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Building Atom Models – Hands on Chemistry for Kids

building atom models with kids copy

One of the things that I’ve loved about our Chemistry science program (aff link) for Zachary this year is the hands-on aspect of the program. He is a boy that needs a little something to do with his hands every now and then, so it has fit in very well for us. As we’ve been learning about atoms together the last several weeks,  Building atom models and getting a 3D look at how an atom might actually appear has been a great way to visualize what we’re talking about. Quite obviously, these models are not to scale and a whole lot larger than the real thing. (grins)

In our model we used Styrofoam balls to represent the protons, neutrons, and electrons. In an atom, the protons and neutrons are in the nucleus (the center of the atom), and the electrons surround the atom. In diagrams you often see the electrons represented by elliptical lines moving around the nucleus.

3D lithium atom model project for kids

Building Atom Models

We chose to build a model of a lithium atom and used the following supplies. If you would like to make a different atom, the number of styrofoam balls will differ based on the number of neutrons, protons, and electrons in the atom. See below for how to calculate those numbers.

  • 7 styrofoam balls – we used ones that were about 2” in diameter
  • 3 styrofoam balls about 1 inch in diameter
  • 3 pipecleaners
  • toothpicks
  • red, yellow, and blue paint
  • paintbrushes
  1. Paint four of the 2” balls yellow (neutrons) and three of the balls blue (protons).
  2. Paint the 1” balls red (electrons).
  3. Using the toothpicks, connect the yellow and blue balls together, making sure they touch each other. We broke out toothpicks in half so they wouldn’t poke through too much.
  4. Connect each electron (red balls) to one of the protons (blue balls) using the pipe cleaners.

The model was a great way for us to understand a little better how atoms look. It was fun to talk about how many balls we would need to make some of the other atoms such as gold (79 protons/electrons and 118 neutrons – that would be a very large model!). We definitely figured it would be easier to stick to some of the more smaller numbered atoms on the periodic table!

To Build Different Atom Models

If you are trying to figure out how many neutrons, protons, and electrons an atom has, there is a way to work it out without needing to look up each atom one at a time. Each atom has an atomic number and an atomic weight. The atomic number tells you how many protons and electrons that atom contains. The neutrons are determined by looking at the atomic weight of the atom, rounding it up to the nearest whole number, and subtracting the number of protons. Usually you can find both numbers on your periodic table of elements.

Atomic weight = Protons (atomic number) + Neutrons

 

Additional Atom Model Ideas

Don’t care for styrofoam balls? Check out this idea on the Bright Idea Press blog using playdough (secretly I almost wish I would have seen this version first). Zachary loved creating and painting the model we did though, but I’m filing away this idea to use another time!

A few weeks ago we made edible atom models – and we enjoyed every single bite! Check out our atomic cookie skillet models for the recipe and instructions.

If you’d like to learn more about the homeschool chemistry program we are using, you can find out more here. Feel free to check out the rest of our homeschool curriculum choices as well!

Student Planner PDF Download – Now Available!

Student Planner full year || Homeschool Creations



I am SO excited to share two printable student planners with you all today! Half-sized planners weren’t cutting it for our girls, so we worked together to create a larger planner for each of them. 

McKenna’s words after seeing it completely bound and put together were, “Mom, it doesn’t even look like you made it! No offense!” She is so happy with it! It is full of color, plenty of space, and undated, so we can print off a new copy each year and bind it however we please. We initially thought about putting it in a 1/2” binder, but ended up deciding to have it spiral bound and it turned out great! (Staples charge $4.50 for binding and I recommend a size 12 coil binding so the pages can be turned easily). 

We chose not to date the planner because the girls are able to personalize it more to their liking – and it also saves me the hassle of having to rework the entire thing each year. They’ve actually enjoyed taking the time to get it set up, so it’s a win-win for us!

Inside Our Student Planner

Want a peek inside? I promise it’s super simple – because we found we really didn’t need so much extra stuff, full of color, and ready to download and print. This is a peek inside the ‘circle’ version of the student planner. 

Email subscribers can watch the video here.

A quick note: I figured out that our printer will print FULL BLEED. It was one of the paper choices in settings. In the video you’ll see some of the pages that we experiments with (ones that were or weren’t printed all the way to the edge). Our front and back covers were printed onto cardstock and then laminated for extra durability. We use a heavy weight paper (24 lb.) to print the planner and make the pages a little thicker.

Weekly Student Planner layout from Homeschool Creations

The Student Planner contains:

  • 8 1/2” x 11” undated pages – use it year after year!
  • Year at a glance dates
  • Student information and schedule page
  • 12 blank monthly planning pages
  • Weekly planning pages for 8 subjects
  • Planning for every day of the week (smaller spaces for Saturday/Sunday)
  • Goals, notes, and ‘what I learned’ section
  • Tracking for books read
  • 2 layouts: August through July or January through December

Purchase a Student Planner

This student planner is undated so you have the option of printing off a new copy each year. Each planner version is available for $10 and you are more than welcome to print off copies for each of your children – this year and in years to come. You may also purchase a bundle option which includes a copy of BOTH student planner designs, in case your kids are picky like mine!

Your purchase also allows access to a ‘buyers only’ page where optional pages will be added including additional dated covers, as well as a additional bonus pages in both designs.

The Student Planner is only available as a pdf download, and prints off double-sided. 

student planner buy now

$10.00

Add to Cart

Middle and High School Planner Printables for Homeschool

Middle and high school planning printables



Now I don’t know about you, but despite my best intentions, I seem to always forget something that has already been purchased, curriculum ideas for upcoming years, or what may already be on our bookshelves to use for our younger children. Sticky notes and random sheets of paper just don’t cut it, so the Middle and High School Planner pages were put together to make life a little easier for myself overall. (And let’s face it, these are a lot prettier than the random sheets of notebook paper that were accumulating in my binder).

I’m printing off a copy for each of our children and it gives me a central location to jot down notes, ideas, and what we’re doing as we go along. Overall, there are sixteen pages in the Middle and High School Planner pages (plus one that you don’t have to print at the end), and two different versions – a blue/green color-themed set and a rainbow color-themed set. Laurianna saw me working on them and said she thought hers should have more color, so I had to readjust them. (grins)

If you’d like to see what we’ve been planning for homeschool high school so far, don’t miss our Homeschool High School Plan post that was shared earlier. In addition to walking through our overall plans I share how overwhelmed I was to begin with and some tips on laying the foundation for the upcoming years. There is also a link to a simple overview printable that you may prefer to this more in-depth one.

A Quick Look & Overview Planning

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

Use the first two pages to plan out subjects and curriculum for each year. In the left side column there is room to track the subjects and then plan out what you will use from 6th grade through 12th grade. Be sure to keep track of what you already have on hand – and don’t need to purchase!

High School Outline, Requirements, and Schedules

high school daily schedule and requirements

This section allows you to plug in all the information that your state may require for graduation, AP placement, decide your grading scale, and brainstorm elective ideas for your child. There is also a sheet that can be printed off yearly to create a weekly schedule for your child.

Tracking High School Credits

credit and class tracking for high school

Keep track of the credits your child is earning, books read, extra curricular activities and other important information you might need for high school transcripts. There are five pages for this section: one for early credits (prior to 9th grade if your state allows it) and four pages, one for each year of high school.

Course Descriptions

Early and high school course description tracking

This section allows you write a short course description of each class that your child takes for credit (may come in handy for college admission later).

–> Download the Middle School and High School Class Planning (blue/green)  <–

–> Download the Middle and High School Planning Pages (rainbow)  <–

Questions about Homeschooling in High School?

Homeschooling in High School

There’s nothing that can strike fear in the heart of a veteran homeschooling parent like the thought of homeschooling high school. Despite what may be years of successful homeschooling, thinking of high school can bring all the fears and doubts of the early years resurging in a homeschool parent’s heart. Read the post Homeschooling in High School for tips and resources from a veteran homeschool mom who has homeschooled and graduated a high schooler.

Have a Student in Need of Organization Help?

Student-Planner-collage.png

If you have a child in middle or high school that needs some organizational help, be sure to check out our Weekly Student Planner! The planner is undated and can be used year after year and has plenty of room for writing down daily assignments, goals, and accomplishments. Learn more HERE.

If you would like to share, please share a link to my blog or to the page that hosts these files. Please do not link directly to just the PDF files, but directly to this post. Please feel free to print this pdf file for your own personal use. They were created for private and non-profit use. Please do not sell or host these files anywhere else.

”Homeschooling

Homeschool Middle School Adventures

We’re winding down the school year here, so the girls (and Zachary some too) have been working hard to wrap-up the last of their school work. There may be a few things we’ll still do in the summer, but otherwise, we’re ready for some relaxing and a whole lot of fun!

Testing is now over (and all of God’s people said ‘amen’) – so there’s that. We celebrated that milestone by taking a day to do nothing. After eating gobs of ice cream for dinner the night before, that is.

In the last few weeks science has been at the top of the agenda along with geography for Laurianna, so I thought it might be fun to share a little of what we’ve been up to. Besides, I promised I would share more – and I haven’t. So here it is…

Learning about Circuits

open and closed circuits with Nancy Larson Science

McKenna and Zachary have been learning about open and closed circuits (using Nancy Larson Science 4). When the hands-on stuff was pulled out, the fun really began.

We started out testing out the difference between an open and a closed circuit and how it would work with a battery – i.e. where does the wire need to touch on the battery and the light bulb in order to complete the circuit. The initial experiment only used one battery (a D size), and a few days later the two kids were hilarious when they realized that TWO batteries made the light bulb glow brighter. (It’s the little things, eh?).

In addition to making a light bulb glow, they’ve been trying small fans and motors – and now Zachary has a hankering to test a bunch of different things. And so begins the learning process. I love that something simple can spark a desire for more.

pH Levels and Moldy Bread

Laurianna has been working through the second year of her Rainbow Science (a two year program for 7th and 8th grade). While she had some fun experiments last year, the ones the last few weeks have been much more exciting for her.

moldy bread in a petri dish

Pretty, isn’t it? I may actually be able to save her some time and pull something from the back of the fridge for another experiment, but I suppose that wouldn’t be as fun for her.

microscope learning for homeschool

There have been other petri dishes hidden high on shelves so that little organisms can be observed (this one may have involved some squealing about how cool it was).

science experiments

And testing of pH levels – another huge hit.

high school geography

Laurianna has also been working on a new homeschool geography program from Bright Ideas Press – North Star Geography. We’ve had the opportunity to preview it  a bit before it’s release in July, and are enjoying it especially since it will count as a high school credit (woot!).

The other day she came up to me telling me how much she loved it and was learning from it. Incidentally, she also thinks that she should now learn Mandarin Chinese – not Spanish – since it is the most spoken language in the world. (We’re sticking with Spanish).

If you’d like to be kept updated on the full release of North Star Geography and receive a discount code, you can sign up for more info here.

Share What You’ve Been Up To…

One of the BEST things for me these last few months has been having friends that are coming along beside during the middle school and high school years – they can seem overwhelming! Seeing and sharing with what others are doing can be a big encouragement – so be sure to visit the Finishing Strong link up (below) to see what other families are doing.

But first – What have you been up to with your older kids? 

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Finishing Strong Linkup for Homeschooling Middle School

One of the areas that I really want to be more diligent in is sharing about our middle and (soon-to-be) high school adventures with our kids. I am SO excited to share about a new linkup that just started a few weeks ago and features some great ideas and helps for families homeschooling middle school.

finish-strong-blue-with-blue-border

The Finishing Strong link-up, hosted by Education Possible (and some other great co-hosts) started on March 5th. Each week they feature a few of the families that linked up the prior week.

Do you have a favorite blog that features middle school (or older elementary) activities and such?

Or do you blog about your middle school adventures?

Leave a comment with a link today and share the learning with us!

DIY Paper Star Craft

The following post is a guest post from my daughter Laurianna. One of her writing assignments this year was to explain a process,  so her mother is taking full advantage and having her turn it into a blog post for extra credit. These paper stars have been showing up in one form or another over the last few months, so she is glad to have an excuse to make more!

How to Make a Paper Star Tutorial from homeschoolcreations.net

 

Paper stars are a simple craft activity that will add color to a room. It is also a great way to keep kids busy and use up any extra scrapbook paper you may have on hand.

Supplies for a Paper Star Craft:

The following supplies will be needed for each star that is made. To make a smaller size, adjust the paper size accordingly, keeping the paper size square. How to Make a Paper Star Tutorial from homeschoolcreations.net-1

How to Make a Paper Star

Paper Star Tutorial folding directions from homeschoolcreations.net

Pick out two pieces of 12” x 12” patterned paper, and set one aside. Fold the first piece horizontally with the patterned side facing in, both ways (see picture 1) and then unfold. Next fold the paper diagonally with the patterned side facing out and crease in both directions (see picture 2). Paper Star Tutorial Cutting Steps from homeschoolcreations.net

Cut the paper about 2.5” toward the center of the paper, following the horizontal creases (see picture 3). Then fold the corners into the diagonal creases (picture 4), making the edges touch. Repeat on all points until the paper resembles picture 5. If you accidentally cut too far toward the center, use scotch tape to fix it (see picture 6).

Paper Star Tutorial Gluing Instructions from homeschoolcreations.net

Apply the tacky glue in a triangular shape on the right flap of each point (picture 7). Overlap the left side onto the right side with the glue (picture 8)and hold together for about 30 seconds to allow the glue to set (picture 9). Grab the other sheet of 12” x 12” paper and repeat the above steps to make a second half star.

Paper Star Tutorial Threading from homeschoolcreations.net

In order to hang the star, tie the piece of string to a small pony bead (picture 10). Thread the opposite end of the string through the yarn needle (picture11) and push the needle through one of the points on the star (picture 12). 

Paper Star Tutorial final step from homeschoolcreations.net

The star is almost complete! Apply the tacky glue to the bottom corners of one half of the star (picture 13). Lay the other half of the star on top so the points alternate, and press firmly to allow the glue to set. Hang and enjoy your beautiful paper star!  

Disclaimer :: As a mom I am 100% milking this writing assignment for all it is worth. Some of the WriteShop Basic assignment was altered to make it a better fit as a blog post, but extra credit was given since it technically meant Laurianna had to rewrite parts of it. All enjoyment for working on crafts as part of a writing assignment is purely coincidental and results may vary in your home – grins.