Showing posts from March, 2015

Brewing Up Some Fun With Homemade Butterbeer

We have been having so much fun with our Harry Potter Unit!  I knew we' d have to try making our own butterbeer at home since we just loved it so much at Universal Studios.  Today was finally the day and the boys could not wait!

The boys  and I watched a movie about the planets today as part of our Harry Potter astronomy unit.  The movie we watched was simply called Planets.  The boys were pretty interested in it; especially Alec who often asked us to rewind or go back to a certain part so he could listen again.

We all learned a little something about our planets and the solar system.

Evan speculated that there must be other galaxies out there and when I assured him that we at least knew there were other solar systems beyond our own he speculated that there must be some sort of other life out there somewhere.

We then made up our own brew of Butterbeer this afternoon. 
We bought the ingredients we needed at the store yesterday and brewed up a batch after lunch today.  It was prett…

A Bit Of Magic: A Harry Potter Homeschooling Unit

We finally were able to get started on our last Harry Potter book today and after scouring the web last week we decided to turn it into a whole fun unit!

We have science experiments, writing assignments, and lots of yummy recipes to try out.  I also printed out quite a few worksheets, word searches, and trivia sheets off of the Scholastic Harry Potter page since I know the boys do enjoy worksheets too.

At first I toyed with setting each boys up with an entire curriculum and base their days on Harry Potter's classes but in reality I don't want all three of them taking a month off from math and Evan can not afford to stop reading and working with sight words so I finally decided to treat our Harry Potter unit much like I treated our World War II study; as a little bit of extra fun, magic, and excitement sprinkled into our normal school days.

Today we made golden snitch candies and started learning some Astronomy (like Harry)

We had, what I hoped, was a fun trivia sheet about H…

Science on Saturday: Common Mergansers

We had a mini science lesson this morning.  Living on the lake we often see a black and white diving duck (as we've nicknamed them) through the years.  We see these black and white ducks every year around this time and usually they are out in the open water that's is not close enough to our home to really see any details, even with our binoculars.

Today, however, the ducks were right off the shore and using the binoculars we were able to see such amazing details.  
After looking them up in Alec's National Audubon Society Field Guide to North America we discovered that they are called the Common Mergansers.

We have a few males and females and we learned that they are the only mergansers where the females have the crested heads.

We learned that they dive for fish and we've noticed that they can disappear under water for quite some time and for long distances; just like the cormorant we had here over the summer.  We learned that they usually live in Canada and Eastern …

Finally Friday! Tying Up Loose Ends

We were so happy it was Friday today.  The boys were all excited about going to gym and seeing their friends.  Our Fridays are usually pretty light on schoolwork and heavy on fun.

We finally settled down to work and we had a few loose ends we wanted to tie up. 

This is something we try to do each Friday.  
I find that we all go into our weekend in much better moods if we can get everything we're working on tied up and in a good place to take a break.   It's no fun having unfinished work hanging over our heads all weekend long and it also makes us feel like we're starting our week behind trying to play catch up.  It makes for a stressful time and we all end up dreading starting school on Monday.
I wanted to make sure we had our loose ends tied up today and this week it meant we needed to make sure everyone had their geography fair reports and activities all planned out and ready to go. 
We always start with the work we need to wrap up before diving into our everyday work on Fri…

Making Learning Personalized

We had a jammed pack and busy day of school today.

 I hadn't planned on covering quite so much but one thing sort of led into another and when I looked back over our day I realized we had covered ALL of the subjects; and some of them more than once!

 Everyone was engaged and it seemed like everywhere I looked I saw each one hard at work on all sorts of wonderful and engaging activities.

When I'm teaching my boys I try very hard to make everything we're learning about personal.  
Being able to make a personal connection to what we're learning about makes it much easier for them to remember the materials.
I remind them of field trips we've been on.I remind them of activities we've done together.I use their passions and interests to guide me in what we'll learn about.I encourage them to put themselves in the main characters place when we're reading.We try to make connections to anything and everything we can.  I make sure what they are learning about is r…

Why We Cover the Basics EVERY Day!

Today we just had time to cover the basics in our schoolwork.  We have days where we try to cover many different subjects and other days when I'm thrilled to just cover some reading, spelling, and math.

Today we had a busy morning and I was just hoping to the basic math, spelling, and reading assignments done.

In covering the basics everyday the boys retain more, gain skills faster, and we make sure that they're prepared for life.   If they can read well, they can pick up any book and learn about whatever interests them.

If they are good at problem solving and figuring out math problems, they can tackle new areas of learning with confidence, solve problems, and make good financial decisions as adults.

If we practice language arts skills, they will be able to communicate more effectively through the written word.
I try to cover reading and math every day and throw in some sort of writing, spelling or language arts assignment.  I feel these subjects are too important not to c…

Roller Coaster Days: Dealing with the Highs and Lows of Homeschooling

Typically when we are having a day that starts off bad, I try really hard to turn it around.

We tend to skip schoolwork and focus on fun.

We'll go for a hike, find an art project or run a science experiment together.

However, on a day when we have a set schedule I'm often at a loss to what I should do when our day starts taking a nose dive; do we step back and try to turn it around or do we push through the work?

On days where we go from bad to good to bad and up and down and all around I feel like I am stuck on a roller coaster that I just can not get off of!
 The boys were all a bit grouchy this morning, grumbling when I reminded them to pick out some schoolwork for the car ride to karate, complaining when I asked them to help sweep the floors, sighing when we had to turn the movie off so we could get ready.

I didn't think much of it since these are the typical reactions I get when asking them to work, get ready, or help out; what can I say they're kids!  They'…