Category: Homeschool Ideas

FREE Art Lesson for Ancient History and Our First Co-op Day!

Homeschool Ideas

This week in art students created their own mini-cave painting. The idea was taken from For details about the artistic principles and skills to reinforce at home this week, please see your ART 1 Handout. Students were instructed to rip the edges of their paper after the paintings dried. For those of you who opted to leave the artwork till next week, all pictures are safely stored away in the Schola Rosa Cabinets until next week. Here are some pictures of their work!



Our first week went quite smoothly. I guess I expected the worst, so was naturally surprised when our only injury was a paper cut. Most children were smiling when I checked on them, and spirits were high for everyone. May God continue to bless our little homeschool cooperative with such good spirits. Here is more information on Schola Rosa Homeschool Cooperative.

Hiking Cottonwood Trail and Wildcat Ledge

Homeschool Ideas

After Mass today, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon hiking in the Shenandoah River State Park. We hiked on two trails. First, the Cottonwood Trail is rated as an easy trail, and most of the trail is a boardwalk. This would be a great choice if you planned to use a stroller. Second, at the end of Cottonwood was Wildcat Ledge Trail, rated difficult. It is only .2 mile, so we thought everyone could handle it. A steep climb to the top, then a beautiful view! The only child who gave up was #3 (2 years old). These two trails together were just right for all of us: Papa, Mama, 5 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old. Of course the 1 year old did not hike, but rode on Mama’s back.

While hiking, the kids and I looked closely at many things. #2 was interested in finding acorns and walnuts. When we came upon a broken walnut shell, we talked about what kind of animals may have opened the nut. When we found a half-chewed acorn, we again tried to guess the animal that bit it. Bear? Squirrel? Deer? Raccoon? This was fun! On top of Wildcat Ledge we found trees growing out of the rock. Moss and Lichen was also of plenty. These will be great fodder for minds that discern between living and non-living things this week.

After hiking, we went down to the water’s edge to relax a bit before returning home. We found quite the spider! A Mama spider who was protecting all her baby spiders. This was a great up-close encounter for the children who are about to spend a year on Animal Life for science.

Tomorrow in home school we must read about spiders and their young in our Seaside and Wayside Nature Reader!

Activities Inspired by our Homeschool Co-op!

Homeschool Ideas

In our home the children are still quite young. The four Rolling children range in age from 5 to 1 at present, so thinking we’re doing history in an in-depth way would be an exaggeration. They simply get to enjoy learning ancient history through story-telling and illustration this year! We will continue with our regular reading program at home and review the Picture Study from Primary Language Lessons at least once per week after the co-op meeting. For Science we will continue learning about animals by finding things that are living and non-living! This means at least one nature walk this week!

What are we doing at home for WEEK ONE after our regular school time (after the 3 R’s)?

  1. Daily: Listening to Memory Work on Classically Catholic Memory CD; we listen to this just after school time when everyone is winding down to draw in their free time.
  2. Daily: Read Aloud Time. In the a.m. Mama Rolling reads stories from our favorite illustrated children’s Bible, Unser Bibel (Sorry, it’s in German!). In the p.m. Papa Rolling will be reading The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis.
  3. 2-3 Times per Week: Listen to Jim Weis’s Old Testament Stories and Jewish Traditions CDs. We can all listen while Mama nurses or changes a diaper.
  4. 2-3 Times per Week: Coloring Pages from A Coloring Book of the Old Testament.
  5. Read once this week: Archaeologists Dig for Clues (There are some words in this book that could have been replaced with better vocabulary… for example, the word “urinate” could have been used instead of “pee” when talking about types of soil stains in an archaeological dig. I just gloss over them for now.)
  6. Do one fun activity from: Old Testament Days.
  7. Go on a nature walk to discuss the differences between living and nonliving things. Read Nature Readers as animals emerge. The Fall is great for the study of animal life!
  8. Review Picture Study from Primary Language Lessons, and have oldest child practice narration.
  9. 3 Times per Week: Music with Mama or Papa. We will focus our singing instructions on breathing technique.
  10. Daily: Art! Some days I provide paper and crayons only for free time. 2-3 days per week we use water color or oil pastels. The children love to do picture studies for art by looking at a beautiful piece of artwork for inspiration!
Seems like too much? Try writing down the list by spreading it out on your calendar. I find that these short activities fill-in the gaps in our day, a filler which has become more important now that we have non-nappers.

How We Survive a Co-op Day without Tears

Homeschool Ideas

The first week of a homeschool co-op can be overwhelming and stressful for many mothers, but there are some things you can do to prepare and to avoid the worst. Here are some of our tried and true suggestions:

  1. Gather your supplies this weekendand put them in a safe place to grab Monday morning and to load directly into the vehicle. I like to put my supplies in our trunk on Friday, so I have time to remember all the things I have forgotten between Friday and Monday.
  2. Pick out clothes for EVERYONE the night before the co-op day, put them in a safe place, and inspect all children the following morning well before departure time. (Leave no room for the unexpected missing shoe as everyone is walking out the door!)
  3. Review the Co-op Rules with your children over the weekend.The #1 rule and virtue we will be covering the first week is: DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING BEFORE ASKING FOR PERMISSION. The facility is not our property. We demonstrate patience and charity when we follow this simple rule.
  4. Pack plenty of snacks for the car trip to and from the co-op.If the natives are restless, all is lost!
  5. ARRIVE EARLY! See this postfor tips on arriving on time.
  6. Make sure you have a quick dinner already plannedor already in the crock-pot. There is nothing worse than getting home later than expected and still having to cook!
  7. Plan to relax with the kids when you get home. Some time to reconnect, chat, and rest is great for the entire family after such an eventful afternoon. Time for some snuggles and stories.

Science:How do Spiders eat?

Homeschool Ideas

In the home school, often science just happens! This night we were about to go to bed, when I decided to peek outside the back door. My daughter exclaimed: “Mama, spider!” I looked up and most assuredly there was a spider. Not just a spider! A spider eating its dinner.

I called the other children and Mr. Rolling into the room, so we could experiment. Mr. Rolling explained how spiders digest the inside of the bug before consuming the bug. Then, we searched the house for any live bugs we could find to throw into the net to see how the spider catches its prey.

As we were doing this, we were surprised to see a moth fly into the web. The spider very quickly pounced on the moth and wrapped it in silk. After this excitement, the children went to bed with great hopes of seeing the spider the next morning.

Alas, a bird must have eaten the spider in the early morning. That’s the food chain!

At the Shenandoah Park: Learning About Macroinvertebrates!

Homeschool Ideas

We had a wonderful time at the Shenandoah River State Park on Tuesday, August 21st! 7 families came out and enjoyed the “Going In-Seine” program hosted by Park Staff. Students were introduced to the Seine Net, how to set it at a “riffle”, and how to kick up rocks to release macro-invertebrates (large invertebrates that can be seen without a microscope)! Then, everyone went down to the river to try their luck with the net. Once sufficient rocks had been turned over, the net was brought onto shore, where the children looked for macro-invertebrates of all kinds to sort and identify. Once all was said and done, we enjoyed a picnic and some chit-chat with new families.

Hiking Under the Ground: Skyline Cavern

Homeschool Ideas

Each Sunday we try to go on a hike or do some other fun activity. This Sunday we hiked under the ground! This was the first time our children had been in a cave, and they were impressed! This is an image from the Skyline Cavern in Front Royal, VA. The hike is about 1 mile, and a tour guide takes you through, telling stories along the way. They will not remember anything about stalagmites or stalactites, but they will not forget the darkness of the cave. Now, when the children hear about a deep, dark cave in their stories, they actually know what it is! 

Hiking on Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park

Homeschool Ideas

Today, we decided to do some sightseeing in Virginia. We entered the Shenandoah National Park via Skyline Drive at the Front Royal entrance. We stopped at every overlook! Around mile marker 30, the sun began to shine, and we had the urge to do some hiking with the children. Lo and behold, Jewel’s Hollow Overlook! Just off the corner of the overlook was a small, well-beaten path that led to the peak. We walked along, able to look down both sides of the mountain! We ran into two deer which looked at us from hand’s reach.  I would definitely recommend this spot for a short, yet memorable hike. Our littlest hikers could handle it, but be aware that there are some ledges. Mama and Papa should be close at hand and watchful.     A YOU TUBE Video of the overlook.