Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Human Body Study

We have recently finished studying Anatomy, so I thought I would share what we learned and the resources that we used.  When planning a unit study I always collect a lot of tools, books and ideas and set about the planning with a specific framework and then as we go it morphs into something that is typically better and simpler than I planned.  So as we set about our study I began with a framework from this study at Homeschool Share based on the book Blood and Guts by Linda Allison, supplemented by the book Easy Make and Learn Projects: Human Body by Donald M. Silver.  Well, we quickly abandoned the Allison book but used a lot of the projects from the Easy Make and Learn Projects book.  My favorite project was the Digestive System coloring page seen below being colored by A.  Why did I like it?  I don't know it was just a great graphic to show the digestive track.

Another great hit with the children was the Squishy Human Body by Smart Lab. The kit comes with a fun and informative book on all the human body systems, tweezers to take the body model apart and a matching poster for the body's organs.  I liked that this kit gave good information and a tactile way to experience the human body.  Any child that came to our house during this study was immediately drawn to the Squishy Human Body.  On one visit I was so thankful that the intestines did not get ripped apart by one of our young friends.
The children looking at the guide book and removing the human body parts with tweezers.

The matching poster with some of the organs matched to their pictures.

Putting our fella back together. 

We also studied the Skeletal System.
We played a lot of  Simon Says to learn the proper names of the bones like patella and femur.

And we enjoyed this giant foam skeleton floor puzzle.

We also talked about cells.

E completing a notebook page on the anatomy of a cell followed by some raw egg cracking for further demonstration. I still remember my own 4th grade teacher using a raw egg during a lesson on cells.

A looking at a cell diagram in a DK book called The Human Body.  I picked this book up quite a few years ago at Costco and debated about buying it because of the section on reproduction and decided to go with it thinking "what is the likelyhood that he will open up to that page anyway?"  Yes, that's right.  I took the book home and that was the first section he opened.  I was pregnant at the time and it brought about a wonderful time to talk about  babies.  All the pictures are drawings of fallopian tubes, uteruses and male pee-pees.  But anyway, it is a good book with colorful pictures and even my husband used it for reference when he recently hurt his shoulder.
We also took a look at the circulatory system. Using this printable to trace the path of blood through the body.  This page was from the Easy Make and Learn Projects book.

And finally we took a look at the Nervous System focusing on the brain using this Brain Game Folder printable.

So in the end we started with a framework, stayed flexible and ended up with a fun notebook (sorry, no pictures) and a lot of hands on learning.  Our study was not exhaustive but was a great overview of the body.  Anatomy could very easily be a year long course of study but for us a month long focus was fun.  

Here is our Pinterest Board for links to some of the other printables we used and  fun projects to try.

However, even after this great study my children recently said "mom, we like when you read to us."  This was said in the context of our current study on Canada using the book Lost in the Barrens and study guide by Queen Homeschool Supply.  In our Anatomy studies I most certainly read to the little people but the material was not in a story format so this provided great insight into what they like and how to plan our future work.

I am linking up with Montessori Monday---Enjoy!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Elementary Math & Language Arts

 The days are unseasonably warm and the outdoors are calling but we are giving it our best effort for 4 more weeks.  It is my desire to finish our Canada and North America studies, finish introducing the 8 parts of speech (we have pronoun and interjection left), finish blue series work (yes, I know this is elementary but we move slowly here in the Middle of Somewhere and I strive for mastery) and do a bit more geometry study.

E is finishing her Betsy Ross book and Just Mom and Me Having Tea, I feel a tea party in my future. She also needs to finish her writing prompt journal.

A is needing to finish narrating the Adventure Bible, sight words and learn 3 by 3 digit multiplication.

So with all that being said here is a look at what our two Elementary students have been working on.


E working on long division with the stamp game.  I love this tool because it is so easy to learn, has multiple uses and is hands on.  Our game is from the Montessori Outlet.

A is working on multiplication and product equation cards.  I made these myself after reading Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Elementary Years.  The book is very old but not outdated in the least and was a great intro to many of the Montessori math activities, it is also great for the DIYer.

I had heard about the movie Donald in Mathmagic Land and found it on Youtube so one day we pulled out the pillows and blankies for a viewing.  Yes, there was popcorn.  The movie is old but E and A seemed to enjoy it but it was a bit over the littles' heads.

A using the multiplication board to solve his daily math journal problems.

The Game of LIFE, great for money skills.

Language Arts

E working on irregular plurals.  I don't remember where this came from but it was meant to be a cut and paste activity but I laminated it so we could reuse it.

A using the white board to find articles.

We played the Sunken Treasure game, which works on beginning blends.  A great game to add to the blue series work.

This is a homemade game from a phonics/spelling book called Frisky Phonics Fun 1.  This little book is a gem that works on vowel sounds and beginning and ending blends so it is a great compliment to blue series work.  The book is old but not outdated and has both worksheets, word lists and games. I will be ordering level 2 to start in the fall with the green series.
We have been working on scripture memory, memorizing the books of the Old Testament and 10 Commandments.  E has been able to do all of the books of the OT once and A is still working on it. We have the books on a list in our morning notebooks and I review them regularly with each child.  The 10 Commandments, both E and A have down and now K is working on memorizing them.  I think the children learned the 10 Commandments so quickly because of the wonderful visual cues provided by this download from Living Waters.  I printed out the pages and bound them in a book to review during our breakfast time.

E ordering the books of the OT with reproducible cards from The Big Book of Bible Skills.

For this season of lessons the children have had a new bible verse to copy and memorize each week.  E has been working on verses dealing with the tongue and A has been memorizing verses about work.  Here A has traced his verse and then cut it up to put in order.  The cutting idea was from Carissa's Raising Rock Stars posts.
What have I learned from this review post?
--putting a post together takes a lot of time, between finding links, uploading pictures, writing, reading books to children, cleaning up lunch, reviewing lessons and putting little ones down for a nap I have been writing for 1 1/2 hours.
--I don't mind if our materials are old, like Frisky Phonics Fun, Teaching Montessori at Home and The Big Book of Bible Skills because they were once new and worked great in their day and age, and they are still wonderful treasures in our home.
--and I am always trying to add a hands on element even to our bible work.

Thanks for visiting. I am linking up with Montessori Monday and the Preschool Corner.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Preschool: Fine Motor, Letters and Numbers

It is always my desire to keep our learning shelves fresh with inspiring work and creative ideas but in reality I get to them every 4 to 6 weeks.  So in today's post you will see a bit of both Winter and Easter but remember the content being taught by these materials, although having dated seasonal themes, are necessary skills to the early learner.  So while I get to the shelf refreshing  take a look at what B has been working on as we close out winter and welcome Spring.  (We live in snow country so spring comes very late if at all.)

Fine Motor
We finally go to some nuts and bolts activities.  I think these were a bit to small for B's skill level but he enjoyed working with real life objects instead of our toy version.

I saw this tree idea a few years back on My Montessori Journey.  I think she used it at Christmas time but our Easter version is a fun seasonal change up.  I got the eggs and tree at The Dollar Tree 2 Easters ago.  Here is a link to My Montessori Journey, not exactly matching up to the decorating activity but  a wonderful blog to visit for inspiration.

Using office supply stickers to fill in the mitten's circles.  I think the mitten pattern came from Making Learning Fun. I didn't find the exact match but these would be fun as well.

Connect Four--such a fun game at this age.  No, they don't get the concept of four in a row but B loves to practice taking turns with this game and it is so cute when he yells "blocked ya!" Connect four is also great to use when introducing the concept of patterning.  I am working on patterning with B but he is not yet following along.
Number matching using snowman number cards and old tiles from a Rummy Kub game.

Heart counting

Matching the numbers and dots to make Easter Eggs.
It is always so great to do these review posts because it gives me a chance to step back and see what we have been doing.  I notice that in B's number work there is a lot of paper and not a lot of sensory offerings.  I think I need to pull out some numbers and the bead stair or just some numbers and interesting counters like cars or rocks.  You see these pictures here but B has not really taken to any of the counting work, so thanks for letting me review and brainstorm as you read.  If you have any other ideas let me know.

All of the above card materials are from two wonderful blogs:
Confessions of a Homeschooler


I know you have seen this activity before but I think it must be B's favorite work.  Every time we sit down together this is what he picks to work on.  I think I may add another basket.  This activity is called Magnet School by Parents

Simple letter matching.  B surprises me on this type of thing.  He can match letters so easily and quickly.  I just started having him watch the Leapfrog Letter Factory video.  If you have a preschooler, seriously think about investing in this video, it is how all of our children have learned their sounds.
Other Fun Work

Nesting Blocks are our substitution for the sensorial pink stair and broad stair. 

B sorting nest cards from the largest to the smallest.  I think these cards are from Confessions of a Homeschooler, see the link above.

Grandma came for a visit and brought B this Melissa and Doug puzzle.  It is four puzzles all in one little box.

Another once of B's favorite activities--Magnet Motor Match. I couldn't find a link to the Motor Match but here is a link to a Magnetic Dino Match.
Thanks for visiting and leave a comment so I know you were here--Thanks!

I'm linking up to the Preschool Corner.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Games for Language Arts

I have always loved games and was so excited when our children could finally play. Sorry, Go Fish, Memory and Clue were amongst my childhood favorites and  when I met Jay we spent long hours sipping tea and playing games like Gin and Cribbage.  Will you play a game with me?"  is a common question around here especially in the evening.  Games are not just recreational entertainment but a wonderful way to introduce a new topic, practice new skills or review previously learned materials.  Here are three games we use in the area of Language Arts:

Snap It Up Word Families-- Snap It UP is a fun game to practice word families, spelling skills and quick thinking. Each player is given consonant cards and word ending cards in which to build words.  The first player to build 3 words wins.

This is a great game for A because he needs a lot of reading practice and it gives him another way to build and read his own words.  Often, after we have a winner we just continue building as many words as we can until the deck runs out.

E is a great reader but needs a lot of spelling help, she often misspells words because she is in such a hurry to be done with her lessons.  Snap It Up causes her to take the time to think and sound out words.
Word Family Activity Wheel--This is a fun game for both our older and younger children.  E and A get spelling and writing practice and the little ones are entertained and exposed to early learning as they spin the wheel. This set is from Lakeshore Learning and came with an activity guide and 20 reproducible activity cards. I tried to link to the game but is appears they no longer have the game available.

The activity cards include things like bingo, charades, rhymes and drawing.

Bananagrams- Another fun word building and spelling game.  This one is a real challenge to build a crossword type puzzle using all of one's tiles.  I have watched the children sound out both real words and nonsense words in order to win the game. E has gotten good at doing her own spelling and A still needs help.

A grid that E built.

A sounding out words and building his puzzle.

A's finished grid.

I try to reserve Friday's for game playing and any wrapping up that needs to be done.  We have also taken a week and called it "Game Week". And sometimes we even pick a game to play for a month at a time, designating it to a certain day of the week.  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but games can really re-energize myself and the children and change the whole course of the day from just another school day to "the best day ever."

If you have never checked out Deb's Montessori Monday Posts check it out here, I am linking up every Monday to update our educational happenings for both our older and younger children.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Geography--Keeping It Simple

As home educators our curriculum is a blank page, left to our own delights and pursuits, yet I find it difficult to hit every subject area every week.  I know, how is that possible when we spend each day doing nothing but being at home?  Ask any stay at home mom with a gang of children to care for and the answer is likely the same--"before we know it, the day just flies by."  So, we sometimes have to simplify and right now this is geography.  We read a great book called Missionary Stories with the Millers once a week.  Each chapter in the book starts with a world map and has the current story's country highlighted.  We read the story discuss what country the story took place in and discuss what God did in the life of the missionary.  Simple, right?

The children always have access to maps, atlases and other cultural books such as  Children Just Like Me and Material World.  We also have Geopuzzles.  Geopuzzles are an affordable alternative to Montessori Continent Maps. Our set is almost complete and is used regularly by all of the children.

On this particular morning after our Missionary story the children pulled out the globe and both our Europe and Asia puzzles.

For now Geography is simple but I think it would be fun to make a map booklet and color in the countries as we visit them in our readings.  And, do I feel some country/continent research coming on?