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Homeschooling with Real Books

Homeschooling with real books (library/trade books) is much more interesting than exclusively using a textbook. The use of literature can be used to introduce, develop, or reinforce a concept that you are teaching. You may totally agree with me and are getting excited about doing this, but then comes the next thought, “Where do I begin? What books would I use?”

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books by Kristin Draeger is just such a resource you need! Kristin shares her personal homeschool experience of how she created this 120+ page list of books, games, puzzles, videos, and music.  I appreciate that she has created such a fantastic open-and-go reference guide. She has taken the time to do this so that you can do other things! Kristin has categorized the books into the subjects of math, science, history/ geography, literature, grammar, and art history. She has also created subcategories of books for students K-3 and 4th-8th grade.

I love that Kristin has included extras for your student like this CD (or streaming option) that is about addition, skip counting, and money, but also includes some art, history, and information about space.

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Math games are a terrific way to practice what has been taught without the use of yet another worksheet. Kristin recommends this logic game and I second it as my sons had this when they were young. It is compact and comes with a travel bag so that it can be played in the car or taken to doctor’s appointments. If you’d rather not take it out, it can be used as a culminating activity after your math lessons. If you click on the picture, you not only see the game, but you can watch a short video on the webpage on how it is played.

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books is a great deal at just $10.00. This is one book that I think you would return to time and again for ideas for your library trips or stock your own library shelves with real books.

  • Note- Kristin mentions the Kratt brothers  Zoboomafoo series. You can click on the highlighted link to watch these science programs for your K-3 grader since they were not released onto DVD.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Art History Disguised as Fun

Kristin Draeger has mixed art, history, and humor into Ancient Greek Pottery to make this a great resource for you. This is part of the Art History Curriculum Disguised as Fun series that has engaging books for your student to learn about the art of various time periods. She has done a fantastic job in combining pictures of artifacts and giving details about each piece. Kristin has pronunciations of characters that are on the artifacts and also describes the pieces you are seeing. I appreciate that the text is simple because it does not detract from the pottery pieces. I have included a page from her book for you to see.
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After you finish reading the pages you can go back through it as Kristin has a Hide-and-Seek game throughout the book. You can use this book in several ways: you can study the artifacts on each page in detail, use as a supplement to a history unit on Ancient Greece, research the pieces or period of time in which the art was created, take a field trip to your local art museum, do a study on Greek mythology, eat Greek food (yum!), Read the Newberry Honor book,  The Golden Goblet, or read the Percy Jackson series. If you are interested in reading a synopsis of each Percy Jackson book and perusing the teacher ideas that are on the website, click HERE .

I love Kristin’s humor and wish I could spend a day with her at an art museum. But, since that isn’t possible, her book is the next best thing. You can see the series for yourself by going to Kristin’s website: artk12.com

I also received the book, Mission Architecture: Disguised as Fun and this is a study in mission buildings. The comments of the cartoon characters that Kristin has throughout the book were comical and at the same time relatable as I have a tendency to talk about objects in obscure terms too!  There is a Hide-and-Seek in this book too;  can you locate the daisy? I know very little about architecture and have never seen a mission building, so I think this is a great introduction and springboard for further investigation.

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Ways this book could be used is to do a study about the mission buildings in California. Here is a site to learn more about them- California Missions TrailThe picture below is from another site that has a summary of the missions and details about each of them. California Missions Foundation.

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Other ideas for using this book: do the Hide-and-Seek that Kristin has created; have your children trace and color the state of California; calculate the distance from the northernmost mission to the southernmost mission; research the other missions that are throughout the state; write a report on one of the buildings, or choose an architectural element throughout the book to research or draw. Perhaps by reading this book, you would be interested in learning about Califonia history. Beautiful Feet Books has a  curriculum designed for 4th-6th graders that uses trade books set in Califonia as part of the curriculum. To learn more about it CLICK HERE.

 Have fun!  ~Lisa~

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 18: Winnie-the-Pooh Day

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What child [or parent] doesn’t love Winnie- the -Pooh? This lovable, adorable bear has been a wonderful companion of children since 1926.

In honor of the day that will celebrate the impact of literature, here are some facts about the characters and the author, A.A. Milne.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh is so well loved and recognized that he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
  • Winnie-the-Pooh’s name came from a combination of a real bear and a pet swan.
  • Pooh was purchased at Harrods department store in London and given by A.A. Milne to his son Christopher Robin on his first birthday, August 21, 1921. He was called Edward (proper form of Teddy) Bear at the time.
  • The above picture is a set of a lot that was sold at Sotheby’s in 2008 for $1,262,863.00 British sterling pounds ($1,623,029.00 US dollars)

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  • The original toys are encased in bulletproof glass and live at the New York Public Library in the Children’s section of the building.
  • The stuffed animals range in height from 25″ (Eeyore, the biggest) to 4 1/2″ (Piglet, the smallest).

I thought it would be fun for your child(ren) to have some quotes from Pooh and his friends for copywork. I hope you enjoy these and spend some time discussing them. There is a link below to click on for the document to download for your convenience. (The adorable bees border is from ClipArtMag.)

Winnie the Pooh copywork

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3 Ways to Beat Homeschool Blahs

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Living here in Ohio can make the cold days of winter and staying indoors hard on homeschool mom and student(s) alike! Daydreaming of warm weather, palm trees and sandy beaches is what I find myself doing more and more. Do you wish that your children had somewhere to go or something to do besides complain to you that they are bored? How about taking advantage of the indoors to do some fun and creative activities?

Build a fort The easiest way I found to make a fort was to take sheets and drape over the kitchen table on one side. You can lay the sheets perpendicular (criss-cross) so that it is nice and cozy. Be sure to have something heavy on the top of the table over the sheets so that they do not move. Inside the fort, add blankets and pillows, some snacks and books for the occupants to enjoy. Yes, I know the table is out of commission for the time being. What about cooking something easy to eat for dinner (like sandwiches or walking tacos) and everyone eating their meal inside the fort?  Of course, you can make your fort more elaborate and here is a video for inspiration. 

Have a cooking class would be a great way to not only spend time together, but you can incorporate health and safety into your lesson. Once you teach your son or daughter how to prepare that particular dish, they can make it one night when you are too tired to cook. 🙂 That’s a genius idea, isn’t it? lol Some simple ideas to do with your child are macaroni and cheese, tacos, spaghetti with ready-made salad, potato bar, or a crockpot soup like Quick and Easy Vegetable Soup They might be even more inclined to eat the veggie soup if they made it. (maybe?)

Play Games! Your children will be learning quite a few valuable things while playing games: giving and following directions, cooperating, and physical education (balance and coordination). The children can play Mother (Father) May I?; a version of Hide and Seek  where an object is hidden instead of a person; Simon Says; an indoor obstacle course such as carry a small toy in a soup ladle from point A to point B, crab walk or crawl a certain distance, roll a paper towel tube across the floor with only your chin; or walk the distance of your living room or hallway while balancing a book on your head, jump over a chair cushion, etc.

Enjoy your week! ~Lisa~ 

 

 

 

 

National Chocolate Day

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Sunday, October 28 is the National Chocolate Day, so why not join the celebration and at the same time make it a learning experience?

Chocolate Sampling

You will need to purchase the following types of chocolate for sampling: unsweetened, milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate

Break up into pieces each of the different types of chocolate and put them on individual plates. Have each person close their eyes and sample a piece of each type of chocolate. Have everyone rate them from 5 being their favorite to 1 being the least favorite. Reveal to your participants what each type of chocolates was and tally the points each received. You could create a bar graph for math with each of the chocolates.

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How Chocolate is Made (Science) 

Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree.  Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia, is grown in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America.  The earliest known documentation of use, of cacao seeds, is around 1100 BC.  The cacao tree seeds have a very intense bitter taste that must be fermented to develop the flavor.

Once the seeds have been fermented, the beans are then dried, cleaned and roasted.  After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs are then ground into a cocoa mass which is pure chocolate in rough form.   The cocoa mass is usually liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor.  The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. 

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  • Unsweetened baking chocolate –  cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
  • Sweet chocolate –  cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat and sugar.
  • Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk.
  • White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids.
  • Dark chocolate- cacao beans, sugar, emulsifying agent

Some good news about dark chocolate if eaten without any milk: it can lower your blood pressure; it has a large number of antioxidants. Now, that is good news!:)

Language Arts How about having your daughter or son create a story about chocolate or reading this book? (Click on the book to go to the link.)

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Geography

Using the chart of the top ten producers of cacao, locate the countries on a map. Have your son/ daughter read the number aloud to reinforce place value. (math)

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Culminating Activity- Make a chocolate dessert. This can be cookies, pie, ice cream, a malt… There are limitless possibilities, aren’t there?

Enjoy!  ~Lisa~