It has been almost two weeks since we celebrated Halloween and as always life has been a chaotic rush of events. It always takes a few days to recoup after a holiday and Halloween is no exception. You see we have this tradition of not buying store bought costumes instead I handmake each and every costume. This tradition started years ago when money was very tight and I had to think outside of the box for costumes. I realized that while my sewing skills are not seamstress worthy I could make an outfit that could safely be worn for a few hours. In fact, some of the costumes I have made over the years have held up for a decent amount of time so the kids were able to enjoy playing dress up with them.
This year was no different I worked around the clock for several days whipping up a Minecraft creeper, a witch and a spooky scarecrow. Every year the kids pick costumes that are more and more challenging and every year I question my sanity but in the end, it is worth it because of the memories made. We had a wonderfully mild Halloween which is pretty uncommon for us here in the Midwest. A typical Halloween for us involves trick or treating in high winds, rain/snow mix or even full-on ice rain. This is why whenever I make costumes I make them large enough to fit over winter jackets and snow pants that way everyone stays nice and warm and still they are able to show off their costumes.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and that you have enjoyed some rest and relaxation as we propel into the Christmas season.
I often encounter those who are skeptical that homeschooling is a legitimate form of education. One of the concerns that are often brought up is that my kids won’t have a well-rounded education in science because we do not have access to a science lab for experiments. This is really funny to me because when you think back to your school days how many of us were actually exposed to a state of the art science lab. Typically, science teachers had to make do with their desks or a small table within the classroom to showcase an experiment. I didn’t step foot into a science lab until high school when I took Chemistry and we only used the lab so that we could have access to the bunsen burners.
While I would love a home science lab; I like many teachers across the world utilize the space I have and it has worked out pretty good. In fact, my kids have participated in hundreds of science experiments and activities right at our kitchen table. My homeschooled children have had more opportunities to participate in science experiments than their friends and cousins who attend traditional brick and mortar schools. In fact, my oldest niece who is in high school has never been able to participate in a science experiment. She has had the opportunity to observe but due to budget and time constraints at her school, she has not been able to actively participate. Now I will admit it is fun to watch science experiments but the learning that occurs when you actually get to fully participate is priceless.
Today we piled around our kitchen table to explore “Why Leaves Change Colors”. I found this fun science lab on education.com called Leaf Chromatography. Basically, we have separated the different pigments from leaves to see what colors are present. We then read through a few handouts I found online that explains why each of those pigments is present. To help us fully understand why leaves change color we also sat down and read a great book written by Betsy Maestro titled Why Do Leaves Change Color?. Whenever I do any type of Science experiment or activity I try to follow up with additional materials to reinforce the concepts we learned. You don’t need a lot of money, a fancy science lab or a masters degree in science to provide your children with a quality science education. I will link the resources we used today below in case you want to give this lab a try with your kids.
I can’t believe that its already the middle of October! Halloween is only 21 days away and we are working hard to fit in a ton of fun and spooktacular activities. This morning we ventured to Blue Creek Metropark in Northwest Ohio for a nature scavenger hunt where we also hunted for leaves. We really had a blast and I love getting outdoors with my little ones and making memories with them. Not only did we have fun but we learned how to identify the leaves we found on the ground and we discussed how and why the leaves change colors. We collected a number of leaves for a science experiment that I have planned for later in the week where we will use Chromatography to separate the different pigmentations in the leaves. I will share more information about this experiment later this week in case you want to try this with your little ones.
Today though I do have something fun to share with you and your family and its a great worksheet from Education.com. I absolutely love this website and we print worksheets and lessons from them all the time. A few months ago I was allowed to share a fun math worksheet and was beyond thrilled when they asked if my readers might be interested in Halloween themed worksheet. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Education.com I strongly urge you to click the link below to see all that they have to offer. Whether you are a full-time homeschooler or perhaps looking for supplementary worksheets you will be amazed by the variety and quality of the content on their website. In the meantime enjoy this fun, free and spooktacular treat from Education.com.
Find the spooky words in this Halloween word search from Education.com! Find more fun language arts games here.
Fall is fully underway here in Northwest Ohio. The colors are beginning to change and while our days are still warm the temps are falling at night allowing for restful sleep. Fall is really my favorite time of year and we are only 30 days away to one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. We love Halloween and we celebrate all fall with fun Halloween activities, crafts, and decorations. Today we spent our morning decorating our front porch with a creepy scene and later this afternoon we will begin to decorate our classroom a.k.a dining room. While we enjoy the creep factor on the outside of our house inside we like to keep our Halloween decorations cute and festive.
I love Halloween themed worksheets, activities, and events to help keep our homeschooling fun. Madlibs are great to include in your language arts lessons and we like to do them as a group so everyone can get involved in the fun. I will include a link to a fun Madlib offered by education.com titled Zombie Story at the end of this post. I am working on putting together a resource list with additional Halloween activities and crafts for you and your family to enjoy. I am hoping to have that posted in the next couple of days. I will also post some pictures of our decorations so you can see how crazy we are about Halloween and fall:).
Do you have a special way of celebrating Halloween? What is your favorite fall activity? Do you incorporate the holidays into your homeschool curriculum?
I recently stumbled across an advertisement for a fun program that is meant to teach children their multiplication tables effortlessly. The program is called Times Tales and I will include a link below if you want to investigate this product further. Before I continue with my personal opinion of this product I will state that I am not being paid for this review and it is not being sponsored by Time Tales. I purchased the e-version directly from the Time Tales website although I did find competitive prices being offered by several different online retailers including Amazon and Educents.
On to the review, I love this product and even though we have only been using it for three days I can already see that all three of my kids are benefiting. Before purchasing, I did read a lot of reviews and saw that a lot of parents were recommending the product but from personal experience, I have learned that what looks good on paper doesn’t always work for us in the real world. The major selling point for me was that this product is supposed to assist those with dyslexia learn their multiplication tables. My oldest son has dyslexia and while he has been working on his multiplication facts for a while and knows a number of them there are still quite a few that he struggles with. I also wanted to see if this would help my seven-year-old daughter as she has just begun to work on her multiplication facts.
I purchased the Digital Download package which comes with the printable worksheets for $15.95. All of my kids including my 5 year old sat down and watched part 1 where they are memorizing the “Times Tales” that will help them memorize their multiplication facts. The first thing I noticed was that all three of my kids were enjoying the silly tales. There was a lot of laughing and smiling as they watched the video but what shocked me the most was that by the end of part one they were reciting multiplication facts. Even my five year old has been regaling me with his new found knowledge of multiplication. They are supposed to watch part one daily until they have it mastered and then they can move on to part two. There are worksheets that you can print off as well that will help reinforce what they have learned.
Even though we have only been using this product for a few days I am absolutely in love with it and plan to investigate the other math products offered by this company. If you have little ones who are struggling with multiplication or who are ready to begin learning their facts I highly recommend this product. I can’t wait to see where my kids are in a few weeks once they have completed the entire program. I will do an update once we have made it to the end but I just couldn’t wait to share this exciting program with other moms and dads.
Times Tales® Home Editions
Today was a beautiful day and we took advantage of the warm weather to take a little excursion. Just down the road from us, there is a hidden gem known as the 577 Foundation. I had read about it in the local newspaper and was intrigued by the broad spectrum of activities they offered. Even though I had read a brief overview and visited their website I was not prepared for the wonder and beauty we would discover.
In the heart of Perrysburg Ohio along the Maumee River is an estate that has been turned into an ecological wonderland. We discovered a variety of gardens, indoor and outdoor ponds teeming with fish and tadpoles, a grassy orchard trail, a fossil dig, beehives and so much more. We will definitely visit the 577 Foundation again because even after spending almost 3 hours of wandering around I don’t think we saw everything.
If you live in Northwest Ohio I will drop a link to their website below so you can check this place out for yourself. Not only is this a great place to visit but you can’t beat the price as there is no admission. If you don’t live in Northwest Ohio I encourage you to seek out your area and find a local “hidden gem”. These types of field trips are a great way to get out and explore nature, learn about conservation and a variety of ecology-related topics.
For more information about this great field trip destination visit:
Spring has finally arrived here in Northwest Ohio which has filled us with so much joy and excitement. Our goal this spring is to experience as much adventure and homeschooling fun that we can fit into our hectic eclectic schedule. Check out our Spring Bucket List and let me know what you think?
- Puddle Jumping
- Visit a nature center
- Complete a 5-mile hike
- Dance in the rain
- Build a birdhouse
- Plant a garden
- Host a picnic in the park
- Visit a Civil War battlefield
- Take a ferry boat to Put-In-Bay
- Visit the Toledo Botanical Gardens
- Investigate a pond
- Go bird watching
- Go fishing
- Enjoy a bonfire with friends and family
- Go Horseback riding
What activities and/or adventures do you have planned this spring?