Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Visit to Chile

This week, we learned about Chile. Although Chile is not one of the listed countries for Galloping the Globe, my children were interested in finding out about this fascinating country and so I thought, "why not!" They completed a fact sheet about Chile that I printed off of Homeschool Creations. We also found a map quiz from Enchanted Learning as well as a flag to color. Another activity they enjoyed was seeing all the neat photos of Chile at www.nationalgeographic.com I borrowed several books from the library for them to read but their favorite is always Around the World In 80 Tales.

While traveling through Chile, we discovered that felt art is very popular there and so we decided to make our own felt pictures. Here is my little guy working on his picture above, and the finished product below.
My little nut working on her artwork, and her final product below!
Last but not least, my big girl working on her picture. Here is her project!
I love all the fun, hands-on craft activities we are able to do while homeschooling and I think the children learn so much from these projects. It is always so neat to see how different they are as well!

Monday, January 24, 2011

History Pockets

I recently discovered History Pockets. I have to say,  they have become one of my favorite resources for history! History Pockets are published by Evan Moor and there are History Pockets for grades 1-3 as well as 4-6+. I ended up purchasing all the different books but we have only used one so far. This week, my oldest completed the Colonial America History Pockets.
The History Pocket books show you how to make each pocket using large sheets of construction paper and string or yarn. Each book contains enough materials to create up to 10 different pockets, each one focusing on a specific item relating to that time period. You can make all the pockets and include everything for that chapter, or you can pick and chose! The best part is, you simply make copies of the pages in the History Pocket book using regular computer paper or card stock. This allows you to use the book as many times as you want which comes in handy if you have several children of different ages.
Here is a sample of a pocket my daughter created using the Colonial America History Pockets book. Each pocket has a title card that you glue onto the construction paper. Inside the pocket are all the different activities pertaining to that chapter.

There is such a variety of creative projects! This for example was a replica of a colonial home and it opens up so you can see the furniture inside. So cute!
There are time lines, maps, collages to make, and many more activities. History Pockets are a wonderful addition to any history curriculum, or you can use them alone! We thoroughly enjoyed the Colonial America History Pockets and can't wait to use the other books in the near future.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Today is our dirt loving little man's 6th birthday. Where does the time go??? I just don't know... We hope your day is just as special as you are! We love you always.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stone Soup and Words From a Five Year Old

I thought it would be a fun activity to make some "stone soup" during National Soup Month. My 9 year old has been busy doing all sorts of soup-related activities this month and so we went ahead and read the book Stone Soup and started making a lapbook. There was a lot of chopping involved in creating our own stone soup and she was so excited to be helping! I am thankful I have children who really enjoy cooking. But, on to more interesting things...

When my little guy began homeschooling this year, he started out pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing. That excitement wore off after a few days and so I will have to say that sometimes, he is less than thrilled about certain things I need for him to do. As I have mentioned before, we are doing Starfall Kindergarten and I absolutely LOVE it! There is quite a bit of writing however which he is not fond of, even though when he is alone, he will write all sorts of lists, etc... Much of it is random strings of letters and as I praise him for his hard work, I secretly wonder if he is "where he should be" for his age. Yes, I know- its that teacher mentality that I just can't seem to get out of my head. Anyways,  this week as we were working on his word-building activities with the magnet letters, I got up and went out of the school room for a moment. When I came back, this is what my little guy had written for me:
For those who can't quite read it ( or can't believe what you are seeing!), yes that says "I hav a fat bumm" Now of course I was thinking about the fact that if he were in school, this would have been a BIG no-no. But, he's not in school and so we laughed and laughed until we cried and I thought to myself  yes, he is EXACTLY where he should be...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Soup Month Activities

Since this month is National Soup Month, I decided to spend some time with my children doing some fun and educational activities related to soup! So far, we have made two different types of homemade soup- kale and chicken. We read the story Stone Soup and tomorrow, we are going to make stone soup for dinner! This morning, I took my daughter to our local grocery store to investigate some things about soup. I made up a worksheet ahead of time for her and had her write down how many different brands of soup she thought there were at our store. Then, she had to actually count all the different brands. The next activity called for her to investigate one brand specifically for nutritional content. The last thing she did was calculate how much it would cost to purchase 4 of her favorite soups. She has been creating a lapbook about soup this month and so we will be incorporating that worksheet into her project. This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling- being able to really investigate a topic and learn in a hands-on way! How are you celebrating National Soup Month?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Fun Field Trip

Last week, my husband and I took our oldest on a field trip to a local amusement park. This was a special treat since she was going without her siblings! It was quite cold that day and so the park was virtually empty and we couldn't go on any water rides. But that didn't stop us from having a great time.
There were all sorts of neat things to see and do. I especially enjoyed these stilt walkers. I thought about how much strength it must take to be able to walk around on stilts like that!
Another favorite thing was the Egyptian Exhibit. Our daughter was interested in the way the tombs were built and all the details regarding the burial of royalty.
We even had a blast going on the "kiddie rides" since the park was so empty. It was a fun day for the three of us and something I really enjoyed was getting a whole day alone with our big girl!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today is our little girl's 9th birthday! She is such a special little sweetheart- so full of life and always interesting with her funny comments and expressions.  We couldn't imagine life without her and it is such a blessing to have her in our family. Happy birthday, little nut- we love you and hope your special day is filled with fun!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Smelling Station, Soup Month, and a Lost Tooth

Today my 8 year old set up a "smelling station" for science. I created a direction sheet ahead of time, along with some answer sheets to hand out to all the participants. First, she wrote a number on each bowl. Next, she had to go around the house and get something for each bowl that had a recognizable scent. After that, she placed the items in the bowls and covered them with a paper towel so they could not be seen.
The fun part was when we all got the chance to smell each bowl and write down what we thought was hiding under the paper towel. Some were easy, and others were a bit difficult to guess! The items she chose were the following: a banana, shampoo, a gingerbread cookie, an orange, and toothpaste. I thought her choice of items was great because she chose a variety of items and they all had distinct smells. This was a fun activity and we all enjoyed participating in it!

Speaking of smells, did you know that the month of January is National Soup Month? I just love the smell of a nice big pot of soup simmering on the stove when its cold outside! So far this month, we have made homemade chicken soup and today we are making kale soup. Kale is so healthy and tastes delicious, especially in soup. My kids gobble it up! We serve it with some nice grilled cheese sandwiches. Yummy! I can hardly wait until dinner tonight.

Last of all, I wanted to share my little guy's big milestone- he lost his very first tooth! I can't believe my baby is old enough to be missing teeth! He was a bit upset at first because it was just hanging there, bothering him.

I assured him once it was out everything would be ok and he would be able to eat "normally" again. So, here he is with his toothless grin! The tooth fairy, Dentalina, arrived right on schedule and left a nice payment for his little tooth. I asked him what he thinks she does with all those teeth and he replied that she puts them all in a box and saves them. By the way, my oldest always said Dentalina makes "tooth soup" out of them and my middle child says she builds little tiny tooth houses. I always get a kick out of their responses to certain questions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ideas For Your Workboxes

Many of you that use the workbox system, or are thinking about using it know it is a wonderful organizational tool for homeschooling. However, I have come across several people who start using it but don't know what to put in the boxes! In addition to using workboxes for your "regular" academic activities, I think it is so convenient and beneficial to use them for fun, educational extras as well! My children never know what they're going to find in their boxes each morning. Sure, they realize those same textbooks are there somewhere, but I like to alternate the order of things each day, as well as throw in several surprises!

Here is a list of some ideas for those of you who would like to add some fun extras into your school day, but just don't know where to start:

origami                             craft kits                           Madlibs                               puzzles
board games                    file folder games              nature journal                    playdoh/clay
tangrams                         instruments                      sewing projects                  k'nex
legos & building card      letter tiles                         paper dolls                         Wii time
magnetic wands              story prompt card           computer time                   flash cards
physical challenge card  treasure hunt                   dominoes                           science experiment
CD/tapes                         iPod/educational apps     dice math                          letter magnets
DVD                                  History Pockets                money activities              lapbooking
scrapbooking                  map activities                    stamps/ink pads              plan week's meals
cooking activities           cookie sheet math             cookie sheet spelling        Brainquest cards
coupon cutting               camera/list of items          make grocery list            coloring book
puzzle pages                   electronic learning game  card games                       art activities

You probably have many of these items already in your home. Its just a matter of finding them all and making a list so they get used. One of the best things I did was take an inventory of everything in my home that could be used for workboxes. I have the master list on a bulletin board in our school room and now, loading the workboxes is MUCH easier because I don't have to "think" of something to put into them. My children have 8 large boxes and so what I usually do is have anywhere from 1-3 items in each box. For example, in my 7th grader's American History box, she will have a set of vocabulary cards to practice, her chapter book to read, and an activity from History Pockets to complete. Oh, and some of the items listed may seem a bit "young" for your older children but you would be surprised at what they will still want to do! My 13 year old LOVES clay and playdoh, and will even do coloring pages in various coloring books for older kids I have found from www.doverpublications.com

There are several websites out there if you are looking for ways to have little daily celebrations and incorporate them into your workboxes. On http://www.theteacherscorner.net/  you can print out a calendar for each month which contains holidays, special birthdays, etc... For example, a few months ago we celebrated Banana Split Day. I placed an activity card along with a banana and icecream dish in each of our children's boxes. They really look forward to those fun surprises and it gives me a chance to teach them things that perhaps aren't in their regular textbooks but are still educational. This month, is National Soup Month and I have a whole list of things we are going to do.

I hope this has helped you a bit. If you have any other ideas you use for your workboxes, I would love to hear them. I am always looking for new things!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere!

Are you stuck inside somewhere because of all this cold weather we've been having? Well never fear- today is Bubble Bath Day! Why not gather all your bath toys, a bottle of bubble bath, and a nice fluffy towel and soak in a nice hot tub! My little guy woke up this morning and remembered today was a special day so here he is with his bubble beard, having fun in the tub. And remember- bubbles aren't just for kids.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

National Bird Day

Today is National Bird Day. I love incorporating all the little "holidays" and special events going on throughout the year into our workboxes.  Today, my kids learned about bird habitats, different types of birds, and did some little activities in a workbook about birds that I found at the Target Dollar Spot last year. Later today, they will be making some bird feeders out of oranges. Hopefully, we will attract a variety of birds and we will be able to take some pictures! Happy National Bird Day to you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy 2011!!!

Happy New Year! Can you believe another year is upon us already???  Last year went SO fast for us and sometimes, I just want to stop time and enjoy all the beautiful moments a bit longer.... But I do know that there will be many more memories made this year and all sorts of new and exciting things to discover. We will resume our homeschooling on January 3rd, so stay tuned. My kids will be doing some goal-setting activities, going on lots more field trips, and even getting ready for an overseas trip later this year! May the Lord bless you throughout this new year and may we all keep our focus on Him and always put Him in first place each and every day.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21