Rocks & Minerals Activity Kit


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We recently ordered the Rock & Mineral Collection Activity Kit from Dancing Bear on Amazon.  We’ve been wanting to explore samples like these ever since our trip to a nearby cave, but their prices at the store were exorbitant.


This handy little kit came in a medium-small box.  It included an identification sheet with clear pictures and labeling (quite helpful for this mom who couldn’t identify rocks if her life depended on it).  It also came with a nice assortment of shark’s teeth, two arrowheads, an amethyst cluster, and two geodes that we could break open ourselves.  And just look at how beautiful these specimens are!  Fancy jewelry can’t even compare to the beautiful patterns in these rocks that come straight from the earth!


I have to say that I’m very impressed by this little kit!  It kept my five kids busy looking at and classifying the different specimens for quite some time.  It also introduced them to the wonder of rocks, minerals and gems in a very hands-on way.  I love sparking children’s interest by allowing them to learn through hands-on exploration!

Some of the rocks in this kit have not been tumbled, so we were inspired to buy a rock tumbler to see what they will look like once they’re all polished.  We also checked out a couple of videos about geodes on Youtube and want to try out some geode hunting for ourselves.

I highly recommend this kit or something similar as an excellent supplement to your child’s homeschooling education!



Recognizing Capital Letters


We used this simple activity with one of our children who was having some difficulty recognizing when words should be capitalized.  It’s very simple and costs nothing–major bonus!

Simply find a piece of junk mail and give your child a highlighter.  Tell them that you want them to find all of the capital letters on the page.  They can sit down and highlight to their heart’s content.

Once they’re finished, ask them to show you all of the capital letters they found.  You could also discuss why certain words are capitalized (such as being the first word in a sentence, someone’s name, the name of a month or day of the week, etc.).

This is a really easy way to raise your child’s awareness of the use and recognition of capital letters.  Why not give it a try?  🙂


Field Trip – The Bookstore


One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can go on field trips much more frequently than public schools.  It’s much easier for you to plop all your kids in a van and drive however far you need to go, than it is for public schools to get permission slips, collect money, arrange for transportation, find chaperones, etc.  Whether you want to stay close to home, or drive a couple of hours, field trips are an excellent way to supplement your child’s education at home.

Last weekend we went to the local bookstore as a mini field trip.  It was a chance for the kids to get out of the house and have fun looking at books they don’t have at home.  The kids browsed books and picked one out, though we certainly could have skipped buying them anything.  (In fact, I think that next time we may tell them that we won’t be buying–just looking.  We had one child get extra whiny because he couldn’t get the $14 LEGO book.)

Our local bookstore also has a little café, so I got a frozen hot chocolate while the kids were perusing.  If I had gone with only our oldest child, we could have sat and enjoyed a drink together while looking at books.  That may have to be a future trip.

So, if you’re looking for somewhere to take your homeschooling brood, you might want to give the bookstore a try!

School Supplies – 2016/2017

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The beginning of this school year has been rather stressful for our family.  We have spent the summer getting our house ready to sell and packing up our belongings so that we can move.  The only problem is, the new school year has arrived and we haven’t moved.  So here we are, caught without school supplies or books because they’re languishing in storage.  It isn’t really feasible to dig the boxes out because we have a large unit and I don’t even know where they are.

The night before we were supposed to start school, I made a trip to Walmart, hoping to find some inspiration there.  (Can you tell I was feeling a little desperate?)

Supplies 2016 - 3

I found a few things there:

Supplies 2016 - 5

They also had a medium-sized dry-erase board which we’ll use for many different things.

Supplies 2016 - 6

In their clearance section there were some simpler cross-stitch patterns.  I think the three eldest should be able to handle these.

Supplies 2016 - 7

Finally, I picked out birdhouses, brushes and paint from their craft section.  I’m sure the kids will enjoy this activity!

Supplies 2016 - 2

I got a Sony camera and bag for my eldest, who’s shown an interest in photography.  We got a fractions workbook for the 9-year-old at Imagination Station.  My mom dropped off notebooks the last time she visited, which will come in handy for many uses.  Each child will use their own notebook for:

  • recording spelling lists
  • writing
  • recording scientific observations
  • scratch paper for math problems

Supplies 2016 - 1

I also took the kids to BAM and let each of them pick out an educational book to use this year:

McGraw-Hill Education: Math Grade 6
DK Eyewitness Books: Hurricane & Tornado
Rocks, Minerals & Gems
Magic School Bus Presents: The Human Body
Little Box of Crystals and GemsHuman Body: A Visual Encyclopedia (I forgot to include this in the photo)

Supplies 2016 - 4

We started off by listing the subjects to be covered and how often they would occur each week.  The youngest child is just starting kindergarten, so her load will be lighter.  The kids then copied the list onto their own sheet of paper.  They keep track of what they finish each week using tick marks.

Supplies 2016 - 9

The board is a great place to display the weekly writing prompt.  The kids can write their response in their notebook.  Younger kids can draw a picture and dictate their story to you.

Supplies 2016 - 8

Here you can see our weekly spelling list on the whiteboard. I chose words based on those I noticed the kids had misspelled.  On the sheet of paper you can see our list of potential field trips.  I asked the kids to brainstorm ideas and had the eldest write them down while I left to complete a chore.  They did really well working together.

That’s it–the beginning of our school year.  It’s been less than ideal, what with all of the uncertainties and upheaval in our life right now, but I think we’ve dealt with it okay.

How has the beginning of your school year been so far?