Social Studies

Creative Learning Experiences

Worksheets are often boring, I do know this, so my goal is always to use them as a guide for the discussion and learning process and not to require page after page of writing.

Elisha (our oldest) has autism and has always struggled with putting pen to paper due to a combination of muscle fatigue (diagnosed by an orthopaedic specialist) and sensory issues (diagnosed by two different occupational therapists). For these and other reasons, we are always looking for creative learning experiences that don’t require putting pen to paper.

Creative learning experiences can often be found by thinking outside the box or by producing activities in the moment based on interest and opportunity. Some of my best creative learning ideas come from truly seizing those teachable moments and having a variety of resources available in our home learning environment can only improve my chances of succeeding.

Bible

During our Bible time today we read and discussed Colossians 3:20.
Download a pdf of the memory verse poster here – – > View on Store

FYI – These memory verse posters are created by my husband and I to go with animations we are currently working on. There will be 26 verses in this series.

Math

We went to Khan Academy again today to watch our math video.

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We watched the third video in the Khan Academy Arithmetic Playlist in case you are following along.

Then we printed some more worksheets from The Math Worksheet Site.

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We pulled out our gripping pegs for the twins to play with and they were very engaged with practicing their fine motor skills. (And yes, that is a ham sandwich sitting beside Hosanna. It was  a working lunch).

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English

Today we played a rousing game of Angry Verbs. No, I didn’t come up with that fun title, Angry Verbs, but I did come up with this fun little game for the kids to play today.

I took these angry birds coloring pages, printed them out, and slipped them into my wonderful foam dice and taped the sides shut in case any of them had second thoughts and decided to  try and escape.

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The rules are simple:

  1. If you roll a bird you have to say a verb.
  2. If you roll a pig you have to say a noun.

Another awesome resource is this Noun/Verb Sort (free) from Mama’s Learning Corner for you to check out.

Social Studies (History & Geography)

Today we dove in head first and landed in the Byzantine Empire. We opened The Usborne Book Of World History

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and read pages 92-93.

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Then we opened up The Usborne Encyclopedia World History

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and read pages 202-203.

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Then we opened up The King Fisher History Encyclopedia

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and read from pages 100-101.

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A few years ago I purchased Uncle Josh’s Outline Map Collection and it has been a wonderful resource for whenever we need a map.

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Today we printed out a map of Europe & The Middle East and Elisha was able to highlight the Byzantine Empire area in pencil, from memory. He particularly enjoyed our history lesson today.

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I pulled out my History Through The Ages CD today and printed off the page with Justinian and Theodora for the kids to put in their timeline books.

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This is the Book Of Time purchased from Sonlight a few years ago, but we hardly used it. It will be perfect for our Medieval Studies.

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Elisha glued in Justinian and Theodora and then helped each of the other boys to find the correct place on their own timelines and glue in their pieces. He was a big help today and he actually told me he enjoyed school. (Big smile on my heart for reaching him).

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A Few Final Words

Well, that’s it for our formal lessons this week. A few of the kids have bits and pieces to finish before we dive into our lessons again next Tuesday, but we are just calling that homework.

Making School Fun

I will be the first to admit that school is not always fun. Sometimes the things we are learning are hard for me to teach and sometimes things are hard for the kids to learn. Since I really want my kids to enjoy learning, I work hard at making school fun or at least as enjoyable as possible (sometimes that is SO hard, trust me).

When you are home learning or in any learning environment, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome or compensate for is the variety of learning styles. Everyone has their own “way” that they learn best and trust me, sometimes those STYLES clash LOUDLY. Well, at least in our house they do. And then, you get to learn tolerance and patience and long-suffering.

Okay, this post was not meant to be depressing, but rather encouraging. How can you make school fun, when you are dealing with subject matter that kids don’t want to learn (or think they already know) and learning styles that clash? That is what my pretty little brain is storming all about these days. Hopefully, I will come up with some answers for our house – that I can, in turn, share with you.

Bible

During our Bible time today we read and discussed Matthew 5:9.
Download a pdf of the memory verse poster here – – > View on Store

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Math

We went to Khan Academy again today to watch our math video.

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We watched the second video in the Khan Academy Arithmetic Playlist in case you are following along.

Then we printed some more worksheets from The Math Worksheet Site.

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We pulled out our Unifix Cubes for the twins today and printed some fun worksheets from A Child’s Place. It turns out the big boys still enjoy using them for math too, but you did not hear that from me.

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English

We are still working through these books:

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Left BookNo Boring Practice, Please! Spelling
Right BookComic-Strip Grammar

In No Boring Practice, Please! Spelling we are working on Syllables right now and will be for at least one more week. Dipthongs and digraphs here we come.

Since our topic today in (Comic-Strip Grammar) was verbs, we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video about verbs on YouTube as a little refresher.

Social Studies

Today we did a super quick overview of the Early Middle Ages and Middle Ages. Now, while I say super quick, I don’t mean I read fast (okay, I really did), but what I meant is that we went very quickly through the pages in The King Fisher History Encyclopedia. Pages 97-190 to be exact. We read the little sentence/paragraph in the top left hand corner of each 2 page spread that told briefly about that time period.

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That reading today was a whirlwind trip in itself and I have to be honest with you, this time period sounds absolutely fascinating. I am really looking forward to studying all about the middle ages with the kids. I hope you will join us for the ride.

A Few Questions For You

  1. Do your kids have clashing learning styles?
  2. How do you help your kids learn to work together?
  3. How do you adapt your homeschool materials to a variety of levels and learning styles?
  4. What one piece of advice can you offer to other homeschooling mamas?

A New Year Of Home Learning

It is hard to get into a routine after you have taken a break from formal home learning. We are slowly getting back into the swing of things now after our busy Christmas break.

Welcome to an exciting new year of home learning!

Bible

For Bible today we discussed Proverbs 15:1.
Download a pdf of the memory verse poster here – – >View on Store

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Math

Math is currently being taught via videos on Khan Academy and worksheets from a paid subscription @ The Math Worksheet Site.

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When I first sat down this morning to que up the video for today, the Khan Academy site was down. Instead of panicking and getting my knickers all in a knot, I remembered that most, if not all, of the videos are hosted on YouTube. So, I journeyed over there to see if I could find the video that I wanted to play today.

Did you know that Khan Academy on YouTube has 3,336 videos and they are not all math?

We are starting a review of basic facts and seeing if there are any gaps we need to fill, so naturally we started with the Khan Academy Arithmetic Playlist. Did I mention this is free?

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Next up, I went over to the The Math Worksheet Site and printed off worksheets for all five kids. We are using the paid subscription from The Math Worksheet Site.

One great thing about this site is that when I am printing worksheets for the kids, I can generate a new worksheet for each child so they can all work on the same topic with different questions.

Another great thing about this site is that they have worksheets from pre-k all the way to high school, so there is something there for each of my children.

There are tons of free worksheets (generated on the fly) available there too, so make sure you check it out. I opted for the subscription because it was super cheap and I knew it would serve our family well.

English

Last year I was blessed to come across an online sale for Scholastic eBooks and I had some money just burning a hole in my Paypal (not really), so I bought a lovely collection of eBooks.

These wonderful eBooks have been sitting in a folder on my desktop FOREVER and I finally had a chance to have a closer look through them (last weekend) and choose some that were appropriate for us to work through this year.

Today we started working through these books:

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Left BookNo Boring Practice, Please! Spelling
Right BookComic-Strip Grammar

Since our topic today in (Comic-Strip Grammar) was nouns, we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video about Nouns on YouTube as a little refresher.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfnXUWJz0sE

Social Studies

We are just beginning our study of Medieval Times, so today was full of discussion about knights (which all the boys loved) among other things. I will share more of our resources tomorrow.

Transitions, Thoughts, and Other Stuff

Transitions

For some energetic transitions between lessons, we used this book:

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This book is perfect if you have small spaces (aka 5 kids stuck inside for the winter) and little people who need to burn off some steam.

Thoughts

One of the best things about home learning is being able to draw from a HUGE (limitless) variety of resources. What is your favorite thing about home learning?

Other Stuff

Okay, we can call this the “questions I want to ask you” section,  but the sub-title would not have looked nearly so cool.

  1. Are you starting back the school year doing the same old, same old?
  2. What is one thing you are ENJOYING learning right along with your kids?
  3. What is something you are struggling with in your home learning right now?

 

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