Z is for Zoo Adventure

Z is for the Complete Zoo Adventure by Mary and Gary Parker.  This adorable book is both a nonfiction book and a curriculum combined. It is best used in conjunction with a field trip to the zoo, but could also be used to learn about the animals from home.  This book is published by Master Books and is written from a creationist perspective.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

zoo adventure

The book begins with seven devotions to help you prepare for your zoo trip and better understand God’s creation and plan.  The devotions cover the 4Cs of God’s Word (creation, corruption, catastrophe, and Christ), Garden of Eden, the Ark, and more.

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The next section of the book is titled, “At the Zoo”, and includes beautiful pictures and information about 27 different animal species that are often found at the zoo.  Each animal includes basic facts, pictures, a Bible verse, and a map showing where they are located.  You can use this to learn about each animal as you find them at the zoo.  You could also use these to do a virtual field trip finding information on the internet or using a variety of live cams and webcams at zoos to see the different animals.

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The final section is titled, “After the Zoo”. This includes over 30 different activity sheets that can be used to increase your knowledge of the various animals. There are also a variety of discussion questions and other ideas and suggestions included. The appendix includes answer keys, glossary, and other resources.

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This book, The Complete Zoo Adventure,  is a wonderful resource to use with your own family or with a small group or co-op class.  While a trip to the zoo is a wonderful field trip and the best way to utilize this book, I would also recommend it for children that are interested in the animals but cannot not make the trip to a zoo.

Have you read this ‘Z’ book?  Tell me what books come to mind when you think of the letter ‘Z’.

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Field Trips

When we started homeschooling, my oldest son was in first grade and my daughter was four but wanted to ‘do school’ like big brother, so she was doing a mix of preschool and kindergarten materials. I had set up our school schedule and thought I had a great plan. It worked for a week or two but then we found the other homeschoolers in our area and started hearing about all of these wonderful opportunities. A trip to the fire department, a local play, a trip to the nature center. I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in these wonderful trips and saw how much my children were learning.

Adding Fun Field Trips

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There was just one problem, it was putting me behind on my schedule and I felt like I was struggling to keep up with my plans and these trips. By the second year, I realized that I needed to value these opportunities and leave space for them in my plans. I started planning for a four-day school week and allowing a day for field trip, or enrichment, opportunities each week. While it looks a little different now with two middle school students, I still allow for a field trip day each week because I think those opportunities are invaluable. They learn so much for the real-life environments and they have fun. When people ask my 13-year-old why he likes homeschool better than public school, one of the first things he says is that he gets to go on more field trips. Our field trips range from a quick trip to the local library, a day visit at a nearby nature park or aquarium, to incorporating learning opportunities into family vacations out of state. They all provide a variety of learning opportunities.

For young children, field trips provide great exposure to a variety of people and places that they need to be familiar with particularly the group that are often called, “community helpers”. What better way to understand about police officers, postal workers, firemen, and other community workers than to talk to them, see them working, and learn about their jobs. A trip to the fire department most often also includes some great fire safety education to help keep them safe in our homes.

You can talk about flowers, birds, and fish all day long, but if you want to get a child really excited about those things, they need to see them. Hikes in your local park and trips to the aquarium, zoo, or nature center can help students really enjoy learning about the world around them and give them a greater appreciation for God’s creation. Many state and national parks offer free or inexpensive classes and guided programs, and self-guided junior ranger activities to help them learn more about different aspects of nature that are present in that park. We have enjoyed bird walks, tree identification programs, and a nature scavenger hunt at area parks.

I feel saddened every time I hear someone say that history is boring.  Too often people view history as a list of dates and names to memorize. When my children were in preschool we were very blessed to find living history programs geared towards preschoolers at our local historic site. We would attend once a month and they would bring history to life. There were crafts, impersonations, tours, and more that all made them excited to learn about history. Historic interpreters and living history events can really bring history to life and make it so much more fun and exciting. We now actively search out living history events at other historic sites to visit and volunteer our time at our local site to help bring history to life for other families.

I have had people tell me that they don’t have the budget for field trips and I know this is true in some situations. However, please note that trips do not need to be expensive or far away to add in lots of fun and education. Many of the parks and sites are free or only a couple of dollars per person and some offer group rates for homeschool groups. Most of the community services will do free field trips. There are also often homeschool discounts at larger venues such as aquariums and zoos. When we go overnight, we often camp in a state or national park to save money over hotels (most charge around $25 a night) and pack most of our meals.

I would love to hear about how you incorporate field trips into your homeschool. For more information about specific field trips check out our Field Trip Friday posts. Thank you for joining us this week for the blog hop! Don’t forget to check back often for more homeschool encouragement and check out the other posts in the hop today.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together –  A Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4 

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Back to School Bundle Sale going on now!! Back to Homeschool Online Course Bundle

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Adding Fun to Your Homeschool: Incorporating Hobbies

Children (and adults) naturally want to learn more about the subjects that interest them. We can incorporate fun into our homeschools by incorporating those hobbies that already interest them into their school days and often into other subjects that they might not have a natural interest.

adding fun hobbies pinterest

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

One of the hobbies that we first incorporated into our homeschool was Legos. My son adored anything related to Legos and I began to use them often. He would play with them while I read aloud, it kept his hands busy and his mind focused on the book. Then we used them for him to make projects related to history and science. He created the Great Pyramids of Giza the year that we studied Ancient Egypt and even won a ribbon when he entered them into a competition at the fair. Later he built a model of Tryon Palace that was displayed at the history museum.  I have even seen them used for fractions and other math concepts.

Tying into the Lego concept, a newer hobby that we have incorporated into our school is stopmotion video. My son uses a kit from Stopmotion Explosion and his Legos to make videos about history or science. This is a great way for them to share what they are learning or to encourage them to do a little more research to get information for a video.

Science tends to come to life when it can be hands on and active. To help add fun to our science we have incorporated several hobbies that are science based. My children, especially my boys, love gardening. They can learn about plants, insects, composting, seasons, and so much more just through the garden without ever even looking at a formal textbook. We also enjoy bee keeping and have several hives in our backyard. This also gives my children a chance to learn in a real-life way and encourages them to be more aware of pollinators and other insects.

Art and music are subjects that sometimes get pushed to the side or left out due to time constraints. I am as guilty of that as any mom, but I have been working on doing a better job of included those subjects because my children are very interested in them. I can incorporate them into our other studies in various forms. For example, my son enjoys drawing and I can have him show me what he learned in science by drawing a picture of the concept. My daughter has really gotten into music since she began playing the violin. She recently enjoyed collecting songs that went along with the history program that we were studying. A child could also create a song to help them remember math facts or science terms. Bible study is another great place to incorporate music, through hymn studies or songs to help memorize scripture.

When we can weave things that our children enjoy into our other homeschool subjects, we can make those subjects more fun. While I am the first to admit that sometimes you just need to do the work because it is important information, I try to incorporate fun ideas whenever possible.  Just like in real life, I may not enjoy mopping the kitchen floor but it is always better when I turn on some music or a podcast.  What hobbies do your children enjoy that you could weave into your homeschool day? For help with encouraging hobbies you can check out our post from this spring: Exploring Hobbies on a Time and Money Budget.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other great blog hop posts and come back tomorrow for the final installment in this series!

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!
Back to School Bundle Sale going on now!! Back to Homeschool Online Course Bundle

Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Cooking

I don’t know about your house but in my house everyone seems to expect at least three meals a day! When someone is in a growth spurt, you can add in second breakfast and several snacks. This means that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. My children love to be in the kitchen with me, helping cook and ‘sneaking’ samples. I decided years ago that I needed to make the most of that time.

Adding Fun Cooking Pinterest

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

When I allow and encourage my children to join me in the kitchen it opens up lots of opportunities for fun and learning to happen, all while we are completing a necessary task. When they are young they are working on fine motor skills while they stir, crack eggs, and chop up fruits and vegetables with their special knives.  As they get older the opportunities multiply.

Young students learn about fractions as they use measuring cups or double recipes. They can also practice various forms of measurement with tablespoons, cups, pints, and quarts. To incorporate math into cooking with older students you can look at nutritional information, cost per serving, or other factors to use real life math applications.

We have had the opportunity to incorporate cooking into a variety of our science curriculum. When we did Apologia’s Swimming Creatures, we tried to cook something that applied to each chapter when possible. We had fish, clams, oysters, shrimp, and crabs. The children really enjoyed it. We have also used cooking to study chemistry. You can study how yeast makes bread rise, or how different things react to lemon juice. You can make salad dressing with and without an emulsifier and see what happens. You can make ice cream in a bag with salt on the ice and without to see the effects of the salt. For more examples of chemistry in the kitchen you can check out this post at A2Z Homeschool.

Our favorite way to incorporate cooking into our homeschool has been in our history and geography studies. I first got the idea when we were using Story of the World for history and they occasionally included recipes with the chapters. Most of them were recipes from the region and time period we were studying, such as a Japanese tea and Apache fry bread. Sometimes they were projects that related to the lesson through a creative idea such as using cookie dough to make the Parthenon. We began adding food to as many history lessons as possible because we found that the children really enjoyed it and the sensory experience of a meal made it easier for them to remember what they learned.

Just this past week we enjoyed a Polish Christmas feast. It was complete with a poppy seed cake based off of the study of Chopin in the music appreciation course that my daughter is currently working through. She baked the cake, made beet soup, perogies, kielbasa and sauerkraut. I never thought I would use cooking to learn about music but it just shows you that you can weave a seemingly mundane everyday task into just about any subject.

Have you ever incorporated cooking into your homeschool? Do your children enjoy getting in the kitchen and helping with meals and snacks? For more ideas about getting your children involved in the kitchen check out Homeschool in the Kitchen. Don’t forget to check out all of the other blog hop posts and check back tomorrow for more fun ideas.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Games

When we talk about incorporating games into your homeschooling, many folks automatically assume that we are only talking about early elementary school. It is easy to think of games that teach colors and shapes or other basic concepts. I will mention a few of those games today, but I also want to think about games that can be beneficial for our older students.

Adding Fun Games Pinterest

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

One of our favorite types of game to play as a family is history related games. My husband loves history and will often join us for those types of games. My children have been really enjoying American History Timeline. You are dealt cards with various events from American history and each time you have a turn you have to place one of those spots in the correct place on the timeline of cards. Once you have placed the card, it is turned over to reveal the date. If it is correct, the game continues to the next player. If the card is in the wrong spot the player puts the card at the bottom of the deck and draws another card. The first player to successfully place all of their cards wins. We also really enjoy the history games from Home School in the Woods. She has a variety of file folder games that you can print and play focused on various time periods and historical locations. They are a great way to add a little fun to your studies.

In addition to history, there are several options to use games to work on geography. My children received Ticket to Ride for Christmas and have really enjoyed playing it. As they make connections and complete routes, they become more familiar with the United States and various major cities across the map. They also have a variety of other boards and expansion packs, so you could have maps of Europe and other locations. I certainly wouldn’t use it as my only geography study but it is a fun way to help cement knowledge or peak interest. Scrambled States of America is another great one that is even more directly educational while still being lots of fun. In this game you learn about the fifty states, their capitals, mottos, and other interesting information about each state. If you like computer based games, Stack the States is a lot of fun.

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There are a variety of opportunities for math games to add in a little fun. Some games such as Telling Time Bingo and Frog Pond Fractions were created with the express purpose of teaching math skills. While others are a bit more subtle in their math lessons. For example, Yahtzee and Monopoly both require players to use various math skills as they complete the game. My children also enjoy Life on the Farm and Act Your Wage, and I find both of those games to be more enjoyable than Monopoly and not quite so lengthy. When I asked about games on my Facebook page last week someone also mentioned, Smath which is like scrabble for math. I have not yet tried it, but I have added it to my wish list. You can also check out my post on using card games to help with math concepts.

In addition to academic subjects, I think games can be a great way to work on character traits as well as critical thinking. Games such as Clue and Guess Who? can be fun ways to work on those critical thinking skills. There are also a variety of cooperative games that are available. In these games children are working together to achieve the goal instead of competing. I find that these can be helpful with siblings who might be struggling with attitudes towards each other. We particularly like Wildcraft as a family and my five-year-old son enjoys Count Your Chickens.

For the preschool crowd, there are dozens of wonderful options for teaching cooperation, colors, shapes, letter, and beginning math concepts. I could write an entire post on the options but I will just share a few of our favorites with you today. When my older two children were preschool age, Leap Frog had a Letter Factory game. They spent hours playing that game and learning their letters. A favorite that has been around since I was a little girl is High-Ho Cherry-o. I also highly recommend pattern blocks, even though they may be considered more of a toy than a game.

There are so many ways to add fun into your homeschool day through games. I would love for you to share your family’s favorite games in the comments and tell me how you incorporate games into your homeschool days. Don’t forget to check out all of the other great blog hop posts today!

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

If you missed the sale last month, Tuttle Twins is doing a 50% off sale in honor of back to school! Simply use the code: SCHOOL

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Adding Fun to Your Homeschool: Contests/Competitions

Intrinsic motivation is a wonderful thing, but sometimes a little contest or competition can get students excited and motivated to do their very best. I have found that when I can tie schoolwork into a contest or competition my children will work harder and turn in work that is above what they typically do for a ‘regular’ assignment. There is also generally less grumbling and excited planning.

contests

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

While not every assignment can or should be a competition, there are lots of available options. Writing is one of the easiest subjects to incorporate this strategy. There are quite a few writing competitions available for a variety of prompts and genres, many of them are free to enter. We personally participate in writing competitions with the North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historians and the North Carolina State Fair. The 4-H program also offers some great writing competitions. Having these prompts and directions can help students be engaged and excited about their writing. It also gives them the opportunity to get feedback from someone outside of the home about their writing. I found that this was particularly helpful to me when one of my children thought that I was too harsh of a critic. The feedback on their entries helped them realize that correct spelling really was important and noticed by other people.

Science is another great area to incorporate competitions. You could participate in a local science fair (or start one) and allow them to work through the scientific process. You could also work on things through Science Olympiad which would allow them to compete on a team in various science activities. Another option that we utilize are 4-H competitions. My children participate in Avian Bowl, Poultry Judging, and Poultry Skill-a-thon as well as other livestock and chicken activities. They also offer competitions in robotics, horticulture, and many other science areas. Students learn to be subject matter ‘experts’ in their fields and spend lots of time studying and learning together.

In addition to writing projects, my children participate in a variety of history projects through the North Carolina Tar Heel Junior Historians program. They are able to make models, film movies, create scrapbooks and more all while learning about North Carolina history. This is a great incentive for them to do their very best. I also appreciate that this particular program is really good at making them cite their sources and learn about good research. There are junior historian programs around the country and I highly recommend checking to see if you have a program local to your area.

If you have a budding artist or photographer there are lots of opportunities for competitions in these areas. My daughter has just gotten into photography after purchasing a camera at a local yard sale. She is going to be using the 4H photography curriculum and the photography courses from SchoolhouseTeachers.com to help her grow her skills and then entering her pictures into our state fair, Tar Heel Junior Historians competition, and a 4H spring competition. There are dozens of other small art and photography competitions that your student could enter to display their work and get expert feedback in order to continue to improve their work.

Last but certainly not least, I want to take a minute to talk about public speaking. I believe that public speaking is a skill that is important for students no matter what their career or life goals. As adults they need to be comfortable speaking to a variety of people in a variety of situations. We have found that 4H presentations have been a great way to improve my children’s comfort levels when speaking in front of a group of people. My oldest son has been participating in presentations for about seven years and I have watched him not only get more comfortable during presentations but also flourish in a variety of speaking situations.  He can interact with people in a confident and clear manner. This was a major benefit last year when he was running a supply trailer after Hurricane Florence. He interacted with volunteers, disaster victims, and the people and companies bringing in supplies. More than once people sought me out to tell me how impressed they were with his communication skills. I truly believe that 4H presentations are a big part of that success.

Contests and competitions are one way to add a little fun into your homeschool. Make sure to check back each day this week for a new way to add fun. Also, do not forget to check out some of the other great posts in this five-day blog hop. There is sure to be some help and encouragement for you.

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Chareen @ Every Bed of RosesABC of Homeschooling

Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag Adding Fun to Your Homeschool Day

Erin @ For Him and My Family Large Family Homeschooling

Lori @ At Home Where Life Happens Learning Life Skills

Monique @ Mountain of Grace HomeschoolingHomeschooling the High School Years

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Annette @ A Net in TimeHomeschooling.

Betty @ Lets Get RealHomeschooling High School

Cassandra @ My Blessed MessEclectic Homeschooling
Kimberley @ Vintage Blue SuitcaseRoadschooling with a Teenager

Yvonne @ The Life We Build5 Days of Relaxed Homeschooling

Destiny @ Some Call It DestinyEncouragement for the Homeschooling Mom

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up TogetherA Peek into Our Homeschool

Cassie D @ Deputie TribeHomeschooling 6 Taking Care of YOU

Kristen Heider @ A Mom’s Quest to Teach Theme: A Quest for a Great Homeschool Year

Patti Pierce – Truth and Grace Homeschool AcademyMy Favorite Homeschooling Things

Wendy @ Life on Chickadee Lane5 Days of Nature Study

Jacquelin @ A Stable BeginningHomeschooling my final 4

Christine @ Life’s Special NecessitiesYes! You Can Homeschool Your Special Needs Child

Sally M – Tell the Next GenerationTips for Homeschooling Struggling Learners

Kim @ Good Sweet LoveLast Year of Elementary

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Mid-Year Goals, Book, and Art Updates

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How can 2019 already be half over? The year is passing quickly, but I’m pleased with the progress I’m making on several of my goals. First, we recently completed our goal of decluttering 1,000 things from our home. It was a family effort and it feels so good to have sold, donated, and trashed things that were no longer needed in our home to make space and reduce visual clutter. The children are also pleased that it makes cleaning up so much easier when there is less stuff.  We had promised them the chance to go out to eat at a restaurant of their choice when we finished our goal.  They debated on several fancier restaurants in town but ended up deciding on sushi and pizza.  We even decided to give it a go again and work towards another 1,000 things but this time including items from our storage room.

mid year goals pinterest

I have been keeping up with my reading goals this summer and I am looking forward to reading even more as we have a little vacation coming up later this month.  Since my last goals update, I have finished five more books and I am currently reading three others.  I have shared a list of those books below but want to take a minute to highly encourage you to check out A Homeschool Experiment if you are looking for a fun but encouraging summer read. This is a novel about a mom’s experiment in homeschooling that will have you laughing, crying, and nodding your head and she goes through the process of figuring out what works best for her kids while showing the real-life side of things.

 

Books Read

Currently Reading:

Upcoming:

 

We have not done as much hiking in other places as I would have liked but I have been enjoying walking and biking with my youngest two children several times a week right in our own neighborhood. This has been a great way to get some miles in towards my 100-mile goal and we have plans for more hikes when the weather cools off a bit in the fall.

I have been a little slack over the summer at getting our foot print art posted so I wanted to take a minute and catch that up as well. In June we did a family hand print art project for my husband for Father’s Day. I convinced him to let me get his hand print four times on the canvas and then I put the hand print of each child into one of his hand prints. I thought it turned out well and he has it hanging up in his home office. I even managed to get the baby’s hand print.

For July we wanted to celebrate summer a bit and so we have feet in the sand foot print art! I first brushed the baby’s foot with paint and then placed it into the sand before making the prints on the paper. We used sand from our sand box because I forgot to do it when we were at the beach a couple weeks ago. You could use any kind of sand that was available. I do recommend dry sand so it doesn’t clump as badly.

We are making progress on our goals, enjoying a little down time this month as our summer winds down, and getting ready to jump back into our ‘school’ schedule in September. I would love to hear more from you about your goals and the progress you are making. Also, don’t forget to check back every day this week for our blog hop!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Y is for YWAM

You may have noticed that I skipped last week. I just could not think of  a great ‘X’ book to share.  However, ‘Y’ was an easy choice. We absolutely love the books from Youth With a Mission or YWAM. They have two wonderful book series that we love to read: Christian Heroes Then and Now and Heroes of History. Both of these biography series are wonderful additions to your home library. They can be used as family read alouds, independent reading, audio books, or they even offer study guides to make them full unit studies.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Winter ArtAnd a Lesson onFlexibility!-16

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

“Since it is likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” C.S. Lewis

Christian Heroes Then and Now is a biography series that features missionaries and other heroes of the faith. These books provide a great insight into the lives of these men and women who sacrificed so much to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are exciting and engaging narratives that give children positive role models and heroes to follow. These books feature great heroes of the faith such as George Mueller, Nate Saint, Corrie Ten Boom and C.S. Lewis.

Similarly, Heroes of History is a biography series but the people featured there are more historical figures who were Christians.  Orville Wright, Daniel Boone, Alan Shepherd and Clara Barton are a few of the people featured in this series. They help students see how their contributions shaped history.

When I contemplate the C.S. Lewis quote above, I know that I want to have exposed my children to many good heroes. Some we see in our everyday lives but many of them they ‘meet’ though the pages of a good book. I think that these YWAM series are great ways for them to ‘meet’ a variety of heroes and help prepare them to face the battles they will surely face in this world. I highly encourage you to check out these series if you are not familiar with them.

Have you read any of these ‘Y’ books?  Tell me what books come to mind when you think of the letter ‘Y’.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Back to School Blog Hop 2019!

I am so excited to share with you that the Review Crew is doing another amazing Back to School Blog Hop! I always enjoy reading all of these wonderful posts just in time to get me excited for another new year of homeschooling! The Blog Hop will run from August 12th through the 16th and I will be sharing a new post here each day as well as linking to the posts from the other Crew Members that will be participating. This year we are each sharing on our own home school related themes.

I will be sharing each day about a different way to add a bit of fun into your home school day without changing curriculum! We will talk about things you can add or tweak to bring a little more excitement into your homeschooling experience. Make sure to check back here on Monday August 12th for the first installment in this series!  There will be a variety of topics covered in the hop, including peace in your home school, upper grades homeschooling, favorite home school things and so much more.

 

2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Day 1: Adding Fun to Your Homeschool: Contests/Competitions

Day 2: Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Games

Day 3: Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Cooking

Day 4: Adding Fun to Your Homeschool: Incorporating Hobbies

Day 5: Adding Fun Into Your Homeschool: Field Trips

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

 

Our 8th Grade Curriculum Choices

Some days I find it hard to believe that I already have an eighth grader! I started homeschooling him in first grade and it seems like it cannot have possibly been that long ago. We started with a class schedule that was slightly shorter, but much like the one I had as a classroom teacher. It didn’t take more than a few weeks for me to realize that I didn’t want to create school at home but I wanted to create a learning environment where we could thrive. We have had our ups and downs, good days and bad days but I think we have learned a lot and each year gets better.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

8th grade pinterest

He will be taking Algebra 1 as an eighth grader which means I have to start his transcript this year. We looked at several programs but settled on No-nonsense Algebra. It came highly recommended by some fellow homeschool moms and we gave it a trial run this summer. The simple and straightforward approach seemed to work well with my son, especially after we worked through a couple of lessons together and I ensured he was working out the problems as required. This program combines short online video lessons with well written and worked out example problems, followed by a short practice session (usually about 15-20 problems). Each lesson also includes about four review questions at the end to help with retention.

For language arts he will be using several programs. First, we are continuing to use All About Spelling. It is one of my favorite programs ever because it was such a game changer for our family. This program helped both of my older children to finally understand spelling and translate what they were learning in spelling to their everyday writing. My son could read years above grade level and make hundreds on traditional spelling tests but could not translate those words into his every day writing. We had tried multiple other spelling programs before we finally purchased All About Spelling. With-in just a few weeks I was able to begin to see improvement. Last spring, my daughter had the opportunity to try out Fix It! Grammar from IEW and we felt like it was a really good fit. The short lessons were effective without being overwhelming. I thought this would also work well for my son so I purchased another copy of the student book for my son to begin this fall.

 

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review Lightning Lit & Comp: Hewitt Homeschooling Resources with my son. We did the first two chapters and I felt like it was a good match for his personality. We are planning to finish that program for his eighth-grade literature, although I will be mostly using the literature components and not the composition because we will be using a different composition program.  He started working his way through Sharon Watson’s writing program Jump In and we plan to finish that program this year to give him the skills he needs for high school level composition next year.

We will be studying North Carolina History as a family. We love history and have spent a good deal of time volunteering at our local historic site. My son turned 13 in May and was very excited to be able to join his father in volunteering with their NC Continental Line group. History is the subject he is most excited about and I look forward to helping him learn and grow in this area.  I will be using a variety of books, our North Carolina Junior Historians program, the North Carolina Historic Sites, and a variety of other resources to take them through North Carolina’s history. We will also use State History from a Christian Perspective to get us started and get a good overview of North Carolina.

 

For science he will be using Apologia General Science .  This was another product that I had the privilege of reviewing this summer. I had been looking for a science that would help him become more independent and give him a good review of a variety of concepts in preparation for high school next year.  This program did an excellent job of that and is very well laid out. I loved how easy it was for him to know exactly what he needed to accomplish because of the checklists and reminders that are included in the student journal.

 

To further his goals of running and growing his own business we started working through The Kingdom Code . He is loving the program, enjoying having his own grass cutting business, and looking forward to continuing in that program. It is a great program that teaches entrepreneurship and economics from a Biblical perspective. I will be sharing a weekly journal on the blog about his progress through this program, so make sure to follow along.

In addition to these programs, he will be doing Bible study each day and our morning time which will include read alouds, music appreciation, missionary studies, and more. Of course, there will also be lots of free play, field trips, and hands on adventures to keep the real-life learning going. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing more about what we are using for our morning time. If you have younger children you may want to check out Our Kindergarten Curriculum.

What are your favorite middle grades resources?

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!