Monday, January 31, 2011

Perimeter for kids

Here's a little interactive session on perimeter with Amy and Ben who are building a new pen for their dog. Your student has a chance to check their answers, move a virtual ruler around more polygons, etc. For more online practice, perimeter lessons start in the geometry portion at the second grade level at

One teacher had his students measure the perimeter of candy bars! If in your mind that encourages bad habits (or makes the teacher in your home crave chocolate), you might try cereal boxes and others in your pantry.

Humidity for kids

This page offers a good overview of humidity, with some links to experiments like creating your own psychrometer (which until this week I would have guessed had something to do with mind reading)--good for older kids, but you'll need two centigrade thermometers.

Here's a printable geared for grades 5-8 as well.

These questions from the BBC may stimulate thought in younger or older students. Here's an experiment to start early in the week about humidity, and another using pinecones to create your own hygrometer, which I know you've always wanted to do (I think there could fairly easily be a substitute for the plasticene).

Believe it or not, here's a (slightly or very corny--it's all relative) song about humidity.

The best find this week? Scholastic's Interactive Weather Maker, where your child adjusts the relative humidity and other factors and watches what it does to the weather in this little virtual neighborhood.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Joan of Arc, animated

On the wonderful site recommended by Lynn Lindahl last week for Joan of Arc, we found this half-hour (?) animated program (in segments beginning here) from Discovery Kids. My son enjoyed it, and it helps history come alive just a little more.Link

Though this portion of our history lessons is past, there's also one on Leonardo da Vinci and Marco Polo. (I recommended their version of William Bradford around Thanksgiving.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thunder and lightning

This site offers a good overview for kids on thunder and lightning in text, but this National Geographic Lightning 101 video was the most helpful find! So was this one, which is only 20 seconds.

Here's an easy experiment to create homemade lightning from Family Fun, and another version here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homeschool Convention in Memphis

Anyone going to the Homeschool Convention in Memphis, March 3-5?

Ashley Hooten (mom to Cline, in K4) is new to the area as well as homeschooling and was thinking of going.  She wanted to hook up with other Little Rock or Comm. Central moms.  Leave a comment or email Ashley: ashleyhooten AT


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy in video

Here are a few videos from movies on Hamlet's soliloquy to help your elementary school student visualize our memory work! Based on your preference of actor, here's Mel Gibson's (1990) , Kevin Kline's, Kenneth Branagh's, and an actor I'm not familiar with, David Tennant. (I haven't previewed all of them.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Field Trip Ideas

Being the nerd I am, I made a spreadsheet of all the field trips I'd like to day.  You can download it here.

The places aren't in any particular order.  I started with a visitor's brochure I picked up and added some places of my own (like cheese making and a worm farm) along the way.

Note: some of the places are open on Sundays, though not marked as such in the "hours" column.  We might see some of these as a family but most of them we'll probably see during the week.


Friday, January 21, 2011

FREE Samples from Dover Publishing

Dover Publishing Teacher Samples - sign up

I have been receiving the weekly Dover Publishing sampler weekly email for some time now. Some of the things are great and some just don't apply to us. But, today I just stumbled on this offering - sample pages specifically for teachers!! I'm so excited. They have such great stuff and to have samples more geared to our family is a bonus. 
These will be great to have on hand to supplement lessons, add to lap books and what not. There is also great stuff for preschoolers so the littles can be busy and learning with minimal assistance.

They make beautiful coloring books and I've ordered a couple recently to go along with our curriculum since Baker loves to color while I read out loud. Many times it's cheaper to get a published quality coloring book than to print pages at home (our printer has tiny tanks plus the amount of paper we use - wow!). 


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joan of Arc resources!

From Comm. Central mom Lynn Lindahl:

The Maid of Heaven site includes five animated videos about Joan of Arc that are good as well as a lot of good facts, and the Nest Learning link has a downloadable coloring /activity book for $1.49. It’s 45-pages so I thought it was a really good deal! Printing it now.

Just thought I’d pass it on!

Thanks, Lynn--sounds like a great resource.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clouds match-up worksheet

Here's a simple match-up worksheet generated from incorporating this week's science memory work.

Homeschool Conference

Did you know there's a homeschooling conference in Memphis, March 3-5?

Darcy at My 3 Boybarians is giving away 4 family passes to a homeschool conference - possibly near you.  Go enter to win!

  • MidWest Homeschool Convention – Cinncinati, Ohio

  • NorthEast Homeschool Convention – Philadelphia, PA

  • MidSouth Homeschool Convention – Memphis, TN

  • SouthEast Homeschool Convention – Greeneville, SC
  • Paper Doll Snowflakes

    Adorable. See how here.

    Cloud update...

    The photos from National Geographic mentioned in yesterday's post have a handful of good information about clouds--they're not just good for guessing. They even have some lenticular clouds from Mt. Ranier like our previous post. Check them out!

    For a simple cloud art project (we ended up liking it!):
    Write, or have your child write, a cloud name in white crayon on a white sheet of paper.
    Have your child draw the cloud in white crayon next to its name.
    Paint in blue tempera paint over the drawing to create a blue sky.
    Using a paper towel or tissue, wipe away the paint, which will leave the paper stained blue--and your clouds showing through!

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Cloud activities

    This webpage has some great ideas for interacting with clouds this week; I think I'll have my son place pictures of clouds in different categories (there's a cloud altitude calculator for students who are really into this).

    As an art project, we're going to draw the different types of clouds in white crayon on white paper--then paint over it with blue paint, which the crayon will repel, leaving the cloud types on a blue sky! (...We'll see if it works that well outside of my brain.)

    For fun, here are some beautiful photos of clouds from National Geographic; your children might try their hand at identifying a few of the types.

    For older students, this cloud diagram and information may be helpful with our new terms this week.

    Amazing cloud photos: Mt. Ranier

    Hope Bucher passed on these incredible photos of lenticular clouds over Mt. Ranier (nope, I'd never heard of those, either)--you won't want to miss them. She said it best: God is so creative. There's some valuable text to go with the photos describing the air movement that caused them!

    Thanks, Hope!

    Ephesians 6:11

    If your child was in K5 (and maybe K4...?), you may have purchased the A to Z Sing the Word CD, which had a verse song for each letter of the alphabet, many of them to common kids' songs. Their letter P song, "Put on the Full Armor of God" is one of them and has an easy tune to memorize for this week; you can download the whole CD for $9.95 or just the sheet music for $1.25 if you're interested. I'm having a difficult time locating the separate mp3 tracks I thought they offered last year, so if you can find them, please feel free to put it in the comments section!

    Sunday, January 16, 2011


    We're studying the different kinds of clouds. First we looked at Google images of cumulus, cirrus and stratus clouds. Then we pulled out the supplies.

    I wrote a quick definition on the top of each paper. In the end all of the clouds looked mostly the same, to me. But it's all about the process, right?!

    Shaving cream
    Paint (optional)
    Glue (optional, supposed to help clouds retain shape and make them shiny. Not sure we used enough.)

    Smear it, baby!

    This was an easy art project and not too messy.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Reluctant Writers

    The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing StoriesIf you have a reluctant lil' writer, hop over to The Artful Parent who interviewed Jennifer Hallissy, author of The Write Start.

    My six year old is reluctant to write and I found some helpful hints within the post plus two chances to win the book if you leave a comment.


    Reading comprehension resources

    Lakeshore Learning has a number of really great resources and ideas for teachers--some that are easy enough to make yourself, but some that you may find worth purchasing. I like their nonfiction comprehension cards, to which I apply Hot Dots and which double as great testing practice.

    I also like these quick-pick cards that attach reading comprehension skills to writing activities, which you can use with any book.

    Easy Clouds Match-Up

    I created a very basic clouds match-up on; Facebook users can find it here.

    Geometry/math practice online

    At some point I'd like to post an extensive list of educational websites, but until that day comes...if you'd like to practice our recent geometry math facts, you might visit and select your child's grade. You can choose online practice for geometry or a number of other math disciplines, which I imagine is great test practice, too!

    Prepositions: Grammar House Rock

    Here's a link to the Grammar House Rock video on prepositions.

    Found a Peanut

    In case you don't know the tune to "Found a Peanut", it's sung to the words of "Oh My Darling, Clementine". That may not help those of you who don't know "Found a Peanut!" But it's worth a try.

    Greek and Latin Roots Flash Cards

    New year - new roots!  Greek and Latin roots, that is.  Though I did have my roots highlighted this week, oi!

    If you want to make flash cards of the Latin kind, you can use the template I made.  Here's the front (roots) and the back (definitions).  Print on card stock; laminate for bonus points.

    Related posts:
    Memory Game
    Illustrating Roots
    Last semester's root words.


    Clouds for kids

    Here's a good overview of cloud types with photos of the clouds we're studying this week.

    This site has a ton of great links, including NASA's cloud site for kids; cool clouds from space; how to make a water cycle wheel; and more.

    Here's a link to some easy hands-on experiments from this brief, informative summary on clouds with more links to more pictures.

    And here's a link with poetry, another science experiment, and a number of art projects related to clouds!

    NASA's created a couple of videos for kids on this: a basic one on clouds and their types, and this one on shapes and formation of clouds, with a neat demonstration on making a cloud. This video also demonstrated the creation of clouds--less exciting, but pretty explanatory, and shows how you can make a cloud with a 2-liter bottle at home. Here's a very basic video on types of clouds for reading-aged children with no voice-over.

    For older students, here are some wonderful worksheets that incorporate some math, too.

    For memory purposes, the poem can loosely be formed to "The Farmer in the Dell." (Someday my creativity will think of a different song that has the same meter.)

    Hundred Years' War, Joan of Arc, and the Black Death for Kids

    Although I had a difficult time finding videos valuable for kids regarding this week's lesson, here's a good summary in print with a video clip from the 1989 film of Shakespeare's Henry V, of Henry's speech. It also draws in the Black Death and Joan of Arc, connecting the dots with some of our other history landmarks.

    Though Joan of Arc will be spotlighted in three weeks, including her this week may help make a cohesive whole. Here's a program from Biography on her life which I have not prescreened, along with a tame short clip regarding her capture, trial, and death. This trailer for the full-length 1999 film Joan of Arc may also give a brief idea of her life; it's brief but suspenseful, so watch it first to see if it's age-appropriate for your children.

    This clip from the History Channel is a good medical explanation of the Black Death that so influenced the Hundred Years' war. Please note: They make it a little scary, so do watch it for age-appropriateness.

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Word Wheels and Word Slides for new readers

    Word Wheels are wonderful for weading pwactice. (Sorry. Had to.) Essentially, they're a hands-on tool for teaching word families: A word ending (such as -ag) is on the top wheel, which is notched; word beginnings are on the bottom wheel (like b, s, sn, w), so one beginning peeks through the notch, forming a whole word. They're just right for preschool through first graders and other new readers getting the hang of phonics--my kids enjoy them. A word slide is similar, and can be used to teach prefixes, suffixes, and compound words as well for older students.

    This site has a large number of color-coded word wheels that are easy to print out as pdfs and assemble with a paper fastener (a brad); here are some more challenging wheels, but be warned--there are 48 pages in the document!--so you may want to pick and choose. These word slides teach root words and suffixes, and here's one more set for basic phonics.

    For a fun computer follow-up, my kids enjoy this clever Blending Bowl game from Between the Lions, where football players run into each other to form words. Starfall also has "make a word with... (ap, og, etc.)" under the Play column of this page.