I've always been fascinated with other countries - their people and their cultures.
I also really like Jamie Martin's blog, SimpleHomeschool.net.
So when I saw she had a new book out with a summer reading contest, I was excited. We already finished the summer reading contest at our local library, so this will be perfect to add into our summer plans. It is going to be fun (lots of new book ideas!) and give us new reasons to look at our globe. I can't wait for my copy to get here! If you'd like to check out the reading contest, here it is: http://simplehomeschool.net/read-the-world/
Here is Jamie Martin's new book:
Once we start, I'm planning to give a little update on what books we read each week, along with any activities that we did. So check back soon! As I update each week, I'll link to the schedule below.
Mon, June 27th – Multicultural Week
Mon, July 4th – Africa Week
Mon, July 11th – Europe Week
Mon, July 18th – North America Week
Mon, July 25th – Middle East Week
Mon, Aug 1st – Asia Week
Mon, Aug 8th – Latin America Week
Mon, Aug 15th – Australia/Oceania/Polar Regions Week
Mon, Aug 22nd – A global link up for all families to take part in
This post contains affiliate links.
I'm not surprised. Not even a little bit. We always have one last snow (or two) after a little bit of warm spring weather. And in the winter, I LOVE snow. It was one of the reasons Dustin and I decided to move to the small mountain town where we now live. But snow, after a string of days with spring weather, is hard. The last day of school at our enrichment program was also a snowy morning (a week and a half ago.) Today is our last day of school (#172) for this year. It's snowy and still snowing. Woohoo, for summer break - in the snow!
One of the nice parts of homeschooling is that we could've had day #172 two weeks ago. But we didn't have to. We chose to play outside all day on those warm spring days. Because I knew (sigh) we'd have a at least one snowy day to stay inside, curl up, and read/write/math. And another handful of days that were just breezy enough with chilly mountain air that our playtime outdoors would be short. Those snowy and chilly days were perfect for finishing up our school year.
Another, fun homeschooling mom side note...
We homeschool year-round. So while our official day today is #172 (the number of days mandated by Colorado law) we are still going to be learning, doing, and living a life of education this summer. We will probably start our official day count for the next school year the end of July or Early August.
In the meantime, because we've established a family culture of learning all the time, we'll continue to:
- Read like crazy people (yes, the librarian and staff at our library know each of us by name and we have our own special shelf for "holds.")
- Watch documentaries and fun math shows we found on YouTube.
- Do science experiments.
- Build biomes. So far we've used this TOOB to start our arctic biome. The boys are excited to build all the biomes. The next two they want to work on on African grasslands and the rainforest, so we'll piece together our biomes using these TOOBs.
- Write a couple "books."
- Play board games. A couple of our current favorites are:
This is one I'm hoping to get and try out this summer since I have a couple map lovers!
- Cook and bake together (not my specialty, but thankfully Dustin can easily step in here, since this is an area the boys love and want more of)
- Play Prodigy Math (most loved math game in this house!)
- Visit museums, parks, playgrounds, the pool, and the sprayground.
- Spend lots of time outside - once the snow is gone!
My youngest son just had a birthday. My oldest is about to have a birthday. Because of the birthdays, this time of year always makes me think about how fast they are growing up and getting bigger. It's bittersweet. It reminds me to enjoy the little things. Not to stress so much. To relax and cherish. This YouTube song has been circulating my Facebook news feed like crazy the past few days and it seems to be fitting for this time of year.
Usually I like to keep the blog more focused on ideas, projects, homeschool thoughts - not so much on my business. But today, I have to share because I'm excited! After lots of playing, designed, re-designing, waiting for shipping - I finally have my new business cards!
This post contains affiliate links.
Saint Patrick’s Day is a fun day at our house. We usually stray from routine and do some themed learning and activities for the day. I usually start off planning by popping over to a few of my favorite blogs that have lots of good book list resources.
Then I reserve several, okay tons, of the suggested books from our library. These are some of my boys favorites that we've either bought or received as gifts.
I found a couple new books this year that I'm hoping to get! I might have a book hoarding problem...
Then comes the activity planning! Here are several of the activities we’ve done or will be doing this St. Patrick’s Day.
Pepper Paint Prints
Pepper paint prints were a hit at our house. The boys thought it was so cool to paint with food. It was fun to see them realize the shape the pepper made on the paper was a shamrock shape - just like we’d been reading about in our Saint Patrick’s Day books. It was also a chance to sneak in some conversation about alliteration (pepper paint prints.)
On Pinterest I’ve seen tons of rainbow cakes, so we decided to try one out. The boys decided they wanted cupcakes instead, so we modified. They loved spooning the different colors into the cups. Ours was fun, and fairly pretty, although nothing like those perfect pins!
I did find a cool tutorial from Not Martha for making a leprechaun trap rainbow cake, so maybe we’ll have to try that this year.
Most Saint Patty’s days around this house are not rainbow cake filled. I try, but baking is not my favorite thing - and the 9,000 foot elevation we live at doesn’t help me enjoy it either! Most years, I opt for some easy prep, green lunch foods and easy prep shamrock shaped sandwiches. Pretty sure my boys could live on pb&j (Little Brother) and ham and cheese (Big Brother.) We've done lots of sandwiches in shamrock shapes. Last year I attempted shamrock pancakes with a side of green cottage cheese (I know it looks disgusting in the pictures!) Grapes, kiwi, and avocado are always an easy, green side.
Back in my classroom teacher days, I always had my students do a leprechaun trap project. I structured it in different ways over the years, but the one thing that was consistent was the kids always had a blast with it! This is something I have yet to do with my boys, but I think this might be the year! I found a couple really cool links with great photos that I’m going to show my boys to give them some ideas and inspiration for trapping that leprechaun.
Leprechaun traps from How Does She & Leprechaun traps from Little Bins for Little Hands
Sugar cereal doesn’t happen too often around our house, so incorporating it into a fun activity is a real treat on holidays. One activity that my kids have really enjoyed is Fruit Loop rainbow making.
Rainbow template from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher
Another sugar ceral activity is a Lucky Charms graph. Finally In First has a picture of the actual graph we use. It’s from a cereal graphing book, so for copyright reasons, I’m not posting the blank copy of it. (Finally In First has lots of other fun ideas too!)
Fizzy science is always a hit! I mean, what’s not to like about science you can see fizzing and bubbling! A simple chemical reaction, with tons of fun!
Our recipe and idea to use green dye came from Green Fizzy Fun from I Can Teach My Child
To tie in rainbows and writing, we did a version of rainbow letter writing from Motherhood On a Dime. I used a shallow plastic bin and taped down all the rainbow colors using construction paper and filled it with salt before handing it over to the boys. Little Boy practiced writing his letters, name, and some other words he was interested in learning. Big Boy did his spelling words with the rainbow writing. We are going to learn more about rainbows and light in the upcoming weeks.
Hundreds Chart Activity
This 100's chart activity from I Can Teach My Child is an activity I just found this year and looks like something my boys will both enjoy. We’ll be trying it out in a couple days! Have I mentioned that I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE I Can Teach My Child? Such a great blog with so many terrific, fun learning activities!
St. Patrick's Day Writing
We have done several fun writing prompts in the past, but I found this fun list of writing prompts from Fun Games 4 Learning I think we’ll choose from this year. Sometimes Big Boy wants to be independent and do his own writing, sometimes he wants to do shared writing, and sometimes he wants me to scribe the whole piece for him. I like to do a mix of these. He has so many great ideas, but if I make him do the physical act of writing for very long, he shuts down and his writing becomes boring and short. We’re working on building up his stamina and learning to type so he has another option for getting his ideas on paper. If we do shared writing (I write a sentence, he writes a sentence) or if I scribe (meaning I write down exactly what he says including punctuation and capitals) his work is so much more interesting and vivid! Little Boy doesn’t have an interest in writing much besides letters and a few words on his own yet. But he loves to have me scribe his stories for him. I add in capitals and punctuation for him, mentioning it as it fits into our storytelling conversation.
For more ideas and inspiration you can check out my St. Patty’s Day board on Pinterest.
Don't get me wrong, we might take a day or two off from our routine to play in the snow, build a snowman, drink some hot chocolate, and snuggle by our wood stove reading stories.
Seriously. "Sun" days off after a long winter. Yes, please. Homeschool for the win.
Not all days go smoothly. Some days seem to be full of kids arguing, teasing, "forgotten" chores, messes, whining, more arguing. Today wasn't one of those days. Today was that breath of fresh air, that reminder, that there are moments, sometimes even a whole day of peacefulness wrapped inside of all the craziness of a homeschool life. Today was a reminder of all the benefits of being at home, getting to be my boys' teacher, and helping them grow to love learning. Benefits like my boys building close, meaningful relationships with their grandparents by reading and be read to via FaceTime during the middle of the morning, taking our time eating and enjoying our lunch while reading story after story, and spending a whole weekday afternoon outside ATV riding, enjoying a warm, sunny day in January.
This morning as Dustin was preparing to leave for work, the first sleepy boy (Big Boy) emerged from his room, and vanished. After looking all around the house and checking his bed (at least twice) to see if he'd gone back to sleep, we found him sitting at his desk diligently working away on his school work. What a nice surprise! By the time I grabbed a cup of coffee the second sleepy boy (Little Boy) was awake. While the second sleepy boy was trying to wake up, he told me he had a stack of books that "I need to read today - by myself - except for later when I am going to read them to Grandma." I offered to read him one before going to check on the school work happening in the classroom, but he was pretty sure he needed to read them by himself - alone - except with Grandma.
Sleepy boy number one, wasn't sleepy when I returned to the classroom, but motivated and focused on school. He worked on some independent work (geography, logic, math) while I worked on putting some things away in the classroom. He asked me to help him with his spelling, grammar, a fluency reading, and memory work "quickly" because he was going to do his school work fast today and spend the rest of the day playing with his brother. About the time we finished memory work, the second sleepy boy (also not sleepy anymore, but literally dancing what I can only describe as an interesting jig, of some sort) entered, declaring it was time for breakfast.
After a coffee refill, breakfast was ready to go and we sat and ate together, read a couple stories the boys picked out, and read a couple chapters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (our current read aloud.)
When breakfast was over, Little Boy informed me it was time to read his stack of books to Grandma. I thought maybe I'd get in on some of that reading, but I was informed (again) while watching the jig (again) that the books were for him to read to himself, and to Grandma, only Grandma. Screen time is earned in our house by having nice behavior and work (schoolwork and chores) done, so Little Boy got busy. While Little Boy was busy earning his screen time, Big Boy wanted to work on his writing. It's so refreshing to hear him say he wants to write because it's usually not his favorite thing. Right now he's working on a piece about our dogs so that he can enter it in a contest, so he's pretty motivated right now. When chores were done, Little Boy took the iPad and was off to FaceTime grandma. Big Boy finished writing and then we worked on some math.
After some FaceTime with grandma, Little Boy wanted to work on more school, so we played a very interesting game he created with letter flashcards while I folded some laundry and Big Boy did his chores. Mostly Little Boy "hid" and "scared" me while throwing matching lower case and capital letter pairs of letter cards at me, chanting the sound they make. The boys went on a "secret spy mission" while I made lunch. We ate and read more from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, read a couple chapters from our history book, and then Dustin came home early! The boys were ecstatic! They spent most of the rest of the afternoon outside playing and riding on the ATV's with Dustin. I did a little work, caught up on some emails and messages, managed to make a crockpot dinner, and go on a short ATV ride.
Our learning ended for the day with a few rounds of a game called Turtle Robot, Big Boy reading a few chapters to Dustin, and me reading a book (finally!) to Little Boy. The boys fell asleep listening the audio book of the Rats of NIMH.
These peaceful days certainly don't happen around here every day, but they are welcomed. They remind me why. Why, in a season of life that's been crazy and busy for us, we choose this lifestyle of homeschooling. Why we choose family, love, and learning from home.