Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Homeschool Fun!

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September 16, 2009

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


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!!

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Posted under Homeschool Activities

School is Prison – What do you think?

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September 11, 2009


I just read an interesting article here by Peter Gray, a professor of psychology, that says over and over, “School is Prison.”  He says that a main reason kids don’t like school is that they’ve lost their freedom and their time and activities are completely controlled throughout the public school day.

Since my husband pretty much loved school (the geek) 🙂 as a kid, and I was banging my head (figuratively) against the classroom walls the whole way through, I’m interested to hear what you think?  Did you have that kind of experience in public schools as a kid?

Here are a few fun prison public school moments I remember:


  1. Writing in my journal with my left hand during a class in a desperate bid for something challenging to do.
  2. chalkboard
  3. One teacher erased the current homework assignment off the board, because I was doing that night’s homework during his lecture instead of ‘paying attention’ like I was supposed to.  (That just meant I did his homework in the following period so I didn’t have to ‘waste’ any of my free time after school)
  4. I wrote an essay detailing what I knew the teacher thought the interpretation of red in “The Scarlet Letter” meant, even though I completely disagreed.  (I had quickly figured out that getting an ‘A’ meant telling a teacher what he/she wanted to hear.)
  5. To be fair, here is a great experience:

  6. Mr. Sergeant, a history teacher, handed everyone a folder on a significant figure in the WWII era and after a week of research, we all had a debate with each other representing our WWII V.I.P.

Ahh . . . why weren’t all my classes like Mr. Sargeant’s history class?

So, in remembrance of public school, I have an essay question for you:  (please answer in the comment section)

  1. How are public schools like prisons?  How are they not?  Please explain.  🙂

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Posted under Homeschool Life

Practice Grade-Level State Math Requirements by Playing Online Games!

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September 9, 2009


photo by Jo Jakeman

Math is supposed to be fun, right?

At our house, math work seems to inspire the most creative moans, physical contortions, and excuses why it doesn’t need doing.  angry_smiley  So, we’re always looking for new ways to play the old math game.

Here’s our new twist on a math curriculum:

Internet 4 Classrooms has gathered TONS of links to website resources for teaching, and their math section is awesome!

Here’s what we’re doing:

  1. Go to their math page.
  2. Click on appropriate grade level under “State Assessed SPI’s”
  3. Tadah!  You’ll now find every state required math skill sorted and listed down the left side of the screen and to the right are lots of links directly to websites with games, lessons, and more that teach that exact skill.
  4. Have your kids either work on a certain number of skills, just ‘play math’ for a length of time, or join in and encourage their interest until they get so involved they forget they are doing MATH!

Even if you already have a math curriculum, this site can give you some fun online games to help drill play with a math concept that is particulary difficult.

I’m also looking for good math websites to compile a free E-Book Math Guide to the Internet, so I’d love to hear (in the comment section) what your favorite sites are. 

Please share!

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Posted under Math Curriculum, Math Websites

Did You Have a Good Summer?

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September 7, 2009

Where have I been?


I’ve been a bit scarce during August as we’ve been spending every second we can outside in a desperate attempt to pretend that summer isn’t almost over.  We have a couple months of summer left, don’t we?

I hope you’ve had as much fun and family time as we have.  I’d love to hear what your favorite experience was?

Here are a few of mine:


Picking and eating raspberries in our backyard with my 1-year-old who thinks he’s too big to be my baby any more.


Summer blueberries


Raspberries off the bush and in the mouth in less than 2 seconds!


Tomatoes from the garden, fresh salsa, tomato sauce, and pulling out the pressure cooker to bottle a few for later.


Water, water, water, pools, and the beach!


Passing the swim test at the pool.


How tired the kids are at the end of a fun summer day!


Do you have a blog post about your fun summer/homeschooling activities?  Enter a direct link to your summer blog article below to share it with us!

P.S.  I’m experimenting with ‘Mr. Linky’ below, for the first time, so I’d love a few links to test it out.  Thanks!!


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Posted under Homeschool Life

Flubber Science Experiment – The Best Kid’s Craft Video!

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August 28, 2009


I posted a recipe for Flubber last year and we decided it would be a fun rainy day activity to do today.

(Especially, since the kids were moaning with boredom because they are grounded from the computer, the TV, AND all their basement toys – I’m tired of cleaning them up)

Here’s the recipe again:

Bowl #1 – Mix thoroughly

  • 1 cup white glue
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • food coloring (opt.)

Bowl #2 – mix thoroughly

  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 t. Borax (20 Mule Team is one brand)

After mixing each bowl separately, mix them together.  It is amazingly cool as a polymer is formed.   Read about the science behind the reaction here

Stir with a spoon, or for the more adventurous, mix with your hands.  Don’t quit, the gluey slime will suddenly harden into a great cross between slime and silly putty.

Even the baby can enjoy Flubber, just make sure he doesnt’ eat it.


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Posted under Homeschool Crafts, Science Curriculum

Carnival of Homeschooling: We’ve Got Style!

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August 25, 2009


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!





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.




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  “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.




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.”




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




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.”



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


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.



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.



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 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

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

Submit Your Blog Post for the Homeschool Carnival!

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August 24, 2009


FYI – I’m hosting the next Homeschool Blog Carnival.  Woo-hoo!  🙂

If you have a blog post you’re particularly proud of or would just like to share with the rest of us, please send me the info by 6 pm today (Monday).

Here’s a guideline on the information I need to include your article:

How to submit an article to the Homeschool Blog Carnival

I hope to see some of your stuff!  If not, make sure to check back tomorrow to see what everyone else has contributed.



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Posted under Blog Carnivals

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

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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!)

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Posted under Homeschool Activities

Top 10 Signs You’re a Clutter-oholic – Thursday Topics

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July 23, 2009

photo by asteegabo

photo by asteegabo

Homeschooling adds more time with kids at home, plus school supplies for the whole family = clutter trouble!

Since we’re on a de-cluttering theme this week, I thought I’d add a little humor – feel free to add to the list:

10 Signs You’re a Clutter-oholic

  1. You don’t startle at thunder, because you’re used to random loud noises when something in the house crashes to the floor from it’s precarious perch at the top of a pile.
  2. You love garage sales, always bring treasures home . . . and they never leave.  You shrug off your spouse’s questions about when you’re going to have a garage sale to get rid of all your junk.  (It’s NOT junk!)
  3. You just pay the lost fee for the occasional library book.  If you can’t find it in the couch cushions, under the car seat, or between the bed and the wall, there’s no telling where it is.
  4. You laugh when you hear others complain about dusting.  You don’t have to dust your surfaces . . .  All of them are covered in stuff.
  5. You have to launch into the history of an item to someone who is really listening, before you can throw it away . . . much like a eulogy.  After that, it can respectfully be laid to rest.
  6. Your one bottle of furniture polish lasts you 5 years.  You rarely clean all the way down to the wood so you can use it.
  7. If asked to throw something away, continual lists of possible uses, categorized by function, run through your mind:  craft ideas, as a food item, sewn into clothing, component of a recycled sculpture, use by other children, neighbors, starving children in Africa, etc., etc.
  8. When someone mentions ‘spring cleaning’, you ask, “Which spring?” 
  9. You have thick hot pads in the kitchen to give yourself time to dance around with a hot pan from the oven until you can clear a spot to set it down.
  10. You “Wow” your husband, kids, and friends by walking straight into a pile of stuff, moving a few things aside, and emerging with the exact item they were looking for.  “Just ‘cuz it looks messy, doesn’t mean I don’t know where everything is!”

Here are some more ideas on making household chores fun.

How about you?  Do you have a ‘clutter-oholic sign’ to add to the list? 

Or maybe a suggestion to help the rest of us keep the clutter under control.  We’d love to hear what you think!

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Posted under Thursday Topics, Top 10

All-in-one Declutter and Money Management Math Lesson – Tuesday Tips

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July 21, 2009


The Story:

We’re on a declutter kick lately at our house.  It’s more of a panic response to the possibility of moving in the near future.  Suddenly the precariously balanced stacks of toys, books, boxes and more that cover all the flat surfaces in our home make me cringe much more than usual.  I can’t imagine moving it all.  We have to purge!

The only problem is that I’m on the ‘once-every-seven year’  cleaning schedule, instead of the usual ‘spring cleaning.’  Who knew that meant I was supposed to declutter every spring?!

If you want a laugh, you’ll love my husband, the engineer’s, solution:  Build pyramid-shaped contraptions to place of every flat surface in the house so nothing can be placed on them!  Yes, the anti-thesis to counter space.


Thank goodness I have a few amazing friends that helped me get started while a herd of all our kids ran rampant together.  After four days, we had filled five huge trash cans, and my kitchen and school room were whipped into shape.

Then came the kids, their toys, and clothes. . . and the tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  Who knew the old, tiny, bike my daughter learned to ride on was precious enough to deserve it’s own shrine and label, “Never to be given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of!”

So, we finally come to The Tuesday Tip:

  • Plan a garage sale.
  • Tell the kids that they get to run it.
  • And the carrot:  Tell the kids they get to split the money among everyone who is willing to do the work and help out.
  • THEN– start the decluttering process.  Hopefully they’ll see dollar signs instead of precious treasures being sold.

The Results:


  • The Prize:  The boys have drooled over a Nintendo DS for ages and I’ve refused to buy them one.  So, they decided to combine their resources and buy one together.  They had about half the money and hoped to earn the rest at the garage sale.  Boy, did the toys and clothes start flying into the garage sale boxes! 
  • Math, math, and more math!  After every sale, my oldest jotted down the amount, added it to the running total, divided it by the three kids working the sale, and then added his and his brother’s two parts to the previous total and their original money.   They even went hopping around the sale, making a running total of possible income if everything sold.  Whew!  That’s more math than they’ve done in a month.
  • Delayed gratification!  At the end of the day they were bursting with excitement because they had enough to buy the DS.  But I found a code to get almost $20 off a DS on  The $20 off was exciting for them, BUT they would have to wait 4 days to get it shipped instead of going straight to ToysRUs that evening.  I was so proud.  They reluctantly decided to wait and save the money, even though they had the extra $20 to spend.  If they can do that now, there’s hope they will do well with credit cards as young adults.

So, what do your houses look like this summer?  How do you control the clutter?  How do you mix housecleaning with homeschooling?  Have you had any luck getting your kids to do the “out with the old”? 

Or do you have any other ideas that have worked well for you lately and would help us all out?  Please share by commenting!

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Posted under Homeschool Life, Tuesday Tips