Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation Day & Costumes

Quick Quiz:
Q: What happened on this day (Oct. 31) in 1517?
{We gave extra candy to trick-or-treaters who correctly responded.  Only one got it right}
A: Martin Luther hammered his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg.

And, the mark of a Comm. Central kid - he's wearing the Declaration of Independence as his Halloween costume.

He had people sign the back -
The idea was original when he was in kindergarten.  But he was waaaay more excited about it this year.


James Watt for kids has this video demonstrating James Watt's steam engine, and this 02:44 video describes his contribution to the time period. Here's an animation of the engine, but there's no description. This is a clip of an actual antique engine by Watt; you can find a "high points" bio here. This 2:23 video briefly talks about the background and impact of the English Industrial Revolution.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

India photos

Here are a few user-generated photos from, as well as a photo gallery from the site and a video, Destination: India. Here, too, is an amazing photo of a street in modern-day Kolkata (Calcutta), and a photo of a rickshaw there. (Though National Geographic can sometimes have conflicting worldviews, you may want to check out their new beta site for educators,

Weekly Checklist

Something that helps my second grader feel in control of his day is this checklist.  I make one each week.  As he finishes his work, he checks off his work.  This way we both know what is expected of him.  The last  two years we used the workbox system and it worked well, too.

On the list are specific things, like reviewing the Weekly Wisdom.  Other things on the list work more as a reminder for me.  "Cinderella in 3-D this weekend" means to read different versions of Cinderella as well as use the Activity Guide from the Children's Theatre because we're going to see the play on Saturday.

The checklist works for me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Can you help?

On a note of Comm. Central Creatively housekeeping--at the end of January, my family and I  (Janel)are going to be moving to Uganda, Africa as missionaries. We are excited (and a bit overwhelmed). Though we'll continue homeschooling there, as I focus on our family's adjustments, I will be stepping out of regular contributions to Comm. Central Creatively. (I reserve the right to come back and give you yet another corny song or weird project idea.)

Here's where I'm trusting that God will care for all of us. If you've been helped by the blog--or think you know what could make it more helpful!--would you prayerfully consider pitching in with your ideas on the blog?

Maybe one of you would be interested in researching activities and videos that help other moms flesh out the week's curriculum. Maybe you wouldn't mind using to construct a review crossword once a week. Maybe you're just brimming with creative ideas or internet savvy that could help the rest of us out. I hope to slowly transition out in the next month as our preparations to leave are ramping up.

If you're interested, would you please leave a comment on the blog? Someone will be in touch with you. Thanks for helping all of us.

Easy craft for this week: Jar O'Lanterns

My five-year-old had a lot of fun with this easy craft from Disney's Family Fun magazine, using orange tempera paint, masking tape, and a glass jar to make a jack-o-lantern candle holder.

History for this week: Robert Clive and the British East India Company

Here's an 8:06 documentary on our history fact this week; here's a more full version of the episode, starting with part one (10 min.) of six. BBC also has several videos regarding Robert Clive's life if you scroll down on this page. PBS also had a lesson plan complete with video resources.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 11 Declaration of Independence

Click here, and then click "download" in the bottom right corner.

Week 11 Review Crossword

Click here, and then on the "download" button in the bottom right-hand corner.

Best educational apps for kids

Someone recommended Math Ninja to me recently, and we tried it yesterday. My oldest LOVES it. As in, was shouting "Yeah!" in the middle of his math practice, and telling me twice he loves it. (Strangely, this is not a frequent reaction to math practic in my home.) So I did a little research today; hopefully it will be helpful for all you techies out there.

Here are some lists of the top apps.

 These are solely devoted to educational apps for kids.

May they lead to a few more shouts during your math (or whatever) practice. Help us out: What educational apps do your kids love?

Arkansas State Fair discounted admission/rides tomorrow

Friday, October 21, children ages 6 and under can ride the Kiddie Rides free from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.. Free gate admission 9 a.m. to Noon for adults bringing kids.
All children through 12th grade get $3 gate admission.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Science Review Crossword, week 11

Click here, and download using the button on the lower right.

American Revolution lapbook

I received notice about this page today from one of my FB groups. I am so excited! Baker enjoys lapbooks and I love ready-to-go projects!
American Revolution unit/lapbook

CurrClick - great site, great sale plus freebies!

I love CurrClick. If you haven't discovered this site yet, now is a great time to check it out. You can snag some great freebies and discover lots of great downloadable resources plus live classes and online learning clubs.
Trunk or Treat Sale

Monday, October 17, 2011

Acid/Base Neutralization

This video is not especially kid friendly (as most chemistry videos aren't), but your kids can see a base change to an acid with color change and a bunch of dry ice making it look cool :). Related videos will appear on the right of your screen.

You can also watch this  home video of a minilab experiment--a neutralization using the always-present vinegar and baking soda. Not earth-shattering, but a good demonstration of what we're memorizing this week.

History Review Crossword, Week 11

Here's a review of our history facts up to this week, created with If you can, only print the first page; the second page is blank.

Note: I've been having a few problems with Scribd lately, so I'm trying a new format. Click on the "download" button in the lower right-hand corner, and you should be good to go. Otherwise, feel free to leave a comment, and I'll fix it as soon as I'm able.

Nouns: Grammar House Rock video

Click here.

French and Indian War for kids

You can find a few videos on the French and Indian war this week as follows (I have not previewed these completely): also has a number of online activities for kids based on the war, along with Power Point presentations, etc.; it includes a link to teacher/student resources for "The War that Made America Battle in the Wilderness."

At the risk of reusing a song two weeks in a row, my house will be singing this week's history fact to "This Land is Your Land":

In seventeen fifty-four
the French and Indian War
which began in North Amer-ica
between Britain and France over
ownership of North American
was won by the English when they captured
(repeat last line of melody)  Quebec, and Mo-o-ontreal!

Help with Scripture memory

Desiring God's Fighter Verse Songs disc E, available from for $7 (and elsewhere), has the entire Sermon on the Mount put to music--not as catchy as Seeds at all, but good for easy memory (for moms and dads, too!). It helped us a lot with this weeks' memory verse.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Week 10 Review Crossword

So--for being an educator of young minds, it seems that I need help counting. Last week was week 9, not week 8, so that makes this week 10. Oops.

If you still trust me, click here for your week 10 review crossword.

(I've been having issues with Scribd, but if you have trouble printing this, try downloading the document using the button in the bottom right corner.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handwriting Practice Ideas

You can use the Paragraph Worksheet Maker of the Amazing Handwriting Worksheet Maker for a number of fun ideas!

1) Put the names of some of their favorite characters or of some family members on the sheet, then print out clip art or photographs of the names, with a border around the image. Your child traces the name, reads the name, and cuts and pastes the appropriate photo on its name. This is great for reluctant writers; I used Lego Star Wars character names last week, and my son keeps asking me when we'll get to do it again! (You can find clip art pictures by Googling the character's name, then clicking on the "Images" tab of Google. Cut and past the image.)

2) Ask your child to make up a short story. Type it in and print out the worksheet so they can copy their story. They can illustrate the story on a separate page.

3) Write letters to grandparents or other relatives using the same method: Your child dictates their letter (I write "Dear Grandma and Grandpa", etc. as the title), you print it out, and they can trace their words.

4) Write worksheets about their personal information: Their favorite color, birthday, phone number, address, etc.

As separate handwriting practice, we use a handful of fun, tactile options:

  • forming letters in a cookie tray of cornmeal or salt (I keep it in containers and reuse the cornmeal; if you can find a small rectangle container, it can serve as your HWT "slate")
  • Ziploc freezer bags full of hair gel (keeping them in the fridge is even better!); press the letters in to the bag
  • copying words from flashcards onto dry erase boards
  • Aqua Doodle mats
  • Magna Doodles
  • making letters in shaving cream or finger paint

Fill in the blank: Introduction to the Declaration

Click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Acids and bases activities to do at home

This blog post was very helpful--it showed how to create your own cabbage juice, make your own litmus paper, and communicate with M & M's how acids and bases become neutrals.

Peter the Czar for kids

At my house, we'll be singing our history fact to the tune of "This Land is Your Land":

In seventeen-twelve
Peter the Great, the
Czar of Russia
built his capital ci-ty
of Sa-int Petersburg
on the Baltic Sea in
an effort to obtain
a warm-water port
(repeat last line of melody:) giving Russia
a "Window to the West"!

Because my computer is malfunctioning this week I'm not able to access YouTube, but it seems there are a number of videos on Peter the Great; following the first YouTube video link will suggest a number of additional videos on the side panel.

The Story of the World Activity Book has a number of ideas for this week's history starting on page 104. Starting on page 52 of the Student Pages, there's a coloring page and other craft pages.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Critical Thinking Company book sale

On there is a sale on some great items from The Critical Thinking Company. Click on the referral link, sign up for free and check it out...

Monday, October 3, 2011

John Locke for kids

Links to help this week:
And...that's about all I got.


One homeschooling mom spent a week discovering gravity with her son.  The excellent post is here.  I'm thinking we will copy most, if not all, of it.