Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Human Body: The Senses

Our senses enable us to experience our world. It was mind-boggling at times to try to understand how our body processes all this information--tastes, what we hear, what we see, touch and balance, and smells. I am very thankful though for my senses. Here are some of the activities we did during our senses lesson:

The Sense of Smell:

We first talked about our nose and how smells are really chemicals (typically gases) that are floating in the air. This chemical goes through the nose and somehow the brain is able to identify the smell. Pretty awesome! We put our noses to the test with mystery smell bottles. We used old film canisters and placed various scents in each canister. We had vanilla, maple flavoring, vinegar, and cinnamon. Have the kids close their eyes while sniffing the canister. Can they guess what scent it is?


After talking about what a gift the sense of taste is, we did several taste experiments. The first one came from Apologia's Human Anatomy book, pg 179. We gathered several food items in order to test if our tongue really has certain sections that only taste certain tastes.

 Oh, this picture just cracks me up! My daughter is testing a substance on her tongue to see if our tongue does have 4 different taste zones (We have 5 different tastes, but we only tested 4 of them: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.)

I'm guessing this didn't taste very good. :)

We also did another experiment from the book that involved crackers, warm chocolate milk, and cold chocolate milk. We were testing if the temperature of food affected the taste.


We briefly talked about all the wonderful colors we could see with our eyes and then moved on. There was only so much we could fit in one class period! If you want a tasty way to talk about the parts of an eye, check out these cool eyeball cake pops from Layered Soul. You've got to click over and see the details. I wish she lived close enough to bake and make these for my group. :)


The older kids did the slinky demonstration on page 182 to show how sound waves travel.

Balance and Touch:

I gathered several objects with different textures and placed them in a mystery bag. The kids had to try to describe the object they were touching in the bag without looking. One thing we learned about the sense of touch is that it is a general sense which can be felt all over the body.

By this time, my K-2nd graders needed to move! So I had them spin and spin just like an ice-skater. We tried to focus on a spot so we wouldn't get dizzy. That didn't work for me! I could only try this once before I was done--lol. The kids tried multiple times. Once they couldn't spin anymore, we discussed the sense of balance.

Whew! That was a lot for one lesson!

As always, my K-2nd class had a take-home sheet and a coloring assignment in their human body coloring book.

You can see past lessons by visiting the Human Body Page
Linking up to Science Sunday too (even though it is Tues.- again) and joining:

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tortoise and the Hare from Maestro Classics

The Tortoise and the Hare is a classic Aesop's fable. A very confident hare challenges a tortoise to a race. Halfway through the race, the hare rests and realizes too late that the tortoise has beaten him to the finish line. The Tortoise displays the virtues of diligence, perseverance, and optimism. Slow and steady wins the race is his motto. We've read this short story many times before, but we had never heard it the way Maestro Classics told it! The humorous twists and additions to the story along with the music makes this version of the Tortoise and the Hare our favorite.  (Scroll down for a chance to get your own copy!)

The Tortoise and the Hare CD

My 5yr. old daughter picked out Maestro Classics The Tortoise and the Hare for our review. We have a board book of this story so she was familiar with the characters. When our package arrive, she was very excited to listen to the story.

Maestro's Classics The Tortoise and the Hare

We pulled it out right away to listen. Inside the cd case was a little booklet. This little booklet is packed with lots of information! It had a picture chart of the instruments in the orchestra, a little bit of basic music theory, and some activity pages.

The Tortoise and the Hare booklet

She read this while listening to the story. Now don't think this cd series is just for young children--because it is not! I had all my kids sit and listen  ages 1yr. - 13 yrs. old. Younger children will enjoy listening to the story being told along with the music. Older kids can listen to the story and try to analyze the music too:

What instruments are playing?
Are their certain instruments representing specific characters?
Why would the orchestra play fast at this point in the story?

If you are apprehensive about explaining the instruments and other technical music stuff, no worries because the composer, Stephen Simon, does it for you! I think that was my favorite part--- hearing about his thought-process in writing the music to tell the story.

Tortoise and the Hare Coloring Page
You can find additional resources and ideas to go along with each of the CD stories available on the Maestro Classics Website. You could easily turn it into a unit.

  There are 9 different music stories available. They can be purchased as CD's or downloaded as MP3's. You can go to the site and hear snippets from each musical story. We also have Peter and the Wolf  in our collection and enjoy it too. I think this is a great way to teach listening skills, literature, and music appreciation! And if I'm honest-- I also love it because the cd does the majority of the teaching for me! I get to take off my teaching hat and just sit and enjoy the story along with my children.

Would you like to have your own copy of the Tortoise and the Hare? Enter via Rafflecopter below.

If you are reading this in a reader, you will have to click over to the site to see the widget. There is only one mandatory entry, but lots of additional ways to enter too! (Please read the terms before entering)
  • See my complete giveaway rules
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Disclosure: I was provided a CD for review purposes only. Opinions about this product are my own.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Go Ahead, Pick the Flowers

After months of seeing brown and white landscape during the winter, I love when little splashes of color emerge here and there brightening up my garden. Daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, and more -- spring flowers bring me joy.

My three-year old enjoys the flowers too. She has picked almost every single one of them. At first I was annoyed. I wanted to enjoy those short-lived blooms longer. I liked to see them brightening the front of my home with their colors.

But when I looked at my daughter, I saw that she was enjoying the flowers too. It was not her intent to disobey or be destructive. She thought the flowers were beautiful and wanted to share them with me. That meant so much to me for her to show me she loved me in this tangible way.

I'm not a perfect mom, and I've learned much and am still learning how to do this job. Many times over the years I have been annoyed with my children because of what they've done --messy kitchen with batter all over the counter when they made me a cake, clean laundry shoved in wrong drawers when they were really trying to help me out-- I focused on the messes and missed their hearts.

I'm thankful that God has opened my eyes to my tendency to do this to my children. I'm glad that God sees my heart and my intentions in the midst of the messes I create. He extends me grace. Why is it so hard for me to do the same to my children? I'm learning friends, I'm learning---
  • to look past the messes and see the intent
  • to look past messes and see accomplishments
  • to focus more on the state of my kids' hearts than the state of my home.

So now I can honestly say,

You Might Also Be Interested in:
Do Toddlers and Well-Ordered Days Mix?

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Founder's Academy: Vote 2012

Usually I talk about my little ones, but today my 13yr. old and 11yr. old are in the spotlight! With this being an election year, I was feeling a little guilty about not doing a unit study or something on the subject (we did one 4 years ago, does that count?) Well I remembered how much fun my 9yr. old had in her Meatballs & Marinara class and my then 4yr. old had in her online Smoothie Cooking Class over at Currclick. I thought I'd go look around again and see what they had to offer. I was thrilled to see that Founder's Academy was offering a Live!2012 class. So I signed my oldest two up.

13yr. old dd in class :)

This class was a speciality class and only lasted 2 sessions. This class covered:
  • How are candidates for president selected
  • What is a primary / What is a caucus
  • How does the party system work
  • What is the electoral college
  • Is voting a right, or a privilege

CurrClick has an online classroom. When you sign up for the class you will receive information on how to access the classroom. Once I figured out how to set up student profiles, it was pretty easy to access the class. It really is a nice set-up. You can configure student profiles for each of your children under your account settings tab. Then once that is completed, each child can have their own "homepage". Whatever classes they are signed up for will show up under their courses. They can also receive homework assignments and messages from their teacher here.

Mrs. Schott, a 14-year homeschool veteran, was their teacher. She was the only one who appeared on video and was heard. The students typed questions and answers in the chat box, which is on the bottom left of the screen in the picture above. My kids liked that part. They enjoyed interacting online with other homeschoolers from around the world.

This is the "mom-do-you-have-to-take-a-picture?" pose.
One of their assignments in this class was to create their own campaign poster for CurrClick class president. They were told to use what they learned in class about campaigning for their poster. The students emailed their designs to Mrs. Schott, and the next class period they had to give a short slogan or campaign speech, and then show their poster. They held their own class election and voted for a class president.

I was very surprised at how much my kids enjoyed this class. I think they were too. Mrs. Schott did a great job presenting the information. She had visuals, websites, and kept the kids engaged during class. I felt the material covered was age-appropriate and challenged the kids to think about what was going on in the elections around them. After the live sessions were over, recordings of the sessions were available to view again. Both kids asked me to sign them up for another one of her classes. That says a lot right there! Since my daughter will be in high-school next year, I have my eye on several of Founder Academy's High School level classes. I'm thinking her Live! Economics might be next. :)

Right now Lynn Schott has several fun summer classes lined up. She even has a repeat of the class we took coming up in July. If you haven't thought about online classes, these shorter summer classes are a great way to test the waters.

Disclosure: This class was on my wishlist and someone gave it to me for free. I was not required to do a review. I thought the class was a great opportunity for homeschoolers and wanted to share. I did add affiliate links though. Thank you for supporting this site! :)

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Things: Nature Printables

I can't believe spring is here! And it has been such a nice spring so far. My kids and I have been enjoying the warmer weather and have been spending lots of time outside.

We've pulled out all the bikes and ride-on toys.

And we've picked lots of flowers.

Oh how nice it is to spend time outside! We've visited our local gardens several times (which if you are in East Central Indiana, Minnetrista has wonderful gardens that are perfect for nature studies!) I just love this time of year!

On our list for this week is spring nature journaling and drawing. Speaking of drawing-- check out the free art tutorials over at HodgePodge! As soon as I get a set of pastels, we will be doing these!

I also have a new set of Nature I Spy Cards. If you are a subscriber, you can find the link at the bottom of your feed or email, or if you are a friend of Spell Outloud on Facebook,  you can find the link under the gift tab.

I will also be moving to WordPress soon! So if you read this blog via Google Connect, could you please resubscribe either via email or RSS? I appreciate all of you!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting Ready for Easter

Besides teaching my own kids, I have the awesome privilege of teaching pre-k kids at church too! I've been busy planning Easter things for them and my own kids and thought I'd share some of what we will be doing.

Easter at Home:

During Christmas we read the book Humphrey's First Christmas. We fell in love with Humphrey after reading that book and I knew I needed to get Carol Heyer's new book, Humphrey's First Palm Sunday. In true Humphrey style, Humphrey wants something and he knows how to get it. He knows he's a true camel leader but just needs to convince his master. While traveling in Jerusalem, he spots a familiar blanket-- the one he gave to a tiny baby years ago. Could this man be the same tiny baby he saw years ago?

The illustrations in this book are excellent. Carol Heyer brings Humphrey's personality to life through the pictures in the book. I love the having another resource to share with my children about Palm Sunday.

We also have Benjamin's Box to read along with our set of Resurrection Eggs. Though this looks like a preschool book, I am not using it with my little ones. Rather, it will be a read-aloud w/ my older kids.

We are currently  reading Amon's Adventure. We are only 5 chapters into the book, but are loving it. It is broken up into chapters that have a little devotional at the end and is meant to be read during the Lenten season.

I've also added some pre-k Easter songs on my iPad and playlist for church. Here's what I have lined up:

Theme Verse: Songs for Saplings 1 Cor. 15:3-4

"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." 

You can find printables for 1Cor. 15:3-4 over at Totally Tots.

Now I couldn't find MP3 files to share and it seems like Miss Patty Cake's DVD's are hard to find, but if you can find them, she has some wonderful songs for toddlers and preschoolers. We will be using:

1. Shout Hosanna
2. Give me Five He's Alive
3. Hop to Praise You
4. Colors Numbers ABC's

All these songs focus on the Easter story. You can see a video preview over on her site: Miss Pattycake's Egg-Strava-Ganza.

Here are some additional songs:
He Saved Us from Rock the Word: Scripture Rock
Eternal Life from Seeds Family Worship


Now each of the kids in the preschool department at church will take home their very own set of special Easter story eggs. I totally got this idea from Motherhood on a Dime: Preschool Resurrection Eggs. Click over to her site to see what is inside each egg. I cut our cartons in half so that I didn't have to collect as many, but you can put them in a full carton and they'd spell EASTER instead of EAS/TER like mine :)

The younger elementary kids will also have their own set of eggs using Resurrection Egg printables from Bible Story Printables.

Other Easter Resources:
Resurrection Egg Printable from 1+1+1=1
12 Days of Easter from 2 Teaching Mommies
The Wordless Book Printables from Spell Outloud
All Play on Sunday has the cutest printable Easter book perfect for Preschool.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning to Read

We started All About Reading Level 1 several months ago with 5yr. old dd. She knew all her letter names and sounds, so this was the next step for her. After a couple lessons though, we put it aside for awhile because she just wasn't ready to continue. She was having some difficulty understanding how to sound out words.

 "P-a-m, --- tap!" she would say.  

She just wasn't getting it, no matter how much we tried. I didn't want her to become frustrated or unsure of herself, so I decided to let her learn at her own pace and set aside formal reading lessons for awhile.

We started our Nursery Rhyme unit and read lots and lots of books. She helped me "teach" her little sister using All About Reading Pre-Level 1.

Sight Word Sheet from You Can Read program

Fast forward a couple months and she was starting to recognize familiar words such as off, on, mom, dad, etc. So this past week we started back up with our reading lessons. Much to my surprise she remembered quite a bit! The assignment for the day was to read two stories in Run, Bug, Run! I wasn't sure how this was going to go--- if she was really ready for reading on her own.

I was shocked when she started reading! I mean, not sounding out the words but reading! We have a new reader in the house! I can't tell you how proud she is of this accomplishment.

She carries this book around the house and will read her stories to whomever will listen. She also sits and reads them over and over on her own! So now we will be moving through the rest of our AAR lessons. She's so excited to learn!

If you are wondering if you child is ready to read, check out this Reading Checklist.

Linking up to:
Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up
Moments to Remember

You might also be interested in:
Organizing All About Reading

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