8 valentine’s day activities for kids

I love planning lessons around holidays to break up our routine and add some fun to the mix and Valentine’s Day offers a perfect opportunity to add an assortment of fun activities and projects!  My kids love experiments but they also love crafts so I put together a fun selection of both!    The majority of my children are under 7, but I do have a 12-year-old so I added a few fun things for her as well.  I hope you find something that you can enjoy with your family!

This is a fun experiment to do with all those candy hearts hanging around.  I personally don’t like candy hearts so I feel like dissolving them is a perfect use!  Plus the kids love experiments like this. 

Check it out here!

 

 If you have vinegar and baking soda hanging around at your house then you are ready to do this art project!  I love simple activities that use things around the house!  

 

We have a million pipe cleaners bouncing around at our house so this art activity will be the perfect use!

 

 

It has been suggested to me that bird feeders are a great asset in keeping your kids occupied and learning during the long winter.  Put out a bird feeder,  make some hot chocolate, and watch the birds come and go!  So I will definitely be making these with the kids.

 

 

 

This will be a HUGE hit for my 1st grader!  Oh, my goodness, does he love to build things and I know that my 2 and 4-year-old will enjoy this activity as well.  It’s sure to be a hit!

 

 

Here’s a fun Valentine math activity that will be perfect for your younger grades like kindergarten through 2nd.  You can adapt it for preschoolers to enjoy as well!

 

 

This adorable bouquet is something my 7th grader would love to make for her friends!  

 

 

How fun is this idea!  Valentine delivery ZIP LINES!  My kids will be all over this idea!  

 

I hope you found one or two things to do with your kids this Valentine’s day.  Any one of these ideas is sure to be a hit!  

 

Homemade Slime

This our homeschool week off where we take the week to do tons of projects and use a more “hands-on” approach to our homeschool days.  It is a much-needed break from textbooks and the demands on mom.   Each child plans some crafts or projects they want to work on and this homemade slime was what my 1st grader picked to make with the family.  I have to say that I am impressed at how easy it is to make homemade slime and it wasn’t nearly as messy as I thought it would be.  My two-year-old and four- year -old tested it out by dropping it on the carpet and it came right up!  So yay!  Another exciting aspect of this project is that I had all of the ingredients!  I love it when I don’t have to go to the store to buy more items for some of these crazy projects.  

how to make homemade slide 

What you will need:

Solution A

1 cup of water

1 cup of glue

food coloring

Solution B

1 1/3 cup warm water

4 tsp. Borax laundry booster

Mix ingredients of solution A together in a medium bowl.  In a second medium bowl mix the ingredients in solution B together until Borax is completely dissolved.  Slowly pour solution A into solution B but DO NOT MIX!  Roll the solution around 4-5 times.  Lift solution A out of B and knead for 2-3 minutes.  Throw away solution B and store the slime in an airtight container or ziploc bag.  

 

 

Hands-on ant lesson

For our science this year we are learning about arthropods.  Currently, we are on the unit of ants.   My first grader is full of energy and likes to be creative.  He is definitely more of a hands-on learner and our lesson was missing some of that.   So I added the “hands on” part to our science lesson.  We watched a few youtube videos about ants. I love how awesome youtube is for teaching your kids.  Always use adult supervision of course but there are some great resources there.  

 

 

 

This one was SO interesting.  I have never seen the inside of an ant hill but this gives you an amazing visual:

 

 

 

This video showed us how ants are used for medicine and research:

 

 

This video showed us how ants survive in a swamp:

 

 

 

We had a few more pieces to our lesson but in the end, he really wanted to make something.  So we tried a new playdough recipe with only 3 ingredients!  

 

oatmeal clay recipe

 

Oatmeal Clay

1 cup of oatmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup water

Mix ingredients and add more flour if it is too sticky.  

That’s it!  Super simple and quick to pull together.  

10 Christmas themed learning activities

Looking for great history, reading, math, and science to explore during this Christmas season?   I have compiled a list of 10 great Christmas themed learning activities that my kids and I are planning on using this month.  I am really excited to dig in and try these and I know the kids are going to LOVE them.   The ones we have already tried have been a huge hit  in our home and I hope in yours.  

This is another reason I love homeschooling is trying and learning all of these things either again or for the first time WITH my kids.  We are building such a close bond with each other by sharing in this time together.

 

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A WWII Christmas from Free Homeschool Deals.

First off, a little history which is my favorite subject and WW II is so interesting.  They have a 4-part series put together from rationing and recipes to V-mail and more.  

 

 

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This Frosted Crystal Wreath looks like fun and some science is involved.  

frozen-bubble-feature

These frozen bubbles have been on our list to try since summer!  We have waited for months for it to get cold enough to try it and we are super excited!

 

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Snow Volcano

I am pretty sure my 12-year-old all the way down to my 2-year-old will enjoy this experiment and we have enough  snow to actually try it this week!

 

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Christmas Snow Globes by Reeko Science

My kids have already made their Christmas Globes and had a blast making them.  My husband didn’t appreciate the glitter that seems to cover everything when it comes out but the kids had fun and helped clean up so it was worth it!

 

winter-science-snow-melting-experiment

Another fun science experiment with melting snow from Mom Inspired Life.   I love how simple and easy this one is to pull together. 

 

writing-prompts

123 homeschool 4 me has pulled together some great writing prompts.  I’ll adjust accordingly for my 7th grader but I know my 1st grader will love these.

 

Christmas Math Worksheets

Here are some great Christmas themed math lessons that I know my 1st grader will enjoy and give him a break from his textbook.  

 

Build a sled STEAM project

I love this building challenge from handmade kids art!  What a fun idea.

 

Christmas Math Game

Math Geek Mama incorporated a story and a math lesson and I LOVE it!  What a great idea!

 

how homeschooling turned out differently than I expected

 

 

how homeschooling turned out differently than I expectedIt is the end of the day as I write this; I am in the office eating leftover birthday cake and I am counting down the minutes until bedtime.  Mere minutes folks.  The quiet is so close I can taste it!  Bedtime is a favorite around here, at least for the adults.  It’s when I can turn my brain off and just relax. 
   Daylight savings time has brought the dark much earlier than I like and for some reason 6:30 pm feels more like 10:00 pm.  Does this happen to anyone else?  
The perk to it being dark is that the little kids don’t realize the time and I can now put them to bed shortly after 7:00 and they still sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 am.  So that’s AHMAZING!  And I tell you what, with all that extra sleep we wake up happy and ready to start our day!

Anyway, enough about that.  Let me tell you about the most unexpected and awesome outcome of homeschooling.

  I think my biggest surprise since homeschooling is how absolutely freeing and calm it is.  Not what you expected me to say was it?

 Most moms I tell that too are often surprised.  They usually say “I could never homeschool my kids.  Summer is hard enough.”

Granted, not every moment is peaceful and calm but allow me to give you an example.

   On a normal Sunday evening visiting with family or friends, there’s no rush to get home to have the kids in bed by 8:00 pm.  We stay and enjoy the visit.  We leave at a relaxed pace and have joy in knowing we built  relationships. 

Morning time: There’s no rush to get up and pack lunches, make breakfast, eat breakfast, get the kids dressed, gather the homework, finish homework that they forgot they had, grabbing backpacks, coats, finding shoes, and rushing to catch the bus by 7:30 in the morning.   We get up at 7:00 am, make breakfast together, read our scriptures while we eat breakfast, clean up breakfast, exercise,  do our morning chores, get dressed and are ready for our day by 9:00 am.  It’s a calm pace which means less yelling for me and tension being felt by all the rushing around. 

The rest of the ‘school day’ is 9-3 pm with lunch and a few breaks in between.  Those hours are a calmer, relaxed time with learning activities, reading, textbooks, and arts or crafts.  My children and I are bonding regularly throughout the  day. I don’t have to worry if I spent enough time with them in that small window of time after public school was over.  

After 4:00 pm, normally had crazy painted all over it when my children were in public school.  We would rush to finish homework and then get them to the after school activities, music, dance, gym, sports, etc.  Then it was rush home to finish dinner and eat, do reading time, bath, pajamas and bedtime.  There was hardly enough time do anything beyond the essentials.  Now I have all their music and dance lessons scheduled during the day and our evenings are usually free.

One of my biggest concerns was that I would get burnt out from all the pressure of homeschooling.   Here’s what I decided to do. 

I chose to do school year round. Why?

Because I knew myself and knew that I would put undo pressure on myself to keep up with the public school.  Plus, the real world does not take 3 months off every summer.   So I switched it up and I homeschool all year so that I feel ahead and I have time for a day off if I can tell the kids need to switch up the routine, it allows for flexibility when days are just not going to work to have a full school day.  You know those days where you had extra appointments, meetings, sick kids, or the ” stuff happens” days.  

I also arranged my homeschool schedule to have 4 weeks on and 1 week off.  On our week off, I felt the best approach was to have a laid back or informal school.  Those laid back weeks are mostly planned around holidays if possible and I allow the kids to do whatever they want as long as they are learning.  Sometimes we go for hikes, we have read-a-thons, build with legos, go on field trips, play learning games, watch educational movies, bake and cook,  play for hours outside, or go crazy with Pinterest projects, etc.  We have SO MUCH FUN in those weeks.  It is the ultimate bonding time.  I am not worried about missing lessons in textbooks because I feel that learning needs to be fun and relaxed at times too. And they learn SO much on those weeks.  I really feel like it rounds out our education.   Plus it gives me time to plan the next 4 weeks and change anything that needs to be rearranged or adjusted.  The break does all of us a world of good.  

Life is incredible and I am so supremely lucky to spend this life with my children at my side.  I am adoring these moments with my kids. Watching them learn and grow are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Homeschooling is not something to be feared but is something to delight in.   In the world today, there are resources in abundance to help all those moms who are still on the fence.  Homeschooling today is less daunting than it would have been 30 years ago.  So if you are feeling like you should homeschool but are letting fear take over, I urge you to let the fear go and embrace the idea of homeschooling.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Journal

How to prayer journal

A Prayer Journal, what is that you ask?  
Let me explain…

Recently, I was visiting with moms from our homeschool co-op and we were discussing prayer and one of the moms told us that she  had “switched up” the way she prayed.   She told us that she writes down her prayers every day.  In a journal of sorts.  What she has noticed over time, is that she had the ability to be more specific about her needs and that by being more specific she was able to see specific answers.  
The idea completely intrigued me so I set out to try it myself.  Here’s what I did:

I start my morning by opening my prayer and then I pull out my phone and use the notes app OR grab some paper and begin writing.  
I always start with I am thankful for…

I then go through my previous day and think about everything that happened and I start writing down all the things I have to be grateful for.   It is absolutely enlightening to see how many things happen in a day that I never really took notice of before.  God is good.

After I write my thankful for, I then start with Help me with…
I ask God for help with the things I am struggling with or needs I have or my family has.  By being so specific with my needs, I find I am more in tune to feel the answers.  It has truly been fascinating.  I also ask for someone I can be of service for that day.  Sometimes a friend or family member will come to mind or maybe a particular child or even my husband.  As you are writing your thoughts, you will find answers come to you.  

Lastly, I end with Forgive me for…

I ask God’s forgiveness for the mistakes I have made or the places I fell short.  As I write theses words I am given thoughts and feelings of ways to help me not repeat past mistakes or just comfort in knowing God loves me. 

I love this quote by Elder Juan A. Uceda, “At the very moment we say, “Father in Heaven,” He hears our prayers and is sensitive to us and our needs.  And so His eyes and His ears are now connected to you.  He reads our minds, and He feels our hearts.  You cannot hide anything from Him.  Now, the wonderful thing is that He will see you with eyes of love and mercy -love and mercy that we cannot fully understand.  But love and mercy are with Him at the very moment you say “Father in Heaven”.  So a moment of prayer is a very, very sacred moment.  He is not one to say “No, I will not listen to you now because you only come to me when you are in trouble.”  Only men do that.  he is not one to say, “Oh, you cannot imagine how busy I am now.”  Only men say that.  “

I cannot express the joy that has come to my heart from changing the way I pray.  It is a journal of my life in a very real sense and something my kids can read back on and know who I am and what I struggled with and know of my testimony of God and Jesus Christ.   The days that I forget to write in my prayer journal seem to be harder and I feel incomplete somehow.  I noticed that was SO incredibly happy on the days that I journaled.  I encourage all to try it!  It is incredible. 

Here are some other ideas for prayer journaling for you to enjoy and pick one that best suits you.

Prayer Journal Free Printables 

From Sparkles of Sunshine

 

Spring Clean your Prayer Life

By Lynnae McCoy

 

Thanksgiving Learning Activities

We are coming up on our homeschool week where we just do activities and completely submerge ourselves in the joy of learning without textbooks but with hands on fun!  I decided it would be so fun to plan our learning around a Thanksgiving theme, and I found all these amazing Thanksgiving learning activities.  I found all these amazing ideas and thought I would share what I found with you.  I am really excited to do these fun things with my kids.

Dancing Corn

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Source: Little Bins For Little Hands

This looked like fun and required very little prep as I have most of the items necessary on hand.  I think ALL of my children will enjoy this.

 

Turkey Alphabet Match

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Source: Mrs. Jones Creation Station

This is perfect for my preschoolers and could be adjusted to site words for my 1st grader.  But I love the FREE printable she provided.  

 

Thanksgiving Writing Ideas

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Source: Miss Giraffes Class

Some fun writing prompts that I think will work great for my 1st grader and could be adjusted for older grades for my 7th grader.

 

Pumpkin Patch Sight Word Game

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Source: Raising Little Super Heros

I know my active 1st grader will LOVE this game.  I am sure the littles will get involved as well.  

 

 

 Thanksgiving Movies For Kids

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Source: iGame Mom

Movies are always a hit at my house.  This will be perfect for our quiet hour.  

 

 Thanksgiving Science Activities

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Source: Teaching to Inspire

I’ll be honest… this is the activity I am most excited about.  I love hands-on science experiments.  

 

Thanksgiving Books

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Source: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

This looks like a fun collection of books to have on hand for your Thanksgiving week. We will definitely be hitting the library for some of these. 

 

Thanksgiving Activities for Upper Elementary

thanksgiving-activities-for-upper-grades

Source: Teaching to Inspire

I loved the activities and the books and feel like this will work well with a few minor adjustment for my 7th grader.   We just finished reading ‘Thank you Sarah’.  It was a great book and even I learned something from it.  

I hope you enjoy these fun learning activities and I think the kids and I will have a fantastic week of learning with these great ideas! 

How to make your own Fall picnic!

 

With our homeschool days, I like to have moments that are a more out of the ordinary.  It helps tremendously to have days where you totally switch it up.  With the way we do our homeschool schedule, we plan a whole week of out of the ordinary experiences. On this particular day, we wanted to soak up the last remaining days of fall, before the cold winter sets in and we are cooped up a bit more.  (I am nervous about my first homeschool winter with four kids.)   I asked the kids what they thought of a fall picnic with a mini hike.  They were super excited about it and enthusiastically planned a fun meal while I planned some learning experiences to  go along  with the day.  

fall-picnic

Our fall picnic menu:

Beef stew– We used a canned recipe my mom helped me with but here’s a similar recipe that looks delicious!  We warmed it and put it in a thermos.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches- We wrapped them in foil to keep them warm.

Peach Hand pies–  We made a crust, and added canned peach pie filling.  They were the perfect warm treat, as we wrapped them in foil straight from the oven.  

 The kids helped prepare all the food and for my 1st grader it was a great math and reading  skill and for my 7th grader, it was Home Education.  

While the pies baked we watched these videos on why the leaves turn colors and the season of Fall/Autumn.

Why leaves turn colors in the fall?

15 facts about Autumn

After the pies were out of the oven we packed everything up and headed to eat our scrumptious food!  

We found a fun hiking trail and the kids found many leaves that were in the process of turning colors and that made the video we had watched beforehand a valuable lesson.  

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My 7th grader enjoyed learning more about my DSLR camera and showing her brother how it works.  

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We studied the helpful signs as we walked, about wildlife and plants that inhabit that area.
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It was so fun to explore together and adding yummy picnic to the mix is always a win!  

Homeschool Curriculum

homeschool-curriculum

For me, deciding to homeschool was far easier than picking a curriculum.  There are simply so many good choices and it’s hard to know what is going to be a good fit for your child.   In fact, I ended up not even using our first picks!  When I found that our choice was simply not working for our children, I revised.  This was another reason I was glad we started in the summer, as I didn’t have the self-induced pressure of feeling behind.  I mean, we still had some school happening in the summer, while all the other kids were having summer vacation.   So summer ended up being a trial period, while I figured out this homeschooling/curriculum thing. 

Here are our homeschool curriculum choices for our year-

1st grader-

Math- Singapore Math 
We bought both the textbook and student workbook, but if I had to do it over again, I would just purchase the student workbook.  You may need the textbook and teacher’s guide if you are teaching older grades.  My son is enjoying it and I feel like it is a good all around program.  

Grammar/Language Arts- Growing with Grammar 
I really enjoy this Grammar program, as it repeats often enough to really let the concept sink in.  The worksheets are not overwhelming and my son really seems to enjoy it.  He can often do this independently after I teach him the initial concept.

Spelling- Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary and Spelling City 
We had been using Spelling City independently and recently we added the workbook.  I feel like they need to actually write the words to help them remember.  Spelling City is fun and the kids enjoy having a break from the workbook.  So we use both.  Spelling city is great for homeschool moms as you can set up the entire assignment with exactly what you want.  

Writing- Winning with Writing
I
 just purchased this book this week as what I was previously using wasn’t quite working for us.  I am a week into it and I really like it.  

Extra- Grandpa School
Recently my dad retired as a Civil Engineer and I asked if he would mind taking my son for an hour or so each week and teach him something and he agreed!  My dad decides what he wants to teach and my son is LOVING the time with Grandpa and the fun things they do.  Some of the lessons they have had: astronomy, how submarines float and sink, how to build a rocket stove, how cement works, and all kinds of fun things. 

Homeschool Co-op-

My 1st grader is taking a lego building class, school house rock (Language arts), and a P.E. class.  He really enjoys the co-op.

 

Both kids:

Science- Jenny Phillips – Arthropods  
T
his science is fun for the kids and easy for mom to prep too!  We have been learning about bugs and Jenny gives you a list all the items needed for the entirety of the program, so you can have them all purchased and ready for your year.  I love that!  We haven’t gotten there yet, but at some point, we will get to dissect a bug.  I may be the most excited about that.  She incorporates art and stories and God in many of her lessons as well as additional assignments for the older grades.  So it’s a perfect Christian family curriculum. 

History-  Jenny Phillips History 
This curriculum is very much like the science.  We have a list at the beginning of books that are great read alouds for each section of history you learn that year.  It starts in early Bible times and ancient Egypt and goes through the early 1900’s.  It has beautiful books, and stories, as well as a board game to play.  The kids seem to enjoy it and my 7th grader has additional assignments that go with her grade level.  So it works for many grades.  

7th grader-

Math- Teaching Textbooks 
I picked this one for my 7th grader because I loved the three elements it used to learn the concept.  The CDs that come with the textbook will teach the lesson to your student, then they complete the questions in the textbook, afterward, they enter the answers on the computer.  Before it marks a question wrong, it will ask if they want additional help to complete the problem.  They can use the help to try the answer one more time, if it is still wrong they mark it incorrect.  I like that it gives them an additional chance to try again.  
Now some parents have said that the books are a grade behind grade level and others have said that they found the books to be ahead.  I have found them to be a bit behind.  My 7th grader is not doing the level 7 math but Pre-Algebra.  I recommend taking the assessment test, to properly place your child.    My daughter found herself doing a lot of review work, so I had her skip the lessons and just take the tests until she was getting an 80% on her tests.  At that point, she started the lessons again.  

Language Arts/Grammar-  Growing with Grammar and Digging into Diagramming  

This is a really great curriculum and my daughter says she is learning quite a bit of new material.  She works independently and requires very little help from me.  

Writing- Winning with Writing  
We just purchased this program this week so I don’t have a lot to say about it so far.   The lesson last all week (5-day work school week), with daily assignments.  
She is also doing a creative writing class in our homeschool co-op. 

Vocabulary- Wordly Wise 3000  
This is something I have added later in the year as well, but my daughter seems to enjoy.  The lessons teach many different ways to 1-learn the word  2- how to use the word.  

Homeschool Co-op-
My 7th grader is also doing anatomy and physiology, creative  writing, and a ukelele class.  She is really enjoying the co-op as well.  

That’s is everything we are doing.  I hope it has helped you in your homeschool journey.  I know it was super helpful to me to read other’s people’s choice of curriculum.   Finding someone who has a similar personality as you is the best person to ask for advice on what homeschool curriculum will work for  you.  But always keep in mind that each child is different, so what may work for one won’t necesssarily work for the other.  

Lovely and Inspiring Homeschool Rooms

One of my favorite things to do is browse the hundreds of beautiful homeschool rooms that are all over Pinterest!  There are SO many ideas for a wonderfully organized school room and I love the inspiration it gives me.  So without further ado, here are my favorites!

The Eclectic School Room

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This ‘Eclectic School Room’ from The Quick Journey is incredible!  I love the old school charm it lends with the beautiful maps and the chalkboard paint.  

 

The Light and Airy School Room 

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I absolutely love how open and airy this homeschool room feels at the Perfectly Imperfect blog!  I love the built-ins for extra storage and organization as well as the awesome reading nooks they placed around the room.  Seriously, go grab a book and settle in!

 

The Minimalist School Room 

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The clean and simple lines totally appeal to me in this room from Midwestern Momma.  Clean spaces like this clear my head and make learning come so much easier!

 

The One Room School House 

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 This school room from Playful Learning is so enchanting!  I love the clipboard organization and the cute reading corner!  You must check it out as she has many amazing details to the room that you cannot see from one picture.

 

 The Creative Homeschool Room

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 This spacious room from The Pleated Poppy is great for multiple kids and I love the crate on the table for random school supplies.  So many great ideas in this room!

 

 Old School Charm Room

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This room from The Handmade Home is full of charming details that I just love!  From the cozy couch with plush pillows and the dry erase board frame!  So full of quaint ideas that are a perfect setting for learning.

 

Colorful Organized School Room

classroom-mg

 This room is bright, beautiful, and all those organized containers just feel me with joy.  I love a great organization system and The Moffatt Girls nailed it.  And how can you not LOVE that dutch door!?!

Well, I hope that has inspired you in your quest for an inspiring homeschool room!