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You're reading Nature Study Displays by Spell Outloud. If you've enjoyed this post, consider following SpellOutloud on Twitter and Facebook




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It took me awhile to be ok with bringing nature inside. I mean, I was a little concerned about little critter hitch-hikers finding their way into my home. But after figuring out how to address that problem, I was all on board for creating a nature display for our nature treasures. And now we keep adding more around our home. Here’s a few things to think about when planning our nature display.

This post contains my referral link which helps support this site. Here’s my full disclosure policy.

 

Building Nature Displays

First you need to decide what kind of nature display container you would like to use. I’ve seen:

  • baskets
  • shadow boxes
  • old printer press drawers
  • miniature display case
  • trays

Next, go find some nature treasures! Go on a nature hike! Many of our nature treasures were found in our own back yard or neighborhood. Things to remember:

  • Know the rules for keeping nature objects. If you’re at a state park, national forest or nature preserve, you can only look– not take anything you find.
  • If you reside in the U.S., there are some rules regarding collecting bird feathers. Because of this, we don’t pick up bird feathers.  We did purchase some feathers at Hobby Lobby (which is where we got the peacock feathers.) See Is it Illegal to Pick up Bird Feathers
  • For objects such as pine cones, nuts and bark– you can put them on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven for about 20-30 min. Watch items carefully so they don’t burn. This will make sure you don’t have any unwanted critters.
  • For things like seashells, soak them in cold water. Change the water daily for a week. I did use a plant-base cleaner on the last day (adding a very small amount to the soaking water) but that isn’t necessary– especially if you are picking up empty shells.

Collecting Nature items for dispaly

We decided to create a wall display first. I found our display box at Hobby Lobby, but when I went back to get more, I couldn’t find them there. They might have been a seasonal item.

For bigger items, we placed them directly in the space. But I found that clean, glass spice bottles are awesome for holding smaller items. We have a bottle of sand, shark teeth, tiny shells, crab pinches, and tiny rocks. We also love using Tim Holtz Idea-ology Corked Domes for items too.

Nature display

We quickly ran out of room in our wall display, so we added a small display on top of the bookcase. I love that my kids can pick up and observe objects and have a space to proudly place items they find. (The book on the stand is Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman) )

Do you have a nature display or nature box? What tips would you add?

 

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You're reading Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study by Spell Outloud. If you've enjoyed this post, consider following SpellOutloud on Twitter and Facebook




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This summer my children and I joined a creeks and waterfalls nature study group. It was a win-win for me because it got us outside, it got us exploring our state and my friend Julie planned all the road trips! This was a great way to have scheduled, outdoor learning time during the summer. Here’s a few tips and resources that we utilized during our various creeks and waterfall outings.

This post contains my referral link which helps support this site. Here’s my full disclosure policy.

Planning a Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

I am so blessed that my friend Julie loves to plan nature study field trips. What I like is that she plans a theme that lasts anywhere from 6-13 weeks, and then schedules nature study field trips each week. Our group is willing to drive 1 – 2 hrs. for a nature study. This allows us to explore our state and see so many natural resources that we weren’t even aware where in our area!

  • Check with local nature centers and museums for hands-on activities and nature talks. If you have a group, many of these agencies will provide a resource person to give a presentation or even lead a nature walk.
  • Check with state parks and federal parks in your area.
  •  Check online reviews. This is how Julie came up with her first list of creeks and waterfalls to visit in our area. We were surprised how many awesome opportunities there were within an hour of us!

Helpful Supplies to Have on Hand

Creeks and Waterfall nature study supplies

I have four children who went on these nature study trips will me. I did not want to be the Momma pack mule, so I got nylon travel backpacks for each of my kids. In their back packs they are in charge of carrying their water bottle, water shoes and a towel. This has worked out great because it gives them all ownership and helps them know what they are in charge of getting ready before each trip.

Other items to consider bringing along would be a walking stick, a net, a hat and a pen. We also did a little geocaching while on our nature hikes. 🙂

I also carry a backpack and in addition to my water shoes and water bottle, I have a few other supplies too.  I have:

Insect repellent and mineral sunscreen that is plant-based, natural and safe for my children and the environment. (I put some of the insect repellent in a spray bottle and a roller bottle for quick applications.)

Seedling baby wipes. I put these in a small baggie and carry with us. These have come in very handy! (I love these because they are formulated without chlorine, alcohol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic dyes)

Essential Oils: R.C. to support our respiratory system if needed, Owie oil well for owies, lavender (not pictured)

Arnica: great for any bumps or bruises

Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier: I love this because there is no yucky stuff in it! This is a key item– it comes in handy when the kids pick up crawdads, frogs or dead fish 😉

Lipbalm: I don’t like to travel without it! 🙂

Thieves Spray: great for port-a-potties, spraying shoes after being in a creek etc.

Flashlight: one of our adventures had a cave. You never know when you need a flashlight! 🙂

Waterproof band-aids

(Note: Did you know I have a naturally-living community? If you’re interested in any of the products in the picture above, you can get them through my oily community. You can find more information here: Get Started in the MOST Living community I’d love to help you get started!)

Creek and Waterfall Outings

For most of our creek stomping adventures, we just explored. A few of our trips we had a short presentation by naturalists. While part of me wanted to bring drawing supplies to sketch– I just knew it would get wet.  🙂

If you live in central Indiana, here are the creeks and waterfalls we visited:

  • Mounds State Park in Anderson, IN
  • Falls Park in Pendleton, IN
  • Turkey Run in Marshall, IN
  • Cave River Valley in Campbellsburg, IN
  • Thistlewaite Falls in Richmond, IN
  • Anderson Falls in Hartsville, IN
  • McCormicks Creek in Spencer, IN
  • McCloud Park in North Salem, IN
  • Cool Creek Park in Carmel, IN

Creek and Waterfall Resources

To add a little more structured learning, here is a great nature study unit study: Incredible Creeks. You’ll cover rocks, erosion, fresh water animals, creek health and more!

We also love to add in some art. I also think art and nature studies go hand-in-hand!

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Reading as escape is a real thing, isn’t it?

There are many days in the past month where I’ve truly felt that reading a good book was the perfect way to salvage the day - or to just see some good in the world that sometimes is difficult to see (especially if you turn on the news!).

In last month’s recap, I talked to you about reading widely and well. I’m always striving for that… I hope you see some of that this month.

This month’s selections were fueled by a need for fun summer reading, some research for the SQUILT music curriculum, reading aloud to my 15-year-old, and also a need to know about some personal and family stories I’d been hearing about.

June 2020 Reading Recap @ Homegrown Learners

June 2020 Books

Each book this month received a 4 or 5-star rating from me.

There was one book I put into the DNF stack this month - The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet. It just wasn’t for me, and I could tell that after approximately 75 pages. I have learned that life is too short to hold out to see if books I don’t initially like will get better - so I am feeling less and less guilt about just setting them aside.

Highlights from the month:

  • Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment: I read this because we are studying J.S. Bach in July in SQUILT LIVE!. I couldn’t have asked for a better biography about Bach and his contemporary (and total opposite!) Frederick the Great.

    This pulled together a lot of history and gave me a true picture of how Bach influenced the ENTIRE course of Western music. VERY interesting!

  • Lovely War: I had no idea this was a YA book until after I had finished it and was watching the author, Julie Berry, on an author chat with Modern Mrs. Darcy. This book was just READABLE - it even incorporated some mythology (which doesn’t usually interest me) and I loved it! It is a work of historical fiction taking place during WWI.

    I ordered The Passion of Dolssa (another book by Berry) when I finished this one. These are great books for your high school girls!

  • Hidden Valley Road: This is the true story of a family from Colorado. Twelve children are born into the family, and when it is all said and done SIX of them are diagnosed with Schizophrenia. If you are easily triggered by mental illness, suicide, physical and sexual abuse, or abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, you might want to steer away from this one.

    I found it a fascinating look at mental illness and the strides we have made in treating and diagnosing schizophrenia in particular. I found myself at many points wondering how in the world this mother survived life with 6 Schizophrenic sons. Truly astounding.

  • Nory Ryan’s Song: We read this one aloud - and promptly got the other two books that will round out the series. Set during the “Great Hunger” (potato famine) in Ireland, it is the story of Nory Ryan, a determined, tenacious young girl who gives us insight into what true hunger, suffering, and triumph are. I can’t recommend this one enough!

    This book goes beautifully with our study of Irish music in July in SQUILT LIVE!

My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)Nory Ryans SongNory Ryans SongThis Must Be the Place (Vintage Contemporaries)This Must Be the Place (Vintage Contemporaries)Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual LethargyDangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual LethargyHidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American FamilyHidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American FamilyEvening in the Palace of Reason Publisher: Harper PerennialEvening in the Palace of Reason Publisher: Harper PerennialBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodLove Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love StoryLove Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story28 Summers28 SummersLovely WarLovely WarTweet Cute: A NovelTweet Cute: A Novel

 

Tweet Cute, Love Lettering, and 28 Summers were all fun (fluffier) reads.

This Must be the Place was one that has been on my TBR for ages, and I very much enjoyed the writing of Maggie O’Farrell - I will be reading more by her in the future!

A.W. Tozer was also new to me - The Dangers of a Shallow Faith was a wake-up call. My husband is listening to it now and getting a lot from it as well. It is packed full of practical Christian wisdom - which rings just as true now as it did in Tozer’s lifetime over 50 years ago.

Finally, while I’m not a big fan of Trevor Noah now, I had heard that Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood was a must-read. I agree. It was laugh out loud funny, but also gravely serious in many parts. The insight into Apartheid - as told by someone now living in America who enjoys great celebrity, was very interesting. I was thinking of giving this to my son to read, but there was way too much cursing. I haven’t read the young reader’s edition - but I imagine it would be good for your kids to read especially now.


Did you have a favorite book you read in June?

Let me know about it in the comments below!

June 2020 Reading Recap @ Homegrown Learners

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“I fear for my children and the world they will inherit.”

It’s a statement many parents have made - one I sometimes have made in jest. Now, however, I make the statement in all seriousness.

I am deeply concerned about the world my children are growing up in.

As a Christian, I know who controls their future - who controls our world’s future. As a parent, educator, and advocate for children, I also believe God has given me a platform and is calling on me to use it wisely and bravely.

This world of masks, fear, skepticism, arguments, and isolation is not a world where children (particularly our elementary-aged) will thrive. This world is one that will crush their spirits, creativity, and humanity.

Is This the New Normal? And what is it doing to our children?

And while I hear “children are resilient - they are capable of so much more than we give them credit for” - I disagree. Children are resilient - to a point. Adults say children are resilient to absolve themselves of guilt. Children need our protection and care. They need us to be their advocates. They need us make decisions based on careful study and prayer - NOT based on the latest news story.

I’m not sure WHAT the answer is, and I’m trying to process the events of each day just like the rest of you.

After working with a small group of children the past few Sundays, I have become alarmed at the changes I am seeing (already!). I have learned quite a bit about children over the years - through my degrees in education, time spent as a classroom educator, my 19 years as a mother, time as a homeschooling mother, and now once again in my role teaching children in different capacities.

What we’re doing now in response to the current health crisis is not right, and we must consider what we know to be true about children and their development as we move forward.


Children Don’t Understand Social Distancing (The Importance of Touch)

As much as we teach and practice social distancing, many children are just hard-wired for physical connection.

Can you imagine an entire day for a kindergartner devoid of hugs, pats on the back, or any type of physical interaction required for sharing, working in groups, etc…?

And, in our efforts to protect children through social distancing, are they really capable of understanding the WHY in a moment when they just might need comfort through a hug or affirmation through a high five?

More importantly, what will be the long term mental and academic impacts of social distancing on our children?

According to David Lindern, a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University,

It’s not so much that touch is a useful tool in teaching facts and strategies – it’s not as if, while stroking a student’s arm as they practice algebra, they will learn algebra better. More than anything else, what touch conveys is, I’m an ally, I’m not a threat. Touch puts the recipient in a trusting state, and anything you can do to encourage the student is going to make learning better

(source)

Is this the new normal? And what is it doing to our children?

Proximity Matters

The concept of proximity is extremely important when teaching children - whether just one child or a group of 30.

One of the biggest lessons from my teacher education training was using proximity as a discipline tool. If a child is on task, or isn’t participating in a way you feel appropriate - the most effective way to redirect them is to simply get close to them, offer a gentle touch on the arm or shoulder, or whisper a gentle correction in their ear.

If a teacher is to keep a 6-foot distance, how will they impart this basic form of discipline? The last thing we want to do is embarrass a child (and disrupt the entire class) by calling them out from the front of the room.

Touch helps to build and speed up communication - and sometimes this is simply the best way to reach a child.


Are We Creating a Culture of Fear - And a Lack of Joy?

I’ve already witnessed fear and anxiety in children I know. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to witness in our ENTIRE society. We are governed by fear, rather than trust.

I am not a proponent of throwing caution to the wind, but I do think we can practice hand washing, responsible interactions, and increased cleanliness in public spaces.

As I recently worked with a small group of children (and we were all masked), the fear and hesitation were palpable. I have taught some of these children for several years, and all of sudden it was as if we were strangers.

One child (5 years old) was so proud of how she could wear her mask and use it appropriately, but she ran up to me and sat right beside me so our legs were touching. The sweetness in this gesture broke my heart. She had been instructed to wear the mask, but clearly didn’t understand the entire picture.

How are children supposed to have joy in learning with all of the new restrictions? What does that look like? I can’t imagine any good answers.


Just Homeschool the Children!

Those of us in the homeschool world don’t have nearly as much to worry about, do we? We’re free to proceed with teaching and learning as we’ve always done. We probably have friend groups that are comfortable getting together and we are responsible about keeping up to date on everyone’s health situations.

But homeschooling isn’t practical for everyone, is it?

And, homeschool will get a BAD name if people are simply replicating the public school curriculum at home. I’ve been shouting “Stop Homeschooling the Children!” since March.

Please Stop Homeschooling the Children!


What’s the Answer?

If I were a young parent right now, I would be doing everything within my power to educate my children at home. If it is a remote possibility for you and you have the desire, home education is the BEST way to educate your children.

We abandoned the ideal of public education 11 years ago and count it as the best parenting decision we have ever made.

I have a feeling that when school begins in earnest in many places, this grand experiment of wearing masks and social distancing won’t succeed. Teachers will be burned out from doing so much that doesn’t pertain to EDUCATION. Students will be on edge because the teachers are on edge. Parents will be stressed out because they know their children aren’t getting the education they deserve.

It’s a vicious cycle, and if we do a cost-benefit analysis, I’m not so sure it’s going to be worth it in the long run.


Of course, I’m prepared to be shamed for my honest questioning about the efficacy of our “new normal”. That’s the culture we live in - and sad as it maybe - I’ve gotten used to it.

People who don’t follow what the masses say aren’t just criticized, they are vilified and shamed.

And, as a homeschooling parent, this is one of the biggest lessons we teach each and every day - it’s OK to be different. Stand up for what you believe in. Be able to articulate your argument logically and without anger. Let faith be your ultimate guide.

Concluding Thoughts:

As I was praying about publishing this post, a dear friend texted me something from Bob Goff’s book, “Love Does”:

Love Does - by Bog Goff

No matter what our circumstances, we have to remember accept God’s invitation to LIVE each and every day.

We don’t have good answers right now. We are struggling.

If we keep a common goal in mind (the good of our children), assume the best of intentions from people we meet, and steep ourselves in God’s Word and prayer, I have to believe we will come through this stronger and braver.

Tell me what you think.

How do you feel about our “new normal” - and what it could do to our children?

( I welcome constructive comments and disagreement. I will, however, delete comments that engage in shaming or name-calling. )







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So many parents need help to teach their child to write. Over the years of homeschooling, I have had wonderful success using my laminated handwriting charts.

I have just completely updated my Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step Ebook which is now a 16-page booklet. It includes new detailed instructions & examples on line placement for writing on lined notebook pages, starting & ending points for each letter, as well as new charts that include coloured numbered dots and arrow guidelines.

Here’s what you’ll find in this Teach Print Handwriting Ebook ~

  • Introduction to Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step
  • Why laminated charts work
  • Step-by-Step Handwriting Lessons
  • Getting to know the lines and letter placement
  • How to start teaching print handwriting step-by-step
  • Examples of how to talk through each lower-case letter
  • Print lower case with start & end and arrows (a-o)
  • Print lower case with start & end and arrows (p-z)
  • Print lower case with arrows
  • Upper Case print chart with start & arrows A-N
  • Upper-case print chart with start & arrows O-Z & Numbers 1-9
  • Combined print upper-case and lower-case chart

Would you please support me and pop over to my Packages page to purchase the updated Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step booklet.

If you wish to write a private email to me, please fill in the contact form on my About & Contact page.  I would love to help you!

 Blessings, Nadene
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With the Covid-19 pandemic, many families have been doing school-at-home.  And with lifestyle changes, many families are now deciding to homeschool their children rather than send them back to school.  So there are many parents just starting out and most feel very insecure.  May I encourage you not to rush, but to spend a little more time looking at your options with a little wider perspective?

I wrote a post Starting but overwhelmed by choice and I would love to remind parents ~

“Take a deep breath …. let it out slowly … and relax.  This process is like planning a wonderful overseas journey with your entire family, and your planning may take weeks or months to refine and finalize before you leap on to the plane and take off!

Here are a few extracts ~

  • Pray and wait on the Lord to show you what His vision is for you, your family and your child.
  • Visit other homeschooling families to see what they are using.
  • Read good homeschooling books.
  • Research the Internet to look at different approaches, learning and teaching styles, costs, times and schedules
  • Follow your heart and be led by peace. 
  • Consider your own teaching and parenting styles.
  • Please don’t buy expensive “bells-and-whistles” boxed curriculum for each child.  Find something simple that all your kids can enjoy together and ease into your formal schooling gently.
  • This is a journey and will change and evolve.  Nothing is cast in stone.

In another post Starting School Those First Days I shared these tips ~

  • Just start slowly.
  • Don’t try to do the complete schedule or every subject.
  • Go gently and ease into your schooling.

And lastly, in a post Routine versus Schedule, I shared the difference between schedule  versus routine ~

schedule tells you what to do and when to do it.  It is usually filled with times, lists, blocks, and boxes to tick off.

routine is a pattern by which you live. It gives structure and order to your day, but it doesn’t dictate exactly when things should be done. It allows you to find a flow that works for you on the day you happen to be living.

  1. Decide what is really important for you and your family.
  2. Find the time-flow for your family.  Are you early risers or slow-mornings kind of people? Build your rhythm around what you will more naturally manage.
  3. Identify your important daily events which form pillars such as chores, meals, exercise, sport, family time.
  4. Create habits and build them around important daily events mentioned above.
  5. Be flexible. If your routine isn’t clicking and something feels off, adapt or change it.
  6. Offer options and extras such as different Themes for each day.
  7. Add freedom and create space for your children to explore their gifts, passions, interests and talents.

This journey is going to be amazing!  Even if you have a “flat tire” or “delayed flight” along the way, relax, it is going to be the most wonderful adventure!

Sending you warm and reassuring hugs and my prayers for the Lord’s peace and grace to you in this new season of your lives!

 Blessings, Nadene
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Your kids will love this honey bees unit study and lapbook. Whether you want to learn about how honey bees are fascinating master pollinators, learn about the interesting social activities in the hive, learn about beeswax, or know what is honey, these honey bee activities and resources will be helpful. Honey Bees Unit Study Look […]

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Your kids will love labeling the parts of a honey bee lego activity. Bees are fascinating little creatures from how they create their honeycombs to maximize space, to how they know to fan the hive to keep it cool. Bees are used in so many ways than just the delicious honey they produce. We use […]

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I just wanted to let you know that I added a new video to explain why and how we used a Writing Workshop in our homeschool. You’ll find that at the Writing Workshop page – homeschoolden.com/writing-workshop

Just click here:

Homeschool Writing Workshop Thumbnail 2In this video, I didn’t realize I should drag it and make my screen bigger… so I’m like 1/2 an inch as I talk!! Ah well… live and learn! But, the slides are the important part, right?!

Also, I talked for almost a half-hour.  Sorry! Guess I need to turn the chatter box in me off a little bit! Hope this is helpful!

~Liesl

That post also shares some of our Writing Resources

Writing Resource Packet - Types of Writing Genres Character Plot Setting Voice Point of View and more

and, if you scroll to the end, there are some Practical Pointers for Working with a Reluctant Writer (or any writer!).

Here are a few related posts that might be of interest:

If you are interested in how we use Literature Textbooks in Our Homeschool, you can visit this post. Obviously that ties closely to our Writing Workshop!! 🙂Using Literature Textbooks in our HomeschoolPlus, my kids have also done a lot of independent reading. Here are some of the classics we used…

Homeschool Reading List for Grades 4-6

Reading List Grades 4-6

Homeschool Reading List for Grades 7-9

In this post I shared some of the literature that is on our reading list for grades 7 to 9. These are well-known classics. We’re pretty flexible in that I won’t make them finish a book they “hate.” Life’s too short and their are too many amazing books!

Let me add that our list changes as the kids’ interest change and as we cover different things in our homeschool.

Reading List Grades 7 to 9

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

Homeschool Den Store

Again, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here. It’s a great way to hear about our latest packets and to learn about many of the hundreds of printables & other materials we have tucked away on the blog!

Subscribe

Happy Homeschooling! ~Liesl

The post Writing Workshop Video (New!) appeared first on Homeschool Den.

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I wanted to let you know that I have just made some new Montessori vertebrate-invertebrate sorting cards and added them to the 100+ page Animal Unit.

The Animal Unit covers animal classification, animal characteristics, spiders vs. insects, nocturnal vs diurnal animals, animal tracks, herbivores-carnivores-omnivores, and more!

Vertebrate - invertebrate Montessori Cards

I included a sorting mat, as well as labels for the Montessori 3-part vertebrate-invertebrate cards.  If you laminate the cards, you kids can use a dry erase marker to trace the names of the various animals.

This new pdf is about 30 pages. The animal unit is well over 100 pages. Plus, there is a animal classification activity pdf as well.

If you purchased the Big Animal Bundle or the Animal Unit on its own, you should have gotten an update email from SendOwl (the delivery service I use) with your download link. If you didn’t get that, feel free to email me! ~Liesl

Summer is my opportunity to make some updates and catch up on some things that I don’t get to when I’m working with my three kids during the school year! Hope these are helpful!

When my kids were little, we often brought out this bullfrog skeleton as we talked about the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.   It is called a Transparent Bullfrog. (affiliate link) It’s a really nice size–about fourteen inches or so. There is also an 11-inch transparent frog (affiliate link) that is similar has some internal organs.

If you are interested in our Animal Packet, you can scroll down to read more about it or visit this page to find out about the Big Animal BUNDLE

(which includes the 1. Animal Unit, 2. World Animals Packet, 3. Rainforest Packet, 4. Winter Unit – the seasons, polar animals, whales, and a hibernation unit, 5. Life Cycles Unit – learn about the life cycles of ten different animals)

The Animal Unit covers various topics such as body coverings (feathers, fur, scales, skin),  the different types of animals (vertebrates, invertebrates), animal characteristics, insects vs. spiders, domesticated vs. wild animals, animal tracks, animal homes and shelters and much more!

Animal-Unit-100-pages-worksheets-feathers-fur-scales-skin-vertebrates-invertebrates-insects-spiders

animal body coverings: feathers, fur, scales and skin. This section includes a couple of notebook pages about why animal’s body coverings are so different.  Younger students can use the tracing pages provided.  There is also a set of sorting cards and a sorting mat as well as a practice worksheet for the different types of body coverings.

Feathers Fur Scales or Skin Worksheets and Sorting Cards

Here are some of the materials that are also included in the Animal Packet:

Vertebrate – Invertebrate Sorting Cards

Vertebrate - Invertebrate Cards

Vertebrate - Invertebrate WorksheetsAnimal Characteristics:

Vertebrate-Animal-Groups-Worksheets

The 5 animal groups worksheetsAnimal characteristics worksheets animal classification

  • Animal Body Coverings – feathers, fur, scales, skin
  • Types of Animals and Animal Characteristics – In this section, we go over some of the traits common to mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish (ie. having a backbone, being warm (or cold) blooded, feeding their young with milk, laying eggs… etc. etc.)
  • Types of Animal cut-and-paste activity (below)
  • “What Am I?” Identify worksheet
  • Types of Animals – Exceptions! — Did you know that the platypus is a mammal that lays eggs?  This notebook page talks about some exceptions to traits discussed above
  • Insects vs. spiders
  • Invertebrate groups — and their characteristics (legs, no legs, antenna or no antenna, etc.)
  • Animal and their Tracks – Montessori 3-part cards (which you can use to play a “Memory Game” – placing all the cards face down and trying to pick out matches); also animal and their tracks matching pages
  • Wild vs. Domesticated Animals – Sorting Cards; Notebook Pages
  • Nocturnal vs. Diurnal Animals – Sorting Cards, identification page
  • Whose Tongue? – Fun identification page, notebook page

Below you’ll find few more screenshots of what is included:

Types-of-Animals-Worksheets-Animal-Characteristics-WorksheetsInvertebrate-Groups-Activities

Classification of Animals Activity and Worksheets - Vertebrates-Invertebrates

Animal-Track-ActivitiesAnimals-Domesticated-vs-Wild-Animals-Activity

Animal Homes and Shelters - Where do animals live worksheetsHerbivores Carnivores Omnivores Worksheets Activities Sorting Cards Herbivore Carnivore Omnivore Notebook Pages Worksheets herbivore carnivore omnivore sorting cards and sorting mat

I also added in some fun pages about Animal Tongues.  If you’re scratching your head about that… my kids — especially my girls, really love learning about animals.  I thought it would be fun to talk about tongues as we start off our digestive system unit this coming semester!

There is a page where they have to identify “Whose Tongue?”  And, there are some notebook pages that talk about the many functions of animal tongues… from eating and drinking, to smelling and cooling themselves down. Again, there is a tracing page for those of you who are using this unit with younger kids.

Animal -TonguesNocturnal Animal Quick Study - Opossums Raccoons Skunks BeaversNocturnal Animal- Interactive Notebook Pieces Nocturnal Animal Quick Study - Tracing Pages

The price of this packet is still $5.99. 🙂  You can use the link below to purchase it – or you can read even more about it here: Animal Unit: Vertebrate-Invertebrate Animals Worksheet Packet.

Note:  If have any trouble with your download remember you can always contact me! ~Liesl

Be sure to check out the BUNDLE options below! (It can be bundled with the World Animal Unit or in a the Big Animal Bundle of 5.)

Animal Unit

$5.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Note: The Animal Unit is included in our Big Animal BUNDLE. Details at this page or down below!!

Animal-Unit-100-pages-worksheets-feathers-fur-scales-skin-vertebrates-invertebrates-insects-spiders

NEW: Big Animal BUNDLE – 1) Animal Unit, 2) World Animals Packet, 3) Rainforest Packet, 4) Life Cycles Packet, 5) Winter Packet & Hibernation Unit

Visit the Big Animal BUNDLE page for more details (and many more pictures!)

Big Animal Bundle

The World Animal Packet is 75+ pages. It covers animals of the 7 continents.  There is a new section all about African animals of the savanna.

The Rainforest Packet is 50+ pages. Here’s the table of contents for this packet: Amazon Rainforest Facts, rainfall in the Amazon, Animals & Insects of the Amazon, Layers of the Rainforest Activities and more

Rainforest Unit - Animals of the Rainforest Layers of the Rainforest

The Life Cycles Packet is 50+ pages. It helps kids become familiar with the different stages in the life cycles of the chicken, sea turtle, frog, mosquito, butterfly, dragonfly, bee, mouse, and ladybug.

The Winter Packet and Hibernation Unit is 100+ Pages.  The first part covers Growing Crystals, Months/ Seasons, Earth’s Axis and the Seasons, Arctic vs. Antarctica, Polar Animals, Penguins, Seals, Whales, about a dozen PreK Activity Pages. The Hibernation Unit covers: why animals hibernate, terms such as torpor, brumation, estivation, diapause, endotherms vs. ectotherms.  Plus, it covers where animals spend the winter and the dangers of hibernation. It includes various activities such as notebook pages, interactive notebook/lapbook pieces, matching and tracing pages.

$19.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Again, visit the Big Animal BUNDLE page for more pictures and more details!

Big Animal Bundle

Another option is to purchase the Small Animal BUNDLE: Animal Packet and World Animal Cards

$10.00

     Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Small Animal BUNDLE OPTION: Animal Unit and World Animal Unit

Montessori3PartCards-WorldAnimals

World Animals Worksheets Activity PagesWorld Animals Pin Map

Visit Our Store if you are interested in checking out some of our other packets!

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

Homeschool Den Store

Again, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here. It’s a great way to hear about our latest packets and to learn about many of the hundreds of printables & other materials we have tucked away on the blog!

SubscribeHappy Homeschooling! ~Liesl

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

The post Vertebrate – Invertebrate Sorting Cards appeared first on Homeschool Den.

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You're reading Nature Study Displays by Spell Outloud. If you've enjoyed this post, consider following SpellOutloud on Twitter and Facebook




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It took me awhile to be ok with bringing nature inside. I mean, I was a little concerned about little critter hitch-hikers finding their way into my home. But after figuring out how to address that problem, I was all on board for creating a nature display for our nature treasures. And now we keep adding more around our home. Here’s a few things to think about when planning our nature display.

This post contains my referral link which helps support this site. Here’s my full disclosure policy.

 

Building Nature Displays

First you need to decide what kind of nature display container you would like to use. I’ve seen:

  • baskets
  • shadow boxes
  • old printer press drawers
  • miniature display case
  • trays

Next, go find some nature treasures! Go on a nature hike! Many of our nature treasures were found in our own back yard or neighborhood. Things to remember:

  • Know the rules for keeping nature objects. If you’re at a state park, national forest or nature preserve, you can only look– not take anything you find.
  • If you reside in the U.S., there are some rules regarding collecting bird feathers. Because of this, we don’t pick up bird feathers.  We did purchase some feathers at Hobby Lobby (which is where we got the peacock feathers.) See Is it Illegal to Pick up Bird Feathers
  • For objects such as pine cones, nuts and bark– you can put them on a cookie sheet and place in a 200 degree oven for about 20-30 min. Watch items carefully so they don’t burn. This will make sure you don’t have any unwanted critters.
  • For things like seashells, soak them in cold water. Change the water daily for a week. I did use a plant-base cleaner on the last day (adding a very small amount to the soaking water) but that isn’t necessary– especially if you are picking up empty shells.

Collecting Nature items for dispaly

We decided to create a wall display first. I found our display box at Hobby Lobby, but when I went back to get more, I couldn’t find them there. They might have been a seasonal item.

For bigger items, we placed them directly in the space. But I found that clean, glass spice bottles are awesome for holding smaller items. We have a bottle of sand, shark teeth, tiny shells, crab pinches, and tiny rocks. We also love using Tim Holtz Idea-ology Corked Domes for items too.

Nature display

We quickly ran out of room in our wall display, so we added a small display on top of the bookcase. I love that my kids can pick up and observe objects and have a space to proudly place items they find. (The book on the stand is Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (Julia Rothman) )

Do you have a nature display or nature box? What tips would you add?

 

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You're reading Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study by Spell Outloud. If you've enjoyed this post, consider following SpellOutloud on Twitter and Facebook




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This summer my children and I joined a creeks and waterfalls nature study group. It was a win-win for me because it got us outside, it got us exploring our state and my friend Julie planned all the road trips! This was a great way to have scheduled, outdoor learning time during the summer. Here’s a few tips and resources that we utilized during our various creeks and waterfall outings.

This post contains my referral link which helps support this site. Here’s my full disclosure policy.

Planning a Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

Creeks and Waterfalls Nature Study

I am so blessed that my friend Julie loves to plan nature study field trips. What I like is that she plans a theme that lasts anywhere from 6-13 weeks, and then schedules nature study field trips each week. Our group is willing to drive 1 – 2 hrs. for a nature study. This allows us to explore our state and see so many natural resources that we weren’t even aware where in our area!

  • Check with local nature centers and museums for hands-on activities and nature talks. If you have a group, many of these agencies will provide a resource person to give a presentation or even lead a nature walk.
  • Check with state parks and federal parks in your area.
  •  Check online reviews. This is how Julie came up with her first list of creeks and waterfalls to visit in our area. We were surprised how many awesome opportunities there were within an hour of us!

Helpful Supplies to Have on Hand

Creeks and Waterfall nature study supplies

I have four children who went on these nature study trips will me. I did not want to be the Momma pack mule, so I got nylon travel backpacks for each of my kids. In their back packs they are in charge of carrying their water bottle, water shoes and a towel. This has worked out great because it gives them all ownership and helps them know what they are in charge of getting ready before each trip.

Other items to consider bringing along would be a walking stick, a net, a hat and a pen. We also did a little geocaching while on our nature hikes. 🙂

I also carry a backpack and in addition to my water shoes and water bottle, I have a few other supplies too.  I have:

Insect repellent and mineral sunscreen that is plant-based, natural and safe for my children and the environment. (I put some of the insect repellent in a spray bottle and a roller bottle for quick applications.)

Seedling baby wipes. I put these in a small baggie and carry with us. These have come in very handy! (I love these because they are formulated without chlorine, alcohol, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, animal-derived ingredients, synthetic preservatives, synthetic fragrances, or synthetic dyes)

Essential Oils: R.C. to support our respiratory system if needed, Owie oil well for owies, lavender (not pictured)

Arnica: great for any bumps or bruises

Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier: I love this because there is no yucky stuff in it! This is a key item– it comes in handy when the kids pick up crawdads, frogs or dead fish 😉

Lipbalm: I don’t like to travel without it! 🙂

Thieves Spray: great for port-a-potties, spraying shoes after being in a creek etc.

Flashlight: one of our adventures had a cave. You never know when you need a flashlight! 🙂

Waterproof band-aids

(Note: Did you know I have a naturally-living community? If you’re interested in any of the products in the picture above, you can get them through my oily community. You can find more information here: Get Started in the MOST Living community I’d love to help you get started!)

Creek and Waterfall Outings

For most of our creek stomping adventures, we just explored. A few of our trips we had a short presentation by naturalists. While part of me wanted to bring drawing supplies to sketch– I just knew it would get wet.  🙂

If you live in central Indiana, here are the creeks and waterfalls we visited:

  • Mounds State Park in Anderson, IN
  • Falls Park in Pendleton, IN
  • Turkey Run in Marshall, IN
  • Cave River Valley in Campbellsburg, IN
  • Thistlewaite Falls in Richmond, IN
  • Anderson Falls in Hartsville, IN
  • McCormicks Creek in Spencer, IN
  • McCloud Park in North Salem, IN
  • Cool Creek Park in Carmel, IN

Creek and Waterfall Resources

To add a little more structured learning, here is a great nature study unit study: Incredible Creeks. You’ll cover rocks, erosion, fresh water animals, creek health and more!

We also love to add in some art. I also think art and nature studies go hand-in-hand!

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Reading as escape is a real thing, isn’t it?

There are many days in the past month where I’ve truly felt that reading a good book was the perfect way to salvage the day - or to just see some good in the world that sometimes is difficult to see (especially if you turn on the news!).

In last month’s recap, I talked to you about reading widely and well. I’m always striving for that… I hope you see some of that this month.

This month’s selections were fueled by a need for fun summer reading, some research for the SQUILT music curriculum, reading aloud to my 15-year-old, and also a need to know about some personal and family stories I’d been hearing about.

June 2020 Reading Recap @ Homegrown Learners

June 2020 Books

Each book this month received a 4 or 5-star rating from me.

There was one book I put into the DNF stack this month - The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet. It just wasn’t for me, and I could tell that after approximately 75 pages. I have learned that life is too short to hold out to see if books I don’t initially like will get better - so I am feeling less and less guilt about just setting them aside.

Highlights from the month:

  • Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment: I read this because we are studying J.S. Bach in July in SQUILT LIVE!. I couldn’t have asked for a better biography about Bach and his contemporary (and total opposite!) Frederick the Great.

    This pulled together a lot of history and gave me a true picture of how Bach influenced the ENTIRE course of Western music. VERY interesting!

  • Lovely War: I had no idea this was a YA book until after I had finished it and was watching the author, Julie Berry, on an author chat with Modern Mrs. Darcy. This book was just READABLE - it even incorporated some mythology (which doesn’t usually interest me) and I loved it! It is a work of historical fiction taking place during WWI.

    I ordered The Passion of Dolssa (another book by Berry) when I finished this one. These are great books for your high school girls!

  • Hidden Valley Road: This is the true story of a family from Colorado. Twelve children are born into the family, and when it is all said and done SIX of them are diagnosed with Schizophrenia. If you are easily triggered by mental illness, suicide, physical and sexual abuse, or abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest, you might want to steer away from this one.

    I found it a fascinating look at mental illness and the strides we have made in treating and diagnosing schizophrenia in particular. I found myself at many points wondering how in the world this mother survived life with 6 Schizophrenic sons. Truly astounding.

  • Nory Ryan’s Song: We read this one aloud - and promptly got the other two books that will round out the series. Set during the “Great Hunger” (potato famine) in Ireland, it is the story of Nory Ryan, a determined, tenacious young girl who gives us insight into what true hunger, suffering, and triumph are. I can’t recommend this one enough!

    This book goes beautifully with our study of Irish music in July in SQUILT LIVE!

My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)Nory Ryans SongNory Ryans SongThis Must Be the Place (Vintage Contemporaries)This Must Be the Place (Vintage Contemporaries)Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual LethargyDangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual LethargyHidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American FamilyHidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American FamilyEvening in the Palace of Reason Publisher: Harper PerennialEvening in the Palace of Reason Publisher: Harper PerennialBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodLove Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love StoryLove Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story28 Summers28 SummersLovely WarLovely WarTweet Cute: A NovelTweet Cute: A Novel

 

Tweet Cute, Love Lettering, and 28 Summers were all fun (fluffier) reads.

This Must be the Place was one that has been on my TBR for ages, and I very much enjoyed the writing of Maggie O’Farrell - I will be reading more by her in the future!

A.W. Tozer was also new to me - The Dangers of a Shallow Faith was a wake-up call. My husband is listening to it now and getting a lot from it as well. It is packed full of practical Christian wisdom - which rings just as true now as it did in Tozer’s lifetime over 50 years ago.

Finally, while I’m not a big fan of Trevor Noah now, I had heard that Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood was a must-read. I agree. It was laugh out loud funny, but also gravely serious in many parts. The insight into Apartheid - as told by someone now living in America who enjoys great celebrity, was very interesting. I was thinking of giving this to my son to read, but there was way too much cursing. I haven’t read the young reader’s edition - but I imagine it would be good for your kids to read especially now.


Did you have a favorite book you read in June?

Let me know about it in the comments below!

June 2020 Reading Recap @ Homegrown Learners

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“I fear for my children and the world they will inherit.”

It’s a statement many parents have made - one I sometimes have made in jest. Now, however, I make the statement in all seriousness.

I am deeply concerned about the world my children are growing up in.

As a Christian, I know who controls their future - who controls our world’s future. As a parent, educator, and advocate for children, I also believe God has given me a platform and is calling on me to use it wisely and bravely.

This world of masks, fear, skepticism, arguments, and isolation is not a world where children (particularly our elementary-aged) will thrive. This world is one that will crush their spirits, creativity, and humanity.

Is This the New Normal? And what is it doing to our children?

And while I hear “children are resilient - they are capable of so much more than we give them credit for” - I disagree. Children are resilient - to a point. Adults say children are resilient to absolve themselves of guilt. Children need our protection and care. They need us to be their advocates. They need us make decisions based on careful study and prayer - NOT based on the latest news story.

I’m not sure WHAT the answer is, and I’m trying to process the events of each day just like the rest of you.

After working with a small group of children the past few Sundays, I have become alarmed at the changes I am seeing (already!). I have learned quite a bit about children over the years - through my degrees in education, time spent as a classroom educator, my 19 years as a mother, time as a homeschooling mother, and now once again in my role teaching children in different capacities.

What we’re doing now in response to the current health crisis is not right, and we must consider what we know to be true about children and their development as we move forward.


Children Don’t Understand Social Distancing (The Importance of Touch)

As much as we teach and practice social distancing, many children are just hard-wired for physical connection.

Can you imagine an entire day for a kindergartner devoid of hugs, pats on the back, or any type of physical interaction required for sharing, working in groups, etc…?

And, in our efforts to protect children through social distancing, are they really capable of understanding the WHY in a moment when they just might need comfort through a hug or affirmation through a high five?

More importantly, what will be the long term mental and academic impacts of social distancing on our children?

According to David Lindern, a professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University,

It’s not so much that touch is a useful tool in teaching facts and strategies – it’s not as if, while stroking a student’s arm as they practice algebra, they will learn algebra better. More than anything else, what touch conveys is, I’m an ally, I’m not a threat. Touch puts the recipient in a trusting state, and anything you can do to encourage the student is going to make learning better

(source)

Is this the new normal? And what is it doing to our children?

Proximity Matters

The concept of proximity is extremely important when teaching children - whether just one child or a group of 30.

One of the biggest lessons from my teacher education training was using proximity as a discipline tool. If a child is on task, or isn’t participating in a way you feel appropriate - the most effective way to redirect them is to simply get close to them, offer a gentle touch on the arm or shoulder, or whisper a gentle correction in their ear.

If a teacher is to keep a 6-foot distance, how will they impart this basic form of discipline? The last thing we want to do is embarrass a child (and disrupt the entire class) by calling them out from the front of the room.

Touch helps to build and speed up communication - and sometimes this is simply the best way to reach a child.


Are We Creating a Culture of Fear - And a Lack of Joy?

I’ve already witnessed fear and anxiety in children I know. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to witness in our ENTIRE society. We are governed by fear, rather than trust.

I am not a proponent of throwing caution to the wind, but I do think we can practice hand washing, responsible interactions, and increased cleanliness in public spaces.

As I recently worked with a small group of children (and we were all masked), the fear and hesitation were palpable. I have taught some of these children for several years, and all of sudden it was as if we were strangers.

One child (5 years old) was so proud of how she could wear her mask and use it appropriately, but she ran up to me and sat right beside me so our legs were touching. The sweetness in this gesture broke my heart. She had been instructed to wear the mask, but clearly didn’t understand the entire picture.

How are children supposed to have joy in learning with all of the new restrictions? What does that look like? I can’t imagine any good answers.


Just Homeschool the Children!

Those of us in the homeschool world don’t have nearly as much to worry about, do we? We’re free to proceed with teaching and learning as we’ve always done. We probably have friend groups that are comfortable getting together and we are responsible about keeping up to date on everyone’s health situations.

But homeschooling isn’t practical for everyone, is it?

And, homeschool will get a BAD name if people are simply replicating the public school curriculum at home. I’ve been shouting “Stop Homeschooling the Children!” since March.

Please Stop Homeschooling the Children!


What’s the Answer?

If I were a young parent right now, I would be doing everything within my power to educate my children at home. If it is a remote possibility for you and you have the desire, home education is the BEST way to educate your children.

We abandoned the ideal of public education 11 years ago and count it as the best parenting decision we have ever made.

I have a feeling that when school begins in earnest in many places, this grand experiment of wearing masks and social distancing won’t succeed. Teachers will be burned out from doing so much that doesn’t pertain to EDUCATION. Students will be on edge because the teachers are on edge. Parents will be stressed out because they know their children aren’t getting the education they deserve.

It’s a vicious cycle, and if we do a cost-benefit analysis, I’m not so sure it’s going to be worth it in the long run.


Of course, I’m prepared to be shamed for my honest questioning about the efficacy of our “new normal”. That’s the culture we live in - and sad as it maybe - I’ve gotten used to it.

People who don’t follow what the masses say aren’t just criticized, they are vilified and shamed.

And, as a homeschooling parent, this is one of the biggest lessons we teach each and every day - it’s OK to be different. Stand up for what you believe in. Be able to articulate your argument logically and without anger. Let faith be your ultimate guide.

Concluding Thoughts:

As I was praying about publishing this post, a dear friend texted me something from Bob Goff’s book, “Love Does”:

Love Does - by Bog Goff

No matter what our circumstances, we have to remember accept God’s invitation to LIVE each and every day.

We don’t have good answers right now. We are struggling.

If we keep a common goal in mind (the good of our children), assume the best of intentions from people we meet, and steep ourselves in God’s Word and prayer, I have to believe we will come through this stronger and braver.

Tell me what you think.

How do you feel about our “new normal” - and what it could do to our children?

( I welcome constructive comments and disagreement. I will, however, delete comments that engage in shaming or name-calling. )







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So many parents need help to teach their child to write. Over the years of homeschooling, I have had wonderful success using my laminated handwriting charts.

I have just completely updated my Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step Ebook which is now a 16-page booklet. It includes new detailed instructions & examples on line placement for writing on lined notebook pages, starting & ending points for each letter, as well as new charts that include coloured numbered dots and arrow guidelines.

Here’s what you’ll find in this Teach Print Handwriting Ebook ~

  • Introduction to Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step
  • Why laminated charts work
  • Step-by-Step Handwriting Lessons
  • Getting to know the lines and letter placement
  • How to start teaching print handwriting step-by-step
  • Examples of how to talk through each lower-case letter
  • Print lower case with start & end and arrows (a-o)
  • Print lower case with start & end and arrows (p-z)
  • Print lower case with arrows
  • Upper Case print chart with start & arrows A-N
  • Upper-case print chart with start & arrows O-Z & Numbers 1-9
  • Combined print upper-case and lower-case chart

Would you please support me and pop over to my Packages page to purchase the updated Teaching Print Handwriting Step-by-Step booklet.

If you wish to write a private email to me, please fill in the contact form on my About & Contact page.  I would love to help you!

 Blessings, Nadene
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With the Covid-19 pandemic, many families have been doing school-at-home.  And with lifestyle changes, many families are now deciding to homeschool their children rather than send them back to school.  So there are many parents just starting out and most feel very insecure.  May I encourage you not to rush, but to spend a little more time looking at your options with a little wider perspective?

I wrote a post Starting but overwhelmed by choice and I would love to remind parents ~

“Take a deep breath …. let it out slowly … and relax.  This process is like planning a wonderful overseas journey with your entire family, and your planning may take weeks or months to refine and finalize before you leap on to the plane and take off!

Here are a few extracts ~

  • Pray and wait on the Lord to show you what His vision is for you, your family and your child.
  • Visit other homeschooling families to see what they are using.
  • Read good homeschooling books.
  • Research the Internet to look at different approaches, learning and teaching styles, costs, times and schedules
  • Follow your heart and be led by peace. 
  • Consider your own teaching and parenting styles.
  • Please don’t buy expensive “bells-and-whistles” boxed curriculum for each child.  Find something simple that all your kids can enjoy together and ease into your formal schooling gently.
  • This is a journey and will change and evolve.  Nothing is cast in stone.

In another post Starting School Those First Days I shared these tips ~

  • Just start slowly.
  • Don’t try to do the complete schedule or every subject.
  • Go gently and ease into your schooling.

And lastly, in a post Routine versus Schedule, I shared the difference between schedule  versus routine ~

schedule tells you what to do and when to do it.  It is usually filled with times, lists, blocks, and boxes to tick off.

routine is a pattern by which you live. It gives structure and order to your day, but it doesn’t dictate exactly when things should be done. It allows you to find a flow that works for you on the day you happen to be living.

  1. Decide what is really important for you and your family.
  2. Find the time-flow for your family.  Are you early risers or slow-mornings kind of people? Build your rhythm around what you will more naturally manage.
  3. Identify your important daily events which form pillars such as chores, meals, exercise, sport, family time.
  4. Create habits and build them around important daily events mentioned above.
  5. Be flexible. If your routine isn’t clicking and something feels off, adapt or change it.
  6. Offer options and extras such as different Themes for each day.
  7. Add freedom and create space for your children to explore their gifts, passions, interests and talents.

This journey is going to be amazing!  Even if you have a “flat tire” or “delayed flight” along the way, relax, it is going to be the most wonderful adventure!

Sending you warm and reassuring hugs and my prayers for the Lord’s peace and grace to you in this new season of your lives!

 Blessings, Nadene
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Your kids will love this honey bees unit study and lapbook. Whether you want to learn about how honey bees are fascinating master pollinators, learn about the interesting social activities in the hive, learn about beeswax, or know what is honey, these honey bee activities and resources will be helpful. Honey Bees Unit Study Look […]

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Your kids will love labeling the parts of a honey bee lego activity. Bees are fascinating little creatures from how they create their honeycombs to maximize space, to how they know to fan the hive to keep it cool. Bees are used in so many ways than just the delicious honey they produce. We use […]

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I just wanted to let you know that I added a new video to explain why and how we used a Writing Workshop in our homeschool. You’ll find that at the Writing Workshop page – homeschoolden.com/writing-workshop

Just click here:

Homeschool Writing Workshop Thumbnail 2In this video, I didn’t realize I should drag it and make my screen bigger… so I’m like 1/2 an inch as I talk!! Ah well… live and learn! But, the slides are the important part, right?!

Also, I talked for almost a half-hour.  Sorry! Guess I need to turn the chatter box in me off a little bit! Hope this is helpful!

~Liesl

That post also shares some of our Writing Resources

Writing Resource Packet - Types of Writing Genres Character Plot Setting Voice Point of View and more

and, if you scroll to the end, there are some Practical Pointers for Working with a Reluctant Writer (or any writer!).

Here are a few related posts that might be of interest:

If you are interested in how we use Literature Textbooks in Our Homeschool, you can visit this post. Obviously that ties closely to our Writing Workshop!! 🙂Using Literature Textbooks in our HomeschoolPlus, my kids have also done a lot of independent reading. Here are some of the classics we used…

Homeschool Reading List for Grades 4-6

Reading List Grades 4-6

Homeschool Reading List for Grades 7-9

In this post I shared some of the literature that is on our reading list for grades 7 to 9. These are well-known classics. We’re pretty flexible in that I won’t make them finish a book they “hate.” Life’s too short and their are too many amazing books!

Let me add that our list changes as the kids’ interest change and as we cover different things in our homeschool.

Reading List Grades 7 to 9

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

Homeschool Den Store

Again, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here. It’s a great way to hear about our latest packets and to learn about many of the hundreds of printables & other materials we have tucked away on the blog!

Subscribe

Happy Homeschooling! ~Liesl

The post Writing Workshop Video (New!) appeared first on Homeschool Den.

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I wanted to let you know that I have just made some new Montessori vertebrate-invertebrate sorting cards and added them to the 100+ page Animal Unit.

The Animal Unit covers animal classification, animal characteristics, spiders vs. insects, nocturnal vs diurnal animals, animal tracks, herbivores-carnivores-omnivores, and more!

Vertebrate - invertebrate Montessori Cards

I included a sorting mat, as well as labels for the Montessori 3-part vertebrate-invertebrate cards.  If you laminate the cards, you kids can use a dry erase marker to trace the names of the various animals.

This new pdf is about 30 pages. The animal unit is well over 100 pages. Plus, there is a animal classification activity pdf as well.

If you purchased the Big Animal Bundle or the Animal Unit on its own, you should have gotten an update email from SendOwl (the delivery service I use) with your download link. If you didn’t get that, feel free to email me! ~Liesl

Summer is my opportunity to make some updates and catch up on some things that I don’t get to when I’m working with my three kids during the school year! Hope these are helpful!

When my kids were little, we often brought out this bullfrog skeleton as we talked about the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates.   It is called a Transparent Bullfrog. (affiliate link) It’s a really nice size–about fourteen inches or so. There is also an 11-inch transparent frog (affiliate link) that is similar has some internal organs.

If you are interested in our Animal Packet, you can scroll down to read more about it or visit this page to find out about the Big Animal BUNDLE

(which includes the 1. Animal Unit, 2. World Animals Packet, 3. Rainforest Packet, 4. Winter Unit – the seasons, polar animals, whales, and a hibernation unit, 5. Life Cycles Unit – learn about the life cycles of ten different animals)

The Animal Unit covers various topics such as body coverings (feathers, fur, scales, skin),  the different types of animals (vertebrates, invertebrates), animal characteristics, insects vs. spiders, domesticated vs. wild animals, animal tracks, animal homes and shelters and much more!

Animal-Unit-100-pages-worksheets-feathers-fur-scales-skin-vertebrates-invertebrates-insects-spiders

animal body coverings: feathers, fur, scales and skin. This section includes a couple of notebook pages about why animal’s body coverings are so different.  Younger students can use the tracing pages provided.  There is also a set of sorting cards and a sorting mat as well as a practice worksheet for the different types of body coverings.

Feathers Fur Scales or Skin Worksheets and Sorting Cards

Here are some of the materials that are also included in the Animal Packet:

Vertebrate – Invertebrate Sorting Cards

Vertebrate - Invertebrate Cards

Vertebrate - Invertebrate WorksheetsAnimal Characteristics:

Vertebrate-Animal-Groups-Worksheets

The 5 animal groups worksheetsAnimal characteristics worksheets animal classification

  • Animal Body Coverings – feathers, fur, scales, skin
  • Types of Animals and Animal Characteristics – In this section, we go over some of the traits common to mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish (ie. having a backbone, being warm (or cold) blooded, feeding their young with milk, laying eggs… etc. etc.)
  • Types of Animal cut-and-paste activity (below)
  • “What Am I?” Identify worksheet
  • Types of Animals – Exceptions! — Did you know that the platypus is a mammal that lays eggs?  This notebook page talks about some exceptions to traits discussed above
  • Insects vs. spiders
  • Invertebrate groups — and their characteristics (legs, no legs, antenna or no antenna, etc.)
  • Animal and their Tracks – Montessori 3-part cards (which you can use to play a “Memory Game” – placing all the cards face down and trying to pick out matches); also animal and their tracks matching pages
  • Wild vs. Domesticated Animals – Sorting Cards; Notebook Pages
  • Nocturnal vs. Diurnal Animals – Sorting Cards, identification page
  • Whose Tongue? – Fun identification page, notebook page

Below you’ll find few more screenshots of what is included:

Types-of-Animals-Worksheets-Animal-Characteristics-WorksheetsInvertebrate-Groups-Activities

Classification of Animals Activity and Worksheets - Vertebrates-Invertebrates

Animal-Track-ActivitiesAnimals-Domesticated-vs-Wild-Animals-Activity

Animal Homes and Shelters - Where do animals live worksheetsHerbivores Carnivores Omnivores Worksheets Activities Sorting Cards Herbivore Carnivore Omnivore Notebook Pages Worksheets herbivore carnivore omnivore sorting cards and sorting mat

I also added in some fun pages about Animal Tongues.  If you’re scratching your head about that… my kids — especially my girls, really love learning about animals.  I thought it would be fun to talk about tongues as we start off our digestive system unit this coming semester!

There is a page where they have to identify “Whose Tongue?”  And, there are some notebook pages that talk about the many functions of animal tongues… from eating and drinking, to smelling and cooling themselves down. Again, there is a tracing page for those of you who are using this unit with younger kids.

Animal -TonguesNocturnal Animal Quick Study - Opossums Raccoons Skunks BeaversNocturnal Animal- Interactive Notebook Pieces Nocturnal Animal Quick Study - Tracing Pages

The price of this packet is still $5.99. 🙂  You can use the link below to purchase it – or you can read even more about it here: Animal Unit: Vertebrate-Invertebrate Animals Worksheet Packet.

Note:  If have any trouble with your download remember you can always contact me! ~Liesl

Be sure to check out the BUNDLE options below! (It can be bundled with the World Animal Unit or in a the Big Animal Bundle of 5.)

Animal Unit

$5.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Note: The Animal Unit is included in our Big Animal BUNDLE. Details at this page or down below!!

Animal-Unit-100-pages-worksheets-feathers-fur-scales-skin-vertebrates-invertebrates-insects-spiders

NEW: Big Animal BUNDLE – 1) Animal Unit, 2) World Animals Packet, 3) Rainforest Packet, 4) Life Cycles Packet, 5) Winter Packet & Hibernation Unit

Visit the Big Animal BUNDLE page for more details (and many more pictures!)

Big Animal Bundle

The World Animal Packet is 75+ pages. It covers animals of the 7 continents.  There is a new section all about African animals of the savanna.

The Rainforest Packet is 50+ pages. Here’s the table of contents for this packet: Amazon Rainforest Facts, rainfall in the Amazon, Animals & Insects of the Amazon, Layers of the Rainforest Activities and more

Rainforest Unit - Animals of the Rainforest Layers of the Rainforest

The Life Cycles Packet is 50+ pages. It helps kids become familiar with the different stages in the life cycles of the chicken, sea turtle, frog, mosquito, butterfly, dragonfly, bee, mouse, and ladybug.

The Winter Packet and Hibernation Unit is 100+ Pages.  The first part covers Growing Crystals, Months/ Seasons, Earth’s Axis and the Seasons, Arctic vs. Antarctica, Polar Animals, Penguins, Seals, Whales, about a dozen PreK Activity Pages. The Hibernation Unit covers: why animals hibernate, terms such as torpor, brumation, estivation, diapause, endotherms vs. ectotherms.  Plus, it covers where animals spend the winter and the dangers of hibernation. It includes various activities such as notebook pages, interactive notebook/lapbook pieces, matching and tracing pages.

$19.99

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Again, visit the Big Animal BUNDLE page for more pictures and more details!

Big Animal Bundle

Another option is to purchase the Small Animal BUNDLE: Animal Packet and World Animal Cards

$10.00

     Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Small Animal BUNDLE OPTION: Animal Unit and World Animal Unit

Montessori3PartCards-WorldAnimals

World Animals Worksheets Activity PagesWorld Animals Pin Map

Visit Our Store if you are interested in checking out some of our other packets!

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link.

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

Homeschool Den Store

Again, if you are interested in joining our Homeschool Den Newsletter, feel free to subscribe here. It’s a great way to hear about our latest packets and to learn about many of the hundreds of printables & other materials we have tucked away on the blog!

SubscribeHappy Homeschooling! ~Liesl

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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