Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Summer Bucket List for Families

June 21:Tie Dye Party
June 22: Decorate Walking Sticks
June 23: Letterboxing

June 24: Glow Stick Man

June 30: Summer Watermelon Treat Packets

July 1: Seafood Boil at Home

July 2: Make a Zoom "Ball"

July 3: Fizzy Explosion Bags

July 4: Make Red, White and Blue Firecracker Jello Cups

July 5: Operation Rescue Super Heroes

July 6: Make a Mini Mint Garden

July 7: Make Your Own Gem Mine

July 8: Make Ladybug Cookies

July 9: Take a Firefly Walk

July 10: Make a Windsock

July 11: Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Homemade Ice Cream Maker

July 12: Make a Watermelon Cake

July 13: Make a Solar S'mores Maker

July 14: Make a Balloon Rocket

July 15: Make an Edible Sand Dessert

July 16: Make a Watermelon Picnic Blanket or Tablecloth

July 17: Make a Summer Journal

July 18: Play Pooh Sticks

July 19: Make a Strawberry Fizz

July 20: Do Suminagashi: The Art of Japanese Paper Marbling

July 21: Visit a Local Cultural Store
July 22: Make Bejeweled Goblets

July 23: Make a Watermelon Shark for Shark week.

July 24: Make ice cube boats.

July 25: Have Christmas in July.

July 26: Make an Ivory soap cloud.

July 27: Make Baby Bel umbrellas.

July 28: Make collage art.

July 29: Make cucumber boats.

July 30: Make sand dollar cookies.

July 31: Make a tea bag rocket.

{More to Come: Check back for activities for each day of summer!}

DIY Medieval Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse Summer Learning Camps

For this summer, I have been working on some plans for some lessons review (and some new concepts added in) and yet I wanted them to have fun in the summer and be involved in the process.

Medieval -Fantasy Summer Learning Camp

For this summer camp, the themes are broken down into seperate guilds, which can be done as stand-alone camps, seperate guilds done on seperate weeks (or months) or can be done as a rotating schedule. If you have a large enough group, such as with a homeschool co-op or neighborhood camp, you can run all the seperate guilds at once, with everyone breaking down into smaller groups. However you decide to run it, I will give you a general idea of how to do each guild, including posts for many of the specific concepts. Here are the guilds I'll be covering,  but I am sure that many more ideas can be added using a similar format. Be creative and have fun!

The first days of camp are dedicated to research and solving puzzles (such as researching Ancient Greek so they can read a  clue given them) that give them clues that they will need as the camp unfolds. They learn about the imaginary place they will be in the weeks to come - it's fictional history and geography, as well as what lives there.

Once they are armed to fight a common villain, they become heroes in a literature -based scenario that they act out, using their new-found tools and the character traits of the hero archetype, such as honor, courage and compassion. At last, they celebrate their victory together, building camaraderie.

Warrior's Guild

From history and historical heroes, young warriors learn tactical strategies and from the Master-at-arms they learn swordsmanship. Both of these skills help the young fighters defeat their foes.

Healer's Guild

Young healers learn about human biology and apply what they learn to first aid. Using what they learn, the healer apprentices can design healing "spells" and, as long as they can defend their creations with facts they have learned from biology, they can use them to "heal" those wounded the villains in the story line.

Alchemist's Guild

Using lessons in chemistry, young alchemists apply what they learn about pH and chemical reactions to formulate their own potion "recipes" which they can then use to help their comrades defeat the enemy. These recipes have to named and written in Latin, too!

Wizard's Guild

Using lessons in physics, your wizards-in-training will be able to explain how the forces of nature use matter and energy to make awesome results. These wizards graduate from this school by creating their own "spell" which has to be explained by the laws of physics and nature. These spells also have to be named and written in Latin.

Zombie- Apocalyptic Summer Learning Camp

This camp is divided into three phases, each of which last a few weeks. In the initial phase, students become aware of the zombie attack. Students learn how to use data of migrations to predict the path of the zombie attack, and using scenarios from literature, the story unfolds from there. Students use the information from lessons in human biology to discover what makes a mutant, as well as teamwork to infiltrate the zombie lair. Students also use lessons in geography and military tactics as they plan their defensive and offensive maneuvers.

In phase two, the zombie attack has abated enough that students can use their knowledge of the physical environment to decide where to build a resettlement. They learn survival skills as they have to re-learn how to care for their basic needs in this new situation. As the story's plot furthers, student use aspects of theater such as play-writing, building props, applying make-up and acting to make short films.

In phase three, students learn about how cultural values affect the use of resources, how the principals of sociology and psychology can be used in order to resolve conflicts within the settlement, and how to encourage the work involved with renewable resources.

I hope our summers will be full of entertaining learning and review!

Summer Bucket List: Make a Tea Bag Rocket

This is such an exciting, fun activity to do that takes only a few things you already have around your house!
Take an unused teabag. Carefully remove the staple, empty its contents and... 
stand the empty teabag on a non-flammable surface like a tall cylinder. If you have any holes in the teabag, this demonstration will not work. If you have trouble removing the staple without making the staple hole any bigger, than trim off the end of the teabag that has the staple with scissors. If you do this, however, it needs to be a straight cut so that the tea bag can stand up on the surface you are using and you don't want to cut off too much because you want a long cylinder. 
Light the top of it on fire with a match or lighter
It will burn down quite a bit and you will begin to think that it is just going to burn up and nothing will happen.
And then, suddenly, whooosh....it takes off!

It's a fun demonstration that they will want to see again and again.

Originally published Jun 11, 2012

Summer Bucket List: Make Sand Dollar Cookies for a Trip to the Beach

I wanted to make these cute sand dollar cookies from delicious inspiration, but I knew I would have to leave this until the morning we left for the beach, and I didn't have the time to make the delicious dough, so I decided to make a quick version using Pillsbury's Ready To Bake Sugar Cookies.
The only problem was that these cookies are very small, and I could not fit five almond slices on the cookies. If I were to make them again and was pinched for time, I would try a roll of Pillsbury's Refrigerated Sugar Cookies in a roll.
Whatever sugar cookie dough you decide to use, you will also need some... 
egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
sliced almonds.

After you have your sugar cookie dough, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the circles of raw sugar cookie dough with the egg white, sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar and press 5 almond slices into the center of each circle. Bake for 3-4 minutes, then take the sheet out and press the almonds in again, making slight indentations in the circle. Place the sheet back in the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about another 7-10 minutes, or as directed on the cookie directions. 
Now you are all ready to pack them in a sand pail and take them to a picnic at the beach!

Originally published Aug 28, 2014