Meet our Turtle Wurtle!

Hello, this post is part of our creative writing linkup for teens and tweens. It is dedicated to my turtle, named Wurtle.

Middle and High School Linkup for Students and Moms!


His name was originally Kristal when we thought it was a girl, then we thought it was a boy and renamed it Kris. We still are not sure what its gender is, so its nick-name, Wurtle has sort of become its permanent nickname / real name.  Wurtle is a red-eared slider that we found in our pool. My dad was getting the pool ready after the winter and was putting Shock in the pool. After he had poured the Shock in, he found the turtle. He brought it in the house in a container and showed it to us. We were in the classroom doing history at the time and were studying Kristallnacht (Also known as The Night of Breaking Glass). When he told us he had just used Shock in the pool we were scared we might have blinded the poor turtle so we decided to keep it.



When we first got Wurtle, he was about the size of a quarter, now he has grown to about the size of my hand. He is a huge eater… eating close to a can of turtle food in a month. My brother, Chase, trained our turtle to bite your fingers. We used to hand feed Wurtle and when he bit you when he was little, it did not hurt. Recently, when I was hand feeding Wurtle, he bit my hand and just wouldn’t let go! I could have dragged him around the tank with him still attached to my finger. That was unusual, most of the time he let go after a few seconds. I have been working on getting it out of the biting stage and now, it won’t even eat out of my hand anymore! So now I put the food in the water and on a fake log for it to eat.


Our turtle is in our classroom, and it just so happens that it is right beside my brother Gage and close to me. The reason why I like this is because it is very calming to watch and hear. Turtle swims around the tank a lot and dives off the rocks. The sound of water is nice and our filter has a waterfall, so it’s pretty to look at too! Since the turtle is in our classroom, it became part of our school work too. Mom wrote a post about some of the works we used to study about turtles.

When we first got Wurtle, we had to do lots of research to learn all about red-eared sliders. We needed to know how to take care of it so we researched things like:

  • What it likes to eat
  • what its tank needed to have
  • how big it would grow
  • how warm to keep the water
  • what kind of heat lamp to use, and
  • many other things about how to care for Wurtle.

These are the books we used to research turtles:

We quickly learned that keeping a turtle healthy and happy is a little bit of work. Not so much that we didn’t want to keep it, but more than we expected. One thing that we found out the first week… turtle tanks get dirty and FAST! That was the worst part of taking care of the turtle in the beginning. We had to clean the entire tank every week to keep the water clean. Until mom bought a Viquarium. That was the best thing we found to help keep the turtle tank clean. Here is a video from the company that makes it.  We highly recommend it!!

Do you have a turtle or other reptile?  Tell us about it!

Roots, Fruits and Shoots Business


Hello, my name is Blake and I’m nine years old.  We are a homeschooling family and I have just started an organic produce business.  I named it Roots, Fruits and Shoots. We have been busy planting a garden this spring.  It is our first time to use wood mulch.  My mom has been posting about it until now.  I’ll be posting about the garden now.

We were not sure about the wood mulch at first, but once we saw the weeds flourishing under the mulch we thought our plants might do well.  We have been weeding the garden and the roots were big, but most were so easy to pull up.  I have only watered the garden once this year.  The wood mulch stores the moisture for the plants.  

We have quite a lot of things coming up like nasturtium, strawberries, potatoes, blueberries, carrots, and radish.  And we also have horseradish and blackberries in our front yard.  Our first crop is starting to come in, guess what it is?  Strawberries!!!  We harvested our first strawberries today!!!  


We have a green house where we planted tomatoes and peppers in pots.  We will move them out when they have matured and its warm enough.  I will be planting beans, corn, zucchini, squash, watermelon, pumpkins, cantaloupe, honey dew, Okra, and cucumbers very soon.  

Four years ago we planted blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, and pears.  They are really starting to flourish and produce lots of fruit now.  Especially our blackberries and strawberries.



Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany Supplemental Resources

Apologia Botany edited 2

Apologia Exploring Creation with Botany Supplemental Resources.  We modify traditional homeschool curriculum to make it more Montessori, more hands-on.  Apologia Botany was one of the easiest curriculums to accomplish this with.  This curriculum seemed to dovetail perfectly with the Montessori Botany works.  If you have students that like to do workbooks, they have one.  Although we did not use it.  I’ll detail how we did this below. First let me reiterate here, Apologia is such a well-rounded and full curriculum, you would not have to add one thing to their curriculum for it to be a full science curriculum. These additions are not because this curriculum lacked a thing… it is because we chose to teach our children with a Montessori pedagogy… which is a LITTLE (not a lot) more hands-on. At the link below, not only will you find the Table of Contents, but you will also find a sample chapter for botany. Go check it out, you will understand what I mean about not needing to add much to this curriculum.

Before starting, I highly recommend you first read Michael Olaf’s description  of Montessori Botany from 0 – 12 years old.  It really helps us have a goal in mind when teaching Botany.  Maria Montessori said it so beautifully:

How often is the soul of man, especially that of the child, deprived because one does not put him in contact with nature.

There is no description, no image in any book, that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving. The wood reveals that it is not only the trees that exist, but a whole, interrelated collection of lives. And this earth, this climate, this cosmic power are necessary for the development of all these lives.

The myriad lives around the trees, the majesty, the variety are things one must hunt for, and which no one can bring into the school. — Maria Montessori

Now that you understand what we are trying to accomplish and I have pointed you to the foundation of a botany curriculum, lets dive into Apologia Exploring Creation Botany curriculum.  Here is a link to the Apologia Table of Contents

I have copied the details from the Table of Contents onto this post to make it easy to reference the supplemental works (if any) that we used for each section. One of the first things we (my best friend and I) made were the nomenclature (3 part cards) for each chapter. I will create a link for these at each of the chapter headings below.

Botany Lesson 1 (note, I have to upload them as pdfs, the word files are too large). A large part of Lesson 1 is introducing language and concepts, so there will not be much in addition to the nomenclature cards for this lesson). I will do my best to provide free resources, but some of the works we used were not free, I will link to the products that we used if you choose to purchase them.

  • Gymnosperms
  • Seedless Vascular Plants
  • Nonvascular Plants
  • What Do You Remember?
  • Notebook Activity


 Project Note:  Some Items above are linked to my Amazon affiliate account.  The very small amount of money that we make from our affiliation with Amazon is used to augment our curriculum needs.  Some photos shared are courtesy of Amazon.

Farm Volunteer Surprises!

What an absolutely beautiful day we had Friday!  We spent most of the day in the yard working!  And we are so thankful to have the warm day to do it!  This time of year, it is very common to get in the greenhouse and find a volunteer or two growing.  But this year, we have a whole new level of farm volunteer!  Look at what we found:  Ten Potato plants and Carrot Volunteers!!!  I didn’t even know Carrots would return if not picked!  (Ha ha ha…. Live and Learn, right?)!  Anyway, I thought I would share some pictures of what is going on around here.  Spring is when everything on the farm is starting to kick back into gear, including us… I’ve got a few winter pounds to lose myself due to lack of activity!!!  But, all of sudden, in the matter of two days, we have green plants everywhere, our pear trees are blooming like crazy and already we feel a sense of urgency…  as if we are behind in a span of less than 48 hours 🙂  

Anyway, get back to the volunteers… this year, we got an even bigger surprise volunteer… See the pictures below:


Meet Cooter Brown (my hubby named him)! A friend of ours called to let us know our rooster was out. When we got outside, our Rooster (Rocky) was safely in the pen. But the next day, we figured out it wasn’t OUR rooster that was out, but a new rooster visiting. He is young, he doesn’t even have official spurs yet). Looks like a Rhode Island Red mix. Anybody know? Look at those white tail feathers! Anyway, him and Rocky didn’t get along when they were in the same pen, so we moved Cooter to the other pen. This morning, Cooter was gone… but the gate was closed, so we now know he can fly. This afternoon, he’s been spotted back inside the pen snacking on crumble. We’ll see if we have a new addition to the flock, or if he is just a traveler passing through. Either way, this has been a fun adventure trying to catch and encourage him to stay!

I will post more pictures later with more details!  Until next time….

%d bloggers like this: