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Your Homeschool NEEDS a Field Trip

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If there is one thing that I wish I could go back and tell myself at the very start of homeschooling, it would be this: take more field trips. Despite having been a classroom teacher and planning trips bi-monthly for my class, something in me was very hesitant to spend too much time outside of our home once I started teaching at home.

What if someone thought I wasn’t doing my “job” as a homeschool mom?

Maybe we wouldn’t get every little piece of our “real” curriculum completed – then what??

Field trips technically don’t count as school, right? Sometimes it’s all about having the correct number of days marked off on the calendar should the state come knocking. (I’m a rule follower, you all. Bear with me.)

I do hope you sense my sarcasm here. Learning can happen ANYWHERE, but often we get so wrapped up in the tangible curriculum right in front of us or worry about what others might think. 

img_9426(there is ALWAYS one kid with eyes closed!)

Every now and then we would take a short trip but typically on days that we had already planned to have off from our regular school time – or better yet, AFTER we had finished our “real” school time. You know, the one with books and such. Heaven forbid I think that learning really takes place anywhere other than our four walls.

One year something changed for me that opened my eyes and helped me throw off any hinderance to taking field trips. A public school friend of my girls took a two day field trip. Not to a historical location (because that screams approval, right?), but to a THEME PARK. Two days!!! I may have been a wee bit irked and beside myself at that revelation. Those teachers were getting paid to ride roller coasters and not do one bit of book-learning with the kids. Those two days were counting as their 180 days and hours of official school time. And here I was sitting at home making sure all of my boxes were checked and I was doing the correct thing so I could homeschool my kids. 

(Clearly I need to lighten up, some.)

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From that moment on, my perspective on field trips shifted. In fact, we may have promptly planned a field trip to Six Flags for the second day of school the following school year (since our school year was already completed). That day, while all the kids in public school were sitting at their desks that sunny day, we enjoyed the freedom of a crowd-free park and reveled in our homeschool life. (Granted, I may have also mentally justified the trip since we earned the tickets by reading books for the Read to Succeed program, but give me grace – I am a slow learner. At least we took the trip!)

Field trips add an extra hands-on element of learning and allow our family to experience things first hand. It’s one thing to read about early Native Americans and their tools, but quite another to visit and see how they lived.  Talking about fossils is one thing, but when our kids have a chance to literally dig into the dirt and unearth their own to take home – that makes learning so much more fun! 

A Few Tips To Get Planning

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Maybe you also struggle with letting go a little bit in this area and stepping out (literally) to have fun together as a family. Can I offer a few tips?

  • Find a friend to go with you. One of the best things I did was grab hold of a friend and plan some field trips together. Initially we started with a few families and planned a trip once a month: a forestry trip complete with a park guide, a cavern tour, a river study, an Aboriginal art museum. We tried to keep them fairly friendly for kids of all ages, but a few of them were geared toward older kids. Trips were art, science, and multi-subject based. 
  • Plan trips around your curriculum. This year a friend and I are working through US history together with both our younger boys and also our high school girls. We are planning some small and big trips together: learning about early Native Americans, Colonial Williamsburg, fossils, and many additional historical figures from early American history – even an overnight trip or two with the girls! Even if you aren’t focusing on history lessons, there are so many other options for planning trips: art studies, science/nature, geography, government/civics, etc…
  • Look into service-based projects. Beyond taking trips to a historical battlefield or your state capital, look local and see if there are projects your family can dedicated consistent time to help out. Once a month our family coordinates and volunteers to cook and serve a lunch for an area ministry that reaches out to the homeless. While it may not always be their favorite thing to do, sometimes our kids need to look beyond themselves and extend a hand to others. 
  • Check for discounts. Often sites have special homeschool discounts to take advantage of and along with that, many places offer additional activities on homeschool days. Don’t be afraid to call and ask! 
  • Don’t overplan. Sometimes you do have to have a basic plan in place for the day, but relax and let the day flow as it will. Enjoy learning alongside your kids and move on to the next thing if they aren’t as interested in something you think is fascinating. Make it a fun day out and create memories together that won’t stress you out. 
  • Look ahead for teacher’s guides or special tours. So many of the places we have visited have downloads available on their website or special tours for groups. 
  • Take lots of pictures (and actually print them off). Don’t be afraid to be the embarrassing mom with the camera or phone. If you’d like to be particularly cool, add a Snapchat filter and have added fun with your kids. Nothing will bring out the laughs and memories like a goofy face and you showing you can laugh (again, ask me how I know). 
  • Be flexible. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t always cooperated with our field trip plans. Between rain and heat, we’ve had to scratch or adjust a few trips. Depending on your kiddos, you may not want to tell them too much in advance about a trip, especially if you have some that are tied into “but you said…” Ask me how I know.

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Remember that not all learning needs to happen based on what a book says or how many worksheets are done. Get out there and have some fun together with your kids! 

What has been your favorite or most memorable field trip with your family? 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

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This month my reading pile is rather slim, mainly so I can focus in on the few remaining books on my 2016 reading list. While my overall list is fairly small, the kids and I are still reading together and those books are also listed in my ‘pile’ below. If I’m reading it out loud, it certainly counts for me too! :) 

I’m also hiding a pile of books for myself when my hubby and I travel next month. We will have plenty of time to sit and relax, so a stash of books is a good thing to have handy. Here’s a peek at what is on my pile for the remainder of the month. 

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in September…

Out of all the books I read during this past month, I was about exhausted reading Benjamin Franklin. It’s been interesting reading some of the books along with our high school lit class (and seeing what Benjamin Franklin omitted from his autobiography). I also branched out and read The Light Between Oceansnot realizing there is a recent movie release of the book. I suppose I’ll be adding that to my ‘watch’ list as well. I also absolutely loved Roseanna White’s latest book (as I do all of her books). 

That’s it for this month! What are you reading for yourself or together with the kids? Leave a comment and share. :)

Picky Eater Lunch Ideas and Preschool Planning – Preschool and Kindergarten Community

Preschool and Kindergarten Community weekly linkup

 

The linky for this week should be all set to go and appreciate you are stopping by today (really, I am!) and can’t wait to see what you all have to share this week. Be sure to stop by our PreK & K Pinterest board to see a collection of the different posts we are pinning – including yours!

Don’t forget to link up a post (or two) of yours and share what you’ve been working on with your kids! Here are a few fun ideas from last week’s linkup.

My Heart is Like a Zoo Activity
My-Heart-is-Like-A-Zoo

Next time you head to the library, pick up the book My Heart is Like a Zoo and work on this fun activity from Spell Outloud to go along. There are so many ways to learn through literature! 

Picky Eater Lunch Ideas How-to-Pack-School-Lunch-for-Pickey-Eater

Do you have a picky eater – or two – in your house? These lunch ideas from Growing Up Gabel may help you (and your kiddos) out. 

Back-to-School Giveaway Extravaganza! 

back to school extravaganza

Start your school year off with a fabulous giveaway from All About Learning Press – a complete level of All About Reading 1!! Our family absolutely loved this program! 

ABC Bracelets

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Your preschooler will LOVE these alphabet bracelets. Learn and talk about the “letter of the day” and wear it all day. 

Editable Preschool Planning Forms  free editable preschool planning pages from Homeschool Creations

Ready to get started on your preschool planning? Check out these editable preschool planning forms (they’re free!!). Simply type in the blue squares and print off your plans. 

That’s it for this week!! Thanks so much for checking in with us and sharing below.

 

Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

Preschool Pinterest Board

Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!

Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!
Homeschool Preschool

 

Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool CreationsShare what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.



Seashell Matching and Homemade Lava Lamps – Preschool and Kindergarten Community Weekly Linkup

Preschool and Kindergarten Community weekly linkup

 

The linky for this week should be all set to go and appreciate you are stopping by today (really, I am!) and can’t wait to see what you all have to share this week. Be sure to stop by our PreK & K Pinterest board to see a collection of the different posts we are pinning – including yours!

Don’t forget to link up a post (or two) of yours and share what you’ve been working on with your kids! Here are a few fun ideas from last week’s linkup.

Homemade Lava Lamps

homemade lava lamp

Rainy days happen, so be sure to put aside all of the ingredients you need to make these homemade lava lamps that Our Homeschool Notebook shares. It can also be a great experiment on color mixing as well! 

Seashell Memory Game

Preschool-memory-games

Do you have collections of seashells from trips to the beach? The seashell memory game from Growing Up Gabel is a fun way to use those shells and remember those fun trips. 

ABC Bracelets

abc-bracelets-3-600x450

Your preschooler will LOVE these alphabet bracelets. Learn and talk about the “letter of the day” and wear it all day. 

ABC Beach Collecting Game

Alphabet-beach-collecting-printable-game 

This cute beach themed printable game from More Excellent Me is a fun way to practice upper and lower case letter identification. 

26 Ways to Learn Names for Preschoolers26-Ways-to-Learn-Names-for-Preschoolers

If your child is still learning how to spell his/her name, here are 26 ideas to learn names for preschoolers from Happy Brown House – some colorful and creative ideas! 

Learn to Read with Reading Eggs

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If you child is just learning to read or building his reading skills, Reading Eggs is a wonderful program to keep the learning going, especially before school starts. Start a FREE trial of the program (no credit card required) and see how it works for your family.  

That’s it for this week!! Thanks so much for checking in with us and sharing below.

 

Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

Preschool Pinterest Board

Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!

Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!
Homeschool Preschool

 

Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool CreationsShare what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.



Beach Ball Math and Rhyming Puzzles – Preschool and Kindergarten Community

Preschool and Kindergartrten Community weekly linkup

Ready for another week of linking up and sharing ideas? I am so glad that you are stopping by today (really, I am!) and can’t wait to see what you all have to share this week. Be sure to stop by our PreK & K Pinterest board to see a collection of the different posts we are pinning – including yours!

Don’t forget to link up a post (or two) of yours and share what you’ve been working on with your kids! Here are a few fun ideas from last week’s linkup.

Beach Ball Math

 math-ball-1

Have a little fun and brush up on those math facts with beach ball math facts activity from There’s Just One Mommy. Toss the ball around under the sprinkler outside or in the kiddie pool while you stay cool!  

Rhyming Puzzles Busy Bag

Rhyming-Puzzles-Busy-Bag

For summer car travel or moments when little hands needs something constructive to do, busy bags are a great help for mom. Happy Brown House shares a rhyming puzzles busy bag that is quick to print off and put together

Tactile Letter Cards

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These tactile letter cards are a great way to learn letters with a multisensory approach. Children learn so much through touch, and there are so many different mediums you can use with these cards – it’s a free printable!!

Favorite Sensory Tool

downloadPreschoolers and Peace shares about their favorite sensory tool to use at home. I’ll tell you too – regardless of age, it’s a favorite in our home too! 

 

That’s it for this week!! Thanks so much for checking in with us and sharing below.

 

Follow the PreK and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board

Preschool Pinterest Board

Each week I am  pinning many of your links onto the Preschool and Kindergarten Community Pinterest Board. I’m a visual person, so having pictures to help me remember posts is super helpful. Be sure to jump over and follow the board – and find some fun ideas at the same time!

Were You Featured in the Preschool & Kindergarten Community?

If you were featured in one of the weekly posts, feel free to grab the button coding below and display it on your site!
Homeschool Preschool

 

Link Up with the Preschool and Kindergarten Community!

Homeschool Preschool: Preschool and Kindergarten Community linkup at Homeschool CreationsShare what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Grab a button for your post and be sure to take a minute to visit the person who linked up before you.



Learning How to Make an Electromagnet – Project Attraction from EEME

Learning about electromagnets with Project Attraction from EEME

One of the best additions to our homeschool time this year has been the projects from EEME. Zachary has absolutely loved the hands-on learning and put it well into practice. One could say he is ‘wired’ this way (and yes, the pun was definitely intended)!

Learning about electronics one project at a time and gaining the knowledge of the ‘why’ behind how things work has been encouraging and confidence-building for Zachary. He has since started asking his dad to help out with projects (or may have attempted some on his own – cough), but it has given him a much deeper interest in how and why things work the way they do. 

Learning How to Make an Electromagnet

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Using Project Attraction from EEME, Zachary learned how magnetism is related to electricity and built an electromagnet. The project taught about: 

  • reed switches
  • electric current and heat

Overall, Zachary was able to finish the project in about an hour and a half (build time is approximately 1.5-2.5 hours) because he had a little bit of a hang up on one portion of the process and needed my help. Typically, he is able to work through the steps without parental help (I love that), but the fine wire used in the building of the electromagnet was more challenging and  required a little assistance from me at that point in the project. 

As with all of their projects, there are short step-by-step video tutorials to follow along in the building process. All of the materials needed for the project were enclosed in the box and detailed in the first video:

  • a small magnet
  • an LED
  • a 2″ wire
  • a resistor
  • a reed switch
  • a metal bolt with tape around thread
  • a thin wire coil
  • sandpaper
  • AA battery
  • rubberband
  • paperclip

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The timing of this project from EEME couldn’t have been better. As part of one of our co-op classes for The Mad Scientists Club book, the kids participated in a science fair where they chose a short story read during the year and then worked on a project based on what they learned. They needed to explain the scientific principle behind the project and create a display to showcase their learning. 

The electromagnet project fit in perfectly with the story “The Voice in the Chimney,” and Zachary was able to base his entire science display on this project. (We won’t talk about the short detour he took after putting together the project when he considered creating a much larger electromagnet using his father’s riding lawn mower battery. Fortunately, someone caught onto the boy’s mind meandering and he lived to see another day.)

Science Fair Project electromagnet-3-2

On a much more sane note, Zachary put together a science board explaining how electromagnets worked and showed the one he had created using Project Attraction and then another he tried on his own following the same principles learned in the video clips from EEME. I love that he was able to use the one project as a jumping off point to create more and learn more!

One of the big things learned during this process was the heat generated when creating the electromagnet (the bigger one he created generated more heat, so THANK GOODNESS he didn’t get far on the one with the lawnmower battery). The current flowing through creates the warmth/heat and the battery can also quickly drain if left connected. 

Things to LOVE About EEME

Aside from the fact that all the supplies are included in each of the EEME project kits, the video curriculum is well put together and explain the building process in detail. Each of the videos is between 2 – 10 minutes long. In addition:

  • videos explain the step-by-step process AND the principles involved (how/why something works) – a huge help for parents who don’t know the answers themselves (cough)
  • shorter videos help those with limited attention spans
  • comprehension questions ensure kids are understanding what you are doing
  • videos can be stopped/paused if needed during the process
  • the videos are free to watch – check them out here and get a peek!

The projects would be wonderful extensions to current curriculum or even as after school learning – or even make a great gift! There are different purchase options available, including a basic monthly subscription, individual projects, and a 6 month Project Set. They have different purchase options, and we’ve completed the first four projects so far from the basic subscription.  You can find more information on the EEME website, or follow them on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Learn More About EEME

EEME makes hands-on projects and provides FREE online lessons to teach kids electronics, fostering their curiosity for how things work and prepping them for the STEM opportunities of tomorrow.

Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only show your family how to assemble the kit, but more importantly, teach them how it works.

They also have FREE interactive online lessons to teach your family the fundamentals of electronics. Sign up for FREE to access EEME’s online lessons.

Project Attraction is one of the projects in the Builder Basic 6 Project Set and also the fourth project in EEME’s monthly subscription program. Zachary has thoroughly enjoyed all he has worked on (especially Project Amp) – a HUGE thumbs up from our family!

As I mentioned, we’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Building an electromagnet with Project Attraction - EEME

Project Attraction is perfect for ages 7+

Time Required: 1.5 – 2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

 

We received this kit as part of a review campaign, and this review is our honest opinion. Our family has loved the various projects and highly recommends them.