Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Homeschool Fun!

September 16, 2009

(Thank you to Rebecca of Scavenger Hunt Guru for this guest post!)

treasure_map

If you are trying to be creative with your homeschool lesson plans, why not consider a scavenger hunt? They are easy to organize and tons of fun for all ages.

Scavenger hunts are experiential by nature. Kids learn in a hands on fashion as they explore the world around them, and we all know that the more hands-on the learning, the more the kids learn and remember. Hunts can be done indoors, outdoors, in the classroom and even as fun car games.

To set up your hunt, simply print out a list of clues and let them go! It’s fun to add a fun quote or graphics to the scavenger hunt list, but not entirely necessary. It just depends on how creative you are feeling.

Here are a few educational scavenger hunts for you to try:

The important thing is to be prepared, have fun with it and end while the kids are still wanting more. Try doing one scavenger hunt a week with your kids. They’ll love it!  The scavenger hunt for kids section has a comprehensive collection of hunts to get you started. Also be sure to check out the free stuff for teachers section for more ways to spice up your lesson plans.

And last, but not least, if you are looking to create your own hunt, this site has that covered too with a list of scavenger hunt ideas already brainstormed and broken down by location: indoor, outdoor, classroom and crazy! Simply pick and choose what you want to put on your list.

Happy teaching and happy hunting!!

Posted under Homeschool Activities

Carnival of Homeschooling: We’ve Got Style!

August 25, 2009

style

Homeschoolers have Style!  Lots of it, in all kinds of flavors.

With the freedom homeschooling affords, comes individual style.  We can afford to experiment, jump around, take a leisurely path through phonics, or whatever suits our family best.

Check out these styles!

 

Proactive

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ChristineMM of The Thinking Mother shares thoughts about unique classes taught by subject matter experts that homeschoolers can take advantage of in her article The Thinking Mother: Homeschool Filmmaking Class for My Kids This Fall.

Shannon tells of her experience with filing a “notice of intent” to homeschool: Get this . . . posted at Mountaineer Country.

If you’ve wondered why public schools don’t teach based on skill level instead of age, Susan Gaissert writes about how that may be changing in:  Who is Leading When It Comes to Educational Innovations? posted at The Expanding Life.

Elena LaVictoire presents A few tips for Ohio homeschoolers posted at My Domestic Church.

If you’ve given some thought to a homeschool name or ID cards, Beverly has some tips in “Do You Name Your Homeschool?” at Beverly’s Homeschooling Blog.

Barbara, from Barbara Frank Online, motivates us with some encouragement for the new school year in Fasten Your Seat Belts…..

And Christine gives us her take on planning the school year and juggling paperwork in Planning the School Year at Our Curious Home.

Playful

playful

 

Need a fun, make-at-home, game to liven up your school drills?  Kris presents Giant Board Game posted at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Kaye presents Rainy Day + Chuck E. Cheese = Happy Grandkids & Grandparents! posted at SandwichINK.com.  “Chuck E. Cheese can be a great “friend” to grandparents who help with their grandkids’ homeschooling programs!”

Summer presents A Day In Our Homeschooling Life posted at Wired For Noise.

Beautiful

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In How to Educate for Beautiful Results, posted at Pajama School Blog, Natalie Wickham shares the importance of identifying and working on the parts that ultimately contribute to a whole education.

Make sure to check out these great art ideas:  Julie Moses presents Follow the Yellow Brick Road- More Oz projects! posted at Kids Art Projects and Lessons at Ms. Julie’s Place.  “Just a few projects to get us going somewhere over the rainbow!”

Annette Berlin presents 37 Ways To Share Crafts With Kids posted at Craft Stew.  “If you love crafting, chances are good you want to share that love with your children. Here are some easy (and frugal) ways to help your child also develop an interest in crafting.”

Studious

study

 

Kathy presents her review of Andrew Peterson’s North! Or Be Eaten: The Wingfeather Saga Book 2: Homeschool Review posted at Homeschoolbuzz.com Reviews.

Dave Roller presents Reading Programs posted at Home School Dad.  “I wanted to share some of the reading programs my children have been participating in.”

Amanda gives an in-depth look into the history of the atomic bombs dropped at the end of WWII in The Daily Planet » Blog Archive » The “Little Boy” Was Dropped posted at The Daily Planet.

Stephanie shares her excitement about learning Latin for the first time together with her children in I Am Just The Lead Student, That’s All at All About Homeschool.

Ruby shares her insight into using computers, the internet, and online learning to have a positive impact in schooling with one article at Freehold2 called “Internet as a Teaching Tool” and another titled “Online Learning Benefits” at School’s Out.

Adventuresome

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Need some ideas for field trips?  Kristen Hamilton presents A Day in the Life – Field Trips posted at A Day in the Life – Homeschool Blogger.

If you’re trying to plan for fun AND learning this fall, check out this post:  The Family presents What to do, what not to do posted at Once Upon a Family.

Lynda at The Adventures of A Princess and the Bear writes Bear’ Geography: “about our doing geography and learning the continents with literature and lapbooking. We are making an apple pie in this post, to go along with the book, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World

John shares thoughts along with the inspirational story of a Zac, a homeschool teen who sailed around the world alone.  He writes Home School Encourages Independence In  Learning and Life at Independent Learning and Home Schooling.  He says, “Rather than isolating students, home school encourages students to develop independence in the way they handle the way they live and the way they learn.”

Amy shares her summertime adventures in Summer Time Learning posted at Kids Love Learning.

We can all empathize with Janine at Why Homeschool who writes about struggles with starting backup with school in “Not Quite Ready to Start School.”

Successful

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Margaret writes about her plans for not teaching history this school year at Semi-Schooling History posted at Two Kid Schoolhouse

Barbra Sundquist presents Do You Need to Get Angry Before Anyone Listens? posted at Barbra Sundquist.  “Have you ever found yourself thinking, “Why is it that I have to get angry to get what I want?”

Lynn shares her successful first week of school along with some great resources, ideas, and links.  Check out First Week of School Done! posted at Eclectic Education – Homeschool Blogger.

Ben presents 7 Ways to Save Money on Back to School Shopping posted at Money Smart Life.

Scott Palat presents Parental Involvement Affects the Academic Success of Children posted at TutorFi.

Freestyle – a bit of everything

freestyle

Susan Ryan presents Open Education – It’s the Learning that Counts posted at Corn and Oil.  “There are many high quality, free learning resources available for homeschoolers, including MIT’s free online courses.”

Shelly presents Vintage Video – Jay Can Do It posted at Homemade Homeschoolers.  “This episode of Vintage Video – Jay Can Do It – is part of the Homemade Homeschoolers Podcasts. The post includes thoughts about the difference between how non-homeschoolers define “socialization” and how we at Homemade Homeschoolers define it. We hope you enjoy!”

And if you haven’t settled into a homeschooling style yet, check out Choosyhomeschooler’s article PURLs of Wisdom Blog » Choosing a Teaching Style or Homeschooling Method posted at PURLs of Wisdom Blog.

Help Aimee out with some new lunch ideas as she shares hers in Homeschool Talk: School lunches at Aimee’s Land.

Experimental

beakers

If you haven’t done the soda bottle and Mentos experiment, you’re in for some fun.  See how Lara DeHaven did it in A Homemade Geyser posted at Texas Homesteader.  My boys are itching to do this!

And if you need some ideas to let your enjoyment and study of nature branch out into other science topics, check out Katie Glennon and her article: Using Nature Study to Study all Areas of Science posted at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage.

Grateful

thank_you

Leah at The Courtney Six shares Just In Case I Haven’t Mentioned It Lately…:  “My thoughts on why I’m so glad we homeschool.”

Amy at Raising Arrows presents “The Shame On Me Sea“.  The homeschooling parent’s life is often fraught with guilt. Amy writes about her own personal struggle to stay out of the Shame On Me Sea.

I’m grateful, too!

I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Homeschool Carnival.  Thank you for all your contributions!

Please take a moment to comment and/or spread the word by posting to your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Next week the carnival will be held at Home Grown Mommy.com and submissions are due Monday, Aug. 31st at 6 pm.  Visit here to submit your post.

Or if you’d like to peruse previous editions, they are listed at Why Homeschool.

Thank you again to all those who took the time to submit posts and share!

— Misty

Posted under Blog Carnivals, Field Trips, Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Crafts, Homeschool Curriculum, Homeschool Life, Homeschool Websites

Easy First-timer No-Knead Bread Recipe – Tuesday Tips

July 28, 2009

Does homemade bread seem like too big a ‘project’ sometimes?  Here’s a fun one to do with the kids on a lazy day at home – as long as you help handle the very hot oven. You don’t need a bread machine, mixer, or lots of kneading time. The only piece of special equipment necessary is a oven-safe pot with a cover. A dutch oven or covered Pyrex container will do.

 

Here’s the recipe

  1. Mix together:
    • 3 c flour
    • ¼ t yeast
    • 1 ¼ t. salt
  2. Add – 1 ½ c water and mix.
  3. Let it sit covered for 12 hours or so
  4. Dump out onto some flour and fold into a round shape
  5. Sprinkle bran or flour on cloth and lay dough, seam side down, on cloth.
  6. Let it rise for 2 hours or so
  7. Place pot in oven and preheat both to 450 – 500
  8. Flip dough into hot pots and cover
  9. Bake for 30 mins covered
  10. 15 – 20 mins uncovered
  11. Let it cool and enjoy!  Yummy!

I love cooking and baking with the kids.  They feel like they are participating in an ‘adult’ activity, and I’m prepping them to take over!  (Yes, my evil genius plan involves my kids doing all the cooking when they’re older . . . and loving it!)

Posted under Homeschool Activities

Venn Diagrams – A Fun Math Lesson

June 24, 2009

venn

Venn diagrams sound like a fancy and difficult math concept, but instead they make a great math activity for toddlers and up:

  1. Grab a handful of candy, colorful cereal, a set of toys, or anything else you can think of that can be classified into groups.
  2. Make two circles with shoelaces, cut-out from card stock, chalk on the sidewalk, etc.
  3. Have your child start describing characteristics of your set:  colors, sizes, shapes, number of legs, clothing, etc.  Pick two.  Then start sorting them into the appropriate circles, with items that have BOTH characteristics in the middle where the two circles intersect.

Here are a few examples:

  • Colors:  Blue candy in the left circle, red candy in the right circle, purple candy (it is BOTH red and blue) in the center where the circles intersect.
  • Shapes:  Shapes with straight lines in the left circle, shapes with curved lines in the right, a shape like a heart that has both in the center.
  • Toy animal:  Animals with hooves in the left circle, animals with tails in the right, and animals with both hooves and tails in the center.

More fun ideas:

  • Eat the ones in the middle when you’re done.
  • Close your eyes and the other person moves one item to the wrong section – see if you can figure it out.
  • Sort without telling the other the criteria and see if they can guess your sorting rules.
  • Add a third circle to make it more tricky.

Enjoy!

Posted under Homeschool Activities, Math Curriculum

Household Chores Can be Fun School Projects – We Hope :-)

March 16, 2009

cleaning_s

It’s not homeschooling that is so hard, per se, it’s all the extra housework.  My house is being lived in, spilled in, colored in, eaten in, and on and on, all day long, when most other kids are in school.  This means more housework that the average family.

How is all this extra housework a plus?

  • Responsibility:  The kids are tortured blessed with many more opportunities to learn to clean up after themselves and take care of their things than their school-going friends.  Seriously, though, you have to work out a way to share the household responsibilities if you don’t want to dissappear under mountains of laundry.  I think this is valuable life training for the kids that teaches them accountability, how to self-start, and prepares them for that first college dorm or apartment of their own.

Here are some ideas to make it fun:

Sorting: 

Don’t waste school time doing sorting worksheets in a math book when you have real life!  When you start looking you’ll be amazed how much of your housework is sorting!

  • Sorting groceries – When you come home from shopping make putting away the groceries a sorting game.  Throw in a timer and if everything is on it’s right shelf before time is up, share a treat or game together.  (Knowing where all the ingredients are comes in handy next time you send someone for a can of something while cooking dinner.)
  • Sorting laundry – Start when their young, and kids actually think playing the “Who’s shirt is this?” game is fun.  A bit of silliness pretending Daddy’s shirt belongs to the baby goes a long way with the 3-year-old crowd.
  • Sorting toys into containers of ‘sets’ like Legos, cars, outdoor toys, etc.
  • Sorting everything off the floor of their room into separate piles:  clothing, toys, trash, books, and bedding.

“I can do it myself.” 

Kid’s may stop saying this after age 2, but I don’t believe they stop thinking it.  I think kids of all ages long to feel appreciated for their work and have confidence that they can do a challenging task well.  Here are a few ideas to share the household work at the same time you help your children to learn:

  • Picking out clothes to wear – Get over your fashion sense and let your kids wear what they can pick out and put on themselves.  If there are some particularly horrendous choices, you may want to do a clothing class about plaids, patterns, and colors and which ones go together the best – but at a different time than when they are dressing.
  • Cooking, plus how to use the stove and a sharp knife – These are great skills and confidence builders for the ‘Tween’ crowd.  Plus, food preparation takes a huge chunk of a busy mom’s time.  Share the duties as soon as your kids are able.  Check out this article about the lessons kids learn in the kitchen.
  • Encourage older kids to help out younger siblings:  Reading stories, with their ‘chores’ like cleaning up toys, getting dressed, playing games with them, etc.  They develop confidence and responsibility, plus it helps develop close relationships between siblings.
  • Event planning:  Put the kids in charge of planning their own birthday party, a playdate, parts of a vacation.  It may be extra work teaching them how to do it the first few times, but it will pay off in less work later and again, more confidence building life skills for your kids.

Basically, homeschooling is life and life is homeschooling.  If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to get done, stop doing it by yourself.  Look at your kids, involve them in your life, your work, your chores.  You are a family making a home and learning about life together, not by yourself.  And, amazingly, you’ll find that common household tasks have a lot to teach your children.  Here are some from our house:

making_ointment

Making herbal ointment 

harvest

Picking garden veggies.

bread

Pounding bread is a favorite at our house!  Check out the following video:

Posted under Homeschool Activities, Parenting

Kids Cooking Ideas turn into Math Lessons

March 11, 2009

cake_s

Blueberry pie cups, carrot cake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (batch #1 VERY salty), and biscuits a bit like hocky pucks?

Guess what my 9-year-old has been doing for school this week?  Well in a bit of a fit, we threw our school work out the window (figuratively) and decided to try doing a ‘Project Week’.  My idea.  So, the older two kids could pick anything they wanted to learn, work on, create, build, etc., and would put in some effort every day with the goal being to show and/or demonstrate what they’d done to the rest of the family at the end of the week.

We had a mis-start with a Volcano lapbook (He wouldn’t spend time on it on his own, which defeats the purpose.  So I said, “Throw it away, and pick something you really want to do this time.”).  Then I suggested he take a cookbook and pick anything he wanted to make and do one recipe a day.  Success!  He loves poring through the book and making anything he wants, preferably desserts!

How is this school?  What could he possibly be learning?

  • How to read fractions.  (math)
  • How to read measurements.  1t of salt is NOT the same as 1T of salt.  A partially filled cup of flour is not the same as 1 C of flour. (math, again)
  • How to be careful around sharp knives, hot stoves, food processor blades.  (safety, operating small equipment, electricity, heat transfer, science, responsibility)
  • “Why is cooking even worth it if no likes what you make and throws it in the garbage?”  He says, with tears in his eyes after the very salty ‘gaggy’ cookies. (So, empathy for Mom cooking all these years)
  • Following a recipe.  (reading comprehension, sequenced directions)
  • All stages of a project:  planning, preparation, execution, and clean-up. 
  • (Here’s the clean-up rule that works for us:  I come into the kitchen like a detective trying to find some evidence that he was cooking.  When I can’t, he’s done.  Except for the finished food, of course, which my son informed me is also evidence he was cooking.  Hmmph!  Kids are such lawyers!) 
  • Seeing your work appreciated, when we all devoured the pies, cakes, and 2nd batch of cookies.  (achievement, accomplishment, pride in new ‘adult’ skills, growing up)
  • And best of all, spending time doing something you enjoy, serves others, and is school, all at the same time.

(I’m hoping we can transition him to a love of good EXERCISE programs after this cooking stint!)

How to you get your kids involved in the kitchen and cooking?  Any good tips?

Posted under Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Life

Last Chance for the Iditarod – It starts Saturday!

March 5, 2009

dog_sled_s

If you’re looking for a fun idea for school these next couple weeks, try following the Iditarod Race which starts in two days – Saturday, Mar. 7th.

Learn about and follow the race at:

And don’t forget the great E-Iditarod Project that starts every year in January and involves the kids making a map of Alaska, selecting a musher and team to follow, and following the progress of their team on the race by posting to a blog as ‘their’ team reaches each checkpoint.  Here we are making our map of Alaska for the project:

drawing_map

Enjoy!

Posted under Homeschool Activities, Social Studies Websites

Swimming in February – Our Homeschool Kalahari Vacation

February 19, 2009

kalahari

We’ve been gone a bit, enjoying a fun vacation at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.  Not only did we love running around in shorts, T-shirts, and swimsuits in the middle of February, but we were there with a huge group of Homeschoolers as part of the Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering.  ‘Unschooling‘ basically means that you don’t stick to any specific homeschool curriculum.  Instead, you use life to learn and encourage your children’s interests. 

The week was packed with lots of swimming and so many activities that we were running all over the place:  Webkinz parties, Pokemon trading, a Kid’s Marketplace, Dungeon’s and Dragons games, video games, two Talent Shows, dance workshops, a Medieval Ball and tons more!

Here are a few pictures of our fun (and socialization, which we take very seriously as homeschoolers – ROFL)

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Our beautiful Princess in her ball gown and hat for the grand finale, the Medieval Ball!

tim_dancing

Showing off his own dance moves – the definition of EXUBERANT!  Why can’t I suck off some of their energy and use it myself??

alex_tickets

He won the 1000 ticket jackpot in the arcade – and it took him FOREVER to decide how to spend them.

chris_cotton_candy

His favorite moment of the Conference:  buying his own bag of cotton candy at the Kid’s Marketplace.

tim_dressup

And dressing up in the kid’s lounge is always fun!

Sometimes homeschooling is just way too much fun!  We love this life!

Posted under Field Trips, Homeschool Activities

A Map of Alaska, the Iditarod Trail, and a Bedsheet – Fun Homeschool Unit Study.

January 26, 2009

Last month, we found the Iditarod Project (thanks, Beth!), and the kids have been having a blast working on it – always a great time in homeschool life.

The first activity is to make a map of Alaska and the Iditarod Trail.  After considering the daily danger to all fragile items in our boy and toddler-heavy household, I wasn’t so excited about making a large paper map.  It didn’t take much imagination to see ripped map pieces, corners disolved by drool, and chunks of paint being pulled off the wall by tape gone crazy.

Good thing someone more creative than I suggested using a bedsheet to make the map. 

Whalah!  We did a quick math lesson on scale, made 8 x 8 inch squares out of cardstock, and the kids got busy marking a grid on the map in pencil.  (Hey, that laundry in the background is clean, at least)

drawing_map

The next day, we transfered the outline of Alaska, the rivers, the Iditarod Trail, and the cities.  After a discussion of map legends, my oldest designed a cool symbol for the cities, including one with a star in the middle for the capital.  (Since everyone has to be involved at our house, the 3-year-old made his own unsupervised permanent marker line across the scale line – at least he didn’t get the carpet!)

legend

We outlined everything in permanent marker.  To remove the pencil marks, we washed the sheet with the regular mountains of laundry.  And finally, we hung the map proudly on the banister in our entryway.  (Who needs interior decorators when you homeschool?)

alaska_map

 

We’re also reading Dogsong by Gary Paulsen together to get more of a feel for Alaska and some of her culture.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress. 

Meanwhile, check out these other homeschoolers who have also done/are doing the Iditarod project:

If you’re also joining in, post a comment and link about your progress and experiences!

Posted under Geography Websites, Homeschool Activities, Social Studies Websites

Thanksgiving Activities and a Great, ‘Almost Free’ Website!

November 26, 2008

Looking for some fun Thanksgiving Day activities?  Check out Enchanted Learning.  The site has over 20,000 pages full of printable worksheets, crafts, books, and activities on almost every topic imaginable.  I’ve enjoyed using it for years whenever I need a hand-on activity to go with what we’re currently learning. 

The only downside:  it has changed some of it’s content to membership only.  Many of the printables are free, but some are not.  If you end up using the site extensively, it may be worth it to you to pay the small $20/yr membership cost, which gives you access to printable versions of every page along with an ‘ad-free’ site.

Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite site for printables of worksheets, crafts, and activities?  Share it with us in the comment section.  Thanks!

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Posted under Homeschool Activities, Homeschool Websites