Using Nature to Inspire Learning

This post is written by Kelli Becton of Adventures In ChildRearing

Using nature to inspire learning

One of the most exciting things about homeschooling, is the ability to create environments which inspire learning in our children. They have so much fun – they don’t even realize how much they are learning. These experiences can even lead to much deeper learning during a more structured “sit down” school time, if need be.

Most likely, no matter where you live, you’ll be able to find parks, ponds, lakes, beaches, woods, or rivers where you can explore the beauty of God’s creation and use nature to inspire learning.

It’s important to share your excitement and interest in nature and to introduce the idea of “exploring” early on. You don’t have to be an outdoor enthusiast, or an expert outdoorsman in order to effectively help your kids learn about wildlife. All it takes is a desire on your part and an enthusiastic attitude. Your excitement will be contagious and your parental bonds will be strengthened as you begin to slow down and simply take a closer look around you.

the apple snail

You don’t need expensive tools or equipment to do this, or exotic locations either. You can generate an intense desire to learn while viewing deer grazing in a field, dolphins jumping in the water, or by finding an apple snail. Large or small – all creatures in God’s creation are wonderful.

Studying wildlife and nature can mean both plants and animals and any of them can inspire your children to have a desire to learn more. When was the last time you slowed down during an outdoor family walk to take a close and careful look at the petals of a wildflower? Have you stopped in your tracks to listen together at the hoot of an owl?

barred owl

You can inspire learning as easily as doing this type of thing, and then following it by looking up the animal or plant in a field or nature journal. Identify it, and read more about it. Discuss the habitat it lives in and the area where it was spotted. Was it in it’s natural habitat at the time or had it traveled away from it’s home territory? Make note of these things in simple nature journals  - notebooks or binders.  Ask questions – you don’t need to know all the answers! Part of the fun is finding out theses things – together.

Use thought provoking statements such as “I wonder if it is large for it’s species or average in size” or something like “Why do you think it needs large claws like that?” to induce further discussion with the family.

Add another layer of depth to your studies by using museums and library services for further exploration. Teach your children to look up the information for themselves as it becomes age appropriate.  The more often your family takes part in this type of learning together, the quicker you will hit your stride and find out more about what works best for your crew.

Make it fun, share the excitement and get out to explore together and you will inspire learning – together – with your children!

Have you gotten outdoors for some family learning lately? If so – share with us where you like to go -

Download FREE binder and notebooking pages to start your own nature and wildlife binder HERE

Win a Simple Lesson Planning System: 1 year giveaway + Try 4 Months for Free!

 Welcome!

It’s the 34th Weekly Giveaway from Homeschool Survival! We love bringing you these giveaways each and every week here on Homeschool Survival. If you have Freebies you’d like to share, be sure to link up and we will be Pinning and Sharing through the week. We’d like to encourage you to like us and interact with us on Facebook. Visit us there to find and share more fantastic posts. We are a community where you can ask questions, get mom to mom answers and be encouraged. In fact, if you happen to have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to leave us a comment here…and we’ll be happy to post them on the page, or even write a blog post about it. We are here to help you in your journey and can’t wait to hear more from you! Be sure to read all the way to the end, where the fabulous giveaways will be posted.

 

Lessontrek - Win a FREE Year!

This weeks giveaway - Win 1 full year of Lessontrek planner Value – $60

Lessontrek lesson planning system has taken the pain out of your homeschool planning. The simple to use, intuitive system will save you so much time and energy while organizing your homeschool plans and grading system.

In just a few minutes you can set up your school year & subjects, create lessons & assignments, record grades, and more.

Easy-to-use online homeschool and private school planning system.  The goal of Lessontrek is to make your life simpler, by cutting your planning time and organizing for school lessons – to a minimum.

Lessontrek - Homeschool plannerFeatures of Lessontrek

  • Lesson tracker
  • Grade recording
  • Drag and drop lessons to another weekday
  • Copy/paste lessons across weeks
  • Copy/paste an entire week of lessons
  • Print weekly lesson plans
  • Secure information storage
  • Customer support
  • Ongoing improvements based on your feedback
  • … and more

What others are saying about Lessontrek

“It’s super easy to figure out how to get started. I read the sample lesson blocks and everything was very intuitive from there.” Debora, Kansas 

“I love the super easy to use interface. Having each child’s “tab” visible on the left makes it very easy to switch between children.” JoEllen, Michigan 

“I love the planner! Super easy and the ‘click and drag’ feature is awesome.” Wendy, North Carolina 

“I like the functions for planning, grading, establishing new features like students, subjects, and especially school years. I like the duplicate week function – very cool. I like the copy function and the drag and drop function for moving subjects around.” Lydia, Texas 

“It is the best homeschool planning program! All the other programs I have tried were very cumbersome.”  Margaret 
 
“I have been telling all of my friends about your program; I just love it and I am so excited for what is to come.”  Lisa  

FREEBIE – $24 Value!!

Tired of using complicated lesson planners? Simplify your lesson planning with Lessontrek –  growing in popularity due to its ease of use and simple set up process.
4 month free trial
**No Credit Card Is Required!
(Please Note: The referral code needs to be added to the 14 day free trial section as this is an extension of the trial system which is why it needs to be added to this section.)

Giveaway

Enter with 1 link or enter with them all! 1 Family will win a full year membership to Lessontrek – value $60

Tell us in the comments – What is your biggest challenge with homeschool lesson planning and tracking?

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Foreign Language Giveaway with italki

Welcome!

It’s the 33rd Weekly Giveaway from Homeschool Survival! We love bringing you these giveaways each and every week here on Homeschool Survival. If you have Freebies you’d like to share, be sure to link up and we will be Pinning and Sharing through the week. We’d like to encourage you to like us and interact with us on Facebook. Visit us there to find and share more fantastic posts. We are a community where you can ask questions, get mom to mom answers and be encouraged. In fact, if you happen to have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to leave us a comment here…and we’ll be happy to post them on the page, or even write a blog post about it. We are here to help you in your journey and can’t wait to hear more from you! Be sure to read all the way to the end, where the fabulous giveaways will be posted.

italki Giveaway!

 

 This Week: italki - Become Fluent in Any Language!

Everyone knows the BEST way to learn a language is to spend time in the country, speaking with locals.  Although we can’t all take off to foreign lands to imerse ourselves in the culture, italki brings the locals to you.

Find an online teacher for personal language lessons. With a 1-on-1 teacher, you get personal attention and customized lessons to get you speaking from day one. With the ability to learn online, and with the wide variety of teachers to choose from (catering to different learning styles and budgets) it’s perfect for homeschool families!

 

Watch the video below to find out more about how italki works.

How it works: 

 

Teaching a language to your children can be hard  – now you can have them start speaking with a native language teacher!

FREEBIE:

$10 FREEBIE for italki foreign language

Get two free language lessons on italki when you sign up during this weekly giveaway (no charge for signing up)! Professional. Convenient. Safe.

GO HERE to sign up free & get your $10 credits

 

 Giveaway: $50 voucher for 1 on 1 Language Lessons

Enter with 1 entry or use them all!

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Other Giveaways & Freebies: Let’s Link Up!

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

7 Steps to Meal Planning Success

#homeschool meal planning

7 Steps to Meal Planning Success

1. Organize your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Throw away anything that has expired and anything that you’ve had for a year and haven’t used yet. Sort everything out and shelve it by type: Canned soups, veggies, and fruits lined up on one shelf; rice, pasta, and boxed side dishes in one place; a designated drawer for frozen meat. If everything is easy to see and access, you will be more motivated to cook, and you’ll save money by knowing what you have when you make your shopping list. Cleaning out the freezer is like going on a treasure hunt!

2. Choose simple storage options. Clear plastic containers with snap-on lids are great for keeping cereal, crackers, and cookies fresh. Small baskets make single-serve snacks easily accessible for kids. Recycled jars are great for storing beans, dried fruit, rice, and nuts. When you come home from grocery shopping, empty things into containers and put everything in its place. Freezer bags are such a money saver, allowing me to purchase large family-size packs of meat and divide it up when I get home.

3. Sort through cookbooks. Weed out the ones you never use and whittle down to a few that have recipes your family likes. Store them front and center on a pantry shelf or on the kitchen counter so you can easily grab them for inspiration. Use sticky tabs to mark pages to find favorites quickly. Write notes inside to remind you of alterations or substitutions, or for meals that bombed or were especially successful. Bookmark your favorite recipes online, and pin them to a Pinterest board to find later. Many cookbook recipes are available on the author’s or publisher’s websites, so you really don’t need as many cookbooks as you think.

4. Write down, or type out, every meal you can think of in your repertoire. Ask your family for help. Once you have all of them listed, sort them by common ingredients. For instance, group spaghetti, chili, sloppy joes, and beef tacos; and chicken pie, chicken stir-fry, and chicken parmesan. Now, consult your recipes for any additions you want to make to your list. Strive for at least 25 options. Check out my Easy Meals Pinterest board for some ideas.

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5. Create a master shopping list. Decide what common ingredients you need to stock in your pantry, such as canned tomato sauce, pasta, spices, flour and sugar, cereal, and staples like coffee, tea, and chocolate. Determine what ingredients you can live without, and don’t be afraid to skip them when following recipes. I will buy some specialty items, but I hate to waste money on a spice I’ll only use for one recipe, only to have it get dusty on the shelf. When planning your weekly shopping trip, consult your master list first.

6. Make your monthly menu plan. Look at your calendar, and choose meals accordingly: Crockpot meals for game nights; more involved meals for at-home days; quick and easy meals for field trip or co-op days. Be strategic about planning meals that you grouped on your list so you can cook large portions of a common ingredient and store the rest for another night. Take advantage of leftovers to create another meal: spaghetti becomes chili bean casserole; leftover chicken chopped up goes into chicken pie or becomes BBQ sandwiches.

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7. Keep family mealtime a priority. A little advance planning will ensure that you’ll always be able to answer the question, “What’s for supper?” and you can gather your family together at mealtime. Enlist the kids to help with prep, cooking, setting the table, and clean up (Click here for some Kids in the Kitchen ideas). You can even incorporate cooking lessons into your schoolwork. Gather around the table together at the end of the day to celebrate, reconnect, and share.

 

 

 

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne on Bloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Wildlife Adventures Unit Studies – Giveaway

Welcome!

It’s the 32nd Weekly Giveaway from Homeschool Survival! We love bringing you these giveaways each and every week here on Homeschool Survival. If you have Freebies you’d like to share, be sure to link up and we will be Pinning and Sharing through the week. We’d like to encourage you to like us and interact with us on Facebook. Visit us there to find and share more fantastic posts. We are a community where you can ask questions, get mom to mom answers and be encouraged. In fact, if you happen to have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to leave us a comment here…and we’ll be happy to post them on the page, or even write a blog post about it. We are here to help you in your journey and can’t wait to hear more from you! Be sure to read all the way to the end, where the fabulous giveaways will be posted.

Wildlife Adventures Unit Studies

 

 

This week: Wildlife Adventures

Wildlife Adventures by Adventures In ChildRearing is composed of weekly unit studies covering bible, handwriting (cursive & print), spelling, science, history, geography and more.  They are designed for multiple ages so the whole family can enjoy learning together.

Manatee Unit Study

Each creation based unit focuses on a different animal and incorporates games, puzzles, and/or videos along with reading material and additional options for further study – including book lists.

Wildlife Adventures unit study

Inspire your children to learn by exploring the world around them and investigating the wildlife God created. Ignite an interest in reading, improve research skills, and use your child’s natural curiosity to encourage them to ask questions as they take a closer look at nature.

Create your own Wildlife Adventures Binder with beautiful cover pages and additional notebooking pages to store the lessons and showcase your studies.

FREEBIE

Receive a Manatee Wildlife Adventure Unit Study as well as free notebooking and binder pages!

FREE Wildlife Binder Pages

 

 Go HERE to download 

 

Giveaway- 4 Complete Unit Studies & $50 Gift Certificate

Enter to win a month of FREE Wildlife Adventures Unit Studies – including everything you need but math for the family to learn and study together!

Learn about The Magnificent Frigate Bird, Seashells, Frogs, and Dolphin.

Value $52 for the set & $50 Gift Certificate = $102 Giveaway

Enter with one link or enter with them all!

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By entering this giveaway, you will automatically be added to the author’s email list. 

Other Giveaways & Freebies: Let’s Link Up!

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)

3 Free Crockpot Freezer Meals Recipe Books with Purchase

Most of you know that I’m a homeschool mom of 7 children.  Today is our first week back to school.  We like to ease back in.  Taking it a couple of subjects at a time to get us used to doing school again and being in a routine.  It is exciting to get back to that routine, but it’s hard to start getting up earlier and cramming so much into our days, too.

 

Since we’re all homeschoolers around here, I’ve got a terrific sale to tell you about.  It’s called the Homeschool Omnibus and it is chock full of ebooks for homeschooling moms.  It happens only once a year and each year, they put different books in it.  This is my first time including a book (one of my Freezer to Slow Cooker cookbooks) in the Omnibus.

 

Omnibus-Something-for-everyone

 

Free Gift from ME with Purchase!

 

Included in this bundle, is Week 2 of my Freezer to Slow Cooker Ebooks.  I wanted to let you know that anybody who buys this bundle through my link, will receive Week 1, Week 3 and Week 8 Printable menus for free!  That is an extra $12 in gifts to you for purchasing this!  If you’ve been debating about purchasing my menus, you’ll get all 4 of them plus 97+ other books for the one low price of $25.  If you do purchase this from my link, please send me the email address that you used to purchase this with, to sidetrackedsarah (at) gmail (dot) com.  (Remove (at) and (dot) and replace with the actual symbols.)  After I receive your email and confirm that you purchased through my link, I will send you an email with your other 3 ebooks.

parenting-promo

 

buynow

What Books are Included in the Homeschool Omnibus?

Included Discounts/Freebies

Additional Resources: Codes and Links Provided After Purchase

buynow

 

  • The deadline for refunds is September 5. Positively no refunds will be given if the file host shows that you have downloaded any files.
  • The ebooks will only be available until September 25, please do not delay in downloading them. See the FAQ or contact iHomeschool Network for more information.
  • DVDs can be purchased until September 20.
  • The sale will run from 12:00 am ET, Monday, August 18 to 11:59 pm ET, Sunday, August 24.

 

 

Celebrating Cruelty

Blackberry Cell phone

My son is 14. If he had remained in public school, he would be entering 9th grade in the fall. That means, for all intents and purposes, he’s a high-schooler. Even though he’s 5′ 3″ and barely 100 lbs. He started kindergarten a year early, and it shows.

Recently, our tiny hicktown in the Northernest portion of New York State made national news because high school and middle school students were beating the tar out of each other, recording the beatings on their cell phones, and posting the videos on YouTube. It all came out when a victim brought a jack knife to school and was brought up on weapons charges. He was 13.

It’s no surprise to anyone who was a teenager that teens are capable of intense cruelty. This is not to say they are all cruel, not at all. I am well acquainted with a number of teenagers whom I am proud to count as my friends. But I also was the victim of bullying in public school, and peer cruelty lead my son to attempt suicide at the age of ten.

Why are some children so cruel? I suspect it is, in part, human nature. We are born selfish creatures. But we have the capacity for awesome goodness. What makes the difference?

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

I believe the main contributor to a child’s tendency towards good or evil is the parent. A child who is raised tightly, with a parent or parents who are involved in his or her life, with consequences enforced for actions, is much less likely to record themselves assaulting a fellow student and posting it proudly on the internet than one for whom consequences are rare or variable, or who has no one to turn to when in need.

This is especially true in our current “viral video”, 30-seconds-of-fame culture. Those videos were posted to make the perpetrators appear “cool”…and it was successful. They were considered “famous”, for a short time, in the school. Famous, for beating up a classmate. Cool, for hurting an innocent person.

Just as we drank up our Madonna-esque 1980s culture of MTV and Air Jordans, our kids are drinking up the new culture. But this culture is malleable and made up of the users. The users who create the material are the same people who choose what is “viral”. When that media is accessible all hours of the day or night, from the phone in your pocket or the iPad in your pack, the horror of beating a classmate recedes through familiarity. It is no longer a bad thing…it’s desirable. It will get your video shared.

True worth – as opposed to the false fame of a “viral video” – does not come from outside. It comes from within, from the knowledge of who you are a God’s child. To keep that in the front of one’s mind can be difficult with so much pressure to conform. “The World” wants to suck us in, use us up, and spit us out.

To help your teens understand the fleeting gratification of “The World”‘s approval, teach them their true worth. Demonstrate it in your behavior towards them. If they feel they are valued in your eyes, in the eyes of your extended family and your church family, and in the eyes of the Lord, the desire to be valued in the eyes of strangers on the internet will be lessened. You can also reduce the pull of those internet strangers by monitoring and limiting your children’s access to social media. That is not a society that should have a strong pull on children.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:2)

 

Kathy LaPan is a homeschooling mom of two in Northern NY. She has an MBA in finance and teaches through SchoolHouseTeachers.com. Check out her blog at Simply Homeschool Living.

Free McGuffey’s Primer Copybook + $160 Write from History Curriculum

Welcome!

It’s week 31! We love bringing you these giveaways each and every week here on Homeschool Survival. If you have Freebies you’d like to share, be sure to link up and we will be Pinning and Sharing through the week. We’d like to encourage you to like us and interact with us on Facebook. Visit us there to find and share more fantastic posts. We are a community where you can ask questions, get mom to mom answers and be encouraged. In fact, if you happen to have any questions about homeschooling, feel free to leave us a comment here…and we’ll be happy to post them on the page, or even write a blog post about it. We are here to help you in your journey and can’t wait to hear more from you! Be sure to read all the way to the end, where the fabulous giveaways will be posted.

Write From History

This weeks sponsor: Brookdale House- Write from History series

In the Charlotte Mason style – children will learn to write by studying some of the “greats” – collections from famous and talented authors of the past. Who best to learn from – than the Masters themselves?

In this way - you are teaching an elementary student to write, and you’re also teaching history and handwriting  -  you can definitely save time with this homeschool writing curriculum and method of teaching.

It is an elementary program – intended to prepare children for middle school writing.

This writing program teaches grammar, spelling, penmanship, and history—all at once.

 

See more about the curriculum and get the details here. 

FREE McGuffey’s Primer Copy Book

McGuffey's Primer Copy Book

All of you will get a free McGuffey’s Primer Copybook from Brookdale House.  Just enter your email address below and we will send one your way.

 

Win a complete email set of the Write from History series–$160 value.

Covers of Write from History
A bit more about the Write from History series:
Based on the Charlotte Mason style of learning, students will study writings by famous and talented authors from history. They will then complete age appropriate assignments using oral dictation, writing summaries or additional writing.
In this manner – your history, spelling, reading, grammar and handwriting is combined – saving you time and money on curriculum and with terrific results!
From Brookdale House: 

All Level 1 books contain historically relevant reading selections divided into four chapters: short stories, time period tales, poetry, and cultural tales. There are two writing models following each reading selection. One or both can be used for copywork. If the student is ready, the second model can be used for dictation.

In the Level 1 books, the two different writing models are presented differently for each reading selection. For the first model, children write in an area that has ruled lines below each word they copy. The second writing model is written at the top of the net page, and is followed by ruled lines in the lower half of the page. The second model requires students to write from memory.

All Level 2 books contain historically relevant reading selections divided into four chapters: short historical narratives, excerpt from primary source documents, poetry and cultural tales. In the Level 2 books, students in grades 3 to 5 are introduced in a gentle manner to interesting excerpts from primary source documents. These older students are encouraged to copy paragraph sized models written in either print or cursive. In the appendix are additional models which may be used for studied dictation.

 On Sale Now

Those wishing to take advantage of the Back to School Sale – can purchase any of the products for 20% off HERE (with code)

backtoschool coupon!

 

Have you tried using the Charlotte Mason Method for writing?

Which of these periods in history interests you most? 

 

 Giveaway: $160 – Write From History Series

Enter with one link or enter with them all!

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By entering this giveaway, you will automatically be added to the author’s email list. By confirming your subscription, you will receive a second FREE ebook – An Elementary Writing Plan: Guiding Your Students from Copying Letters to Writing Essays! If you don’t want to receive the FREE book and email updates, simply ignore the confirmation email.  

Other Giveaways & Freebies: Let’s Link Up!

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)  

Thank you for being a subscriber!

Thank you for being a subscriber of Homeschool Survival!  Because you’re already a subscriber, you’re eligible to receive this ebook for free, compliments of Brookdale House.  Just click on the picture below:

 

McGuffey's Primer Copy Book

Clay Bead Necklace

How to Make Clay Bead Necklaces - HomeschooLSurvival.com

 

My girls have been hard at work preparing for our local fairs. One craft that they worked hard on were these clay bead necklaces. Their hard work paid off! They both received purple ribbons at one fair and blue at the other! More importantly they had a great time making them!

This activity was fun for me also! It is also a very good fine more activity and math patterning activity in case you want to sneak in some school un-noticed! Plus, as an added bonus, you can use them as oil diffuser necklaces!

What you need:

Small Cookie Cutter

Wooden stick or end of a paint brush

Lacing or jewelry cord (We used this…Hemptique Hemp Cord Card, 20-Pound, Party)

Oven Baking Clay in desired colors (We used this one…Polyform Sculpey Bake Shop Clay Variety Pack, 14-Ounce)

How To…

First, work on your medallion by pressing out a small lump of clay and cutting with cookie cutter. We then cut out another from a complementary color and place in the center. Using the end of a paint brush or stick carve in a design or initial.

 

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Next, work on your beads. Roll a “snake” of clay and use a plastic butter knife to cut it into even sections.

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Roll each section into a pea sized bead.

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Using the end of a paint brush or stick, poke a whole through the center of the bead for lacing.

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Bake beads and medallion on a sheet tray in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to completely cool. Then lace onto cording. Tie cording securely at the ends.

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