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Teaching to Interests

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Teaching to your child’s interests is this week’s post, thanks to a friend of mine’s suggestion. So, how does one go about doing this? Do you need to ditch the textbooks? It’s really a great way to get your child interested in learning and can be done at any grade on any topic.

What really interests your son or daughter? I am sure you already know the answer to that question! Several years ago I tutored a young man who hated writing and just plain ol’ refused to do it for his mom. He was in 5th grade and his wise mother knew that he could not continue in his ways. Enter me, the tutor, to get this young man to write. I quickly found out that he was passionate about space travel and spent hours drawing models of ships. Not only did he draw them, but he had an extensive Lego collection of various types of Star Wars aircraft and other types of space modules. THIS was his passion and that’s how I reeled him in and got him to write. The first writing project was for him to describe the details of these spaceships.  Gladly writing, the young man enlightened me on a subject about which I knew nothing.This took several weeks before he exhausted this topic. Next, he went on to make paper towns and houses and writing billboards and descriptions to advertise houses that were for sale in his town.  Writing was not as tedious and gut-wrenching as he had thought. 🙂

If your daughter loves horses and your son is crazy about snakes (Just examples as we know anyone can be interested in these topics), why not incorporate these into your school day? You don’t need to get rid of your curricula, but you can use it to enhance what you are doing or replace a topic that is going to be covered next year. Horses or snakes (or whatever the topic) can be studied, drawn, read, researched, and written about, and a poster or PowerPoint can be created to wrap up the study. Look at all of the subjects we just included using those areas of interest: science, fine arts, language arts, and technology. You can even make up math problems involving that topic. For instance: 5 snakes were sunning themselves on the horse path. Along came 3 horses, but they got frightened and two ran away. How many were left? I couldn’t help myself! I had to combine both into a story problem. lol

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Have a great week! ~ Lisa ~ 

 

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

When I first saw the title of this book, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas,  I thought maybe Elizabeth was an oceanliner. It turns out that she is actually a Southern Elephant Seal who makes her home in New Zealand.

This endearing story written by Lynne Cox is the true account of one particular Elephant Seal who didn’t live in the ocean, but rather in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch. She loved being in the city and stretching out on busy city streets to sun herself. Unfortunately for her, drivers didn’t know what to think of her and nearly had her tail run over! The people of the town were concerned for her and decided to remedy the situation. I won’t ruin the story for you, you’ll just have to check it out and read it to your son or daughter.

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Here are other activities to accompany the book:

Geography– Here is a FREE lapbook on Australia. It not only includes Geography, but reading and math as well.

Art- If you want to see some amazing origami this site has a walrus and a sea elephant. CLICK HERE How about a simple toilet paper craft of a seal for your youngster? CLICK HERE Here is a coloring sheet for your daughter to enjoy. Coloring Sheet

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Beach Chair Scientist.com

Are you interested in learning more facts about the Elephant Seal? Check this out: Elephant Seal Facts

Have fun!

~ Lisa ~

March Poetry

Put on a kettle of water, and grab some cups and tea or hot chocolate and some Girl Scout cookies to enjoy these poems. Here are some poems for copywork, memorizing or reading aloud this month as we celebrate Spring!

A Prayer In Spring – Poem by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Here is a fun poem to recite…

Spring, The Sweet Spring – by Thomas Nashe

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!

The Year’s At The Spring – Poem by Robert Browning

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!

Cooking with Your Kids

Teaching your daughter or son to cook is not only fun but a great way to incorporate health and math into the activity. Who says that homeschooling has to be all bookwork??

I saw this book title, Cooking Class by Donna F. Cook, when I was perusing the internet and decided to get it at the library. It not only has recipes, but also has terms that are commonly used in recipes such as dice, chop, blend, and sauté.  In regards to teaching health, there is a section that discusses washing hands and the proper handling of food.  Measuring ingredients is a practical way of teaching fractions and being precise, which sometimes children have difficulty in understanding. Of course, we know this is extremely important in cooking, otherwise, the recipe can be ruined.

I’ll never forget the first time my mom let me make brownies on my own. Desserts were a rare treat at our house when we were growing up and when I was allowed to make them I was ecstatic! I was anticipating licking the bowl and the delicious taste of a brownie with milk. Well, I did not read the recipe correctly and instead of 1/4 cup of water, I added 1 1/4 cups and they were totally ruined! Wahh! Talk about a terrible mistake. 😦

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You may have picky eaters at your house and, believe me, I know what that is like! I, unfortunately, was the picky one at my house. I had a really great sense of smell and I believe I could taste things much more than others. So, everything was really sour or really spicy, funny how nothing was ever too sweet though!  If you have a child like that, I feel their pain, oh, I meant yours. lol Perhaps this recipe for roasted vegetables will help alleviate the Battle of the Veggies. If not, keep having them try a spoonful and one day they will eat them! I am almost a total vegetarian now. My mom would be so proud of me.

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If you don’t have access to the book, then here are some other recipe ideas that you can use when teaching your aspiring cook.

How about Bread in a Bag? Yes, you read that right! Your baker puts all of the ingredients in a gallon sized bag and mixes it all up by kneading it inside the confines of the bag! It makes two mini loaves and I am sure your son will gobble up the bread he has made. The hardest part will be waiting for it to cool enough to slice. Best Bread in a Bag Recipe

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Have you tried spaghetti squash? This is so fun to make with your children! I love the transformation that vegetable goes through! While it really doesn’t taste like spaghetti, the fibrous insides of the squash do resemble it and your daughter will enjoy scraping the squash to see it come apart in strings.

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Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe  (recipe from cookingwithmykid.com)

Prep Time: 15 mins  Cooking Time: 45 mins to 1 hour

Ingredients:
1/2 pound ground turkey or hamburger (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large spaghetti squash
1 egg
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese drained
1 1/2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
5 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt & fresh ground pepper
4 10 oz ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Poke the spaghetti squash 10 times and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes stopping every 3 to 4 minutes to turn. You’ll know it’s done when the skin starts to buckle. Remove and split open. While it’s cooling off, heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add oil to the pan and blot the turkey meat dry before adding to the pan. Space the meat out in the pan and cook until it is just brown on both sides. As long as it is browned, it can be a little undercooked. It will cook the rest of the way in the oven. Set aside and begin scraping out your squash with a fork. Transfer scraped squash into a colander and let drain while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together sauce, ricotta, egg, 1 cup of cheese, oregano, basil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix in the drained spaghetti squash until it’s all well combined. Place one scoop of squash mixture in each ramekin covering the bottom. Layer browned meat on top of squash mixture and then place another scoop of squash on top of the meat. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of each and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and squash looks set. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. PS: If you don’t have ramekins, you can make it in a pie pan as you would a spaghetti pie.

Yogurt parfaits are easy to make and can be customized for each person’s taste preference. 

Yogurt Parfait
In a glass (so you can see the layered effect) add the following ingredients in order.
2 tablespoons of  yogurt
1-2 tablespoons of granola (This varies according to your preference.)
Blueberries or sliced strawberries (buy organic- conventional have the highest amount of pesticides of all fruit)
Repeat layers until glass is full.

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Here’s a recipe that even little ones can help you make from laughinhkidslearn.com

Healthy Bites (Toddlers can make too!)

Ingredients  
2 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/3 cup cranberries
* 1 tsp marmalade or orange peel (optional)
* 1/2 cup applesauce
Steps
Throw it all into a bowl and mix well.
Roll into small balls
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown (350F)
Happy Cooking and baking!
~ Lisa ~

 

 

5 Indoor Winter Activities Kids will Love

Wow! winter has been putting on a little show here in SW Ohio the past few weeks. It was so cold here for a period of time that the Ohio River had big sheets of ice on it! So, when inclement weather has you housebound with your youngsters, how do you keep them happy and still focusing on school? How about some winter-inspired activities?

  • Make paper snowflakes. You can back your creations with tissue paper either white or colored for some pizazz and hang them from the ceiling and close to a light source so you can see through the tissue. (art)
  • Play a Scavenger Hunt- Instead of just hauling the books out from their usual location, why not create a scavenger hunt to start out the day? Not only have the schoolbooks hidden, but add a treat for a special surprise. Clues could be:  Clue #1 Go to the room where you brush your teeth. (Hide the clue somewhere in the bathroom such as under the wastepaper basket or inside the vanity. Clue #2 Go to the place where we eat our meals. (Hide the clue under the tablecloth or a placemat or salt and pepper shakers, etc.) Clue #3 Look in the place where pots and pans are kept.  Clue #4 Find the place where you rest at night. Here you can have the books hidden under the bed. Clue #5 Bring all of your books to the schoolroom and there you will find the treasure to begin our school day. Your treat can be a piece of fruit, a cup of hot chocolate, a new Read-Aloud book, or whatever you think would be a fun idea to have as a reward. (reading, physical education)
  • Create Word Poetry– Do you have old grocery fliers or magazines that you can cut up for this activity? You can create a simple poem that has two lines that rhyme or you can create a free verse poem. You can make the poem’s theme as simple as food if all you have is grocery fliers or as elaborate as you like. Since we are in the middle of winter, what about that being the theme? (language arts)
  • DIY Window Clings– with a little bit of glue and some paint your son will have lots of fun making these. I bet you would enjoy making a few too! (art)

Window Clings

You will need for each color:

2 tablespoons White craft glue (like Elmer’s)

2 -3 drops Liquid food coloring

2 drops Liquid dish detergent

1 small paintbrush

Combine 2 tablespoons of glue with 2 drops of dish detergent. Add a few drops of food coloring and you are ready to make your design! Lay a page protector down so that you can paint your design (using your paintbrush) directly on it so it will be easy to pull off when it is dried. You can create your own designs or use cookie cutters and paint inside of them.  Make your design about 1/4 inch thick. If you make it too thick it will take a long time to dry. If you are using a cookie cutter, let the glue set for a few minutes before removing it. Let designs dry overnight, poke with your finger to see if they have set well enough to remove from the page protector without tearing.  Carefully peel off of the page protector and place on your windows.

  • Make popcorn and cups of tea or hot chocolate and snuggle up with a great Read-Aloud book. I just finished the 1957 Newberry Medal, Miracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorensen. This is a delightful book about a family who is in need of a miracle for their father who has come home from the war and how an old homestead restores him and his family.  (language arts)

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