Tired of the same old baking soda and vinegar science experiment? Here is a cute experiment for making elephant toothpaste that makes lots of colored foam and is fun for kids. It uses stuff you probably have sitting around the house anyway, and while it is not as explosively fast as baking soda and vinegar it produces quite a bit of colored foam.
History is my son’s favorite subject in school. But this year we haven’t really done any history at all because he has been doing a year long geography program. So when I had the chance to review a Lap-Pak program from Home School in the Woods I knew he’d be excited to actually do some history. The program we received to use is Hands-On History Lap-Pak: The 20th Century in America.
This Lap-Pak is a downloadable pdf file that comes with 22 projects on all kinds of subjects related to 20th Century history. Some are the standard things you would expect, like World Wars, Political Events and the Space Race. But it also includes projects on things that frequently are overlooked in history study, like Architecture, Slang, and even “Dining Through the Decades”. Each project has a hands on activity to complete, to help cement the information in your child’s mind.
I have always found writing to be one of the easier subjects to teach my kids – at least when it comes to standard school essays. But my sixteen year old daughter doesn’t just want to write research reports for history, she wants to write a novel! And creative writing is not something I know much about. So I was excited to have the chance for my daughter to try out a creative writing product from Writing with Sharon Watson.
All my children enjoy reading, and one of the challenges I have homeschooling them is how to cover topics like literary analysis, because they’d rather just read the book! It can be difficult to find something that teaches them to read analytically without destroying their interest in the story. To me it makes sense to pick a few books a year to cover in detail, and let them just read for pleasure the rest of the time. So I was happy to get the chance to review some literature guides from Progeny Press, which are designed just for that purpose.
Progeny Press has over 100 literature guides, designed for all ages. I was able to review the Golden Goblet Study Guide, and the Things Fall Apart Study Guide with my children. I received the downloadable interactive PDF version of both products, which allows the student to type the answer right in the document. My kids loved the interactive PDFs, and much preferred to type their answers into the document rather than write the answers down on paper. And since both of them have lousy handwriting I liked it better for checking their answers too! I loaded the interactive PDFs onto flash drives, so my kids could carry it around with them and work on them on any computer, wherever we happened to be. This was very convenient, especially for my son, because we do a lot of our schooling on the go. The downloads also included answer keys, which was a big timesaver for me.
This past month I was able to review Supercharged Science, which is an online science program with over 800 activities, experiments and projects! My family received a free membership for Supercharged Science E-Science program for high school, and I was very excited to review this program, because science is my favorite subject. I am always looking for ways to make science more fun and accessible to kids, and this program is designed for that.
Computer programming is a skill that is great for everyone to learn. Not everyone is meant to be a programmer, but computers are so important today that I think everyone should have some appreciation of how they work. So I was glad to have my thirteen year old son try out a product from Computer Science for Kids.
Now computer programming is something my family has a fair bit of experience with. My husband and I both have degrees in computer engineering, and my mother was a computer programmer way back in the late 1950s! When my mom programmed she used machine language with ‘1’s and ‘0’s, but luckily there are much easier ways to program now. My son got to try out programming in Basic, with the Beginning Microsoft Small Basic curriculum. This is designed for children ages 10+ as an introduction to a simple, yet powerful programming language.
Every year at Easter the children and I enjoy dyeing Easter eggs with natural dyes. We started doing this years ago, when my oldest was enrolled in a Waldorf enrichment program. When they told us to use natural materials to dye the eggs I thought it was kind of silly, after all food coloring is cheap and easy! But once I did it once I was hooked, since it is fun to see the amazing variety of colors that can come from nature.
Logic is a subject that I have always wanted to cover with my children, because thinking and reasoning skills are so important in today’s world. I watch TV news shows and get so annoyed at the lack of reasoning and logical fallacies that seem to be everywhere, so I want to learn to reason! So I was glad to get the chance to try out a logic curriculum from Classical Academic Press. I received The Discovery of Deduction: An Introduction to Formal Logic and The Discovery of Deduction Teacher’s Edition to use with my 13 year old son.
Learning to write well is a critical skill for children to learn. I never had to worry too much about teaching my two oldest kids to write well, because they seemed to intuitively understand the process. I just gave them lots of writing assignments and they produced good essays without much angst. The process with my 13 year old son however isn’t quite as easy. His writing is ok, but he is very much a “just the facts” kind of person, and is having trouble making his writing interesting, compelling and organized. I recently received a writing curriculum from Essentials in Writing to use with him and review.
March 14th is National Pi Day, the perfect day to celebrate mathematics! Pi is a never ending irrational and transcendental number which has been fascinating people for thousands of years. 3.14 is just the start, and after that the number goes on forever. If you want to learn more about pi, including its meaning and history, here are some books worth checking out, both for kids and adults.
Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi by Cindy Neuschwander – and Wayne Geehan – A clever story about a boy who must use math to save his father from a fierce dragon. The story is amusing and really holds kid’s interest, and this is part of a series of books about Sir Cumference and his math adventures.