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Showing posts from October, 2018

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 …

Learning About The Human Body Part 1: The Skeletal And Muscular Systems

At the end of each school year, I sit down with my daughter to discuss what topics she most wants to learn about the next year. One of her science topics she picked to study this year was the human body. Instead of ordering a boxed curriculum set, I decided to put together my own human body unit. In this 3 part series I will share some of the activities and resources we used for each of the body systems starting with the skeletal and muscular systems.

The Human Skeletal System

Our skeletons are the frame of our body. They give us structure, without them our bodies would be limp like noodles. They also provide places for muscles to attach so our bodies can move.

Why Does Your Body Need Calcium? Experiment:

This is a simple experiment you can do to explore why calcium is important for our bones.

You will need:

-several clean chicken bones


-a bowl with a lid or plastic wrap to cover it

Let your child examine a clean chicken bone. Note how hard it is.

Place several clean chicken bones int…

Avoiding Household Toxins

Many mainstream household products contain ingredients that are harmful to humans, animals, and the environment. We really strive to avoid as many of these toxins that we can in my household. In this post I will share which chemicals are most important to avoid and my favorite alternatives to mainstream products with toxic ingredients.

Ingredients To Avoid:

Sulfates- Sulfates are found in almost all mainstream shampoos and detergents. Sulfates can cause skin irritation and have been linked to  endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity.

Parabens- Parabens are estrogen mimicking chemicals often used as preservatives in the cosmetic industry.

Artificial Dyes And Fragrances- Artificial dyes and fragrances contain a slew of carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. They've been linked to cancer, birth defects, allergies, and nervous system disorders.

Phthalates- Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals often found in personal care products and detergents.  They've been linked to breast ca…

Simple Autumn Leaf Craft

One of my family's favorite autumn activities is collecting pretty colored leaves. My kids love finding them and bringing them home to photograph and use for crafts. In this post I share instructions for a simple autumn leaf craft we did recently.

Collecting Your Leaves:

Take a short nature walk in your neighborhood or a near by park to collect leaves.  Try to find a several different shapes and colors.

We ended up with several gorgeous maple leaves, a few yellow cherry leaves, and couple oak leaves.

Making Your Own Leaves:

Once you've collected some leaves, take them home and let your kids look at them up close. Talk about the colors you see and the different shapes and parts of the leaves.

Trace a few of the nicest shaped leaves onto white paper and have your kids color or paint them to look like some of the leaves you saw and collected on your walk. We used oil pastels because they work well for blending colors but colored pencils or water colors would work well too.

Have your chi…

Set Up Your Own Creation Station STEAM Table

I like my kids to have access to lots of materials for creating and building whenever inspiration strikes. That's why I recently set up a Creation Station STEAM Table in our homeschool space. The idea is to keep the table stocked with materials for building projects, creating art, and working on simple science, that my kids can use anytime they have a little free time.

Why Set Up A Creation Station?
Kids need unstructured time to just experiment and create without instruction or adult interference.  It's those times that kids learn to problem solve, build self confidence, and develop critical thinking skills.

I love how creative my kids can be when left to work on their own ideas. Recently my daughter designed and sewed a gown for one of her Barbie dolls. I was blown away by her finished product. It was so creative! And she made it completely on her own which made her feel really proud of herself.

How To Set Up A Creation Station STEAM Table
First, find a space to use. A corner of …

Why I Don't Buy My Kids Halloween Costumes

I don't buy my kids Halloween costumes. I might buy them a particular piece they need, or take them to the thrift store to search for usable items, but I don't buy pre put together costumes. My kids make their costumes mostly from things around the house. I always made my own costumes growing up and it's become a project my kids really enjoy.

It Encourages Creativity
Making your own costume from scratch encourages creativity and can help develop problem solving skills. You have to come up with your own idea and your own design. You may have to think outside the box and use items in a way you might not immediately think of.

My daughter's been working on a genie costume for this year and made a really cool headband/tiara out of an old belt.

Allows For Mind Changes
I don't know about your kids, but mine tend to change their mind about 100 times before they make a final decision on a Halloween costume. So far my 7 year old has wanted to be Moaning Meryl from Harry Potter, a…

Homeschooling With A Toddler

Homeschooling with multiple children is always a bit of a balancing act, especially when one (or more) of them is a toddler. Keeping your toddler happy and entertained during your school time with your older children can be tough. In this post I share my best activities and tips for keeping your toddler busy so that you can focus on working with your older children.

Sensory BinsSensory bins are a fantastic way to keep toddlers busy for awhile. A sensory bin is simple to make. They are a simple bin filled with some sort of tactile material like sand, rice, dry beans, kinetic sand, etc...additional materials can be added as well like small figurines, sea shells, pretty stones, pom poms, acorns, small toy cars, anything small and fun to play with. 

Sensory bins are great because in addition to just being fun for toddlers, they also promote healthy sensory integration and encourage imaginative play. For more information about sensory bins and some ideas for making some of your own, check ou…

Avian Egg Investigation

Eggs are a really interesting subject to teach your kids about. An egg has to contain all the nutrients and material needed for a baby animal to form and grow inside. In this post I share several activities for learning about bird eggs!

Examine An Egg

Let your child handle and observe several eggs of different color and size. Talk about the differences and similarities.

Get out some rubber gloves and a bowl and let your child crack the egg open to examine the parts inside. Point out the white and the yolk.

Look Up Close
Get out a magnifying glass or microscope and look at a piece of an egg shell. You should be able to see tiny holes all over the egg shell. These holes are how the developing bird gets oxygen!

Check out this awesome video to learn more about eggs and gas exchange:

-How Baby Birds Get Oxygen Inside Their Eggs

Learn About The Parts Of An Egg And Draw A Diagram

Discuss the parts of an egg you saw during your investigation today and have your child sketch and label a diagram.

You can…