Look what I made for my girls!
I’ve been searching high and low for something like this ever since I spotted one on Pinterest. However, the really nice ones all cost moola and I just could not afford that right now. I gotta say, though, after spending hours and hours tweaking and creating this, I have a lot more respect to those who request money for their printables and ready-made projects like this one and would be more than willing to pay them!
Since this is not in any way perfect, I am offering this as a FREE download to anyone who wants it for their own kids!
Here’s another pic of my girls working on theirs:
I looked online for the planets for the girls to color and cut-out. You can even do a google map of your city/town and print that for your child. Use your imagination, get creative! Lots of ideas out there :)
I compiled together the files you can use. To download the files please click here. Enjoy!!
Today is the first-ever blog hop at SecularHomeschool.com. We’ll be doing a blog hop celebrating our successes! So without further ado — here is my post:
I absolutely cannot believe that my two little ones will be turning six this month! Biggest accomplishment? They are clearly reading!!
The other day I was getting dinner ready and I overheard the two littles discussing what was on the calendar. See, I have this huge dry-erase calendar where I update it with events, field trips, co-op functions, etc. And I had gone ahead and entered “zoo” with a question mark on a date.
The girls have been begging to visit the zoo. They’ve gone Wild Kratts cah-razy and all they ever talk about is this animal and that animal and how they want to see REAL animals! So, I decided to tentatively schedule a visit to the zoo weather-permitting.
Well, while prepping dinner, I hear the following conversation:
T.B.: It says ZOO! Right?
T.A.: I think so. Z. O. O. spells zoo!
T.B.: No. It’s zoo but there’s a question mark.
T.A.: So are we going to the zoo?
T.B.: I think so! Maybe?
And I am trying so hard not to laugh while hearing this conversation. Sure enough, I admitted that we were indeed planning on going.
Well, so much for surprises! No more writing surprises on the calendar!
Pretty cool that they can read! They have a ways to go but I feel so incredibly accomplished. There are days when I feel like I am not doing enough, not doing good enough, just plain could be doing better. And then there are days like this when I clearly see my little ones are capable of reading and I know it is because I sit with them and have been teaching them.
Makes me happy. A definite win for this mom!
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Life is full of amazing learning experiences for kids. It’s also full of sudden experiences that you might not feel well equipped to handle.
One such experience, for me, is death.
We received some grim news. A very close family member has been diagnosed with cancer. Not to go into too many details -it is not good. Not good at all. :(
We sat down and talked with my nearly twelve year old. We told her the truth. We explained the situation and answered her questions as best we could. Of course, she took it hard. Very hard. But she does understand that the only thing certain about life, is death.
She comes to me or to her father from time to time for a hug. For a reassurance that we’re still here. Sometimes she asks us about death, about life, about our existence on this blue planet called Earth. It’s these tough questions that we have to muddle through. We don’t have definitive answers to what comes after death and that is hard.
We don’t use religion to find comfort, so it seems especially hard to answer her very difficult questions. A lot of the discussions are led with the following question to her, “What do you think happens after death?”
One thing my husband and I have been very clear about from the very beginning, was that we weren’t going to dictate what our children believe or disbelieve. We will present them with the facts -the scientific facts as we know them. We will learn and explore other cultures, other religions, other beliefs, etc. But, in the end, it will come down to them making the decision on what they want to believe in.
I come from a religious background (I am currently a self-proclaimed agnostic with strong atheist tendencies -although, if I am being completely honest, I really dislike labels), so I recall the comfort one could find in religion. Cold hard facts are not as comforting. However, I do find comfort in knowing that our life is filled with wonderful memories, traditions, events, etc spent with said family member. I will carry that in my heart always. I need only think about someone who has passed, like my grandparents, and feel warm and fuzzy remembering them.
Still, I do understand the plight she must feel as she struggles to comprehend death, thereafter, and the purpose of ones existence.
It will be especially hard to sit down and explain death to the little ones when the time comes. The little ones have no idea on what is happening. They know the family member is sick and to be gentle when around them, but that is all.
To somewhat prepare them, I borrowed a book from the library called Gentle Willow. I sat with them both and read it to them. We talked about it. They grasped the concept that the tree was dead/gone/is no more. But I did not delve into it. It was just like reading any other book. It was read to them and that was it. I didn’t want to call such great attention to this book.
When the time comes, my hope is that they will recall this story and hopefully be able to make the connection. I am not certain this is the right way to go but for now, it will do.
It is definitely not a topic that should be avoided and it is definitely not a topic that should be ignored. It is simply a topic that I am hoping to discuss with them when they are ready, when it actually occurs, when the time is right. I will not skirt around it. Of that I am certain. But I won’t lie -it does intimidate me.
There is nothing worse for a mom then to see her children hurting. And knowing I cannot take away the pain that is to come with the death of a family member… well, it’s hard. Most incredibly hard. A mother’s job is to protect, to shield, to love, to hug, to keep safe her children. Although I will not avoid the topic of death, it is still a hard topic to deal with when it involves a very much loved family member. I know my kids will hurt. I know it will be painful. I ache for them. However, we will trek through this together -as a family- and we will be there for each other.
Part of life is death. It cannot be avoided. It is the only certain thing in life. Hopefully they will also be certain of the love we have for each other and will know I’m there for them. Not only is there life and death, but there is love there too.
We are pretty close to wrapping up Elemental Science Logic Stage Biology!!
We’ll be getting together with three other families to do the dissection together with the kids. Should be fun! I’ll post pics when we do that.
But, what to do next!? I’m not going to say Elemental Science was bad or hard or anything negative at all. It really wasn’t. We enjoyed it and worked through it and did almost every experiment.
However, I have learned quite a lot through the process of using Elemental Science. It used the encyclopedia’s a lot as its main resource and it got me thinking -why then do I need to purchase a curriculum for science? There are tons and tons of experiment ideas online, there are tons of videos, documentaries, etc etc. And there are loads of awesome encyclopedia’s for science.. Yes, it is absolutely super simple to get a curriculum that walks you through what all you need, what to do next, etc. I can definitely see why it would be helpful and easy and oh so simple. However, it costs an arm and a leg.
I had actually considered ClassiQuest next. I love how it looks so robust and offered a lot of hands on experiments. However, I just don’t have the finances right now to purchase this curriculum.
Enter hours and hours of alternative ideas for our next Science choice.
At first, I wanted to do Physics with the kid. However, after several hours of researching this, I learned that it would be in my daughter’s best interest to hold off one more year before tackling that subject. Having algebra under her belt will help tremendously so we’ve put that on the back burner for now. We kinda already did Chemistry and I do plan on revisiting this subject more in depth, but again, not quite yet. So, what’s left? Earth Science and Astronomy.
I researched ideas just about everywhere online, message boards, reviews, homeschool blogs -you name it, I probably visited it!
I came across an awesome lab book for Earth Science that was actually used by college students. Time and again, I ran across homeschool moms saying they were using it for grades 7th through 9th. Hmmm so I further investigated it and ‘lo and behold it looked perfect. It’s called Applications and Investigations in Earth Science (7th Edition) by Edward J. Tarbuck. I got it used for eight bucks!
I also got access to the teacher’s instruction via Pearson’s website for free (you just need to fill out a form requesting access), and I found some amazing resources available via that site, as well. Mini flash movies, powerpoint presentations, etc. etc.
I will also be using DK’s Earthbook and some neat online links filled with extras:
I have a box of minerals and rocks so we can test its hardness, luster, etc., I have this beautiful visual book for Astronomy, a telescope, and celestial body navigation pamphlet.
I think I can make this all work!
I’ve been sitting down with my book, links, and jotting down notes on how I want to proceed with this. I am, essentially, making up my own curriculum for Earth Science. Yes, it is quite time consuming! So for those who need something that is already put together and organized, this method is not for you. For those who don’t mind the prep work required, I say go for it!! I already have a bunch of the materials and books on hand so I essentially only had to shell out money on a used copy of Tarbuck’s book.
I’ll let you know how it actually goes once we start. I don’t foresee us beginning this until June. Wish me luck! :)