Monday, March 18, 2013

SOTW: Chapter 19 The Early Greeks

We are doing chapter 19 in The Story of the World and I am not too excited about the projects for this chapter. We did the map work, both coloring pages, and I found this short 4 minute video about the Mycenaeans from Rick Steves.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Simple Lego Birthday Decorations

W's 7th birthday party is tomorrow and of course it is Lego themed! We made these super simple Lego decorations last night using colored construction paper. Unfortunately the red looks more pink (due to the cheap $1 construction paper...grrr!), but he loves them anyways :)

We folded the paper in half and then 3 times lengthwise. I used a milk jug cap to trace the links for the Legos. I just love how this turned out! I am hoping to post some pics of the cake Sunday.

A Simple Valentine: Cupcake Paper Flowers

For The Day of the Dead, we made some pretty cool coffee filter flowers. The kids colored the filters with marker, we sprayed them with water which made the colors run and gave the flowers a cool tie-dyed look, punched two holes in the paper, and used a pipe cleaner for a stem. I wanted to do the same thing for Valentine's Day but on a smaller scale.

You will need markers, cupcake liners (this is where I messed up, I got cheap $1 store liners that were waxy so we couldn't use the spray bottle), hole puncher, scissors, pipe cleaners, and not pictured but a spray bottle if you get the papery kind of liners.

The kids colored a whole bunch of them. I used three liners per flower.

Fold them in half and punch them. This way you have two holes you can stick the pipe cleaner through. You could also add  lollipop if you wanted. We are planning on adding a little to: and from: tag.

The finished product! I scrunched them a little to give them body. I really like how these turned out. They were a simple and easy homemade Valentine. We just might have to make these every year (if the kids don't get sick of them ;)).

BFSU: Chapter 1

We started Building Foundation of Scientific Understanding this week and I am very pleased with it. This is an absolute shock because it is so unlike anything I thought I would like. A lot of the work is left to the parent which I wasn't sure if I would like but it actually makes me feel extremely useful, like I am actually teaching my children and not just teaching them through what someone else wrote. Who knows, maybe I will actually search out more curriculum like this! I hope to expand on my thoughts on BFSU in later posts. So the first chapter is about organizing. From what I understand, and I haven't quite finished reading the parental parts of the book (tsk tsk I know), this will help children understand at a deeper level all aspects of sorting and organizing in science. To help us understand and visualize sorting, I made up a little "game" to play. I recently bought a ton of old buttons at an antique show, so we busted those out.

C got her own pile to "do science" with :) Love those little hands!

Although my sophisticated gentleman had already covered such topics in ps kindergarten, he was still very excited to get going. I let him sort them however he wanted so he chose colors.
Then we went with size (the ones on the right look smaller due to the camera angle but they are actually bigger than the ones on the left). We also had a weird shaped one which he is holding.
Then we sorted the lacing beads by color and discussed other ways we could sort them. We went on to talk about all the different things in life that are sorted into categories. We just went with the flow and it was a very natural discussion. Quite refreshing from the rather stale curriculum we have been doing up until now. I have certainly learned a lot about my son and the way he learns best. If only I had more money to get all new curriculum :) Oh well, we will have to make do for now.

Homeschool Science: Jello Plant Cell

We have been searching for a science curriculum for awhile now and I thought we were going to go with REAL Science Odyssey (RSO). We even tried out a couple of their sample activities and really enjoyed them. The program just didn't seem to stand out enough to justify the price of the pdf so I decided to go with Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (BFSU) which I had heard so many good things about. It is a lot more work but I think the way the lessons are planned out are genius. You really do build the foundations of understanding that allow you and your child to appreciate science. It seems to be very meaningful. I am sure I will be writing more about that program in the near future. Here is one of the projects that we did for RSO (still seems to be a very good program with lots of good reviews).

Our delicious jello plant cell! We were supposed to make an animal cell as well but we didn't have enough jello :) Only some of the parts of the cell are represented. I assume that more parts are introduced as the child goes on. It didn't mention that, but I told W anyways so he wouldn't get confused later when I busted out all these other parts. The cell was very tasty. Who knew lemon jello was so good? My grandma used to make a dish with lemon jello and stewed tomatoes (she was an adventurous cook) and perhaps these bad memories are why it never occurred to me to purchase it until now!

Story of the World, Chapter 16: Lego Siege Tower

We completed chapter 16, "The Return of Assyria" in The Story of the World. We both enjoyed it but I knew the activity would be the big hit! W loves OBSESSED, so I knew he would want to make the Lego siege tower which is an activity in the activity book. Here are some pictures of what he made...

The side view. He changed the actual battering ram component a few times.

Just look at those faces. Clearly ready for combat. I love the spear with the flame. He came up with that all on his own because he only had one bow and arrow (something I can't believe for a child who has 10,000+ *literally* Legos, but whatever).

After the first few attempts broke the battering ram we decided to follow the advice in the book and go for a crack in the wall. It worked much better and there was a lot less damage to our battering ram. As you can see, he also added a cannon. Not a historically accurate weapon but I am sure the Assyrians would have loved to have them!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Simple Number Recognition Game

For homeschool I am trying to come up with more hands on and creative ways to teach things. My daughter has been eyeing these cheap "jewels" from the dollar store for awhile, and while I don't want her to just play with them (they would end up lost or scattered all over the place), I decided we could use them for this number recognition game.

What you need:

A box (I already had this treasure chest but you can use whatever you want!)

Number cards (I chose to put the number and X amount of dots. She doesn't know her numbers by sight yet but she can count up to 20 so this works perfectly)

"Jewels" (can be purchased at most Dollar Trees)

How to play:

Put cards in a pile. Start with youngest player and let them take a card. They take X amount of jewels. Next player takes a card, etc. I only had 8 cards (2 sets of 1-4 and will add as she masters these numbers). Just make sure you have more jewels then the total of the numbers on your cards. Whoever has the most jewels when the cards are gone wins! Super simple and can be changed around to grow with your child! If you enjoyed, please share! Don't forget to "like" Homeschool Outcast on Facebook for updates on new games and ideas :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SOTW: Phoenician Traders

Today we stared chapter 15 of The Story of the World. If you don't know about SOTW, it is a chronological story of the world, with the first volume (1 of 4) starting with the nomads who roamed the fertile crescent and ending with the fall of Rome. We absolutely love this book and it has made history our favorite subject. This chapter is about Phoenician traders. It talks about how they were the best sailors of their time and how they were amazing glass makers. SOTW also has an accompanying activity book which I highly recommend. It really helps kids (and adults) to visualize the lessons and they seem to stick better. We did a project where we made "glass" with some wax paper, crayon shavings (primary colors, which went well with our primary colors lesson from last week), some string (apparently the Phoenicians were famous for adding string to their glass), and some newspaper.

First step was to evenly distribute the crayon shavings, leaving a little bit of space around the outside.

We had to use some paper bags which worked fine. I also used a towel on top because ironing paper just seems a little dangerous to me ;)

 We chose to make a vase shape since some of the images we looked up online were of beautiful glass vases. The mixing of the primary colors was really neat and we sat for awhile and picked out all of the different colors and discussed which colors mixed to make them. We also watched this YouTube video (subtitled) about people still making glass in the Phoenician style.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Homeschool Ideas: Primary Colors Potions Class (Muahahahaha!)

I remember mixing glasses of colored water together to make new colors when I was young. It was super fun and I wanted to do it with my kids. My son was the one who made me think of it today when he asked me if he could mix potions. I though this would be the perfect opportunity to bust out the primary colors reference. We had made a primary color superhero using Mrs. Brown's tutorial here earlier in the week so it just worked out perfect (love when that happens!).

I probably could have spent more time on finding "potionish" bottles, but I don't like to put a lot of effort into something that is going to be a pain to clean up anyways. Sure, sure, I could have found a larger something or other to do the activity on to make clean up easier, but where is the fun in that?
The kids had lots of fun. This was the perfect opportunity for W (who is 7 and a gentlemen of wordly knowledge who "already knows how to mix primary colors into other colors mom!") to show his sister how primary colors mix. He seemed to have the situation under control so I went and took a nap (just kidding! I wish! Maybe next year.).

I don't have to spell this one out for you do I? I actually didn't think of this until W asked if there was a way to make his potion bubbly. Hell yes there is son (calm down, I didn't say that to him. I just thought it.). By the way...the picture below IS going to happen.
On a serious note, I really want to try to do more hands on things with my kids. I was so obsessed with the fact that every activity had to have proof that we did it (otherwise known as the oh so loved worksheet), that I have succeeded in making schooling something of a hated activity. I might even stop calling it homeschool and call it "learning games time kids!!!!". Boo Ya.