Thinking Thursday – Learning In the Summer Through Scavenger Hunts

Making Learning Fun

scavenger 2

My kids love to do scavenger hunts in the summer. These fun scavenger hunts allow them to discover the world around them in a fun and educational way. My favorite thing about the scavenger hunt, is that they do not even know that they are doing school.

ABC Scavenger hunt:

This is an excellent way for your kids to learn about nature and their alphabet at the same time. The goal is to find one object in nature that begins with each letter in the alphabet. Then your child can write the word or draw the picture that matches the letter that it goes with. For example: tree, could be written next to the letter Tt. Flower could be written next to the letter Ff. You could even get fancy and learn the names of the flowers, so is you see a rose, it could be written next to the letter Rr. You can get as detailed as you would like for this activity.

Color Scavenger hunt:

This scavenger hunt allows even the youngest child to join in on the scavenger hunt. The words on the scavenger hunt are in color so that your child doesn’t even have to be able to read color words yet. For example: the red box, has the word red, written in the color red. Now as you walk around outside, your child can start to draw pictures or write words of objects that match the color in the box. If they were to find a purple flower, then they could draw the flower in the purple box. If you would like to take the scavenger hunt further, you could label their pictures for them, or have them label their own pictures. You could even, have them help you sound out the words needed to label their pictures, and have them help you write the words. For example, if you were going to write the word flower, you could ask them what letter flower starts with. For you older kids, maybe you want to show them that the /r/ sound at the end of flower is made with the letters ‘er’. Make it as hard or as simple as you would like.

Publication2 (5 Sensory Scavenger Hunt):

This is one of my favorite scavenger hunts, because it teaches them to understand the world around them, using their 5 senses. So when I hand this worksheet to my younger kids, we talk about the 5 senses together. Touch, is the first sense on the the sheet. Together we would walk around and touch everything. Then they would decide which object, that they touched, that they liked best. Finally, they would draw a picture of that object in the touch box. Then we would work on another one of our senses in the exact same way. We would continue to do this for all of our senses. Be careful when you get to the taste box. You do not want them to taste anything that may harm them. For your older kids, they can do the worksheet on their own. Just talk to them about tasting things first.

scavenger 3 This was done by my 7 year old daughter.

Same Area Scavenger Hunt:

Kids have the ability to see things in nature that we do not. Their eyes tend to hone in on the little things around them. For this scavenger hunt you are going to need an area outside that you can visit at least 3 days in the next week. All they will need is blank paper, or we use a regular notebook. They are to go outside and look at one area. We like to do this with our swimming hole. You could use a small area with flowers, your garden, or even just a small patch of grass. We like to use magnifying glasses to see the small things in our area. I give my kids about 30 min. or more to just explore the first day. Then they are to pick their favorite object and draw a picture of it. If you have older kids, tell them to add details to their picture and label it. They could even write a few questions about their object that they would like to learn about. Then a few days later, go back outside with their notebook or piece of paper and a pencil. Have them look at the same area and try to find something new, that they did not find on the first day. This allows their brain to work on visual spatial recognition, which is important when they read and write. Once, they find something that is different have them draw it in their notebook or on their piece of paper. In another few days, repeat the process again.

scavenger This was done by my 4 year old son.

*If you want to extend any of these scavenger hunts even further, you could go to the library, once you are done with the scavenger hunt, and check out books about some of the things that they drew. This will allow them to attach vocabulary words to what they saw during their scavenger hunt.

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Fun Weekly Summer School Ideas

Weekly Ideas That Will Spark Interest in A New Topic

Fun Weekly summer school ideas

Starting June first of 2016, we will be having a weekly summer school idea extravaganza. If you are not part of our Facebook group, you will want to join us as soon as possible. During each week there will be a weekly challenge for you and your family to complete. Then each family can post pictures of how they completed the challenge, use words to describe their adventures or even post videos of all the fun things that you have learned during the week or a video explaining how to do the challenge the way that you did.

I know that this will be a fun way to keep all of our families learning and sharing ideas with one another. I know that if you are like me, it is so easy to just forget all about school in the summer and just have fun. But, what if we could learn and have fun all at the same time?? Wouldn’t that be the BEST SUMMER EVER!!

Well here is our line-up of fun challenges to complete each week this summer:

  • Please feel free to complete the tasks that suite your family’s needs.

June:

6/5 – 6/11: Butterflies – Let’s save the Monarch Butterflies. The  Monarch Butterfly population has declined by more than 90% in the past                                                     few years. Go to the Butterfly Heroes website, to receive your free butterfly garden starter kit. Here are some cool                                                     butterfly activities: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/butterflies. Please take pictures of your family planting their                                                     butterfly garden together and post them on our Homeschool Women of God Facebook group.

6/12 – 6/18:  Plants – This week go for a nature walk and take as many pictures of different plants as you can. Then you can post your photos                                            onto the Homeschooling Women of God  Facebook page asking people to help you to identify each plant. Or, you can                                                label each picture with the name of the plant, so that everyone can learn the name of the plants as well.

6/19 – 6/25:  Clouds – This week take time to relax in the grass and gaze at the clouds. Remember to take pictures of your favorite clouds.                                                   Then upload your photos onto the Facebook page. Label each picture what object you think that it looks like and also                                               the name of the cloud, if you know it. Here is a video to help you and your child(ren) learn about the different types of                                             clouds: http://www.teachertube.com/video/cloud-types-137031. If you do not know what type of cloud it is, ask other                                             people to help you label them from the Facebook group. If you have pictures of your butterfly garden coming up,                                                       please take pictures and share them with us.

6/26 – 7/2: Airplanes – Using whatever materials you have lying around your house to make an airplane. Let each child explore what works                                                best to make their airplane fly farther. Don’t forget to have a lot of tape on hand. Allow them to measure how far                                                        their airplane has flown each time. For older kids you could have them graph the distance of their airplane during                                                    each flight attempt. You could also have them use a stop watch to see how long the airplane stayed in the air. If you                                                  need more help with airplane ideas checkout this website: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?                                                          id=1508. Please take pictures and share your experience with us on our Facebook group.

July:

7/3 – 7/9: Rocks – As you are out on walks this week have your child be on the look out for rocks that look different, or let them collect                                                 whatever rocks that they like. Then take a picture of the rocks and post them on our Facebook group. You can label each                                         picture with what type of rock it is or you can ask others in our group to help you figure out what kind of rock it is. Here is                                       a video to help everyone learn about the three different types of rocks.

7/10 – 7/16: Chemistry – There are a lot of ways that chemistry plays an important role in our lives everyday. Try to come up with different                                                     ways that certain chemicals react with each other. It could be how yeast makes bread rise, or how baking soda and                                                     vinegar bubble up. Take pictures of what happens when you mix certain chemicals together. Here are some more                                                       chemical reaction ideas.Then post your pictures on our Facebook group. If you have them time tell us how you and                                                   family made the chemical reaction happen.

7/17 – 7/23: Painting – Let your child(ren) paint this week. Let them paint on all different types of materials: rocks, wood, paper, leaves,                                                       flowers, etc.  Let them use different types of paints as well if you can. Please post pictures of their beautiful artwork                                                   on our Facebook group.

7/24 – 7/30: Recipes – This week make your favorite recipe together or try to make a new recipe. Take photos and post them on our                                                               Facebook group. Then add the recipe and directions to your photos. I can not wait to try some of the wonderful                                                         recipes that I know we will get.

August

7/31 – 8/6: Egg Challenge – This week have each child create an egg holder that will allow them to drop the egg from at least 10 feet in the                                                             air without it breaking. If you need more instructions check out the egg challenge PDF. Please post pictures of                                                           your egg contraptions along with how high your egg was able to with stand being dropped from without                                                                       breaking, on our Facebook group. Come on let’s see some amazing inventions that push the height limit to its’                                                           maximum.

8/7 – 8/13: Recycling Challenge – How much waste do we produce a year? That is something that I want you to think about this week. Are                                                                      there ways that we can cut down on the amount of waste that we produce? Maybe, you could start a                                                                              recycling bin, repurpose older stuff in the house, start a compost bin, rain water collection barrel, turn                                                                          things off that use electricity more often, etc. There are so many ways that we could help our earth. Let’s                                                                      start to make a difference today. Please post pictures of how your family recycled this week along with                                                                          an explanation.

8/14 – 8/20: Homemade Things to Play With – This week is pretty open. Do you have recipe for homemade playdough that you love to                                                                                                     make. Or how about slime, bubbles, paint, chalk, etc. Please post your recipe and how to                                                                                                   make it on our Facebook group. If you get time try to post a photo of you and your                                                                                                               child(ren) making the recipe together. Maybe, even a photo of your children playing with                                                                                                 your homemade item. Have fun and learn new ways to make homemade things to play                                                                                                       with at home.

8/21 – 8/27: Changes in Matter – There are three states of matter: gases, liquids and solids. Here is a good video to watch with your kid(s)                                                                       to help them understand the three states of matter. https://youtu.be/C33WdI64FiY Now here is the fun                                                                       part, let’s make some food where states of matter change. Homemade ice cream in a bag – it goes from a                                                                       liquid to a solid and tastes amazing. Make homemade butter – it goes from a liquid to to a solid. Vinegar                                                                       and Baking soda – solid to a gas, you will want to do this experiment outside. Lollipop Lab – goes from a                                                                       solid to a liquid. Please take pictures of the food experiments that you did this week and post them on                                                                           our Facebook Group.

  • Thank you for joining us on our fun summer adventures. May we continue to have more adventures together. To make sure that you do not miss any other fun ideas on this website please make sure that you subscribe to this website, right now.

 

 

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Websites to Help With Learning

 Websites to Help with learning

Preschool

www.starfall.com – website to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabet, sounds of each letter and get them ready to read. Fun videos that your child will love to watch.

https://www.abcmouse.com/ – this website teaches your child everything need to know for preschool and beginning of kindergarten. Amazing games, videos, printable worksheets, and more. The first month is free, than it is $7.95 a month. You can also pay for a whole year at a smaller price than $7.95 a month.

http://www.theeducationcenter.com/ – when I was a public school teacher this was one of my favorite magazines ever. They now have a website and the magazine is right on the website. There are thousands of printable worksheets, games, learning centers and more. Some of the materials are free. If you want access to everything then the cost is $2.99 a month, for each set of grades that you would like to purchase. I paid $59.95 for a full year for 2 different sets of grade levels.

http://getreadytoread.org/ – endorsed by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, this site has a lot of FREE resources to help your child to develop literacy skills before kindergarten. There are literacy games, webinars, literacy checklists, tips for parents, skill-building activities, and much more.

Early Elementary

http://blog.lakeshorelearning.com/ – need new ideas that are fun and hands-on. These ideas will not only spark your kids imagination but allow them to learn a lot of different subjects in new ways. (more…)

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Choosing Curriculum

curriculum

One of the hardest thing about being a homeschooling parent is choosing from all the curriculum out there. It can be very scary and overwhelming. I am hoping that this blog will help you.

You can start with figuring out how your child learns. They may be a visual or audio learner. Once you have figured out what type of learner they are, then you will be able to choose curriculum with more ease. To figure out what kind of learner your child is check out http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Learning_Style_Test_for_Children. They have a lot of resources you can use to figure out your child’s learning style.

These are the learning styles that your child may have:

Visual – learn by seeing and reading. They learn best when they can see things, pictures, text, charts and so on.

Auditory – learn by listening and speaking. They learn well with lecture, music, having stories read to them and so on.

Kinesthetic – learn well when they touch or do things. These students excel in hands-on activities.

Some children are a mix of learning styles. They may be a visual learner in math and an auditory learner for reading. Finding out what kind of learner they are can help you to choose which curriculum would be best for them.

I know for myself I also took into account what type of attention ability that they have. My three year old almost four is very active. He loves to learn by doing hands-on activities. When we learn hand writing this coming year I will use hands-on activities such as; drawing in shaving cream, pudding in a baggie or drawing on a big piece of paper. My soon to be 7 year old can only sit for about 20 minutes. So I have learned to give her more breaks. Just take the time to get to know your children and how they learn.

For my first year of homeschooling I did a whole curriculum from one company. Even though this didn’t meet all of my children’s learning styles right away, I learned which subjects worked for each kid. Then I took the subjects that did not work for them and changed it to fit their needs. Buying a whole curriculum from one company the first year saved me the head ache of trying to choose my curriculum from a lot of different resources. It was to overwhelming and I didn’t know enough about homeschooling to make a proper decisions for my kids. Even though I was a public school teacher before; homeschooling was a whole new ball game.

Now that we are going into our second year of school I know what type of curriculum I needed for each child. I did a lot of research and found curriculum that matched each of my children’s needs. I am much more excited about our second year because I feel like I know what I am doing now.

Some of my favorite curriculum so far is:

Story of the World – History

Picture Smart Bible – Bible curriculum

Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool, allinonehomeschool.com – for any subject

Common Core NY State Modules at engageny.org – first grade math

The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise – a book about classical education. It also answers a lot of homeschooling questions that many parents have.

As I use different curriculum this year I will be posting my reviews on each.

I hope that this helps you to choose the right homeschooling curriculum to fit your family’s needs. Remind yourself that you know your kids better than anyone else and that you need to follow your gut feeling as to what is right for your family.

If you have any other questions please feel free to e-mail me at mandy@homeschoolingwomenofgod.com

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Teaching Your Kids Accountability With a Simple Chart

With Minimal Effort and Great Results

picking up after yourself chart

I Have Had Enough

As soon as summer started, I felt like all I did was remind my kids to pick up after themselves. Some days, I didn’t even ask them to pick up their own stuff, because, it was just easier if I did it. I was getting frustrated and started taking it out on my kids. “I am not you maid,” I would yell. “Why can’t you just pick up after yourself?” I would ask. No matter what I did, nothing worked. So I sat down at my computer, one night, and decided to create a chart that would put the accountability, back on them.

How To Use The Chart

Each week my children get $5 for completing all of their chores. They love to get their allowance, so I knew that I had to create a chart that incorporated the $5. So I came up with a simple tab chart. For each item in the house that I have to pick up, that is theirs, I will remove one tab. For example, if my youngest daughter leaves her cereal bowl out from breakfast and I have to pick it up. I then remove one tab from her chart, because I had to pick up her cereal bowl.

Each tab is worth 25 cents. There are 20 tabs altogether, which equals $5. If you would rather make each tab worth 10 cents you can do that too. Whatever amount of money that you would like to put on each tab, you can do so. I have left the tabs blank. So, on Monday each week, I print out a new chart for each kid. I have them put their name and date on their own chart. Then I write 25 ¢ on each tab. Finally, the chart gets hung on the refrigerator, where everyone can see it easily.

On Saturday, I have each child grab their chart and meet at the kitchen table with it (we do not do the chart on Sundays). We discuss how many tabs that they have lost and why. Then I have them tell me one way that they could do a better job next week. For example, my youngest son has a hard time remembering to pick up his toys when he is done with them. So this is the one area that he would need to work on the next week. My older kids tally up how much money that I owe them. Then I give each child their allowance for the week and it goes into their piggy bank. Some of their money is for giving, some is for saving and the rest they can spend.

Tips and Tricks

The first week that I used the chart, I kept reminding the kids to pick up after themselves. I didn’t want them to lose too many tabs. What I didn’t realize was that I was the one that was still holding them accountable. I wasn’t letting them learn that they are accountable for their own actions. That they needed to remember on their own, to pick up after themselves. Once, I stopped reminding them that they needed to pick up their own stuff, they started doing it on their own. What a difference it made for me, feeling like I could relax more and let the chart teach them accountability.

Every time that I have to pick up something that is theirs, I have the child go with me to their chart, and watch me pull off a tab. It is a reminder to them that because of their own forgetfulness, they lost a tab. Trust me, they do not like to see you pull a tab off of their chart. This is a great reminder for them to pick up after their self more.

When they are doing a great job at picking up after themselves for awhile, and it seems like they do not need the chart anymore, this is when you can change the chart up. Maybe now, they are not using kind words towards their siblings? Maybe they need to work on listening to you the first time? You can change the chart and use it for a different problem area. So now instead of losing a tab for forgetting to pick up something that is theirs, maybe they lose a tag because they hit their sister, or yelled at someone, or did not listen to you the first time. The chart should never be used for more than one problem area at a time. This allows them to master one area of their life first, before moving on to something else. If you notice that a problem that you have already worked on is coming back, then just use the chart for that problem area again. We all need reminders in our lives that help us to fix something that we are doing.

Good luck!! Have fun with this and remember, relax and let the chart do the work.

Click Here to Download Free Chart

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