MAY
19
2014

Homeschooling 101: Standardized Testing

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It’s that time of the year again! Time for the dreaded  T E S T I N G. So for today’s Homeschooling 101 post, we’re going to dig into the details of standardized testing and homeschooling! Are you excited? You should be because I’m here to encourage homeschoolers everywhere! Testing isn’t as bad as you think, and YES YOU CAN DO IT!   As with everything, you’ll want to start by checking your state requirements to determine if standardized testing is required. Some states offer testing or yearly assessments which are less stressful for the student, so it is good to know what your requirements are. I prefer to test regardless of my state requirements because I use the tests to gauge how well my students are doing. We choose to test annually starting in 2nd grade. In my state testing is required starting in 3rd grades and every odd grade after that. I begin in 2nd grade to give my students a “trial run” test. This allows them to get used to the test itself as … [Read more...]

JUL
14
2011

Expedition Earth: Arctic Circle Soap Whittling

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Welcome to kids soap whittling 101! After learning about all of our fun Arctic friends, we did a super fun soap carving project that was one of our favorites for the year according to my son. I guess whittling is kind of a manly thing.   We made a penguin and a fish, which was originally a whale, but looked more like a fish so we just went with it. Sometimes you have to be flexible when creating art. Supplies: 1 bar of Dove (or Lever 2000) soap per student 1 butter knife per student Pencil or skewer to draw basic shape on soap We started off by drawing a basic shape on our soap. I think you’re supposed to use Ivory for this, but I wasn’t on the ball, so we had to use Lever 2000. Honestly, I think it was easy to do, not flaky like dove, kind of soft and moldable a little bit. That came in hand when the girl accidentally cut off one of her penguins flippers. There, now you know what soap our family uses. It’s okay, I’m not afraid to share. We like … [Read more...]

JUL
08
2011

Expedition Earth: Arctic Circle Snowy Owl Craft

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Welcome to another fun Arctic Kids Craft! Today we learned about the Snowy Owl, then watched Owl Babies on You Tube. After that we made a fun Snowy Owl Craft. What supplies do you need? 3 paper plates per student white craft glue paint brush orange construction paper for beak and feet 2 google eyes per student Fake snow Step 1: Cut one paper plate in half, cut a rectangle shape from the top of 1 plate for head, and keep one plate whole for body. Step 2: Using whole plate as body, glue plate halves on either side for wings, and rectangle cut plate on top for head {see image above}. Step 3: Attach eyes, beak, and feet using glue. Step 4: Paint glue all over body. Step 5: Sprinkle with fake snow and voila! Tip: Once dry, shake off excess snow so it doesn’t decorate your lovely clean kitchen floor…and the hallway…and the bathroom…and anywhere else the owl may venture. Click here to see the rest of our Arctic Activities! Click here to … [Read more...]

JUL
06
2011

Expedition Earth: The Arctic Circle

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Welcome to our Expedition Earth week on The Arctic Circle! This is our final week of Expedition Earth and we’ve had a total blast! I think I’ve learned as much as the kids did and the activities were super fun. Hopefully we created some great memories that will last for the long haul! Here are some of the things we learned this week: Located the Arctic Circle on the map and completed our mapping page Read: Living World Encyclopedia – Arctic Read Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, watch it on You Tube: Owl Babies Completed a fun snowy owl craft Learned some more geography terms Read: Window on the World: Iceland Completed our animal mini-books and added them to our animal wall. Had fun with a polar soap whittling activity Read: Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography- The Artic Checked out Anthropoids for fun facts on the Arctic Learned more about Arctic Animals at National Geographic Kids Wow, I can’t believe its our last week of Expedition Earth! This has … [Read more...]

JUN
29
2011

Expedition Earth: Antarctica Blubber Experiment

Welcome to our Antarctica Blubber Experiment. Would would have thought blubber could be so cool? I’ll be all those seals and penguins are really happy right about now! This was a super easy experiment, and the kids loved it. First we learned about Penguins of Antarctica. We also learned about Emperor Penguins from National Geographic. Penguins have a layer of fat under their skin that helps them cope with the cold in Antarctica. To demonstrate this, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Directions: Step 1: Place about 1 cup solid vegetable shortening in a Ziploc baggie. Step 2: Put one of your student’s hands in another baggie to keep clean from shortening, then place your student’s “bagged” hand into the bag with the shortening in it and “mold” it around the hand. Step 3: Place both hands (one un-bagged, and one bagged) into the bowl, see if you can feel the difference it makes to have a layer of fat keeping you warm! Click here to see the rest of our Antarctica Activities! Click … [Read more...]

JUN
28
2011

Expedition Earth: Antarctica

Hello and welcome to our Expedition Earth week on Antarctica! We’re nearing the end of our journey and we’ve had so much fun. We spent some time reviewing all of the countries we’ve learned so far, 30 of them WOW!  Next we completed the Antarctica mapping sheet. Here are some of the things we learned this week: We located Antarctica on the map. Read Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography Completed the Antarctica animals mini book Classified animals and added them to our animal wall Completed the Antarctica lapbook activity Read: Living World Encyclopedia - Polar Regions Learned some new geography terms: Iceberg, Crevasse, Glacier Did a fun penguin blubber experiment Made a visual iceberg Here was my whiteboard for the week: We talked about the lowest temperature recorded in Antarctica of –127 degrees! Yikes! They kids loved to see the word “NONE” next to each category. Since Antarctica is internationally owned, it has no flag of its own. The kids had a great time designing … [Read more...]

JUN
21
2011

Expedition Earth: New Zealand

Kia ora! Welcome to our Expedition Earth week on New Zealand! We started off by stamping our passports! Where New Zealand is on the world map & located Wellington Learned a New Zealand song How to say “Hello” in Maori! Kia ora! Learned about the New Zealand Flag and colored our worksheet Prayed for the New Zealand people About children in New Zealand Read Living World Encyclopedia on Islands Learned more about New Zealand from National Geographic Kids Completed a New Zealand lap book activity Completed and classified animals of New Zealand Created a New Zealand whizzer craft Learned new Geography vocab. Read the Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography on New Zealand and Papua New Guinea Learned major landmarks and other fun facts about New Zealand We start off each week by reviewing all of the countries learned so far. Everyone gets a turn at the map, and I ask random questions like how do you say hello in that language, what language do they speak, what is the capital … [Read more...]

JUN
15
2011

Australia Craft: Sponge Art Activity

G’Day Mate! Welcome to our artistic celebration of the Great Barrier Reef ! We had such a great time exploring through Australia this week and spent a lot of time learning about the Great Barrier Reef , looking at pictures, videos and reading about it! Did you know the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world? It is located off the northeastern shores of Australia and consists of more than 2,900 coral reefs, 900 continental islands, 300 coral cays and thousands of species making it one of the world’s most complex ecosystems! The animals found in the reef include over 1500 species of sponges, 1500 species of marine fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, 6 species of marine turtles, 22 species of seabirds, 125 species of sharks and stingray, and close to 5,000 species of mollusks, including the giant clam, and well…I could go on and on! It’s even considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world! To go along with our Expedition Earth Australia study, we … [Read more...]

JUN
08
2011

Expedition Earth: Australia

G’Day Mate! Welcome to our Expedition Earth week in Australia! Of course we started off by stamping our passports! This was probably the easiest country to find on the map, especially since we review it constantly considering it is also a continent! What We Learned This Week: Where Australia is on the world map & located Canberra and the Great Barrier Reef Learned an Australian song How to say “Hello” in Aussie! G’day Mate! Learned about the Australian Flag and colored our worksheet Prayed for the Australian people About children in Australia Read Living World Encyclopedia on Coral Reefs, Estuaries, shore lines and Australia’s dry forests. Learned about Uluru (Ayers Rock) Learn about the Boomerang and made our own. Went on a “walk-a-bout” cuz’ it was nice out! Completed an Australian lap book activity Completed and classified animals of Australia Explored the great barrier reef, and watched this Great Barrier Reef video Learned new Geography vocab. … [Read more...]

MAY
31
2011

Expedition Earth: Egypt

Sabahou el kheir! Welcome to our Expedition Earth week on Egypt! Everyone’s been looking forward to this week because we were planning to do a mummy experiment. And I’m not sure about your kids, but when the word “mummy” comes up, everyone gets excited! But first…we had to stamp our passports so we could continue on our journey! Here are some of the things we covered this week: Where Egypt is on the world map and located Cairo and the Nile River How to say “Hello” in Arabic Learned about the Egyptian flag and its meaning How to pray for the Egyptian people Read Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography About children in Egypt Read: Living World Encyclopedia Geography from A-Z vocabulary Completed a Egypt lapbook activity Completed and classified animals of Egypt Learned about Mummies and King Tut Performed a Mummification Experiment on an apple Learned about the Great Pyramid of Giza, and made our own model of the pyramids Learned about the Suez Canal … [Read more...]