up with a sentence using any of those.
Read aloud Story of the World Introduction — What is history? What is archaeology?
Look through family photos and make a quick family tree — Who could we ask about our family history?
Watch Magic Schoolbus Shows and Tells
Take a break, dance
Play Go Fish
Make a book cover for Animal Study notebook and make first page // Fern chose a sand dollar as her first animal study. We watched this clip from Blue Planet and this video. We also read from Handbook of Nature Study.
Free afternoon to draw, play legos, swim, go to the park or OMSI, etc.

Change the date on the calendar, note the weather
Spelling // writing, tools, river, year, home, sleep, children, cave, arrow, fire
Math — Khan Academy for around 15 minutes
Watch parts of two videos about caves: Naica Crystal Cave and The Origin of Cave Images and Paintings – BBC
Cave Painting — craft paper taped to the wall, drawing charcoal, yellow paint, printouts of Pacific Northwest rock art (I can’t reproduce these images but here’s a good place to start finding them on your own. There is also this beautiful book — Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau)
As we were drawing I put on Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which is available on Netflix.
Make alum crystals — I used this tutorial
Free afternoon — We went swimming.


Change the date/note the weather
Spelling // crystals, grow, glow, light, science, dark, space, hand, painting, art
Make cave cut-out from this book which I don’t actually recommend but I found it at the thrift store and it’s fun to cut up.
Make rock books, also from this book
Read aloud The First Dog by Jan Brett which I HIGHLY recommend and we’ve read it a million times.
Look at minerals and rocks from our collection — up close, at a distance, with light, feel with eyes closed, etc.
Make a list of favorites and what you’d like to see.
Field Trip to Ed’s House of Gems
Free afternoon


Change the date/note the weather
Spelling // forest, explore, soil, trees, creek, ferns, path, mushroom, cedar, spirit
Lego Challenges — Make a vessel
Free reading
Math — Khan Academy for around 15 minutes
Home errands — grocery store, target, laundry, etc.

Change the date/note the weather
Free morning
Read aloud She Who Watches in preparation for our trip to see the actual pictograph
Paint self-portrait
Watch video on flip books
Make flip books!