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5 Ideas for Teaching Health in your Homeschool

When some homeschool moms come to see me for their written narrative and I ask them about what did they teach or do for health I get a panicked look. I assure them that they have been teaching health all along, but that it is advised that they have a plan to cover specifics topics throughout the year. So, what kinds of topics do I suggest?

Disease Prevention-  Discuss with your son the importance of covering his mouth when he sneezes or coughs. I just came up with this idea to make the point of germs being airborne. You will need:

1 taper candle

1 candlestick

1 lighter

Light the candle and place it on a table. Have your son gently blow one time in the direction of the candle. See how his breath made the candle flicker. Have him continue to blow (or cough) as he backs up one foot. Continue this until the fame no longer flickers due to his blowing (coughing). I think you will be surprised at how far germs can be spread by not covering your mouth (up to 18 feet according to a few internet sources).

download Of course, the same idea goes for sneezing. According to wonderopolis.org, sneezes can actually travel as far as 200 feet! Ewww.  Have a discussion on which technique is most effective in stopping the spreading of germs. Is it sneezing into the hand? How about the elbow? Or is it a facial tissue or a handkerchief? Here is a Mythbuster video about testing these various methods “Catching your sneeze”.

Washing Your Hands helps to lessen the spread of disease as well. If you have a daughter who loves to cook, how about whipping up a batch of agar to grow bacteria? By making your own and then swabbing areas of your house that she thinks collects germs, she will be excited to see the bacteria begin to grow. Mad About Science has the recipe for you to make your very own agar. CLICK HERE As part of the experiment, have your daughter create a list of suggestions on places throughout your home where germs will be bountiful. Swab away! (Right after I finished writing this paragraph I went and disinfected my toilet handle. lol)

Eating Healthy Growing up, the FDA called the guide to eating healthy, the Food Pyramid, but now the title is Choose My Plate. Harvard has a great visual that explains the guide in more depth. Too bad potatoes and French fries don’t count. 😦Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 10.41.53 AM.png

Have your family make a list of healthy snacks and meals that they will enjoy. We are not big bean eaters here, so making a black bean soup would be a waste of money and time. Choose dishes your family will enjoy. Try being adventurous and add a new vegetable every couple of weeks. As an adult, my vegetable eating has expanded beyond corn, broccoli, and cauliflower. Have you tried zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash? These are both fun for the children to try and they have such a mild taste that you can’t really taste the squash themselves.

Ideas for expanding the healthy lifestyle and incorporating school are:

  • Create a bar graph-Ask each family member what is their favorite vegetable. You can have three choices to make it easier (corn, green beans, peas). Share the results at the dinner table and serve the overall favorite.
  • Write a menu using the Healthy Eating Plate as your guide. Purchase the ingredients and have your son or daughter help if possible,
  • Create placemats with the Healthy Eating Plate as the design. You can do this by tracing one of your plates onto a piece of copy paper and copying the design and categories onto your plate. Your daughter may wish to decorate her plate’s border. If she isn’t writing and reading quite yet, make a photo collage of each category using grocery ads for pictures. Have the placemats laminated for longevity.

Exercise With the beginning of winter upon us, getting outside to burn off steam can be difficult. How about some of the activities I mentioned in my previous PE blog? If you would like your son to get some stretching and flexibility exercises, here is a YouTube video that is for young elementary students pretending to be different animals from around the world: CLICK HERE  I know you want to work out with your kids :), so here is a video for all of you: Kids Workout Video.

Rest!  It is extremely important for your son to get a good night’s rest. By allowing your body to rest, it gives it time to repair itself as well as rejuvenate and be ready to go for the next day. Without the proper amount of sleep, he cannot perform as well with his schoolwork and other activities. According to sleepfoundation.org, school-age children need between 9-11 hours and teens need 8-10 hours. If your son is having trouble getting to sleep, try increasing his level of activity during the day. I found this to be true with my sons.

Have a great day!

~Lisa

 

 

10 activities for Teaching Physical Education in Your Homeschool

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Calisthenics, running laps, and taking showers are the first things that pop into my mind when I think of Physical Education. I believe this is because of the dreaded PE classes I had to take when I was in high school. I say dreaded because I wasn’t the athletic type and my endurance was pitiful. 😦 You can certainly do this as there is value in doing so, but here are some more ideas for your homeschool.

Sports teams and classes that are offered at the YMCA, gyms, or community centers can be counted as part of your Physical Education curricula. If that is not a possibility, then you can teach PE at home.  The main emphasis is providing activities for aerobic activity and fitness to your youngster.

Obstacle Course– You can create a simple course for your young athlete or make one more complex for your older child. If you are able to get outside you can incorporate a play set as part of the experience. Using a jump rope to walk along provides balance and you can lay it straight or fashion it into an S if your daughter needs a greater challenge. Have her throw a ball at a paper target, use a hula hoop for dual purposes to jump in as it is lying on the ground, and also set a number of prescribed rotations to complete. Crawling or hopping a certain distance gets those large muscles moving. The possibilities are endless. If you have an older student, have them create the course under your supervision. To make it even more fun and challenging, use a stopwatch and record the time it takes to complete the course. Each time your competitor can see if she can beat her previous time. To further extend this activity you can rearrange the course.

Indoor courses are fun and a wonderful energy- burner in inclement weather. You just need a large enough area to be able to set up your course. Normally I would not let my children walk on the couch, but part of the fun and allure for my boys to do this was they were allowed to crawl across the couch.lol  You can always put the cushions on the floor and have your son walk on them or hop from one to another. Here are additional things to do with your course. I have combined large and small motor skills since both need to be developed.  Tossing socks into a laundry basket; crawling under dining room chairs; lying down and scooting on your back; balancing a book on your head while walking to the next activity; hopping on one foot from one place to another; crab crawling; dropping 10 pennies in a cup; stacking plastic cups in a pyramid, etc.  I can see the wheels turning as you think about your own house and children. 🙂

Hide and Go Seek was a favorite activity for my children. This can be done indoors or out. Just a couple of rules need to be established. For instance, boundaries (outside- don’t go beyond the fence line or indoor areas that may be unsafe or you don’t want the children playing in or near).

Play Follow the Leader

Indoor bowling– Use 10 empty 1 or 2-liter plastic bottles and a tennis ball to play. Keep score and the one who reaches 50 wins. A variation of this would be to use a small beanbag and ten plastic cups that are in a pyramid. This would be a great challenge to older kids since this requires skill and patience.

Play Twister If you don’t have the game, then create it by taping red, blue, green and yellow construction paper circles on the carpet and writing the directions on index cards. (right food red, left foot green, etc)

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Balloon Games This is such a fun and inexpensive way to get your children moving. Blow up a balloon and have your child put it between their legs and walk from one end of the hall to the other end.

Balloon Tennis– You will need a 12-inch balloon, two paper plates, two paint stirrers, a glue gun, and masking or painters tape. Glue each stirrer to a paper plate to create your two tennis racquets. Using the tape, create a line (tennis net). See how many times the children can hit the ballon over the line. A point is awarded to the other person if you cannot return the balloon. The first person to reach 10 points wins. Balloon volley is the same idea- just without the racquets.

Body Balloonball– How many ways can you hit the balloon and keep it from touching the floor NOT using your hands? Keep score and if you have a partner, the first to use 5 different body parts gets one point. The overall winner is the first to reach 10.

Beanbag Toss– Your son can toss the beanbag at various targets on the floor (a laundry basket, see if he can land a beanbag inside a shoe, a paper towel that has a bull eye on it, etc.). If you have a little one and would like to incorporate more school subjects, how about a game that they need to toss the bag onto a certain color or a certain number? You can tape on the floor construction paper of primary colors and have additional papers with numbers. Call out directions (hit the green square. Hit the paper with the numeral 5 on it.) Let the game begin!

Tape Lines: Make 5-10 separate lines of tape, each about a foot apart, on your floor or carpet. Label the first one the “start” line and then give your kids simple instructions:

  • Long Jump: See how many lines they can jump over. Have them try and beat their best score each time. Experiment with arm swinging vs. arms behind their backs.
  • Run ‘n’ Jump: Now let them take a running start and see if they can jump even further!
  • Long Jump Backwards: Increase the difficulty by performing the tasks jumping backward.
  • Hop: How far can they jump on one leg?
  • Reach ‘n’ Stretch: How far can their leg reach with one foot on the “start” line?                                                                                                     Source: Whatmomslove.com

As with all physical activity, have your son or daughter stretch before and after so those muscles stay in great shape! 🙂

~ Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeschool Rocks

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Picture from Pinterest

Each year our church fellowship has a week-long camping event with food, fun, campfires, and families. With almost half of our small group being children, activities throughout the week are something that we need to have for them to do. I saw a facebook group called Homeschool Rocks and thought decorating and hiding rocks with encouraging words or pictures would be a fabulous idea for our campout. Perhaps you might like to do it with your children too. I have included academic areas for you in parentheses so you can see how it applies to school. 🙂

You Will Need:

rocks

a bucket of warm, soapy water

paper towels

a pencil

outdoor acrylic paints

paint brushes

newspaper

waterproof markers

Elmer’s glue

Modge Podge or some type of outdoor sealant

paper

a plastic jar or another container

plastic grocery bags- one per person

Instructions: 

  1. Collect First of all, you and the children collect rocks that you want to paint. The best kinds are smooth, especially for younger children since they will paint more easily.  (PE is covered since you are getting exercise hunting for rocks.)
  2. Clean After you have determined which rocks you would like to paint, clean them in a bucket filled with warm, soapy water. Rinse them and place on some paper towels to dry. The paint will adhere much better to a clean surface, and your children will be getting their dirty hands clean at the same time. (Health- Getting all that dirt and grime off is part of a healthy routine.)
  3. Paint Now it’s time to bring some life to those rocks! Cover a table with newspapers, and if you have small children who might get paint in more places than the rock, cover them too (an old shirt and pants will do the trick). Depending on what design you want to create, you may want to sketch lightly on the rock before applying the paint.  If details are being added, then a waterproof marker would be helpful to use. Outdoor patio paints are preferred so the rock weathers well. Allow to dry for several hours. (art)

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  1. Seal  In order for your awesome rocks to be enjoyed for a long time, a sealant such as Modge Podge should be used. This will make the designs weather resistant and shiny. NOTE: If you have used permanent markers on the rocks, apply a thin layer of glue before applying the sealant to prevent smudging. Allow to dry according to the directions on the jar. 41O7V5Vq2FL
  2. Hide No, not you, the rocks! Since we will be camping, the children will go and hide their rocks so that fellow campers can find them. Each person that has hidden a rock can write a clue for others to find their treasure, thus creating a scavenger hunt.  (clues- writing;  directions- math, social studies)
  3. Find Put all of the clues in a plastic jar or other container and have each participant draw out a clue until they are all gone.Give each person a plastic grocery bag. Tell everyone to see if they can locate that rock based upon the clue. Help little ones who can’t read.
  4. Display Have a rock show so that everyone can enjoy the decorated creations.

I think everyone is going to enjoy doing this activity that it can be repeated as many times as you like. I would love to have you post your pictures if you do this.

~Lisa 

3 Books about Manners

Recently I discussed the importance of manners. This week I have a few more books to add to a study on manners. Author, Julia Cook, has written several stories about various topics about social skills.

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Table Talk is about… table manners! Here is a quote from the book, “Did you know that table manners really matter? They’re more than just eating. They’re about being kind and considerate of others, and being respectful of people’s feelings.” Some things mentioned are washing your hands, waiting your turn until everyone has their food, saying please and thank you and not reaching across the table for something. After reading the book you can practice the good manners that you read. Do you know the poem, The Goops?  Here is the poem for copywork. NOTE: Whoops! I accidentally left out the word saw on the first line!  The Goops

 

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Bragging is the focus in the book, Well I Can Top That! 

Bradford Robert Alexander Donely always feels the need to be better than his friends. Primarily by telling outlandish tales, he appears to do everything better. His teacher helps him to see that instead of being a “one-upper”, he can be a “pull-upper”, in other words, encourage people and allows others to be number one.

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Decibella and her 6 inch Voice

One of my sons had a difficult time in using what I called an “inside voice”.  He also had a friend who was equally as noisy and we had to remind the boys on many occasions to consider others around them. Decibella, or rather, Isabella, is a young lady who needs to be reminded of which voice to use throughout the day. Ranging from the whisper, to a 6 inch voice, to SLURPADOODLE, Isabella must learn to gauge her voice to meet the appropriate noise level, depending upon the situation.

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What kind of things you can do with these books when you are reading to your children?  Ask if they have ever had these situations happen to them. What ways could the characters do things differently? Why is it a pleasant thing to have manners? How can you show kindness and consideration to others. Make a list of opportunities. Discuss and practice the following social skills.

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Fun Outdoor Activities for Children

imgresSpring is here! I can feel it in the air and I am sure your children can as well! Here are some outdoor activity ideas for them to enjoy.

What about the old-fashioned outdoor games of hopscotch; jumping rope and Hide and Seek?

Red Light, Green Light; Simon Says; Follow the Leader, and Mother May I (see how to play below) are games that require no supplies and provide your children with the opportunity to follow directions. Which, by the way, are essential to school. 🙂

Does your daughter like to draw? Sidewalk chalk is all kinds of fun. Be sure and take a picture of the creations afterwards.

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Sidewalk Chalk (homeschooling ideas.com)

  • Plaster of Paris or egg shells
  • Tempera Paint- liquid or powder
  • Old bowls or pots for mixing
  • Molds –
      Have fun choosing! You could make small chalks with ice cube trays, big fat toilet roll or kitchen roll chalks. Or use popsicle or play-doh molds for something different. Shaped silicone baking trays can also be used.
  • Water
  • Spatula or old spoon
  • Possibly needed – Wax paper and/or petroleum jelly; duct tape; tin foil or plastic wrap.

Next you need to prepare your molds. Paper towel rolls or toilet rolls should be cut to size if they are too long for you. Tape over one end to stop the chalk mixture running out when you fill them (you can use duct tape). They also will need lining with wax paper or freezer paper to make them waterproof. Disposable molds won’t need any preparation – you can always cut them away from the chalk if they get stuck. Coat any other molds (such as your baking trays or ice cube trays) with petroleum jelly so the chalk will slip out easily when dry. Or alternatively, you could line them with tin foil or film wrap.

Bubbles

Who doesn’t like to blow bubbles and pop them? Bubble recipes follow for your son to enjoy. Bubble wands can be made out of pipe cleaners (craft stems) that are twisted together for durability.

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
from the Exploratorium web site

2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Cyndi’s Bubble Recipes
from the Nathan’s Wish web site

1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar

Cyndi suggests adding a dab of food coloring for colorful bubbles. Mix the solution and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers). NOTE: More recipes and fun with bubbles are available at the website link above.

Homemade Bubbles
from Kids Domain Craft Exchange

1/2 (500 ml) cup dishwashing detergent
4-1/2 (4.5 liter) cup water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)
Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.
  • Red Light, Green LightUsing  a large yard have all the kids line up on one side. the person who is “it” stays in the middle of the yard.  When “it” says green light, all the kids run as fast as they can.  When “it” says red light, everyone stops. whoever doesn’t stop is out. “It” keeps saying red light or green light until all the kids are out or has gone from one end of the yard and back to where they started from.The last person to make it back to the starting line is “it”.  There is a  rule that you have two seconds to come to a complete stop or hit the ground.
  • Simon Says

One person is designated Simon, the others are the players. Standing in front of the group, Simon tells players what they must do. However, the players must only obey commands that begin with the words “Simon Says.” If Simon says, “Simon says touch your nose,” then players must touch their nose. But, if Simon simply says, “jump,” without first saying “Simon says,” players must not jump. Those that do jump are out.
Objective
Follow directions and stay in the game for as long as possible! The last player standing wins and becomes the next Simon. If you’re Simon, the object is to try to trick the players to follow your commands when they shouldn’t.

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  • Follow the Leader

One player, the Leader, begins moving around with actions that the rest of the players must mimic. Anything — including wildly flailing his hands or furiously scratching his head — what the leader does, the others must follow. Those players who disobey, or lag behind the leader’s motions are out of the game. The last person standing becomes the new Leader. It is best to play with three or more. 

  • Mother May I? 

This game is a simple childhood action game that might be good for reinforcing the use of manners. One person is chosen as the “mother” (or “captain” if it is a male).  She or he stands facing away from a line of kids and selects a child at random, or in order.  The mother/captain calls out a direction, step type, and number of steps.  For example, the mother/captain can say: “Scott, you may take seven (or any other number)’ baby/normal/giant steps forward/backward.”The child then responds with “Mother may I?” (or “Captain may I?” if it is a male player in charge).  The mother/captain states “Yes” or “No”, depending on her whim, and the child obeys and takes the steps.  If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?” then he/she goes back to the beginning of the line.  The first one to touch the Mother/Captain wins and becomes the new Mother/Captain.

An alternate version of the game is similar: each child takes turns asking, “Mother/Captain may I take [x kind of] steps?” The child who is mother (or captain) replies yes or no.

There are other kinds of steps possible for this game – be creative and come up with your own.  For example, there are:

  • Bunny hops: hopping like a bunny.
  • Frog hops: going down on all fours and hopping up like a frog.
  • Scissors steps: jump while crossing your feet, then jump while uncrossing them was one step.
  • Skip steps: steps as though one is skipping.