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:
a bucket of warm, soapy water
outdoor acrylic paints
Modge Podge or some type of outdoor sealant
a plastic jar or another container
plastic grocery bags- one per person
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.)
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.)
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
The solar eclipse on August 21st will be here before you know it. NASA has a education section that is just for homeschool! NASAThere are family activities, lessons, downloadable pdf’s, videos, book suggestions, and edible science projects.
If you would like a solar eclipse guide AND a pair of glasses, Lowe’s is the place to go!
Boy Scouts of America has a DIY eclipse viewer that you can make from a shoe box.
If you would like to create a visual for your future astronomer, here is a craft that you can create. I love this visual and used it in my Earth and Space Science class; your daughter will be able to manipulate the model of the sun, moon, and Earth to gain a better understanding of what occurs. Not only can you make a solar eclipse, but all the phases of the moon and a lunar eclipse. CLICK HERE
Essentially, notebooking is learning about a topic and then writing about it by means of a journal (notebook) page. It also includes some type of picture that is the focus of what is being studied. This can either be an image that is already on the page, or a space provided that the student can draw their own picture (or words that can be decorated). DownloadFlower Notebook Page.
What are the benefits to Notebooking?
Multi-age level- Every student can make a notebook page. Younger students can draw or color the page and you can write down what they are telling you about the topic. Older students can create pages independently.You can use notebook pages when your family is learning a subject together such as science or listening to a book read aloud as in the case of a history topic or a novel. Each student has their own page and each writes what they have learned. The notebook pages can be modified to fit younger or older students, depending upon the needs of your children. As a further extension, each child can share what they drew and/or wrote with the family after everyone is finished with their notebook page. These can be saved and placed in a binder for documentation of the school year.
Writing less- Perhaps you have a student who looks at a blank piece of paper and freezes on what to write. Maybe your son struggles with writing or does not have much to put down on paper. A notebook page is a way of helping him focus on the picture and write just about that topic.
Narrating- Instead of a worksheet, your daughter can draw a picture and write about what she is learning. This method synthesizes writing and knowledge to show what she has learned.
Summarizing- Notebook pages aid your son or daughter in taking information they have learned and condensing it into a few sentences or a paragraph.
Creating- For your daughter or son who loves to draw or doodle, this is perfect since s/he has an area to express themselves and their ideas instead of a blank area of a workbook page or a margin of notebook paper.
What is included in a Notebook Page?
Here is where you can be creative! The page can be anything you choose, such as:
a historical figure or event, a map, a battle, a timeline (social studies)
a scientific topic, terms (science)
vocabulary, a character from a book, literary elements (language arts)
a story problem, a formula, or a concept such as fractions (math)
scriptures, a poem, lyrics, a speech, a quote, or a dictation passage
something in nature such as: an animal or a plant
an artist or a piece of artwork
Here is an example of a notebook page that has a picture of a flower and its parts. Click to download page: Parts of Flower NBP
What age student can do Notebooking?
That is the wonderful thing about notebooking pages; students of all ages can use them. From younger students who are learning the difference between about living and non-living things, to older students learning about photosynthesis, each pupil can use this format to further their studies. Everyone’s notebooking page will be unique since each student will write and draw what they have learned.
Is there a curriculum that use the notebook idea?
Notebooking Pages also has a free product sampler and if you like what you see, and I am sure you will, you can purchase a subscription. These pages can compliment what you are studying or can stand alone.
Apologia Science has notebooking pages for older and younger students. Click on the image to read more details.
For some reason I am partial to nature walks and scavenger hunts. So, I saw this idea on Pinterest from the Creative Homemaker and created my own to share with you. Basically, you do the following to create a fun, educational activity: download the Nature Scavenger Hunt, glue or tape it to a grocery bag, attach a pencil, and download the optional checklist. Next, go find a green space, nature trail or park to explore. Last, but certainly not least, have fun!
There are two sheets to download: one for your bag as pictured above and the other as a master checklist. I have included some scavenger items for your daughter just to take a picture since you do not want to be tromping through the woods tearing up plants and carting off things that belong in nature.
This can be made into a competition to see who can collect the most items, giving one point for each item found. You can also award extra points for the biggest leaf and/or the smallest leaf. In addition to “competition collecting’, you can also play Nature Bingo and just go after certain items if you are short on time. If your son is inclined to just rush to get something done, then you keep the bag and call out one or two items from the checklist that you are looking for to prolong the game. Here are the documents to download: Nature Scavenger Hunt pictures and Nature Scavenger Hunt Checklist
Yay! It’s Spring and everything is busy! Birds, flowers, and especially children are expending their energy and enjoying the warmer temperatures. What is a homeschool mom to do in keeping studies going when it is so nice outside? What about taking your school outside? There are many wonderful ways you can incorporate school and the magnificent outdoors.
Find a tulip and study all of its parts. The tulip has large petals, pistil and stamen. If you can pick the flower and cut open the ovary your children can discover what is inside. Click on the labeling image and copy it to create your own worksheet.
Look at the clouds! Grab an old blanket, take it outside and lie down so you can get a great view of the clouds. Spring has a wide variety of amazing cloud formations. If you happen to pick a day that has cumulous clouds (big, puffy), children love trying to find clouds that look like images of something. (ice cream, bunnies, etc.) You can also predict the weather because certain clouds (cumulous type) mean rain and others mean fair weather (cirrus).
How about trying to identify the clouds? With the above picture, you can print out your own cloud identification viewfinder. All you need is the printout, a large popsicle stick, and some glue! CLICK HERE for the printout.
Collect worms! Get a glass jar, add dirt and some worms and study how they react to different temperatures. You can put them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes and then take them out to see what happens. Have your children predict what will happen and make a hypothesis. Notice that the worms are more sluggish and also where they have gone in the dirt. They will have migrated to further down in the soil. Why? Have your children try and explain why they have done this. If you are really interested in doing a more in depth study, here is a worm jar activity, worksheets, and more activities to do, just click on the image.
Draw! Grab a clipboard, some paper, pencils, an eraser and head outdoors. For your little ones, drawing general pictures of what they see is terrific, but if you would like to do a nature study, have your older students draw with more detail. Start with a stationary object such as a dandelion (That’s one thing they are good for! lol), and have your student draw as much detail as possible. Bring a magnifying glass with you to see the anthers. If you have a flower identification book that would be perfect to take along. After your outdoor adventurer has finished, write the common name of the flower and its scientific name as well. Date it and keep it in a safe place so you can go out another day.