Language Arts Rock For Kids!

Language Art ideas for homeschooling, and All!, kids!

Family “Quote of the Week” Rocks!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ~ Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

Here’s a great family activity for sharing around the dinner table. Every Sunday we choose a quote-of-the-week to share throughout the week, and it is really fun!

I originally got the idea from the Mensa website and printed their page of quotes from the teacher resources. We have used some of their ideas, but also have found many on our own. We each participate by coming up with quotes, and some of our family send favorites to us as well. It is such a simple idea, but so fruitful in its results. Some very interesting conversations have arisen from these quotes! Friends, internet searches of famous quotes, and books are wonderful resources for finding appropriate material to draw from.

We write our weekly quote onto a 3×5 recipe card and keep it on our table. We seem to end up talking about these quotes, and learning things about some of the people who said them. Sometimes we write questions or little bits of information on the backs of the cards, as well as the date. This is a very enriching, ongoing, free activity for almost any age. I think teenagers would like it as well as little ones and adults. And, for those who feel that really little kids wouldn’t benefit from this activity, I strongly disagree! It is not important for kids to understand exactly what every intelligent quote means. Just being a part of family discussion and interaction is incredibly stimulating!

We started Family QOTW back in September and it is still rolling strong in our household. Here are some examples from the past months:

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.” ~Basil King

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

“A life spent making mistakes is not only honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing” ~George Bernard Shaw (thanks for that one Grandma!)

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” ~Vince Lombardi

As Captain has suggested, it will be fun to look back at this collection of quotes one day. I agree! Thanks for reading and good thoughts to all.

Carpe Diem! Karen

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Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects, Language Arts Rock For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Book Recommendation: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths

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Who could tell a better story of how the delightfully vain peacock got the gorgeous eyes upon his feathers than the ancient Greeks?  I want to take a moment to highly recommend this book. In fact, I sing the praises of this book, first published in 1962, all the way to Mount Olympus itself! D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths is truly one of the wonders of Captain’s childhood. If you haven’t looked at it before, and you, or your children, are at all interested in the fabulous stories of the gods and goddess in the classic greek myths, then I recommend this book with all of my heart!  It is a large book filled with 192 pages of stories and scrumptious artwork.  It is truly a go-to book on the subject!

Captain became interested in Greek mythology last month when she heard a reference made about Medusa, and her hair of living snakes. She insisted that she find out about the story of Medusa and my husband read her a story that he found online.  She was hooked.  She had a talk with us at dinner and insisted that she needed to know more of the stories of Greek mythology.  This book was recommended to me, and when I read the reviews, I ordered a copy of the book.  We made it special by signing it to her, with love from Mom and Dad, and she can’t get enough of it.  The recommended age is 8 and up, and Captain is 5 1/2, but she has a personality, and interest, that makes it appropriate for her.  Yes, there are gods who marry their sisters, and Cronus swallows his children etc.  but none of it has been anything except fascinating for her.  We went to a family party a couple of weeks ago and she was happy to tell greek myths to her family.  The artwork is so beautiful too, and I cannot believe how much I am learning!  This book will certainly be read time and again in our household.  We absolutely LOVE it.  D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire’s sells for about $15.50 on Amazon and can be obtained from many other sources as well, including used online. This is not a book we could borrow from a library as we would have to keep checking it out!

If anyone out there knows of a source for buying a set of Greek mythology characters in the form of small action figures, please let me know!

Cheers and magic,

Karen

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Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Language Arts Rock For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Road Trips With Kids: Don’t Forget the Mad-Libs!

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It doesn’t hurt to learn a little something without even realizing it!

We are on our cross-country road trip from California to New York, and even though we just got to within 3 hours of our destination, we can’t make it due to running smack into the big snow storm pounding out here (they call ’em “nor’easters”).  But, we are all faring well and at least we aren’t crawling and sliding down the highway any longer!

To keep things flowing for kids stuck in the car on a long road trip, I highly recommend bringing a goody-grab-bag and a pad of mad-libs!  For the goody bag, I packed a draw-string cloth bag with an assortment of fun things that, when Captain gets restless, or is looking for something to do, she can reach in and grab a prize.  I included stickers, an aboriginal-color-your-own-bracelet, a flashing owl, a pair of Melissa and Doug binoculars, a United States coloring book, a small orange padlock & key, and wooden beads for stringing.  I also threw in a little travel container with a special prize to honor the upcoming Chinese new year:  a little collection of Chinese-facts plastic coins.  Fun!

One of the best things to rally the troops after a long day on the road is the classic mad-lib.  Captain now knows what nouns, adjectives, and verbs are because of these fun stories.  If you aren’t familiar with mad-libs, it is a pad of little fun stories in which certain words are left out. We all take turns with the cues to add words and then I read the story at the end. They are hilarious and really fun!  It is pretty cool to hear Captain explain to her dad that adjectives are “describing words” and verbs are “action words”.  They are great!  We have used them for trips before and this time I tried the “Junior” version, but we really like the originals better.  In the junior pad, they give you a list of words to choose from to make it easier for the younger crowd. But, we found that we like to pick our own words and will stick with the classics in the future.

So here we are, hotel-bound until tomorrow afternoon when the storm calms and the roads are plowed.  The adventure continues!  I am just glad I have things to keep us all happy.  Well, I am off to help finish coloring the state of Iowa.  Did you know that the state flower is the wild rose and the bird is the goldfinch?  I am learning so much and I’m thankful that it never ends!!!

Good thoughts and happy travels, Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Language Arts Rock For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alphabet Rocks!

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The best thing about this simple preschool project is collecting the rocks! The second best thing is getting to paint them.  Kids don’t even realize that they are learning that there are 26 letters in the alphabet as it just kind of happens when you are outside on a beautiful day, toting around a little basket to collect rocks to paint.  Captain collected, counted and sorted rocks outdoors at a picnic table.  (It is helpful to look for smoother, flatter rocks.)  As she spread out the rocks and picked her favorites, I gathered the materials.

Method

Lay out newspaper.  Make a palette of colors on a white plate, using acrylic paints that include black for the letters themselves.  I have small 2 oz bottles of acrylic paints that I purchased from Michael’s Crafts for about 99 cents.  Have an assortment of brushes available and a small glass of warm water and a rag for rinsing the brushes in between colors.  We found that painting all of the rocks with fun colors first, letting them dry, and then painting on the letters works best.  You will want the kids to wear a paint smock or an old, stained tee shirt as the acrylics don’t wash out. Kids should be old enough not to put the brushes or paint into their mouths.  If they are still learning the alphabet and need some help, you can write the letters on the rocks with a pencil and let them paint over the top.

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We did this project on a sunny day and they dried quickly and turned out really cute!  If you would like to share photos of your own Alphabet Rocks! project with us, we would love to see it!

I remembered doing this project when I was a kid when I saw it listed on education.com.  Thanks for the memories!

Good Thoughts, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects, Language Arts Rock For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Kids Projects: The Chocolate Tin Word Box

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This is the easiest idea ever and great fun for little ones as they delve into learning all of those sight words! We used a small chocolate tin with attached flip-lid and glued a piece of paper on the inside lid, claiming “Captain’s word box!”. Each time she learned a new word, she, or I, would write it on a small slip of paper and it officially went into the box (The first words to go in were “Mom” and “love”, aaaahhhh!!)

We left the word box on the counter, where we share our meals, and she would open it and proudly read the words as I was putting out the dinner. At first there were only a few words in there, but as she started learning sight-words, and other words, those would go in as well. Early on, she insisted that the word “biscuit” be in there, which cracked us all up. Her box is stuffed now and she is moving past it, but what a wonderful keepsake of this time in our lives. Kiids can also play with those little magnetic words, which will stick to the top.

I hope you try this, if you don’t already have your own version of making learning all of these new words fun. If you do, I want to hear about it!

Good Thoughts! Karen

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