In case you missed the Pilgrim log cabin, SEE HERE.
Friday, December 6, 2013
We had fun turning our Pilgrim log cabin into a GINGERBREAD HOUSE! I figured if we were going to have this massive house taking up space, we needed to enjoy it for one more month and do something fun with it! It comes down in January. Merry Christmas!
Monday, November 11, 2013
I first discovered what fun these posters could be when I attended a workshop by Sue Patrick at a homeschool conference. She sells some of her posters already made HERE. I couldn't afford the pre-made posters, so I made my own. You can purchase all of these posters online, but I was able to purchase and laminate mine at Lakeshore Learning Center.
The idea behind these posters is for learning to be FUN and INTERACTIVE! Rather than trying to memorize the poster by looking at it--get involved with some velcro! This is a great way to learn for those kids who have to touch everything!
I purchased two of the same Skeletal System Posters. I laminated both. I then covered up all of the words with blue Duck Tape. Using the second poster, I cut out all of the words and adhered them to the first poster with velcro. Purchase Skeleton Poster. (This one is more money than I paid, but I couldn't find it elsewhere. You can probably find something similar at Target or your teacher resource store for less than $3. I paid $2.50 for this one.)
I love clear velcro because it does not distract from what is going on in the poster--this is especially helpful for the next poster . . . Geography Terms.
Want to learn all 46 Geography Terms? I typed them up and you can DOWNLOAD them HERE for FREE! Print on colored cardstock and laminate for durability.
Purchase Geography Terms. You only need one. By the way, I wouldn't recommend giving all of these definitions to your kids in one pile--a tad overwhelming. Have your student master various sections of the poster before moving on--perhaps 10 at a time depending on the age. Make your student feel successful!
You can purchase CLEAR VELCRO by the yard at Joann--don't forget to use a coupon! This is much cheaper than the individual velcro dots.
For this Parts of Speech Poster, you'll need to cover the middle section (that has multiple words on it) with white paper and then laminate. Next, you'll need library card holders from any office supply or education store. Add parts of speech labels (or write them on) to each holder. We all have a stack of word cards/flash cards somewhere--have your student put each word in the correct library card holder. Purchase Parts of Speech. You'll only need to buy one.
I laminated two Solar System Posters, used black Duck Tape to cover up the planet names, cut out the planet names from the second poster and put the names on with velcro. Purchase Our Solar System. Remember you'll need to buy two!
Have fun learning! Have questions? Feel free to send me an email.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
The Pilgrim log cabin. I found this idea here. This took me months of saving toilet paper rolls--and I am so grateful for all of the friends who helped by saving their stashes too! (It's just shy of 600 rolls.) My dad built a simple wood frame for the house and I simply glued the rolls on with wood glue--while the boards were lying down flat. For the roof I purchased brown paper from the Dollar Tree and we put clear packing tape in the places that we hammered tacks into the wall. We will be leaving this up to play in for awhile. It takes over half of my dining room, but the kids love it!
Inside the house.
Ready for some fun!
My mom made all of the white Pilgrim elements of my costume which I threw on over
a black skirt and shirt. Since we were in our front yard the majority of the time,
I received many stares and comments from my neighbors. (I know that they secretly wish
they had a Pilgrim costume too!)
Our church has a farmer's market once a month. The gal in charge blessed me with all of these pumpkins and corn stalks for free! After the last service and I was able to take all of the leftovers. Each of the kids got to take home a pumpkin and some Indian corn.
We made a paper mache Plymouth Rock.
My kids helped me draw these with chalk on our driveway.
Indian decor--thanks to my brother-in-law, Mark.
As kids entered our home, they grabbed a job card of an early colonist. After everyone was seated, the kids came out of the Pilgrim house one by one and read what they did for their job. I found these job cards at Teachers Pay Teachers for $4. They were perfect for this event and you can find them HERE.
My kids drew pictures of all the Indian symbols that were used for communication.
Faith wrote a little description about Indian symbols and we put it up for others to read.
Before photography, the middle class made silhouettes. We had fun making these and
Paige wrote a report about them. I had the kids and moms guess who was who.
Most got Paige and Faith mixed up.
The kids were amazed that our country began from such a small area. We typed up some things
we learned from each colony/state. I drew the map on 2-large post-it notes and adhered it directly
to my painting--it came off easily.
We talked about quilting by hand--I'm thankful for my machine.
My great-grandmother made this beautiful quilt by hand.
The wall of corn was fun to make! We learned how the colonists grew beans up the stalks of corn
(as well as squash) and that they used fish for fertilizer--Squanto taught them how to do this.
My kids finger painted the corn.
They wrote several uses for corn on the tags.
Each mom brought a food item from early colonial times.
I made hasty pudding and candied orange peels. Most pulled their recipes from online somewhere. I pulled my recipes from Colonial Kids Activity Guide. This guide was so helpful in planning this event!
I had each family bring a set of cleaned out tuna cans. My husband cut pieces of wood approximately 18" long. Drill a tuna can to opposite sides and try to flip the bean bag from one to the other with a flick of your wrist. I attempted to demonstrate this and could not do it. Several 9-year-old boys were able to do it. I purchased the smaller sized bean bags (2") from Lakeshore Learning.
This was the aftermath of the corn shucking contest. I had the kids all grab a piece of
Indian corn and sit down. First one to completely shuck their corn stood up to win!
Corn was an important commodity with the early settlers. I had each child bring a toy they were ready to pass on to a new home. The kids each received 10 kernels of corn in a muffin cup. We split them up into small groups and they had to go around their circle and say how much they would pay--in corn--for each toy. The toy went to the highest bidder. This group of boys really got into it and were quite animated through the entire process!
An early American history party would not be complete without a Rainbow Loom bracelet to take home. I found these charms on Oriental Trading and had to order them! The Pilgrim, Indian and Mayflower charms were perfect for this event. I ordered the yellow and orange bands and the kids used their fingers to make bracelets.
For the younger kids, they played "Pin the feather on the turkey." Just google your
favorite free coloring picture of a turkey and have your child color it!
For this game, the kids had to push a hula hoop with a stick down the street as far as they could. The early colonists used wheels for this game which had flat sides. It was pretty tricky with these all round hula hoops! For the stick, my husband put a paint stick and a small piece of scrap wood together to from a "T"--they pushed the hula hoop with this.
"Stones Throw" is a game with circles drawn in the dirt and a stone--see how close to the center you can toss your stone. I didn't have a dirt patch around, so I drew it on our driveway and used a bean bag. A stone bounced around too much.
A simple game of tug of war. This was the highlight of the games--the kids played this for a long time! They were all stripping off their costumes by the end because they were so sweaty--and grass stained!
A successful event. Now I can take a nap. And attend to all of the other things in my house
that I have neglected while getting ready for this party! It was worth all of the effort--my kids
learned a TON and had so much fun doing it.
THIS is why I love homeschooling!
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
0.5 c. butter
2.25 c. gluten free flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp sea salt
1 Tbls. pure vanilla extract
0.25 c. pure maple syrup
1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
Mix all the wet ingredients then add all the dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy the fall!
Monday, October 21, 2013
“We really like hanging out with our kids and want to be involved in all the best parts of their day—they grow up too fast.” But if I had time to share my heart, this is what I would say . . .
First, let me preface what I am about to share with this—I do not think homeschooling is a formula to make sure my kids turn out more “godly” than the next kid. Homeschooling does not ensure that my kids will choose to embrace my faith. While teaching our kids to love the Lord and to have strong character is the most important thing on our checklist, homeschooling—nor anything for that matter—does not ensure this. That being said, I have plenty of friends whose children attend public school and they do a great job teaching them and showing them who Christ is in their lives. Homeschooling is not for everyone—but God did call our family to homeschool.
On to the long answer of why we homeschool:
God called us to homeschool. Tim’s sister (with 11 kids and counting) has always homeschooled. They are one of the coolest families we know—and their kids are amazing. She was my first encounter with what homeschooling could look like. I started attending homeschool conferences when my oldest was three-years-old. I look forward to these conferences every summer--they encourage me and confirm our choice to homeschool each year. The following verse spoke volumes to us:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7
We took this verse literally. For our family, we didn’t see how we could do this when someone else was with them during the best part of their day.
I have to tell you, homeschooling brings out the worst and best in me. I’ve had to deal with my own selfishness, lack of discipline, lack of patience, anger, pride—you name it—and homeschooling has brought it all to the surface. When I’m with my kids 24/7, I can’t hide these negative character qualities. I have to actually deal with them. I have to ask my kids for forgiveness. The same goes for my kids. I can’t tell you how many times we have stopped in the middle of our school day to deal with a character issue. What I love is that we actually have the TIME to do this. Yes, math may not get done on this particular day, but if I can teach my kids how to work out their differences and to respect one another, that to me is more successful than knowing every single multiplication fact. I am preparing them for real life—marriage, difficult co-workers, the cranky clerk at Wal-mart, etc.
3. Our pace
My oldest child (age 9 as of October 2013) has been a struggling reader from the beginning. We have gone through FIVE different language arts programs. F.I.V.E. Reading has finally started to click, but she is still not quite at grade level per the state standard. Her 7-year-old sister reads well beyond her ability. Did I do anything differently with each of them? No. They are just different kids with different abilities. God does not create cookie cutter children. When a teacher has 30+ students on his/her hands in a classroom setting, there is not much room for individual pacing. I realize the schools have “special” programs and such and I believe they really do the best they can under the circumstances. But, no one cares about my child as much as I do. I can tailor the curriculum to suit my child’s need. And if it doesn’t work—I can try something NEW! I am not forced to try and make it work and see the love of learning drain from my child.
4. Outside activities/interests
I love that my kids can participate in sports or other interests (our kids take gymnastics, piano, Spanish and art lessons) before their dad gets home from work. We have dinner together every night. We aren’t torn in different directions trying to fit these extra activities in. Also, we can go on field trips anytime we want—if we are learning about the solar system, we can take a quick trip to the planetarium; want to know more about reptiles—let’s go to the pet store after lunch. We have so much flexibility. Our church has some homeschool classes that we are involved in--it's a great way for our kids to be involved in a community of kids and for we moms to support one another.
The big joke about homeschoolers is that we homeschool in our PJ’s all day. We don’t . . . well, not all of the time. But it’s nice to know that we could! There are so many things about the homeschooling lifestyle that I love . . . where to start? I love that we can sleep in if we’ve had a late night. I love that we don’t have to rush out the door early in the morning. I love that we can cuddle under a blanket on the couch and read together while we are still wiping the sleep out of our eyes. I love that we can vacation ANY time of the year—we tend to stay home during the summer and vacation when everyone else is in school—less crowds! I love that if we are studying pond life, we can drop everything and take an afternoon field trip to the pond to see what we can find in the water. I love that I can take my children grocery shopping with me and teach them math while we shop. And my favorite lifestyle factor that comes with homeschooling is NO HOMEWORK! When my husband gets home from work, they are ready to make memories with dad. Those memories do not involve working on a project or writing assignment until 7:00 at night. Those memories involve going on nature walks, bike rides and going out for frozen yogurt—all on a weeknight.
For those of us God has called to homeschool, He calls us for different reasons. Sometimes we know exactly what that reason is--for others, we might not know with certainty why He called us to this task. Years ago I heard of a homeschooling mom that had died of cancer at the age of 43, leaving several school-aged children behind. She may not have known at the time why God had asked her to homeschool, but my guess is that He put homeschooing on her heart because He knew those kids needed precious time with their mom--time that He knew was going to be short.
If you've ever felt the nudge to investigate homeschooling, I'd love to talk to you! I love answering questions and pointing moms to resources that have encouraged me. Just shoot me an email!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
If you missed PART 1 of our trip, go here.
While in Salt Lake City, we stayed at the very clean Pony Express RV Resort. It was 10 minutes from downtown. Wi-fi and full hookups included. We loved our time in Salt Lake City--there is SO MUCH to do there for families! We crammed as much as we could into the two days that we had.
Our favorite activity was going to This is the Place Heritage Park. The cost: adults $10; kids $7. We spent five hours here. It was so worth the money and the perfect complement to our American history studies this year.
This watermill still works--though they didn't have it running for us today.
This train picks you up at several train stops within the park and takes you to the next stop.
Seth was thrilled.
Panning for gold. We loved this authentic setting which included a miner's tent and gear nearby. The kids each came away with a small bag of Fool's Gold. They loved this!
A real blacksmith in action. This was amazing to see!
A trip to the barber shop. Faith got to be "shaved." Shaving cream and toilet water included. This guy was great. He taught the kids all about the history of barbers and the other duties they were responsible for--including tooth extraction and bloodletting.
Highland Cattle. A Scottish breed. I had no idea cows could be hairy.
The cabinet maker shop. This shop also sold coffins.
The sign reads, "FOR SALE. Only Slightly Used."
The drug store office.
Our kids learned about the "Dunce" punishment. Horrible!
Plowing the field was hard work!
"Mom, did they wash all of their clothes this way?"
Little children learned how to milk a cow using this bear game. To get the bear to the top of the ropes you had to quickly move your hands one quick jerk at a time.
We made designs in leather at the saddle shop.
We played many fun old-fashioned games. No Monopoly here!
The above three pictures are just a few of the views from the Salt Lake City Public Library. I'd read about this library online before we left on our trip. It's five stories high, has a rooftop that you can run around on and check out some incredible views, has a cafe, store and some amazing children's play areas. From the library, we were able to ride the TRAM for FREE to the Planetarium. This was pretty close to a train ride, so Seth was excited--again.
We are glad we took the time to tour Temple Square. Our kids had a lot of questions after they saw multiple paintings of Bible stories on the walls and wondered how the Mormon religion differed from Christianity. Tim and I do not know everything about the Mormon faith, but we took this opportunity to get educated together. A friend of mine that grew up in the Mormon faith sent me a Facebook message while we were on our trip. (My friend is a former Mormon) She told me about this place:
Utah Lighthouse Ministry was founded by Sandra Tanner--who happens to be the great-great-grandaughter of Brigham Young. While in her teens, she began investigating the Mormon faith and eventually left the Mormon church. Her testimony is very interesting and can be found HERE.
We went to the Lighthouse Ministry and were able to talk with one of Sandra's colleagues for quite some time. She was able to share with our kids in simple terms the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. We picked up some literature and an amazing DVD that compares/contrasts Joseph Smith to Jesus Christ. It was very eye opening.
I have several friends who are Mormon and I love them. Mormons have done an amazing job of putting families first and creating strong bonds. They are some of the most generous people that I know.
We visited the Clark Planetarium which is FREE! They make their money by showing IMAX films. Since we'd done the IMAX thing in West Yellowstone, we opted to save our money this time. The kids got to walk on Mars and the Moon for a fun picture.
This play-by-play of our trip would not be complete without a little RV action. Several forts were built during our down time--leaving Tim and I no easy way to prepare dinner and walk around.
In the mornings, Seth and Paige cuddled up over a heater vent to get warm.
I highly recommend taking an RV vacation! The memories we've made with our kids over the past year will not be forgotten. It's a great way to homeschool! Now if only we could figure out how to do this full-time for a couple of years.