Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Hands-On Math Activities for Everyday Learning

Math opportunities surround your child every day. From telling time to food preparations, measurements, temperature variations, counting, adding, money matters, time requirements, sports scores, game strategies, construction toys, craft creations, algebra and building projects, distances and speeds, fractions and percents, fascinating Fibonacci numbers— your child can practice math in real life every day!

When children are engaged in real-life activities, they learn quicker and retain what they learned longer.

As Maria Montessori said, “What the hand does, the mind remembers.” This is especially true for comprehending math concepts.

Daily Math Fun and Learning

From shape-sorting games to determining the perimeter and area of each of the shapes, you can apply that exercise to nearly any object. Take that idea further by determining the perimeter and area of the room you’re in, as well as each room in your home. Go outside and determine the overall perimeter of your entire house or complex, then calculate total square footage. Which room is the largest in your home? Which room is the smallest? Why are the rooms and homes designed in the size and shape that they are?

In this way, a simple shape-sorting game has grown into real-life learning, making connections between basic shapes, living spaces, and home design. This is an important lesson: Take fun, simple games or daily lessons and make connections to the things that are real in life, the things that are a part of everyday life. This is when education and knowledge clicks, and learning makes sense and solidifies in a child’s mind.

With math opportunities all around us, it’s easy to practice mathematical skills each day. Simply discuss math concepts as you play together, do household chores together, cook and bake together. When you run errands or take daily walks together, determine distances traveled, the speed you’re traveling, and the time it takes to travel those distances. The more your children practice real-life math exercises, the better they’ll become.

Math Games

Board games and card games are great ways to develop and sharpen math skills, as well as reasoning and strategy skills. Bring out the board games each evening, on weekends, or anytime during the homeschool day! Play old favorites, such as Risk, Monopoly or Monopoly Junior, PayDay, or Chess. Try games such as Math Bingo, Math Lotto, Sum Swamp, Cloud Hoppers, Mountain Raiders, 24 Math Game, Pizza Fraction Fun, Adsumudi, Smath, Equate Math, and similar math games.

Play “store” and see what it’s like to open and run your own shop. Use play money or real money, “sell” retail items or consignment items, and keep a running inventory in your pretend store. Record expenses and sales in homemade ledger books, and determine the daily and weekly income—or income potential—of your shop.

Another fun business is the online game of Lemonade Stand. Kids will gain experience in nearly every aspect of a business: pricing, sales, inventory control, and handling the ups and downs of the economy over a period of several days. Make a pitcher of lemonade and head over to the computer and open your lemonade stand!

For math and reasoning games, visit the website FunBrain.com. There's Math Baseball, Cake Monster, MathCar Racing, Math Soccer, Measure It, Shape Surveyor, Guess the Number, Fresh Baked Fractions, and many more. Most of the games are available in Easy, Medium, Hard, and Super Hard levels for all age groups and skill levels.

Mastering Math Skills

Basic math, or arithmetic, includes counting, adding, subtracting, estimating, measuring, and calculating. As your children progress through the elementary years, additional mathematical skills will be introduced. When your child has grasped the basics, you’ll be able to help him build upon a solid mathematical foundation.

Math skills introduced in traditional schools move along so quickly, though, that if a child doesn’t catch them the first time around, they’ve often lost that window of opportunity. In your homeschool, however, if you see that your child is still struggling with basic subtraction, for instance, you won’t want to move ahead to more complex problems until he has mastered the basics. Fortunately, you have plenty of time for practicing basic concepts in your home. There’s no specific timeframe your child must stay within.

When your child has achieved true comprehension of subtraction, along with the ability to perform the calculations flawlessly, then he can move on to the next lessons. You will know without a doubt that he has truly mastered the skills he needs before moving ahead. With this solid foundation, he is ready for multiplication and division, fractions and decimals, estimation and measurement, problem solving, and more challenging mathematical equations.

Math Manipulatives

Using hands-on examples of math problems will help children better understand the abstract concepts that are introduced. You can use any objects for counting, adding, and subtracting, from buttons to beans to plastic animal counters. You can also use an abacus or counting frame with plastic beads.

Math manipulatives are available online or at retail or educational supply stores. However, you can often make your own. From poster board or construction paper, you can create coin-sized counters, pattern blocks, fraction circles, fraction slices, fraction bars, cardboard clocks, and mathematical charts. You can also make rulers, number lines, geometric boards, play money, and flashcards. And your children will enjoy the cutting and creative activities, too.

Everyday Math

Daily situations present excellent ways to put math skills to regular, logical use. In a normal day, your family can practice telling time as the minutes and hours go by. You and your children can estimate, then measure ingredients when cooking on a daily basis.

Practice money skills by regularly setting up "stores" in your home. Have children put prices on items gathered from the pantry or on toys or books gathered from their room. Make purchases, have children add up the total costs, pay with play or real money, and have children count out your correct change.

When grocery shopping, children can keep running tabs of the items you’re purchasing and see how close they come to the actual total. At the gasoline station, they can calculate the cost of your tank of gas. Then, based upon how many gallons of gasoline are in the tank and how many miles your car gets to a gallon, they can determine how far this tank of gas will go.

Every day offers mathematical problems that can be fun to solve, clearly showing children the importance of learning and applying math skills in real life.

Books and Activity Books such as Real World Math, Math Connections, Math Art, Math Wise, Real-Life Math Problem Solving, Real-World Math for Hands-On Fun, Hands-On Math Projects with Real-Life Applications provide interesting activities that help your child understand and relate key math skills to everyday life.

Remember to jot down activities and lessons in your lesson logbook or on our log sheets (available here: Weekly Planner Log link.)

Note: Some material published here include excerpts from my book, The Everything Guide to Homeschooling, by Sherri Linsenbach, available online or in libraries and bookstores.

Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

500+ Science Experiments and Activities

Hundreds of Science Experiments and Activities will keep learning fun and educational this year!

With 500+ Activities, you’ll never be without a topic to teach over the coming year! And, of course, your children will be sharpening ALL their skills – reading, writing, reasoning, math, technology – while having fun with the experiments!

From Easy to More Challenging, the experiments noted here have clear, easy-to-follow instructions, illustrations, photos, and explanations.

Get Started Now!

400+ Experiments and Activities are illustrated at Scientific American, on topics such as Curling Metals, Airplane Launchers, Marble Roller Coasters, Wind-Powered Cars, Earthquake Structures, Blood Flow Models, Double Helix, Archimedes Screw, Building Bridges, Designing Cell Phone Stands, Art Science, Smartphone Science, Making Batteries, Making Rainbows, Making Robots, Making Rockets, and much more! There’s 20+ pages, each with 20 Science Experiments or Activities, for a total of 400+ Learning Activities! Click here:

Scientific American Experiments

100+ Experiments and Activities from Easy Science Experiments to STEM Activities and Rocket Science are offered at Science Fun. The experiments focus on popular topics often taught in school, such as Color, Light, Sound, Water, Electricity, Magnetism, Force and Motion, Weather and Air, Gravity, Density, Balloon Science, Chemical Reactions, Marine Life, Animals, Human Body, Dinosaurs, Fossils, Rocks, Geology, Crystals, Biology, Botany, Ecology, STEM and Engineering Activities, Rocket Science and Space Experiments. Click here:

Science Fun Experiments

40+ Science Experiments are shown here, with colorful instructions and explanations on the “why” behind the science concepts. See how to Create Clouds, Friction Racers, Anti-Gravity Chambers, Windmill Cams, Rainbow-Colored Xylophones, Popsicle Stick Harmonicas, Geysers, Rockets, and more! Click here:

Home Science Experiments

40+ More Science Experiments focusing on Life Science, Physical Science, and Planetary Science are available at Bill Nye the Science Guy’s site. Experiments include Temperature Time Warp, Bending Light, Marble Madness, Inertia, Barometer in a Bottle, Erosion Explosion, Twistin’ Tornado, and more. Click here:

Bill Nye Experiments

Log the Learning!

Note the Science Experiments, the Subject Areas, and the Concepts Learned through the experiments. Lessons learned and skills sharpened include Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Math Skills, Calculation Skills, Measurement Skills, Reasoning Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, Spatial Skills, Creative Thinking Skills, Reading, Writing, Journaling, Arts and Crafts, Geology, Geography, Social Science, and more. Jot down the lessons and activities in your lesson logbook or on our log sheets (available here: Weekly Planner Log link.)

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Weekly Homeschool Activities & Lessons: The World Around Me

Recent learning activities focused on your child asking: “Where in the World Am I?” and “Who in the World Am I?” (See previous posts from August 1 and August 4.)

This week, have your child think about: “The World Around Me.”

Learning opportunities abound when thinking about the many things that are around us: Air, Water, Grass, Trees, Flowers, Plants, Animals, Birds, Insects, Sky, Clouds, Rivers, Oceans, Mountains, People, and much, much more! Just one of these topics could result in learning and lessons for days, weeks, months, or years! And they're interesting to kids of all ages!

The Troposphere -- or world around us -- is the layer of the Atmosphere that includes these many things that surround us. Find our Troposphere in this colorful chart of our Atmosphere: Atmosphere to View. Read more about the Troposphere and other layers of the Atmosphere at that website, too.

Art Project: Draw and color your own chart of the atmosphere, similar to the one you saw above. Or use different colors of construction paper to create the different levels of the atmosphere. Determine where the Earth and the troposphere is. Then cut out and color shapes to indicate the Earth, mountains, trees, sky, sun, clouds, birds, airplanes, meteors, stars, spaceships, etc. Then glue them in their proper layers of the atmosphere. Discuss the ones that you see most often and the ones you see only occasionally. Why is that?

Fun Science Project: Create your own 3-Dimensional World. Use cardboard and boxes, construction paper, tissue paper, etc., to replicate the views you see around you. Glue “grass” onto the cardboard. Create houses, trees, and animals (from boxes and construction paper), flowers and plants (from colorful tissue paper), sidewalks and creek banks (from small rocks and twigs). Use your imagination to create your own 3-dimensional world!

Math Skills: Determine distances and heights: How tall are the trees around you? How tall is your house? How long is your sidewalk and how long is your street? How long is the river that flows through your town? How high are the clouds? How high do the airplanes fly? How far away is the sun and the moon? How far away are the stars? Write these down in a Science Journal. Make a Chart, showing the “shortest/closest” items, all the way up to the “tallest/farthest away” places.

More Math Skills: More on distances and heights: How far does our troposphere extend (about 10 miles)? How far is 10 miles? How far is 1 mile? How far is 5,280 feet (1 mile)? How far is 10 miles (52,800 feet)? How far is 1 foot or 3 feet? How long is the room you are in? How long is your sidewalk or driveway? Measure these with rulers, yardsticks, tape measures. Walk or bike 1 mile with your parents (5,280 feet). Ride 10 miles in a car with your parents (52,800 feet). Think of how all these distances relate in the world around you and above you. Write about these distances in your Science Journal or Make Charts illustrating these distances.

Field Trips and Photographs: Take field trips through your neighborhood, towns, and cities. Take photos of scenes in your world, such as fields, woods, rivers, mountains, parks, birds, squirrels, deer, horses, buildings, barns, bridges, benches, people walking, people biking, kites flying, planes flying, clouds drifting. Take field trips often, and take photos often, too. Put the photos in a scrapbook or journal. Describe this world around you, and how it changes from time to time, or from season to season.

Draw or Paint Pictures inspired by your field trips and photos. Display your artwork or keep your drawings and paintings in an Art box, folder, or portfolio. Draw or paint your world often. Always keep your art projects to look back on.

Read Books on Troposphere and Atmosphere, such as Stickmen's Guide to Earth's Atmosphere in Layers; Our Amazing Sky; Atmosphere: Earth Science; and The Layers of Earth’s Atmosphere. What more did you learn in these books?

Read Books on the World Around Us, such as Explore My World series; Exploring Nature Activity Book; Secret World of Plants; One Million Insects; Fascinating Animal Book; The Skies Above My Eyes; Sky Gazing: Guide to the Moon, Sun, Planet, Stars; and books on Around Town; Country Life; Farm Life; City Life. Discuss how these books relate to your world around you.

Music on Troposphere and Atmosphere: The Atmosphere Song by Math Dad. Have fun with this one!

Lessons learned and skills sharpened: Earth science, Life science, the World, Math Skills, Measurements, Calculating Distances, Social Studies, Communities, Reading, Writing, Journaling, Science Projects, Research Skills, Critical Thinking, Spatial Thinking, Creative Thinking, Arts and Crafts, Music, Field Trips, Photography, Scrapbooking, Painting, Drawing, and more. Jot down these lessons and activities in your lesson logbook or on our log sheets (available here: Weekly Planner Log link.)

Happy Homeschooling!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Homeschool Lessons, Learning Activities, Who I Am

An earlier, fun lesson focused on having your child ask: “Where in the world am I?” (See the previous post from August 1.)

Those Educational Activities covered Social Studies, Geography, Community, Map-Making, Math Skills, Reading, Writing, Researching, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Spatial Thinking, Reasoning Skills, Computer Skills, Arts and Crafts, Music, and more.

Now have your children ask: “Who in the world am I?” Remembering who we are and our place in the world is important for each of us, at any age!

Discuss Children's Sense of Self and who they are. Maybe they’re an only child, or one of many. What’s their place in the family: oldest child, youngest child, middle child, and how do they feel about that?

Family Tree activity: Create or draw a unique Family Tree or print one from a source such as: Family Trees to Print. Have kids list their brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and even aunts, uncles, and cousins if they’d like.

Genealogy activity: To learn more about Family History, try creating a Family Record and Migration Maps, showing where one’s ancestors originated from or traveled from. Record details about ancestors in the Family Record or Create a Scrapbook showing your family’s history. For Family Records or Migration Maps, see these Genealogy Printables: Family Records to Print.

Family Interviews: Encourage your children to contact relatives and ask them questions about their experiences as kids, where they lived, how they lived, what they did as kids in the summer and winter, and how life has changed for them over the years. As parents, share details about your own youth, too.

Write this information in a Family History Notebook, or add the details in a Scrapbook or Family Record.

Do the Math: Use Math Skills to calculate each family member’s current age, based on their birth dates or birth year. Determine the year that a grandparent was 8 years old and riding a bike to the store. Or the year a great-grandparent moved across the country when he or she was 12 years old. Have your own children determine how old they were when they learned to ride a bike, or moved to a new location, or learned to play an instrument, or started a new hobby. Put this information in the Family History Records, too!

Hobbies: Children can think about their hobbies or special interests, and write about them in their notebook or journal. Which hobbies or activities have they enjoyed the most? Why? What new hobbies or activities would your children like to try next? Help them take the next steps to pursue their current interests.

Personality and Character: Why are hobbies and special interests important to us? It’s part of Who We Are. It’s part of our Character, our Personality, our Human Nature. Who Am I? I am someone who likes to ________ (fill in the blank!). Then go for it! Be true to your nature and follow your dreams!

Self-Description: Describe yourself, through writing, video, or audio recordings. Describe your Personality: your daily disposition, your happiness, your eagerness, your struggles or challenges, and how you feel about that. Describe your Character: your unique traits, your thoughts, your behaviors, your actions, and why you feel the way you do.

Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence: Think about what makes you feel good about yourself. Maybe it’s being good in math, reading, writing, art, or music. Maybe it’s being good at basketball or swimming. Maybe it’s organizing your collections, or building things, or science projects, or creating new ideas. Maybe it’s helping your sister or brother, or helping your parents. Every day, there’s things you can do that make you proud of yourself. These things increase your self-confidence, your self-esteem, your self-worth, your self-joy! Do these things as often as possible!

Self-Improvement: We all have room for self-improvement! If there’s things your child wants to get better at, remind them that they can “Try, Try Again!” Some say that if you really want to get better at something, do it every day – maybe 15 minutes a day, maybe an hour a day, maybe 2 hours a day, or even more. Depending on how badly your child wants to improve, help them set a daily practice schedule that works for them.

Self-Responsibility: What’s your child’s sense of responsibility to his or her self? Taking care of toys, books, collectibles, and art supplies might top the list for many kids. Brushing teeth, bathing, grooming, etc., are also at the top of the list. Keeping their room neat and organized can be a responsibility. They can also help with their laundry, sorting and putting away clothes. Having age-appropriate chores and accomplishing them can be part of their responsibilities. Having age-appropriate rules and following the rules is a responsibility. Being a responsible and helpful person is always part of Who We Are.

Art Projects: Create a diorama of your home, as simple or complex as your child would like. Have your child create paper figures of each member of your family, as basic or detailed as they like. Then place the figures in various rooms of the house, where the family can interact with each other. Place the family members’ names on the figures, label the rooms of the house, describe the events occurring in the diorama, and display it on a shelf. Have the diorama “tell a story” of your child’s life today. In a few weeks or months, make another diorama, depicting your child’s story at that point in their life. Have your child think about “Who I Am Today” compared with “Who I Was Yesterday.”

Games to Play: Family History Bingo, Family Tree Connection, The Genealogy Game, Ancestree Game, Pando Family History, The Family History Ball, Family Trivia, and even The Oregon Trail.

Books to Read: Who I Am; I Like Myself; Self-Confidence Building Book; I Am, I Can Affirmations; Unplug: 365 Fun Family-Friendly Activities for Kids; I Can Do It; Steam Kids Projects; Hobby Time Adventure Journal; Family Tree Activity Book; and more.

Lessons learned and skills sharpened: History, Social Studies, Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Arts and Crafts, Research Skills, Scrapbooking, Journaling, Hobbies, and more. Jot down these lessons and activities in your lesson logbook or on our log sheets (available here: Weekly Planner Log link.)

Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, August 1, 2022

Weekly Homeschool Lessons, Learning Activities, Where I Am

Some “school years” begin in August (which seems too early!), but we at Everything Homeschooling will begin providing homeschool activities and homeschool lessons this month, too.

To ease into your homeschool year, here are some learning ideas and activities, which will be fun and educational for your children this week. See the end of this post for ways to document homeschool activities each week.

Week 1:

Have your children ask: “Where in the world am I?”

Then think about that. Maybe their answers will include: Home. With my family. In a town or city. In the country. On a farm.

Then ask your children: What’s the name of your town, city, or neighborhood? What’s your address? Write this down.

How far do you live from the grocery store, the dollar store or convenience store, library, park, zoo, gym, museum, recreation center, and other special places?

Draw a map of your area and label these places on your map. Mark the location of your home on the map, too, along with your address.

Do the math: Determine how far each of these places are from your home. Use Google Maps to measure the distance and calculate the time it takes to travel there by car or by walking or biking. Or, track the distance and time it takes the next time you visit those places.

Write these details on your map or keep them in a notebook.

Print maps of the world, the United States, regional maps, state maps, and more here: Maps to Print link.

Label the maps, noting your location in the world, in the United States, and in your state.

Learn more about map making and reading maps, research different types of maps, view aerial or satellite maps, street maps, terrain or topography maps, and more.

Arts and Crafts Activities: Make your own map by cutting out colorful shapes to match states or provinces. Cut out an outline of your country from cardboard, then glue your states in place. Be creative, and use whatever colorful materials or supplies you have to make your map unique and decorative!

Music and Songs: On the Map Song; Geography Songs; 50 States Songs; 7 Continents Songs; and more.

Books to Read: Me on the Map; Where on Earth?; Beginner’s World Atlas; Fun with 50 States; Maps & Geography; Geography: A Visual Encyclopedia; Draw the USA; Draw the World; Geography Activity Books; and many more at your library or online.

Games to Play: World Game Board Game; Race Across the USA; Great States; Ticket to Ride; Map of the World Puzzles; United States Puzzles; and more.

Lessons learned and skills honed: Reading, Writing, Social Studies, Community, Geography, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Math Skills, Map Drawing, Spatial Thinking, Computer Skills, Technology, Reasoning Skills, Arts and Crafts, Music, and more. Jot down these lessons and activities in your lesson logbook or on our log sheets (available here: Weekly Planner Log link.)

Happy Homeschooling!