Archive for September, 2010

Up Where the Air Is Clear

Weather, such a simple topic, but it seems to have taken a long time to cover. We up and moved (again) in the middle of this study which is never helpful, but we are now living in the same place for a whole five months. Moving three times over the summer was hard on this mom who likes to have things organized, but I know having things organized helped us survive it and kept our school moving along.

As usual, we used the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog as our curriculum, under Science, then Earth Science, then Weather.

Some main weather websites are The Tree House Weather Kids and The Weather Wiz Kids and Weather Interactives for your older students.

My kids used the different links each day to learn the info (telling me what they learned each day). We usually do a topic a week like atmosphere and clouds and then on Saturday we do our hands-on day.


The vase did not work for the egg experiment. The cloud in a bottle is what my son is doing in the picture.


Here are our hands-on projects. These were not done just one a week. We did the experiments together.

Make a cloud in a bottle

Watch atmospheric pressure at work

Evaporation and Wind Chill — observation experiment

Make it rain

Everyone made their own cloud picture.

Make cloud pictures –This was a great one for my 5 year old. (I just used regular flour and baking powder, not self-rising flour.) You microwave the picture when you are done to make your clouds puff.


My five-year-olds rendition of stratus clouds. I had them each pick whatever kind of cloud they wanted to create.


I assigned different kids each a different weather tool to make.

Make your own barometer

Make an anemometer

Make a weather vane


The weather vane


Everyone did weather forecasting. The first link is a great site. It was fun and interesting and has three different levels. They worked on that site for a few days and all week every day they wrote the day’s high temperatures for our state and the surrounding area as well as the daily wind speed and direction. We just had sunny days, but you would mark rain and clouds on the map too. Then on the last day they had to prepare and present a weather forecast. They made a map to show us of the day’s weather conditions and then had to give a three-day forecast of weather conditions and temperatures.

Learn how to forecast the weather

Map your daily temperatures

Map your daily winds

Print out your state map click on with adjacent


Weather map for my daughter's forecast presentation


My two older kids (8 and 10) did a lapbook on weather as a final project. I wasn’t going to do a lapbook, but it felt like we needed something to pull it all together. There are several weather lapbooks you can find on the Links blog. I took pieces from several of them and gave my kids different pieces, except for the water cycle one I made for them.  These are the pieces I used:

clouds (pp. 2, 5)

hurricanes (pp. 8-11)

electric storms (pp.7-8)

tornadoes (pp. 5-6, 9–I actually didn’t pick any pieces about tornadoes)

seasons (causes)


One of the lapbooks...I had them each do different pieces and then they had to show them to each other and explain their pieces.

Here are some links for younger learners, things my 5-year-old did:

Coloring pages

Weather Graph everyday he filled in a square for what kind of weather it was outside

Weather Chart (from practical pages)

I had to put this together myself (laminated with clear packing tape), but my son loved moving the pieces each day.



September 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm 1 comment

How I Organize My School Year

Early in the summer I let my children take time off from math since they finished their textbooks early. I let them take that school time to pursue various school-related interests. They really enjoyed that, so we’ve kept it up to a degree.

Since we school six days a week, year round, I figured out that they only need to complete two math lessons a week in order to finish their textbooks by the end of the school year. So I started assigning them weekly math instead of daily math. Right now I have them finish in four days so that two of our days there is more time for writing on the one day and hands-on activities on the other day. I’ve been working to make every Saturday a hands-on day. Having that scheduled that way makes sure I do it. Otherwise it’s too easy not to.

On the kitchen floor cutting out and putting together mineral shapes

I have also started giving them weekly copywork and weekly science as well (we do science half the year and history half the year). Science is assigned reading and worksheets, notebooking pages or lapbook pieces. They can do it all in one day, or they can break it up. My son and daughter approach it differently, but they both get it done.

The only daily assignment is for language arts. Monday/Wednesday are grammar days right now, but those assignments sometimes include creative writing. Tuesday is creative writing. Thursday was for spelling, but right now we are going to a homeschool coop then, so I’m not sure what I will do with that; it might get moved to Saturday which is currently free of language arts. Friday is non-fiction writing where we work on one type of writing the whole month. This month is writing a newspaper article. Last month was writing letters.

There is one other daily assignment–websites. Each day they have two websites assigned. One is related to our science topic and the others rotate topics. Monday-art, Tuesday-language arts, Wednesday-math, Thursday-critical thinking, Friday-language arts, Saturday-music.  Language arts matches what they are doing for language arts.

Whenever they get their school work done for the week or the day, they are able to pursue other interests. My daughter takes the time to work on art which we encourage because she has a gift for it. My son takes the time to do science experiments which we also encourage because of his gift for math and great interest in science.

We have done it this way for a few months now and it’s still working well. There have been a couple of weeks where there was no time for extras, but then they realize what they are missing and buckle down and get their work done faster so they can do the “fun” stuff.

As you can see, I keep things scheduled. I don’t have a written plan of what we’re going to do each day, but having the plan in my head of what happens on what days keeps me organized and everything moving along. Over the weekend I set up new links on for the kids, so they just type in the day of the week and their name and their two links for that day show up. I get all the links from my Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog,

Over the weekend I also take out my binder which has everything I have printed out that I thought we would be using for a certain topic and move things into the children’s binders. Before the school year started I printed out everything I thought I would be using from the language arts curriculum, and before each major topic (like weather), all at once I print everything out I think we will use and put it in my binder. Each weekend I move the old things into the back of the kids’ binders, organized by subject, and I put in the front of their binder what they need to do for the week. I include the daily assignments then as well, so I only deal with putting things out for the kids one day a week.

Long post. Hope it is somewhat understandable 🙂 and helpful to some of you.

September 11, 2010 at 6:04 am 6 comments

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