Monday, November 26, 2012

Math Ideas, Anybody?

We started working on addition today by marking out a number line on the floor.

Of course, the Grinch had to be involved.
 Math is my least favorite subject, and I'm worried about passing my dislike on to my boys. 

 What fun ideas do you have for teaching math to kids?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Who Home Schools? My Interview on Hammock Tracks

I recently came across a great Homeschooling blog called Hammock Tracks and am excited to participate in  their weekly feature, Who Home Schools?.

Please click on the Hammock Tracks button below to read my interview, and then spend some time there looking around!  I'd especially recommend hooking up with her "It's a Wrap; My Weekly Take Away" Link-up.

Thanks, again, Savannah, for the chance to share a little about our school with you!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mail from...Massachusetts (Happy Thanksgiving)

My first job away from home was on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, south of Boston.  While there I fell in love with New England.  Fortunately I still have all my photos from then because we haven't received our Massachusetts postcard.  It was fun this week looking through them with Beck.  And, of course he wanted to know if I saw a Black-Headed Chickadee (the Massachusetts State Bird) while I was there.  I can't say that I remember specifically that I did...
Sorry I'm not posting my own photos here,
 my scanner is being temperamental
Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock
Have you been there?
 It's one of the most disappointing landmarks I've been to,
but still a cool part of history.
Since the 1st Thanksgiving took place in this great New England state, I decided to go ahead and study it without a postcard to go along with it.  Somehow I am always too slow to get the fun popular seasonal books at the library, but this time it worked out okay.  Instead of silly picture books, we ended up with three non-fiction books that tell the real story of Thanksgiving.  Beck & Peyton have been so quiet and patient while we look through them, and I've caught them pretending to be Indians that help the Pilgrims find fish and food and arguing over whether there was turkey at the 1st Thanksgiving.  This time being to slow at the library has worked out for me.

To go along with our stories, I printed out some Thanksgiving printable crafts at  I've provided the links to each one below...

(They also had a pilgrim girl)

(This one was not worth the stress, 
and now I can't find the link, so I think it must be a sign)

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mail from...North Dakota & Kansas

My family does a lot of traveling.  It's a blessing we have and something I'm grateful for.  My kids love pulling out our photo albums and looking at the places they've been.  So, last week when we pulled out the postcards for North Dakota and Kansas, it seemed like a great time to remind them of some of the fun things we've done in those states.  In addition, we were learning last week about the Grand Canyon, which Beck can remember hiking around not so long ago.  All together, these three places made for a fun week of learning!

North Dakota
Years ago on a drive from Utah to Iowa via Yellowstone, we made a stop in Medora, ND.  It's the location of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and one of the coolest lodging accomodations we've ever stayed in...

Wooly Wagon

That's right, we stayed in a real covered wagon!

Inside the Wooly Wagon

My boys love Kansas, I didn't need to remind them of that.  Every year we go to a 4-day flea market in Sparks, KS with their cousins.  It's hot and smelly camping in a field and it's the most fun ever!  

The Grand Canyon
On a spur-of-the-moment decision two years ago, we met family in Arizona for 3 days of hiking.  Beck and Peyton did amazing!

Where are the places your children love to go?

Side-note:  I had no idea North Dakota and Kansas were so the same,
 but they share the same state bird (the western meadowlark),
 and while Kansas is the Sunflower State, 
North Dakota is the nation's largest producer of agricultural sunflowers. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Days of the Week

A few weeks ago we encountered the first subject in school that caused Beck a little bit of struggle.  It was learning days of the week and months of the year.  So, I jumped online and found some creative ways to make those two things interesting.  Here are the links to the things he liked the most:

I found a great tool for teaching yesterday, today, and tomorrow at School Sparks.  Here is a clip of Beck using it to sing a song he created...

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow from michelle hiatt on Vimeo.

What are your favorite ways to teach days of the week and months of the year?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Sense of Community

Do you have a "No Witches Here?" sign on your street?  That's what my kids think this sign is for-and not just because it was recently Halloween.  That's really what they think it's saying.  

Recently we studied about our community.

I used this classic learning tool activity to help Beck understand the relationships to where he lives.  Using cardstock and printing paper, the pages were labeled
  • Home
  • Town
  • State
  • Country
  • Continent
  • Planet

This is what we put on each page

  • Home: a drawing of our house
  • Town: a map of our local city
  • State: a map of our state
  • Country: a map of our country
  • Continent: a map of our continent
  • Planet: a map of Earth
I found each of these just by doing a Google search and each one had the previous place marked on it.  For example, an "x" marks our town on our state and our state is colored in on the map of the United States. At the end, we connected all the pages from smallest to largest with a simple brad. 

I know this is a very well-known activity, but I had actually never seen it before and we really loved it!

My favorite part of our community learning was teaching Beck his address! I was so surprised it only took him one day and now it's engrained on his brain.  It's a huge relief knowing that he has that important information in case he ever finds himself in an emergency.

We used this great printable from learn. create. love.

I taped it underneath a piece of plastic wrap and had Beck use a dry erase marker so we could re-use it throughout the week.

We had a lot thinking about our place on the planet.  And if my kids go to sleep at night feeling safe because we have no witches on our street, then that's okay.

What's your favorite way to focus on community?


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