Monday, November 23, 2015

Monday Musings: Corn Edition

Travis (5):     Are we having that corn that is cut into a million pieces or is it stuck to the stick?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Musings: Chinese Edition

Brennan(3): What did you eat for dinner?

Me: We went to a Chinese buffet.

Brennan: Why did the Chinese eat your food?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Things To Do With Old Magazines

Have an abundance of old magazines lying around? 

Here are some ideas to put them to good, educational use!
  1. Make a personality collage or timeline.
  2. Story Starter: Pick 5 random pictures and use them to write a story.
  3. ABC Phonics Book: Choose cut-outs that represent each letter of the alphabet. (You can also include examples of blends, digraphs, etc.)
  4. Prek and Toddlers can glue simple cut-outs to construction paper.
  5. Cut out words to make simple sentences or more complex ones for older kids.
  6. Cut out letters to make simple words.
  7. Make a book of colored items for toddlers.
  8. Make a number book for toddlers.
  9. Cut out words and have kids glue them on a poster board under the proper part of speech heading. (You can also include cliches, idioms, homophones, synonyms/antonyms etc. for older kids.)
  10. Categorize advertisements according to correct ad approaches (bandwagon, emotional appeal, loaded words, plain folks, opinion vs. facts or testimonial.)
  11. Cut out body parts and make funny faces and bodies.
  12. Make a poster board map of the world and see if you can find cutouts to go on every continent.
  13. Laminate kids magazines and you can do "spot the difference" or mazes to be used over and over with dry erase markers.
  14. Make a poster with simple words at the top. (For example: car, boy, animal, or for older kids emotions, situations, etc) and have them search the magazine for a corresponding picture.
  15. Cut out pictures of food and have kids sort them out into the appropriate food groups. Older kids could put together pictures of a meal that would meet certain calorie or dietary guidelines.
  16. Draw a big house on poster board. Make sure to include basic rooms, and rooms your child may want in a "dream house". Paste on pictures for decorations, paint colors, furniture, games, toys, etc. that your child would want to include.
  17. Have older children choose an article and write an essay to critique the article. Make sure they use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  18. Make a travel guide promoting a certain destination with cut-outs for that location. (The cut-outs don't necessarily need to be for the same place, and the place could be imaginary!)
  19. Does the magazine have editorials? If so, have the children read them, and with what they can tell about this magazine, do they agree or disagree with the opinions? Have them write their own editorial.
  20. Scan through the magazines and cut out as many different jobs (or people doing jobs) as they can find. See how big of a list you can get. Discuss how/why these jobs are good/bad for the community. How would the community be impacted if that job didn't exist?
  21. Find five different pictures that adequately represent the current times, (For example, modern cars, electronics, current clothing styles, etc.) and explain how they are a good representation.
  22. Have students find ten numbers in the magazine that represent exact numbers and ten numbers that represent approximate values (many, few, thousands, etc.)
  23. Cut out fun pictures for preschoolers and toddlers. Laminate them with contact paper and glue magnets to the back for your refrigerator. (You could do this with words for the older kids to rearrange their own personal messages!)
  24. Make a simple graph on poster board. Label cut-outs across the bottom (flowers, foods, animals, etc.) and amounts across the side. Have younger kids glue the cut-outs to the appropriate graph columns.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ideas To Go Beyond the Textbook

Are you stuck in a textbook rut?

Here are two dozen activities and ideas to do that don't involve a textbook! You can customize these ideas for the age and learning style of your child.

  1. Plan a week's menu and budget shop for 1, 2, 4, 8.....people. You can include coupons, sales papers and comparison shopping.
  2. Compare/contrast alphabets from different countries or cultures or time periods.
  3. Make a timeline. You can print off clip art to include for a little extra visual appeal.
  4. Research and write biography reports on artists, musicians, mathematicians, missionaries, world leaders, presidents, first ladies, etc.
  5. Make a timeline or write an autobiography of your own life.
  6. Interview an older family member or friend and write a biography of their life.
  7. Research your family tree.
  8. Make a sketchbook of Jesus's life-maps of where he went, sermons, key people in his life.
  9. Make a sketchbook of key verses from each book of the Bible.
  10. Do a country or state study. Don't forget to include maps and an authentic meal.
  11. Make a travel guide collage for each of the fifty states or maybe even some countries.
  12. Memorize states/capitals, countries/capitals, major oceans, locations of major land forms.
  13. Make a critique notebook of books, movies, plays, poems, songs and hymns.
  14. Start a nature sketchbook.
  15. Research some famous poets and try to imitate their style, then find your own style.
  16. Write a script and make a home movie. This could be a period from history, a scene from a famous person's life or something from your own imagination.
  17. Make a Rube Goldberg machine.
  18. Research the holidays you celebrate and why you celebrate them.
  19. Make a journal with an important news clipping from the newspaper each day. You could also print out a story from an online newspaper site.
  20. Play some educational board or card games.
  21. Get out and visit the zoo, museums, nature centers and festivals. 
  22. Take a co-op class or educational class offered in your community.
  23. Start a new hobby-photograpy, sewing, letterboxing, or historical reinacting can all be educational.
  24. Start a collection-coins, bugs, leaves, or favorite words.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Art for the Guilty Mom

I have always felt guilty about art. I'm not a real drawer/sketcher/ painter, etc. And I don't like messes. But, I felt that if I didn't teach art and offer my children the time frame per week to pursue art, and do prepared art lessons, then I would be stifling their creativity and in turn, ruin their lives forever.

I know!

The guilt.

The shame.

Then I realized that if a child has a natural inclination toward art, they will find opportunities on their own to be artistic. Some may not draw or sketch, but that isn't all there is to art. For instance.....

Brittany pursued (on her own) jewelry making, crocheting and cake decorating.

Bethany and Brooke have learned sewing, and Brooke does sketching and painting on her own.

The boys kids like grabbing paper and sketching out fight scenes and samurai figures.

See? There are many ways to be "creative" and "artistic",

I'm breathing a sigh of relief! The pressure is off! My children will find ways to express their artsy and creative sides and I haven't ruined their lives after all!

Here are some pointers to becoming an art-guilt free home school mom!

  • Don't feel obligated to schedule it into the homeschool day. Let it be a "free-time" activity.
  • Have a supply of different media the children could use on their own. (Just make sure it's kept far, far, far out of reach of the 2 year old.)
  • Keep younger kids media options to a minimum. Unless you like messes.
  • If a child is very interested in a certain art form, chances are there are books, websites and video tutorials that they can learn on their own.
  • If a child shows exceptional skill in a certain area and wants to develop it further, consider lessons from an outside source or co-op.
  • Encourage them to pursue something new, but don't be pushy. Maybe your child isn't artsy or doesn't like messes either.
  • Embrace the classical arts instead! Look at art books (there are a lot geared toward children), listen to composers, collect art prints and visit art museums. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Musings: Favorite Child Edition

Travis (5): MOM! Can I have some more please! Some more of that chili perfection?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ozarks in the Fall

Last week I took a day trip with some friends to Northwest Arkansas. We went to several different craft fairs, one being at the War Eagle Mill. It was a great weekend to go-gorgeous weather and leaves starting to change. We were gone all day and probably could have been home three hours earlier if there wasn't so much traffic around Tontitown and Springdale. (Although it was a good excuse to stop for dinner at a Chinese buffet- so it all worked out well.) I bought some Amish jelly and a key chain that would go on my wrist for my small wallet. I didn't see anything that I just had to have, but I did see a lot of great stuff. I got a lot of ideas for decorating projects that I want to do, but not until we move to a different house. We also each chipped in a few dollars and got our pastor a wooden plaque that said, "A pastor's retirement plan is out of this world."

This is a picture of the War Eagle mill's wheel.

This is the lake with the wheel on the left.

The rickety covered bridge we had to drive across. The mill was on the right.

This was a brief stop just to take a picture and see this sign. We
didn't go down to this mill, but I want to come back and explore!

Sitting on the hill for lunch with the mill in the distance.

Me, Jen and Gail

Our pastor's wife wanted to go with us, but couldn't this year. She said, "Whatever happens in Arkansas stays in Arkansas."   Hmmmmm....... Well, there was that one time........
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