Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Using Teachers Pay Teachers in the Homeschool Classroom

"How do you do it all?" Oh, if I earned a dollar for every time I was asked that question, I would be a millionaire! 

Yes, we have seven kids. 

Yes, I do a lot. 

NO, I do not do it all!!! 

One thing having a large family has taught me is that I cannot possibly do it all, and lucky for me I do not have to. There are so many tools and resources I use that save me time and money (and even make some money!)

Teachers Pay Teachers is one of those resources. I love it as a buyer. Some people are wayyyyy more creative than me and I don't know everything!

I also love Teachers Pay Teachers as a seller. I really do love, love, love to make resources to supplement our homeschool, but it does take lots of time. Being paid for that time allows me to stay home and do other fun, educational things with our children.

I also love the idea of Teachers Pay Teachers in general because I know my purchases and sales are helping out real people like me... teachers and parents that just want to provide for their family and help their students learn. 

April 5th-6th Teachers Pay Teachers will be having a sale For You! Simply use the code FORYOU22 at check out to save up to 25%. 

I was also awarded a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card which I will be giving away. Simply visit my Teacher Pay Teachers store and give me a follow. Spring is the perfect time for the Survival Unit. I'm also working hard to add new resources every week. 

For an extra entry, share any one of my blog posts on any social media platform.

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Happy learning friends! For more of our homeschool adventures check out the Homeschooling Tab and give us a follow on Instagram @Pocketful_of_Treasures.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Tot School Tuesday: Jesus Knows Your Name

Looking for a fun craft preschoolers that incorporates a Bible story, leaves (fall theme), and learning names? That’s what I was searching for late last night. Just when I was about to give up and only teach a Bible story, I opened a Bible Story book to discover that Zacchaeus, the wee little man, could tie all those themes together. 

We started our lesson by reading the story of Zaccheus from Read Aloud Bible Stories Vol. 1 by Ella Lindvall. Our bigger kids won this series when they were little from Doorposts’ Bible Drama Contest  and the series has been read and cherished many times since then. The stories are short, easy for little readers, repetitive, and engaging. Each story ends with a little recap of what was learned. From the story of Zacchaeus we learn that Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ name, and he knows our name too. If you don’t have this Bible Stories book, you can read any from any children’s Bible or the Bible itself about Zacchaeus.

After reading the delightful story, we made a craft with their name in the tree. This simple but fun craft gives the preschooolers practice in spelling their name. 

Step 1: Trace arm and hand to look like a tree.

Step 2: Cut out leaves (I used these Maple leaves because they were the closest to a Sycamore leaf I could find for free on the Internet). If you wanted to add some sorting practice to this activity, you could print out multiple different types of leaves and have them pick out sycamore shaped leaves.

Step 3: On each leaf write one letter from their name. Depending on age and ability, you can write the letters and have them trace them. 

Step 4: Glue the leaves on in order to spell their name in the tree.

Step 5: Color. 

Happy learning friends! For more of our homeschool adventures check out the Homeschooling Tab and give us a follow on Instagram @Pocketful_of_Treasures.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

France Geography and Cultures

Bonjour! Our latest world cultures unit study took us to France. The kids remembered quite a bit about France from our study of World War II last year. We had read the novel Twenty and Ten and The Journey that Saved Curious George and studied European geography, so they had no problem finding France on the map. Our "visit" to France this year, however, was much brighter and focused on the intricate architecture, famous monuments, high end fashion, delicious foods, and influential artist and writers.

France ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of France was a fun, quick little read that gave an overview of the culture of France.

We then read Madeline and later watched the movie. Not only is a an entertaining children's book, but the illustrations take you on a quick tour of some of the famous Paris scenes, including the Eiffel Tower, the Opera, the Palace Vendome, the Louvre, and more.

Using the Made by Joel Paris Paper City, the kids explored Paris. They had fun with these paper cutouts.

I did our STEM activity a little differently for France. In the past (like our windmills for the Netherlands), I have always had each of the kids work individually. For this STEM project, they had to work together. They were tasked with building the Eiffel Tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks. They soon discovered that working together was the hardest part of the entire project. Each child had his or her own opinions on how things should be done.

 It took most of the morning to resolve differences, delegate roles and responsibilities, and carry out their plan, but they persevered. In the end they decided that it should be named Baker Tower since it did not quite resemble the Eiffel Tower and topped their tower off with an American flag.

France's Writing Around the World assignment focused on ABAB poetry. Sully Prudhomme was awarded the very first Literature Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. After studying his poem "At the Water's Edge", the older kids wrote their own ABAB poem. Our younger writers filled in a rhyming poem about France, and the little ones matched rhyming words. 

As always, you can download the Writing Around the World assignment from Teachers Pay Teachers for free on the week this blog post is released. You can download anytime after that for a small fee which helps me continue to stay home and create homeschooling resources. Each Writing Around the World assignment includes activities for different levels of writers, so all your children can participate in the assignment together.

We also found a collection of poems at the library in a book called Poems from France. We enjoyed selecting and reading a few poems each mealtime. Because these poems are written in French and translated to English, the rhyming pattern is often lost. The book contains the poems side by side in French and English, so even though we do not know French we could often find the rhyming pattern by looking at the French words.

Our next study in France focused on French art, particularly Monet and the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting. We read Monet by Shelley Sateren and Mornings with Monet. Monet had painted his water lily pond hundreds of times, so we decided we would try to paint it as well. You can too!

 Using painter's tape, we marked off the Japanese style bridge that goes over the pond. I asked the kids to think about what time of day they wanted to represent in their photos, and to think about the light during that time of day. Is it bright or dark? Are there shadows or highlights? What colors are unique to that time of day? Then with some printouts of Monet's paintings as a guide, they set to work with short brush strokes to make their paintings. After they dried, we pealed back the painters tape to reveal the bridge.

And of course we couldn't leave France without sampling some French cuisine. French cooking is tasty! We had Quiche Lorraine for breakfast, Classic Croque Monsieur sandwiches for lunch, and Crepes for dinner... which led to a big debate in our home. How do you serve crepes? Folded or rolled? We would love for you to chime in on Instagram and let us know!

For more homeschool inspiration, click on the Homeschool tab at the top of the page (or in the dropdown menu if you are viewing on a phone). Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Bingo Bottles Craft and 6 Books for Veteran's Day

We are a proud military family and love supporting our troops and veterans!  Our kids have been to a dozen or more send offs and welcome homes and enough military funerals to know freedom isn't free. 

For this Veteran's Day we made a Bingo Bottle Poppy Craft to show our support and appreciation to Military Veterans. I love arts and crafts, but with 6 kids the mess can sometimes be overwhelming.  That why I love painting with these Bingo Bottles (similar to Do-A-Dot Markers).  

If you are braver than I, you can easily do this craft with fingerprints as well. I also have a free template on Teacher's Pay Teacher's website that you can download and paint the poppies printed on it.

The girls made five red dots in a circle and our older boys put a green dot in the middle to make the poppy flower.  We gave our 2 year old ample paper to make a "poppy field" on.  After reading Flander's Field we wrote a little poem on each of the cards.

"I have a little poppy,
As red as red can be,
To show that I remember
Those who fought to make me free."

You can drop these cards off at the local VFW, or canvas social media to find some Veteran's or local events. 

To all of our Veteran's, Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you for stopping by! Check out the Homeschool Tab at the top of the page for more of our learning adventures, and give us a follow on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Netherlands Unit Study

 After a 2 week break to study Business 101, we are back to traveling the world! "Dag" from the Netherlands. My first time traveling out of country (many, many years ago) by myself was actually to attend a swim camp and competition in the Netherlands. I have so many wonderful memories of touring the beautiful country, and was excited to pass along some of those memories and excitement to our child.

Of course, the three things I remembered the most were the tulips, windmills, and wooden shoes. We took turns reading "The Great Tulip Trade", which is an easy reader and great book for your younger readers. We then watched a few YouTube videos that toured some of the tulip fields and farms.

The main read aloud I chose for this unit study was "When the Dikes Broke". Based on the great flood of 1953, it is a heartwarming tale of a people coming together to help others in need. I could not find this book at our local library, so we listened to it on Audible. The kids were fascinated to learn that about 40 percent of the land is below sea level, and that there are 800 miles of dikes to hold back water from the seas. 

While we listened to the audiobook I handed out one of my favorite treats - Stroopwafel. I shared how each evening we would walk from our hotel to the local market to get one of these. I was pleasantly surprised when I found a gluten free version of my favorite treat on Amazon, and ordered a case for the children to share. They were a big hit among everyone. 

Windmills are used in the Netherlands to pump water into the canals off of the land reclaimed from the sea. The children each constructed a windmill design out of an assortment of materials that I spread on the table (spoons, knifes, popsicle sticks, feathers, egg cartons, and more!). 

Their assignment was to create a design that would lift a binder clip when a simulated wind (fan) blew. We had so much fun with this STEM project! Even our four year old got in on the fun. 

Some designs that they thought would work really well, they soon discovered did not work as planned. I actually love when this happens because it is such a richer learning experience (both emotional learning and intellectual learning). So, I welcomed these "failures" and we talked how we could turn them into "successes" with our attitude. Growth mindset is a powerful tool to teach!

While I was in the Netherlands, I also visited the Van Gogh museum. We did a virtual tour of the museum online (there are lots of activities to choose from on their website) and drew our own renditions of Starry Night.

Many famous artists have come from the Netherlands. We explored some of the works of Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Jan Vermeer, and others online. These artists painted with paint, but we explored the art of descriptive writing and painted with words. In my Writing Around the World series, I have tried to connect a literary activity to each country that we study. This series is made with homeschoolers in mind and includes activities for little learners all the way through middle schoolers (and even high schoolers could use this series). While thinking of their favorite place, the children answered a series of sensory questions, and then thought of similes, metaphors, and onomatopoeias to describe their place. Using these, they then wrote a descriptive writing piece. The littles had similar descriptive writing activities that required far less writing, but still encouraged them to use their senses and explore adjectives.

Speaking of senses - oh my, the Dutch Pear Baby we made was heavenly! It was a fun recipe because we were able to use pears we had collected from our pear tree, and it tasted, smelled, and looked "dreamy" just as the author of the recipe described it. It received a 10/10 from all of the children. 

The final book we read for the unit was "Boxes for Katje". We had studied the holocaust and WWII in depth last year, but this book was not on our reading list then so I wanted to be sure to revisit and and remind the children of some of the historical trials the people of the Netherlands had faced. It is an inspiring tale that will leave your children eager to make a difference.

Thank you for stopping by! Check out the Homeschool Tab at the top of the page for more of our learning adventures around the world, and give us a follow on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures.

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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Business 101 for Kids

As I mentioned in my post "Diving into Another Homeschool Year", entrepreneurship and financial literacy are an important part of our homeschool learning experience. Children are never too young to learn how to make and manage money. Children are often excited about working and want to work, but we deny them the opportunities. I remember looking through the classifieds when I was about 12 years old and being crushed by the fact that I could not work. I begged my dad to walk me down the street to the neighbors with horses to see if they needed help mucking stalls (I was willing to do anything to be around horses). I was denied - too young they said. I also was never taught how to manage money, or at least not how to be responsible with money. So I learned my financial "wisdom" from credit card companies - swipe this enough times that you cannot afford to pay it off and remain a slave to the lender. A few years into marriage we found ourselves maxed out on all our credit cards and having way too many money fights. Thankfully, our sister-in-law introduced us to Dave Ramsey, and we determined then that we wanted to do better for our children. 

One snide comment we often receive is, "Haven't you heard of child labor laws?" Please, listen carefully. Child labor and exploitation is WRONG and we one hundred percent are against it. Child labor and exploitation by definition "deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially, and morally harmful." (Wikipedia) Teaching your child to think, create, and use their God-given abilities is just the opposite of this. We want to enrich their childhood, enhance and personalize their education, and lift them up mentally, physically, socially, and morally. We want to teach them problem solving, goal setting, creativity, financial literacy, delayed gratification, and so much more!

Our children have come up with several creative business ideas throughout the years, but when the opportunity presented itself for them to have a kid run booth at Quitman Fest, we decided to take a break from our usual study and dive into a two week Business intensive unit study. I could not find a workbook to use to guide us through our business study, so I created our own. My Business 101 for Kids workbook guided them through the why of having a business, how to do a SWOT analysis to come up with business ideas, marketing and promoting, setting prices, goal setting, and more. 

In the workbook they actually do a SWOT analysis three different times. A SWOT analysis has you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Our older girls (6th and 7th grade) really enjoyed this part and found it helpful in coming up with some new business ideas for both the vendor event and future business endeavors. Based on their SWOT analysis, all of our school-aged children came up with a product idea to make and sell. Coming up with business ideas can be the most difficult part of starting a business, so here is a look at some of the ideas our children came up with. You can also check their Etsy page. Perhaps they will inspire your little ones.

Our first grader decided to make fire starters using recycled material. He has helped me make these in the past for our personal use, and he noticed that we had a good size pile of egg cartons, a bag of old candles, and a bucket of dyer lint collecting in the laundry room. 

Our second grader had recently received some paracord and a book on paracord projects for his birthday. He decided to practice some new knots and make some keychains and bracelets to sell.

Our fourth grader loves working with his hands. He had wanted to make some toys and birdhouses using some scrap wood, but my husband has been wanting to teach him leather making and encouraged him to make knife sheaths and gun holsters. He was hesitant at first, but once he got going he loved his new project and spending the extra time with his dad. The finished projects were gorgeous and he already invested his earnings into more leather to try to expand his skills and products.

Our sixth grader is our artist. We encouraged her several months ago to come up with ideas to turn her artwork into something useful. It was then that she started printing her drawings on notecards, and has been very successful with that. So her project was more on expanding her present business idea. She created a set of Birthday cards and is working on a set of Christmas cards.

Our seventh grader is our girly girl who loves to craft. We grew some loofah in our garden this year, so she decided to make some loofah soaps. She also made up some different bath salts and sewed scrunchies. She described her part of the vendor table as "everything you need for a perfect at home spa day."

Teaching entrepreneurship in your homeschool classroom certainly breaks the stigma that homeschoolers are unsocialized. In one day alone they were able to capture the attention of and speak with a couple hundred people. We teach them the FORM method of communicating with others. The FORM method is simply striking up a conversation with someone by asking them questions about their Family, Occupation, or Recreation and then using the information you gathered to deliver your Message. Our daughter once used this method to sell bath salts to a man for his wife that he did not yet have! 

If you would like to teach Business 101 to your children or students, the workbook is available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. The workbook covers FORM Communication method, SWOT analysis, goal setting, basic business plans, cost analysis, and more. You can also take them through a simulation of their first three months in business with my fun Entrepreneur Adventures. I presently have a Craft Fair Adventure and Lawn Care Adventure available. Buy the whole Bundle here.

I cannot wait to see the business ideas your children come up with! Be sure to follow and tag us on Instagram @Pocketful_of_Treasures.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bangladesh Geography and Culture Homeschool Unit Study

“Nomoskar” from Bangladesh. We begin all of our countries with a brief tour in our “Passport to the World” book and questions from Masterbook’s Elementary Geography and Cultures workbook.  

The children each made the country’s flag and located the country on the map.

On the back of each country’s flag I have the children draw something that reminds them of the country. Here, one of our girls decided to draw a rickshaw.

I chose three books to guide our study through Bangladesh. I knew that I wanted to incorporate a study on the Bengal tigers, so first up was Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins. The book not only gives a lot of incidental information on tigers, the Sunderbans, geography, weather, and culture, but also encourages readers to always do the right thing. 

The Sunderban Tiger Reserve is a real place and has some excellent articles on the Sunderbans and tigers on their blog. We used Art for Kid's YouTube video to draw a Bengal Tiger Head.

One of the things that helped Neel, the main character of Tiger Boy, find the missing Tiger Cub was his ability to draw a map of the area and recall details of the island. We did a little test to see how much we could recall about our neighborhood by drawing a map of our area from memory.

The moral theme of integrity is woven strongly throughout the book. Neel's Father said, "Many things are worth more than money." Our older children used that line as the opening line to an essay, where they wrote about what in life is worth more than money. You can purchase my Writing Around the World worksheets for Bangladesh, which teaches how to write a five paragraph essay, from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. It also includes alternate activities for little learners that may not be quite ready for writing an entire essay yet (or even writing at all!). 

Yasmin's Hammer by Ann Malaspina is a motivating tale on overcoming adversity and working towards a goal. It is set on the noisy streets of Dhaka and shows city life in Bangladesh. Yasmin longs to go to school and learn to read, but instead she must work to help provide for her family. She begins working extra hard at the brickyard and earns up enough extra coins to get a book. When she brings it home, the family realizes that none of them can read and the parents determine to work extra hard so their daughters can go to school. Her father takes on extra rickshaw routes and her mom weaves baskets, which brought us to our next project. After exploring some how to videos on YouTube, we attempted to weave a grass basket. The girls quickly realized what hard work this was and how hard is is on your hands.

Rickshaw Girl, another book by Mitali Perkins, captures the culture of Bangladesh and addresses gender inequalities. Naima's talent for drawning alpanas helps her save her mother's golden bangle and fix her father's rickshaw. We drew some alpana like designs on paper.

We then made a rice paste to attempt to draw some alpanas on the asphalt. This, we discovered, was quite difficult to do!

Thank you for stopping by! Check out our Homeschool Tab for more of our learning adventures around the world, and check out our Instagram to see what we are up to now.

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