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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.

April Fools’ Day

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Here is a little bit of history about the day we call April Fools’ Day. I found some interesting details on the website, history.com, for you to share with your children today when studying Social Studies.

Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.

People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes. These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.

Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to festivals such as Hilaria, which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March and involved people dressing up in disguises. There’s also speculation that April Fools’ Day was tied to the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when Mother Nature fooled people with changing, unpredictable weather. (Sounds like Ohio, doesn’t it? lol)

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for fool) as one of the events.

In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.

Investigating Ohio

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Looking for things to do in Ohio? Check out this website.  ONLY IN YOUR STATE Here you will find categories of attractions, food, and life that feature a variety of places to visit. I looked at the sites close to where I live and have found quite a few places I want to go and visit. What a great way to experience Ohio! You can also check out their historical sites to see and study for the state history requirement we have for homeschooling.

If you are going on vacation you can go to the home page for the listing of other states. There are the common places you may have already been to or seen, but there are also interesting and unusual places to visit.

Have fun exploring! ~ Lisa ~

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.

Traveling the World without Leaving your House

Teaching geography can be interesting, exciting, and fun, but sometimes you just need a little help when it comes to ideas. I located three resources that I think you and your children will enjoy. Happy Travels! 😉

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Atlas Crates by the Kiwi Company look like so much fun! These particular crates are designed for ages 6-11 and focus on giving your student a glimpse into the geography and culture of a region of the world. There are activities, projects, information about the country and a mini book about interesting aspects of the country for you to read. Every box has all of the supplies included so you don’t have to scrounge around the house looking for glue or yarn. It’s all in the box! You can save 30% on your order if you sign up for their newsletter. (The cost would be $39.95 for a 3 month subscription.) You can readily incorporate these crates into your geography and/or fine arts studies, and you can have your son/daughter write about the country you are studying. 🙂

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Little Passports for ages 6-10 is similar to Atlas Crates. Each month’s global adventure is packaged in a suitcase and has souvenirs such as postcards and crafts, and hands-on activities. Here is what would come with your first month’s Explorer Kit: a passport, and a world map, the country’s currency, an activity sheet and access to country-themed online content on their website. I love that you get a wall-sized map and can not only locate the country, but can talk about neighboring countries and teach a lesson on latitude and longitude. You can get one month to try for $16.95 + shipping or can get a 6 month or 12 month subscription.

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Universal Yums was brought to my attention when a homeschool mom came for a portfolio review. She showed me the scorecard of snacks that their family tried that were from Turkey. Each box has a variety of packaged snack foods to try and you can rate how much you liked that particular item. There is also a booklet that has information about each snack so if you have a son/daughter who is unsure of the contents, you can read all about it before eating it. Note- These are not “healthy snacks”, but are cookies, candies, etc. But, they sure look like fun! Past yum-yum boxes include snacks from countries such as Pakistan, Belgium, and Russia. You can easily extend this into your Social Studies lessons by locating the country’s box on a map or globe, play some music from the country that you found on the internet, and graph the likes and dislikes of the food items that you have eaten. Prices vary depending upon the number of snacks you choose and shipping is included in the price. (6 snacks- $14.00 per box, up to $39.00 for 20+ snacks)

Have a great week! ~Lisa~