Summer School Fun

Summer_School_FunInstead of taking off the summer from school, the kiddos and I use this opportunity to advance our learning in areas we might have skipped during the course of our year. This helps us to get a jumpstart on the next year and prevents any loss of knowledge gained.

To help remind myself of all the fun ways we can learn over the summer, I wrote down a master plan for summer fun!

Part I:   Scheduling Fun
Part II:   Workbook Fun
Part III:  Geography Fun
Part IV: Science Fun
Part V:  Fair Fun
Part VI: Field Trip Fun

Feel free to steal any of our ideas or tips on making the summer extra fun. If you do use some of them though, let us know so we can cheer you on! The more people having fun learning, the better.

Enjoy!

🔔Time to Chime In: What plans do you have for the coming months?

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How ‘Pinteresting’: The World is Flat

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!

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Summer_PinterestHere it is… the last ‘pin’ of the summer! Something that will tie our geography lessons in with our crafting and Pinterest boards. Three jobs in one!

When I was a child we were required to make these as part of our lessons on California History, along with a California mission. (I made my mission out of lasagna noodles, but that’s a story for another day.) I remember having to carefully reconstruct the state of California, making sure to get all the topographical details absolutely correct. Then, we had to paint it accordingly. What a project!

Let’s inflict the same pain fun on our own children. It’s actually pretty easy and you might already have the materials on hand!

Salt Map

Click on the image above to be taken to the original Pinterest link.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Clay (either homemade or store-bought)
Heavy Cardboard
Paints & Brushes

The project is fairly simple. On cardboard (or any other heavy-duty, disposable, flat surface), shape a mound of clay into your geographic location of choice. I would suggest modeling a current country you are learning about or your home state. If you’ve completed a lesson on world geography, perhaps you could allow your children to pick their country of choice. Once you have the location properly modeled to the best of your ability, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Once dry, paint your map accordingly.

See how easy that is?! The hard part is deciding what to do with all of these maps once they are complete… Hmmm… Either way, salt mapping is tons of fun and provides several valuable lessons in the learning process.

Enjoy!

Time to Chime In: What is your favorite at-home recipe for modeling clay? Please share!

Work Hard, Play Harder: The Play’s the Thing

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) Join us as we explore a season of fun and family! Help us discover new ways to enjoy family time and build lasting memories.

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Summer_work-playThis is our last week of summer. (Well, technically, we have next week off too, but that week is specifically reserved for the coming year’s prep.) We thought we’d end our summer fun with a bang, filled with tons of family fun and memories to boot!

Just how do we plan to do this? With a play!

Last summer, my husband’s tía treated us to Pinocchio. It was held locally and acted out by the most talented group of young people I have seen in ages. The event was truly memorable. This year, we are once again invited to enjoy an end of summer play. This year, we will be seeing Snow White.

Our kiddos are so excited and so am I. This event is attended not only by us, but my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, my husband’s aunt and uncle, and a bunch of our cousins. Talk about family fun!

Pinocchio #7

There will be food, drinks, treats, and probably a few mementos as well. Last year, we walked away with hats just like Pinocchio and wands/crowns like the Blue Fairy. Who knows what they will come up with this year; one can only guess!

I was trying to think of something cute to make for the kiddos to enjoy during the performance. I think I might do chocolate covered apples! Doesn’t that sound fun? (I might just have to do a few for the adults as well!) Yummy!

No matter when your summer of fun ends, consider going out with a ‘bang’! Find a local playhouse and treat yourselves to a night of fun. For those brave enough, consider joining the company itself and be a part of the action! It will make for some incredible memories!

Time to Chime In: What was the last play you saw?

Art Attack: All Dolled Up

In a world of busy-ness and responsibility, it’s just as important to take a few moments exploring the creative side of life. Join us as we share ideas on how to get those imaginative juices flowing and explore a world of art!

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Summer_ArtMy kids really like dolls. So, when this interesting project came to our attention, we were all over it!

What is the project? Making your own stuffed doll! The concept is simple, but how easy is it really? Honestly… it was a bit of a challenge.

Here is what you’ll need:

fabric
scissors
needle/thread
batting (or other stuffing for your doll)
embroidery thread

The concept is fairly straight-forward. You cut the following pattern out of your fabric of choice, add details of the dolls face with embroidery thread, sew and stuff your doll. Easy, right? Um; well… Let’s just say the littles found this to be slightly harder than they would have liked. It wasn’t that they couldn’t do the project, but that it didn’t turn out half as nice as they would have liked.

Doll Pattern

A doll can’t go unclothed, at least not in our house. Clothes needed to follow. However, we found this to be even more of a challenge. I think we had grand ideas of what to create without having a firm grasp of basic principles.

I wish we could say the project finally got finished and it turned out wonderfully. However, we copped out. In other words, we quit! We definitely need to back up and work on something a little more simple. When we have the basics down, we’ll come back and tackle this project like pros. Until then… back to the cutting floor.

Time to Chime In: Have you ever tried a project that proved too much for you?

The Mad Scientist: Crocodile Hunter

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.

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Mad_ScientistUnless you believe the urban legend of alligators dwelling in our sewers, there are very few places to see these remarkable creatures in Southern California. Excepting a trip to the zoo, one has never been spotted in our neck of the woods. Once, we did have an animal expert bring a baby alligator to a library event; that was fun!

Given these conditions, and the fact that owning one is simply out of the question, the next best option is to hit the internet to learn more! Our venue of choice: YouTube!

Using YouTube, let’s watch a few episodes of Crocodile Hunter! (While this man might have been a little unwise in his personal choices, he was certainly brilliant when it came to his knowledge of alligators and crocodiles.)

To add a little creativity to the day, we can also do this fun craft. Using basic materials most of us already have on hand, making these fun animals should be fairly simple.

Toilet Tube Animals

Click on the image above to be taken to the original ‘pin’.

Thus ends our ‘Mad Scientist’ lessons for the summer. We’ve learned about some amazing creatures and added a fun new pet to our household. We hope you’ve had as much fun as we have! Join us next year for more summer fun activities!

 

Geography Quest: The New England States

All aboard the HSM Express! Join us as we take a quick tour of the United States. Expect to learn a little geography, history, social studies, and more. Definitely plan on having tons of fun. 

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Summer_GeographyWe’ve finally arrived. The last week of our geography quest; finishing up the United States and learning about our great country. It’s been a fun journey. Let’s finish strong with… The New England States.

As before, we are going to start off our adventure with some handy-dandy coloring pages for each state. This will give the littles something to work on while we learn about each state’s topography. You can find coloring pages HERE:

453

Click on the image above to be redirected to the Crayola website.

Now that we have learned a little about what each state looks like, let’s take a few minutes to discover a tad more. (Please note: This is meant to be short, sweet, and as fun as possible; not long and arduous. Choose which areas to cover with care, noting which events can be accompanied by activities.)

Maine
Popham Plantation
Longfellow
Lobster

New Hampshire
American Revolution
Public Libraries

Vermont
The Iroquois Confederacy
Maple Syrup

Massachusetts
Plymouth
Boston Tea Party
The First Thanksgiving

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Reds

Connecticut
Eli Whitney
Thomas Hooker

One thing you should note about all of the New England states, is that their flags contain heraldry. This custom was adopted from the English tradition for noble families. It would be well worth our while to spend a little time discussing family heraldry, crests, and the symbolism of the images used. Do a little research and discover whether your family has a crest; ours does!

While there is much we could focus on while learning about the New England states, we are going to spend the bulk of our time discussing the founding of the United States and the War for Independence. This is a great time to recreate the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s famous rides (there was more than one!), and more.

We like to end on a snack, so a real tea party it shall be. If we want to be truly fancy, we could have lobster salad!

Here ends our geography quest for this summer. We hope you had a lot of fun. Don’t forget to stamp your passport books with all the fun places we’ve visited. Come back next summer for a new list of summer fun activities.

How Pinteresting: X Marks the Spot

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!

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Summer_PinterestMy kids like maps. Travel maps, atlas maps, road maps, pirate maps; name it and they like it. We keep a stack in the car, just for long trips and moments of needed distraction. There is something about finding your way via map that intrigues children.

When our kiddos were little, my husband would create maps for them and send them out on treasure hunts. As they grew older, he let them design their own maps and we would go searching for buried treasure. Lots of fun memories and creativity have centered around such activities.

Our Pinterest activity this week, reflects our children’s love of cartography. With very few materials, you too can recreate this project!

Milk Map

Click on the picture above to be taken to the original post via Pinterest.

Here’s what you’ll need: milk, paper, and an iron. See how easy that was? Now, here is what you do: draw a map (or any other image, for that matter) using milk onto a piece of paper; let the milk dry for a half hour; and then, iron the image. Voila!

There are a few things I ought to point out…

  • Use Cardstock – Regular paper might buckle under the use of liquid. If you have it on hand, I would recommend watercolor paper or card stock.
  • Use Q-Tips – Regular paint brushes might be difficult to work with using this medium. If you have them on hand, use q-tips or short, blunt paint brushes; they will work more efficiently.

Above all, have fun! Perhaps you, too, can make a treasure map. Don’t forget the buried treasure!

Time to Chime In: When was the last time you made a treasure map and buried ‘treasure’?

Care to participate in next week’s Pinteresting project? Take a look at THIS link to get a head start on next week’s ‘pin’!

Art Attack: Magnificent Machines

In a world of busy-ness and responsibility, it’s just as important to take a few moments exploring the creative side of life. Join us as we share ideas on how to get those imaginative juices flowing and explore a world of art!

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Summer_ArtDo you remember when your children were little? You would buy them a wonderful present, they would open it with anticipation, and then proceed to forget the toy and play with the box? Yeah; I remember those days too!

This week’s art project will finally make use of all the packaging, boxes, bins, and toilet paper rolls you’ve been storing away.

Using materials you find around the house, give your children the task of creating a ‘Magnificent Machine’! There are no rules and no limits; simply build with the boxes, rolls, and paper on hand. This should be fun.

A few years back, our kiddos did this to create cars out of larger boxes. We added tires, a steering wheel, and more! When our project was finished, we created a “drive-in” movie theatre in our living room and watched a flick; complete with popcorn, soda, and candy. Our AWANA group did this at large, proving everyone had fun with this activity.

Magnificent Machines

Do not think your project has to end with cars though! Expand your horizons. Create “time machines”, robots, space ships, shuttles, and more. There is no end to the possibilities.

Don’t forget to paint your magnificent machine and add details like knobs, dials, and gauges (if appropriate). Above all, use your imagination and have fun!

Time to Chime In: If you don’t use them for art, what do you use all those left over boxes for?

The Mad Scientist: What a Croc!

It is I, the mad scientist! Join me and my minions as we study some of God’s amazing creatures; learning tons of fun facts along the way.

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Mad_ScientistWe are in mourning. (sigh) Close friends of ours recently moved to Florida and we are missing them terribly! In their honor, we thought we would end our summer science lessons by learning a little more about creatures which invade their neighborhood: crocodiles!

Because I believe in consistency, let us begin once again with life cycles. Exactly how do these amazing creatures start their lives and grow into such magnificent animals?

croc

Click on the image above to be taken to the original website.

Now for the fun part… what do these things look like on the inside?

internal anatomy of crocodile

 

Have you ever wondered what the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is? Discover the answer to that age-old question and more, at DocStoc! Download the handy-dandy Alligators vs. Crocodiles booklet and have some fun! There are so many activities, both printable and online, for you to explore.

Usually, we like to end our science lessons with a coordinating snack. However, we’ve tried crocodile and… let’s just say they were not meant for meat. (laughing) At least, not the one we tried. I suppose we could always have some jambalaya, in honor of The Princess and the Frog’s crocodile, Louis! Some andouille sure does sound good.

Time to Chime In: Crocodile tail: To have or have not? (As a meal.) Thoughts…

Geography Quest: The Middle Atlantic States

All aboard the HSM Express! Join us as we take a quick tour of the United States. Expect to learn a little geography, history, social studies, and more. Definitely plan on having tons of fun. 

……

Summer_GeographyHere we are again, on a journey around the United States. This week, we will be taking a trip through the Middle Atlantic states: Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. (Wow; talk about an easy-going week!)

As before, we are going to start off our adventure with some handy-dandy coloring pages for each state. This will give the littles something to work on while we learn about each state’s topography. You can find coloring pages HERE:

Pennsylvania Coloring Page

Click on the picture above to be taken to the original image.

Now that we have learned a little about what each state looks like, let’s take a few minutes to discover a tad more. (Please note: This is meant to be short, sweet, and as fun as possible; not long and arduous. Choose which areas to cover with care, noting which events can be accompanied by activities.)

Pennsylvania
Continental Congress
Declaration of Independence
Betsy Ross
Crossing of the Delaware
Hershey Company

New York
The First Capitol
Manhattan Island
Alexander Hamilton, The New York Post
Munchkin Parade
Chess

New Jersey
The American Revolution
Three Sisters (Crop Growing)
Submarines
Monopoly

Just looking at these states, the first thought which comes to mind is The Revolutionary War. We could camp out in this area of history for weeks alone, but, for today, we’ll just do a brief review of the war itself and discuss it’s ramifications. For fun, discuss the legend of Betsy Ross and the American Flag. (When I was young, we were taught this was fact. It seems this is merely a legend. There is no evidence to prove Ms. Ross actually made the flag.)

Moving along, let’s make our own newspaper in honor of Alexander Hamilton! You can either use paper and ink, printing block methods (with stamps, perhaps), or even a handy computer. For fun, attempt to print an edition would have been release during the time of the Revolutionary War.

Interesting… We were told “The Wizard of Oz” was written in Southern California. However, it seems New York also makes this a claim to fame. Each year, they host a ‘Munchkin Parade’. Have your own parade and dress up in colorful costumes from the book.

It’s a bit hot outside. This would be the perfect time to learn a little more about submarines and do some experimentation with underwater breathing. Learn about the first submarines, who invented them and how they were used.

There’s nothing like a good board game. (Family fun time!) Dig out your Monopoly board and learn about New Jersey! If you don’t own Monopoly, play chess!

Time for a snack! Hershey’s chocolate is never a bad idea. Try one of their numerous chocolate bars.

Don’t forget to stamp your passport book with these three states. One more week to go and we are already done! Where has the time gone?

Time to Chime In: Dark chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Semi-Sweet, or White; which is your favorite?

Help us Out: For added fun, we are trying to collect a postcard from each of the fifty states! If you, or someone you know, lives in one of these five states; would you consider mailing us a quick postcard? Email us for the address and, as an added bonus, we’ll mail one back to you!