Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easy Easter Paper Collage

I saw a really cute Easter craft on Pinterest from Julep that used strips of pretty paper glued on a white sheet of paper. Then, another white sheet of paper was glued on top with an egg shape cut out. It was a simple project that produce nice results, but Miss Bubbles is not ready to cut in straight lines yet. She is still learning how to properly hold scissors and cut, so I decided to simplify the project to accommodate her current level of development.

I simply let Miss Bubbles cut and sometimes tear shapes out of paper and glue them to a white sheet of paper using basic school glue. She spent an hour meticulously cutting and glueing little bits of colored paper to the white sheet of paper. I took another sheet of white paper and cut out a hole in the shape of an egg. When Miss Bubbles was done with her collage, I glue the second sheet of paper on top of the first sheet of paper.

Miss Bubbles is very proud of her egg. The egg came out bring and colorful, and Miss Bubbles got to practice scissor cutting skills.


construction paper or other colored paper
school glue
2 sheets of white paper


1. Cut or tear bits of colored paper.
2. Paste the colored paper on the first sheet of white paper.
3. Cut out a hole in the second sheet of paper in the shape of an egg.
4. Past the egg hole paper on top of the collage paper.
5. Allow the egg to dry and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Peru Nazca Lines Craft

We came across Nazca lines in our reading book, Reading forGifted Children Grade 1, so we decided to dive in deeper and learn more about these fascination lines found in Peru, South America. Nazca lines were made by ancient people in the Nazca desert. The Nazca people lived from 400 to 650 AD. They made these lines removing the thin top layer of red brown pebbles to reveal a grayish tan colored dirt underneath. The lines form large complex figures such as monkeys, hummingbirds, and lizards that are best viewed from the air.
In the series, Solving History with Olly Steeds, Olly sets out to find out why the Nazca lines were made. In the show, he quickly debunks 3 hypotheses about the lines: the lines correspond to constellations, aliens made the lines, and the lines correspond to water. After interviewing a series of archeologists, locals, grave robbers, and after attempting to obtain the knowledge himself by visiting a shaman to go on a vision quest with the aid of the hallucinogenic cactus, San Pedro, comes to the hypothesis that the lines were formed by processionals during religious ceremonies. Along the lines anthropologists have found smashed pottery that reveals patterns of being smashed and not accidentally dropped. Additionally, shells from the Pacific Ocean were found along the lines. Furthermore, the lines reveal that the soil underneath is very compact meaning that people have been walking over and over along the same path. Taken together researchers hypothesize that these lines were simply processional paths used during religious ceremonies.

Since it is winter time outside and our ground is frozen, Little BBQ and I decided to do an indoor craft about Nazca lines. This is a very simple project used to represent Nazca lines on a very small scale.

  • Sheet of sand paper
  • 1 Crayon (preferably lighter in color than the sand paper)
  • Pictures of Nazca lines (see links below)

1.       Draw a Nazca lines on the sand paper keeping in mind that most Nazca lines were of animals found in Peru or complex geometric patterns. 

Reading for the Gifted Student Grade 1
Solving History with Olly Steeds season 1 episode 2 (available on Netflix)

Photos of Nazca Lines
Spider, Hummingbird, and Spirals
Map of Nazca Line Locations
Monkey and Short Video on Nazca Lines

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Science Resources and Competitions

Our family attended Science in Indiana last weekend and picked up lots of great information on science resources available to anyone. I thought I would pass this information along to my readers.


Entomology at Purdue: tons of resources including forensic entomology
Purdue University The Nature of Teaching: lessons plans, printables, photos, and workshops

Science News: concise, credible science news
Science News for Kids: for kids ages 9-14

You Be the Chemist: Activity Guides for K-4 and 5-8 (cost is $10)


Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars): for 6-8th grades
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair: for grades 9-12
Intel Science Talent Search: for high school seniors top prize is $100,000
You Be the Chemist Challenge for 5-8 grade students

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Homeschool Plan for Kindergarten

As the local public school students are getting ready to go back to classes this summer, we are already busy racking up days in our school year, but I thought I would take some time on here and our plan for the school year. Little BBQ is reading on about a 2nd grade reading level and he is very advanced with basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.) However, socially Little BBQ is energetic five year that knows no social boundaries. He has some trouble with not looking at people when talking and fidgeting. He is always moving. We also have an energetic two year old, Miss Bubbles, running around.

To accommodate his unique set of needs, I pulled resources from all over the place. Some of the texts that I chose are for much older children, but we will be working with him at his own pace. If we do not finish the advanced texts this year, then that is fine with me. We are also working on some character training. I want him to be aware of more than just himself.


First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise and The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer: I have heard wonderful things about both of these texts from other homeschooling families, so I am going to be trying them out on Little BBQ this year. I chose not to get the work book for Writing with Ease, so I will just pick out my own copy work from other things that we are studying this year. I will also be supplementing Little BBQ’s creating writing desires with some journaling. Little BBQ loves writing stories, so I want to encourage this behavior as much as possible.


We are not doing a formal handwriting program. I make my own handwriting sheets, and our English curriculum offers copy work, so we will continue to practice handwriting skills with other curriculum.


I will be making my own drill sheets for Little BBQ to work on increasing him math facts speed. I also do play based learning with him to teach him about money and real world problem solving. We play restaurant or grocery store to learn counting money and budgeting. I purchased a set of pattern blocks that I am waiting to come in the mail along with a Pattern Block Book for Little BBQ. We will also be working through Math for Gifted Childrengrade 1 and math analogies for K-2 students. As a real challenge we will also be using Calculus for Young People and Patty Paper Geometry. I do not anticipate finishing Calculus for Young People or Patty Paper Geometry since these are advanced texts. We will work through them over a few years.

Nature Study

This is has been one our favorite activities that I plan to continue. We keep nature journals, find plants that are in our regional field guides, and check out books from the library about nature topics that interest us. The best part about nature study is that Miss Bubbles can be involved as well. She has her own nature journal and flower press.


Aaron Copeland wrote a wonderful book entitled, What toListen for in Music, which is not geared towards homeschoolers, but I find that it is a wonderful basis for a music appreciation. I will be using the Aaron Copeland book as my guide for a music appreciation class for Little BBQ. We will also continue practicing the organ. We are currently using ProgressiveOrgan Method for Young Beginners which we love. The book is written for someone with no music background. The book is brightly colored, and very simple for even a young child to pick up. We will also be working on the recorder using Essential Elements for the Recorder. This text was recommended to me by a musician friend of mine who teaches private lessons. The book is also designed for someone with no music background, and it is very easy to follow. As an added bonus, this was a very economical book. I will also be taking Little BBQ and Miss Bubbles to free classes offered through our local symphony. They cover topics like rhythm and how to bow after playing.


One of the best parts about being in a homeschooling group is that other parents allow me to review their homeschooling curriculum before I buy it. One of my friends recommended Building Foundations of ScientificUnderstanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2. I have a very strong science background, so I was not looking a program that holds my hand through every step of the process. I love coming up with my own experiments, but I wanted a guide or a checklist to make sure that I am covering all the necessary topics. I loved the map that Dr. Nebel provides in his book to show exactly how things in science are layered and build on top of one another. I also love this plan allowed a lot of flexibility, so we can cover flowers during spring time or magnetism in winter time when going outside for a long period of time is not realistic. I will be supplementing our science with texts that we already own and library books. We will be doing lots of experiments as well.


We will be working on Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes, and we will be studying a new artist from each of the fifty different states since we are studying the fifty states this year. The projects range from oil pastel clouds to printmaking to fabric dyeing. I am really looking forward to our art projects this year.

Sign Language

We watch Signing Time about once a week to review and learn new signs. I want to further introduce Miss Bubbles to sign language and keep Little BBQ’s sign language skills up.


I am teaching Little BBQ Spanish words, greetings, and conjugations this year. I am not using a set curriculum for this task.

Geography and History

We are studying the fifty states this year, so I am using TheSlightly Odd United States of America by the editors of Klutz as spine text along with library books related to each state. As a review Little BBQ will be getting Snapshots Across America Game for Christmas. We plan to make a three dimensional map of each state this year to help us visualize mountains, rivers, and towns.

Practical Life

As part of our state study Little BBQ will be making one recipe from each of the fifty states. This will teach him cooking skills. We will also be working on our conversation skills with The Art of Children’s Conversation.

Character Training

I want Little BBQ to become more away of other around him, so I am loosely following Teaching Your Children Sensitivity by Lindia Eyre and Richard Eyre.

Physical Education

Little BBBQ will continue with diving team. He practices two times a week and competes in meets as they arise. We also go bowling every other week with our homeschooling group. Little BBQ is really improving his bowling skills by practicing every other week. During winter Little BBQ will work on ice skating again.


For socialization we belong to a homeschooling group. We are very active in the group, so Little BBQ gets plenty of exposure other kids with our group.


Our Chinese class did not happen this fall, so we are working on putting together a Chinese class for English speaking students starting in January.

Spelling and Reading

We are not doing a formal reading or spelling program. From time to time we get new vocabulary works for our other texts and focus on learning how to properly spell and use those words. We read a lot at our house, so Little BBQ has plenty of time to improve his reading skills.

Posted on Simple Lives Thursday, Somewhat Simple, Catch a Glimpse

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Exploring Music and Science with a Wind Organ

I love recycled crafts especially those that cover multiple areas of study. These recycled wind organs cover music, art, and science. It took us a while to collect up enough plastic bottles because we are not big plastic users, but we finally gathered enough plastic to make this cool wind organ.

A wind organ will make music when the wind blows. Our wind organ did not make a loud sound, but you could hear it if you were standing about 1-2 feet away from the organ which was a nice treat when we were working in the garden.

We used alcohol based markers (Sharpie®) to decorate the bottles. The marker seems to be holding up well even after getting wet.

You can use these wind organs for some science exploration for your children. Some questions to ask them as they blow into individual bottles:

1.       Which bottles make a high pitch sound?
2.       Which bottles make a low pitch sound?
3.       What do you notice about the holes of the bottles with a low pitch sound?
4.       What do you notice about the holes of the bottles with a high pitch sound?

We ended up with a nice discussion on how our simple wind organ works vs  a pipe organ.

For more information on a how a pipe organ works, please visit Pipedreams® website

For more information on wind organs including sound files from different wind organs please visit Pastorgan

Materials inspired by Plastorgan

Assorted plastic bottles
Sharpie® markers
Twine or string


1.       Have an adult cut a skinny rectangle up the side of a bottle. I did this by inserting the knife in the bottle, then using scissors to cut the rest of the rectangle. You can cut different sized rectangles with varying heights but keep the width at the top and bottom the same to make the science questions are easier to understand for little children.

2.       Color designs on the bottles with the markers.
3.       Tie the bottles to a pole using twine. I found the easiest way to tie the bottles is to tie a loop around the neck of the bottle then tie another loop around the pole that you are attaching the wind organ to.

Posted on Simple Lives Thursday

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Designing Olympic Uniforms and the Olympic Village

We have been studying the upcoming Olympics here at our house. One of the things we discussed a lot was what being on a team meant since this year was the first time that Little BBQ played on a team with other kids. We discussed both the obvious things like uniforms and the more interpersonal stuff that team members do for each other. To celebrate team work we designed our own Olympic uniforms for team USA. This was also a nice introduction to fashion design. We discussed the different types of neck lines in a shirt. Little BBQ informs me that he likes V-neck shirts the most. We made a liquid water color background in sunset colors. 
Then, we cut out uniforms from scrap fabric. Next, Little BBQ drew a female and male for each of the uniforms. We pasted construction paper grass on the sunset back ground along with the athletes. Little BBQ added some details with tempura paints like the Olympic rings at the upper left hand corner of the page.

We also designed out own Olympic village out of a shallow card board box. The houses for athletes are represented by Legos®. Little BBQ got really into this project. He made a track, a pool, food carts, buses to transport the athletes, a river, and a soccer field. We discussed where different Olympic events would be held at his Olympic village. He also told me that there would be lots of carrots served at his Olympic village so the athletes can grow up big and strong.

Materials for Olympic Uniforms

2 sheets sketch paper
Liquid water colors
Oil pastels
Ball point pen
Scrap fabric
Green construction paper
Buttons and other accessories
Tempera paints


1.       Using the liquid water colors, paint a background on one of the sketch papers. Allow the back ground to dry.
2.       Draw two athletes on the second piece of sketch paper with oil pastels. Set the athletes aside.
3.       Using a ball point pen, draw the Olympic uniform on the reverse side of the fabric.
4.       Cut out the Olympic uniform and glue it on the oil pastel athlete.
5.       Cut around the two athletes. Set the athletes aside.
6.       Cut grass out of the green construction paper.
7.       Glue the grass on the back ground.
8.       Glue the athletes on the grass.
9.       Glue accessories to the Olympic uniforms.
10.   Using tempera paints, add extra details.

Materials for Box Assemblage Olympic Village

Shallow box without a lid
Crayons, oil pastel, tempura paints


1.       In pencil, lightly sketch the layout of the Olympic village.
2.       Place the Legos® to represent buildings.
3.       Decorate the Olympic village with crayons, oil pastels, and paint.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Craft: Olympic Medals

We have been doing a unit study in order to prepare for the London 2012 games. I am so excited to watch diving, swimming, and gymnastics again this summer, so I wanted to transfer some of my excitement on to Little BBQ. We have been reading a lot about the history of the modern Olympics and famous athletes. We even read about this year’s venue.

One of the hands on projects about the Olympics we did this week was to make our own Olympic medals. Little BBQ loved this project. The best part of the project was after the medals were finished when Little BBQ decided to award each of us in the family with a medal. I think these medals will be around for a long time as part of our dress up collection. Little BBQ has been walking around telling everyone that he is an Olympic medalist. I love it.

This is a simple multi day project. On day one glue is applies to wooden disks and allowed to dry to give the medals a three dimensional look. On day 2, the medals are painted gold, silver, and bronze. On day 3, a marker is used to add more patterns on the medals. Finally, an adult hot glues a ribbon the back of the medals.

Materials (for pre-school – 5th grade)

3, 4 inch wood circles (we got ours at Hobby Lobby for $0.79)
Elmer’s School Glue®
Gold, Silver, and Bronze paint
Paint brush
Alcohol based markers such as Sharpie
3 strips 7/8” blue ribbon cut to 24-30 inches depending the size of your child
Hot glue gun


1.       Apply glue designs on the wood circles. Allow to dry overnight.
2.       Paint one medal gold, another silver, and another bronze. Allow to dry overnight.
3.       Apply more designs on the medals using an alcohol based maker.
4.       Have an adult hot glue the two ends of the ribbon to the back of the medals.
5.       Enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...