Archive for October, 2010

The Tundra–Antarctica–Inuits

I’m mixing things up a bit this year. I usually do science half the year and history half the year, but I am combining the two for the rest of the school year. We are studying earth science and geography/cultures as our themes.

For this next phase in our school year, we started off with the tundra and paired it with Antarctica and the Inuits. Here is some of what we did.

Tundra — This is a great website for all the different biomes.

Antarctica — A game about Antarctica and the research there–includes a lot of history. You don’t have to know anything ahead of time. I didn’t do it all fancy like they tell you to. I just printed it black and white on plain paper and made things work just fine.

My two older kids each did a lapbook piece about Antarctica for our wall map. I got the pieces from HERE.

Inuits — lapbook about the Inuits (Eskimos)  This has lots of writing space. I had my five year old do some of the pieces and just gave him different directions. On this piece he wrote the names of the animals instead of their uses as was instructed.

This piece made it onto our wall map.

Write your name in Inuktitut

You can find biomes on the Biology page of the Links blog. You can find Antarctica and the Inuits on the Geography/Cultures page.

October 29, 2010 at 2:06 am 2 comments

Language Arts

I have been using the free Language Arts Curriculum that I wrote up to share. I have the curriculum printed out as well as the grammar and English pages of the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog. I have put them all in the front of my big binder. Before we started our school year I also printed out all the grammar worksheets I thought I would want to use. I put all those in my binder too. I pull out about one a week and slip them into my children’s binders. I check off the things in the curriculum as we do them.

We are going straight through it. We have done poetry and a month on nouns and pronouns and are now on verbs. Twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) they do online activities related the grammar point and some sort of written exercise, either a worksheet or just one of the activities listed in the curriculum.

Tuesday they are doing creative writing. Sometimes I let them write whatever they like. Sometimes I give them a prompt related to our studies. The curriculum gives prompt ideas. I let them loose on these days and don’t make them edit at all.

On Thursdays we go to a co-op during our school time, and I don’t make them do any other school.

On Friday they do non-fiction writing. We spent a month writing a newspaper article. This month they are writing a biography. We work on these for the whole month on Fridays. One week they research. One week they outline. One week they write. One week they edit (and I give them my editing notes.) They do all their writing on the computer, so there is no rewriting, just fixing.

For their biographies I made them pick a topic from the biography book section at the library. They are so used to googling everything that I wanted them to use real books this time. They wrote the bibliography information from the books they used, each book on an index card.  Then each of those cards is labeled with a letter. Then I told them to write one fact on each index card and to label the card with the letter of the book they were using and the page number they found the fact on. I describe this in the curriculum.

Here is a picture of my children organizing their fact cards into categories. This pile is about his growing up. This pile is about after he was famous, etc….  Then each of those piles is ordered how they think best. Then the piles are put in order: first, second, third. They have their outline done! Next week they will just work through the cards, typing each of those facts with transitions. Each category will become a paragraph.

You’ll notice I added a Currclick ad on the page. My husband has become one of their teachers. He is teaching German. The class is for middle and high school students. If you are interested, I highly recommend him as a teacher 🙂

I also have gotten some old pictures up here if you want to scroll down. I have a picture of my wall map/lapbook that we started (on the oceans post) and a picture of my 5 year old’s weather chart on the “Up Where the Air Is Clear” post.

October 20, 2010 at 1:46 am Leave a comment

Oceans (lapbook freebie!)

Okay, we’ve finished up oceans. Of course all the links we used for our studies are found on the Links to All Things Free for Homeschoolers blog.  Go to the Earth Science page (under Science) and scroll down to Oceans (next main heading after Earth).

Week one we used this link to study about oceans and the kids made some lapbook pieces. They made some on their own and used some from practical pages. These lapbook pieces were hung up on our black outline map of the world on the wall. If I did it again, I would print it out in 16 pages. I printed it out in 9 pages, but I wish now for more space.

We’ll add to our wall-map-lapbook as we study geography and will get a picture to you. You can print out an oversized map here. (I keep the map links on the History page of the Links blog.)

The second we worked on a lapbook that I made using the links on this site. The Links blog has these links listed separately. (This site has pages for all the major biomes.)

Those of you on the Simply Lapbooks Yahoo Group got this lapbook months ago. We finally got around to using it. This lapbook has some fun pieces. Some of the pieces may be hard for early elementary students to make on their own. I like to divide up the pieces between my kids and give the easier ones to my younger ones. There is a bar graph in this one and the circle is about percentage. There are some extra links about kelp (with online activities) on the Links blog.

Here’s the ocean lapbook to download.

For our hands-on day this week we took ocean soundings. There is a link about this on the Links blog where I got the idea and where you can learn about how they really take soundings. This is how I adapted their idea.


Filled a box with random things of different heights

Took our soundings by dropping into the box through a hole in the lid (I used aluminum foil) a piece of string with a paper clip tied to it. You had to try and feel when it hit the bottom and then pinch the string right at the lid to mark the place.

Then you measure your string to where it came out of the lid

Then you mark the spot on the graph (how far over and how far deep).

Then they connected the dots on their graph and opened the box to see what it really looked like. I printed out the graph paper from online. You can also find that link under Graphs on the Math page and also I put it on the General Resources page of the Links blog.

October 9, 2010 at 9:39 pm 7 comments

Excited Molecules and a small handwriting freebie

This was an exciting experiment. That’s a bar of ivory soap after a minute in the microwave. The heat excited those water molecules contained inside the soap. It won’t harm your microwave and my son realized he could do it again and again with the same soap. This is one of the experiments from the Supercharged Science curriculum. Here is another experiment you can try.

Making glowing slime–it’s not dangerous, my son just likes the goggles
You can learn the slime recipe from the Supercharged Science site. This link will get you the video for this experiment. She does all the experiments for you in a video so you know how to do it and at least some of what to expect. She doesn’t always spoil a surprise though. This way you KNOW the experiment will work. How many times have you done an experiment that failed and you didn’t know if it was the experiment or something you did? The free experiments you get from Supercharged Science will always work because they have been tried out. Also, the woman in the videos is always available for questions by email or text message, usually you even get a same-day response. She also has a time when people using her curriculum can call her each week (toll-free) to ask questions.
Also while I’m posting, I made up three pages to go along with a copy of Handwriting without Tears I got from a friend. I have the teacher’s guide for grades one and two. I have made up a few blank pages with the blocks and double lines that they use. You have to write in your own sample letters/words for them to copy, but the teacher’s guide has a picture of each page of the student book so you know what they are supposed to be doing on each page.  There are a lot of people out there with the teacher’s guides that they can give you, but everyone has used up their student books. Here’s the link to download the blank handwriting pages: HWT paper

October 1, 2010 at 5:06 am 3 comments

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