Reading to Shelter Dogs

One of the most recent highlights of our homeschooling adventures has been volunteering at a local animal shelter. While I go in to photograph the animals looking for adopters or rescue, the kidlets have been reading to the dogs + cats. This helps to keep the furbabies socialized and in better spirits, rather than being cooped up in the kennels on their lonesome for too long. I enjoy seeing them read and cuddle with the animals; and the kids know that they are showing the furbabies that there are humans that do still care.

UPDATE: I shared this info with some friends on facebook. A few days later, I was thrilled to even see that another homeschool family in another state has began going in to their local shelter to do the same!
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2012-2013 Homeschooling Update

This year Elijah has been doing better with sitting still and actually using worksheets and book work. Last year was mostly learning through daily life, educational games on the computer and documentaries (he’s beyond obsessed with them). Nevaeh is still not of age for school, however she has been going through a lot of the same routine that her older brother has this year. She seems eager to learn just because she sees her brother doing it. Big smiley in my book.

This year, Elijah has been going through “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” as well as using flash cards for phonics and sight words. Our flash cards came from Starskills. I will be posting a review of the Starskills Early Learning Program that is 40 weeks long, broken down into four (4) ten week sections. We have began this program over the last few weeks and I do highly recommend it so far. We also use Starskills for printable alphabet + numbers, counting worksheets and more. You can keep up to date with new Starskills programs on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/starskills.

We use a set of Weekly Reader “Just Ask” books for reading/comprehension. Angel Bear Yoga (physical fitness, building positive character traits, building communication + more). And we just began using ABC Bible Verses that we found through pinterest that we printed out and fit inside of baseball card holders for a weekly bible verse (devotional + memorization).

Other than that, we fit in math, arts and crafts, life skills, etc into our everday living. Measuring in the kitchen, making our own laundry + cleaning supplies, folding + putting away their own clothes, choosing the cheapest of a certain item in the store, saving + spending their own money, etc. The list goes on in our homeschool.

PS: If you don’t remember my post at the beginning of this school year (here), I use free printables from Five J’s to create my homeschool binder (yearly attendance chart, weekly assignment sheets). I also use DonnaYoung.org for printables for our reading list and a google doc file with an ongoing list of documentaries that we have watched.

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The 2012-2013 Homeschool Year Begins

I began by creating a binder using www.fivejs.com free printables to plan our school year out and to create our schedule. We do use more of an unschooling approach allowing the kidlets to learn through everyday living.


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Home Ec and Life Skills such as cooking, cleaning, and hygiene are going to be some of our big points this year to focus on. With Elijah being Autistic, I think this is important for him. We will also concentrate on phonics, arts and crafts, animal science (including dinosaurs), math (counting, time, measurements, etc) and physical education.

Elijah is pretty excited to begin ‘schooling’ now so he chose to make corndog muffins for lunch today. A great idea that we found on pintrest this morning.

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Homemade Craft Supplies

My children have many allergies. Making homemade crafts & cleaning supplies are one way I can control what they come in contact with. Here are a few ‘recipes’ for craft supplies that I have gathered over time.

Glitter

Supplies:
1c salt
ziploc bag
food coloring
cookie sheet

Instructions:
Seperate salt into piles, and mix each pile with food coloring in a ziploc bag. Spread salt our on a cookie sheet and let dry. Store extra glitter in a tupperware container. Best of all glitter made fr
om salt can’t cut your eyes like regular store bought glitter.

Modeling Clay

Supplies:
1c. salt
2c. flour
1c. water
food coloring to tint

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together for about 5 minutes and then it is ready to use. To keep the clay from drying out you can store it in tuperware containers.

Chalk

Supplies:
1/2 c. plaster of paris
almost 1/4 c. water
powdered tempera paint
mixing bowl
an ice cube tray.

Instructions:
Mix the plaster of paris and most of the water together, add 1-2 tbs. of tempera paint and mix well. Add enough water to thicken mixture. Pour into ice cube tray and let dry, then just pop it out and it is ready to use.

Finger Paints

Supplies
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
1 bar hypo-allergenic soap
food stuff dyes

Procedure:
Grate bar of soap until it is in fine shreds. Melt with 1/2 cup water over med heat. In a bowl combine cornstarch, 1/2 cup water, and melted soap mixture. Stir to blend. Let mixture sit and thicken. Divide into as many separate bowls as you want colors (so for 6 colors, use 6 bowls) Stir in ‘colors”

For colors: Get creative…you can mix 1/4 cup fruit juices with 2 cups of water, or you can add the juice from canned beets (straight instead of water). For browns you can use tea, for yellow you can mix turmeric with a little bit of water to make a paste. Once your dough is prepared, you can kneed in the colors.

NOTE: For thicker consistency paint: Mix 1 packet of gelatin with 1/4 cup of water. Add to the cornstarch, water and melted soap mixture.

Play Dough

Supplies:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup cool water
2 Tbs oil
2 Tbs cream of tartar
Wax paper

Procedure:
Stir together flour, cream of tartar, salt and oil. Slowly mix in the water. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until dough becomes stiff. Spread onto wax paper and let cool. Kneed dough with your hands until it reaches the desired consistency.

Note: You can add a few drops of color after you stir in the water (over the heat) to get colored dough. Get creative…you can mix 1/4 cup fruit juices with 2 cups of water, or you can add the juice from canned beets (straight instead of water). For browns you can use tea, for yellow you can mix turmeric with a little bit of water to make a paste. Once your dough is prepared, you can kneed in the colors.

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The Cupcake Alphabet

I recently posted about the Alphabet Animal Special they had over at Little Nummies.  I had an idea to use it as a homeschooling tool since they posted links to free printables, facts and videos relating to the animal.

I was searching today for cupcake ideas for my daughter’s birthday.  I came across Family Magazine’s Cupcake Alphabet.  These could be used to go along with the letter used with the Alphabet Animal Special.  I will share my full plan for my 3 year old son really soon so that anyone interested could use it as well.

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Little Nummies Animals A-Z

I came across this really cute website called Little Nummies recently.  Having one picky eater on my hands, I understand how the creator of the site got started.  They recently had an Animal Special that I thought would be great to share with others.

This Alphabet Animal Special can be used in many ways:

1. Reference of ideas for daily lunches or snacks to change things up or get your toddler interested in trying to new foods (or just to get them to eat period!)

2. If you are homeschooling and your child is learning the alphabet, you could do the alphabet in order one day at a time.  Have lunch, go over the letter of the day and learn about that particular animal of the day as well.  Lunch, Alphabet and Animal Science – three courses in one!  Couldn’t get much better than that.

You can visit Little Nummies for this Animal special by visiting http://littlenummies.net/?cat=469 or to get other great food ideas visit the homepage at http://littlenummies.net.  For quick reference for myself and to share with others, I have put together a list of the Animals a-z, here.

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