Following Your Child’s Lead: Learning About Edible Wild Foliage

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats

It all started with a little red berry. A little red berry and a toddler. I had taken my children to the park to play. My daughter, a toddler at the time, was roaming about the playground, just a few feet away, and then disappeared from my view around a corner.

I was after her immediately, only to find her in a clump of red berry bushes, saying “Eat. Eat.” Not knowing what they were or if she had managed to eat one or not, we grabbed a few twigs off the bush and loaded up in the car.

We stopped at my husband’s work, a mere 1/2 mile away where he went to the landscaping department with a twig to identify. I headed to the nearby City Hall and Library.
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5 Outdoor Summer Science Projects

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom

This post originally published on July 12, 2010. Perhaps today would be good for a little outdoor science? Happy 4th to our American readers!

Chances are that if you dared to sit your children down at the dining table with a worksheet this month, they’d look at you like you had antlers coming out of your head.

And for good reason.

Everything in nature is crying out for growth and movement during these warm days, and that includes your little people. As homeschoolers who recognize that we never take a complete break from learning, summer presents us with multiple opportunities for casual science study.

On a lazy, hot day when your tribe is restless, pull out one of these five projects and get ready for some learning–and a little laughter as well. [Read more...]

Changing Curriculum Mid-Year: Knowing When It’s Time

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

Of the many gifts that come with homeschooling, the one I am truly loving right now is the freedom to make changes as needed. Doesn’t it seem rather impossible to sit down over the summer and plan an entire school year, sight unseen, knowing how the whole thing will unfold?

Despite careful research and planning, the science curriculum we chose was all wrong for our daughter.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Several approaches, on our part and hers were put forth in an effort to find a workable place with this text. We very carefully considered the idea of switching before doing so. Sure, we invested good money in the book; but more importantly, we value commitment and dedication, and do our best to instill those same values in our daughter. We didn’t want to send the wrong message.

You can’t walk away from everything in life that isn’t super fun.

I don’t expect her to feel warm and fuzzy about every single part of our school day. As humans we need to grow and stretch ourselves in new directions. It’s okay to be bored sometimes, to persevere at other times, be diligent, work hard. As a family, we value all of that.

However, it is also important to know when your child isn’t persevering, they’re enduring. There is a difference. 

The writing on the wall says it’s time to make a change.

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Weather Activities for Kids: Rain or Shine

Written by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck

At this time of year, the weather seems to change almost daily. This fluctuation makes weather watching especially fun. Every day there is something new to discover!

Observing the Weather

As long as the conditions are safe to be outside, the kids and I try to be outdoors at least once a day. Sun, rain, or snow, our main method of weather observation is getting out there and experiencing it!

While we’re outside, I encourage the kids to think about what we are experiencing with our senses.  We make a note of the temperature and I like to give them some gentle prompting to make observations on their own.  This year my third grader is learning to read a barometer as well.

Some Thoughtful Questions to Ask:

  • What does it LOOK like outside?
  • What does the air FEEL like on your skin?
  • What do we HEAR?
  • What does it SMELL like outside?
  • What should we WEAR on a day like today?

Keeping Track of Your Observations

There are many different options for a homeschooling family wanting to record their weather observations. Today I’m sharing with you two fun methods that our family has used.

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4 (Fun) Basic Elements of Backyard Science

Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor science and backyard learning.

Bubbles, insect study, gardening, star gazing and acorn catapults – all of this is science. And all of it is fun.

When your children are young – pre-school and elementary years, it is so simple to turn your backyard into an outdoor laboratory for studying the natural world.

Here’s one fun approach you can take to create an outdoor environment for learning inspired by the four classical elements of air, fire, earth and water.

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