# Baking with Children

Baking with your child is a fun way to incorporate several subjects and also have a yummy reward for your hard work! I’d say this is a win-win situation for everyone. 🙂

Reading– Children are reading labels and directions in order to prepare the baked goods.

Following directions– What a terrific way for children to practice following directions! I remember vividly the first time I made brownies without my mom’s help. I was so excited to make them because I love chocolate and we didn’t have dessert all that often. I couldn’t wait to smell them baking and was anticipating eating the warm and delicious dessert with a glass of cold milk. Well…I didn’t read the directions carefully and instead of using 1/4 cup of water, I added 1-1/4 cup! I was devastated that I had to throw the batch away, but it did teach me a valuable lesson early on to read the directions twice and carefully before beginning!

Math– part of learning fractions is being able to understand the concept of a “part” of something. This can be easily demonstrated by showing your baker the measuring spoons where you can see that 1 teaspoon is a fraction of a tablespoon. You can also teach adding fractions by doubling a recipe. It can be difficult for a child to grasp that 1/4 +1/4 equals 1/2, but when able to have a hands-on experience, can help those who struggle with this concept.

Science– Chemistry can be seen in action as children combine ingredients in order to get baked goods to rise. I have a book that I want to share with you that explains in simple terms to children what is taking place when leavening agents are added to recipes. Muffins and breads are yummy ways of seeing the results of adding baking soda and/or baking powder to create them.

I bet your mouth is watering thinking of a yummy dessert. Plan for some fun in your school day; create great memories, and yummy treats. You can always make extra and take them to a neighbor to brighten their day.

Happy baking; here is a book to help you with young bakers. Pictures are below for you to have an idea of what it looks like. Enjoy!

~Lisa

# Free Unit Study Planets Guide

With most homeschool families being a one-income family it’s nice to find curriculum and resources that are low-cost. Well, I found a low-cost unit study on planets that homeschoolgiveaways is offering, and it is so low that it is FREE! Here are some features this curriculum offers for your 1st- 6th grade students:

• Planet and solar fact sheets and corresponding fill-in-the-blank worksheets
• Cursive & manuscript copywork
• Glossary of terms and corresponding fill-in-the-blank worksheets

# 3 Elementary and Senior High Chemistry Curriculums

Don’t you hate it when you perform an experiment and it fails? My first two years of teaching 6th grade science were a horrible failure when it came to doing them [experiments]. I didn’t have the necessary equipment to perform the activities and when I did, they failed. Eventually, we just read about what the experiments were supposed to do and discussed the process. How interesting is that? 😦

I had much better success when I began homeschooling my sons. I used Janice Van Cleave‘s books and I was thankful that not only did the experiments work, but they were fun and the explanations that were written in the book made sense! Oh, happy day! I heartily recommend that series of books because we used them for several years and had very little failure.(I created links to each of the products- just click on them.)

Science For Kids is a website that has experiments and lesson plans. It is FREE and has games to play too!

If you are looking for a  more traditional curriculum I have some suggestions listed here.

NOEO Science has a terrific Chemistry curriculum with the trade books that you need included. I have used the Chemistry Level 1 for 1-3rd grade and enjoyed the books and experiments. Although at first glance it appears to be a bit pricey, you have the convenience of all the books being at your disposal and there is no time spent on finding the books that you will need for the class. The science kits are included, which is a huge time-saver! If you have several students you will be instructing, you may want to purchase an additional kit. There are several levels so it will go all the way through high school.

Chemistry 1

Are you in need of Chemistry for your senior high student? I just finished looking at a video series called Chemistry 101. It also has workbooks and tests. I didn’t see any actual labs for your student to do, but that isn’t such a bad thing because of housing chemicals in your home. Weird things happen to them after a period of time… After watching the video and reading the reviews, this would be worth checking into for your student.

I have heard good things from homeschool moms about Spectrum Chemistry, although we didn’t use personally.  “Fulfill all your requirements for a lab-based chemistry course while exercising your student’s practical-problem-solving skills and scientific reasoning. This one-year chemistry course is done three days a week, one of which is a lab day. It is the equivalent of an honors chemistry for college-bound students.”- beginningspublishing.com

# Nature Studies: Snow

Studying nature should be a part of  every homeschool as it provides opportunities to observe and learn about the “real thing” and having firsthand experiences instead of reading about it in a book. In nature studies, each child has a nature notebook in which they draw pictures of the object and keep a record of observations they have made. It may be difficult to engage your student in the drawing portion of the nature study at the beginning, but with practice (child) and consistency (you), the nature study becomes a foundation of not only  art, but science, writing, and reading.

It looks like we are in for an early spring snowstorm here in the midwest, so how about making the most of the snow that is coming our way? You can do this study whether we get a little or a lot of the white stuff. ** If  you live in a different part of the country you can still do this as well, but you’ll have to use the internet instead of the real thing. 🙂

Some items to have in readiness for your snow nature study:

• ziplock bags (to bring back to the house your items of nature you want to observe in detail)
• a notebook
• pencils (colored pencils too)
• magnifying glass
• camera
• field guides, reference guides or electronic devices

If we are fortunate to still have snow falling when you begin, go out and capture snowflakes for observing. Put a piece of dark construction paper in the freezer for a few hours before you go out so the snowflakes will adhere to the paper without melting before you observe them. You can also use a dark piece of clothing if you don’t have paper. Notice how each snowflake is different. Sketch a few of the snowflakes.

carlettasroundthebend.blogspot.com

Because the snowflakes will melt before you will be able to draw them, take some close up pictures to be used when you return inside. If you don’t have the opportunity to catch snowflakes you can search the internet for snowflake pictures and have your scientific student draw one or more of their choosing. Write down details of what you see. You can also download the observation sheet I have made for younger students to put in a nature notebook. Adjust the observation sheet as needed. Nature Notebook page- snow

More outdoor snow ideas for observation. Remember to do what you can outside and take pictures to refer to when you return to the house.

• Observe the way the ice and snow adhere to the branches of trees, bushes, and plants.
• Measure the depth of snow. You can write this in your notebook along with the date.
• Observe animal tracks. Can you determine what animals made the tracks? Use an animal track book or an online guide such as this one: track guide
• Is the snow easy or hard for making snowballs? Is the snow a “wet snow” or a “dry snow”? If you aren’t sure, shovel the driveway. (Tricky way to get chores done. 🙂 )
• Put out bird feed. What birds come to eat your delectable treats? Write down the types and count the number and variety. You can do this for a few minutes if you have younger children or you can do it for 30 minutes with older students. Use a bird identification book or this internet source : online bird guide I love birds and consider them my “pets”. They are practically perfect in every way, no vet bills, no scooping up their daily messes, etc. I have this marvelous electronic field guide I use to help me identify newcomers. The app is called iBird.
• Did you find something interesting? Can it be brought in the house? Put it in your ziplock bag. Do not take it in if it will destroy something (living or nonliving).

Once you have returned to the house, continue to draw pictures of what you observed or download the pictures you took while outside. Write the scientific names of  the drawings. Using the colored pencils, color in the drawings, coloring as true-to-life as possible and record the date.

Note: The black and white snowflake photograph at the beginning of my post is one of Wilson”Snowflake” Bentley’s pictures. “Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.” -Wilson Bentley

If you are interested in reading about him or his work, you can click here. There is also a children’s book called Snowflake Bentley or you can get as an audiobook . Here he is photographing snowflakes.

You can also add poetry about snow to your nature study notebook. The poems can be illustrated if desired. Here is one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost.

## Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

Have a great time and enjoy the snow. It is here for a limited amount of time. (Yippee because I am ready for Spring.)

~Lisa

# Growing a Little Bit O’ Green

I don’t know about you, but living in Ohio during the winter can be particularly dreary and affect my mood. I miss the anticipation of watching the shoots of plants appear and all of the color of the flowers in bloom. However, I found a way to help alleviate some of that dreariness. How about growing flowers from bulbs? You can use it as a science project to watch the development of the flower as well as provide color and beauty in your home. Most bulbs need a time where they are chilled in order to bloom early, but the following bulbs are the easiest to force into bloom because they don’t require a chilling period:

• Amaryllis Blooms appear six to eight weeks after planting. They are available in many interesting colors and forms: bright reds, as well as white, pink and peach.
• Paperwhites Blooms appear three to five weeks after planting. Paperwhites offer delicate beauty and an intense fragrance. Buy a couple dozen paperwhite bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place. Start some every few weeks for blooms throughout winter.

Bulbs can be grown in a pot filled with soil, or just place them in a shallow bowl and use pebbles or marbles to hold the bulbs in place. Add several inches of water  and they’ll usually bloom just four weeks after “planting”. You can plant in a container similar to the photo on the left or you can be as  fancy as putting your bulb  in a glass container with decorative pebbles of rocks that you can purchase at a craft supply store such as Hobby Lobby. The picture shown here is an amaryllis bulb and as you can see they are quite large.

To help keep stems short and sturdy, start them out with indirect light and temperatures of about 50 degrees F. for the first two weeks, then warmer, brighter conditions after that. You can add thin bamboo stakes as they grow taller if you cannot do as previously suggested. If you’re growing your bulbs in a bowl with pebbles or marbles, the water should cover no more than the bottom quarter to third of the bulb.

Of course, this is an opportunity to incorporate learning with the beautiful project. 🙂 I have listed some ideas and subject content areas that apply to your garden. As with any project, adjust the activity to meet the needs of your student(s). My thoughts on how you can use this fun on-going activity include:

• Deciding which bulbs to plant.  Are you going to plant an amaryllis or paper whites? Do you want to plant both? How many do you want and what is the cost? Here are links to help you decide: amaryllis bulbs or paperwhite bulbs (Language Arts- researching bulbs; Math- decision making, cost)
• Allowing the children decide what container and rocks would be best. (Math- sorting)
• Decorating the container. (Art)
• Planting the flower bulbs. Record the steps on a A Little Bit O’ Green Lab Report. (Language Arts- following directions, writing down steps; Science- lab report)
• Making predictions about the growth of the plant. (Science- How tall will it get? How big will the flower be? How long will it take to grow? How much do you think it will grow in a week? Math- measurement)
• Recording and graphing the growth of the bulbs and later the flowers. (Math- How much has it grown in a week? Science- Measuring the parts of a flower; bulb, roots, stem;  Discussing photosynthesis, care of plants; Language Arts- vocabulary)
• Labeling and defining the parts of the flower. Here are some great, up close pictures of each part of the flower (Science- parts of the flower, pollination; Language Arts- researching, vocabulary)
• Drawing the flower and all of its parts A Little Bit O’ Green Drawing Activity (Art- drawing)
• Determining direction for optimal growth of the flower with using a compass. (Math- reading a compass; Social Studies- direction)

Have fun and let me know if you do it. I’d love to hear about your garden!

~Lisa