I always find it odd when someone sends me an email to ask me a question because I am so far from being any sort of expert, it isn't even funny. I hope they send me questions because they realize that people learn by making mistakes and they assume I have made a WHOLE lot. 'Cause I have. Regardless, the recent question was about which books/items should be kept on hand if one is trying to keep their school year as simple as possible.
Sometimes people like to keep it simple because they are in transition, maybe they are moving or have recently had a baby. Other times people keep it simple because they are trying not to take on more than they should. Kim has some nice ideas about that.
In my opinion, these are the essential items for a simple school year:
Arts and Crafts: It is nice to have a wide array of quality materials to choose from. Whether it be yarn and needles, clay, markers, colored pencils, modeling beeswax or paints, the children can spend their free time using any available materials. Now and then we will do something more formal but for the most part, they can choose based on their interests, which medium to use. Recently, the kids have been painting with watercolors in the afternoons.
One note about art supplies, I do think good paints, pencils and paper are important. It is too hard to paint on copier paper without making a big mess. Better to invest a little in decent supplies than to have frustrated artists. Just my opinion. Just buy the best quality that is within your budget. We like to spend a lot of time outdoors and the kids like to draw or paint the things they have been learning about in nature as well. Some if mine keep a nature notebook for that purpose.
Funny, I thought that when we switched to a more simple, independent learning style, they would balk. But I have found there are few complaints about schoolwork and they always know what they should be doing next. They are not waiting for me to finish my plans or adjust them according to life's circumstances. The children choose to get their work done early in the day and are usually finished soon after lunch. If they play around in the early hours, they will have to work later in the day to complete the three subjects. The work is easily transported if we have somewhere to go. A folder, a pencil and a book can go most places.
Ben has been working on a geometry main lesson block since the start of our school year. We are using Barbara Dewey's book for sixth graders. Ben is enjoying it thoroughly and I thought I would post some photos of his work. I hope to have all the drawings up in an album soon. Sorry some of the following drawings are light and difficult to see but they are all done in regular pencil (unless colored).
Compass work, creating circles with circumferences 1" in size different from the last with the same center.
This drawing was made by creating a center circle and stepping around the circumference with equal sized circles. Then the star area was colored with colored pencils.
Creating a perfect hexagon is done by stepping around the circumference of the circle with the compass and joining the points with a ruler.
The same points on the circumference are used to make a six pointed star....
...and to divide the circle into six equal parts.
Lastly, he determined the number of times the points along the circumference could connect mathematically and color coded the equation.
5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 15.
He also noticed that this drawing was a combination of the previous three: the hexagon, the six pointed star and the circle divided into an equal pie.
Ben has learned how to use a compass, ruler and several definitions (radius, circumference, etc.) thus far in our study of geometry. We are really enjoying doing it together.
We completed our end of the year assessments and will be submitting them this week to the Board of Education. It is always a good feeling to have that completed, simple as the process may be. Our state allows for an end of the year standardized test score or portfolio review to be submitted to the school district. I usually opt for the portfolio review but this year we took Seton's CAT test.
The girls were at the park on the boys testing day which allowed us to work hard without interruption. The boys thought it was fun to take a test. We broke up the sections with some snacks and activities to break things up a bit. In between test sections, we had treats of lollipops and popsicles. We took 10-15 minute breaks during which some of the while we sat (and ate) and other times we ran relay races to the back of our lot (300 feet). Racing Christopher was fun because I pretended that I was exhausted and let him win a couple of times. He thought that was jolly good fun and fell down laughing a few times. A couple more times I creamed him, just to keep him humble. ;)
When it came down to Ben and I, however, there was no mercy coming from me No Siree Bob! That boy thinks he is the fastest thing on wheels and I just couldn't let him win without a good fight. It was fun to race him as he is becoming a fast runner as he grows older. I did beat him fair and square three times though he beat me in the final race to the back fence. In my defense, I had already raced Christopher in several races before attempting to race Ben so I was somewhat worn out. Also, Chris likes to remind me that I am an "ooooold lady" so I will use that as an excuse. :)
Anyhoo, we are starting our new school year tomorrow. The kids are ready and I am too! We are looking forward to a peaceful year full of interesting things to learn, handcrafts to make, and songs to sing together. Say a prayer for our school year ahead and we will do the same for you. :)
If any of you are using Mother of Divine Grace plans for the upcoming school year, (specifically Kindergarten, Third or Sixth grades), I made files of all the memory work and have included them here if you'd like to download them for your children's binders.
We will be learning the Kindergarten poems during Circle Time each morning.
Third grade History and Geography:
I put ours in plastic page protectors and then in 1/2 inch, 3 ring binders, one per child. I have also placed the circle time lineup in the Kindergarten poetry binder so it is easily accessible each morning. The children will memorize a stanza per week, recite the entire poem when they feel confident and then illustrate the poem for their poetry notebooks.
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." ~Anne Frank
The kids and I spent time last week (prior to the Tarzan accident :) at the local arboretum where we do most of our weekly nature study. We have been going to the arboretum for the past eight years. It is neat to get to know a place intimately, in all four seasons. Coming back week after week allows us to really grow accustomed to the wildlife, plants and terrain of this diverse place. We spend most of our time around the pond and in the woods when we visit. While we are big fans of the arboretum, I'll admit to avoiding nature study in the depths of February when our temperatures hover right around 10 degrees. I like to study my fireplace and my knitting at that time of year. :)
We started doing nature study when Benjamin was a preschooler. He and I would come to the arboretum with Christopher in the baby sling or backpack. I began bringing along a sketchbook and camera after reading the books Wild Days by Karen Rackliffe and Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie.
Last week, many of the wildflowers were in bloom in the butterfly garden and in the meadows. I like to draw plants and flowers because they do not move around, making it easy for a person like me, who has only a public school art education, to sketch them. I like to add the Latin names as well. I don't know why but it seems so romantic. Lest you think I am a student of Latin, I copy the Latin names from our field guides. :)
I wanted to share a tip I use for those of you who are afraid to buy yourself a nature notebook and start sketching. I am not very adept at drawing three dimensional objects or creatures so I like to sketch things (copy them actually) from photographs or books. For example, if the children and I are out in the wilderness and we see a turtle crawling along, we try to identify it from our field guides. Rather than trying to sketch it there on the spot, I will come home and copy it from a book, again usually a field guide. While we were out recently, we saw a small snapping turtle and several snails. I knew that I could not sketch the turtle accurately while it crawled along so when we got home, I took out the Minn of the Mississippi book and copied a snapping turtle drawing from its pages. Maybe some folks would think that was cheating but it is the only way I know how to draw.
When we study nature, the kids and I each bring along a small field bag. Inside the bag is a small spiral bound sketchbook, a pencil and perhaps a small pair of field glasses. I carry the field guides in my own bag which is a big larger than the childrens'.
We have used these embroidered field bags for the past few years. They are made from a women's cooperative in Costa Rica. Really any old purse sized bag will do but we have gotten these as gifts and really enjoy them. There is a pocket for a pencil on the side and ample room within for a field guide, sketch book and small pair of binoculars.
I am very fond of the Golden Guide's St. Martin's Press field guides. They are relatively inexpensive, pocket sized, lightweight and fit nicely into the field bags. All of the pictures are illustrations rather than photos. For some reason, this appeals to me. We use them all quite often but the Pond Life field guide is by far our favorite.
We spend a lot of time just sitting around the pond, observing and listening to the sounds. Sometimes the kids try to catch frogs, sometimes they gather pond water specimens to identify water bugs, nymphs, mudpuppies and tadpoles. Rarely do we go away from pond study without finding something interesting to learn about.
(Here is a child who apparently likes bright, unmatching clothing. :)
Now that all of the leaves are fully grown on our local trees, summer is a nice time to identify various leaves. We spread out a blanket and the kids bring back some leaves. Everyone lays them out and we take out our field guides to identify them. I usually bring along several peeled crayons with which they can do rubbings and to label their leaves in their nature notebooks. Even the youngest children in our family can do this exercise and really seem to enjoy themselves. We have been using the book Stikky Trees which uses picture words and brief bits of text on each page to help botany students (of all ages) identify 15 of the most common trees in one hour. We love this book.
In addition to trees, there are so many other plants to study in the summer. We love to identify the different types of water lilies at the pond as well as other aquatic plants like duckweed.
This has been a very long post, hopefully none of you are terribly bored. :)
I hope to read some of your suggestions and posts about how you enjoy nature study, how you interest your children to join in and how you go about keeping record of your journey/studies.
"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." ~Helen Keller
This time a year is always a good time for me to reflect back upon the past several months. I look back on what we have done, what has been successful and what I would like to change for the upcoming year.
Our plan for the fall is to follow Laura Berquist's well laid plans for the children, as we have done in other years, but adding the special elements that have worked so beautifully for us and that add flavor to our learning. We will be notebooking certain subjects, as we have done this year. We will leave chunks of time for handcrafts, circle time and nature study. All of this has brought my children such happiness. The littles especially have enjoyed the rhythm of a day that looks similar to the one before it but is different enough to be interesting. :)
I've made a few guidlelines for myself regarding my computer time. Last summer, I cut back considerably and even stopped blogging altogether. I plan to cut back again this summer, but will continue to record our experiences and memories at A Gypsy Caravan. The difference will be, that instead of allowing myself time on the computer each day, I will do so on one weekend morning or evening. I will pre-publish posts that will appear throughout the week in my absence. Rather than posting them each day and being unavailable to my family, I will jot down things I'd like to post during the week in my notebook and will post them over the weekend when I have more time. I still plan to check my email each day, though the number of times I do that will be greatly reduced. I will allow myself time to read blogs on the weekend as well. I think these guidelines will help me to keep my family first and not to get sucked into spending too much time online.
Though my boys have baseball most evenings, the girls and I will only attend two games per week so as to cut down on the amount of time we are away from home. I will continue our decluttering efforts and will hopefully start the next school year with a lot less stuff. :) So, I look now with excitement on the year ahead and towards a slow paced, peaceful summer. Hopefully, this summer will be the segue into a wonderful schoolyear for our family.
The Aster Archipelago is the last stop on our journey using Shanleya's Quest. Asters are a composite flower with one flowerhead composed of many smaller flowers. The smaller flowers are composed of five fused petals surrounding the pistil and stamens. The petals surrounding the disc are called Ray Flowers as each are a complete flower in and of themselves.
This family of plants contains over 19,000 different species. You can see the tiny individual flowers in the center disc, along with the Ray flowers protruding petal like from the outside. Each tiny flower produces its own seed.
Some of the flowers in the Aster/Sunflower family include marigolds, dandelions, sunflowers, zinnia, chamomile, calendula and chrysanthemums. They are easy to spot because of their distinctive shape.
You can view photos and find out more about the Sunflower/Aster family here .
Disclaimer: Do not ever eat a plant unless you are certain about its identity and edibility. Do not use plants that have been sprayed with pesticides, fertilizers or chemicals.
Fun Things to Do:
Here in Northeast Ohio, we are so grateful to have such beautiful, diverse areas to explore. There are forests, rivers, ponds, dunes, beaches and marshlands within miles of our home, not to mention the Great Lake Erie! We spent an afternoon this past week at a nearby marshland. Here are some photos from our visit:
Speaking of Wood Ducks, did you know that our small area of Ohio, specifically the North Chagrin reservation is one of the best areas in the world to photography Wood Ducks? I owe you a better photo than this fellow on the log. Will try to get a better shot next time. :) In the meantime, scroll down a bit on this page for a photo of a drake and a hen.
We also saw quite a few swallows flying over the marshland but they were too quick for my camera. :)
Have a wonderful day!
Our botany studies have followed Shanleya to the Island of Fruits and Roses. The Rose Family contains more than 3,000 species of plants. The blossoms of true roses have five sepals and five petals plus a number of stamen and pistils. Most of the fruits we eat belong to subfamilies of the Rose Family. Rose hips, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are all fruits of the Rose Family.
The Plum Family includes plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apricots. All of the fruits in the Plum Family have a seam down the side and a hard pit within. We have an ornamental plum tree in our front yard which provides food for all the fat squirrels in our neighborhood. It happened to be bloom just in time for our study last week so the children were able to see the blossoms firsthand. The fruit of the Plum Family forms on top of the flower.
In the Apple Family, the fruit forms beneath the flowers. The five pointed star at the base of these fruits is formed by the sepals that used to be around the blossom. The Apple Family includes apples, pears and many berries. This site has some nice photos of fruits, blossoms and their foliage.
Ben's rendition of the Rose and Fruit Guardian:
Ben's drawing of the Rose Family Characteristics:
Some extra things to do:
This week we followed Shanleya to Grass Island where we learned about yet another group of monocots. Monocots have leaves with parallel veins as opposed to dicots whose leaves are net-veined. There are over ten thousand species of grass. Plants in this family include most edible grains such as wheat, rye, millet, timothy, oats, corn, rice, sorghum and barley. Also included are bamboo, reeds and sugarcane as well as many plants for turf and fodder.
The edible part of the grass plant is the seed. Grasses are wind pollinated and do not need insects to assist in their pollination, therefore they do not have colorful flowers to attract insects. Grasses have three stamens and a pistil and are contained in modified leaves called bracts.
Ben's illustration of the characteristics of the Grass Family:
Supplemental learning activities:
In keeping with the grains and grasses theme, our family had a baking day this week. First, we searched the recipe archives of mothers who have many children. I figured that their recipes would certainly be tried and tested to perfection. I was right. We made Danielle Bean's Banana Bread and Michelle Duggar's Homemade Rolls in addition to four loaves of sandwich bread. Both recipes produced such delicious results that I was forced to freeze the extras in fear that we would eat them all in the first 24 hours!
Here is Christopher mixing the banana bread:
The Duggar's rolls, golden and delicious from the oven:
Little Annie's chubby hands kneading the bread dough:
I can't resist posting this one as well.
The finished loaves (One did not rise so well.):
Needless to say, our freezer is stocked and our tummies are full!
If you have read this far, I thank you. :)
Have a wonderful evening!
We have used Apologia as a reference more than a first hand method of learning. Apologia Botany is written in a very Charlotte Mason-esque tone which is enjoyable to read. That being said, it is still a textbook which does not inspire them the way a living book does. That is why I have opted to use it more as a reference.
I have not required the kids to do all of the notebook activities or projects in Apologia Botany. Prior to starting Shanleya's Quest, we read and discussed the first chapter in Apologia. We also learned to identify the parts of seeds, trees, flowers, fruits, etc using the downloads from Montessori for Everyone. The downloads were a great way to jumpstart our botany lessons by learning some of the vocabulary. They were also a fun way to include the littles in our botany studies.
After that initial reading, we have delved into Apologia as topics came up in Shanleya's Quest. For example, during Mint Week, we read about Stems from Lesson 8 in Apologia. Because the mint plants have a characteristically square stem, it seemed a good time to read this chapter. We discussed Lesson 2 (Seeds, Monocots and Dicots) when we reached the portion in Shanleya's Quest that discussed the differences between the monocots and dicots. We sprouted beans, dissected and identified their parts for Pea Week, reading from Apologia Chapter 2 (Seeds). We discussed the different types of leaves (Lesson 6) when we learned about pinnate leaves during Mint Week.
So, you can see we are not reading the chapters of Apologia in order.
Now, on to the second part of your question. The average botany lesson in our home lasts most of an hour. We normally do botany twice a week, though we have taken off a number of weeks this school year due to illness and to the Christmas season.
During the first lesson of the week, the children and I sit on the sofa and we read a chapter of Shanleya's Quest. We discuss the characteristics of that week's plant family. We read a bit from Apologia if it pertains to what we are learning. Often times the boys will opt to draw the Island Guardian that lesson as well. During the second lesson of the week, Benjamin draws the family characteristics for his notebook and we review the characteristics aloud. We print out the corresponding pages of information regarding the family characteristics from Thomas Elpel's website (found at the bottom of this page). They go in the botany notebook as well.
I mentioned that Ben is also doing the Plant Science merit badge for Boy Scouts. He worked on requirement five for a half an hour or so today, researching native and invasive plants on the internet. We also often use the second lesson to do any hands on learning or experiments that might be pertinent.
I expect, as the weather warms, we will spend a lot of time out doors studying specimens, collecting plants, identifying plant families and the like. We will probably go back through Shanleya's Quest and refamiliarize ourselves with the identifying characteristics so we can put our learning to practical use outdoors.
Tara writes: "I purchased Shanleya's Quest and assigned a chapter a week for my son. He just does not seem to enjoy it. He draws his obligatory page and that is all. What am I doing wrong?"
I do not know if you are doing anything wrong. I am not sure how old your son is but my older son is the only one doing the detailed botany work. My second grade son merely listens to the chapter, illustrates the guardian and does any other fun, hands on learning. My eleven year old son is doing much more.
Botany is something that we do together as a family. The children would probably not enjoy it as much if we did not read the chapters together, do the activities together and have a lot of fun to boot. I doubt that most kids would get excited about plants if left to their own devices. The children will pick up on your interest, or disinterest, and react accordingly. If you think Botany is fun and worth learning, more than likely they will too.
If you live in a warm area of the country, perhaps you can sit outside and read the chapter together. Then spend a bit of time trying to find plants in your yard that fit the description of the plant family you are studying that week. If you live in a cold area, as we do, a trip to the grocery store to pick up flowers would be fun. During the second lesson, discuss and illustrate the identifying characteristics. Put them in a botany notebook. As my children begin to see their notebooks grow, they are motivated to continue to learn more and more. We have downloaded much of our work into the left hand sidebar photo album for you to see.
This is a lot of information and I hope I haven't bored those of you who are not doing botany this year. Thanks for reading this far. :) Have a wonderful day!
Ben is a Boy Scout and is currently working on the Plant Science merit badge. He thought it would be a good time to earn it since we are studying botany at home this school year.
Here are the requirements for the Plant Science Merit Badge. If you have an older child (perhaps fifth grade through high school) and want to flesh out your botany studies, I think you will find these guidelines to be excellent. The requirements are very thorough and would nicely complement the Botany in a Day and Shanleya's Quest books. There is a corresponding worksheet that can be used to record the child's work.
As a side note, I would encourage anyone who finds the Boy Scout requirements interesting to look into Scouting for your sons. The program is top notch. We have been so blessed by the wonderful families and boys that we have met through our years in Scouting. Here are the other merit badges that can be earned. I think we could base our homeschooling lessons on merit badges requirements alone and give the children an excellent education.
Here are some people who are doing just that:
Just wanted to take some time to address a few of the questions that were asked following my recent post about Circle Time.
"What do you do if you have toddlers mixed in with older children? How do you plan songs for differing ages?"
That is a great question. My oldest son (11) does independent table work while the rest of the children (8, 4, 2) do circle time. I try to include some traditional nursery rhymes for the littles, some songs with hand motions and some livelier, patriotic tunes for my eight year old. Anything involving marching or military seems to be a hit for boys. :) The girls current favorite is A Ram Sam Sam. Here is a video clip from UTube, though we don't do the "Olha a Onda" part, but rather sing the "A Rafi" version.
"What music sites or sources do you use to choose the songs and, fingerplays?"
Two of my favorite songbooks are Rise Up Singing and American Folk Songs for Children. Both are dog eared books that I have used since my oldest was a baby. We have never done a formal Circle Time prior to this past fall but I have sung to my children since they were tiny, especially in the car.
The Rise Up Singing book has a myriad of songs by topic, plus guitar chords for those of you who play. The book is spiral bound, which I love. There are a few songs in it that I would never sing to my children but the good far outweighs the bad.
Also, American Folk Songs for Children comes in compact disc form. It is a two disc set which contains most of the noteworthy songs every child should know. Mike and Peggy Seeger have VERY DISTINCT voices, great for folk music. Most people either love them or hate them. I would really encourage you to listen on the Amazon page before purchasing the set, just to make sure you like their voices. (My husband can't stand them.)
I would encourage anyone who is tempted to just play the songs for their children from a CD player NOT to do it. Play them for yourself so you can learn them but sing them to your children. Your kids don't care if you are not the best singer. They love you and want to have fun with you!
I love to teach the children folk music because it is so richly steeped in our country's history. So many of the songs were passed on from generation to generation, sung on the prairies, the cattle ranges, and the battlefields of our country.
I also use the patriotic songs from Wee Sing America. There is an accompanying CD that I can't seem to find on Amazon right now....
"LOL!! I tried it Rebecca. Now you said that the children wouldn't mind my singing voice, but when we began The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, my three year old son curled up in a ball on the floor and began to sob. What did I do wrong??? :) Too funny"
I smiled when I read this because Mary Kathryn put up quite a fuss the first few days that we did circle time. In our case, it was that she was not accustomed to having a lot of fun and personal attention in the morning. I think the structure and stimulation was a little emotionally overwhelming to her. After a few days, she began to ask for circle time but initially, she was very disruptive. (I really doubt it has anything to do with your singing voice! :) ) My guess is either the overwhelming interaction of it all or that your son is afraid of spiders. LOL!
It is helpful when doing circle time with little ones to arrange the songs in such a way that there are quieter songs in between the large motion, louder ones. That seems to help the children to settle and calm down after much excitement.
Above all else, don't give up! Little ones really thrive on routine and circle time is a gentle way to introduce a morning rhythm.
I hope I did not forget anyone's question. If I did, feel free to resend it again.
Have a great day!
We have been following Shanleya on her adventure and she has brought us to the island of the Lily Family. The Lily Family follows patterns of three and six that help us to easily identify the family from other plants. Lilies are monocots, which means when they begin to sprout, they have only one seed leaf. Monocots also have parallel leaf veins as opposed to the net veined leaves of dicots.
The Lily Family flowers have three sepals and three petals, all of the same color. It is important to identify flowers from the outside in: first the sepals, then the petals, stamens and pistil. Normally, sepals are green but in the case of the Lily Family, they are the same color as the petals. The Lily Family has six stamens and one pistil with a 3 parted (or Y shaped stigma). Most plants in the Lily Family grow from bulbs.
Patterns of the Lily Family by Ben:
The Lily Guardian by Chris:
The Lily Guardian by Ben:
So, let's review:
3 sepals and 3 petals (sometimes collectively called "tepals")
1 three part stigma on the pistil
Read more about the Lily Family here. Also on that site, you can see photos of flowers of the Lily Family and its subfamilies. Most Lily Family members are edible though a couple are poisonous so it is very important to be able to positively identify them before eating.
Some activities might include:
This past fall we decided to add circle time to our daily rhythm. Circle time is simply a gathering time at the beginning of the day in which to sing, read poetry, do fingerplays and incorporate movement.
I have always felt that it would be a good idea for my littles to have some sort of organized activity before I start tablework with the school aged children. Circle time takes about twenty minutes to a half hour each morning. I try to alternate songs that are lively with much movement with those that are quieter and slower. This seems to keep the children's attention quite well.
Last fall, I arranged a repertoire for the children. We ended up repeating the same song list for the months of September, October and November. I intended to arrange something for Advent and Christmas but it fell by the wayside.
I will include a few songs, a poem, a fingerplay and a hymn each time I come up with a new list. Below is what I have planned for the remainder of winter, until late March.
I read somewhere that it is important for the children that the list of songs, etc. remains the same for several weeks or even months before changing to a new list. Small children love consistency and find much comfort in repetition.
Christopher sits in on circle time so I have tried to add several songs that would appeal to him as well as my toddler/preschool daughters.
Light a candle
Say Morning Prayer "Dear Lord Jesus, I give you today, all that I think and do and say."
Today is: (Day and Date)
A Ram Sam Sam
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Fingerplay: Itsy Bitsy Spider
March: When Johnny Comes Marching Home
The Wheels on the Bus
I'm a Little Teapot
Peas Porridge Hot, lyrics and some history
Hot Cross Buns, words and history
Poem: Read aloud My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson (After several weeks of reading the same poem each morning, the children will naturally have it memorized, without intending to do so. School aged children can illustrate the poem in a poetry book.)
Hymn: O Lord I am not Worthy
Closing Prayer: May my hands work with care, my heart work with love and my mind work with attention. Amen.
Have a child blow out the candle.
If you are interested in beginning a gathering/circle time in the morning with your children, choose a few folk or nursery songs that you'd like them to learn, a poem perhaps and a fingerplay. Start small. Don't be afraid that you do not have a nice singing voice. Your children will not notice or care. They will have fond memories of spending time in song and play with their mother and siblings.
Have a wonderful day today!
We recently learned the differences between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. Ben illustrated the following drawings and labeled their major identifying characteristics.
Dicots usually have net veined leaves and two seed leaves when beginning to sprout. For the purpose of Shanleya's Quest, the dicot families are Mustard, Mint, Parsley , Pea, Rose and Aster. I realized after taking this photo that Ben sketched and colored the seed leaves brown rather than green. He later corrected it but I did not take a more recent photo of his drawing. The seed leaves should be green as they are the first green to sprout from the (bean in this case) seed itself.
The Pea Family is characterized by its irregularly shaped flower containing five petals: a banner, two wings and a keel (which is comprised of two petals that look like one). The Pea Family also produces pea-like pods that open along two seams and often have pinnate (opposite) leaves.
Some members of the Pea Family include clover, lupine, most beans and legumes, wild licorice and alfalfa. There are 13,000 species belonging to the eight tribes of the Pea Family.
Here is a photo of a kidney bean blossom that we sprouted way back here. Notice the banner, wings and keel.
Here are the boys' drawings of the Pea Guardian from Shanleya's Quest.
Some fun ideas:
Sprout any bean you have lying around the house. Record its growth in your botany notebook each day.
Draw and label the parts of a seed. Determine whether beans (and the entire pea family) are monocots or dicots.