Summer School

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we will be homeschooling year round.  Our “year” is just about to end and then after a weeklong break, we will start up again.  I’m not a monster though so our summer schedule will be more relaxed and more of the fun stuff.

Here’s what I’m planning and why…

Science: workbook twice weekly, experiment once a week.

*I picked out a Kindergarten workbook because it is between the levels of my 2 girls.  There are 47 “lessons” listed in the workbook but each is a single page and many of them go together easily so I think it will be closer to 20 lessons for us.  During the school year, we do our science at our co-op but that has a very small focus for the year.  We will be doing this brief overview workbook to introduce the girls to more varied science concepts.

Art: twice weekly

*Art is something that I have a hard time organizing or teaching.  The girls have a free range art space where they are welcome to go and create anytime and they use it often.  We also do pinterest crafts fairly regularly but I don’t consider myself very artistic so I haven’t really done any “teaching” as far as technique goes.  We are going to be participating in An Art Habit which is a twice weekly online course put on by Rachelle of Tinkerlab.

Math & Geography: Once a week

First Language Lessons: Twice weekly

*These will just be once and twice a week to keep us on track throughout the rest of the year and so that we have more freedom to take breaks when we want them. I’ll be most flexible with these because I am really just looking to do enough over the summer to give us a head start and keep us from getting rusty.

Jot It Down: daily

*This is going to be our gateway into Brave Writer!  I am so excited to start and I was going over the project ideas with Avery and she is also excited.  I say “daily” but some of those days might just be reading relevant stories or poetry teatime or a quick 5 minute free write.

 

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Our summer “happy place”….we’ll also be taking a 3 week vacation HERE to rest & relax with family!

So what are YOUR summer plans? School wise or vacation??

 

 

 

Electro Dough

We are at that point in the school year where I am cleaning out the curriculum closet to make room for the new stuff.  I’m basically going through everything to see what I still want the girls to finish, what we never used and can sell/trash, and I’m even finding treasures that I had forgotten about.

One of those was the DIY Electro Dough Kit from techwillsaveus.com  I had ordered this at the beginning of last year in our Timberdoodle kit with the idea that the girls could do it with dad (he worked as an apprentice electrician for a number of years and his dad is an electrician).  The major problem with that plan?  I’m not sure I ever told dad about it or I might have mentioned it briefly but then stuck it in the curriculum closet where he never goes!  And here I was, wondering why he never did it with them….whoops!

We finally took it out today and played with it.  We had a ton of fun but the kit is seriously lacking in instruction/explanation.  The kit has the dough recipe and some brief examples of easy circuits you can make to get started.  No explanation of what the parts are or WHY it works so it helped that we had an electrician making with us, lol.  You can go to their website for more advanced projects and the manual which goes more in depth in the terminology and the WHYs.  So it really depends on your own personal knowledge of electricity and circuits as to whether or not you would need the manual—I need it to help me explain why/how you can turn the lights and buzzer on with play dough but dad didn’t need it.

The thing that I really love about this kit is that we can keep it and do this again as much as we like.  At their ages, the girls LOVED the novelty of getting the lights to turn on using play dough but they weren’t totally interested in the concepts behind it.  But as their curiosity grows or if they have a unit on electricity in their next science course, we can pull it back out, make a new batch of dough, and keep playing and learning!

So for now, this will get put back into the curriculum closet and hopefully not forgotten about this time…

Oil & Water

We have started our official curriculum but still need something more fun for science.  Our science curriculum has started off a little slow and science experiments are a favorite in our house so we’re adding in extra fun!  I’m hoping that our curriculum picks up but in the meantime, we have plenty of really fun experiment books to work through.

Today, we played with oil and water.  We saw how they don’t mix, talked about why they don’t mix, and finally added a magic ingredient to make them mix.  The girls loved it and really get into their experiments, as you can see with their safety goggles and “studious glasses”, lol!  These girls crack me up daily and I am so thankful to spend my days with them!

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(https://u4439.myubam.com/p/4060/365-science-activities)

Our nerd is showing.

Our first Magic School Bus science club kit came this week!!  We were all very excited to delve in and see what it was all about.  Our first kit was a Stars and Planets theme.  It is not the same Secrets of Space kit that is sold on Amazon but seems to be very similar.  The experiments seem to be pretty similar but there are some differences in execution or materials used.  Our solar system mobile was made with bouncy balls whereas the amazon kit uses Styrofoam.  Based on the picture, the amazon kit also comes with a box to make your constellation box…we had to provide our own shoebox. For the solar system poster, we cut our planets out of (provided) construction paper and the amazon kit comes with planet stickers to use.  Those little things seem to be the main differences.

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The kit comes with a great little manual….very colorful and appealing!  And it’s printed on pretty strong paper that is holding up very well.  There is a page for each experiment detailing the materials and method. Then there is space for your scientist to write results and conclusions (although this isn’t really applicable to a lot of the activities…I am thinking I might have A write her favorite part or something new she learned).  There is extra info on all the pages with facts and details pertaining to that specific experiment or topic.  Just extra tidbits for extra learning. The last 2 pages of the manual are a parent section with answers and more specific information about how activities should be turning out.  Great for the parent that who doesn’t know which planet has rocks, unbreathable air, and clouds of sulfuric acid (its Venus!).

Experiments:

Our kit manual has 7 experiments.  They are really more activities than true scientific experiments.  The first one was to use the star and planet questions provided and make a little booklet.  While not an experiment, this was a great one so that we have the questions and facts at our fingertips.  A lot of this is new info for A so we’ve gone over the questions a few times already.  There are also experiments that use nothing from the kit.  There is one that has the kids use a cd to make rainbows with sunlight.  The manual does have additional information and explanations to go with the experiment though.  I do think this theme is probably a little more difficult than others for true experiments so maybe future kits will have more actual experiments.

All 7 experiments: Make fact book, cd rainbows, night vision flashlight, constellation box, constellation cards, solar system poster, and solar system mobile. MSB2 MSB3

A and I had a lot of fun with this, we did 2 activities the first day (the booklet and mobile above) and they took us about an hour.  Today was the constellation box (technically 2 activities as they have the box and constellation cards as separate activities) and it took an hour, including time for the paint to dry. If we do 2 activities every other day, the kit will take us a week to complete all the activities.  But the lessons on stars and planets will last much longer than that since most of these activities produce a tangible learning tool that we can keep using.

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We couldn’t leave K out of the fun, even though she is definitely too young for anything in the actual kit!

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A is 4.5 and I think this kit is perfect for her.  She does need moms help but we planned on that anyway.  A doesn’t read yet so obviously mom helps her read the instructions and information.  She was able to do a fair amount if the activities herself. You do have to provide some materials…shoebox, flashlight, cd, etc.  But they didn’t expect you to have anything outrageous on hand.  I think this kit would be good for 4-7 years.  If given the chance, an older child might be able to blow through the activities in a day or two but if its paired complementary curriculum, this kit could might a great addition to any space theme in your homeschool.  Or if you have a science nerd like me, this could keep them busy and entertained during summer break! For the $10 we paid, this kit was definitely worth it to us.

We also found out what the kit themes will be for the rest of the year: acids & bases, air, bacteria & fungi, fossils, the human body, lights rainbows & mirrors, magnets, solids liquids & gases, water, volcanoes, and weather.

Here is the link to The Young Scientists site but this yearlong club frequently goes on sale so if you are interested, check groupon or Educents.  The list price is $240 but I paid $120 and just saw it on sale for $108 so definitely don’t pay full price!

Ride on the Magic School Bus!

One thing that A is constantly asking is to do science experiments.  We have pretty much exhausted all of the science projects that I know (or found on pinterest)….volcanos, walking water, oobleck, color changing milk, shaving cream rain clouds.  I feel like that’s a pretty good repertoire of preschool age experiments but we do them pretty frequently so we need to get some new material.

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With Netflix, A has recently gotten into the Magic School Bus!  I had added some of the MSB science kits to my wishlist on amazon but they are $15-40/each so I hadn’t bought any yet.  I was pretty excited when a deal came through my email for a MSB club.  A will get a kit per month for an entire year!  The deal was through Educents for $120 for the year….a total steal compared to the amazon prices!!  I have heard this kit comes up on Groupon occasionally too so if you’re interested, shop around and don’t pay full price.

Our first kit will be coming next week sometime and is going to be a stars and planets kit.  I believe THIS is our first kit.  I am pretty excited and haven’t told A yet so she will be thrilled!  I’ll be sure to post a review when we get it…we’re going on vacation at the beginning of July so I’m crossing my fingers it gets here quickly!

(I started this blog on another forum and am transitioning to wordpress. Post was originally published on June 18, 2015.)