Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grecian Vase from Paper Mache

The kids (twins are almost 6 and little guy is almost 4) have been learning about ancient Greece all month using Story of the World and other sources.  One of their favorite crafts so far have been these neat Grecian vases made from paper mache.  Here's what we did...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Making Purple Dye {Phoenicians, SOTW Chapter 15}

We studied the Phoenician traders last week in Story of the World.  The Phoenicians were well known for glass blowing and purple dye (made from boiling snail shells).  For our project, the kids (twins age 5.5, little brother age 3.5) made their own purple dye.  Much to E's relief, no snails were harmed in the process..

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Writing Prompt: Food Chain

Lately I've been giving the girls (age 5.5) writing prompts and letting them get creative with their writing.  This is one area in homeschooling where we stray from classical education, which believes that children in the Grammar stage should only do copywork and dictation for writing until they have mastered grammar/spelling.  My girls absolutely love making up their own stories and are so proud of their creations.

This week we are doing a unit study on pond life, and read the picture book Pond Circle by Betsy Franco, which is about the food chain in a pond.  We also watched the Wild Kratts episode "The Food Chain Game" and discussed the topic.  I gave the kids a general writing prompt: write a story about any type of food chain.  I love how my twins have such different personalities and came up with very different responses...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt {SOTW Chapter 12}

Instead of only spending a single day a week on ancient history, the kids (1st grade & pre-k) and I decided to do a full week unit study out of three chapters from Story of the World {Middle Kingdom of Egypt, New Kingdom of Egypt, and the Israelites Leave Egypt}.  We also threw some old kingdom in there since we covered that last year, and the girls read Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osborne.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Math Game {Sums of Ten}

Here's a fun math game to make with leftover plastic Easter eggs.  I've seen Easter egg activities for Preschool-age kids (matching capital letters with lower case letters, for example), so I thought I'd make a game for my 1st graders.. making sums of ten...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Snow Ice Cream

Although we've had a generally mild spring this year, here in the Rocky Mountains we can still get snowfall through May (and sometimes even later).  Lately, whenever it snows, the kids and I make snow ice cream.  It's an easy and fun treat...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Brook {Poetry Study - Alfred Lord Tennyson}

E (age 5.5) loves learning about the natural world and has a passion for art.  Since she's also my early-riser, I decided to give her a special project that we could work on together in the mornings before the rest of the family woke up.  I took one of the enrichment activities from the La La Logic Preschool Curriculum and modified it into a two-week unit.  Every day, E would copy one stanza of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, "The Brook".  Unlike transitional classical education, I didn't require her copywork to be 'perfect' - I just wanted her to practice her writing and have fun with it.  We looked up new vocabulary words, discussed spelling rules, etc...  but the best part was to find pictures online of the plants and animals that were included and try to draw them (I made my own drawings, but E's turned out better).  Here are some highlights of her project...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Titanic Crafts for Kids {Tonight on the Titanic}

The twins (age 5.5) have been in a virtual book club all year as part of their Calvert online school.  Recently they read Tonight on the Titanic by Mary Pope Osborne, and had to present a project related to the book.  I described some ideas for crafts to the kids and then let them create them themselves...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Learning About Computers

I'm always busy trying to come up with fun unit studies for the kids.  Recently I had an epiphany - why not ask them what they want to learn about?  At the top of E's list was "How does a computer work?", so we decided to find out...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easy Science Experiment: How Blubber Works

Back in December we learned about the Antarctic by reading My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb (read aloud during Circle Time), and The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out by Jill Tomlinson (read independently by the twins, age 5.5).  One common theme was how animals who live in cold climates require blubber to keep them warm.  We explored this concept further with a simple but fun science experiment...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning about the Arctic

Last month we read two books about the Arctic.. The girls read Polar Bears Past Bedtime by Mary Pope Osbourne independently for their Calvert online school, and I read aloud The Eskimo Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins to all the children during our daily Circle Time.  My own twins (five and a half years old) did some fun crafts to go along with the Arctic theme, and even wrote their first book reports...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Read Aloud Books for Ages 2-5

I've always enjoyed reading aloud to my children.  When they were young, our reading sessions were more about spending quality time with my little ones and instilling a love of books in them.  Recently, I feel like the kids have not just been passively listening to the stories, but actually living them.  They played Aslan versus The White Witch (from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) for weeks.  When one twin is being particularly demanding, the other tells her to stop being "Veruca Salt" (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).  The other day, their plastic toy horses were being used to reenact the barn fire in Black Beauty.  I could go on and on (not including all the literature-inspired artwork they have produced).  As a bibliophile myself, it warms my heart to see my children feel such a connection with the books they read.

Three years ago, when I was looking for ideas for read alouds for younger children, I looked to blogs and Facebook for recommendations.  I've been keeping track of the books we've read both for myself and also with the hopes of inspiring other families to create read-aloud traditions with their children.  Here's the list so far...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homeschool Preschool Weekly Recap {Age 3}

H is 3 and 2 months old, and loves Homeschool Preschool.  Not only does he join us for Circle Time and Stations (logic puzzzles and math manipulatives) in the morning, but he doesn't nap anymore so he participates in ALL our school work.  Even with Kindergarten-level work I'm having a hard time challenging this sharp little guy.  I think it's a good thing, however, to give him a majority of easy-mastery activities at the moment to keep school light and fun.  Here's a sample of what we did this week...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Easy No-Bake "Cinnamon Rolls" {Cooking with Kids}

Here's a snack that kids can make themselves.  It's a great exercise in Montessori Practical Life skills.  All you need is sliced bread, softened butter or margarine, cinnamon, and sugar.  Here's how the kids make it...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Bead Belt Craft for Kids {Native American Unit}

Last month, I started an eight week unit on Native Americans with the kids (ages 3, 5, 5).  Every week we read a story about a little Native American boy or girl from a different tribe in the book Eight Little Indians by Josephine Lovell.  The book belonged to my husband when he was a young and despite being published in 1936, it depicts the Native Americans in a very positive light and is a wonderful resource for educating children on the varying traditions of the different tribes.

The first story we read was about Leaping Trout, an Iroquois boy who loved to swim and built his own canoe.  When Leaping Trout's father sent out a messenger to invite others to his party, he gave the messenger his wampum belt to show that the message was really from him and not a trick (the large amount of purple shells on his belt indicated his power and wealth).

For a fun handicraft to go with the story, the children made their own wampum belts.  My 5 year old twins were able to make these with only minimal assistance.  This would also be a great craft for kids for the Thanksgiving holiday!  Here's how we did it..

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaching Kids to Think { Review}

I want my kids to be problem solvers.  I want them to approach new challenges with confidence.   I want my children to grow to become men and women of "infinite-resource-and-sagacity".  I want them to be thinkers!  

This is where early education often fails.  It seems that these days so much emphasis is put on academic skills (learning to read, learning to add/subtract, memorizing facts, etc..) that the cognitive skills that are the building blocks of learning are often neglected.  If young children had the chance to play in ways that trained their brains in areas such as visual-spatial recognition, working memory, attention, and fluid reasoning using multi-sensory experiences, their capacity for learning would be increased.  

Two years ago (while raising my three young children) I quit my job as a software engineer and set out to develop my own curriculum to teach kids to become better problem solvers.  Today I'm proud to announce the official release of the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for children ages 3-6.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homeschool Preschool Activities

My little boy, H, will be 3 years old next week!  This means that he has graduated from Tot School and has started Preschool (homeschool).  H participates in Circle Time (and other activities) with his older sisters (see my Homeschool Kindergarten day-in-the-life post), but he also gets plenty of his own activities...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Artwork by a Five Year Old

E (just turned 5) is our resident artist.  I wanted to share some of her masterpieces.  E prides herself on the realism of her art.  Sometimes when I'm reading books about nature and animals aloud to the kids, I'm not sure if E is listening, but then she makes detailed drawings and starts telling me stories about the behaviors of the different animals.  Here's another nature drawing..

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Miss Rumphius - Painting Lupine Flowers

Nothing makes a picture book more fun than letting the kids do a special activity related to the story.  After reading Miss Rumphius a book by Barbara Cooney about a woman who plants Lupines to make the world more beautiful, the girls painted their own Lupine flowers.  Here's what we did...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homemade Game: Travel Tic-Tac-Toe

We had a total of eight road trips with the kids this past summer - most of which were six hours long.  To help the kids pass the time, I put together a number of busy bags and travel games.  This little magnetic travel Tic-Tac-Toe game only took a couple minutes to put together (using dollar store supplies) and was a big hit.  Here's how it's made..