Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Not" Back to School Party!

We had our annual "Not" Back to School Party this weekend! A potluck style picnic at the park where families can mingle and kids can stretch their legs playing with their friends. It's our big kick-off before the start of fall field trips and co-op, and busy homeschool schedules. Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, August 22, 2011

No rain on our parade!

Our homeschool group had a blast riding on the homeschool float we made for our city's Danish Festival parade last weekend. The title of our float was "Harmonizing Home Education" and everything went without a hitch. Directly after the parade, a crazy, forceful storm blew through the area, so we were grateful to have missed that entirely! Some of the dads (my husband included) dressed up as Crayon Mascots and helped pass out candy and fliers for our group and FAQ about home education. The kids all had a fantastic time! Go, Homeschoolers!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book: HomeSchooling At the Speed of Life

Whether you've been homeschooling for a while, or are just starting out, or think you could never manage it--this book is for you! Marilyn Rockett offers a wealth of knowledge and ideas for balancing home, school and family in the real world. In addition to the abundance of workable systems and solutions, she also features an array of encouraging Bible verses and other quotes throughout to support her ideas. The included CD-Rom in itself more than pays for the book, as it offers a bounty of helpful, printable files for your endless use. Health and school records, household chores and routines, student assignments and lesson planners, menu and project minders, field trip minder, test records and high school transcript files and more! You have it all. It doesn't matter whether you are organizationally challenged or could just use a few more tips to stay on the ball, you'll love this book. HomeSchooling at the Speed of Life. It's amazing. How do you possibly manage to keep up with the laundry, pay the bills, make the meals and teach Latin, math and science in a day? It may be a work-in-progress, but it is possible! Buy the book and find out!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

See the Seahorse Unit Study

While my kids aren't winning their wish of getting a pet seahorse, ("thanks", library book!) we have just finished up a super fun little study on seahorses after a few things fell into place nudging us in that direction. For instance, on our trip at the nature center the kids came across a family of seahorse skeletons, then later that day we returned home to find that Seahorses were the cover feature of this month's issue of my daughter's "Your Big Backyard" magazine. So, off our adventure began!

Beach in a bottle: Inspired by some craft shells I found at Hobby Lobby, we created our own little beach in a bottle, and it's become a game as well. We filled small bottles with colored sand and shells, (fun all in itself for the kids with spoons and funnels) adding one tiny seahorse. Now the kids can rotate the bottle and search through the sand to find the seahorse mixed with the shells.

Library books (Eric Carle has a fantastic Mister Seahorse book!! And, here is a ridiculously adorable Popcorn Seahorse Craft to go with it that I found on another blog.)

We also of course enjoyed reading her magazine about Seahorses, which included this awesome song my kids love:

Pretty Little Seahorse
By Jennifer Bove
(Sung to the tune of "I've been working on the railroad")
I'm a pretty little seahorse
Living in the sea.
I like to hang out in the sea grass
With my tail curled under me.
I wait for tiny snacks to float by,
But I cannot bite or chew.
So I use my snout just like a long straw
To slurp up all my food!

Along with including this in our circle and song time, I also found this great video with another seahorse song, called "The Horseshoe Crab & The Seahorse" by Brent Holmes.

We practiced writing and spelling "Seahorse" and reviewed compound words (side note: with conflicting uses in library books, videos and websites, I actually had to double check whether "Sea Horse" was a compound word or not. It turns out it is considered proper English as both "seahorse" and "sea horse"). We also used this as an opportunity to explore and review the difference between See and Sea. Here is an awesome phonics video on homophones, including sea and see.

For some hands-on science and math projects, I took various facts and turned them into visual examples. Seahorses can range in size from a grain of rice, to as big as a hammer, so we compared and contrasted that.

To demonstrate what slllllloooow swimmers seahorses really are, we took the fast fact that it takes a seahorse 90 seconds to swim 12 inches of water and applied that. I cut a sponge into the shape of a seahorse and filled a clear 9x13 inch dish with water. We set a timer for just over 90 seconds and had the kids swim the seahorse sponge from one end to the other. They couldn't believe how slow they had to move it, it was extremely difficult not to reach the other side until the timer went off! It really brought a seemingly dull stat on seahorses alive into a relative lesson.

We watched National Geographic's Really Wild Animals of the Ocean video, which featured seahorses in a fun way and showed the daddy seahorse giving birth. And found this fantastic, free Seahorse Counting Game where the kids count and set free seahorses for a mermaid on the computer. This was an especially great find for my mermaid-loving daughter. It's been a fun week of seahorse adventure!