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.  

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

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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!  

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

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 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!   

 

 

 

 

 

Why we decided to homeschool

 

why we decided to homeschool
Why we decided to homeschool.

Homeschooling has always been in the back of my mind as an “I might do that sometime” until recently it I felt an urgency that now was the time to do it.  I started researching like crazy.  I talked to my husband about the feeling and he agreed to learn more as well.  I had many friends that were homeschooling, so I began questioning them.  What curriculum do you use?  Why?  What have you loved about homeschooling? What is hard?  I spoke to many people and researched many homeschool blogs.  The more I researched the more exciting I got.  My husband and I prayed about it and continued to feel that it was right for our family.  

Our Vision:

When my husband and I decided to homeschool there were many values and skills we wanted to incorporate. We are self-employed and there are many opportunities that we wanted to share with our children such as finances, and budgeting, communicating with adults in real life business situations, building websites, and making a vision happen.   We wanted business trips to also be valuable school lessons.   We also wanted life lessons such as cooking, cleaning,  organizing, gardening and accountability to be part of their daily lives.  We wanted the flexibility to learn about where ever we were traveling and incorporate that into our learning, with hands-on experiences.  We wanted God and our religion to be part of our education. 

Telling the kids:

Telling the kids was a little harder.  Our oldest was just finishing 6th grade and our 2nd child was just finishing kindergarten.  Our 6th grader was not to thrilled with the idea of homeschooling.  She was worried she would miss her friends and honestly, her and I do no see eye to eye on many things.  So she was worried about that as well.  (Me too, if I am being honest.)  We told her to pray about it and that she had a right to receive her own answer to prayer.   She did so and received an answer that homeschooling was the correct choice for this year.  She wasn’t that thrilled about it, though.  Our soon to be 1st grader was more excited about it than his sister.  

Finding curriculum:

Next step was to begin finding the curriculum and homeschool style that fit our family best.  Now I have the slight advantage of being homeschooled as a child.  I was homeschooled in 3rd grade, and 6th -12th.  So I wasn’t clueless as to the process and what our days would look like.  I researched tons of different curriculum and read many reviews.  I asked homeschool moms who had similar personality traits as myself what curriculum they used. And then I took the plunge and bought what I needed.  I”ll be honest, the first few books I bought I ended up not enjoying.  I’ll do a post about what I am using later.

Getting started:

I decided to start my homeschooling journey a week into summer vacation.   I knew that if I waited the whole summer I would be fighting to get kids back into a solid routine.  It was crucial to keep our routine going so that the transition would be easier.  I am SO glad we did. By starting at the beginning of summer vacation, I was able to see what worked well for our family and what didn’t, without the pressure of being in the middle of the school year and feeling like we wasted time.

What about socialization?

As a homeschooled child myself, I heard this argument all the time.  I was in 3rd grade when my mom decided she couldn’t take my crying about school anymore and pulled me out of the public school system.  I remember when she was with other moms they would question her about homeschooling and the only real concern was about my social skills.  I had to ask my mom what socialization was because I had heard about it so much.   
So… to make sure my kids are not awkward, we have them involved in a few activities throughout the week.  They are involved in sports and church activities where they get to spend time with their peers.  What I am noticing is that they are learning to play with each other more than they were in the past.  Which I love!  

What do we think of it now?

I would say that 90% of our days are amazing.  There’s that pesky 10% where the day just has to crash and burn but, for the most part, the kids are enjoying it and I am as well.   I love having the kids with me and we are building stronger relationships.  My oldest daughter and I are actually getting along better!  She is learning tremendous life skills that I know she would not learn at school.  My 2nd child, my son, is doing well and it is so fun to see him learn those early math and reading skills.  I love being involved with their learning and watching them figure their lives out and reaching their goals.  Homeschooling has been a tremendous blessing in our lives and I am so glad we took the leap of faith and decided to homeschool.