Friday, April 18, 2014

Entertaining and Educational - The Crow and the Pitcher

Do you remember the Aesop Fable The Crow and the Pitcher? The crow has difficulty getting water out of the pitcher with her long skinny beak. In the end adding rocks to the water raised the water level and enabled her to drink.

After reading the story, the kids at Life with Moore Babies did an impromptu experiment to understand the concept. It's a great story/project combination for preschoolers-2nd grade. Be sure to check it out!

Have a great Easter!











Thursday, April 17, 2014

Writing Onomatopoeia Poetry

Our first poetry tea time was a great success.

Sharing poetry with children introduces new ways of playing with words and greatly increases vocabulary. We have read lots of poetry, but not been as successful creating poetry. To breath new energy into our writing program, we held a Poetry Tea Time. This time we followed a lesson from Brave Writer. The kids loved eating snacks while doing school work, and I loved seeing them write poetry with enthusiasm.




The Arrow is a lesson product line from Brave Writer. Each issue is centered around one particular book and contains selected copy work/dictation passages with suggestions on how to teach them. Behind the copy work/dictation lessons, are poetry lesson and writing project lesson ideas.

For us, our prior attempts at copy work were less than successful. I personally greatly needed guidance on how to go about a copy work session as well. These lesson plans were exactly what I needed.

The back of the Pippi Longstocking Issue of the Arrow contained a lesson plan for writing poetry with onomatopoeia. Each child had a turn sharing writing they did, a poem, or short story. Next we read a few example poems in the lesson as well as my kids favorite board book - We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Then we worked on our own poems.

First we decided on a noisy place in which to set our poems. Then we spent some time writing down the sounds we hear in that place. After that we began writing poems. These are only rough drafts, and we stopped here since the kids were excited about their work. I wanted to keep the positive vibs going.


Airport - draft by my 7 year old daughter
At the airport it's so noisy
all the airplanes taking off
And all the people making noises
Walking all about
Pulling all their luggage with a clanging and a crackit
Bump, bump, bump as the suitcases go by
Rum, rum, rum as the airplanes take off and land
They always have to take off and land
otherwise they would land and crash


Near Jace is a Loud Place - rough draft by my 10 year old son
It is a noisy place to be by Jace
Na, Na, Na, Ga, Yow, Yow
These are the noises to hear from me
Ya, ya, yah, g, bee
The sounds from me are endless here
Boom, clatter, clash, smash, smash, smash, wham, boom, ping
I am a very noisy thing
If you try to beat me in a contest you will learn
I am the best here - What I'll do
is yow, yang, ying, ping, pang, poo, wahoo
Here is a question easy to answer;
Will you try to beat me or will you give up?

Autobahn - rough draft by my 12 year old daughter (who was recently stranded on the autobahn with friends when their car broke down)

The trucks go vroom
and the cars go zoom
while the broken ones clink and crash

as they race to shut the door
to the onwards coming crash

The pickup truck races through the sun
to tow the broken car away
then there's not much danger
of a crash on this road for about a year and a day
whoosh, vroom, roar, whier
smash, clash, roar, boom, bang




* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Free Piano Lessons for Kids

The kids are learning piano by watching videos, and it's working really well.


Free Piano Lessons for Kids has uploaded over 50 free piano lessons. Each video lasts between 5 and 10 minutes. Although my 6 and 10 year old kids have had some prior piano experience, they really enjoy this format. The lessons build on each other, yet go at a pace where the kids don't get overwhelmed.

Most of the lessons take less than 10 minutes to complete, but they were especially inspired with Lesson 8 - Rhythm Dictation: Hot Crossed Buns.

During the lesson, the instructor used his heartbeat mat to place quarter notes, eighth notes and rests to match the rhythm of Hot Crossed Buns. After they lesson they both wanted their own heartbeat mats and notes.

Next, they placed the notes to match the rhythm of other familiar songs.

I highly recommend this series of videos as a gentle introduction to music.




This post is linked to:
Montessori Monday
True Aim Education
Living and Learning at Home

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Building a Green House

Recommended as part of the Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum, my kids have been delighted by McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm: Three Tall Tales. The unbelievable growing ability of the farm sweeps kids into a fantasy world. It's a great book to read in connection with planting a garden.

My son and husband worked together to put together a green house.  Actually my husband did most of the work, but my son bought the green house, used from a friend, with his own money. His plants were taking up too much space on the windowsill and needed a better home.

First the frames for the four walls were assembled.

  Then they were screwed together to form a rectangle.

Next they modified the roof from a flat roof to a peak. This was very important for the water to run off.

Panels were added and a vent was put into the top corner for summer heat.

Chessie the Horse Chestnut Tree is his favorite plant.

The green house should be the perfect home for his horse chestnut, apple and pine trees as well as his other plants.

 




 * I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Magnetic Field - Make Your Own Compass

Earth Science Unit Study

Week 6: We built our own compasses and did an activity to learn more about the Earth's magnetic field.

The Earth's magnetic field is generated by the liquid iron continuously flowing in the core. Today our compass needles point north, but it hasn't always been that way. Scientific evidence found in pottery, Hawaiian volcanic lava flows and ancient lava flows suggest the Earth's magnetic field changes direction every 200,000 years or so. Being that it's been over 700,000 years since the last reversal, we are overdue for a flip.

The magnetic field protects us from the sun and from solar weather. Without it, solar weather would bombard our planet with radiation and strip away the atmosphere as it has done to Mars. On the positive side, the gorgeous northern lights are visible reminder of the magnetic field. If the magnetic field does change directions during our lifetime, the northern lights would be visible all over the planet.

The kids were glued to the screen during the video "Will the Earth's Magnetic Field Shift?" and so was my husband. This film not only explained how the magnetic field works, but gave plenty of explanation as to how it has behaved in the past and is expected to behave in the future.

Since the interaction between the magnetic field and solar radiation is responsible for the northern lights, we couldn't resist a few extra short videos.

This video explains how the northern lights are generated.

In addition to explaining the northern lights, this short video also discusses several legends associated with the Aurora Borealis.


Playing with Magnets
 After learning about the magnetic field, we played with magnets.

Earth's Core and Magnetic Field in a Bottle
Next, using steel wool, cooking oil and an empty water bottle, we made a fun toy which represented the Earth's core and the magnetic field.

 With scissors, the steel wool was cut into smaller pieces.

 A water bottle was filled with cooking oil.

 Then the steel was put into the oil.

 The kids placed magnets near the bottle to explore what would happen.

The magnets act like the Earth's core and the steel pieces are like the magnetic particles of the magnetic field. By moving the magnets, the field adjusts.

Making a Compass

It is surprisingly easy to make a compass. All that's needed is foam or something that floats and a pin can stick into, a magnet, a pin and a container with water.

The first and most important step is to magnetize the needle. This is done by rubbing it with the magnet 50 to 100 times in the same direction.

Then the needle is stuck into the foam and placed in water so that it can move about freely. We found that a large container of water worked best as the compass tended to move against the side with a smaller container.

It didn't look that pretty, but it worked. Time and again the kids were able to move the compass in the water and watch while it repositioned itself to point north.




This post is linked to:
Relentlessly Fun
Sola Gratia
We Made That

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Alfred the Great Cakes Recipe

Week 5: We made King Alfred Cakes.

There are many stories about the Great King Alfred of England. Our Island Story (a narrative history book for children) dedicates three full chapters to King Alfred. As a child he learned to read before his brothers and won a book as a prize from his mother. As books were rare and very expensive, this was a huge reward. On another occasion, while hiding out with a shepherd family he was given charge of the cooking and the cakes burned. In a later adventure, he infiltrated a Viking camp by providing entertainment as a minstrel for several days and later was successful in driving them out of England for a time. Once life became more peaceful, he wrote down the law and began a trial by jury system, translated books and was truly a good king.

Since he was so important in England's history, we made cakes in his honor, but we didn't let ours burn.



In the middle ages there was not just one recipe for cakes, but many which shared the same basic ingredients. Oats, apples, walnuts, milk, water and salt were available and widely consumed. To make King Alfred cakes, we created a mixture of the above ingredients and made it into oatmeal. The next day we added more oats, mixed, then formed the leftovers into cakes roughly the size of hamburgers, and fried them in a pan.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Entertaining and Educational - Games and Beading

Beading techniques, travois and corn husk doll directions are all included in Life's Adventures King Philip's War post. If you're studying American history in the near future or just love to find new crafting techniques be sure to visit.


Are you looking for ideas for education games? The kids at All Things Beautiful have been playing games and learning all week and there are several I've never heard of. One of the kids has been creating his own games. What a great way to cover strategy, creativity, writing, history/science and so many more skills.


What have your kids been up to this week? Please grab a button and link-up below.








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