Tag: Kindergarten

Elementary Science through Stories and Activities

Children's Books ReviewedHomeschool Ideas

By far the most exciting find of this year has been the Seaside and Wayside Nature Readers I-IV. (Also available free at Gutenberg Project.) These have been great read aloud books for our kids, who are so interested in knowing the animals and insects around them. The illustrations are detailed, so the children can really see what is being described,making these books not only entertaining, but educative. When my children ask me “why?” about an insect or animal, I am much better prepared to answer now!

At the end of each unit chapter, you will find discussion questions and activity suggestions. I would recommend this book as early as Kindergarten as the discussion questions can be asked orally and the child can respond orally. The activities could be added as the child gets older, depending on the necessary skills. You do need all four books to cover the range of animal kingdoms. 

As an aside, these books were inspired by the scientist Jean Henri Fabre, who also wrote a Book of Insects, The Story Book of Science, and The Wonder Book of Chemistry. All of these books are told as a narrative, making them wonderful reads as well as informative.  You can find them free online at Gutenberg Project or you can buy reprints.

5-year-old advances in art and story-telling

Homeschool Ideas
Watercolor Painting by #1, Age 5

#1 is making great progress in art and story-telling, much to my surprise. I would estimate that the kids spend at least one hour per day (some days 2+) at the kitchen table or at the outside, garden table drawing pictures and narrating.

It is so much fun to watch #1 and #2 tell one another stories and paint or draw their stories as they talk. Each one has a very different story to tell, and they are eager to share ideas and even drawing tips.

A Birthday Party by #1, Age 5

To formalize the spontaneous exercise, it has been a good reinforcement to have them retell their accounts to Mama and Papa.

Interesting to note is that their characters are developing new depth as their artistic skills improve. The question would be which came first, character depth or drawing ability? It would seem that the two skills have improved simultaneously as they have been working so diligently on both.

Keeping a Nature Journal and a Nature Backpack

Homeschool Ideas

With the beautiful weather before us, we are planning to spend most hours of the day outdoors. This does not mean we give up school time…no, no, no. This means we enjoy natural science! Our children love to be outside, and they love to draw, so keeping a nature journal come naturally. If you are new to this idea or just want some helpful tips with beautiful illustrations, you may enjoy this book: Keeping a Nature Journal. (Just take the references to man’s evolutionary need for nature with a grain of salt.)

For additional ideas for what to have in your child’s nature backpack for those long nature walks, you might consider looking at Home Science Tools.

They have pre-assembled nature backpacks for purchase, or you can put one together yourself with items you have around the house. We used some backpacks we had lying around the house, and I bought some sketch journals for the kids to get started on right away. I would recommend buying the flower press, however. Since we take great care not to ruin our books at home, we have found this to be a good purchase at a reasonable price.

Spring is here! Time for Garden Preparation!

Homeschool IdeasThe Rolling Acres Farm
The crocuses in our front yard tell us it is early spring!

Spring is here and our gardening has begun! #1 spies every kind of wild flower emerging from sleep and begs to know its name! #2 is exclaiming over every insect he finds, and #3 is covered from head to toe with dirt! #4 revels in the sunshine and the rustle of the breeze through the new leaves.

Garden Prep: We started raking the leaves off the garden and flower beds this week. We bought any seeds we did not already have stored away, and the cold frame is open and getting fresh air before its annual cleaning. We also have a few raised beds to mend before the May planting.

The children are anxious to start seeds in the cold frame this weekend, and we have quite the assortment of herbs, cool season plants, and flowers to start. First, we must wash last year’s seed trays and pots, though. March and April will be busy!

A Springtime Craft for Grandma

Homeschool Ideas
Spring Time Fun!

Thanks to Grandma, we had a good supply of butterfly and flower stickers. #1 decided she wanted to do something with them, and since I like to help her come up with projects for her stickers, we thought of something for Grandma to say “Thank-you”.

What did we use?

  • one sheet blue paper
  • 1/2 sheet green paper
  • scissors
  • green glitter glue
  • 1 page stickers
  • glue stick

How did we do it?

Mama cut out the “grass” using some left-over green construction paper. #1 glued this to the blue paper. She then drew leaves on the green paper using the green glitter glue. After this, she proceeded to add her stickers!

Solution for "Everyone Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed"

Homeschool Ideas
5-year-old painting a flower in the background; 22-month-old just painting!

With a family of six, it is rare that every single person wakes up cheerful and ready to conquer the day. One can expect that at least one person wakes up on the wrong side of the bed any given day…. often two people, rarely everyone. Rarely does happen, though, and it happened today.

After muscling through breakfast, teaching, and homeschool, the kids (and I) were clearly still in a bad mood. What was I to do?

3-year-old paints a boy on a bench


I mustered my energy, cleaned off the table, covered it with plastic, and let the children go free with their water and paints. To my great surprise, they were peaceful and quiet, seemingly reflective and meditative. They painted the pictures in their minds as though they had been yearning to paint them for weeks.

The rest of the day was wonderful!

…until in the evening everyone had the stomach flu. That is life in a large family…

Crafts during Christmas Season

Homeschool Ideas

It is still Christmas at our house! It is still one more week until the three kings arrive on Epiphany! Thus, we are busy enjoying and soaking up the Christmas season with various crafts that center around Christmas. The children have been making more Christmas ornaments for our tree, and thanks to the book shown here, we had some fresh ideas that worked well for preschoolers and kindergarten children.

They simply colored their ornaments with markers, cut them out, glued them to cardstock, then added glitter glue. One hole punched at the top, and voila! They were so happy to hang their little creations on the tree as they sang “O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum”.

Handmade Christmas Ornament: Preschool and Kindergarten

Homeschool Ideas

As already mentioned, we are in full preparation mode for Christmas! We do not decorate in our house until Christmas Eve, so we have spent this week making Christmas ornaments and decorations as well as preparing those little things like fresh pumpkin puree for the Christmas cake.

The kids made some very simple Christmas ornaments, story ornaments. #1 tried to draw the nativity with stars and snowflakes. The frame is made from craft sticks (Popsicle sticks!), and her two drawings were made on squares that were hot-glued to the sticks, one on each side. After this was finished, she was allowed to pick out some trimmings, which were then hot-glued as well. Her brothers made very abstract representations of the nativity as well, and they are all quite proud of their work and excited to hang them tomorrow on our tree!

How to make a paper-bag puppet

Homeschool Ideas

This week we have been focusing on crafts, making Christmas cards, Christmas tree ornaments, and some things just for a little laugh. Over the weekend, the kids enjoyed making paper-bag puppets. This is a very simple project and can be done for pennies!

Next time you go to the grocery store, request a small paper bag or two for your smaller items. These can then be used. Otherwise, the Dollar Tree sells a pack of 5 for $1.

Use crayons or paint to draw animals on your bags. Be creative and have fun!

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