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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~

I’m Bored! 25 Activities for Kids

My mom would never let us utter the words, “I am bored!” If we did, we knew there was a chore waiting for us. Because it was so ingrained in me not to use those words, I did not like my children saying them either. lol

I had a list of things they could do if they could not think of an activity to occupy their time. When they were younger the electronics choice was limited to 30 minutes and only once per day. Between the ages of 13-15 they were allowed to be on the computer for 60 minutes and then for two hours when they were 16 and older. Internet parental control software was worth every penny as I did not have to police the time they spent on it. Here is the download, I’m Bored Activities.

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Apples! Activities for Your School Day

Did you know there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States? 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world? 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States?* I didn’t either, but that explains why when I go to the store there is another type of apple I haven’t heard of that is available for me to try. Since September will be scurrying away so quickly and apples will soon be past picking, why not take advantage of the varieties that are available and teach an Interest Unit? If you live in Ohio, you can count this for your study of Ohio history. 🙂

Make Applesauce 

Most children love applesauce and it’s such an easy project that your children can help you make it. Start it in your crockpot in the morning and enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.

Materials needed:

8-10 apples- peeled, cored, and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (If you buy a sweet variety, you don’t even need this!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- add to the apples or wait until after it has cooked)

One large crockpot

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and turn on high. Allow apples to cook for 4-5 hours. Depending upon how chunky you want your applesauce to be, you can either take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break up the cooked apples into smaller pieces, or place in a blender and process until you have the desired consistency. Doesn’t this look good?

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As the delicious smell of applesauce fills your house you can do some apple inspired school activities.

Free Apple Math Pack has a variety of preschool activities in a sampler. If you like, you can purchase the entire packet.

Thanks to John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards were begun across the midwest and were valuable to families who were traveling west during the westward expansion.

Here are some stories of his life to read. With older students, you can pick out the information that is true and that which is fabricated. Create tall tales about Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed

Here are some comprehension questions for the story.

What was Johnny Appleseed’s name?

When did he live?

What was his purpose in growing apple trees?  Do you think this was a good idea? Explain why you think it was or was not a good idea.

Write one detail from your reading that is not true.

Why did people make up details about him that were not true?

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A documentary for children to watch about the life of Johnny Appleseed would be great for children to take notes. The Story of Liberty

Watch the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed

Compare and contrast the two videos. You could use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram (Boy! it was hard to find a printable of this, but I found one. yay!)

Have a great day!  ~Lisa~

* (urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm)

Teaching Multiple Children

“Which subjects are good to teach that all my children can learn at the same time?  How do I do it?” were questions that I was recently asked.  Some important things to consider are first, the subjects to teach.  Science, Social Studies, Health, Safety, Bible, and Read Alouds are broad enough in their topics that you can do this most easily. Since this will be a lengthy post and I want to be sure and include resources for you, it will be broken into several posts. This week is concerning Science and Social Studies.

Second, and the most important idea, is HOW to do this. Experiments are the easiest, and I believe, the most effective way to teach science to multiple children. Who doesn’t like to get involved in gathering supplies, taking part in an experiment, and observing what happens? Little ones can help with the gathering of supplies(not the handling of harmful chemicals of course!), your middle daughter/son can read the directions.  You, the instructor, can introduce the experiment, consider and discuss hypotheses, while your older daughter/son, if age appropriate, conducts the experiment.  Lab sheets can be filled out to varying degrees by those who can write (or draw pictures) and everyone can examine what happened. You can lead the discussion and oversee the cleanup.

Janice VanCleave has written excellent experiment books for all different ages. Not only does she explain the experiment in easy to understand terms, but they actually work! If you click on the picture, it will take you to the page with several of her titles. I have used several books in the Every Kid series, all the way up through 8th grade.

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In regards to social studies, reading aloud the book you are studying can involve all of your children. This can be done in several ways. you could and have everyone draw a picture of the events that are taking place. They could compile these pictures throughout the year to make a timeline. (Scroll down to find the timeline template you like.) Be sure the dates are recorded for each picture so they are in chronological order. 🙂 If your children are not interested in drawing, what about coloring a themed picture?

Raising Our Kids American History

Thought Co. Art History 

My Homeschool Printables History Coloring Pages

Do you have older students who enjoy coloring? I located free adult coloring sheets from museums around the world. (Some are cool, others are different, so be sure and peruse these and pick out what you feel is appropriate. The collections are below the picture of the scribe.) My Modern Met

Children enjoy dressing up, so what about having each student choose a historical figure to research and give facts about him/her? Your little ones can just say who they are, when they lived, and 1 or 2 facts about them. Your older children can research more details, give additional facts, the reason they chose this person, and their contribution or detriment to society.

Incorporating technology could easily be accomplished by recording the children reciting facts gathered. Family and friends could enjoy seeing the children and leave comments should you post it privately on YouTube. If you have some that are shy, then what about them being figures in a “wax museum” and writing the facts to be read by you or an older sibling?

Can’t sew, don’t have time? Here is a website with ideas for simple no-sew costumes: CLICK HERE  If your student would like to pick a broader category, then something as easy as a cowboy costume or Rosy the Riveter can be done when talking about the Great War.

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You could not only consider this for history but also fine arts (sewing, designing costumes) and mathematics (logic and reasoning, constructing the costume). I would love to see your children’s costumes if you decide to do the historical character idea.

 

 

Have a great day!  ~ Lisa ~