Friday, December 31, 2010
Last summer I read the book Last Child in the Woods and it challenged me to think more outdoorsy. (is that a word?)
If you'd like ideas on how to make your backyard more interesting, go here and here.
When I watched this video, I was so inspired.
Thanks for the tip, Sherry!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
What God Wants for Christmas is an excellent resource for families of all ages. If you buy from FamilyLife, they have a package deal. Unfortunately, you can't swing by the FamilyLife building to buy it. It will have to be shipped to your house.
super cute homemade nativity.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I've been trying to replicate this for my son, and though I've found some mad minutes on the web, I've found it much easier with the large wipe-off placemats--addition and multiplication--at Mardel right now for $.99, available in their educational bargains section (they also have handwriting practice). It's a daily workbox at our house.
For my first grader, I give him two minutes rather than one to complete as many as he can of the 50 problems; he doesn't have to do them in order. (That's for the addition facts of 1-5; he gets three minutes for the facts of 5-10). Once I found what his average and his "best" were, I give him small rewards for completing 25 problems or more accurately, for example. Often, my little competitor wants to try again to best his record!
The wipe-off placemat makes it a little more convenient, not to mention green--and more fun for him. And his fluency in basic problems is certainly improving!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
One day at the farmers market I asked Bob Barnhill about his pecans. The conversation was complete with tractors and helmets; I knew my son would love to see the operation. Mr. Barnhill graciously invited us for a field trip. Well, to be more accurate - I invited myself. And kept calling him to remind him to let me know when he was going to make his trees shake.
The mechanism on the back of the tractor could have a fancy name. I'll call it the tree shaker.
The kids cheered when the trees shook and pecans fell.
Once picked up (the old fashioned way) the pecans are sorted into sizes with this machine.
And cracked in this machine. The nuts still need a bit of elbow grease after being cracked.
We also saw one of the Barnhill gardens.
And brought home some of the sweetest broccoli I've ever eaten...in my entire life!
Thanks for showing us around Mr. Barnhill!
The Pioneer Woman had a review on Zillo Mini Mountain and it looks super wonderful albeit pricey (ages 4-94).
We've enjoyed playing Sequence - the states and capitals version - and it's helped sharpen my geography facts.
What toys do you own that build the mind?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
To get to the arboretum, drive past Pinnacle Mountain and turn right at the first road. You'll see the sign on the right after about a mile.
We enjoyed identifying new (to us) trees, mostly by the bark - but a few still had leaves.
Bonus: several different kinds of fungus, too.
I can't wait to go again in the spring.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Martha Stewart had cute pilgrim hats and a sail centerpiece for kids in this month's magazine--even some finger puppet favors, too. Here are the best Thanksgiving crafts from Disney's Family Fun magazine, too, in case you just had way too much time on your hands (or needed the kids to have a little less on theirs).
Monday, November 22, 2010
In the next workbox, I'll have a sheet of paper that asks him comprehension questions (What is the central problem the character is facing?)--really whatever we're working on for reading fundamentals that week--but I'll also incorporate grammar, having him write one noun, pronoun, adjective, etc. from what he just read.
I really like multi-disciplinary activities to sync activities together, and this is a great way to do it (another option: have him write a summary sentence about what he read--or answer an overarching comprehension question (i.e. Who are the main characters in this book? In what setting does this book take place?--then illustrate it).
1) Take some index cards and make pairs: the Greek/Latin root on one card, the definition on the other.
2) Once you've got your pairs, mix them and arrange them face down in rows.
3) Play "Memory" by taking turns finding pairs of roots and their matching definition.
Friday, November 19, 2010
First my son sorted the colors. Each shape was created with different colors. (Janel wrote names and dots on one side and just dots on opposite side of the sticks. )
Then he made shapes.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tip: Start with a small number of letters (like 10) first, to avoid the game being overwhelming.
2) The Name Game. Using a large and easily read font, make an Excel workbook page of the letters of the names in your family and/or your last name, one letter in each cell. Make sure you make borders visible for easy cutting. Print out the letters onto cardstock, then cut the pieces up. Ask your child to use the letters to spell out your family's first names.
Tip: To teach name-spelling, try putting the names to the song B-I-N-G-O. My family used it for me, and now I use it for my kids! Trust me, if it works for Breitenstein, it works for anything.
3) Stairsteps. As a spinoff of a classic Montessori activity, print out an Excel workbook page with large-width columns and rows, borders visible (as an option, you can fill in the cells with color). You'll be cutting out a strip of one cell, then a strip of two connected cells, then of three cells, etc. Place the various sizes of connected cells in an envelope, and see what your child does with them (Montessori functions with minimal instruction, in my understanding). If your child needs assistance, see if they can arrange them from the smallest number of squares (or rectangles) to the most (or least to greatest, if you're trying to teach these terms).
As for activities, check out this truly extensive page from ProTeacher, more cool ideas from eHow (like making your own candles), a looong page on links to the Middle Ages in general, another thoroughly reviewed and choosy set of links from Surfnetkids.com, and a fun (washable) stained-glass activity that pre-K and up will love, I think.
Not really related to the Renaissance but a cool video just the same: How to Draw from Mission: Renaissance.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
This page has coloring and activity pages, along with helpful photos. Be aware that one of the first sentences speaks of evolution (sigh).
Here's a simple experiment, too, to demonstrate condensation--and you can take your pick on experiments from this page.
And guess what tune you can sing the fact to? Ah, yes. It's Farmer in the Dell.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Here's a link to the first few informative pages of an e-book for kids with a magazine layout (you need a membership to view the entire book). This is a succinct summary of his life from an article in World Book Kids, and another with a comprehension question at the end. For older kids or research projects, here's a more lengthy explanation, along with cultural notes on the Kingdom of Mali.
I'm not aware of how lessons for older children are structured at Comm. Central, but here's a thorough lesson plan and student page for older students.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
This Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm video helps connect the dots between temperature, pressure, and weather, and Scholastic is nice enough to give us an experiment and printable to go with it, demonstrating a wind spiral using the heat from a lightbulb.
The good ol' "Farmer in the Dell" tune is there once again to help us memorize the memory work itself.
Here's an interactive map of his journeys, complete with sound. If you're looking for more resources, click here.
So in the words of many a schoolteacher: Grab a buddy.
Friday, October 29, 2010
The group meets in the cafe of Books a Million in North Little Rock.
View Larger Map
If your child is an explorer, or would like more map reading practice, print this one and bring it with you.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The website doesn't give many details, so I recommend calling if you're thinking of going.
However, all the moms were raving about how wonderful it is. I'm sad that my family will be out of town or we'd be there.
Below is a portion of an email (excuse the format, I'm lazy and just cut/paste).
1. 1874 court house visitor center:
The 1874 Court House visitor center contains orientation information about historic Washington and exhibits thematically linked to the civil war during this special weekend. There will be special civil war music programs in the upstairs courtroom you will not want to miss. Also take a look in the gift shop for unique gift items to commemorate your visit!
1. Civil war period music:
Music was a much needed pastime during the dark days of the civil war. There was the comical, patriotic and spiritual aspects of music that motivated and sustained the masses. You might even get to sing along!
1. cooking in the field:
while visiting with civilian refugees students will see how people cooked on campfires to survive.
1. artillery demonstration:
see and “hear” why artillery was known as the “king of battle”!
artillerymen will demonstrate the proper firing of actual full scale Civil war artillery.
1. civil war medicine:
A look at how sicknesses and wounds were treated by doctors and surgeons of the military.
1. Religion in war:
Explore the power and influence of religion during the days of the civil war. You will be in one of the oldest churches in Arkansas!
1. Soldier for the cause:
See soldier dressed in the Hempstead Rifles uniform. This was the first unit mustered from Hempstead county.
1. the lady in mourning:
Death and its aftermath were stark realities for most families during the war years. Visit with a typical lady who has lost a loved one during the conflict and see how she copes during these sad times.
1. meet the sutler:
sutlers followed the armies and provided the soldier the means to make private purchases. See the goods they carried and find out why.
1. meet a town doctor:
when there weren’t enough military doctors to go around the local doctors were called upon to render much needed aid to not only their usual patients but to countless refugees and soldiers far from home. See what tools and techniques he used to practice his noble profession.
1. a slave’s work is never done:
while a war raged on around them those people still enslaved labored to take care of daily chores and responsibilities so that households and farms could get by with some semblance of normalcy. Visit the sanders farmstead kitchen and grounds and learn why “a slave’s work is never done”.
1. civil war guns and weapons:
see a special program on the more interesting and innovative firearms developed during the civil war. Some of these were the types used in southwest Arkansas!
1. newspapers at war:
watch a printer at work as he discusses the importance of “getting the news out” during the war.
1. the candle shop:
visit the candle shop and learn more about early lighting. There is also a small gift shop located here.
1. children’s games:
young people have to play! Join in the fun of some of nineteenth century’s more popular games.
1. ladies and men’s fashions:
this program covers some of the more obvious differences between clothing of the nineteenth century and clothing of today. Social customs and beliefs associated with fashion will be explored as well.
1. period photography:
ever wondered why people photographed in the nineteenth century looked so serious? You might get a clue after your visit to a nineteenth century tintype artist. See how he made “likenesses” of people and the tools required.
1. politics and war:
Arkansas has seceded from the Union and has joined the Confederate States of America. Witness a rousing speech by a local political leader elected to represent the state in the Confederate legislature in the 1836 court house.
1. infantry drill:
so you want to be a civil war soldier? Well, you’ve got some shaping up to do! Learn the basics of infantry drill with our courteous and mild mannered drill instructors! Bring your marching shoes!
1. cavalry equipment:
meet a typical civil war cavalryman and examine the saddles
and equipment required to carry out mounted service in war.
1. infantry camp on campaign:
explore the camp of a typical group of soldiers on campaign in the countryside. See the ways they attempted to make life a little better amid the boredom of life in camp. But be warned! When soldiers are around civilians anything can happen! You might even see a typical situation unfold at the Royston log house campsite!
1. life at home:
visit with an average farmer at his humble home and learn how he survives during wartime. He will show you some much needed skills in woodcraft and self sufficiency that any person would need during such a crisis.
learn how rails were split, shingles rived, and beams hewed to make a home from the wilds of the forest.
1. home gardens:
food is a necessity and especially in wartime with shortages of all types of foodstuffs. Visit with a gentleman and learn how he tends his important garden!
1. swords and plowshares:
experience firsthand the sights and sounds of a working blacksmith shop. Smiths were called upon to help in any way possible toward the equipping of the armies during the war.
1. Give your child a shallow plate of cornmeal, rice, sand, flour, beans - anything really.
2. Ask them to draw letters or words.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Below is Kristi singing the major bones in the body, from last year. (or here on YouTube)
HT: Chasing Cheerios
also posted on Works for Me Wednesday.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
We also have been using the fill-in-the-blank worksheet maker for Scripture memory (AWANA included), though sometimes I simply have my son illustrate the words rather than write them, to change it up a little.
At the end of this brief video is a helpful clip from the History Channel about the Magna Carta, and a slightly dry one from howstuffworks. Here's actually an eight-minute video from a teacher that explores a little of the history behind the document all the way back to the Battle of Hastings; helpful for older kids, BORING for younger. This text with images explains things in a little more detail and includes the previous video.
This week for our science fact on caves, you may want to check out these sites for a little visual:
Here's a cool art project based on cave painting!
And check out the American Cave Conservation Association's kids' page.
Similar to our crystal making experiment awhile back, this experiment helps kids understand the formation of stalactites and stalagmites!
And here are a few National Geographic videos exploring Kartchner Caverns, Howe Caverns, and Carlsbad Caverns with a lot of amazing formations and insight into cave ecology—though I have not previewed all these videos. PBS Kids has a cave video, too.
About two years ago I first learned of Charlotte Mason, some would call her the founder of the homeschooling movement. Her educational philosophy puts an emphasis on reading "living books" and stimulating education in a noncompetitive, biblically based way. She is a contemporary of Maria Montessori, both women were 100 years before their own time.
So, the discussion group meets tonight (Monday - which is the fourth Monday of the month.) They meet in the cafe of the Books a Million in North Little Rock from 6-10pm. Maybe as no surprise, they not only discuss the books but provide support and advice for one another.
Email me if you want to meet up and go together: luvmyhub AT gmail DOT com