"All I have learned, I learned from books."
- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, January 9, 2015

Creating the Tallest Pyramid: STEM Challenge

My Eaton is such a self-directed individual. It helps me so much with his homeschooling.
Today, Eaton sas some paper cups on the table I prepared for this activity. He was so excited seeing them as he already had some plans for it right when he approached me. But he politely asked if they are for any homeschool activities.

I said: "Yes, I thought about building the tallest tower using these cups."
He said: "What about building pyramids with different base shapes?"
I said: "Sure, let's try that instead."

So, that is what he worked today on.

First he divided paper sheet into 3 parts for 3 different pyramids.

Then, he started his project with square based pyramid (5x5). He measured the heights of that pyramid and recorded the results on teh sheet of paper. It was 19 inches high.
  



 Then, he created second pyramid: triangle base. Not much of that is seeing over here ;-)



He measured it and it was 25 inches tall.
Actually, triangular pyramid was the nicest to look at, but I don't have a picture of it. What a bummer!

 After that Eaton tried really hard to create a hexagonal pyramid but every time he tried the circle appeared. After all he worked with cups ;-) So he ended up creating a cone instead of pyramid. As we know a pyramid is a 3-dimensional solid in which the base is a polygon, so circle didn't fit that definition but he continued his project as he wanted to see final results.

He started with a circle that was way too big as we didn't have enough cups.


He made a smaller circle

 and from there it was much easier to build the rest




He measured it and recorded like in previous examples: 24 inches tall



At the end Eaton concluded that the tallest structure was a triangle base pyramid measuring 25 inches in heights. Square base pyramid was the most stable one, and the cone was the hardest structure to build but he enjoyed that the most.

Overall it was Eaton's idea for the project and he felt fulfilled after doing it. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Messy Project: Globe Paper Mache

 I opened Pinterest account long time ago. I think it was at the time the Pinterest was created, but I never utilize fully that awesome website. 

Few months ago I started to create educational boards on Pinterest that would help me remember all the great ideas I see on the website.

I'm really visual and this is the way I learn very easy and quickly. I'm not spatial though like my older son, but Pinterest helped me to record a lot of stuff I want to use with my boys. 

I've created many boards under Marta Kalinowska-Wilson account that I use consistently now. One of the boards is Geography. I still work on adding more pins into that board.

Recently we worked on Paper Machet Globe. It was my first time creating Paper Mache. I never did that in my life so the project came good but not perfect. I searched YouTube videos for a correct recipe: just Google: paper mache recipe

I used Fast Easy Paper Mache Recipe. This recipe was quick and I didn't have to use glue. Although overall Eaton is good with glue but I know that when the project is messy (that's how they warned us on the video) I decided to go with the easy way as Eaton has a tendency to shake his hands a lot when something sticky is on them. 

Eaton did shake a lot and the project was completely messy creating Paper Mache but it was fun. I don't have any picture illustrating that, because I was totally involved in that messy project. 

Our globe came out pretty OK besides small flaws: balloon wasn't the sphere shape and the balloon was too big that made our continents being too apart from each other. Overall kids enjoyed the project and maybe one day we will re-do it when they will be older.



Step 1: Tearing stripes of newspaper.
                         Boys were really involved into that step


Step 2: Preparing water-flour mixture and wrapping the strips 
           around the surface of the balloon.



Step 3: Painting Paper Mache. Nathaniel was really
 engaged. 
Look at the tongue sticking out ;-)


Step 4: Color and glue continents outlines




Step 5: Add equator line and put X on the place you currently live on

Eaton added another globe to our display-plastic globe puzzle
Final  Paper Mache









Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New 2015 Homeschool Planner

Are you ready for 2015? You should be, it's tomorrow :-)
In some places it's already 2015!

This Homeschool Planner was created similar way I did last year with few changes and additions. I love very much pink and green color and opening that folder every day puts a smile on my face. I know it's kind of childish but if something makes you feel good why not to use it daily for more motivation. 

Some sheets I use are available for free on Internet some of them I created myself to suit my needs. 
On the left side of my planner I keep my sheet for writing down every small detail about homeschooling, blogging, what to buy as well as my personal to do list. When I open my folder I see right away what I need to do next. To do tasks that are done I simply mark with a check mark. This sheet I made for my personal use.

On the right side there is a whole planner for 2015 divided into 12 months. On the top I always put calendar for specific month to reflect all the holidays, trips, lessons (swimming) and other events.

Here is free download of the calendar for 2015 from OrganizedChristmas

Next page I leave empty. I like to have a space for writing information like: phone numbers, details of homeschooling purchases, phone conversations, dates or names, anything that I would need in the future. This way it is easy for me to find it and it is very visual as well.

On the right side there is a sheet called Weekly Goals. This sheet is for writing down all the brainstormed ideas I have after evaluating my boys' progress. For now I divided that sheet into subjects:
1. Math/Lego/Logic
2. Geography/History/Social Studies
3. Foreign Languages
4. Science: experiments, lessons
5. Everyday Art/Crafts
6. Language Art/Philosophy

In there I include:

1. Lessons plans for the week 
2. Brainstormed ideas I want to implement with boys or extra activities.

I look at the previous Weekly Goal sheet and I start evaluating what my boys did, how they enjoyed certain projects, what more of certain lessons I can give them so they can better understand the topic etc.


This page is for writing daily lessons. On the bottom there is an example how I use it. Like you see I did not write subjects on the left side column. Some days are busier than the other. Overall we have lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and that is how it is written on the top of these pages.

I really like to use the notes section on the right side. This is where I write my ideas as well ideas from my boys. Print out pages HERE.


That week wasn't so busy, we spent lots of time outside meeting people and playing in parks.

Next page Goals is very important to me. This is how I keep track of the progress of certain subjects for both Eaton and Nathaniel. This is actually a swimming goal sheet for Eaton.

I want to mention last piece of paper I use to write down all the videos of MinutePhysics we watch. I did create it for my personal use. I signed up to their YouTube channel so I know when the new video came out.



Please visit my Pinterest Page for more ideas and printouts.
This is all for now.

I wish you a Happy 2015 Homeschooling Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Montessori Color Grading Activities

We have 2 kinds of Montessori Color Grading Activities. One is printable version from Montessori Print Shop, the second wooden version you can see at the end of this post. 

I purchased these cards few years ago when I was waiting for the original Montessori wooden version. There is nothing like presenting beautiful product made of wood :) But printable version was used many, many times as well. 

This time, for Nathaniel I tried to create different version when you put all the colors around yellow foam. 

Nathaniel wasn't interested in that. It was too many cards for him, so I asked Eaton to present that to Nathaniel. He watched the whole time and at the end Nathaniel helped Eaton to put all the cards back on a tray. He was engaged into putting all the cards together with a paperclip. (I need to come up with new activity for him involving paperclips!)

I like to observe boys and see what they like, why and where their current focuses are. Nathaniel didn't want to be involved into long activity. He is good observer so I know he got a lot from it anyway.







Helping Eaton at the end of activity.
This wooden version is very much liked by Nathaniel. He always finishes the whole set in one sitting. 
I love that set as well. It is one of the best Montessori materials I purchased so far. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Activities in Pictures for 5 and 3 Years Old-Part I

It is the end of the year. I decided to post some pictures of activities from over last 2 months. 

Year 2014 wasn't so busy for us. I couldn't get back on track after prolonged sickness, changing our homes and other personal challenges. It took some time to recover from all of it and get back to the same routine we always had.

You can see that these activities are not so much of a challenge. 
My idea was to start slowly with any work and progressively adding more every day.

My personal struggle was to consistently work with my boys. I think I do much better these days as time goes more smoothly and with more joy and pleasure. 

Look for Part II of our activities following this post. 

Have a great Holiday!