“Please, can we be finished with school?”
How many times a day do you hear that one? Some days Buttercup chants it so much I feel she’s using it as a medieval torture device. Other days, I hear it because I’m boring her out of her mind.
On those days I’m usually boring myself out of my own mind too. Homeschool should never, I repeat never, be that mind-numbing. Days like that remind me of the Ben Stein character from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
One of the reasons I homeschool is to guarantee Buttercup’s mind stays in the lesson, on task, and stimulated enough to learn. I also have to keep myself stimulated enough to teach (I have been known to almost fall asleep mid-lesson). That’s where it helps to have a very creative mind and overactive imagination.
I can’t take credit for all the ideas I post here. Most often I’ll take an idea and personalize it, or as hubby says, I “Rhonda-fy it.”
This is one of the best and most creative ideas for teaching multiplication facts with a deck of cards. You deal the cards out just as you do in War. Each person lays down a card. The first person to multiply the cards together and get the correct answer wins that round and the cards. The winner is the one who collects the entire deck. Kings are worth 12, Queens 11, Jacks 0, and Aces are 1. The way Buttercup and I play varies. If she answers correctly, she receives the cards, if not, they are put back into my deck. Her goal is to collect all the cards from me. When we play this, I have no complaints about math time.
Egg Tempera Paint
This is a new activity I just discovered. I found it in a book about Leonardo DaVinci, and it gives kids the experience of what it’s like to mix your own paint. Believe it or not, it’s not messy.
Place colored chalk into a plastic bag. We used some pieces from Buttercup’s art kit. You could use sidewalk chalk, or any kind. Crush the chalk with a rolling pin until it turns to powder. Place one raw egg yolk in a bowl. Mix in one teaspoon of water to thin it out. Add your crushed chalk and mix. Then paint away. You must use this immediately and it will not store, discard after use. We did find that it took quite a while to dry (several hours), and this paint is pretty thin, so it may run if it’s on an easel. Also remember your egg yolk is yellow. Blue chalk will not render blue paint, but green (yellow and blue make green), so this could be a way of teaching color mixing.
Homemade Finger Paint
This is a wonderful and economical way to create finger paint. You can turn this easy recipe into a chemistry lesson, and your kids can fine tune their color mixing skills by making the exact colors they want.
Mix three tablespoons of sugar, one-half teaspoon of salt, one-half cup corn starch, and two cups of water in a small saucepan. Warm until the mixture thickens. Cool the mixture and pour into containers. Add food coloring to make desired colors.
Cathedral Virtual Tour
This was a project grade for Buttercup last year, but it could easily be adapted for any age, or topic.
She was studying Mystery of History Volume II, and the lesson was during the time period the great cathedrals were starting to be built. Notre Dame was one in particular her book mentioned. After much research, I was disappointed with photographs because it didn’t show the true glory of the building. I then discovered a virtual tour. I went on to find virtual tours of several more cathedrals around the world. There were so many I could not use them all. Her report consisted of several websites where should would take the tours, and then answer a series of questions.
This project does require a lot of effort on mom’s part. Of course, you don’t have to go into the depth I did, you can do searches on certain cathedrals and watch the virtual tours together. This would take up much less time and very little prep time from mom.
Share a creative way you’ve made homeschool fun for you and your kids.