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Showing posts from 2018

Top 10 Posts Of 2018

I started this blog almost a year ago and honestly had no idea what I was doing when I started. I just knew I wanted a way to record and share my family's homeschool and wellness journey. It's been an interesting ride. I've learned a lot about blogging and made some awesome connections with other homeschooling families. As the year comes to a close I thought it would be neat to look back and share my top 10 most popular posts of 2018.






10. 40 Things To Look At Under A Microscope- This post is exactly what it sounds like, a list of 40 things that are amazing to look at up close under a microscope.

9. Why Don't Rivers Run Straight?- This is a fun hands on outdoor activity demonstrating why rivers tend to turn and bend rather than run straight. 

8. Why We Don't Do Bedtimes- In this post I share why my family skips the whole "bedtime fiasco".

7. Homeschool Curriculum And Resources: My Top Picks- A look at my favorite homeschool curriculum and resources.

6. Lego STE…

25 Awesome STEM Activities

We absolutely love STEM activities in our homeschool. They're a great way to develop problem solving skills and to incorporate more math, science, and engineering into our homeschool week. 






What Is STEM Education?

If your not familiar with the term, STEM stands for: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A STEM activity is any hands on activity incorporating one or more of these areas of study. Often art is also included so you may see the acronym STEAM as well. STEM or STEAM activities often provide opportunities for kids to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Plus they're just fun! Here are 25 of our favorite STEM activities:


25 Awesome STEM Activities:

-Water Cycle In A Bag from Playdough To Plato

-Make A Catapult from Kids Activities 

-Make Your Own Mineral Identification Kit from The Barefoot Mom

-Why Is The Sky Blue? from Rookie Parenting 

-Make A Cloud In A Jar from The Barefoot Mom

-Fireworks In A Jar from I Can Teach My Child 

-Why Don't Rivers…

Paper Chain STEM Challenge

My kids always love a good STEM challenge, and I remembered this one when we were making paper chains to count down to Christmas last week. I did the paper chain challenge as a child in one of my classes at school and thought my kids would enjoy trying it.






The Paper Chain STEM Challenge 
This challenge is fun for kids of almost any age. As long as they're old enough to handle scissors and tape, they can participate.
Start by handing each child a pair of scissors, some tape, and a single sheet of paper. I like to use colored construction paper so each child can have their own color, but any type of paper will work. Then challenge them to make the longest paper chain that they can with their single piece of paper.
Then let them do their thing. When everyone is finished, get out measuring tapes and measure each chain. 
Have a discussion about which chain was longest and why. Did chubby or skinny rings make a longer chain? What about short or long rings?

A Look At Our Paper Chain STEM Chall…

Choosing An Essential Oil Company

I love essential oils, there are just so many awesome things they can used for. But as with any medicinal, they need to be used cautiously. Choosing a company that sells pure unadulterated oils is important. There are a lot of essential oil companies out there claiming to have the highest quality oils, so choosing the right company for your needs can be a bit confusing. In this post I share a few of the most important things to look for when choosing an essential oil company.






3rd Party Testing

Choosing an oil company that is selling 100% pure unadulterated oils is the most important thing to look for. You don't want any nasty chemical additives in your essential oils. This can be confusing sometimes though because there are a lot of misleading marketing terms being used by some popular essential oil companies, like "certified therapeutic grade" or "medicinal grade". These terms mean very little in the aromatherapy world, as there is no governing board or agency t…

6 Reasons To Let Your Kids Play In The Mud

My kids love playing in the mud. And while it can be messy, I try to let them do it often. I remember making mud pies and sticking my bare toes in squishy mud puddles as a kid. Mud play can be an amazing sensory adventure. And it turns out, playing in the mud can be beneficial in many ways especially for young children. 




Benefits Of Mud Play: 

Fine Motor Skills
Using a shovel, playing with kitchen utensils to make mud pies, scooping, and digging, all help develop fine motor skills. Playing in the mud is a fun way for young children to practice these types of skills.

Makes You Happy
According to recent science, soil naturally contains Mycobaterium Vaccae, a friendly bacterium that stimulates the immune system and increases serotonin production (source). So, not only is it just fun to play in, mud literally makes you happy!

Good For The Immune System
Thanks to various friendly bacteria found in soil like Mycobacterium Vaccae, soil stimulates the immune system. 

Exposing your child to dirt and m…

Learning About The California Gold Rush

The California gold rush is one of my favorite historical periods to learn about. I grew up in an old gold mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California. The rich history of the area instilled in me a deep interest of this period. In this post I share some fun activities and resources for learning about the California gold rush with your children. 






A Little Gold Rush History:

On January 24th, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in the Sacramento Valley in northern California. This event would inspire hundreds of thousands of people to move west in hopes of making their fortune. It was one of the largest mass migrations of people in modern history.

People came to California from all over the world. Many came across the country in covered wagons. Others sailed on ships. Gold was pulled from rivers with gold pans, and sluice boxes. It was also mined from the mountains with explosives and hand tools.

Most people who came to California seeking riches didn't e…

Surviving The Camp Fire: Our Story

November 8th started out like any other day. My husband left the house before 5am for work. The kids and I slept in until about 8am, and then got up and made cheesy egg sandwiches for breakfast. I had no idea that by this time the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history was already racing into town.




The power company had issued a warning earlier in the week that they may cut power to the area that night if winds got as high as the meteorologists were predicting. High winds plus low humidity creates a high risk of fire.  But the power was still on despite the very high winds that had been gusting since the middle of the night. I figured that not cutting power was a good sign and didn't think much else about it.

After breakfast, I started hearing what sounded like small explosions (I would later find out that this was people's propane tanks exploding across town and echoing across the canyon). Around this time I also noticed what I thought at first was dark r…

4 Reasons I'm Thankful To Be A Homeschooling Mom

In honor of Thanksgiving this month, I thought I'd write a little bit about why I'm thankful to be a homeschooling mom.  I know homeschooling isn't the right fit for every kid or every family, but it is definitely the right choice for my family. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help my kids learn and grow everyday, and to get to play such an active, front seat role in their education.






Quality Time With My Kids

I am so incredibly thankful to get so much time with my kids everyday. Everyone talks about how fast these years go, and I don't want to miss any of it. I want to enjoy this time! I honestly can't imagine sending my kids off for more than half the day, 5 days a week. 

I also love being the one who gets to be there, watching my children learn and discover new things. It's beautiful to watch a child master something new. 


Flexibility

I am thankful for the flexible schedule homeschooling allows our family. I love that we can wake up when we're re…

Bath Time Science For Preschoolers

Bath time is a great opportunity for young children to explore buoyancy and the properties of water. In this post I share several simple science activities for preschoolers to do in the bath!







What Floats?

Before bath time, have your child collect various toys and household items like bouncy balls, golf balls, plastic cups or bowls, etc... Have your child guess which items will float and which will sink. Then have your child test them out in the bath tub. Talk about which items float best and why.


What Types Of Things Absorb Water?

Before bath time help your child gather up various items. Pick some items that will absorb water like washcloths, sponges, etc... and some that wont like plastic toys, rubber balls, etc...

Ask your child which items they think will absorb water, then get in the bath tub and test it out!


Color Mixing Fun

The bath tub is the perfect place for a messy painting project! Using bath paint in primary colors, help your child mix colors to make the secondary and other color…

Learning About The Human Body Part 3: The Digestive And Nervous Systems

The last two human body systems we studied in depth this year were the digestive and nervous systems. My daughter especially enjoyed the nervous system and learning about the body's senses. In part 3 of my Learning About The Human Body series, I share a few of the activities we did and resources we used to study these two systems. 

If you haven't already, you can read Part 1: The Skeletal And Muscular Systems here, and Part 2: The Respiratory And Circulatory Systems here.






The Human Digestive System

The human digestive tract consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas.

It's the system responsible for taking nutrients into the body and processing them so they are ready to be transported by the circulatory system to all the cells of the body.




Stomach In A Bag Activity:

Make a stomach in a bag to demonstrate how the acids in our stomach and the churning motion of our stomach helps to digest food.

For this activity y…

Learning About The Human Body Part 2: The Respiratory And Circulatory Systems

We've been studying the human body the last few months. We started with the skeletal and muscular systems, if you haven't read Part 1 of my Learning About The Human Body series, you can read it here. In it I share several activities and resources for learning about the skeletal and muscular systems. 

After the skeletal and muscular systems, we moved onto the respiratory and circulatory systems. We had an especially good time studying these two systems. In this post I share some of the activities we did and resources we used to study them.







The Human Respiratory System:

The respiratory system consists of our lungs, diaphragm, trachea, and bronchi. It's the system that is responsible for bringing oxygen into the body and releasing carbon dioxide from the body.






Build A Working Model Of The Respiratory System:

This activity is really neat! You will need:

-A 2 liter plastic bottle

-A balloon

-Some plastic wrap

-Duct tape

-A piece of construction paper


Start by cutting the two liter bottle …