Friday, March 29, 2013

Outdoor Hour: Fungi & Printable Note Book Pages

The Outdoor Hour challenge this month was Lichen, Moss & Fungi. With all of the rain we've had here this year we didn't even need to leave our yard to hunt down and discover an array of fungi.

Once we started looking I couldn't believe my eyes with all of the different varieties right here in our own back yard. The kids were pretty excited running here, there and everywhere looking for fungi. I could here shouts, "I've found a different one over here!"

I wanted a record of our time spent looking more closely at the fungi but didn't want to turn this into a chore, so I put together a very simple notebooking page for the kids to illustrate the fungi of their choice.

Everyone agreed on water colours for this exercise. Lego Lover (11) chose a single stand alone specimen.

From the Fairy Princess, 8.

Little Surfer Dude, 4.

We also completed a second page with the all of the photographs taken during the backyard fungi hunt.

After Fungi we were on a bit of a roll and notebooked some of our backyard flowers and birds. I'm sharing these simple notebook pages over at my box storage.

Download the note book pages by clicking here.

I'm linking this post up to the Outdoor hour Challenge over at Handbook of Nature Study.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Volcano's from Tissue Paper

During our unit learning about Volcanoes we made Tissue Paper Volcanoes. This gives a wonderful rough 2D finish to the art. Very simple to complete, but does need to be done over a couple of days due to drying time.

Materials are generally things you will already have on hand.

  • A3 Art Paper (need some of a decent quality)
  • Tissue/Toilet Paper
  • PVA Glue (mixed with water)
  • Paints
  • Coloured Tissue Paper
  • Cellophane

Firstly we drew a rough outline of the volcano. Then set about building the base of the volcano, dipping the tissue paper into the glue/water mixture, scrunching and adhering it to the paper. This part can take up a fair amount of time, paper and glue, especially if the kids are heavy handed. Ours needed a good couple of days to dry properly before we moved on.

From there we painted the base, allowing it dry and then the sky in the background.

Adding the lava effects with red, orange and yellow paint was definitely the most fun. Seeing them spring to life with each stroke of the brush!

For an added effect I gave the kids tissue paper and cellophane to really make the lave stand out.

It's really difficult to show the effect in a photograph, this angle should give you some idea. These look fabulous hanging, my only concern is trying to fit them into our Art Display Folders as they are pretty thick and heavy.

TGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4Me

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

M is for Monkey - Printable Notebooking Pages

I display our monkey related items on a shelf for easy access.
With our recent time spent on the story Caps For Sale I took the opportunity to extend the learning a little. Lego Lover 11, was far too old for the activities that went along with Caps For Sale. So he did some monkey research instead.

Animal Note Booking Page
Some time back I created Animal Notebooking pages, Lego Lover chose Gorillas to do some further research on. He used the books we had here on hand and then headed over to wikipedia and this great site was perfect.

Junior Animal Note Booking Page

When I first put these together last year some time I was concerned that the younger members of the household would be overwhelmed with some of the information and the level of writing required. So I put together a Junior version of the Animal Note Booking page.

This will be added to their Animal Kingdom notebooks, a classification project I've been working on for them.

The link to download these note booking pages is at the end of the post.

We collaged a colouring page found online.
Little Surfer Dude collaged a colouring page I found online. He wasn't as in to this as I thought he would've been though. I saw the idea over here.

We made an M is for Monkey.

He really enjoyed putting together this M is for Monkey though, he giggled his way through it and made certain he had plenty of hair!! The idea for this little guy came from over here.

Our Caps For Sale Row
To see what other monkey related goodies we got up to check out our Caps For Sale fun.

The blank note booking pages.
Download the Animal Note Booking Pages here.

TGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4Me

Saturday, March 9, 2013

History with Story of the World

This year we are using the very popular Story of the World program within our Learning Circle (we meet weekly with a couple of other families). The process for our history block follows the same simple steps each week.

This assists us, the facilitators to plan effectively and also the children as they know what to expect each and every week during our time spent on history.

We begin in our homes, reading the chapter together aloud.

The Activity guide which you can purchase to use along side The Story of the World has been invaluable. It takes all the hard work out of the planning for you. Each chapter is laid out with Review/Discussion Questions, ideas for further reading, map work, colouring pages and lots of hands on activity ideas.

We begin as a group, discussing the chapter we all read at home. Here we use the questions in the Activity Guide, as the weeks have progressed we've found that the children are discussing more and answering less. Exactly what one of our aims for the group was. They are still answering the questions needed but they are now beginning to discuss the chapter together with their peers, as opposed to just simple answers to the questions asked, building, learning, growing from each other.

During the discussion time we write 'key words' on the white board. At the end of the group discussion the children take notes on the keywords and using the principles they are learning in their writing group using IEW they complete a note booking page that I created, at home during the week that follows.

The younger members of the group complete a colouring page from the activity guide and where appropriate they will write something they can remember about the chapter.

Each child has started a time line, here they add a card to their timeline each week, that in some way relates to the chapter they have been reading. I am trying to prepare the timeline cards several chapters in advance as often it takes awhile to find a suitable image.

The maps are all included in the activity guide and a simple step by step process on completing them is detailed in the guide also. You simply can't go wrong with the mapping process regardless of your own personal geography skills.

That completes the sit down/book work style component of how we are using Story of the World. This normally takes approximately 30 minutes to work through as a group.

Then it's time for the hands on activity. Again the activity guide generally gives you a few different options for creative hands on activities, there are also a myriad of ideas found online if you had the desire to seek them out.

For chapter one we chose our activity from the guide, but supplemented the paints with oil pastels. A simple cave painting recreation. Scrunch a sheet of brown paper into a ball then flatten it out again as best you can, this gives the children a rough, rocky like surface, something similar to a cave wall to draw/paint on.

Whilst drawing on their caves we discussed elements of the chapter and things that the earliest people drew on cave walls and their reasons for doing this. Many people use this program without the hands on activity and whilst you certainly can, I honestly feel that it is during the hands on component that the story truly comes alive. The children are imagining what it might have been like to be there drawing on those cave walls. A fun and important element of the program not to be missed.

Given that the majority of hands on activities from the guide are creations that simply will not lie flat in a notebook I've put together a simple page where the children can photograph their finished piece and adhere it to the page. Here we were able to glue the actual cave drawings to the page itself. These are then added to the children's history notebooks along with their note booking page and map work.

Week by week they are working their way through history and are slowly building their very own Story of the World.

Each family then has the option of delving a little deeper into the particular chapter during the week that follows, with subsequent books, activities and research. The timelines have been designed so that the children can add their own images or pieces of research that they choose to investigate at home.

Now that we are in a routine of sorts and we all know what to expect from the program and our history time together as a group we are seeing the value more and more of working on projects such as these collaboratively.

Do you tackle the subject of history with others? Please let me know if you do, I'd love to hear about how you go about it all.

This post is linked at

Monday, March 4, 2013

2013 Plans & Curriculum

I know here we are in March already and I'm only just now sharing with you our plans for the year. Oh well, that's just how I roll. This is not a complete detailed list of resources, just an overview that includes the core parts of each subject area.

Lego Lover  11 years

Outside Activities: Dancing includes, Jazz, Hip Hop & Musical Theatre. Drama Group at local theatre

Fairy Princess 8 years

Outside Activities: Gymnastics. Drama Group at local theatre

Little Surfer Dude 4 years

Maths: Fun Activities that I find or come up with. Australian Curriculum Prep book that he works in when he feels like it.

*** Absolutely no pressure for this little guy, he really does what he pleases. I just make a variety of things available to him.

Outside Activities: Gymnastics

All Together

Five In A Row: we are using this program with our Learning Circle group, so it is mainly for the younger two, however where I can fit it in I do have Lego Lover participate in some way. For example when we rowed Caps For Sale he did some Monkey research for his Animal Kingdom Notebook. When we rowed The Glorious Flight he rowed it in his own time as he took a great deal of interest in that particular topic.

Aussie Book Adventures: quite simply we use the FIAR concept but work with Australian books.

History using Story of the World: this poor program has been picked up and put back on our shelves a few times now. This year we are using it with our Learning Circle Group, reading a chapter at home, we come together for a group discussion, notebooking, map work, time lines and a hands on activity. It’s working really well that way.

Science using Real Science 4 Kids: again using this program with our Learning Circle in the same format we are using STOW.

Geography/Social Studies: We are covering via Country Themed days such as the one we completed at the end of last year on Japan. Lots of hands on activities with a lapbook to compile all that we do.

Art: I have purchased Harmony Art Year 1 program, just waiting on one more book to arrive before we start. We will also be making some use of this book throughout the year. A large portion of unit studies include art and craft activities also.

Nature Study: This is one area that is dear to me but one area that I’ve just never been able to make consistent time for. I’m considering grabbing another family and trying some nature study that way. It seems when I lock in with others I am much better at doing what needs to be done. I visit and enjoy reading all of the Outdoor Hour Challenges, hoping we can try and give these a go at some point during the year.

Learning Circle Group: We’ve joined with a small group of families (11 children in all) to work on some of our subjects collaboratively. During this time we cover Writing (non writers doing FIAR), History/Science (alternates each term), Music (keyboard), Practical Life Skills and a Newspaper study. The Learning Circle meets once a week, during school terms.

Other: We attend regular park meets, excursions and play dates with other home schooling families.

So in a nutshell, that's us for the year ahead.  We are nearing the end of the first term already and I'm very happy with the direction we are headed in.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Artistry Of Sand Sculpting

We took the opportunity to visit the Sand Sculpting Championships held on the Gold Coast recently.

Whilst it was certainly not what I had expected, it was enjoyable and I'm glad we made the effort to go.

The sculptures are all done up along the esplanade, not down on the beach as one might think they would be.

After witnessing the weather there though I now completely understand why they choose to sculpt away from the waters' edge.

Truly amazing work and it was quite unbelievable to think that these are made of sand.

And sand alone! It's all in the type of sand and how it is compacted that allows the sand to be sculpted in this way.

The finished sculptures are lightly sprayed with a fixative to give them some longevity.

A few simple tents lined the walkway, one of which held a space for the kids to have a go at sculpting for themselves.

After reading the step by step process of what is in involved in true sand sculpting, they all set about working on their own creations.

Little Surfer Dude, completed several variations of the one theme during the time we spent here.

Sculpting a turtle was the example used for the explanations, Fairy Princess was methodical and precise in working on her sculpture.

For some time we struggled to work out what Lego Lover was creating. For awhile there I thought it was Fred, from The Life of Fred series lol. His attention to detail never ceases to amaze me, he was the last one working on his piece and would've continued to add more touches if he wasn't lured away by the promise of ice cream!

Definitely something to visit again.

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