Science is one of our favorite subjects around here. Which is a little bit surprising considering how much I hated science when I was in school. Now that I am homeschooling I try to make science as hands-on and fun as possible. When I saw Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers from Funtastic Unit Studies I was really excited to check it out.
The author of Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers, Susan Kilbride, is a homeschooling mom herself. She realized that science isn’t the easiest subject for parents to teach, so she created this curriculum using the methods she used while teaching science to her own son. Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is a paperback book with over 200 pages. There are 20 different science units covered in the book. The first 10 units are for children ages 4-7, the last 10 units are for children ages 8-13. Some of the units covered include:
- The Human Body
- Fun With Magnets
- Stars and Planets
- Animal Ecology
- Chemistry Fun
That is only 8 of the exciting topics covered- there are 12 more!
Each unit has a supply list at the very beginning of the chapter. Most of the items you will need are things you already have at home, or you can easily purchase. After the supply list there are lots of hands-on activities as well as explanations of the hows and whys things work. The chapters for the older students also contain tests and worksheets. The end of the book has the answers for those tests and worksheets.
So, how did we use Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers?
I decided that since I would be using it with kids ages 3, 5, and 8 that we would use one of the units for the younger kids. I picked the unit about our five senses and it was a hit! Since I am not doing formal homeschooling during the summer, I just set up our science activities a few times each week. There were lots of hands-on activities to pick from. If you want to do all of the activities you can do that, or you can pick and choose what you want to do.
Here are SOME of the activities we did:
(Keep in mind that I didn’t include pictures of everything we did do, and we didn’t even do every suggested activity. So as you will see there are tons of choices!)
I introduced the topic of our senses by having the kids put body parts on Mr. Potato Head. We talked about what we use our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands for.
The first sense we covered was taste. I put salt in one jar and sugar in the other. First they looked at it to see if they could tell which was which.
Then they shook the jars to see if it sounded different. Then we smelled each container.
Next they felt each one to see if they could figure out which was which. Lastly, they tasted each one to determine for sure which was salt and which was sugar.
We talked about the 5 different kinds of tastes there are: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory. We did a little taste test to try each taste. In this picture, they had just tasted sour, which is why Hailey is making such a silly face
Next up we talked about touch. In this picture Hailey has one finger in a bowl of cold water and another finger in a bowl of hot water (but not too hot that it would hurt to touch). The middle bowl has lukewarm water in it. After a minute Hailey put her fingers into the lukewarm water. To one hand (the one that had been in the hot water) the water felt cold and to the other hand (the one that had been in the cold water) it felt warm. We talked about how our sense of touch tells us if something is hot or cold based on how your skin already feels.
We also made Sense of Touch books- Hunter is feeling the rough page (sandpaper).
Anthony is feeling the bumpy page (bubble wrap).
When we talked about our sense of sight, I had the kids try to draw a picture of person while wearing a blindfold. Then they took the blindfold off and drew another picture while looking at their work.
For our sense of hearing I put different items (water, batteries, crumbled paper, goldfish crackers) into some containers- they shook the containers and had to guess what was inside. I also recorded various noises (water running, piano playing, toilet flushing, money rattling) and they had to guess what the sound was.
Last we did our sense of smell. I dipped cotton balls into various different things (vinegar, perfume, baby lotion, pickle juice, cinnamon) and they had to smell and see if they knew what it was.
They also made flowers for our sense of smell…
…then added a cotton ball dipped in perfume to the center of the flower.
We had a lot of fun learning all about our senses! Remember, the book has even more ideas for teaching the five senses than I shared here. Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers is full of fun units just like the one we did. Hands-on is how we learn best, especially when it comes to science. The lessons have lots of activities and explanations that make it easy for parents to teach science. If you’d like to see some sample lessons you can download two complete science units.
I really like Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers. I plan to continue using it this summer and this coming school year. Most of the time the kids didn’t even realize they were learning because they were having so much fun. I would definitely recommend this fun and educational curriculum!
Summer is flying by, and even though I promised myself it wouldn’t happen, I’m getting behind in my blogging. So, here is what we worked on a few weeks ago.
One nice summer day we stopped at McDonalds for Happy Meals after we picked Hailey up from VBS. When we got home the kids decided they wanted to have a picnic. Then they thought it would be fun to have Hailey do circle time outside with them.
In keeping with the trying to keep it fun theme- our work this week focused on all things minions. Anthony and Hunter used do-a-dot markers to decorate a minion.
(Minion printables are from 1+1+1=1)
They cut out the characters from Despicable Me.
Then they sorted the people and minions, and glued them in the right places.
They practiced tracing shapes.
They cut out the characters from Despicable Me and glued them onto their matching shadows.
Anthony and Hunter used Q-Tips to do some dot painting (and to practice their fine motor skills, but don’t tell them that!).
They also colored some Despicable Me coloring pages.
Both boys practice writing their names every day. On this day, every time they traced their name using a different color crayon they earned some M&Ms.
On this day, they used dry-erase markers to practice writing their names on the glass top table.
They also practiced tracing their names written with highlighters.
Table toys continues to be a favorite time for both boys. They will usually sit and play quietly for a while when they use table toys, so this is the perfect time for me to get Harper down for her nap.
My mom sent me some pictures of a cute minion craft she saw on Facebook, so we made these cute minions.
They turned out adorable! It was a fun week, full of minions, and learning.
Hailey’s favorite subject during this last school year was most definitely history. She loves it best when I read to her about the topic we are learning about while she colors or works on a project. She learns best that way- she needs to have some sort of project she is working on related to our topic of learning. The funny thing is that while I was in school I never liked history, but it has become my favorite subject now too.
I was so excited when given the chance to do a review for Home School in the Woods! Their unit studies are planned out exactly how Hailey learns- lots of hands on activities. We looked over the choices in the Project Passport World History Studies and Hailey decided she was most interested in checking out Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation.
Home School in the Woods was developed by homeschooling mom, Amy Pak. She understands the importance of having hands on projects and activities to go along with the information you are studying. The activities that go along with the time period will make you and your children feel like they are really living at that time. There are activities for cooking food from the time period, dressing up, making 3-D projects, and more. In addition there are history readings, maps, and timelines.
Project Passport World History has three different studies you can pick from. There is Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and the one we picked- Renaissance & Reformation. The studies each have 25 stops- at each stop there are different historical figures or interesting events that you learn more about. There are more than 50 hands on activities to pick from in each study- so there is definitely something for everyone!
The Project Passport World History studies are for children in grades 3-8 and can be purchased as a download or as a CD. I reviewed the downloaded version, which can be used on a PC or a Mac.
So, how did we use it?
When I first downloaded Renaissance & Reformation, I have to admit feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much to look through. Once I took the time, when the kids were all in bed, to really look it over and read through the introduction and the travel tips, it made a lot more sense to me. It took a while to go through the first few stops to get everything ready to start teaching. There was a lot of printing to be done, on different kinds of paper (white paper, colored paper, white card stock, colored card stock, etc), and it took quite a bit of time.
At first I wanted to do all of the projects, but I realized very soon that was not possible. I tend to feel like I have to do it all rather than picking the ones that are the best fit for us, but it would take a long time to do everything! Since we are on summer vacation right now, we decided to do more of the scrapbook activities and 3-D projects that Hailey really loves to do. There were some days that we were able to complete more than one stop and there were other times when we had to stretch one stop out over a couple of days. Here are some of the activities we did:
Hailey started out by making a passport to take on her journey through the Renaissance & Reformation.
Hailey made a postcard of Florence, Italy after learning about Cosimo de Medici.
Hailey tried a few different art techniques she learned about from the Renaissance era. Here she worked on making a fresco.
Hunter thought it looked fun and decided he wanted to join in and make one too.
Hunter working on his fresco.
Hailey decided to make a self portrait for her fresco.
Hailey learned about the different social classes during the Renaissance.
She also worked on a chalk pastel.
The finished artwork.
Another kind of art she learned about was Chiaroscuro, which means light-dark.
Hailey enjoyed working on a masquerade mask.
Hailey’s favorite project was definitely Shakespeare’s Globe.
She worked very hard coloring and putting together the playhouse.
Then she entertained us with a little performance.
I asked Hailey what she thought of Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation. She said it was a lot of fun and she liked doing the projects. She definitely wants to do more! I think the hands on projects are perfect for her learning style. She is at the younger end of the recommended age range (she just finished 3rd grade) and some of the readings were over her head. I would like to add in some of my own choices of historical fiction for me to read to her while she colors and works on the activities. I also wish there was an option to buy everything already printed out- the printing takes a lot of time. That being said, I really enjoyed using Home School in the Woods and would absolutely use more of their unit studies! Both of us learned a lot and had fun creating projects and memories together. I highly recommend it!
Want to learn more about Home School in the Woods?
We had another busy but fun week!
We have circle time each day and on this particular day Anthony decided he wanted to be the teacher. So, he led us through circle time.
Since it’s summer I am really trying to keep things fun, so we had a Scooby Doo themed week since the boys both love Scooby Doo. We read lots of Scooby Doo books.
Anthony and Hunter practiced cutting.
They cut out these Scooby Doo pictures and then glued them onto a piece of paper.
They also colored some Scooby Doo coloring pages.
We practiced shapes.
One of their favorite times seems to be table toys. This week we used counting bears,
and legos for our table toys. Legos was the definite favorite!
Hailey sharing one of her creations she made.
We made ghost lollipops- simply a tissue taped onto a lollipop. They thought this simple activity was great!
We made mummies too. The kids covered a cut in half paper towel tube with glue. Then they wrapped it up and added googly eyes.
The completed mummies
We used dog bone shaped cookie cutters to paint.
Each day we do a little bit of writing practice.
A few other fun things we did:
Hunter dressed up like a mummy
Hailey was a scary mummy.
Shaggy and Scooby (Anthony and Hunter) unwrapped the mummy to find out who the bad guy was.
We had mummy hot dogs for lunch one day.
Hailey pretended to be Velma- and she misplaced her glasses like Velma is always doing.
Then Shaggy and Scooby (Anthony and Hunter) helped Velma find her glasses. They loved this game!
We played a matching memory game with Scooby cards, while eating Scooby snacks.
I am reviewing Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers and we have had lots of fun learning about the 5 senses. I’ll be posting more about it in a couple of weeks- but this is just a sneak peek at the fun we’re having.
It was definitely a fun filled week!