Guest Post – Anna-Marie from Life’s Adventures

Field Trips

I am so excited to have Anna-Marie here posting today!  Her family has the unique opportunity of living in the UK right now, and homeschooling with all the great stuff over there in Europe! Be sure to check out her blog for great pics of so many awesome things across the pond!

 

Field TripsI was thrilled when Tiffany asked me to consider doing a guest post about home schooling on Sweet Phenomena. However I wondered if I was really qualified. I have only been homeschooling my kids for 3 years and I am still figuring out my way around. I try new ideas and read tons of “expert” books all about home schooling, trying to find that one idea that speaks to me in every way. Still haven’t found it, but continuing to look. So my schooling approach is very eclectic in nature. We use work books, lap books, unit studies, limited box curriculum and whatever else comes our way. I will use anything that I think will inspire my children to learn, think and create. You can find my blog at http://lifesadventures-amb.blogspot.com/.

Field TripsOne of the things we as a family love to do is go on lots of field trips. I find doing hands-on  activities really helps to bring the topic to life for the children (and for me). Recently we were studying WWII and had the amazing opportunity to go to Normandy, France and see the five WWII beaches, the German defensives, and visit the American Cemetery. We had read about all of these things in our library books but to see it, touch it and explored the museums was the icing on the cake.

But field trips don’t need to be expensive, as many can be done in your own home town. Calling up local businesses and asking if you can stop by is often all that it takes to open the door for you and your children to have an amazing fieldtrip opportunity. You can do this with just your children or invite others to join you. One of the home schooling groups I belong called up a pizza restaurant and was able to set up a pizza making activity for 30 kids for free! It was great fun for everyone. On another group trip we went to a local farmer and learned all about farming, again the activity was free.

I also use my own back yard or park for field trip opportunities. Identifying flowers, trees, or look for signs of wildlife (tracks), identify birds, or build a den. It can tie into what you are learning or not. This summer while studying lifecycles the kids found frog spawn and brought them home. We watched them turn into frogs. It was amazing to see and even my husband was amazed to see the transformation.

Field TripsThere have been many occasions when an amazing field trip was being set up thru a home schooling group or just by someone we know and we stopped what we were learning and joined in. We have been able to see some amazing things because of it. I believe learning takes place every day with every experience. Book work will always be there but how many times will you get an opportunity to visit somewhere unique like a recycling center, art gallery or just splash in a creek and catch some frog eggs.

Field TripsSo how do I make it educational? I have the kids keep a field work journal. After visiting a place my kids draw a picture and write about what they did. My youngest (age 7) is required to write about what he saw and at least one thing that he learned. My oldest (age 9) is to write a paragraph about one aspect of the trip that meant the most to her and why. I often find my kids looking back and reading through their old entries reminiscing about the things they have seen and done. Sometimes we keep a journal and document what changes we observed (like with the frogs) but we have also done this with plants in our garden.

Because I love going on field trips with my children and I think they are very beneficial, starting July 1st I will be hosting a monthly Fieldtrip hop. You will be able to post all month where you have been and what you have learned on your fieldtrips. It might inspire someone else. I hope you will stop by join in at http://lifesadventures-amb-fieldtriphop.blogspot.com/

 

TOS Homeschool Crew

I mentioned a while ago that I was allowed to join this upcoming school year’s The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew.

I hope to bring all of you reviews of some great stuff that will be beneficial to you and your family!

We’re getting started now with training and other admin stuff, so keep a lookout for fun stuff soon!

Blog Bash 2011 Winner

BB11Random

I’d like to thank everyone for participating in my first giveaway.  I learned a lot and enjoyed myself!

The winner of my prize package is Lori Hart!

Fun in the Summer Sun!

Welcome to the 4th Fun in the Summer Sun event!

We had some great link-ups last week and invite everyone to link up again this week!

Each Monday until September 7th, Mama to 4 Blessings along with Adventures of Mommydom, Sweet Diva, Harvest Moon By Hand, and Sweet Phenomena will be hosting Fun in the Summer Sun link-up events.

Here’s the line up:

  • The 1st Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer activities”
  • The 2nd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer crafts”
  • The 3rd Monday of each month: link up your “Kid friendly summer recipes”
  • The 4th Monday of each month: link up your “How to stay cool in the summer heat”

Here are the ways we like to stay cool in the summer heat!”

Summer HeatOK, I’m just going to put this out there:  Babydoll and I despise the Alabama heat {it’s difficult going from beautiful WA summers to this oppressive heat!}, so we stay cool by staying inside.

There, I said it.

We don’t have a pool, and while we do have a sprinkler system, I’m too old to go outside and stand around in some water while it’s uber hot outside when I have a nice cool house a few feet away.

But, we do have fun in the house.  Since summer is our time off from soccer and activities and homeschooling and all that jazz, we enjoy being lazy and doing fun, sometimes pointless, stuff.  Here’s a sampling of what we do during the summer to enjoy our summer in the wonderfully cool house:

  • Watch TV - I know all those parenting books/blogs/shows say you should watch very little TV.  Well I like TV, and so I’m passing that horrid trait on to my daughter.
  • Read - I also like to read, and Babydoll does as well.  She reads a lot anyway, but summer gives her a chance to just delve into just-for-fun reading.
  • Do crafts - As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m not a crafty person.  But Babydoll is.  So I provide her with all sorts of “kits,” like Amercian Girl crafting kits from Michael’s, make-your-own Tinkerbell stepping stone, and activity books {maybe not a craft, but there’s usually coloring involved so you know…}.
  • Culinary arts – While I try not to turn the oven on as much in the summer, we still do it.  Babydoll and I like to bake and cook, so we naturally do it during the summer.
  • Summer Reading Programs - OK, while not necessarily done completely at our house, it does involve reading in the air conditioned house, sprinting to the air conditioned car, and hustling in to the air conditioned book store or library to get books and prizes.

So, that’s what we do to stay cool.  Might seem pretty ordinary, but we enjoy our “time off.”

How do you stay cool during the summer?

Image Credit

We Made Chocolate!

Make Your Own Chocolate Kit

I’ve missed you guys! I’ve been so busy with the giveaway and fun stuff I’ve got coming for you guys in the next few months that I haven’t had a chance to post something fun and homeschool-y.

Make Your Own Chocolate KitRemember when Babydoll and I were working on our chocolate unit study?  Well, I bought a Make Your Own Chocolate kit and we’re just getting around to using it…

Man oh man was it fun!

The kit comes with cocoa butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, tempering crystals {ground up chocolate bars}, a couple of cacao beans, and paper candy liners.

We melted the cocoa butter {it smelled like chocolate, mmmm}, added the cocoa powder and sugar, mixed vigorously, and then when the mixture cooled to 94 degrees, we added our tempering crystals.

Cocoa Butter

Melted Cocoa Butter

Chocolate!

Piping ChocolateWe put the mixture in a piping bag and Babydoll went to town!

We decided to put marshmallow fluff and peanut butter in some of them.

While we waited for them to cool, Babydoll rubbed the skin from one of the cacao beans and tried a teeny bite…

Bitter Beans

They cooled and Babydoll tried some.

Then I tried some.

They were delicious!!

I highly recommend the kit, especially if you’ll be doing Amanda Bennett’s chocolate study.