Homeschool Creations

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Science Sunday ~ Our Worm Jar

The kids were thrilled with the prospect of bringing a big ol’ handful of worms into the house. The purpose? To see how {and if} worms compost, dig tunnels and mix soils.

Mommy? Perhaps not as thrilled as the kids were at the prospect of there being worms on the loose should a certain 5 year old manage to get ahold of the jar. But she persevered…

worm jar 1

Want to try this at home? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • a quart size canning jar
  • a lid with holes in it
  • dirt/soil/hay/grass
  • worms
  • dark colored felt or paper

First we layered dirt into our jar ~ rich soil from the garden, some lighter sand, some mulch {layering soil, sand, mulch, soil, sand…}. When we had filled the jar, we had fun digging for worms and added them to the top of the jar. We also added some food {teeny tiny chopped carrots, celery greens, chopped apples, etc…} for the worms to mix into the soil ~ we hoped.


We made sure the soil was slightly damp, put the lid on our jar and wrapped in a piece of dark brown felt so that the worms would have some darkness to work in. We even put the jar inside one of our cabinets so that it was good and dark.

Every few days for the next two weeks we continued to check on our worm jar to see how our little underground friends were doing ~ and if they were doing their jobs.

worm jar 3

We filled out a simple science notebooking sheet with our predictions and observations to track our worm’s activities.

Worm Jar Click on the image to download the pdf.

Some fun facts we learned about worms:

~ The only place where earthworms don’t live are in the desert or where the ground is frozen.

~ Earthworm poop is called ‘castings’.

~ Worms have two layers of muscles ~ one that runs lengthwise and one that runs around, helping its body stretch and contract.

~ Worms have a coat of slimy mucus that helps them glide through the dirt.

~ Sunlight can kill a worm because they are sensitive to the UV radiation.

~ Worms are sensitive to temperature and touch.

~ Worms do not have ears, rather they ‘hear’ by sensing vibrations. 

worm jar 2

Here is a peek at our jar after 3 days. Can you see one of our worm friends near the top of the jar? See how our soil is already mixing? We had to add a little water/moisture to the jar to help out our worm friends.

After two weeks there were no obvious layers anymore. Our worms had been hard at work mixing and composting our soil. After we observed them, we took them back to our garden and let them do their work around our vegetables. :)



Don't forget to join Homeschool Creations on Facebook!

This post is also linking up to the OHC Spring Series #9: Earthworms at Handbook of Nature Study. :)

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Alphabet Crafts

This week we finished up the last of our uppercase ABC crafts ~ so can you guess what we’re doing next?

Lowercase letters! :)

I’ve been busy planning this week {along with a friend}, making designs for the different lowercase letters and looking for books to go along with those letters….and I can’t wait to share them with you all!!!

In case you missed the last few over at Totally Tots, here are the letters T through Z. If you click on the picture below, it will take you to the post about that craft. You can find links to all of the uppercase letter crafts by clicking here {and sorry about all crazy coloring…that’s what I get for taking pictures at all different times of the day}.

 t is for tractor craft  u is for umbrella craft 

v is for vegetable craft    walrus craft

x ray craft   xray craft

Yak preschool craft   Zebra craft

Otherwise, we spent much time reading, enjoying the beautiful weather, playing with friends and relaxing since our ‘official’ school is finished!! We’re still going to be doing school, but much more modified and laid-back for the summer time. :)

Books and Toys We’ve LOVED This Week:

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.
Please link your exact blog post here and be sure to include a link back to the Preschool Corner. I will delete any entries that do not link back to the site. Thanks for understanding. :)

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Learning About Morocco

Morocco was one of the countries that was ‘lighter’ for us, but it was nice to have a little bit of a break. We used the time to focus on several geography terms ~ strait {Strait of Gibraltar}, desert, mountains, coast, plateau, plain, valley. We also talked about the government in Morocco, read some great books about the country and made a very simple dish as our meal from Morocco.

You can view the other countries that we’ve studied from Africa on my geography page.

Week 1 Layout


  • Introduce new song about Morocco from Geography Songs
  • Use atlas and globe to locate Morocco
  • Read one of our books from our bookshelf about Morocco


  • Review geography song
  • Learn {and review} some terms: strait {Strait of Gibraltar}, desert, mountains, coast, plateau, plain, valley
  • Independent reading from bookshelf
  • Filled out the map of Morocco using our notebooking page

Mapping Morocco thumbnail

 Click on thumbnail to download pdf file


  • Review geography song
  • Watched the clip below on Morocco
  • Talked about the government of Morocco {monarchy}
  • Independent reading



Week 2 Layout


Flag of Morocco thumbnail

Click on thumbnail to download pdf file


  • Review geography song
  • Talked about the religions of Morocco
  • Story from Around the World in 80 Tales ~ The Lion’s Dinner
  • Made a little couscous
  • Review geography song
  • Summarized one of our reading books and copy summary/dication
  • Added our notebooking pages to our binder and stamped our passports!

Books We Used


Resources and Websites

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer Homeschool Plans

The words ‘summer school’ have such a bad rap, so maybe I should just call them ‘Our Summer Plans’, eh? Our kids are doing great, but we’re spreading out some of the basic subjects and covering them over the summer months.

We’ve wrapped up the bulk of our curriculum and have a few loose ends to tie up, but here are the areas we’ll be touching on at least once a week:

Language: We started using First Language Lessons in the fall and are on the fast-track to finish the 200 lessons in a year time frame. We don’t have too much more to finish this book up, but this way we’ll be ready to move onto the next level in the fall.

Spelling: The kids enjoy our All About Spelling lessons, so we’re going to continue with one lesson a week to keep them in the loop and remembering. :) I’m also going to be pulling out our All About Homophones book to do a little work with the girls since there have been a few words cropping up lately that fall into those tricky-to-spell categories.

Math: The last few weeks of school we actually switched over math curriculum {I’ll share more on that later!!}. It was a much needed change for Laurianna and we’ll work on this several times a week for both her and McKenna.

Writing: Pen pals are going to be top of the list to keep this active with the girls. Both girls have also started their own blogs {which are rather sweet} ~ can’t imagine where they got that idea from…

Science: Nature walks and lots of fun science experiments. Need I say more?

Fun!! Lots of that will be in the mix as well as just relaxing, reading and enjoying spending time together.

What are your summer plans? Do you still have a few loose ends to wrap up? Are you going to plug along throughout the summer? Are you doing a little happy dance because your school year is officially over?


Friday, May 21, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Police Lapbook

Our boys enjoyed the fireman lapbook that we did so much and asked to do one about policemen.

And we did!

Both of the boys are very much into firemen and policemen at the moment, so we took advantage of that this week and I put together a policeman lapbook for Zachary and Kaleb.  A certain little someone was being a little stubborn during some of it and didn’t want to do it all. Zachary, on the other hand, was able to do most of the cutting for the booklets on his own and then I glued it all together for both of them.

paperclip patterns

We did other activities as well during the week ~ made a stoplight craft {included in the lapbook file}, made red/yellow/green patterns using paperclips, dressed up like policemen, directed traffic, played with our cars/trucks and read lots of books too {see below}.

This is a picture of the inside/outside and back of our policeman lapbook that we did. I used a blue file folder {of course} ~ no fancy folding, and just punched it with a 3 hole punch when we were done so we could put it into a binder to keep on a nearby shelf.

Police lapbook

The front cover is a coloring sheet of a policeman that is part of the full lapbook file. On the back we put the P for Policeman letter tracing sheet that we worked on {included in the lapbook file}.

Inside the Lapbook

~ Count the Fingerprints: 1:1 counting up to 10. I’d highly recommend using a washable ink ~ I’m just saying.

~ Shapes in Signs: A look at signs we see all around us and the shape that they are.

~ What Color is the Police’s Hat? A coloring book to identify color words.

~ Police Patterns: Make simple {or more complex} patterns using a police officer and a magnifying glass.

~ Sign Matching: Play a fun game of memory together with street signs {I recommend printing this one on cardstock}.

~ ABC Matching: Uppercase and lowercase letter matching cards {print on cardstock and laminate to reuse!}.

~ Catch the Robber: A tracing activity to use with your preschooler {I would recommend printing this on cardstock and laminating so you can use it later}.

You can download individual pieces for the police lapbook on my website or the full file {it’s around 2.5 MB}. I have a few additional resources on the website too for you to visit. If you decide to do the lapbook with your kids, let me know and I’ll link to you from my website. :)

Stories & Books We Used

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.
Please link your exact blog post here and be sure to include a link back to the Preschool Corner. I will delete any entries that do not link back to the site. Thanks for understanding. :)

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Top Ten Homeschool Crew Picks 2009 - 2010

This past year I was again blessed to be a part of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. During the year I reviewed a large variety of products and found some products that we really enjoyed.

You may have read some {or all} of these product reviews, but here are my top ten picks from the variety of products we received. If you would like to read the actual review, click on the title and it will pull up each review post for you.

In no particular order...

All About Spelling ~ this year brought more GREAT products from All About Spelling: the Cobweb the Cat and What am I? readers. These books have been well loved by our kids.


Studypod ~ a little product that has been used so much this year during our schooltime. It has been wonderful {and put a stop to quite a few arguments between the kids}.

Olde World Style Maps Olde World Style Maps ~ some amazingly wonderful maps from Homeschool in the Woods. We’ll be using quite a bit of their curriculum next fall too!

Rocket Phonics

Rocket Phonics ~ We’re still using this with Zachary and have loved it this last year. There are some great hands-on activities that work well for little boys who are super active. :)


Virginia Soaps and Scents ~ I am HOOKED on their Lemon Verbena soap and lotion now. I love the way it smells {and so do my kids}.

Language Smarts

Language Smarts ~ another great book from Critical Thinking. We’ve been using this since we received it and I’m planning on getting the next level for our upcoming school year.

Life on the Farm game

Life on the Farm ~ This game has been played over and over again at our house and I love the durability of it!


Nature Friend Magazine ~ beautiful pictures and a great nature magazine from a Christian {no evolution} perspective.


Christian Keyboarding ~ Our girls have loved this and starting it got them really interested in typing and writing on their own.

Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling ~ a great tool to recommend to families that are considering homeschooling, new to homeschooling, or even looking at the ‘next step’ for their younger children. It is chocked full of useful and helpful information.

The past two years working with the Homeschool Crew have been a great experience for me. I’ve learned so much about my children and their learning styles and found some amazingly wonderful curriculum and products that I likely never would have considered.

My last review for the Crew posted earlier this week, but there will still be reviewers circulating around the blog world this fall. Thanks so much for hanging in with me this year!Link


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Learning About New Zealand ~ the Land of Kiwi

New Zealand was a stop we took in our geography travels after learning about Australia. New Zealand has two main islands and is in the South Pacific Ocean. We spent time learning about the many meanings of the word ‘kiwi’, the culture of the Maori people, how the flag was created; read/learned about sheep, talked about Sir Edmund Hillary and even learned a little about the sport of rugby.

Week 1 Layout


  • Introduce new song about New Zealand from Geography Songs
  • Use atlas and globe to locate New Zealand
  • Talked about the size of New Zealand  and that New Zealand is called the ‘land of the long white cloud’


map of New Zealand

 Click on thumbnail to download pdf file



Week 2 Layout


  • Review geography song
  • Watched a video about Maori warriors on You Tube {see below for video clip and link}
  • Learned about the flag of New Zealand

flag of New Zealand

Click on thumbnail to download pdf file



  • Review geography song
  • Learned about Sir Edmund Hillary ~ from New Zealand and climbed Mt. Everest
  • Talked about rugby and the All Blacks team
  • Completed some sheets about Sir Edmund Hillary {see links below}
  • Review geography song
  • Visited Time for Kids ~ New Zealand 
  • Talked about the three different meanings of the word ‘kiwi’ ~ fruit, bird and nickname of people from New Zealand
  • Ate some kiwi :)
  • Drew a picture of a kiwi bird
  • Review geography song
  • Summarize one of our reading books and copy summary/dication
  • Added our notebooking pages to our binder and stamped our passports!
Books We're Using

Resources and Websites

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The Trouble With Treasure ~ Kregel Publications {Review}


The name Susan Marlow is apparently well-known in homeschool circles for her Circle C Adventure series.

Is it wrong to say that up until this point I was not familiar with her writing? When the newest book in the Circle C Adventures showed up in our mailbox, it was officially the first time that I took notice of her books.

I have a feeling that we’ll be looking into more of these books, especially since she is working on some early readers that I know will be right up McKenna’s alley.

From the Publisher

When innocent horseplay temporarily lands Andi and her friends in jail, they decide that a trip into the mountains will leave their troubles far behind. Accompanied by big brother Mitch and armed with a map showing old gold diggings, they can;t wait to strike it rich. What could be better than two weeks of camping and horseback riding?

But instead of gold they find heaps of trouble -- trouble that leaves Mitch gravely wounded. Andi needs help fast. But who can she trust? And what good is a bag of gold when her beloved brother lies near death in the middle of nowhere?

About the Publisher & Author

Kregel Publications is a Christian company that is dedicated to providing books, videos and other resources for the spiritual growth of readers worldwide. Currently, they have over 900 titles available in print, for children up to adult age.

Susan Marlow started writing stories when she was about ten years old. With the publication of the first book in my Circle C Adventures, Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home, she discovered that is really is more fun to share her stories with others then to keep them to herself! She currently has five books in the Circle C Adventure series and also has early readers in the works. You can visit her at her website ~ Circle C Adventures.

My Thoughts

Trouble with Treasure {recommended ages are 8-12} was on the higher end of where Laurianna felt comfortable reading on her own, so it is one that we are reading together. The story involves girls and horses…so really, that should be enough said when you are thinking about what young girls like to pretend and learn about. :) Even though we received the fifth book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone, without needing to read the first four to understand the plot/characters.

I love that there is a complimentary unit study guide to go along with the book too! These books would be great to use as unit studies and A Journey through Learning also has lapbooks that go along with each of the books in the series.

Find Out More

Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure is available from Kregel Publications for $7.99. You can read an excerpt of the book here. A complimentary unit study guide is also available .

If you would like to learn more about Kregel Publications and see some of the other books that the company offers, visit their site and browse through their many books.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews about this product.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Simple Science: The Plant Winners and Losers

Admit it. You all have been waiting anxiously by your computer screens to discover the results. Ok, really not, and I’m sorry it took me an entire week to get the results posted {grins}. Will you forgive me?

You all were fairly mixed on your opinions of which plant was the winner vs. loser in our little experiment! My hubby {being the official powers-that-be} got an up close and personal look at the three plants and cast his vote too.

And for the record, he didn’t know which plant was which either, so he was an impartial voter. I didn’t hand out flyers for a specific plant before he voted, nor did I wear any “Vote for X Plant!” stickers during the process. I’m just sayin’…

All that said, he voted right down the line ~ #1, #2, and then #3 based not only on growth, but also color.

A few more pictures of the flowers before and after.


Pansies before


Pansies After

and another after…

pansies after 2 

The results… So that I would be able to keep track of which plant was which {and still keep the water types a secret…} I fed the plants water alphabetically:

Plant #1 ~ filtered and boiled water, brought to room temperature

Plant #2 ~ filtered water brought to room temperature

Plant #3 ~ filtered and microwaved water, brought to room temperature

I wasn’t sure how the plants would fare during the time of the experiment, so you might notice that plant number 2 {the one that received the filtered water only} started out a bit behind the curve. It was the ‘runt’ of the plant litter, so to say.

When the experiment was done, plant #1 {boiled water} was the tallest and flowering the most, plant #2 was doing well and flowering, and plant #3 wasn’t flowering as much.

Were the results what you expected? Truthfully, I expected much more ‘defined’ results with this and DO want to do it again, but with different plants all at the same time {i.e. two or three different plant types}. We’ll have to see if we have time later this year to do it again!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Testing

Most of this week was spent testing. And playing. And testing some more.

Standardized testing to turn in to our school district.

When I wasn’t testing the girls we all were playing games, relaxing…or crying because of what we discovered with our robin’s nest this week.

The boys were thrilled that they could use my iTouch and Kaleb kept himself busy with the Tickle Tap app pack {be sure to check the link out since there is a $20 iTunes gift card giveaway with it!}.

Otherwise, we stuck to the basics this week: our calendar and morning board, listening to our Seeds Worship cds all.the.time, and reading so many pirate books {Kaleb’s choice} that Mommy was tempted to put on an eye patch and don a peg leg of my own {but I didn’t}.

Next week I have something VERY fun to share with you all that I’m sure you are going to like ~ especially if you loved the fireman lapbook that I posted awhile back. Teasing really isn’t nice

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.


Tickle Tap Apps & iTunes Giftcard Giveaway!

iphone_storyboardI haven’t mentioned it too much here, but I have an iTouch that has been rather handy to have around during our school time. Ok, really anytime, but our kids love to use it too. It’s something that I have handy while we’re working and all of our kids think it is a special treat to be able to touch it, let alone use it.

Because generally, it is mine and mine alone {‘cause I’m a shining example of sharing…}.

Kaleb has very few games that he is really able to play, so when we downloaded the Tickle Tap Toddler Pack from Tickle Tap Apps for my iTouch, he was very excited. It has been one of the BEST additions to our app collection so far!

IMG_3778 IMG_3784

Apps in the Tickle Tap Toddler Pack {$4.99}:
  • Sound Shaker ~  tap the screen to create different sounds {chimes, whistles, barnyard animals and more}
  • Field Flier – Toddlers help the little robin fly around outside and watch him play.
  • Count Caddy – A fun counting game by 1’s, 2’s and more!
  • Sort Slider – tip and tilt the screen to slide an item to the matching shadow
  • Pattern Painter – Complete and create patterns using shapes
Seeing it in action helps in understanding how the games work, so here’s a little peek at a YouTube video of one of Kaleb’s {and my} favorite game to play.

In addition to using the Tickle Tap apps at home, the games have been a wonderful help during my time helping out in our church nursery. There were several weeks in a row where we had some little ones that were fascinated with the Sound Shaker app and it kept them very happy…and quiet while they listened and touched.

Each game in the toddler pack can be downloaded individually for $1.99 or you can download the set of five apps for $4.99. Tickle Tap Apps also has a few other apps available now too: Word Wiggler {$1.99}, Bug Builder {$1.99}, Find Fins {$1.99}, and Color Collector {$1.99}.

Ready to Win?
The folks behind Tickle Tap Apps are giving away a $20 iTunes gift card to one of my readers in the US or Canada. To enter leave a comment on this post telling me who you’d like to win this game for.
  • Leave a comment on this post & let me know which kiddo in your family would MOST love this app!
  • Subscribe to my blog by reader or email and give yourself an extra entry.
  • Follow @Zincroegames on Twitter {the great creators behind Tickle Tap apps!}
  • Follow me on Facebook and give yourself an extra entry.
  • Twitter about this contest using the tweet below and give yourself an extra entry.
Enter to win a $20 iTunes gift card from @zincroegames and Homeschool Creations ~
The giveaway is open until Thursday, May 20th at 8pm. One winner will be chosen at random and I will announce the winner next Friday. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me.

This product was given to me for review purposes, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are mine.

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