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Showing posts from June, 2018

A Homeschool Feather Study

Feathers are a fascinating topic to teach your kids about. They have a unique structure that helps make flight possible for birds. Their structure also helps keep birds warm in cold weather, cool in hot weather, and dry in the rain.
In this post I share a few activities for studying feathers and some of my favorite online resources about feathers.

Make A Feather Collection:Save or take pictures of different types of feathers you find in your yard, neighborhood, and while on nature hikes. Compare the different sizes, shapes, and colors of different feathers. Be aware though that collecting feathers from native migratory birds is illegal in the United States, so stick to collecting feathers from domestic birds and species you are sure are non native. Otherwise, just take pictures.

If your really ambitious, try identifying what type of bird they came from and what type of feather (flight, wing, body, or down). You can find more information about types of feathers here.

Sketch A Feather:Have…

4 Reasons To Incorporate Nature Hikes Into Your Homeschool Week

Nature hikes are one of my family's favorite activities. My kids love them, which is great because they're educational and it gets them up and moving.
In this post I will share 4 reasons to incorporate nature hikes into your homeschool week.

Learn About Local Plant And Animal Life:
Nature Hikes are a great way to teach your children about the plants and trees that grow in your area. Check your local library or used book stores for a local plant ID book or just do a little online research and learn to identify local plant life. Many wild plants have nutritional and/or medicinal value and some are poisonous so being able to identify them is a great life skill to have.

Bring your binoculars and watch for birds, insects, and other animals you might see on your hike. Then go home and do a little research and try to identify the species you saw.

Learn About Geology:
One of our favorite things to do on our nature hikes is collect neat rocks that we find and then take them home to identify…

6 Awesome Chapter Book Series For Young Girls

One of the things I'm most proud of this homeschool year, is how much my daughter's reading has improved. She moved from reading mostly simple children's picture books and EZ readers to reading whole chapter books!
In this post I will share 6 great chapter book series for young girls, all approved by my daughter.

Billie B. Brown

The Billie B. Brown series by Sally Rippin was my daughter's very first favorite chapter book series. It's about a spunky little girl named Billie who likes soccer and hanging out with her best friend Jack.
(Jack also has his own series if your looking for a fun early chapter book series for boys.)
The language is pretty simple, the text size is big, and it has lots of cute illustrations, making it a great series for making the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Fairy Ponies

The Fairy Ponies series by Zanna Davidson is about a young girl named Holly who discovers a secret world full of magical flying ponies. 
The illustrations in thi…

Homeschool Curriculum and Resources: My Top Picks

We use very little pre made curriculum, as I build most of our curriculum myself to tailor suit my kid's individual interests and needs, but there is a really awesome history curriculum and a science kit series that we have really come to love. In this post I will share my top curriculum and science kit picks plus my favorite free online homeschooling resources.

Evan Moor History Pockets:We absolutely love the Evan Moor History Pockets because they come with tons of hands on lesson plans. They can be used to supplement another history curriculum that's maybe lacking in the hands on department or as a stand alone curriculum. Each one covers a particular history topic. 

For grades 1-3 they offer:
Life in Plymouth Colony
Ancient Civilizations 
Native Americans

For grades 4-6 they offer:

The American Revolution 
The American Civil War
Colonial America 
Explores of North America 
Moving West
Ancient Rome
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece

Each one is divided into several subtopics. Students make a cons…

Toothpick Gumdrop Geometry

We recently did a fun engineering activity building towers out of toothpicks and gumdrops. The kids loved it and spent a good portion of our morning building. While watching them, I came up with a simple hands on geometry lesson using the same materials.
In this post I will share a fun hands on way to teach geometric shapes and the difference between 2D and 3D shapes.

Toothpick Gumdrop Geometry:
For this activity you will need:

Using the toothpicks as sides and gumdrops to fasten them at the corners, have your child build some of the familiar 2D shapes like a square, a rectangle, a triangle, a trapezoid, and a parallelogram.

You can also build some of the 2 D shapes with more sides like pentagons, hexagons, octagons, and decagons.

Then try to build some of the 3D shapes like a cube, a rectangular prism, a triangular prism, and a pyramid.

Extend The Learning:Learn more about geometric shapes from these online resources: 
3D Shapes from

2D Shapes from Tutor…

5 Reasons To Let Your Kids Go Barefoot

I'm always surprised by how many concerned comments we get from well meaning strangers when my kids are barefoot in public. I know most of these people mean well, and are genuinely concerned, but their concern is misplaced. Going barefoot has many benefits and wearing shoes too often can actually be damaging. In this post I will share 5 ways going barefoot is beneficial for children (and adults too).

Proper Foot And Leg Development:Wearing shoes affects the way a person steps. It requires using different sets of muscles differently than walking barefoot does. Over time this can affect the development of the foot and leg muscles.
Modern shoes are constricting. Over time they can actually change the shape of a person's feet. Shoes can squish the bones of the feet together, affecting toe spread and arch. 
Flat feet are rare in places where shoes are seldom worn. Toe spread is also much wider in these areas than in their shoe wearing counterparts. Wearing shoe's can cause a narro…

Aluminum Foil Boat STEM Activity

We love STEM activities in this house. My oldest is definitely a hands on learner so we try to incorporate a lot of hands on activities into our homeschool days.
In this post I will share instructions and resources for a really fun STEM activity we did recently: Aluminum Foil Boats!

Learning About Boats And Buoyancy:
Before we got started on our own boats we spent some time learning about boats and researching how boats float. Here are a few good resources we found:

Why Do Ships Float? from SciShow Kids

How Do Boats Float? from Fun Kids Inspiring Engineers 

How Boats Float from Boat Safe Kids

I also did a quick Google Image search so we could look at pictures of different types and shapes of boats.

Building And Testing Aluminum Foil Boats:
Once we felt like we had a good understanding of what a boat needs to look like to float, I challenged my kids to design and build their own boats out of aluminum foil. 

My 7 year old decided to make a row boat shaped boat, a canoe, and two different types o…

Nature Stamping

I love art and craft activities that incorporate nature. In this post I will share instructions for a fun art activity we did recently: nature stamping!

For this activity you will need:
-White or light colored paper
-Washable paints
-Paint brush
-Leaves, pine needles, and other pieces of nature
-A cup of water for cleaning your paint brush

First have your children search your yard or neighborhood for different leaves, pine needles, shells, pine cones, sticks, and any other pieces of nature you think might be fun to stamp with. Our favorite materials are leaves and sea shells.

Apply a very light layer of paint to a leaf or other piece of nature with your paint brush.
Carefully stamp onto your paper. 

You can also set a fresh unpainted leaf on your paper and carefully paint over and around it. Then carefully lift the leaf.

Make a cool a design or just cover your page in nature stamps!

If you enjoyed this post check out:
-Backyard Nature Activities For Kids
-5 Activities Inspired By The Lorax