Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elementary Science Education

Learning about science can be a lot of fun. It can be a walk in the garden, it can be a series of "thought experiments."  It can be hands-on, you can tinker, you can play, you can build, you can make, and so on.  Many homeschool parents really enjoy and do a great job of providing great hands-on experiences for children. Pets, field trips, use of the garden, and all sorts of experiments are popular with homeschooler.

But what's best?  For what age?  Realistically,  it's a mix of hands-on with a structure that provides a good science foundation.

S4U features physical science for elementary, earth/space science, life sciences, and inquiry.

Here's my favorite science songs for elementary students.

I think the way to go is use Science4Us for PreK, K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. It provides a structure for the program and makes sure that you cover the basics. Left to their own devices, many  families will probably put together a science program which is heavily biology and avoid physical science.  S4U will make sure that parents provide a balanced program. Parents can still do lots of hands-on either using the Science4Us lesson plans or invent your own.

Science4Us has hundreds of suggested hands-on elementary science activities most of which can be done with equipment that can be found around the house!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thank You!

This past week we celebrated the 4th of July, a day of independence. There are so many military homeschoolers out there. I would like to say THANK YOU, to those who serve and those families that are out there that we often forget.

Summer Fun Tip #4

Summer Fun Tip #4

During the summer a lot of families take road trips. Here are a few ideas for games to do while on the road.

Travel Bingo -  There are so many different ways or version to play Travel Bingo.  The simple way without having to print anything is to make a list of items you think you might see on your trip. This is a great reading activity.  Your child must read the list and check all of them off to win. (Or check a certain number off to win.) In searching for travel bingo printables I found all kinds of versions. Like these below.

But if you don't want to have something printable there is always other games. If you have a child who has problems looking out the windows, car sickness stinks. Then you can play an analogy game. This is simple your child can sit with their eyes closed if they want.  

Give an example, like foot is to sock like hand is to glove. After you have given a few examples then start asking them to finish the analogies. Some example to use are…

Car is to Road as Plane is to ________ (Sky)
Red is to Apple as Yellow is to ________ (Banana) 
Dog is to Puppy as Cat is to _________ (Kitten)
Moon is to Night as Sun is to _________ (Day) 

The possibilities are endless. Once your child gets the hang of it ask them to think of some and see if they can stump you. 

What other games do you and your family play? 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Laid back schooling during the summer.

Even though most are in full summer mode. We are still in school mode. We school year round. We did take a week off for boy scout camp but we will be jumping right back in come monday. I am in the process of writing lesson plans.  We do our school a little more laid back then the regular school year. Okay we are laid back in all of our schooling. (big smile)

When I say laid back I mean in every since of the word. We will lay around reading history, reading chapter books, hang out under a tree or on the beach doing math. Yeah laid back is what I would call our way of doing school during the summer. Oh wait, we are like that year round.

Are you laid back or very structured? I would love to know about your homeschool day in the summer vs school year.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Fun Tip #3

Tip #3

Don't you hate getting stuck inside during the summer. Either it is TOO HOT 

or it is RAINING

Why not start lapbooking at the beginning of summer and add to it when it is either two hot, raining outside or your kids say I am bored!

A lap book can be based on one subject, multiple subjects or a book. Here are some examples of different lap books.

Lapbook on Fish - You can add items about fish in general, maybe get into more detail on your favorite fish. Share the difference in sharks, fish, dolphins etc.. Write a poem about fish. What is the biggest fish or what is the smallest fish.

Lapbook on Farm Life - You could add animals that are on the farm; how do they eat, how do they sleep; how do they grow. Maybe add a section on crops that can be grown on a farm. The different kinds of crops, what area they grow best in etc.. Then there is the farm equipment that is needed for both animals and crops. 

Lapbook on your favorite book - Share about the author, what their life is like, where do they live, what caused them to start writing books, Share about the time period that the book is written. Add a few booklets about each character or set of characters. 

There are so many ways to enjoy lap books. You can stretch them out all summer long. Just pull them out as you need something to do. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Fun Tip #2

Summer Fun Tip #2.

How do you keep your kids from forgetting all that they learned through out the school year? Choose different fun ways to refresh their memory.  

  • Vocabulary Test - don't sound fun at all do they? What about when you are in the car bring along a dry erase board and though out a vocabulary word you had over the past school year and have the kids draw a picture of what the definition is.
  • Math Quiz Beach Style - When you are at the beach challenge your kids to answer math problems like 8x8 but write it in the sand and have them write their answer in the sand, too.
  • History Review - Choose a topic from your history and dress up and even make food from that time period. 
There are so many ways to review your school year and still have some fun. What are some of your ideas? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Homeschooling Trends

Did you know that there are between 1.8 and 2.3 million homeschoolers?

The homeschooling trends are growing by leaps and bounds.

Parents are no longer just turning to homeschooling for religious beliefs.  Many today are homeschooling to give their children the one on one learning that they feel their child deserves. Safety has become a major influence in homeschooling. With the increase of school shootings and violent bulling many parents are choosing homeschooling over even private schooling.

Would love to hear why you chose to follow in the homeschool trend. Why did you choose to homeschool?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Summer Fun: Tip #1

Tip #1

Animals Unit 

  • Make lap books about animals
  • Read animal books that can be found at the library.
  • Draw animals using art for kids on youtube.
  • Play animal games online. 
  • Finish off the Animal Unit with a trip to the ZOO!

What else can you think of that will help you have Summer Fun with Animals?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Yes, Tutoring or No, Tuturoing

Do use tutoring in your homeschool?

For those who follow a school year, summer is coming. In fact some homeschoolers will stop their year at Memorial Day. Others will be schooling year round. We are one of those families that school year round.

It does not matter if you are a school year follower or a year round schooler tutoring can help any one at any time. For the school year follower sometimes tutoring is a form of simple schooling during the summer months that will help the student not forget all of what they have learned through out the year.

If you are a year round schooler sometimes tutoring is a way to have someone different present extra help to your child catch on to the concept.

No matter what kind of school you have tutoring can be a value in any school.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Language Arts

This past year we have used a great homeschool language arts program. But this program is also a history, bible and we even count it as writing program. We have used Notgrass Amarican History. This program has history, history based literature, writing assignments and bible assignments. It covers all our needs.  But that is only for our 9th grader. 

We have used as a part of our language arts program for our 1st grader. Granted we don't really call our 1st grade reading, phonics, spelling, writing language arts but in reality it is just that language arts.  

So what do you use for your homeschool language arts program and what grade are you teaching? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ideas to help with reading/spelling

From abbreviations to homonyms to vowel-constantat-E and root words, all of these are needed in what?

Did you answer reading or spelling? then you are right. The english language is very complicated but over the years people have worked hard to give some great ways to help with learning the to read and spell in the english language.

A reading/spelling notebook is a great way to help.
This is a notebook where you can have a section for all the different areas of reading/spelling.

Site word list - Site words have to be memorized and review of them is the best way to do this. You can draw a picture in that notebook to help you remember what the site word is.

Abbreviations and their full word next to it. Example Fl = Florida or St = Street.

A spelling glossary is another great thing to have in your notebook. This is a list of all the things you might have in your notebook.  You could go as far as to color code or number your pages. So you could go to that set of pages in your notebook that you need help with.

I am always looking for great ideas on how to help my children learn to read/spell. If you have any ideas please share.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Earth and Matter, Oh My!

Does your child know the difference between solid and liquid?

Do they know the difference between solid liquid and gas?

Did you know that on Earth matter is found most commonly in three different phases? That is right, solid, liquid and gas.

If you have a Kindergartener through Second Grade your child can learn in a fun way all about this and more on

Monday, April 28, 2014

Finishing out our year!

We are almost done with our first year of high school homeschooling, where did the year go? I feel like we just finished kindergarten.

It has been a long year.  We have covered great details in American History, Bible and how it has been used and connected in our American History. English full of historical reads. Algebra not a fan of this subject, my son struggles with it but we are making it through, General Science - Plants, Human Body and more. Add Co-Op Classes, youth and scouts and we have had a busy year. Now I can see where the time went.

How has your homeschool year been going.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

How many different ways do you review?

Most families are finishing up their year of school. That means lots of review. There are many ways of doing review. A few ways we do review in our home are orally, online and through games.
My son is a very oral learner. We do most of our history out loud together. Same with english and spelling. Free online puzzles and games are a great resource. There are some easy to find free gams online. Lastly we use board games, card games, tag, hopscotch you name it any type of game can be turned into review.  Just add the information you want to review and you are set.

How many different ways do you use to do review?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Version or Online Version?

When was the last time you looked at a physical dictionary? Not an online dictionary but a real book…… That is what I thought. Same here, a long time. I am very thankful for the internet and all that it offers but sometimes we need to hold real books.

When teaching spelling and vocabulary the dictionary is a vital too. I try to have my own children use the actual book not just the internet. I love the idea of children creating their own spelling glossary to help them with spelling issues as they have them. To keep a glossary of spelling or vocabulary issues that they deal with.  Having these items written down makes a difference.  The ability to write it down as you are using it helps it set in your  child's brain. Just like having a book version of the dictionary can help our children.

What things do you use in your homeschool that are also offered online?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Different kind of lesson

This week we have had a lesson in force and motion. Not the kind of force and motion you might be thinking of. But this lesson is about behavior. We have had big attitude in our house. The typical kid behavior that you expect. The only thing this mommy tired of them is them trying to force everyone to do what they want. This mommy is going to get them into motion right to their rooms to think and get their attitude back in line with what is correct in our house.

What do you do to help your children understand when they are full of attitude?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rainy Day Blues

We have had many rainy days in our area. My kids have the rainy day blues. What do you do on rainy days?
We build FORTS!

I can also make this a 1st grade science lesson on building and what all is involved to keep structures up. 

What do you do for rainy day blues?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Game of Choice

My kids love to play games. We love games on the computer, on the PS3, at the table, on the floor, outside and more.

Some of our favorite games right now are...

On the computer the favorite game site is Learning Games for Kids; there are some great first grade games on there for my daughter. 

On the PS3 Mindcraft and Disney Universe my youngest son is very good with the problem solving that Disney Universe has.

Gold Fish in different styles is the game of choice at the kitchen table. 

Tag is the game of choice outside.

What are your kids game of choice right now?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

You don't always need spell check...

With spell check on everything, there is not much use for dictionaries. I feel that children should not only learn how to use a dictionary but use one on a regular basis. 

A dictionary a great tool to teach children how to spell but the definitions of words. 

A great tool to use with a dictionary is a spelling glossary. This is a list that will help you with understanding all the different types of things that go into spelling. Like what a homophone is, what prefix is, what a vowel consonant E is, the list goes on and on. 

This is a great resource to help not only the student but the teacher remember what some details of spelling are. 

Do you use a spelling glossary? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Science: Explore Elementary Science: Week 4

How many of you mix subjects to help your children learn? In our house it happens all the time. From bible to help a science lesson, english to help with a history lesson, and even art to help with oh all the subjects. 

This past week we used a youtube channel called Art for Kids to help us learn more about animals and help with our 1st grade science curriculum

Here are some examples of my kids art.

Even dragons lead to conversations/research about lizards.

What subjects do you use to help in teaching other subjects? 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Science: Exploring Elementary Science: Week 3

This week lets talk about Life Science. Life Science can be easy to teach to inquiring naturally curious young children. Young children usually like collect bugs and lizards.  This is a great way to introduce life science to our children.  A tupperware container with a lid that has holes in it is just the start for observing life.  

Another way to observe life science is take lima beans in wet paper towel and watch the beans sprout. There are many ways to teach life science in elementary.  Don't be afraid to get out in the dirt with your kids and get in the dirt. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Science: Explore Elementary Science Week 2

Last week we talked about the 5 scenes and how those help you in teaching and learning elementary science. This week lets narrow it down to the 1 of those; Touch. 

Hands on science will leave memories with your children for life. I know when I was a kid I remember growing the bean in a napkin a window ziplock bag.  

photo credit: First Grade Factory

Not only are activities like this great for teaching science, but kindergarten science printables are a great tool. In fact science printables can be great for all ages. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Science: Explore Elementary Science Week 1.

Children are natural scientist, they. Children learn by experiencing the world around them. Unschoolers are firm believers that children learn when they are let to explore the world on their own. This is true for any type of schooler. Children and scientist  do a lot of the same things.

  1. watching = observing
  2. playing = experiment
  3. change something = modify the experiment
  4. telling others what they have done = record results. 

This is equivalent to Physical Science.  Learning about matter and materials, light energy lesson along with force and motion lesson are just some of the subjects that can be introduced at a young age in elementary. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

February Series "Science - Explore Elementary Science

What do trees, magnets, microscopes, rocks have in common? 

They all are something that involves science. Yes, that is right Science! Coming in February I will be doing a series on science in elementary .  

We will talk about tools for science, physical, life, earth/space. I am excited about this series. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cold Weather and Science Lessons

The one of last blog stated that Florida was did not get the notice that it was Winter in the month of December.

Florida has decided to catch up with the rest of the world. We have officially had more cold days then warm. Remember, Floridians have thin blood, so anything below 50 is COLD not cool.

My kids have gone to bed with the a/c on and woken up with the heat on more then once in the last 18 days of January.

All this weather talk reminds me of the kindergarten science curriculum and other science tools that can be used to help teach my kids science.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Holidays are past us. Next is spring break. But before spring break some of us have children or should I say teenagers who are going to be taking the SAT's and/or the ACT's. I had someone share this with me this past week. I am not sure who wrote it, but if you know let me know. I will give credit where credit is due. Such a great way of seeing which test your child should be taking.  Once you figure out which one to take, if it is the SAT then check out some great SAT games and SAT writing helps.

Take the quiz below to find out which is best for you. 
After you take this very short quiz, scroll down for the answers.
  1. Do you have an excellent vocabulary background?
  2. Are you a true Science whiz?
  3. Which test is longer?
  4. How are your math skills?
  5. Do you guess when you do not know the answer?
  6. Are you good at deciphering trick questions?
  7. Do you like to tackle one subject at a time?
  8. Are you a good test taker?
          Good Luck!

  1. If vocabulary is your thing, the SAT is for you.The ACT focuses on grammar, punctuation and syntax.
  2. The ACT has a science section; the SAT does not. The ACT science score is calculated in the composite.
  3. The SAT is longer by 20 minutes. The SAT is 3 hrs. and 45 minutes. The ACT (including the writing section) is 3 hrs. and 25 minutes. Remember the ACT writing is required by all State of Florida public universities.  
  4. The ACT covers more advanced math (trigonometry) than the SAT. The ACT does not provide formulas; the SAT provides formulas in the test booklet.
  5. The ACT does not penalize for the wrong answer (guessing is encouraged if you do not know the answer); the SAT penalizes a ¼ point for each wrong answer.
  6. The ACT questions tend to be more straightforward; SAT questions tend to be harder to understand.
  7. The SAT test tends to jump around; you do a little math, a little critical reading, etc. and move back and forth between content areas. The ACT tackles one subject area at a time.
  8. Great test takers are great test takers, no matter which test they tackle.For students who are not great test takers, plan to take the test more than once. Many colleges and universities "super score" - taking the best sub scores from multiple test dates to create a new SAT total or ACT composite. Check with the colleges or universities regarding their policy.