Outdoor Science Activities for Kids

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Spring is an amazing season, don’t you agree? I love to get out and see all of the changes that are occurring in nature. This naturally lends itself to science activities, fresh air, and activity (gotta get those kiddos moving).  With just a few materials you can use the great outdoors to investigate science topics. Great outdoors + kids + science= Success! Know that’s what I call a great formula.

Plants- Tulips are starting to bloom and will do so over the next several weeks. This flower has large parts inside of it and is one of the best plants to dissect for the reason. It is a perfect flower because it has both male and female parts. (I just learned that!) And, in case you need a reminder of where the parts are located and what are their names, here is a quick reference drawing courtesy of http://www.wikimedia.com

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Here are some ideas for teaching. I have listed in parentheses other subject areas that are included besides science that are being studied as well.

  • Have your budding 🙂 botanist draw the parts of the flower. (art)
  • Label the parts of their flower. (language arts)
  • Point to the various parts and describe them. (language arts)
  • Color a picture and/or label the parts of a flower  Superstarworksheets (art)
  • Have your student teach you or other siblings about the flower. (language arts)
  • If you don’t have a flower to study, DK Books has a close-up of a flower and simple explanations of the parts of a plant. Flower Parts for Kids
  • If you have an older student you can go into greater detail by looking at this site: Biology for Kids: Flowering Plants 

 

Nature Picture Show Take your phone with you on a walk and let your child take pictures of signs of spring. When you get home you can:

  • Identify the plants and animals you saw. (language arts)
  • Create a photo collage. (art, technology)
  • Send pictures with a short narration to grandparents. (language arts)
  • Create a PowerPoint with captions. (technology, language arts)

 

Shadows The other day I saw my neighbor sitting on her driveway with some plastic dinosaurs and I just had to ask her what she was doing (keeping 6′ away from her of course!). She was waiting for the sun to cast shadows on some paper that she had so she could trace them. What a lot of fun! You can do this with anything, including your own shadow and your son/ daughter’s shadow.  Other things you can do with shadows:

  • Measure each shadow. You can come out at different times of the day and see whether your shadow was longer or shorter than before. (math)
  • Graph the measurement of the shadows. (math)
  • Watch a video about shadows. If you have an older student they can take notes about the video. (language arts)  Dr. Binocs
  • If you are looking for some good books to read about shadows (both nonfiction and fiction), you can check out this website: Faith and Good Works
  • Create a shadow puppet play. (art, language arts)
  • Not sunny today? No problem! Make a puppet theater. Here are two options to get your creative juices flowing:

 

Blowing Bubbles is always a lot of fun, but did you ever think about making this into a science activity?  Ask the question: If you have different shaped wands (made out of pipe cleaners or wire), will the bubbles come out in those shapes or will they be round? Create a hypothesis and go have some fun by checking to see if it is correct.

  • Bubble formula-  I found a formula without glycerin on kidsactivities.com since you can’t run to the store to get any right now. The amazing thing about this formula is that if you wear gloves the bubbles they won’t pop. The sugar makes them very strong and you can catch them and bounce them without breaking.

 Bubble Recipe

    • 4 Tbsp water
    • 1 Tbsp concentrated dish soap
    • 2 Tbsp Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
    • Add the water to a small bowl and pour in the dish soap.
    • Add the sugar and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved.

Have a great week!  ~ Lisa ~

 

 

 

 

 

Notifying for 2020-21 School Year

 

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Happy Spring to you!

My post last week informed you that if you are currently homeschooling your student is not required to have any type of assessment in order to homeschool for the 2020-2021 school year. So, what does that look like when you send in your paperwork this year? It will not be that different than what you have done in years past, but I will outline it here for you.

  • Complete the Ohio Home Education Notification Form (Be sure to include an outline of topics you intend to teach and the curricula you are intending to use as per requirements in items 6 and 7 of the notification form.)
  • It is optional to include a cover letter, but some families prefer to state the purpose of why their student is being homeschooled and what paperwork is being included with the notification form.
  • Submit your paperwork to your local school superintendent’s office no later than the week your child’s school building begins school. otherwise, your daughter/ son will be considered truant. I would advise you to turn it in later July or early August so that your letter of excusal from the superintendent has been sent to you by the time school begins.
  • Send your Ohio Notification Form by United States Postal Service by registered mail with a return receipt. I would not drop it off to the school office for a couple of reasons: 1. By sending it by registered mail with a return receipt you have proof that you notified the school district should it come into question that you did not notify.  2. Your paperwork could get lost. It has happened before! This is an extremely busy time for the administration and your paperwork could get mislaid.
  • If you homeschooled last year (2019-2020) you do not need to submit an assessment along with your paperwork.
  • That’s it! The superintendent’s office has 10 business days to send your student’s letter of excusal from compulsory education. If you do not receive the letter, your student is considered to be excused. I would follow up with the superintendent’s office if you did not receive your excusal letter. You want to have proof from the school district that you are legally homeschooling your child.

If you have any legal questions you can contact Home School Legal Defense. I am not a lawyer and would advise you to contact them should you have any concerns regarding homeschooling.

Portfolio Review Changes for 2020

 

downloadThis year all homeschool students are not required to submit assessments, either standardized tests or a portfolio review/ homeschool assessment.  However, it is being recommended that you consider doing it anyway.  If you would like to have me review your student’s work I can certainly do that for you electronically and we can meet online. We may also have the opportunity to meet in person in the summer but we will need to see what will be the recommendation by the CDC.

Here is the information from Home School Legal Defense (HSLDA) :

Homeschool families will not be required to submit assessments upon subsequent notification for the 2020-21 school year in order to continue homeschooling. Originally a technical tax correction bill, House Bill 197 was amended to include coronavirus response legislation. The bill reads on page 724-725:

“(L) No school district shall require the parent of any student who was instructed at home in accordance with section 3321.04 of the Revised Code for the 2019-2020 school year to submit to the district superintendent the results of a standardized achievement assessment administered to the student as a condition of the district allowing the student to continue to receive home instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.”

Although the language is somewhat unclear, CHEO’s legislative liaison, Melanie Elsey, was told by the Non Public Education Department of the Ohio Department of Education, who proposed the language, that the intent was to waive the entire assessment requirement for the current school year for homeschoolers in light of the challenges presented by the coronavirus. The ODE has assured CHEO and HSLDA that it will issue guidance to all school districts that homeschoolers should not be required to submit assessments.

However, any family still wishing to assess is free to do so. Families who have issues when they submit their notice of intent in the fall are invited to contact HSLDA for assistance. You can visit CHEO’s website for more information also!

HSLDA appreciates the opportunity to serve you. We are all thinking about and praying for our members and friends!

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

 

Homeschooling During Uncertainty

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In this time of difficulty, you might find it hard to homeschool. Concerns about jobs, keeping everyone healthy, wondering when life will return to normal,  can certainly be a distraction while you are homeschooling your child. Please keep in mind:

You are not alone. You may feel isolated since you can’t go out of your house as you once did, but remember that your next-door neighbor is home too! Perhaps start a neighborhood text or a Facebook page to connect with those nearby. If you don’t know your neighbors, maybe you can knock on a few doors and introduce yourself. (Of course, keep 6 feet away from them. 🙂 )  You can also call a friend or two, FaceTime them or do Hangouts so you and your children can see friends.

Have discussions with your children. Be open with your children as far as letting them know that you or your spouse (or both of you) are staying home for a while. Inform them as much as they can understand, but do not make them scared. Ask them if they have any questions so that you can assure them that you are there for them.

Keep things as normal as possible. Sticking to your regular routine as much as possible will help allay uneasiness. If you have family members that are working from home and need things to be quiet, what subjects can you do that are (relatively) quiet and what can you save for lunch break that might be noisier? (science experiments, read aloud time, etc.) Can school be started earlier or begun later to accommodate working schedules? Consider incorporating educational programs that will keep your children learning and engaged while keeping the noise level down.

Find teachable moments. Have you ever wondered what kind of topics are you going to cover in health after you have taught it for sooo many years? Well, I think this year health will be discussed nearly every day,  from washing your hands, to being loving at a distance, etc. Character qualities can be discussed (kindness, patience, love, self- control, etc.) and practiced by everyone.

Find ways to serve. Maybe your children can’t go to co-op to see their friends, but you can send a letter! This would be an excellent way to incorporate spelling, writing, and handwriting. How about making vegetable soup in the crockpot and a loaf of crusty bread to go with it? Have your child(ren) help prepare it. Everyone can add an ingredient to the pot and can help with this easy, no- knead bread.  I love this recipe and it won’t last long in your house. No-Knead Bread  

Thinking of you! ~Lisa ~