If you are new to this blog, each week I try to categorize all the posts I do on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you can easily find the ones that fit your family. Subscribe in the upper the right-hand corner to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!
FAMILY VARIETY ACTIVITIES
State and national parks usually have a huge variety of educational opportunities! Most offer history and science activities in addition to hiking! Call the ones near you for more info!
Some of my readers’ favorite educational websites!
Enchanted Learning – one of my favorites too. Well worth the yearly fee!
Grey Olltwit Educational Software
Answers in Genesis
Make some heart shaped cookies. Break a few of them.
Ask your kids about times when they have been heart broken. Then take an unbroken heart. Compare it to Jesus. Tell your kids that Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted. Put icing on that cookie and then place a broken cookie on top of the unbroken cookie.
Cover the broken cookie with icing. Explain that when we join our hearts to Jesus, He covers us with His love (icing) and heals our hearts. Let your kids make their own mended hearts and eat them!
Backpack scavenger hunt. Start out with an empty backpack that it closed. Ask your child to find something orange and put it in a certain pocket. Make sure they close the pocket when they are done. Then ask them to find something shiny and something soft to put in another pocket. Again, have them close it. Now ask them to find 3 items with different descriptions. Keep going until they can’t remember or they get bored. This activity sharpens listening skills and fine motor skills.
Middle School – High School
Have your kids look up synonyms for love in a thesaurus and write an essay giving examples they have experienced or observed of each.
Many local TV and radio stations have classes for storm spotters. Get your teen involved! Even if they never become a storm chaser, the things they learn will help keep them safe.
Things to do with a magnifying glass:
- Investigate coins.
- Compare what you can see with and without it.
- Look at plants.
- Try walking while looking through it! (Be sure to have someone spotting so your kids don’t run into things!
- Examine rocks.
- Start a fire! (You know if your kids are old enough for this!)
- Find out what happens when you look through two magnifying glasses at the same time.
- Make some fingerprints and look at them.
- Look at bugs.
- Try looking through it with one eye then both and at varying distances.
- Discuss ways people use magnifying glasses in everyday life.
- Research how magnifying glasses are made.
If you need a magnifying glass, please consider buying through this Amazon link to help support this page. Thanks!
Make a counting bug! Draw a lady bug. Have your child color it. Then make some number spots from black construction paper. (I used white-out to paint the numbers.) Have your child pick out a number spot and place that many pom-poms on the lady bug’s back. Do some simple arithmetic by pointing out the number of pom-poms your child has placed on each side of the lady bug’s back saying, “2+2=4”.
Throw a pair of dice. Have your kids add them together and then go up that number of steps and then slide back down. Make sure you practice step safety by using the handrail!
Middle School and Up
Jesus could trace his family tree clear back to Adam on both His mother’s and His father’s side. How far can you trace yours back? Is there anyone in your family that has done extensive research? Have your kids contact them. Most family historians are happy to share!
Create a calendar tracking the significant points in a historical events such as a famous battle, a presidential election or a disaster.
Daniel’s Place has several ways to create Egypitian crafts!
In most schools, K-3 is basically all about teaching kids to read, write and do math. And so it should be, but there’s no reason you can’t work a little history in there! Here’s a few ideas. Please add yours in the comments!
- Read books about famous inventors, sports figures, musicians, leaders, explorers, etc.
- Make a timeline. Place pictures of all these people on it.
- Locate where these people lived on a world map. Pin pictures of them or something that symbolizes what they did where they lived. In the case of explorers, use a marker to trace their travels.
- Have a toga day! Dress up in togas and learn about Ancient Greece and Rome.
- Build a pyramid out of sugar cubes.
- Create puppet shows about historical events.
- Go to museums.
- Visit an antique store. Call ahead to arrange a tour. Most owners love to talk about the history of their inventory.
- Draw the outline of a covered wagon 4′ x 18′ in your driveway. Try to imagine living in it.
- Do some tie-dye and have a 60s day!
- Build a tee-pee.
- Explore the history of the Olympics. Pin pictures of torches on your map of all the places it has been held. Have a mini-Olympics. Watch videos of the competitions and try to recreate as many events as you can at home.
Start a musical instrument file by finding several pictures of different instruments. Past them into a document on the computer. Then find examples of those instruments being played and put the URLs next to the picture. You could also write a little about the history and typical uses of each instrument. Keep adding to your file at least once a week and as you find new instruments.
Hive-Five Brain Break: Set a timer for 1-5 minutes. Tell your kids to see how many times they can high-five before the timer goes off. The only rule is that they can’t high-five the same person twice in a row.
BABIES AND TODDLERS
HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
ISSUES AND ENCOURAGEMENT
A peek into the life of a working homeschool mom!
And a homeschooling military family!
Check out my Face Book page for the latest activities and plenty of encouragement. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about homeschooling!
God Bless You All!
Is it just me? Or do games that your children have a hand in creating give your kids a little more interest? This is a game that the red head and I worked on a few weeks ago. To create this game, we cut cardstock into fourths and then placed stickers corresponding to each numeral I had written on the clothes pins. The redhead chose all princess stickers of course. I had to help her with placement and counting, but that is all part of the learning process.
The object of this game is to place the right clothespin on the card. Sounds easy enough huh? Not when you are just learning to count! I mixed up the cards and had her pick one from my hand just for fun. You could lay them face down or even face up. It really doesn’t matter. The objectives of this game are the counting, identifying the numbers, and manipulating the clothes pins. Just don’t let the dog eat them!
Once she picked a card, I helped her count by placing her finger on each princess (see video). One of the things that really surprised me when I first started teaching my kids was that they didn’t automatically go from right to left and from top to bottom. Learning this order is important in math and in most languages. Once you’ve done it with them several times, they will catch on. Be persistent, but not insistent about this if your child doesn’t want to cooperate. If your little one gets frustrated and starts crying, just put it up and come back to it later, but guide her hand until she gets it.
Once you’ve determined the number of stickers on the card, the next step is to choose the corresponding clothespin. I put them all in order and counted until I got to 3. Then I removed that clothespin and left the space empty. With subsequent cards, I counted the clothespins again and talked about how we had already found the “3” as I touched the empty space. Later on, she will be able to pick out the number with the clothespins randomly placed on the table, but for now, we are working on associating the written number with the numeral.
The redhead found putting the pins on the cards difficult at first so I helped a little. She was a pro by the time she got all the cards done! At the end, we placed all the cards in order and counted them again.
Do you make up games for your kids?
God Bless You All!
~ Grama Sue
Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are awesome, aren’t they? Back when I started homeschooling in 1986 there were 2 or 3 companies that catered to homeschoolers and they were expensive! Today, there’s so much out there it can be overwhelming! But, with a little creativity and help from the internet, you can practically homeschool for free!
Your time is valuable. I post enough educational ideas each week that you could put together individualized curriculums for your kids from them fairly easily over the course of a month or two, but accessing all of them would take hours of scrolling each week. So, I am going to attempt to do a summary of all the ideas and links I have posted each week, (plus a few extras) all neatly organized according to subject category and age level. Feel free to pick and choose those activities that best fit your children! Subscribe in the upper the right-hand corner to get this blog in your e-mail so you don’t miss out!
Do you know someone who’s been deployed overseas? The holidays can be a very lonely time for them. Get their address and have your kids write to them. Send a care package in time for Christmas. Your kids will learn about letter writing, the military and possibly about the country where your troop is stationed. If you don’t know anyone, I have a son and a son-in-love who are currently stateside in the military. I’m sure they could get you the name and address of someone to write. PM me.
Free outdoor Bible verse scavenger hunt. Click here!
Challenge your kids to write a story with as many of the names of the Books of the Bible in it as they can.
Make a cartoon book depicting a Bible story!
Another version of “Mother May I”: Instruct your kids to “run like a turtle” or an elephant or a turkey, but stress that they cannot move a muscle until you say “Go!”. Then count down, 3, 2, 1, but don’t say “go”, instead say “Girl!” Count down again but go back to 2 instead of “go” … Mix it up a few times. Teaches listening skills in a fun way.
Challenge your kids to find a different creative way to say thank you every day this month!
Cut several pictures out of a newspaper, mix them up and have your kids create a story from them.
Parts of Speech Hunt: Take an old magazine article and have your kids highlight all the nouns blue and all the verbs yellow. Use different colors for other parts of speech. You can also make this more challenging by circling phrases, etc.
Middle School – High School
Have your teens pick a song that they think represents their life. Have them embed a video of it in their blog or in an email and write about why that song speaks to them. Counts as Music Appreciation too!
Pretend you live in is a department store universe. What would your life be like? Write a story about the advantages and challenges such a universe would have.
Love those activities that mix subjects!
Dump out your change jar. Count the coins. Then sort them by the years stamped on them and stack them together. Count the number of coins in each stack. Make a bar chart showing the number of coins in each year. Then figure out the percentage of coins in each year by dividing the number in a stack by the total number of coins from your jar.
Middle School and Up
Figure out how far you could jump if you were a grasshopper! Click here!
Have you ever taken a tour of your local post office? Great field trip!
History is just full of science! Imagine that!
Another duo activity! Music and PE here!
December is coming! I always declared an “art month” during December. We would only do a skeletal curriculum of spelling and math drills. The rest of the month was devoted to making Christmas presents. The kids really learned to love giving! They were so excited to watch people open the gifts they had made themselves. 🙂
BABIES AND TODDLERS
ISSUES AND ENCOURAGEMENT
I’m working on doubling that again! How bout 10 years this time?
This is where I deviate from radical unschooling. I really think there are some things that require a lot of discipline to learn, like spelling, playing a musical instrument, and math facts. If kids are allowed to work on them for a few days or even weeks and then not use it, they will loose it. I also believe that since I get a reward for almost everything I do that maybe is boring or unpleasant, kids should too. Do you use incentives? What kinds of things work for you?
Wow! I learned so much doing this post! Hope it blessed you!
God Bless You All!
The other day I was listening to Iowa Public Radio and heard a horrifying account about a school called Normandy High School. Apparently, it is one of the most violent schools in the nation. Normandy High is in the bottom 10% of Missouri high schools based on how the student body performed on the state reading and math exams. The drop out rate is around 40%. The school actually lost its accreditation for a few years and wound up being shut down. Its students were transferred to other schools, but due to political maneuvering, it wound up being reopened with what sounds to me like a bogus accreditation and all those students were once again imprisoned in this failing segregated school.
I just want to scream at the parents, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS! YOU HAVE A CHOICE! PULL YOUR KIDS OUT OF THERE AND HOMESCHOOL!”
Fortunately, from what I understand many African American parents are getting this message. The black homeschooling community is the fastest growing segment of the total homeschool community. For any who have not taken the leap yet, let me ease some of your fears:
But I don’t have a good enough education to teach my kids!
- Educate yourself and teach your kids to do the same. Surely you can’t do a worse job than that hell hole you are depending on now.
But I’m single and/or have to work!
- Team up with some girlfriends! Create your own mini homeschool co-op to provide daycare and group activities for your kids.
But I can’t afford it!
- Lots of people homeschool their kids for free or nearly free. I have a PDF book that shows step-by-step how to create an individualized education for your kids using very little time and money. Email me at email@example.com and we’ll figure out how to get it to you. I’d appreciate a contribution of $3, but if you can’t afford that, let me know. I want your kids out of there. I’ll even be happy to coach some of you by email if you want. I will do all that I can to see your kids set free.
In researching for this post I happened on some links that might be helpful. These are just a few that are aimed specifically at African Americans. I am sure there are many more. If you are Hispanic or Native American, I am sure there are sites out there for you too.
I have lived most of my adult life out in the boonies, so I don’t really understand all the challenges of city life, but I did homeschool all three of my kids for less than $50/year while working 50-60 hours a week outside the home for many of those years. We were very financially challenged during most of my 20+ years of homeschooling, sometimes making less than $5,000/year with a mountain of debt. I may not be able to totally relate, but if you are willing, I’d love to help.
God Bless You All!
There were a couple of posts I was thinking about writing for today, but over the weekend I promoted this meme featuring a couple of black kids being freed from the classroom. It went viral, which I loved, but it floored me when a couple of people’s reaction seemed to read race into it. Honestly, that was a reaction I never expected!
So today, I want to re-introduce you to my grandson whom I affectionately call, “The Brown One”. Yeah, I know, some people are going to get offended by my nickname, but hang in there and I’ll get around to explaining my motivations! For a while, I was homeschooling him. If you search the archives, you will find several posts featuring him.
First, though, I want to give you a little background about myself. Up until I was in 6th grade, I didn’t know any people of color. It had nothing to do with segregation. It was a rural area in the Midwest where most of the people were of European descent – mostly German, French, and English. There were a few African-Americans, Mexicans, and Native Americans around, but I didn’t know any personally. Whenever we ran across someone of color, my mother took great pains to stress that these people were no different than us and to warn us against racism. She often told us the story of when she moved to Atlanta as a young child. Having lived up north where there were no people of color to speak of, she was quite confused by the “colored” water fountains. When she first saw one, she thought, “Oh how interesting! Colored water!” but was quickly disappointed when the water turned out to be just the clear variety she was accustomed to. She found the whole atmosphere of segregation and racism very upsetting. It was one value that she made sure us kids picked up!
In 6th grade, a boy moved in from Chicago. He was a real mixture of races. He told us he had African American, Native American, Asian, and Caucasian ancestors in his family tree. He was smart, good looking and a blast to be around. He ran in my circle of friends all through high school and even dated one of my best friends. Through high school, I became acquainted with a few other black people, but I can’t say any of them were really good friends. Then I got married and moved across the river where the population of people of color was less than 0.01%.
Many years later, God set me in an interracial church about 40 minutes away. There I got to know and love several African Americans and developed a desire for an interracial grandchild. Both my older children were considering adoption and my youngest (a teenager then) was attending church with me there. I thought I had a good shot at it, but then we wound up leaving that church and my older two started having babies of their own. After many years, my youngest started dating The Brown One’s mom. On their first date, Belinda tested the waters by announcing that she had a black baby. Jess was delighted. He told her about how I had wanted an interracial grandbaby and the rest is history.
The Brown One is smart, good looking, mischevious and fun to be around. Isn’t God good? He gives us the desires of our hearts!
I love this little boy with all my heart and I want him to know that it’s OK to be who he is even if he is different. As a child, I had a red tint to my hair and freckles. In my neck of the woods, everyone was either blondes or brunettes and no one had freckles. I was teased mercilessly because of it. I want my grandchildren to associate the words about them that might be used to hurt them with my love. I call my little redheaded granddaughter “The Readhead” and my nerdy grandson “The Geek”. I tell them how proud I am of them and that I love that aspect of them.
In the first century, people who followed Jesus were not known as “Christians”. They were known as “People of the Way”. Non-believers chose to try to belittle them by calling them “little christs”. Christian means “Little Christs”. The People of the Way chose to be proud of this taunt and turned it around by owning the name. Those who first coined the term “red neck” also tried to give it a shameful connotation. Instead of bowing to that shame-filled spirit, we chose to own the term. Duck Dynasty is a result.
I know that my grandson will run across prejudice and people who will try to belittle him. My purpose in giving him this nickname is to teach him to be proud of his heritage so that when he does run into ignorant people, he can hold his head up and say, “Yep! I’m brown! I’m of mixed race. I’m whatever term you might choose to call me and my grandparents are red necks! Deal with it! I’m God’s answer to my grama’s desires!
When I chose this picture for my meme, I thought the kids were cute and I also thought it might encourage the growing homeschool movement among African-Americans. Hatred was the furthest thing from my mind.
God Bless You All!
~ Grama Sue
If you follow me, you have a right to know! As a Christian, I’m way too conservative for the liberal church and way too liberal for the conservative church. Hopefully, there are lots of you out there who can meet me in the middle.
- Jesus Christ is the Word of God manifested in the flesh.
- Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was sacrificed as a ransom for our sin, went to hell and was raised again. He now sits at the right hand of the Father and is coming again.
- The Trinity is basic to Christian belief. God exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit simultaneously and they are one. Any religion that denies this is not Christian.
- There is NO way to God but by the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the way, the truth, and the light. You cannot be good enough to go to Heaven. We are all sinners who need a savior.
- It is by His NAME that we are saved, but His Name is more than just a combination of sounds, more than just Yeshua or Jesus. His Name is a concept, a principle, a spiritual entity in itself. Its meaning is so much more important than the sounds themselves. The Name means salvation, wholeness, grace, and mercy. Well, there’s a whole lot more to it than that, but my point is that Jesus is the expression of God’s mercy. Therefore. I believe it is possible to know God in one’s spirit without knowing who He is with the intellect. When we get to Heaven, many will be shocked to find people there who were Hindu, Muslim, Pagan, Morman, etc. No this is not an “all religions lead to Heaven” theory. I have heard testimonies of people who died and were on their way to hell when Jesus appeared to them and told them to call on His Name. When they did, they were returned to this life. How many does that happen to who don’t come back to life?
- This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t preach the gospel! Heaven is good! But Heaven on earth is the goal! When people get a revelation of this, miracles happen. Broken hearts are mended. Bodies are healed. Demonic strongholds are obliterated. Fear, lack, and despair no longer have any hold. “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. Let’s go there!
- The Bible is the Word of God. There are errors in the translations, but the manuscripts written in the original languages are total truth. All of it. I believe in the cannon we currently have. There are other books that are good to read, but these 66 books are scripture. Whatever doesn’t line up with these is not truth. I know, I know, there’s all that controversy about how we came up with it, but there are so many proofs that these books are indeed the Word of God. You don’t believe God can’t get His message across in spite of a counsel of men? He used pagan kings and prophets all the time. He is able.
- Holy Spirit lives in those who have made Jesus their LORD and Saviour.
- There is a baptism beyond water baptism called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is where we not only believe, but are immersed in God Himself. Those who live in this baptism have a revelation beyond merely believing. They are vessels of His power, and often manifest miracles. Many speak in tongues, but that is not the evidence. All either speak in tongues or prophesy. They are empowered to be witnesses and live in a way that is a mystery to those who have yet to receive this gift.
- There are apostles and prophets in the earth today as well as evangelists, teachers, and pastors. The church needs all of them.
- We can and should meet with other believers as much as possible, however, organized religious structures are not the only place to do this. Homes, restaurants, parks and the internet are equally as valid.
- God still speaks to people today. We can hear His voice and He listens to ours.
- Not everything that happens on this earth is God’s will, but He will use all that happens for His glory and our ultimate good. He does not micromanage the world, but He has placed safeguards in the form of consequences to keep those who are hell bent from destroying His creation. In the end, He will prevail and so will we if we choose to follow His lead.
These are the concepts which govern all my other beliefs.
What do you believe?
We’ve all been there. You know, that day when you and your child have worked so hard learning something new, like their ABCs or how to do long division. They’ve got it and you are so proud of them. Then … all of a sudden, out of the blue … they can’t remember how to do it! No matter how you hint, cajole, or even threaten, they keep insisting they don’t remember. You know they know this stuff! What’s up? Makes you want to tear your hair out!
But, before you engage in a battle of wills, assuming your child is rebelling and lying to get out of work, I want you to consider another possible explanation. I call it “Jello Brain”.
You see, the brain is made up of about a billion neurons. These little neurons communicate with each other by sending electronic impulses from one neuron to another. When we learn something new, these neurons fire electronic impulses along a new path through the brain cells. When this path is well established, the thing that has been learned is very easy to recall, sometimes to the point of being automatic, not requiring much thought at all. Remember when you were learning to drive? You had to put a lot of thought into every action, but once you learned, driving became almost automatic – to the point where if you are in the passenger seat and you see a threat of crashing, you automatically step on a brake that isn’t even there!
A path on the earth takes repetition, effort, and maintenance for it to become permanent. If I walk across my lawn one time, there will be very little, if any evidence that I’ve been there. But if I walk that same direction every day or many times a day, pretty soon a path will form. The neurons in our brains work in the same way. After a while, these paths become well established and if we really work at them they can become 8 or 10 lane highways!
Adults usually have lots of well-established highways from neuron to neuron, but children are just building them. And they face another challenge – their developing brains are rather “soft”. They have “set”, but are more the consistency of jello when it comes to holding information than the hard earth of an adult brain. Information hasn’t yet been crammed into them and packed down, so a pathway can be destroyed pretty easily. An oncoming illness, not enough sleep, a fight with a brother, or even watching a train race by, can jumble things up enough that part or all of that path is lost, rendering your child unable to retrieve the information.
Yes, your child might just be unwilling to work, but most likely they are experiencing “Jello Brain”. If you pressure, argue or try to shame your child into remembering, you will most likely just end up with a screaming, resentful mess on your hands. It’s better just to chalk it up to Jello Brain and start over. Most of the time it is better to wait an hour or a day or two before starting to rebuild so that whatever is interfering with the learning process has a chance to pass. Do something else and come back to it later.
Hope that helps!
God Bless You All!
~ Grama Sue
In 2016, let’s fill the internet with hope by purposely finding kind things to do every day and sharing them with others so they will be inspired. Use #366DaysofKindness when you post!
On Thursday’s, I usually pick up a few things from my friend Seth at the Burlington Market because it is difficult for us to produce enough for the demand we have in Nauvoo and then still make the Saturday market.
Last night was going to be Seth’s last night there for the season so he offered me all that he had left over for a really good price. Then he stuffed my truck 🙂 He and his wife have a FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Huizenga-Family-Farm/111793305589433 if you want to check them out.
It was supposed to get down to 24 degrees last night. Having all that stuff on the truck when it was supposed to get that cold worried me, but instead of unloading it all and bringing it in, I put the candle powered emergency heater in amongst the melons.