Archive for July, 2010

Space Studies

Your whole family might like this 30 minute virtual planetarium tour of the universe we watched online. You have to enter your email address, but she will send you lots of science videos for free.


We approached our study of space a little differently. We had access to some different types of resources and I suggested to my kids they might like to try something different for awhile. They weren’t eager to stop the notebooking pages and lapbooks, but I figured it would be nice to take a break before anyone was bored with them.

Someone had given us this textbook and my daughter chose to work from it.

She really liked using the book and doing all the assignments and the little experiments and projects and asked to keep using it.

My son did the online astronomy course at

There are two courses: one for ages 7-11 and one for ages 12-18. My son is 8 and is technically in third grade. He did the first one. It says do one “packet” a week. There are 8. That was way too slow. Each packet only has 4 assignments. I had my son do an assignment a day. Then each kid had to do some sort of project.

They never saw any pictures of other solar system projects. My daughter made playdough planets and made informational labels for them.

My son is gathering info on building lots of different kinds of rockets. He wants to see which he can get to fly the highest. We are leaving for America next week so he’s going to wait to build them until we can get all the materials. This coming week school will just be reading and writing about whatever you want. (See Pop Rockets)

Everyday they also used links from the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog. There are way too many to post for you here. Scroll down to Space and have fun. There are videos, crafts, activities, lessons, astronomy math for all ages, your weight on other planets, a virtual launch, build your own space mission, watch videos on how different toys react to zero gravity, enter a virtual planetarium… On the space lapbook post I posted a link to one of our favorites, the relative size of the planets. Take a look!

My kids are looking forward to being able to go to the library! It looks like we’ll be able to join a homeschool coop too. My kids have never had any other English speaking kids to play with on any regular basis. I’m really looking forward to getting them connected to others while we have this extended time in the States.

If you are a praying woman, pray for peaceful flights with the 4 kids (youngest is 2); for my pregnant body to keep up with the 14 hours in the air, standing in line, the overnight travel, the restrictions on bringing liquids with you and the dearth of food service on the flights; and that I can figure out how to pack our entire lives into 6 suitcases. 🙂


July 24, 2010 at 4:06 pm 2 comments

Holes Lapbook

Here’s the lapbook I created for my daughter on the book Holes by Louis Sachar. She is ten years old. I think it’s considered a middle school book, but the vocabulary is not challenging.

I focused on plot in making the lapbook because there are several stories in the book taking place at different times in the past that all fit together into the present-day story. I really enjoyed reading it.

Some warnings: the warden is an evil character which shows mostly in one scene. In one of the stories from the past a black man is killed because he kissed a white woman. The woman he kissed was the town school teacher and model citizen but losing her love turns her heart and she becomes a bandit, a famous outlaw. Her story is very sad. This book offers some good opportunities to talk about how we can allow others to change who we are. There is another character everyone calls Zero. Everyone thinks he’s stupid and he doesn’t bother to correct them. Turns out he’s got a bit of genius for math.

Anyway…here are the pictures…

The four pieces on the left are  for writing about how the different characters/things listed there all fit together. Sam planted a secret field of onions which happened to be where his grandfather found refuge on “God’s thumb” where Stanley took Zero and ate onions which protected them from the lizards…it all works together.

There are a few character pieces as well. There are before and after matchbook pieces for two of the characters: how they changed during the story.

The piece at the top is a poem used in the book, well it’s a song. The piece calls for some analysis of its meaning and how it fits the characters story and asks the student to write a poem using the same idea.

There is also a piece on curses. Their family believes they are cursed. I included a couple of Bible references about curses in this piece to be copied from your version of choice. Basically a curse without cause can’t affect you and Jesus becoming a curse for us. We live in the land of the evil eye and curses are a big deal here. We have lived with the Roma (Gypsies) for 8 years and have seen and heard a lot about curses.

You’ll see there’s not a lot of color. This one is easy on the printer. You can use color paper if you like more color. Just the first and last pages of pieces have color on them.

Here’s the download link: Holes Lapbook

This link will remain on the Free Stuff page and will be on the “Books: supplemental materials” page on the “Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers Blog.”

July 16, 2010 at 1:56 pm 1 comment


I ‘ve started using my free Language Arts Curriculum. I planned it for our family, so it fits us well. 🙂  You need to take the materials and plan how it will fit your family. For instance the poetry section you could use as something for once a week. I took it and used it for a one-month study.

It is made for all ages. Last year we didn’t focus on grammar so this year we are going to. Next year I may focus more on writing and just use the internet to reinforce grammar terms and principles. We’ll see. The point is you can decide what to do with the curriculum. You don’t have to do it all.

Our Poetry Month

Monday and Wednesday we sat together and I read aloud from our poetry books. We don’t have library access so I just used what we had on hand. We have all the small poems and fourteen more, a collection of Emily Dickenson poems, a collection of Robert Frost poems and Poem Stew.

During this time I pointed out different poetic devices when I saw them and then had them point them out after that. We found similes, metaphors, alliteration, onomatopoeia, pun, idiom and oxymoron. You can find a list of these and links to learn about them in the curriculum. I didn’t plan this ahead of time. Just as I saw them. You could have your child learn about one and then search to find an example in a poetry book.

A chart of the different kinds of poetic devices

Wall Cards one page print out for each device (one is pictured)

(these are found on the English page of the Links blog under Language)

Tuesday and Thursday I told them about a specific kind of poem and read them an example. Then they had to write that kind of poem. They did 2 words, couplet, limerick, diamante, acrostic, shape, haiku, sense poem. Here are the links to the places I got the examples from:

examples of many different types of poems

more examples and directions

types of poetry wall cards  (pictured)

My son used these online tools to help him write these poems:




There are a couple other online tools. All of these links and more (all referenced in the curriculum are found on the Writing page of the Links blog (under English). You have to scroll way down to Poems.

Then on Friday I read to the kids from Psalms. On Saturdays they wrote their own Psalm. They are anxious to come up with tunes for them so we can start singing them during our family worship time. We managed a tune to one so far.

That’s how we did it. For the sense poem I had them make similes by using “like” for each line. It smelled like…  It tasted like…  But on their own, without assigning or prompting them put alliteration and onomatopoeia (sound words) in. I didn’t focus on trying to get them to create metaphors or anything.

My daughter was excused from one week’s poetry time because instead she was working on a lapbook for the book Holes. The book happens to feature a poem which I made a piece about. She should be done next week sometime and I will post it for all of you to use.

There are lessons on most of the poetic/literary devices in The King Will Make a Way study materials. I’m sorry them book is taking so long to publish. I’m waiting on others now who are working on editing and cover design. Eventually it will be ready and I will release the study materials to go with it. It’s for your double-digit kids, not intended for the youngest of audiences. The woman editing it is reading it aloud to her teen daughters and just wrote about how many writing lessons she is getting from the book. The one thing she pointed out in that email was this:

“With one movement she lifted the pan and poured it into bubbling broth. It hissed and spat as the oil and water quarreled. Angela briskly stirred them together and ended the dispute.”

And of course the unit study materials include the recipe for what she’s making 🙂


The closest thing to a “mini-office” I have for my kids is a language arts reference notebook that I have. I don’t have one for any other subject. These aren’t things we continually study, just touch on now and then so I like to have this so I can pull it out when we come across these things for easy reference.

I have a notebook with clear plastic pages inside. I printed out pages on the parts of speech, some grammar rules, a “student friendly” writing rubric, literary devices, poetry types and story elements.

July 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm 3 comments

Space Lapbook

Free Space Lapbooks:

homeschool share

live and learn press

JFeliciano lapbook pieces from homeschool launch — these pieces are each at their own link. You can use the Links blog to see what’s available. Scroll down to Space (first is earth, then oceans, then space).

(Note: since I wrote this I’ve added a new lapbook to the list based on the Magic School Bus book, Space Explorers.)

I took lapbook pieces from these various places and used them with my five-year-old. I searched around and printed out what I thought was appropriate and doable for him on his own. (The specific links are below.) My son does already know how to read.

He’s the only one who did a lapbook. You’ll notice I let him do everything on his own. He cuts, writes and draws himself. That’s all part of school.

I’ll do another post with what my older kids have been doing and all their links. My son loved doing his lapbook. He’s still coloring space shuttle pictures and today he’s going to fold a star-finder (that will probably require my help).

Links for the lapbook (for my five-year-old son):


Draw the Phases of the Moon (this is a pocket and you draw pictures of the moon at each of the phases)


Comets and Meteorites (has not made it onto the lapbook)

Others picked from here (size of earth and sun, how far, day and night and focusing heat with a magnifying glass)

Color and Learn Space Shuttle Book

Constellation Strips (This is on the lapbook, but you can’t see it. He cut out one of these pages whole, and I folded it up and he glued it on the lapbook in the top left corner.)

*Below are things not on the lapbook but that he did. You could use one of these for a cover. My son wanted to draw his own cover.

Planets Printable and Orbit Paths

Constellations Dot to Dots

Solar System Coloring Page

More space shuttle coloring

Sun coloring page

Sun Book Nasa B/W book on the sun that you can print out–can be used some for coloring

Star Finder

This isn’t a print out, but my five-year-old really loved looking at these “space balls.” They show the relative size of the sun and the planets. It is really cool. You will like it too! Gather the family to take a look even if you aren’t studying space. (I recommend turning off your volume though.)

July 2, 2010 at 8:54 am 1 comment

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