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Activities Inspired by Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books are a favorite in our household. We've read through the first 5 books together several times over the last few years. I usually try to come up with some hands on learning activities to go along with our read alouds. I feel like it helps my kids get more out of our reading. 



Here are some of the activities we've tried while reading Little House on the Prairie:

Make A Log House:
After reading the chapters about Pa building the house, look at some pictures of log homes (Google Images is great for this). Then try making your own "log" house out of Lincoln Logs, popsicle sticks, or even pretzels. We used popsicle sticks. 

Take A Virtual Tour:
While the actual house that Pa built on the Kansas prairie no longer stands, there is a replica of the one room house at the site of the Ingalls family homestead. You can take a short virtual tour here:  The Real Little House on the Prairie.

Prairie Wildflower Activity 
Laura describes the wildf…

A Look At Our Homeschool Plans: Grade 4

As I do every year, I sat down with my daughter this summer to talk about her goals and what topics she wants to cover next school year. She asked to learn about birds, electricity, space, pioneers, and forensic science. She also asked to learn some sign language, learn to write in cursive, and said she wants to finish at least 10 chapter books this year. I think she picked some fun topics and set some excellent goals for herself.




Our Plan For The Year:

Something new we've decided to try this year, is incorporating more free choice interest led learning. Instead of having some formal lessons 5 days a week, we're going to try doing formal lessons just 3 days a week, and dedicating the other 2 days to whatever happens to interest her that day. My 8 year old is extremely independent and very much a free thinker. Too much structure is frustrating for her, but if I completely hand the reigns over to her, she tends to get lazy and doesn't want to do anything, so I'm hoping thi…

Sunshine Blogger Award Nominee 2019

I am honored to announce that Neesa from Home Educator Online has nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. 

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers who are bringing positivity and creativity to the blogging world.

Rules For The Sunshine Blogger Award:

*Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to his/her blog.
* Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
* Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award and write them 11 questions.
* List these rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post and on your blog.




Questions I was asked:

How long have you been home educating? 

We've been homeschooling since my oldest was kindergarten age, so this will be our fifth year.

What is your favorite part of home educating?

It's so hard to pick any one thing, there are just so many wonderful things about homeschooling. One of my favorite things is all the extra time I get with my kids. T…

School Isn't For Socializing

The number one concern I hear from most people about homeschooling, is the socialization factor, but the idea that homeschooled kids don't get enough social interaction is completely false. I think this misconception stems from a misunderstanding about what modern homeschooling actually looks like. Homeschooled kids are not shut ins who are stuck in the house doing book work all day. Homeschoolers are out at the library, exploring at the park, taking classes and lessons, or running errands with their parents on an almost daily basis. If you think about it, they likely get more real world interaction with people on a daily basis than their public schooled counterparts. When again in life are you ever going to spend the majority of your waking hours, in a room full of the same 30 people, who are your exact same age, everyday? Probably never. Homeschooled kids tend to get more opportunities to interact with people of all different ages and from different walks of life, just from bein…

Plant Science: Activities and Resources

Plants are always a favorite topic to learn about in our household. My kids love exploring new plants that they come across and there's something kind of magical about watching a garden grow. Here are some of our favorite plant science activities and resources:




Identifying Local Plants
One of our very favorite ways to study plants, is simply to go out into nature and explore. We take short nature walks around our neighborhood, along hiking trails, and in the park, several times a week. While we're out, we like to photograph plants that we come across to try to identify later. You can buy a plant guide book or use an online plant guide to try to identify the plants you saw, or my personal favorite is the iNaturalist app. iNaturalist is a free app you can download onto your phone or tablet. You just upload your plant pictures and the app and other users help you identify them. You can also help other users identify their posts.





Bean Sprout Activity 
This is an excellent activity for…

Measurement STEM Lab

Since my daughter is a very kinesthetic learner, I've been trying really hard to come up with more hands on math activities for her. We recently spent couple days working on a series of measurement and geometry activities that ended up being really fun. 




Create Your Own Unit Of Measurement
Have a discussion about different units of measurement for measuring distance like feet, inches, meters, miles, etc... Talk about how some units of measurement are more practical for certain situations. Like measuring the distance between your house and the grocery store is generally done in a large unit of measurement like miles or kilometres. Measuring that large of a distance with a small unit of measurement like inches or centimeters would be impractical.  Then challenge your child to come up with their own unit of measurement to measure a set of distances. 

For our challenge, I asked my daughter to create a unit of measurement to measure from one side of our house to the other, and another uni…

Nature Journaling: How to Get Started

I had never heard of nature jounaling until I recently started seeing it on Instagram. It seemed like a really awesome way to incorporate more science, art, and outdoor time into our homeschool week, so we decided to give it a try, and it has quickly become one of our favorite learning activities. Nature journaling is a fantastic way for kids to sharpen their observation skills and connect with the natural world around them. 




So what exactly is a nature journal?
A nature journal is a place to record things you observe in nature or thoughts inspired by nature. This can be done in many different ways. You can try sketching or painting things you observe, writing about things you observe, or you could even use you nature journal like a scrapbook and tape or glue in pressed flowers, photos, or other items. My daughter has a page with various dried seeds that she has found on our nature hikes. Like a personal journal, you can be creative and make your nature journal anything you want it to b…

My Favorite Online Homeschool Resources

I build a lot of our homeschool curriculum myself based on my kids current interests and needs. I do this using a wide variety of resources, including library books, science and STEM kits, activity books, and lots of internet sites. The internet is full of really great learning resources, in this post I share some of our favorites.




YouTube
We watch a lot of educational videos on YouTube. You can find videos on just about any topic. I like to try to find short videos to go along with whatever we are studying. Recently we spent a few days studying seeds so I found a short video about the different parts of a seed and how they grow, and a time lapse video of a seed beginning to sprout. A few of our favorite educational YouTube channels are:
-SciShow Kids
-National Geographic Kids
-The Dr. Binocs Show from
Peekaboo Kidz
-FreeSchool

Netflix
Netflix might not immediately seem like a good learning resource, but if you look, it has a lot of educational shows. A few of our favorites are:
-The Magic Scho…

Tips For Homeschooling In Small Spaces

Having a large space or an entire room dedicated to homeschooling is great. Sometimes I dream about having a house big enough to have an entire room just for our books and school supplies to do our projects and school work in. Not everyone has space for that though, and that's okay. You don't need to live in a large house to successfully homeschool. In fact, I follow several blogs about families that homeschool out of RVs or renovated buses, and my own family is currently homeschooling out of a small apartment. In this post I share some of my best tips for homeschooling in a small space.




Remember That Learning Can Happen Anywhere

Like I mentioned before, as awesome as it would be to have a whole room dedicated to homeschooling, it's not necessary (and it's a whole extra room to clean). One of the greatest things about homeschooling is that it doesn't have to look anything like public school. You can make it whatever you want. The idea that learning has to happen in a…