I'm a huge advocate for teaching real-life skills to kids through games and education. In our house, we play a lot of games and Monopoly is one of the most popular. And thank goodness -- I can only play Chutes and Ladders so many times in my life.
Monopoly does more than just teach kids patience, good sportsmanship, and how to count. It teaches four other invaluable skills.
Since each player is given a certain amount of money, kids are forced to learn how to spend money wisely. When we first started playing this game, the kids would just buy up all the property without ever thinking of what would happen when they landed on other player's property. Pretty quickly, they learned that they needed to keep some money to pay rent, to build onto their investments, and well, save some for a rainy day.
This skill pours over into life -- allowances can be spent or saved. A kid who has learned how to save money can get something more valuable than the kid who consistently wastes their weekly $5 on one of those "surprise pack" toys that are worth absolutely nothing.
This goes without saying, but I am gonna say it anyway. Monopoly teaches kids that it costs money to live. Living in a house requires rent or a mortgage (or a lot of cash!). It teaches kids how to calculate property taxes and the idea of supply and demand.
Probability is math and critical thinking skill taught in the game of Monopoly. It's all about the likelihood of landing on a space owned by another player, which then determines if you have to spend some of your money. These factors help children think about when to buy more properties or turn the properties owned into larger investments.
Kids can practice their reading skills when they land on spaces and pick up cards.
Symmetry and Color
To teach students symmetry using primary colors
12” by 18” white construction paper; primary color paints; water in containers; scissors, brushes
Color, primary, symmetry
To teach students about primary colors and show them how to mix primary colors to achieve secondary colors.
12” by 18” white construction paper; tempera paints (red, blue, yellow), brushes, water in containers
Color, primary, secondary
Blue + Red = Purple
Yellow + Blue = Green
Yellow + Red = Orange
Once you have gone through the lesson, allow your students to do their own mixing and painting as they wish.
A ton of books get read at our house, but some are more important than others...especially the ones that form the basis of our curriculum. Here is a list of the books we are using right now. I've made these available to buy through Amazon links. We usually find great books at the library to see how they are first before buying them. These are the ones we have purchased.
Rocky Mountain nature guide, Bezener, Andy
We use this book to do studies on animals. My child picks out an animal each day, reads about it, and writes a story about the animal. We also integrate this book into bigger studies on herbivores, carnivores, etc...
A prairie food chain, Tarbox, A. D. (Angelique D.)
The Odyssey series is amazing and these food chain editions are marvelous. We've read them all and they truly show kids how nature works in a forest from the smallest organism up to the fiercest predators.
*I would also recommend the World Books' Science and Nature Guides. They are amazing.
The illustrated history of the world : from the big bang to the third millennium, Morris, Neil.
Don't use any other book to guide your history curriculum. This book helps you build timelines and learn about history in a smart, structured fashion.
Reading and Phonics
The ordinary parent's guide to teaching reading, Wise, Jessie.
I used this book to help my child learn how to read. We didn't use the entire book because my daughter was fairly advanced when we started using it, however it was great for teaching the harder phonics concepts. You could used this book from the very beginning of a child's journey to reading...if so, I'd begin this book at age 4, and you'll have a fluent reader by age 6.
Fossils Activities for All Ages
Since National Fossil Day is coming up, you can make dinosaurs apart of your learning in many ways. Here are a few of my favorite learning activities:
Another great thing you can do is to have your child write the definition of a fossil down in their writing notebook. According to BrainPop Jr.,
"A fossil is something left from a living thing that lived long ago that has turned into rock. Many fossils are plants and animals that are extinct, which means they're no longer living and none of its kind is left on Earth. In this movie, you'll explore different fossils, from plant imprints to dinosaur bones! You'll learn about fossilized nests, insects, footprints, and more! You'll find out how fossils form over thousands of years. Watch the movie to learn how scientists and paleontologists study fossils to learn about extinct plants and animals."
Read this aloud and have your student write it down.
Make Your Own Fossil
Collect a few things to like leaves, pine needles, shells, even bones. Afterwards, make a bowl shape out of foil. Fill the foil bowl half way with plaster and press your items into the wet plaster. Wait 30 minutes until the plaster is almost dry and remove the objects gently.
National Cake Decorating Day!
The best way to teach kids about science and art is hands-on. Sure, we read a lot of books about science, but DOING it lights my little one's eyes up. Today is National Cake Decorating Day, so for art, we are going to bake a cake and decorate it. The baking part is chemistry at work and the decorating is the mastering of a steady hand. I've provided a recipe, a video, and some resources to help you make the best of it!
Topics Covered in this Unit Study:
Summertime is all about staying cool while the sun shines outside, burning everything up along with it. I like to use summertime as a "laid back" version of regular school. This summer, we are doing a unit study on baking. Every week, we bake something new. Actually, pretty much every day the kids are learning to bake or cook something, but the unit study itself is focused on baking.
Baking is a smart and creative unit study for any grade level. My baking unit study teaches the following:
Poem of the Week: More
The more you read,
The more you know.
The more you know,
The smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow,
The stronger your voice,
When speaking your mind
or making your choice.
Rigid-Free Living: Raising Kids to Think For Themselves without Turning Them into Spoiled Monsters
I have rules for my child. I don't have a lot of them, but I definitely have rules. I think that you should have rules, too. I think my approach to raising my child in an environment that has uneven borders, yet an understood expectation allows her to be creative and productive.
This week we are using color theory as a means for a unit study. Color theory is a wonderful way to introduce physics, vision (senses), art, literature and history.
Throughout the week, I will be providing you with resources, workbooks and activities that you can use to develop your own color theory lesson.
I hope you like it!
Color Theory Basics: Video
Keep a Poem in Your Pocket
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you'll never feel lonely
at night when you're in bed.
The little poem will sing to you.
The little picture it brings to you
A dozen dreams to dance to you
At night when your in bed.
Keep a picture in your pocket
And a poem in your head
And you'll never feel lonely
At night when your in bed.
Beatrice Schenkde Regniers
We've been really into shaving cream and paint as of late. It's easy to clean up and delivers brilliant, child-inspired results. Today we made shaving cream watercolor paintings.
What You Need:
How to Do It:
Learning About Place Value
Color theory is an ideal topic to use for preschool, kindergarten, first grade and beyond, with each year getting a bit more scientific. For us, talking about color builds into a week-long unit study that art, math, science, history, and writing.
Today, I will teach you the basic information you need to teach color theory, build a color wheel and ideas for developing a unit study. Resources that we use will be given to, either as affiliate links or just good ole fashioned resource links across the homeschool/education web.
Just remember to have fun! Remember, this is designed for 3-6 year olds...not a third grader. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. Get a little messy.
I love free things. I really really love free education and homeschool resources. These worksheets came from the website listed on the worksheets. They are free and easy to print. Here are a few for you to use as you teach your child about long vowel sounds:
Rhyme and meter are inherent qualities of our language development. I've yet to see a child not remember a poem or simple limerick. It's second nature for us to remember language that adheres to a rhythm, and that's probably why poetry is our oldest art form, even predating literacy.
You can use poetry to teach children how to read, spell, and remember important information. We sing in verse. Children love poetry. Over the next week and a half, we are talking poetry . And while we use poetry in all of our lessons, I wanted to give you this set of activities to use with your kids at home (or in the classroom). We will be building our own poetry collection as we go along and after the lesson is completed, we will continue write more poetry in the book throughout the year.
I'll make this short and sweet. Alphabetizing words is an important skill for us to learn. It teaches us about systems and mind coordination...all of which we can break later as adults when we see fit. But for now, I recommend teaching alphabetization as you teach the ABC song.
After all, that is the point of the ABC song, right? Order. I have included a free download of two worksheets that play with ABC order. The children do not need to know how to read in order to learn categorization. This is about figuring out what comes first, next and last.
You can use the worksheet to plan a combo lesson that includes math, reading, writing and science! How?
Here are my ideas:
Download the File
Books and Supplies
The media and our society is obsessed with the concept of labeling. We see it in the news everyday. A child is being bullied at school. Or a teenage girl hung herself over a Facebook post.
Thirty years ago, the news wasn't obsessed with the well-being of our children's psyches. Reporters were discussing the Cold War or the implications of a new president.
The news still reports on those facets of life, but it is hidden behind social issues. But the problem with labeling has gotten out of control in our society. Almost too much news.
Now, I am not that mother who supports bullying or harsh behavior toward other children, but I do have a problem with not being able to be honest. Labels are critical to our ways of communication. We have labeled everything forever. It works the same way as judgment. Any person who claims that they are not judgmental are liars or stupid. We judge. We judge everything.
Anyways, off topic a little bit. I do not support negative communication toward children. Children labeling or bullying other children is a minimal problem compared to the real problem: parents labeling or bullying their own children (or children within their proximity).
In the spirit of frugality, here are some awesome, downloadable lessons for your school year: