The First Snow

Don’t you just LOVE the first snow? It’s always so exciting especially with little ones in the house! This is Eli’s first year comprehending what snow is and Ivy (3) is extra excited this year about this white sparkly stuff.

“Mom, mom, mom…..come quick! There’s white puffy sparkles coming down from the sky!”

Can’t beat that!

Even better, since we homeschool this sort of thing weaves perfectly into our day. I quickly grabbed a few well-chosen books and my camera as they gazed out the window and had an impromptu science lesson for the littles while the older two worked on math and history.

 

 

We read “Why Does It Snow?”  (a Just Ask series) and talked about snow crystals all having six points but each being unique unto itself. We discussed and narrated how snow forms in the clouds and comes to fall here. Next we read “In the Snow: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George which is a fun little book that takes kids through an exploratory adventure through the snowy woods. Each page has a clue of an animal visiting and then asks the reader to guess which animal it was. I let each child take turns guessing then turning the page to see if they were right.

After that we suited up and headed outside with some dark felt to catch snow crystals. I’m pretty sure more snow was eaten than captured but the thought was there. The snowflakes were too small this time to really see the distinction of crystal patterns and my kids lost all our good magnifying glasses. Still, they had a fun 15 minutes running all their energy off.

Now, lest you think this day was shrouded in warm fuzziness because of these beautiful pictures, (And aren’t they beautiful? Just look at that magnolia bud frosted in snow!) just know that we still had our share of school battles today. I spent over an hour arguing and standing my ground on making a six year old little boy finish a phonics lesson that he could’ve finished in five minutes. It was as if his memory was suddenly erased on everything he’d learned phonics-wise so far this year. And his poor five year old sister was every-so patiently sitting next to us waiting her turn while helping me clean flash cards and did finish her’s in less than five minutes when we finally got to her. So never let the pretty pics fool you into thinking our day was something other than what it was…just a day. Beautiful moments captured between ordinary, trying times! In other words, life!

Other books we’re planning on reading today ~

  

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Free Human Anatomy Videos for Kids

I know, I know…not blogging right? Technically, I’m not. I had this post written over 6 months ago but forgot to post it. I am in the process of putting all my bookmarks on Pinterest and any posts of my own that I need to reference later again for homeschooling. So here I am listing all my human anatomy free online videos here for all of you to partake of and, mainly, for me to find again in an orderly fashion. (Don’t you love that you can pinterest your own things?) Enjoy and spread the love!

Cell Videos

Skeletal System Videos

Brain Videos

Heart ~ Circulatory System Videos

Muscular System Videos

Digestive System Videos

The Respiratory System

Human Body Videos – General

Click for additional Free Human Anatomy Resources and Free Germ Resources and Videos.

Playing Doctor: Germs and Our Immune System

The kids have had great fun this week studying about germs. I figured, mainly since everyone had a cold, that this was a good place to start. We did a mini overall introduction to the human body last week with a few fun worksheets and watching Osmosis Jones. Of course, as you can see above, we dug out the doctor kit and the littles have been playing all week. They were even fighting over the outfit so their solution was that Lilah got the shirt and Luc the scrub pants. He made up for it by donning a mint green oxford button up. He actually did look like a doctor then! It made me smile.

Although we’ve read several good books and watched several good videos, I think the kids favorite activity was learning how to wash hands properly. Ivy has been in the bathroom every chance she gets now to put soap on her hands (and whatever else she can). Our house mess level has been high but overall the kids have been enjoying themselves. It has been harder sticking to the other schedule of maintaining math and language arts. The first week back is always hardest. My weekend plans, other than Eli’s birthday, is to tweak this part to make sure we stay on schedule. I think what will help the most will be me being even more prepared. I thought I was this time with everything all printed out but I’ve found it’s the little things that will make the biggest difference to us…already-sharpened pencils, papers already on clipboards the night before for each child, as much chores as possible already done the night before to make a smooth morning transition.

We studied how our body works to keep germs out, combat germs once they invade, and how our body naturally heals itself. We also read about the doctor and immunizations. Most of our technical stuff (for the older two) had to do with the job of white and red blood cells. Here is a sampling of what we used.

Free Resources:

Living Books:

(There are many other great books to go along with this one.)

Other books we used:

  • About Me (Childcraft) – great overall resource for a human body study with children. Worded as a living book and keeps the kids interest the entire time. Great for older or smaller children. Use the parts that go with what you are studying. We will use this book each week and just read bits and pieces as we go.
  • The Giant Germ – a Magic School Bus chapter book that Gabe read independently this week.
  • Judy Moody: The Doctor Is In – a chapter book that Lily read indepdendtly this week.
  • Daisy The Doctor (Usborne) – a great read-aloud for the littles
  • Bernstein Bears Go to the Doctor – another great picture book for the littles

Free Videos:

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Free Lessons ~ Health, Nutrition, and the Human Body for Healthy Kids

Discovered a great new site for homeschooling moms…

Nutrition for Healthy Kids is a blog dedicated to teaching our children about proper nutrition. This homeschooling momma steps out of the box and teaches young children to think critically about their food. Her lessons go way beyond the public school’s general 4 Food Groups philosophy. What’s the difference between organic and non-organic? Can you taste the difference? See the difference? She explores using the scientific theory to go through lessons on everything from basic food nutrition to grocery store plu codes and knowing what a GMO is. Each lesson comes with a downloadable worksheet for the kids to use in their science investigations. And there is lots of hands-on (with little prep work) and opportunities for field trips.

I was planning on doing a Nutrition, Health and Hygiene, and Anatomy and Physiology unit this upcoming winter anyway. A good can’t-go-outside science unit to work on.  This site will tuck in neatly to what we will already be doing. Besides, flu season is the perfect opportunity for a field trip to our doctor for a seasonal shot! And our kids have all been under-the-weather this week so it will be the perfect time to start studying about germs and how nutrition can heal your body. My goal is for the kids to take an active role in their own health and understand why mommy and daddy make some of the decisions we do. I want them to decide what foods will build their immune systems and I want them to begin the process of learning the basics of cooking. We will also be spending the winter planning our spring garden so that will also tie in nicely. We will also be focusing on two very important key biblical elements…the fruit of self-control paired with the freedom we have under Christ. I will be curious to see how their knowledge plays out over the season of over-indulgence!

Here are some other resources we will be using:

If you’ve done any clicking, you can see we are going to have loads of fun with this study! We will use the books we have on our shelf first and then, if needed, supplement with the library. What do we have on our shelf? Take a peek!
I hope to add each week what we’ve done specifically for the week and what resources we used. This will allow for a more detailed list then I can provide here as well as lots of fun, free video links to specific units.
Our schedule:
  • Week 1Germs, How the body heals, Doctors, Teeth and Dentists
  • Week 2 – Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals, Supermarket
  • Week 3 – Anatomy: 5 Senses
  • Week 4 – Anatomy: Cells, Bones, Muscles
  • Week 5 – Anatomy: Heart, Lungs, Stomach

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Rocks and Minerals Lapbook and Unit Study – Part I

*This series will be a 2 post series. Check back next week for part two!

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to start this unit. I remember my rock collection as a girl. Our neighbor had a bed of river rock in their garden and I would spend hours digging through it always looking for just the right specimens. I imagined finding a glorious Indian arrowhead or a real dinosaur fossil. I would pour over the limestone that made up part of our wall in the front yard and carefully pick out chunks of rock that did have fossils in them. My imagination of what part of the dinosaur it might be from was far superior then the actual fossil sea shells they actually were. I remember combing the shores of a nearby river on family fishing trips searching for pieces of fool’s gold. I remember visiting a real cave and being mesmerized by the stalagmites and stalactites. I couldn’t wait to share this love with my children. As I was pouring over books and settling on activities, my husband would sigh and say, “Are you ever going to be done working?” But all I could think was this is not work!

Our school mission: head to the park and collect rocks. Use recycled egg cartons to hold specimens. Collect only 12 of the most interesting ones you can find. Head back home to identify and classify.

~ Experiments and Activities ~

The first thing we did was sit down and try to identify all the cool rocks we found. We have two wonderful field guides for this that the kids used: Smithsonian’s Rock and Gem and Eyewitness Rock and Minerals. I believe the kids classifie about 75% of their rocks and are still trying to figure out what the others are. This part was by far their favorite part of the week! Part of our identification came in the form of vinegar tests. Apparently any rock that has a bit of carbonate in it (think calcium, baking soda, chalk) will fizz when drops of vinegar are applied. Lily had great fun with this experiment.

Next we discovered how sedimentary rock is formed. We watched the Magic School Bus video on erosion (see below) and then did our own experiment in a mason jar. Fill jar with dirt (sand, soil, rocks) and water. Shake and let sit for an hour or two. Discuss the layering that happens.

We also talked about the layers of the earth. We listened to the kids favorite song (haven’t forgot the layers yet!) and watched this video:

Then we did a hands-on experiment to show how this works. We filled a tub with water (our liquid, moving magma mantle layer) then set pieces of wood to float on top (our continents, or earth crust). I showed how even not touching them they were always moving just slightly on the magma because of a solid floating on a liquid. This transitioned beautifully into a discussion on plate tectonics and how they work. We practiced butting the wood pieces up against each other in different directions to see how direction of force changed the outcome.

This led beautifully into a discussion on how mountains were formed. We used clay to showcase this phenomenon. We layered colors (our rock) into two long strips and then pushed them against each other until they buckled and folded causing both a mountain and the layers we so often see in rocks.

We also discussed climate change and how that affects the earth’s crust. The ice weighs down the crust sinking it deeper into the magma and then, during time of warming, suddenly (or violently) lifts back up to the surface again. Pretty cool stuff that I’ve never thought about before.

All this talk of plate tectonics led to a natural discussion of Pangaea. I had the kids trace the continents with tracing paper and then cut out their own Pangaea puzzle. They first had to fit it together how they thought it might go then I showed them what scientists theory was.

We went to this really cool site: Continental Drift Puzzle and they were able to interactively try their hand at the Pangaea puzzle. The really cool thing about this site is the ability to rotate the continents. And you can do it how you think, you can try with a Pangaea outline, or just see how you measure up.

The main book I used as inspiration for these experiments was an older book I found at our library called Rocks and Soil by Robert Snedden.

~ Geology Living books  ~

Let’s Go Rock Collecting

Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth

Magic School Bus: Rocky Road Trip – this one is a chapter book that we used as a read-aloud at lunch time. It corresponds to the free lapbook below.

 Cool Rocks – Tracy Kompelien

 Geology Rocks!
50 Hands-on Activities to Explore the Earth

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~ Free Rock and Mineral Lapbooks, Printables, and Unit Studies ~

Magic School Bus: Rock Road Trip Lapbook  Yee Shall Know

Rocks and Mineral Lapbook – Homeschool Treasure Trove

Geology ideas and printables –  Eclectic Education

Geology printables – Enchanted Learning

Geology Squidoo Lens

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~ Rock Videos ~

Eyewitness Rock and Mineral Video

Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls ~ Parts 1

Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls ~ Parts 2

Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls ~ Parts 3

*Note for you creationist science moms ~ I know many people, Christian and secular, debate the young/old earth theories. You will have to deal with a lot of editing of pretty much all the books if you do believe in the young earth theory. That said, here is a wonderful source via Answers in Creation to draw from if you need.

DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS!!!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal


Roommates

Meet our new roommates….

Squirmy and Fred, our monarch caterpillars

and Dooky (don’t ask!), our salt marsh caterpillar.

I was so excited to finally find some Monarch caterpillars. So looking forward to the exquisite jade green and gold chrysalis they make. By far my favorite caterpillar to keep and feed! Thank you, God, for the abundant amount of milkweed in our backyard fields! Monarch’s food of choice.

Gabe informed me that he thinks the cute furry gray guy is a salt marsh caterpillar (cousin to the woolly bear but non-banded). Good to know.  Can’t wait to find out!

This is our third year keeping caterpillars and it has turned into a tradition that I quite look forward to in August ~ September!

Think we shall be reading this during the school week ~

Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way

 

 

A Nature Walk with Aunt Bessie

A Nature Walk with Aunt Bessie

No, we don’t have an Aunt Bessie. That is the title of a new book we are using…or rather an old book reprinted and revamped by Queen’s Homeschool Supply. One of those true living books about nature that I longed to read to my children but had no clue how to expand that over into an actual study of nature.

Sandi Queen must have had that same thought and she did something wonderful with it by putting together a Discovering Nature Series just for busy moms like me who are mulit-level teaching and just can’t squeeze one more thing into our already-busy planning sessions!  I just love grass roots efforts of other talented homeschool moms that really fill a need that is not there. That is just what this book does. It is a great mix of living book and Charlotte Mason teaching style!

Sandi cleverly breaks the lessons into chapters from the original book. You read a chapter to wet your appetite and then use the corresponding activities to further your study. It’s perfect. Some activities are coloring, some are researching, some are drawing, some are hands-on. There is enough activities after each lesson to pick one or two of your favorites or match according to level of grade but not so many so that you may just decide to do them all.

This book has been a favorite of the kids. We’ve been doing it for three weeks now and have learned all about spiders and swallows and sparrows. I will definately be ordering the next two books after we are through with this one. Here are some pics of the kids enjoying their new nature study.

Other spider books we read (from our own home library collection) ~