Archives for May 2012

June’s Making the Days Count Fun Activity Calendar

Many of you may have ended your schooling and are taking a summer break.  But you need not quit learning altogether!  Summer is the perfect time to explore various fun topics.  June has several days that will help you kick-off your summer . .  . the kids may have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re still learning!

You can read Cocoa Ice for June 7’s Chocolate Ice Cream Day.  Or maybe try your hand a solar cooking for June 12’s Peanut Butter Cookie Day.  Going camping this month?  June 23 is the Great American Backyard Campout Day!  (Don’t forget HSS’s camping lapbook!)

June is also National Audio Book Month.  Audio books are more popular than ever!  Lamplighter Theatre, Jim Weiss, and Focus on the Family Radio Theatre have lots of great ones.  You can pick up a few of your favorite stories from your library too.  We almost always have an audio book going in the car as we travel around doing errands, go on long trips, etc.  A few that my 11- and 14-year-olds have enjoyed include The Phantom Tollbooth, Beric the Briton, Smoky the Cowhorse, and Saving Zasha.

And of course, summer officially begins on June 20.  You make your days count this summer by making your own personalized summer bucket list!

Click on the image below and start making plans to create memories with your kids in June!

Summer Fun ~ A Bucket List!

customize summer bucket list

Last year I saw tons of fun summer bucket lists being pinned on Pinterest. I thought it was a fantastic idea, and I considered printing one and check marking our way through some summer fun. But there was a problem. Even though there were gobs of great ideas, the one-size-fits-all lists didn’t match my family.

This year the summer bucket lists have started popping up all over the web; but, again, I needed something that could be customized for my crew. So here it is–a bucket list you can type on. You create a unique fun list for your family by choosing 25 super summer activities, projects, and places to go!

In case you need ideas for your list, check out these 100 ideas compiled by the fabulous moms on the Homeschool Share Message Boards.

1. Make homemade ice cream and eat it for dinner!

2. Have a water balloon fight!

3. Pick wildflowers and give the bouquet away to a neighbor, grandparent, or someone else who needs some cheer!

4. Run through the sprinkler.

5. Go berry picking and make homemade jam.

6. Make sun prints.

7. Hang a birdfeeder.

8. Construct  picture props like mustaches, hats, etc. and take silly photos.

9. Plant a sunflower house and Read Eve Bunting’s Sunflower House.

10.  Bake cookies in a solar oven.

11.  Find some smooth rocks and paint them as insects or people or create a pet rock.

12.  Go roller skating.

13.  Play at the park.

14.  Go camping in your driveway or back yard.

15.  Catch lightning bugs in a jar and read Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe

16.  Ride a carousel or a merry-go-round.

17.  Freeze some chocolate-dipped bananas.

18.  Plan a movie night!

19.  Have a teddy bear picnic! Invite friends and read The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

20.  Ride a horse, even if it’s just a homemade stick horse.

21.  Make some summer funny faces.

22.  Catch a caterpillar and keep it until it turns into a butterfly.

23.  Set up a lemonade stand; donate profits to a charity.

24. Catch a raindrop in your mouth.

25.  Go bowling.

26.  Stay up late and go star gazing. Look for shooting stars!

27. Serve strawberry shortcake for breakfast!

28.  Have a family game night.

29. Invite another family to your house and host a water gun fight!

30. Visit a local creek and catch crawdads. Read Crawdad Creek together.

31. After a good rain, go mud-puddle splashing!

32.  Go swimming!

33.  Paint with ice cubes.

34.  Have a picnic in your backyard.

35.  Concoct some homemade popsicles!

36.  Make giant wands and blow bubbles

37.  Create a scavenger hunt for your kids, or let them create one for you!

38.  Roast hotdogs and S’mores over a fire.

39.  Have a Family Talent Show night!

40.  Make a piñata.

41.  Build a butterfly feeder.

42.  Make frozen treasures and let your kids excavate them!

43.  Craft some wind chimes.

44.  Go bird watching.

45.  Make homemade sidewalk chalk.

46.  Go to a small airport and watch the planes take off and land.

47.  Make sun tea punch.

48.  Play miniature golf.

49.  Build a balloon powered car.

50.  Lie on your back and watch the clouds go by, looking for animal shapes.

51.  Roll down a hill!

52.  Bake a fruit pizza, and eat it for dinner!

53.  Go to the zoo.

54.  Tie-dye T-shirts (outside!)

55.  Craft a garden stepping stone.

56.  Go on a hike and look for animal tracks.

57. Build a worm farm.

58.  Jump rope!

59.  Make paper beads for stringing bracelets and necklaces.

60.  Construct an obstacle course in the backyard.

61.  Make mud pies.

62.  Plan a special day away to state park or museum.

63.   Have a wet sponge fight!

64.  Make a rain gauge to measure the rainfall.

65.  Build a fort!

66.  Drink root beer floats.

67.  Try a Kids Who Think challenge.

68.  Write a letter to a friend or grandparent.

69.  Visit a new festival.

70.  Have a build your own banana split night!

71.  Offer to plant flowers at a nursing home or church.

72.  Make fireworks in a jar.

73.  Blow up some fizzy explosion bags!

74.  Play Frisbee together.

75.  Wash the car or the dog (or both!).

76.  Take a family bike ride.

77.  Play games with Glow Sticks!

78.  Plan a one day road trip!

79.  Make Snow Cones.

80.  Create ice sculptures with balloons.

81.  Press some wildflowers.

82.  Have a puppet show with homemade puppets.

83.  Make a boat and sail it in your tub, in a swimming pool, in a creek, or at a pond.

84.  Go fishing!

85.  Dance in the rain!

86.  Go to an outdoor play or concert.

87.  Craft some friendship bracelets.

88.   On a rainy day, construct a marble maze.

89.  Make homemade Lemon Shake Ups.

90.   Craft a sun catcher.

91.  Go to the movies!

92.  Build a birdhouse.

93.  Spend a day at the fair.

94.  Make a firefly jar! (So cool!) Read When Lightning Comes in a Jar.

95.  Try to read 100 books (every reader in the house can contribute!).

96.  Make ice boats.

97.  Visit a local Farmer’s Market and try something new.

98.  Watch a parade.

99.  Construct a tin foil river!

100.   Go out for a frozen treat! Read Ice Cream: The Full Scoop.

 

 You can find even more ideas and printables at iHomeschool Network’s Summer Bucket List!

 

Explore, Discover, & Create . . . with Notebooking!

This is a guest post by Debra of Notebooking Pages.

At the end of each school year, are you finding yourself swimming through mounds of worksheets, quizzes, tests, and half-finished workbooks wondering just what to do with it all? Where does the organization begin? What do you keep? Where will you keep it? How much should you, dare I say, throw away? As you begin to tackle this heap, your brain recalls the many hours that went into creating this voluminous collection. You may start to wonder just how well spent those hours really were. You remember the great ambitions with which you started the school year and the many good intentions that fell to the wayside in order to finish this massive collection you are now faced with sorting. Finally, you conclude that if most, or perhaps all, of your children’s work is going to get tucked away somewhere never to be seen again, how much value can it possibly hold? Does any of this sound familiar? Well, it doesn’t have to anymore!

Our family has been introduced to an ageless tool of learning that keeps us from creating these questionable mounds of paper throughout the year. There is nothing left to sort. There is nothing left to pack away. There is nothing to throw away. Instead, another volume (or two or three or more) of our children’s prized work gets added to their personal library at the end of each year. No more busywork. No more second-guessing if our time has been well spent. As a matter of fact, this tool has freed me from the seemingly never-ending search for the perfect curriculum! It can literally transform the way you approach your children’s education and set afire a love of learning within each child. Spend your precious hours exploring, discovering, and capturing the knowledge that awaits you and your children each day. Make learning a journey instead of a list to be checked off at the end of the day and a pile to be sorted at the end of the year. How do you do this? Let me introduce you to the tool that has breathed new life into our homeschooling. It’s called . . . notebooking!

Notebooking is the coined term for what one may refer to as educational journaling or scrapbooking. Essentially, the idea is to take your planned school subjects and activities as well as the areas of your child’s interests and create notebooks, compilations of created pages collected in binders. Your child will fill his notebooks throughout the year with what he has learned about these topics. Written narrations, drawings, maps, and photographs are just a few of the items he may include. The pages of his notebooks will capture both the new knowledge he has discovered as well as his own personal reflections of what he has learned. Through the process of creating a notebook, you will likely watch him become a storyteller, a teacher, and most undoubtedly, an expert in some of the topics he studies.

Unlike some of the more traditional tools of learning, like worksheets and tests, notebooking allows your child to develop a deeper relationship with what he is learning. Instead of finding out what he doesn’t know about a topic or study, which is what a worksheet or test usually reveals, he is given an opportunity to express everything he does know. By cutting out the busywork that is involved in some of these more traditional methods, you open a window of time and opportunity for your children to dig deeper into topics, to really get to know the people, the places, the events, the concepts, the ideas, and so on of what they are studying. Then, they take this information, digest it, and produce a notebook that tells all about what they have learned. After following this process, there will not be that sudden “unlearning” phenomena that usually takes place after the traditional chapter or unit test. The knowledge that your child gains during his notebooking experience will stick! Most importantly this process fuels a love of learning as your child begins to discover how exciting and fun it is to learn with notebooking!

As your children become more experienced with notebooking, you will begin to see the evident benefits of this great tool. The richness of what they are learning will be apparent as their notebooks become filled to the brim with stories, pictures, maps, quotes, and photographs of the people, places, and events encountered. The depth of what they are learning will be told as new layers are added each year to certain notebooks, such as their language arts and math notebooks. The process of learning they have experienced will be unveiled as you note the ways they organize and choose the material they include for their notebooks. You will begin to see certain notebooks take on your children’s personalities as they learn to express themselves in the variety of ways they have been gifted. It is an amazing joy to sit down with your child while they lovingly and passionately share all that they have learned through the process of creating their notebook. Their hearts and hard work have been poured into this notebook and they beam with confidence at the turn of each page. Each year, as you take time to look back through the increasing volumes of notebooks being added to the shelves, you will see that notebooking has become an amazing “living” record of your children’s journey of learning. Instead of tossing the year’s work into a box in the back of the closet, you’ll be looking for ways to add more bookshelves to house these treasures!

So how do you begin notebooking with your family? Start simple. Start with one topic or one study for each child or for the whole family. Perhaps the easiest way to start is to let each child begin a notebook of one of their favorite hobbies or passions. Do you have a child that loves dinosaurs? I do! My youngest son would find spare moments throughout the day to notebook his knowledge of dinosaurs. His head would be stuck in any number of books from the library trying to gather information. That’s where it began for him! Today, he is our leading expert when it comes to dinosaurs.

Perhaps the easiest place to start notebooking with the entire family is with any history or science topic because there are so many ways to dig into these subjects. You could start very simply by asking your children to give a short narration of what was read on a particular day either during your read aloud time or their independent reading time. If they give you a blank stare, ask them what they found to be most important or interesting about what was studied and encourage them to write about that. If you have younger children, you may need to write down their narrations for them until they are more proficient with the physical skill of writing. For children who are accustomed to giving short fill-in-the-blank type answers to questions, narration will take some practice to develop. I highly suggest researching the topic of narration for more help in this area. Narration is an invaluable skill that will prove most beneficial in their notebooking studies.

As your family or child continues to dig deeper, add new material to the notebook. The notebook may include any number of pages and collections including, but definitely not limited to:

  • written narrations from material studied in books they have read or real life experiences
  • collections of quotes from philosophers, experts, missionaries, statesman, etc.
  • photographs, ticket stubs, and information from field trips
  • maps of places and events studied
  • timelines
  • drawings from your child’s imagination that express his ideas about the particular topic
  • sketches of objects, animals, famous art, or places being studied
  • collections of items such as leaves, pressed flowers, and seeds for a study like botany
  • pictures from hands-on activities or experiments completed during the study
  • nature photos, sketches, and journaled thoughts
  • your child’s handwritten copies of favorite scripture, poetry or selections from favorite literature

Try Notebooking Pages!

Ready to make learning a more memorable and meaningful experience for your family? Get started with notebooking today! Visit us at NotebookingPages.com for more notebooking information, freebies, products, articles, and tips, as well as for a variety of other free homeschooling charts and printables.

If you’d like to try Notebooking Pages, you can use discount code = discount10 to save $10 on your $20+ purchase at NotebookingPages.com.

You can also buy a Treasury Membership for 25% off (AND get 3 bonus months!). This is a great deal as you will have access to $600 worth of product and you’ll get to use the Notebooking Publisher tool (coming next month!). Use coupon code = happy6th to save 25%. Sale is good until May 25th.

Tonight, there will be a Facebook Party launching the new interactive Notebooking Publisher (create your own notebooking pages complete with graphics!). Fun and prizes! Don’t miss it!