Posts Tagged ‘projects for kids’

Keeping Home Education Organized: Part 1

Howdy to all of you!  For a while there I thought it was almost spring… until I heard the weather report on the radio while driving the kids to the 4-H building to pick up their fruit orders from the fundraiser.  As fundraisers go, it’s one of the better ones we’ve had to do over the years. At least it’s useful and I can definitely come up with something to do with a box of cooking/baking apples (apple pie comes to mind) or 6 whole pineapples (like freezing them for smoothies or other later use.)

With temps. being below normal all winter (except for a freakishly nice streak last week), it’s too early yet for the many gardening tasks ahead, a so far only a few precious tomato seedlings just beginning to sprout this week, I’ve been turning my attention to other tasks… teaching the kids to cook, trying to keep school lessons graded on-time and recorded in the grade book, looking over the lessons for the rest of the spring term and doing lesson planning, making lists of curriculum subjects we need more of before the rest (so I don’t have to pay over-night or 2-day shipping fees, or else lose a week or two waiting on books) and planning for our trip to the nearest home-school convention in May.

A lot of these tasks are paperwork organizational ones.  I don’t claim to a paper organizing guru… especially in some areas… like the incoming mail from my (snail) mailbox.  On the grade-book, lesson planning and student planner front I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in the last year.  Through trial and error, we’ve learned more about ourselves and what works (and more importantly what doesn’t) for our family.  I’ve tried a lot of planners and planning pages that are out there in the marketplace (mainly 2 types… those available in the stores and those that are available online that you can print out and use), but they always seem to end up requiring a goodly amount of “tweaking” in order for them to work for my family and I always end up with this random mix of pages I printed out that really don’t look like they belong together.  From an artistic point of view, I find the lack of cohesion annoying at best.  My main complaints of store-bought student planners are number one that they are almost always dated and lack flexibility and two that they are typically designed for high school students.  Research has shown though that these organizational skills are best formed in 2nd/3rd graders, not jr. high and high school.

The best store-bought planners I’ve found for Elementary students are little spiral-bound assignment notebooks made by Mead (yes the people that make notebooks and Trapper Keepers that you remember from your school days.)  These are inexpensive (usually $3 or so) and I can find them at a couple my local (non-chain) grocery stores.  Each page has sections for 3 days and (Subject, Assignment, Date) at the top of each section.  You can use it one of two ways: 1 section per subject and all the assignments for that subject for a week (probably how the manufacturer intended it) or you could use it like we do.  I simply list all of the subjects/assignments for one day in a section and where it says Date:  I write the day of the week.  Then I just cross the completed assignment with a highlighter.  It’s simple and it works… for assignments… but it lacks planning pages for activities, home- school co-op, sports/clubs, church and for longer-term school and club projects… you would have to get another different planner for that sort of thing.   My kids’ complaint with these little planners…” THEY ARE SO BORING-LOOKING MOMMMMMM! ” I ask you… just how many planners should a 2nd to 5th/6th grader really be asked to maintain (even with a great deal of adult help)?  The answer to this question should never be more than ONE!  These are kids who have trouble keeping track of their shoes, toys, mittens and just about everything else that comes in pairs or more… so a pair of planners (one school-work and one social life) is just too much!

Having your student’s “paperwork organizational brain” all in one book makes their life and yours a great deal easier.  I had some specific requirements I struggled to find elsewhere (or if I did find it the format was super boring or not quite what I needed in some aspect or other.)

My Requirements:

* We school 6 days a week,  so we need either a 3-day per page or 6-day per page

* Longer-term Project planner pages for research papers (which we will be starting in the Fall), literature log/book report to ensure independent reading, and projects/goals for 4-H etc.

*Social organization pages.

*Month at a glance calendars to accompany the 5 weeks of assignment pages every month.

*Cohesive artistic design.

 

To this end result I used the Printmaster Platinum 6 program on my computer to design something that would work for my kids,  a planner that met our needs and wouldn’t bore the children to tears.  I may eventually design another version or two… or three…. as we all know that all children are very different.  For now the boys and decide we all like the “chalkboard” look… so we went a little old-school for our first home-school student planner.  I am going to try to add this on here as a downloadable file (you all let me know if it didn’t work.)  I will add pictures of the completed project after I try my link myself from our other computer which is the one that works with our printer.  It is meant to be copied with additional copies of the assignments, social and project pages for each month.

Daily Assignments

(Please Note: You are welcome to download and print it for personal use only, but please be respectful and don’t copy for commercial use.)

A Holiday Craft Re-Post

Today I am re-posting a craft project idea, an Ornament How-to for the Christmas Season that was written by one of my dearest friends and fellow blogger.

As I’ve mentioned before, Aimee is a Home-schooling Christian mother and she is full of great ideas for Christmas gifts and decor on a tight budget.

The recipe included is not gluten free, but I will look for one that I can add to this later.

DECEMBER 9, 2010 · 8:06 PM

Salt Dough Again

The boys and I made salt dough ornaments again today; and things went much better.

It has been very dry here, the humidity in the house dipping below 40%; so I have been boiling a stock pot of in the kitchen for hours at a time to try to combat the dry skin, static and other effects of low humidity like the struggles we have been having with out salt-dough (the bread I made over the weekend was pretty bad too).  Today’s dough worked much better than the last 3 times I have made it this season, so maybe the boiling water helped the humidity in the kitchen enough?  I’ll be doing it next time too, just in case it is the key.

The recipe I used today:

  • 1.25 cup HOT water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups flour

I started with the cup of salt and the 1.24 cups of HOT water and spent a good 3 or 4 minutes quickly stirring the mix to dissolve the salt as much as possible before the flour.  The salt did not dissolve 100% of the way for me though.

As I kneaded the dough I still had to add more water – but by bit – but I got DOUGH.  I suspect in total it ended up being 1.5 cups of water or even a little more, but that last part I add so “little by little” I can’t be sure.  This time the dough rolled out nicely too, such a pleasant change.  I was able to get the dough rolled out thin, thinner than the other 2 batches we’ve made.  (2 batches of “cookies” made, one attempt at dough thrown out).

We work on flexible plastic cutting boards.  I love them.  They define a space for each person; especially the boys.  They also move an entire project if I need to slide the boys part (they do tend to drift into each other, must be my boys).  Also if I need one of the boys to “hand me” their project, they can slid me their entire cutting “board”’ like when I help Big Brother roll the dough and he does the rest.  The flexible cutting boards protect my counter from the cookie cutters and other tools; and they make clean up easier since I can simply pick up a good part of the work space and dump it in the sink.  Salt dough can be a very messy project, even for adults alone, and any help in the clean up department is always welcome.

The boys had a great time.  Big Brother worked and worked on his dough, in his space.  He really made an effort at rolling out the dough nicely, though he really struggles at it; rolling the rolling pin AND applying pressure at the same time is more than he can do, but he is only 5.  After Little Brother and I finished our’s I helped Big by rolling his dough out for him, so he could just use the cookie cutters and then transfer the shapes to his pan.  However, he worked at least 25 minutes independently and really made a good effort, did not get frustrated or give up.  I love to watch him.  For Little Brother I roll the dough and let him place the cookie cutters, and then I help push them down “hard”. Little brother then picks up the cookie cutters and I pull the extra dough off and transfer the shapes to the cookie pan.

Momma puts the holes in the ornaments and puts them in the over. 

I set the oven at 170 (the lowest it goes) and just let them dry.  After the first 30 minutes I flip them over and then I just leave them.  Today we put 28 of them in the oven.

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2 Responses to Salt Dough Again

  1. Wow! This is great stuff!
    “If people were concerned about what really matters in life,
    there would be a shortage of craft supplies in the stores!
    Blessings!
    Julia</strong)

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From Hare to Maternity

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Good evening all!  It may just be the 6th official day of spring, but we are certainly off to a hopping good start.

A package arrived in the mail Wednesday! It was sort of like Christmas in March when we opened the box and it turned out to be most of the 4-H materials we’d purchased. (The Gardening curriculum was back-ordered.)

In other news, we mated Daphne to Fluffy twice last Wednesday (before school and after school).  We are quite excited about the prospect of baby bunnies to be born in not quite a month (rabbits have a 30 day gestation period.)  This is our first litter of rabbits and is a totally new experience for most of us, as Pioneer Pa is the only one of us who has raised rabbits before… way back in the days before home computers.

I spent a good deal of the last week looking up more information about rabbit color genetics on the internet.  My research revealed that a mating between a Castor colored rabbit (Fluffy) and a Blue Broken colored rabbit (Daphne) should produce 50% Solid Opal (Castor dilutes) and 50% Broken Opal (spotted like mom with the diluted coat color of dad) babies.  So we are impatiently waiting on the resulting kits.

Daphne should be finishing up conception of her litter right about now!  “To maternity and beyond!” (A tweak on old Buzz Lightyear from one of the kids favorite films, Pixar’s Toy Story.)

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