Thursday, July 15, 2010

Product Review: Scholastic Storybook Treasures

My father has been legally deaf my entire life, but because his true hearing loss was something that gradually got worse over time, I was able to talk to talk to him as a child. Due to that, I never learned anything more than a few basic signs and the alphabet in American Sign Language. Now, my father has almost complete hearing loss and I find it can be difficult at times to communicate with him, especially for my children. It is important to me that my children learn ASL, but it can be difficult to find materials designed for their ages.

On July 27, Scholastic Storybook Treasures will launch a new line of storybooks-on-DVD, the American Sign Language series. The first two DVDs are "Goodnight Moon...and more great bedtime stories" and "A Pocket for Corduroy... and more stories about friendship." Each DVD contains 3 best-selling children stories along with an expertly signed adaptation. While the story is being read aloud, there is a person signing along and the words are shown on the screen. The DVDs are designed for children in the 3-9 years age range and while not designed to fully teach sign language, they are great for learning and reinforcing vocabulary. Also, the child can see just how important facial expressions are when using sign language, by watching the signers as they tell the story.

Not only is sign language a great marketable skill, children that learn sign language at an early age can increase their IQ scores by an average of 12 points and it is great for enhancing fine motor skills. Learning another language is easiest in the preschool years and helps to make learning additional languages easier later in life. Teaching sign language also enhances communication, vocabulary, language skills, reading readiness and sight word retention.

The DVDs are about 30 minutes long and retail for $12.95 each. If you like the first two, be sure to keep an eye out for the third DVD coming out on August 24, "Five Little Monkees...and more great children's stories."

***My opinion***
I really liked these DVDs for all of my children. The 2 and 3 year olds loved listening to the story and I liked that they were being exposed to sign language and written language as well. My older two, ages 7 and 9, felt a little too old for the stories themselves, but loved the sign language vocabulary lessons that are available as extras on the DVDs. The lessons also include comprehension activities that go along with them. On the downside is that I am not a big fan of sitting the kids in front of the DVD to educate them, especially for something like story time, however, if they are going to watch tv (and sometimes that is necessary), I want them watching something that is enjoyable as well as educational. So would I buy them? I would because I love that they are introducing my children to more sign language vocabulary than I could do on my own and I like that they can see there are other deaf people in the world, not just their Papa. The DVD's are well-made and great when mom or dad need to do something else, such as make an important phone call, work with another child, make lunch, etc.

I received the above-mentioned products for free to review. No monetary compensation was received and my opinions were not influenced by anyone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Activities

During the summer, we have a much less structured school time, but I still do have the kids participate in "school" activities. This year, I printed up a packet of activities for them to do. The packet is divided up by subject and they are to choose 3 activities from each subject to do each month. Reading is the only exception as they only have to read one book (from the list) each month and do the related activities. Each subject, except reading, has more than 9 choices so they do not have to do every single thing on the list. Also, if they do something not on the list, but that is related to the subject, it can be substituted in place of one of the activities. Here is the packet I gave them this year (minus the religion section which is available upon request):

For this section only, you only need to choose 1 activity (book and all related activities) each month.

Read the book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.As you read, be sure to visit this page: and answer the online questions for each set of chapters and do the corresponding activities.

Read the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. As you read, visit this page: Do activities 1, 2, and 4 listed at the top of the web page as well.

Read the book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. As you read, visit this page: and answer the online quiz questions for each set of chapters. You also need to do the following activities from the same web page: Make both of the recipes in the “Recipes” activities, Read about alcohol in the “Alcohol” activity,and Print and complete the Printable Crossword Puzzle.

***Do this activity first*** Visit the Girl Scout website and print out the Internet Safety Pledge: Read it over with an adult and then sign it. Be sure to always follow the rules in this pledge.The rules that deal specifically with Girl Scouting do not apply unless you are a Girl Scout.

Learn how to create a flyer using Microsoft Word. Learn these vocabulary words: font, clip art and italic. Learn how to change the font and to change the look of it by changing the size, changing the color, making it bold, changing it to italics, and underlining it. Learn how to insert and adjust the size of a clip art of your choice. Learn how to save what you have created. Make a poster for your bedroom or a poster for a party.

Learn how to write a paper using Microsoft Word. Learn how to use tab, spell check, how to set margins, and how to insert page numbers. Write a short story and submit it.

Start or continue a blog. Learn how to change the settings and layout of the blog. Learn how to create an “About Me” page and create one. Post at least one picture to your blog (after your parent approves it).

Learn more about using e-mail. Learn how to send the same e-mail to more than one person (called copying someone in), how to forward an e-mail, how to attach a picture or file to an e-mail and how to reply to an e-mail.

Learn how to run Spybot and AdAware to help keep the computer free from viruses and Trojans. Learn how to read the reports and fix any problems found after running these programs.

Keep track of any computers you see outside of your house for one week. Write down where you see them and how they are being used.

Find out about a job in the computer field. Find out what kind of education and experience you need to get this type of job.

Learn how to scan something onto the computer.

Go through the keyboarding lessons on this web site:


Write in your journal every day for 1 month. Talk about what happened in your life each day and how you feel about it.

Make an alphabet book for a younger child. Each page should have 2-3 pictures with the words carefully written underneath.

Write a story in your journal about your most recent vacation.

Write a story about a vacation you would like to take. Tell me about where you want to go, what you want to do, who you want to go with, and what it will be like when you are there.

Write a poem about your favorite thing.

Write 3 letters to family members who live far away.

Make up a book of family members to share with a younger sibling or cousin. Write their names under their pictures.

Write a book report about a book you have read. Visit this website to learn more about writing a good book report:,28372,634427,00.html

Write a story about what you think your life will be like in 20 years. Where will you be living? Who will be in your life? What is your daily life like?

Learn how to write all of the capital letters in cursive writing. Practice until you can easily write them.

Learn how to write all the lower case letters in cursive writing. Practice until you can easily write them.

Write a poem for someone you love.


Learn the names of the parts of a fraction (numerator and denominator) and be able to add and subtract fractions with the same denominator.

Learn the 3 types of angles: acute, obtuse, and right. Learn the three types of triangles: scalene, equilateral, and isosceles.

Learn what a cube, sphere and cone are. Be able to identify 10 different shapes.

Learn how to find the perimeter of a square and of a rectangle. Find the perimeter of 3 items in the house.

Learn what pi is and memorize the first 5 numbers of pi. Be able to draw and identify the symbol for pi.

***Learn the multiplication facts for 0-5.

Learn the multiplication facts for 6-10.

Be able to identify a number family up to 1 million.

Learn how many ounces are in 1 pound and learn the abbreviations for ounces and pounds.

Find out how tall you are and learn how to write it using marks for feet and inches. Find out how tall 3 other family members are and write their heights as well.

Learn how many pints are in 1 quart and how many quarts are in 1 gallon.

Learn how many feet are in 1 yard and how many feet are in 1 mile.

Find examples of 5 graphs in newspapers and magazines. Be able to tell me what the data tells you.


Be able to identify 5 different dinosaurs. Choose 1 dinosaur and write a report about it. Include pictures and tell me what it ate, where it lived, and at least 3 interesting facts about it.

Learn the names of the planets in order from the sun. Choose one planet and write a report on it. How big is it? What is the atmosphere like? How many moons does it have? Include at least 3 additional interesting facts about the planet.

Be able to identify 10 bones and 5 muscles in the human body by their scientific name. Be able to also show the general area of 5 organs of the human body.

Learn the parts of a flower and be able to identify them on a real flower. Use this web page to help you:

Be able to identify at least 3 different types of clouds in the sky. will tell you about 3 types of clouds, but feel free to explore to learn more. Make a cloud by doing this experiment:

Learn about animal adaptations by going on an E-Safari: First print the Safari Sheet and then fill it out.

Learn about worms and composting by doing the activities on this website:

Determine whether liquids are acids or bases by performing the activity here:

Grown your own crystals by performing this experiment: Record what happens and what you see in a science journal.

Learn about mold and grow your own mold terrarium by following these instructions:


Provide 4 hours of service to family members living outside of our house.

Create a treat to give to 3 different neighbors.

Make bath sachets to share with women you know:

Make 5 cat toys to donate to an animal shelter. To make them: cut out 2 matching pieces of felt scraps about 6 inches wide. All around the edges, cut lines about 2 inches long, 1 inch apart from each other. Tie the strips together (1 from front and 1 from back) around 3 sides. Crumple up a plastic grocery bag and stuff it inside the pocket you have made. Tie up the remaining side.

Pick up litter at a park.

Collect cans and bottles that you find and return them for the deposit. Be sure to ask friends and families to donate their cans and bottles too. Then use the money you raised to buy school supplies for needy children at a local school.

Knit 5 washcloths or 1 scarf to donate to those in need.

Become a pen pal to someone living in a long-term care facility.

Make 10 cards for Meals on Wheels to include when they deliver meals to people.

Write a thank you letter to someone serving in the military.

Write a letter to a missionary from your area that is serving far away.

For this section, you will choose 3 themes each month to learn the meaning and spelling of 10 words. You will need to use each word in a sentence and pass a spelling test for each theme. The themes and words are:

Clothing: romper, suspenders, petticoat, apparel, attire, blouse, caftan, turban, fez, windbreaker

The Sun, Moon and Stars: astronomy, celestial, galaxy, meteorite, comet, Jupiter, Venus, astronaut, gravity, solar

In the Garden: trowel, nozzle, sprinkler, hedge, fertilize, compost, fungus, stamen, pistil, arbor

Bugs and Spiders: insect, arachnid, caterpillar, chrysalis, antenna, beetle, mosquito, cicada, mantis, hornet

Birds: albumen, sparrow, eagle, pelican, flamingo, cardinal, raven, talon, partridge,penguin

In the Kitchen: whisk, ladle, spatula, fondue, knead, yeast, thyme, chocolate, legumes, herb

Crafts: purl, knit, thread, bobbin, embroider, kiln, loom, weave, stitch, fastener

Shapes: square, triangle, circle, rectangle, polygon, pentagon, octagon, hexagon, pyramid, cylinder

Sports: aerobics, stretch, marathon, cleats, soccer, gymnastics, ballet, badminton, trampoline, canoe

Food: waffle, sausage, steak, barbecue, cauliflower, broccoli, wheat, almond, lentil, sundae

4th of July: Independence, parade, liberty, statue, patriotic, fourth, united, picnic, anthem, colony

At the Movies: theater, preview, feature, concessions, aisle, comedy, intermission, director, producer, character


***Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once every day for 1 month.

Learn how to properly care for a skinned knee. How do you treat it when it happens and how do you care for it until it is healed?

Spend 30 minutes each day exercising for one month.

Plan and hold a fire drill for the whole family.

Conflicts occur when 2 or more people disagree about something. Write a short story about a conflict you might have with someone. Then write 2 endings to the story, one that tells the wrong way to deal with conflict and one that tells the right way to deal with conflict.

Make a list of 10 of your talents. Pick one and work on improving your skills in your talent.

Limit your computer, video game, and TV time to 30 minutes total each day for 1 month.

Make and serve a salad for the family that has at least 5 fruits or vegetables, one from each color family (white, yellow/orange, red, blue/purple, and green)

Make a book for a younger child showing playground safety rules.

Observe how acid eats away at your teeth. Get an empty baby food jar and put some egg shells in it (egg shells are made of calcium, the same stuff your teeth are made from). Pour in a bit of white vinegar (an acid, like soda) and cover the jar. Let it sit for a few days and then look closely at the egg shell. Do you see small holes and dark spots appearing?

Write about a time that someone broke a promise to you. How did that make you feel? Have you ever broken a promise? How do you think the person you had promised felt? What can you learn from this about being trustworthy?
Watch a movie or TV show and notice how the characters treat each other. In what ways were they respectful? How were they disrespectful? How do you think the other person felt when they were treated with respect? How do you think they felt when they were treated disrespectfully? Give some examples. What can you learn from this about showing respect to others?

Social Studies

Find the flag of any country other than the United States and use craft materials to make your own replica of their flag. You can use construction paper, markers, felt, etc.

Choose any country and make a recipe that is popular there.

Watch the PowerPoint presentation about the International Pencil. What did you learn?

Learn about the US Constitution. Fill out this worksheet:

Make a collage showing the difference between needs and wants. You can either cut out pictures or draw your own.

Learn about imports and exports on this web page: Complete activity #2 and answer the questions asked in the conclusion on the web page.

Learn about consumers and producers by completing the slide show and answering the questions here:

Learn the names of the 7 continents (North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica) and be able to locate them on a world map. Do the same with the 5 oceans (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern)

Make a tin can lantern using the instructions here: Have an adult help with this project.

Research any invention you choose and write an essay about it. Who invented it? When did they invent it? Why did they invent it and what did it replace? Where was it invented? How was it invented/what materials were used?

Draw a map of your backyard. Do not forget the legend/key.

Language Arts

Work through all of the lessons listed under Grade 3 on this website:

Practice choosing the correct word here: (its vs. it’s, they’re/their/there)>

View the capitalization rules power point .

See your parent/teacher for the following directions worksheet. This is a timed 3-minute paper so be ready to do it when you ask for it.

Do the activity listed here: by choosing which answer does NOT support the topic sentence and then writing a short paragraph based on one of the examples. After you submit the “quiz”, you will have the ability to e-mail the results to your parents/teacher. Be sure you do so.

Learn how to determine the main idea of a paragraph by practicing on this website:

Learn about comparing and contrasting with this activity:

Go through these 17 quick lessons and activities to learn the parts of a book:

Visit this website to learn about haikus: Write a haiku about any topic you wish.

An alliteration is a sentence where the first letter is repeated often, such as “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”. Notice how the “p” sound is repeated over and over. Write an alliteration of your own and draw a picture to go with it.

Learn about acrostics here: Write one about someone you love. Get a nice frame and put your acrostic in it. Give it to your loved one at Christmas or another holiday.

Domestic Arts

Learn how to sew a button on.

Choose a cake recipe to make from scratch. Make it one night for dessert.

Plan a healthy meal and make it for the family. You can make a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Be sure to include all the food groups.

Plan and hold a Family Home Evening/Family Activity Night.

Beans are an excellent source of protein and are low in fat. They are also inexpensive and therefore a great food to base meals on. Find a bean recipe and make it.

Create a decoration for your bedroom or another room in the house.

Create a piece of jewelry for either you to wear or to give as a gift.

Create an article of clothing from a stained or torn piece of clothing you already have.

Refurnish or repurpose something that is no longer being used. This can be something in your home, something from the side of the road, something given to you or something bought at a yard sale or thrift store. Be sure to have an adult's permission before altering it.

***Make your bed every morning for 1 month.


Look at these paintings by Claude Monet (click on the picture to make it bigger): Write down the title of your favorite one and write why you like it. How does the picture make you feel?

Make a yarn painting. Click here for instructions.

Put on some music and just dance as the music moves you. Dance for 30 minutes. How did you feel like moving when fast music was playing? How did you move when slower music was playing?

Using a mirror, draw your self portrait.

Write your name in large bubble letters across a piece of paper. Divide the paper into six equal sections and paint each section according to the color wheel. You can only use red, yellow and blue paint to make all 6 colors. Here is an example:

Symmetry is when both sides of a picture or object are the same. Draw a picture that is symmetrical.

Using whatever materials you choose, make a puppet. This can be a sock puppet, a puppet on a stick, or any other type you choose. Then create a one-puppet puppet show to share with the family.

Make a texture collage make making several different crayon rubbings on a piece of paper. You can make rubbings of tree bark, leaves, flowers, the sidewalk, etc. Use lots of different colors.

Color a monotone picture of your choice. Choose one color and find various shades of it. Use only those crayons to color your picture.

Use fabric scraps to create a picture.

Choose a famous artist and write a short report about their life. Tell where and when they lived, what type of art they made, any special contributions they made to the art process, and name at least 3 of their most famous pieces of work.

Draw a still life picture of anything you choose: fruit, vegetables, flowers, stuffed animals, etc.


Learn and be able to identify the bass and treble clefs. Practice drawing them as well. You can find samples here:

Choose a classical composer from the list here: and write a short report about them. Tell me when and where they lived, what type of music they were known for, anything special that they contributed to the music world and at least 3 major works they composed.

Learn the words to the entire first verse of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Learn the words to “America the Beautiful”

Learn the words to “God Bless America”

Change the words to a song you already know to teach others something about you or something you have learned about.

Watch a movie about music such as “Mr. Holland’s Opus” or “Footloose”.

Watch the musical “Oliver”. Choose 3 songs that you liked in the musical and practice singing them. Learn one of them well enough to perform it for your family. You can find the lyrics here:

Have an adult help you make a rain stick. The instructions are here:

Make some paper mache maracas. The directions are here:

Just as in the vocabulary, you will need to choose 3 topics each month and learn the words that go with that topic. You will be quizzed before passing a topic.

Clothing: hat (el sombrero), t-shirt (la cameseta), shoes (los zapatos)

Colors: white (blanco), purple (morado), orange (anaranjado)

Numbers: zero (cero), one hundred (ciento), twenty (veinte)

Family: brother/sister (hermano/a), cousin (primo/a), nephew/niece (nieto/a)

Food: meat (el carne), bread (el pan), fruit (las frutas)

Time: hour (la hora), year (el año), minute (el minuto)

Seasons: summer (el verano), fall (el otoño), winter (el invierno), spring (la primavera)

Days of the week: Monday (lunes), Tuesday (martes), Wednesday (miercoles), Thursday (jueves), Friday (viernes), Saturday (sabado), Sunday (domingo)

Church: church (la iglesia), saints (los santos), Jesus Christ (Jesuchristo)

Fruits: appla (la manzana), lemon (el limon), banana (platano)

Vegetables: lettuce (la lechuga), carrot (la zanahoria), spinach (la espinaca)

Rooms of the house: bathroom (el baño), kitchen (la cocina), bedroom (al dormitorio)

Animals: animals (los animales), dog (el perro), cat (el gato)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Product Review: Hap Palmer Learn In Two Languages

I recently received Hap Palmer's brand new, educational CD: Learning In Two Languages / Aprendiendo en dos idiomas to review. It arrived the day before we headed out on a 6 hour mini-roadtrip so I thought it would be perfect to listen to while driving. My kids do a lot of learning in the van anyway, so this was perfect.

Hap Palmer is an American musician who writes educational songs that integrate music and movement. His music helps develop motor skills, improve language acquisition, encourage creativity, and develop reading readiness and math concepts. He has been well loved by schools and day-care centers for over 3 decades and helped write songs for the best-selling Baby Songs
video series. Other CD's of his include: Multiplication Mountain, Rhythms on Parade, and Learning Basic Skills Through Music.

His newest CD, Learning In Two Languages / Aprendiendo en dos idiomas was just released in May 2010. It is designed to help children ages 4 to 9 build vocabulary in both English and Spanish. The songs play first in ENglish and then in Spanish and at the end, are all the songs music soundtracks. Each song encourages the listener to participate in music and movement activities to help with the learning and enjoyment of the music. Palmer worked with several people, including certified ESL and Spanish teachers, a Spanish language educational expert, and in a bilingual classroom to develop these songs. The music introduces children to a wide range of "true" (as opposed to synthesized" musical instumnets including: piano, bass, drums, guitar, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, flute, piccolo, violin, viola, cello, marimba, bongos, congas, tambourine and maracas. The listener is also exposed to variety of musical styles including jazz and mariachi. They cover a wide range of introductory vocabulary as well as early childhood educational topics such as: days of the week, animal sounds, opposites, clothing, and prepositions.

We enjoyed listening to the CD on our road trip, but the kids enjoyed it more when they were able to actually move around in our living room. For example, it was difficult to actively participate in the "What Are You Wearing?" song where the child is encouraged to stand up if they are wearing a certain article of clothing, while riding in the van. We did end up adapting the song to "raise your hand" instead, but they enjoyed it much more when they could really stand up. However, they loved looking all around in the van while listening to "Percival the Parrot". I also like that I can go to the Hap Palmer website and find all the lyrics and ideas for corresponding activities for each song, allowing me to further expound on the learning concept. This is actually available for all of Hap Palmer's CDs along with coloring pages for various songs, sheet music for many of the songs, and even instructions for making teaching aides such as scarves, hoops, and bean bags.

Do I recommend this product? Absolutely, and it is ideal for families as it helps even the youngest children learn basic skills while teaching those of all ages basic Spanish vocabulary. On the flip side, it would also be a great tool for those learning English as a second language. The CD itself is great, but the treasure trove of additional activities and information on the website, add to the value of this CD.

I received a free copy of this CD for review. No monetary compensation was received. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any outside source.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


______ Reading: Read this story about camping on a Gálapagos Island:

______ Writing: Write a story about what it would be like to live in the Amazon rain forest. (You may want to do the science assignment first)

______ Math:

· Rafael Correa became President of Ecuador on January 15, 2007. How many months has he been the President?

· The estimated population of Ecuador is 13,927,650 people. Tell me what this number is (13 million, 927 thousand, 650). Round the population to the nearest million (14 million/14,000,000). What is the value of the 2 (20,000)? What numer is in the hundreds place (6)?

______ Science: Ecuador is home to a portion of the Amazon rain forest. Read more about rain forests here: Write 10 facts about rain forests that you learned.

______ Service: Make a paper basket by following these instructions: Fill the basket with flowers or cookies or another treat, and give to someone as a gift.

______ Vocabulary/Spelling: Write each word 10 times and use each one in a sentence- sculpture, proverb, Ecuador, canopy

______ Health: The equator runs right through Ecuador, making it an area that gets lots of sun exposure. Take the sun safety quiz and do the activities found here: (note to parents- this is a teacher’s manual so you may want to print out the pages ahead of time, rather than have the child sift through all the pages)

______ Social Studies:

· Learn the capital of Ecuador and be able to locate Ecuador on a world map

· Print and color the flag of Ecuador:

______ Language Arts: A proverb is a short saying that teaches a life lesson. A common proverb in Ecuador is, “It is one thing to cackle and another to lay an egg.” What do you think that proverb means?

______ Domestic Arts: Potatoes grow abundantly in Ecuador. Llapingachos are one food that is made from the many potatoes. With an adult’s help, use this recipe to make a batch of llapingachos:

______ Art: Experiment with the Ecuadorean art form of masápan:

______ Music: Watch this video of a traditional Ecuadorian dance:

______ Spanish/ASL: Learn each word in Spanish and ASL- bread (el pan), art (arte), sculpture (la escultura), potato (el papa)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


______ Reading: Read about Carmen’s life in Mexico: and tell me 5 things you learn about Mexico.

______ Writing: French forces outnumbered the Mexican peasants nearly 3 to 1 at the Battle of Puebla. The French forces were more experienced at war and far better armed. But the rag-tag Mexican forces under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza were fighting to protect their homes and families.

If you were a Mexican peasant about to enter into a battle in which you knew you were greatly outnumbered and outarmed, how would you feel? Write a journal entry describing your feelings right before the attack.

The 6,000 French troops approaching Mexico City had anticipated no resistance. How do you think they felt when they were confronted by -- and lost to -- a far smaller army? Write a second journal entry from the perspective of a French soldier after the battle
. –from (there are more Cinco de Mayo language arts ideas on the web page as well)

______ Math:

______ Science: Watch this video about Monarch butterflies:

______ Service: Grandparents are revered in the Mexican culture. Make a treat or do a chore for one of your grandparents.

______ Vocabulary/Spelling: Write each word 10 times and use each one in a sentence- Mexico, monarch, Pacific

______ Health: Beans are one staple of the Mexican diet. As a vegetable, beans offer more protein and fiber than any other vegetable. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium, folate, and potassium. The My Pyramid food guide recommends that we eat 3 cups of beans each week. Choose one of the following recipes and make it:

- Refried Beans (no-fat, slow-cooker)

- Chili:

- Black Beans

______ Social Studies:

  • Be able to locate Mexico on a world map and to identify the capital (Mexico City) and the bodies of water on either side of it (Gulf of Mexico on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west)

______ Language Arts: Discuss the differences in titles for people in both English and Spanish. Men are usually addressed as Mister/Mr. in English and as Señor in Spanish. Married women are addressed as Mrs. or Ms in English and as Señora in Spanish. Single women are addressed as Miss in English and as Señorita in Spanish.

______ Domestic Arts: Make a piñata to use on Cinco de Mayo or for a future celebration:

______ Art: Make a God’s Eye: an craft made by the Huichol people of Mexico.

______ Music:

______ Spanish/ASL: Learn each word in Spanish and ASL- hello (hola), goodbye (adiós) and thank you (gracias)/you’re welcome (de nada)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother's Day Unit

I finally have the first unit ready to post, although I am posting it a bit later than I had hoped. Please feel free to leave me feedback, positive or negative, about the new format and let me know what you like/dislike. I would love to hear any suggestions you may have as to how this can work better for you. Thanks for your patience.

Mother's Day

______ Reading: Read “The Search for the Good Child” and tell your mom what the story was about.

______ Writing: Use the questions found here: to interview your mother. Then write up a mini-biography from what you learn. This would be a nice gift to share with your mom.

______ Math: - Read this chart: and then answer the questions found here:

P______ Science: Turn a white flower into your mother’s favorite shade: Fill a vase ½ full of water and add food coloring to make your mom’s favorite color. Cut the stem of a white flower (carnations work well) at a 45 degree angle and place the flower in the water for about 24 hours. The colored water will travel up the stem and into the petals, changing the color of the flower.

______ Service: Help a younger sibling make a gift for your mother for Mother’s Day. Here are some ideas:

A Garden Rock-

Helping Hands-

Tissue Flowers-

______ Vocabulary/Spelling: Write each word 10 times and use each one in a sentence- corsage, carnation, maternal

______ Health: See mom for lesson (use this lesson plan: ***This is a lesson on the names and basic functions of the reproductive organs. The pictures to label are fairly detailed and the lesson has separate pictures for boys and girls. Depending on your child's age, maturity, and your personal feelings, you may or may not want to use this lesson plan and/or you may choose to only study the parts appropriate for your child's gender.***

______ Social Studies: Read about the history and symbols of Mother’s Day: Write a short report sharing what you have learned. Be sure to include Anna Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe in your report.

______ Language Arts: Make an acrostic for the word MOTHER. An acrostic is when a poem is written where the first letter of each line spells out another word, in this case that word will be MOTHER. There is an example at the top of this page:

______ Domestic Arts: Plan out a nice, yet healthy, breakfast that you can make your mother on mother’s day. Be sure to serve it to her in bed and decorate the tray to look nice.

______ Art: Design a card for your mother for Mother’s Day. You can even include the acrostic you created for language arts.

______ Music: Create a special song for your mom by changing the words to a song you already know, such as a nursery rhyme. You can find some examples here:

______ Spanish/ASL (or whatever language you may be working on): Learn each word in Spanish and ASL- mother, love, flower (In Spanish mother= la madre, love= amor, flower= la flor)

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I have failed yet again to get the units I promised posted. Part of the problem was that when I wrote the units up, they were not in a format that I could easily transfer over to the blog. I had to put most of my energy into creating the new units so those are what I will be posting first and then I will go back as time permits and post the other units. I am also going to post the units as I have them created them. The majority of the resources I use are free, but there are a handful ( is the main one) that do require a subscription. However, the cost is low and for the books I use, I encourage you to check your local library first anyway. I apologize, yet again, for not having new units yet, but keep an eye out for they are on their way. Really. I am sure of it :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

March Units and guide for studying states

Here are the units we are doing for the rest of March: Ireland, Alaska, Vermont, Family History, Florida, and Easter. If I get the chance to tweak the first two units we did, the Iditarod and Dr. Seuss, I will post those as well. You may notice that we study a lot of states. I have included the states as options for the kids during the months they joined the United States. My children have a great interest in other places, so they often choose the states. I figure we will have covered all 50 of them within 2-3 years. Here are some tips for what we are doing in general with the states:

- We will color or make a replica of the state flag. These will be stored in a binder that also has the flags from countries we have studied. On each flag, we write the state name, the abbreviation, the capital and the state motto. If we revisit the state later on, we will probably add the state bird and tree, on the back of the flag. The binder will be divided by continent, with the US states in the front.

- I try to order vacation guides for each state we are going to study, so that they arrive in the child's name no later than the week we are studying the state. I encourage the child to look it over and plan a dream vacation to the state.

- If the state is known for regional food items (such as maple syrup for Vermont), I will include a recipe for the child to make. My goal is one recipe from each state that we will then gather in a cookbook for their "hope chest".

- Unlike when I posted New York state, these are more generic studies. We live in New York and I feel it is most important that they learn the history of their home state at this time and a general knowledge of other states. I encourage you to research your own states history and teach that when that state is studied.

Another change

Due to a change in our personal way of homeschooling, I will be making a change here as well. I will still be listing unit studies, but the entire unit will be listed on one day (1-2 units a week), with product reviews and other information that I find useful as a homeschool posting as I find them.

I have made up lists of 10-15 different topics for each month of the year. Generally, the topics "fit" in during the month I placed them. I then allowed my children to each pick 1 topic for each week. Work is assigned based on that topic and each of the following topics is covered: Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Service (a service related activity or project), Vocabulary/Spelling, Health, Social Studies, Domestic Arts, Art, Music, and Language Arts. We also cover Religion, Spanish, and American Sign Language, but I will not be covering them here unless there is a great demand and I can find a way to do so (the sign language may be difficult). Gym is also covered in our homeschool, but it is usually pretty generic (30 minutes of activity each day), so I will not include it here unless I find something that specifically relates to the topic (such as learning Irish dance steps when studying Ireland).

Also, you will find that I use Enchanted Learning often. This is a subscription website. For those who do not have a subscription, I highly recommend it, but I will also try to find similar substitutes that are free.

With this change, I am hoping that I will be able to post more regularly and cover more subjects for you. I will also include the grade level of the child the topic was prepared for, however, I always caution that you should adjust to the level the child is at. My children may be further ahead or behind than your child in any given area and I want you to get the most out of this as possible. Please let me know if there are any other changes I can make that will help you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Science Saturday: Martin Luther King Jr.

Ok, I know today is not Saturday, but I started the Martin Luther King Jr unit last January and failed to post a Science section for it, so I am posting it now. Here are the other links for this unit:
Math Monday
Time Travel Tuesday
World Wednesday
Think About It Thursday
Fun Friday

Now onto the science activities:

There is not a whole lot that I came up with outside of human biology and genetics.

- Discuss how we are the same inside, even if we look different on the outside. We all need the same things to live :air, food, water and we all have a brain, heart, lungs, bones, etc.

- Make a list of the various characteristics that are the same and different in people. Example: Same: we all have a heart, 10 fingers, 10 toes, etc Different: hair color, eye color, skin color, etc You may need to explain that illness or disability may also make some people have different characteristics (more/less than 10 fingers, albino coloring, etc)

- Explain why some things are different in people. Vocabulary word: genes