“Liberty Kids” – Fabulous 40 Episode Series for teaching about US History.

Geography TextWe love Geography!

We are only onto Page 6 of our workbook and have already learnt so much.  I laugh because even though I am a school teacher, learning about American Geography and History is new to me so I’m enjoying this as much as my son.

In today’s lesson, we practiced some labeling, inserting mapping symbols and Atlas research.  I’ll say it again.  Invest in a good atlas.  We are waiting for Atlas number 3 now.

The activities in this workbook are well thought out and progress very well for my son but having a prior knowledge of American History and Geography would definitely make things so much easier.  For us, we need go back and learn about the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary War; which brings me to the reason for this post.

In my research on finding a way for my son to want to learn about the Revolutionary War, I came across these great 20-30 minute videos.   They are really great and both my boys, 8 and 12, enjoyed watching the story.  It has just the right amount of conflict without being scary or bloody.   The series has a total of 40 episodes following 3 children growing up between Boston Tea Party in 1773 to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789.

THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
THE INTOLERABLE ACTS
UNITED WE STAND
LIBERTY OR DEATH!
MIDNIGHT RIDE
THE SHOT HEARD ’ROUND THE WORLD
GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS
THE SECOND CONTINENTAL CONGRESS
BUNKER HILL
POSTMASTER GENERAL FRANKLIN
WASHINGTON TAKES COMMAND
COMMON SENSE
THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
THE TURTLE
ONE LIFE TO LOSE
“CAPTAIN MOLLY”
AMERICAN CRISIS
ACROSS THE DELAWARE
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
SYBIL LUDINGTON
LAFAYETTE ARRIVES
THE HESSIANS ARE COMING
VALLEY FORGE
ALLIES AT LAST
HONOR AND COMPROMISE
THE NEW FRONTIER 1779
NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT
THE GREAT GALVEZ
IN PRAISE OF BEN
BOSTONIANS
BENEDICT ARNOLD
CONFLICT IN THE SOUTH
DEBORAH SAMSON — SOLDIER OF THE REVOLUTION
JAMES ARMISTEAD
YORKTOWN
BORN FREE AND EQUAL 1781 – 1783
THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T BE KING
GOING HOME 1786
“WE THE PEOPLE”

There are plenty of episodes on YouTube or you can purchase the DVD’s through Amazon.  The Liberty Kids Website has extra links too that the kids can interact with, such as colouring pages, games and so on.

There are also so many great folks out there who have made wonderful lists of resources available so please check out their blogs too.  I was particularly impressed by the collection from Cross and Quill Media.

We will continue to watch the series as a way of helping us learn about land divisions, migration and USA history.

This is also a perfect example of Project Based Learning.  We started with simple mapping and now we are so interested in American Independence.  Let’s see where tomorrow will lead us…..

Happy Homeschooling.

Rowena & Kane.

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Learning About the Atlantic Coastal Plains, The Fall Line & the Piedmont Plateau.

Geography Text Geography Lesson Week 1

We start our new school year with Geography and learning about the Physical Features of the United States and the 13 Colonies.   I have to say that I am excited to be learning with my son the geography of the USA because I have absolutely no idea geographically where our US friends all live.  It will be nice to use that connection to increase my son’s “purpose” for learning this information.

Our first project was to locate physical features and plot them on a map.  What a headache using the net but thank goodness a new, youbeaut Altas is on its way.  *Sidebar:  The internet is fabulous but nothing beats a hands on book when mapping.  Back to the point.  The textbook we are using is Discovering the World of Geography by Myrl Shireman, Mark Twain Media Publishing and available through Amazon.  It’s a lovely book, however, there are no mapping guides in the answer section of the books for spatially challenged teachers or homeschoolers like me. Continue reading

How to choose a book that is just right?

Choosing Books???Recently in our homeschooling adventure, we came across a new Leveling System that I had never heard of before and it got me researching into other systems and how I could use them to help my own children and students stay on a path of challenging reading for their age and ability. We also get asked quite often by parents at our school’s Lending Libray Day …… “My kids have finished this whole series. What do I do next?” Have you found yourself asking the same question? Over the next few weeks we will be investigating different Reading Programs and Levels to see just how they work.  Hopefully this will help parents work out which books are perfect for their kids abilities.

Junior Novels

Some of the language you will read over the next few weeks will be Lexile, Guided Reading Level, Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), Grade Level Equivalent, Accelerated Reader and Reading Recovery. There are many, many more but for now we will focus on these ones. And we will take baby steps too so that we don’t overload ourselves with terminology. Continue reading

Lovely Lily Pads

As our unit of “At the Pond” progresses, we are really enjoying the bright colourful crafts that the children are creating.  The nice thing about this unit is that there is so much to study.  We are looking at animals at the pond, in the pond, around the pond, above the pond.  We are studying life cycles, habitats and food chains.  There are great games, fun songs and the part I really enjoy the most is the creativity.

Continue reading

100 Yen Store Sensory & Cognitive Fun – Pom Pom Patterns

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Parenting Plus!  Parenting and teaching doesn’t need to be exhausting or troublesome or time consuming.  It just needs a little thought and patience.

At the end of each of our Kindermusik Classes, we are doing little activities that show parents how easy it is to do developmental activities at home with their little ones.

All materials gathered are from home or purchased very cheaply from the local 100 yen stores.

Pom Pom Patterns requires a box, golf tees, pom poms, chopsticks and some home made pattern cards.  Any type of box will do, we use the empty boxes from cookie or sembei gifts.

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You can place dot markers on the box where the children are to push in the golf tees or you can allow them some freedom and let them place where they like.  In our case, we were keeping the visual representation of a caterpillar so that the children could develop spatial recognition.  Pushing in the tees may require your help and PLEASE talk about safety when using the tees.  They can be sharp.

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Once the tees are in, you can talk about the colours and patterns that you see or you can just give the children some exploration time.  We also gave our children chopsticks to use but practicing the finger pincer grip is also great practice.

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We also tried beads and other classroom objects.  The list is endless.  We also leveled our caterpillar cards; their colours and their patterns.   The cards were made out of simple white cardboard (or cardstock) and large coloured dot stickers.

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Now let the fun begin.

Abstract & Realistic Still Life Collages

Proud ArtistWhen thinking of collages, I often think back to great times as a kid glueing bits and pieces onto paper then as a teenager making great diary pages and as a mum, making nice scrap-booking pages.

Nearly every year, in our summer camps we study the great artists of Europe.  We have studied Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse as well as many more.  One of my favourite activities is recreating some of their great works of art as collages.  See below for more information on the history of Collages and the great artists who coined the term.

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Collage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collage

In my son’s art course, we are now studying the difference between Realistic and Abstract Still Life Collages.  A great activity we did was to take a simple picture from a magazine and recreate the image using paper and glue.

Sad Ducky

We varied the paper and used both cutting and tearing to make the collage pieces as well as made our Ducky a little happier.  It was a quick and easy activity that taught the concepts well.

Final Ducky

This activity would be awesome to do with little ones to help teach colours, while at the same time giving them valuable fine motor practice.

For more, “Where Play is Important!”, check out our Home Page and FB Pages.

★ Playpourri International

★ Playpourri ★ Playpourri Presents Kindermusik

Valentine Owls & Finding Wonderful Resources.

Hoo Loves You!Recently we received our curriculum shipment for February from Mother Goose Time.  I was really disappointed to see it was the exact same crafts as last year.  This was deflating and took all the joy out of planning and prepping materials for the upcoming holiday.  Then I remembered to turn my frown upside down and jumped on the internet to find some other great ideas from all the crafty folks out in cyber space.

I just googled “valentine paper plate crafts” and voila, so many lovely designs.  I decided on this craft as I had all the materials available, it wasn’t going to take a long time or too messy for my students and it fit in nicely with the units of work that we’ve been studying.

If you search more specifically, Valentine Owl, you’ll find even more wonderful ideas with templates and so on but I’m super happy with this craft and it can be found right here.

VALENTINE OWL CRAFT

I was also really excited to see all the other great ideas that are available on this website.  It’s now been added to my list of “must check”.

Hope you all have a super Valentines Day filled with lots of crafts, cuddles and kisses. ♥Row.Valentine Owls

Salmon’s Sad Life

Life has been pretty hectic here trying to finish teaching my son a Social Studies & Literature unit on Alaskan Salmon.  I keep saying how much I’m learning with my son, it’s just so true.  It really saddened us over the week to learn how many salmon actually reach adulthood.

Swimmer

I thoroughly recommend this book for not only it’s ability to tell a fictional story but also encourage learning about salmon and sustainability.

Village

In the course of the study, we made a diorama that included an example of a dwelling, food eaten and eskimo inventions.

Chinook Salmon Lifecycle

We also made a lifecycle diagram which showed the interesting way the salmon develop from eggs to spawning salmon.  Out of 3000-5000 eggs only about 5 of them survive to adulthood.  It’s an uphill battle from the very beginning.

It was a really interesting unit and even better to have it completely revolve around the book, Swimmer.  🙂

Activist Poster

I would never have thought that making an activist poster would be fun, sad maybe, angry maybe, but not fun.   Today, we had FUN!  We really enjoyed studying the pros and cons of net fishing and deciding which side of the fence we stood on.

Activist PosterWe decided that as long as the fishing was legal and the species of the fish were being protected it was ok BUT then we found a wonderfully warming video on Youtube about the rescue of a whale that was wrapped in a net and all bets were off.

We still feel the fisherman have a right to fish and make a living and help support a whole industry BUT my son just couldn’t promote it when incidents like the event in the video happen.

Please take the time to watch it.  It’s such a gorgeous video and makes you want to help protect our environment more than you already do.

Parental Involvement Crucial in Early Childhood Education

Investing in children through parental involvement in early childhood education

Kindermusik quote editedWe talk a lot about early childhood education around here. We know—as Ed Markey said: “Education is not only a ladder of opportunity, but it is also an investment in our future.” Children, especially those most at-risk students, receive even more benefits from participating in an early childhood curriculum that prepares them for a lifetime of learning!

In a perfect world, early childhood education involves three key ingredients: the child, the teacher, and family involvement in education. Without all three, our investment in early childhood education—and the child—does not yield the biggest returns—measurable and immeasurable.

Of course, a parent is a child’s first and most important teacher. We say that time and time again. When a child attends a preschool, daycare, or other learning environment outside the home, family involvement in education remains a pivotal part of the process. While teachers, administrators, and parents share the common bond of the child, some programs more successfully manage to engage this learning community by promoting respectful and reciprocal caring relationships. What can we learn from those who do it really well?

Getting high marks in family involvement in education

Anne Douglass, PhD., at the University of Massachusetts in Boston wanted to find the

(Source: AParentinSilverspring.com/)

(Source: AParentinSilverspring.com/)

answer. She recently researched ways to increase parental involvement in early childhood education in a daycare or preschool setting. She wanted to answer:

  1. What accounts for the gap between the desire of the early childhood education programs to partner with families and actual practices with families?
  2. What do teachers of early childhood curriculum need to effectively partner with families?
  3. What factors promote or impede the implementation of family support and engagement strategies?

In this small study, Douglass compared the teachers and parents, structures, and processes within four early childhood education programs: two with “high quality” family involvement and two with “low quality.”  She found two distinctive characteristics of successful preschools, Head Start programs, and daycares with parent involvement in early childhood education:

  1. Administrators modeled caring professional relationships and shared power within the school, which included leadership opportunities for classroom teachers, training, and staff appreciation.
  2. The preschool utilized specific structures to promote caring and shared power, including teacher supervision that intentionally involved discussing multiple perspectives in solving a problem.

An early childhood curriculum that increases parental involvement in early childhood education

Kindermusik Courses use music and movement to teach young children early literacy and language, social and emotional skills, and other vital skills proven to help set a child up for success. We intentionally created programs to include resources for teachers and parents that increase family involvement in education. As Douglass’s study indicates, teacher training impacts not only a teacher’s ability in the classroom but also the engagement of children’s parents. We also include access to materials for families to use together at home that supports both the classroom learning and a parent’s role as a child’s first and best teacher.

For more information visit the wonderful Kindermusik Blog!