Homeschool Lesson Plan: Cooking

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A great benefit of homeschooling your children is the ability to customize lesson plans for each child.  Of course, you will need to check the guidelines for your specific state, but you will find you have a lot of flexibility in terms of how much, what topics, and when you want to educate your child.

Kitchen Education

One area that I lacked in growing up in terms of education was the kitchen.  I believe we had a food processor, but I don’t think I knew really what it was for or how to use it until I was an adult.  My mother didn’t like to use it because it was so difficult to clean, and I think newer models have addressed this draw back and most parts can go in the dishwasher.  You don’t need to have the best food processor in order to use it in your lesson plan, just as long as you have one!

For a younger child, I recommend teaching a recipe that will keep his or her interest.  I don’t think most children are very keen on homemade pesto, but most children I know love french fries, and both Cuisinart and Kitchenaid have french fry discs for most of their food processors.  So what would be your lesson plan if you were going to make homemade french fries and count it as education time?  You could talk about some of the following items:

  1. Food pyramid / plate
  2. Nutritional value of a potato – before and after frying
  3. Portion control and calories
  4. Properties of stainless steel that make it good for cutting
  5. First Aid (in case you cut yourself on that sharp french fry disc)
  6. What makes a good frying oil and why

After the education, all is left is to cook and eat your french fries!   If you are really feeling ambitious, you can also make your own ketchup, which could be a whole separate lesson plan!

How to Teach Your Kids About Firearms Safely

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There are many things to consider when handling a firearm. For those who have children, the most important consideration is to ensure that your children recognize that the firearm is not a toy, but a tool that is only handled by adults. There comes a difficulty with teaching your children about firearms. Sometimes, how you present a firearm to them can be confusing or they may not fully grasp the importance of not utilizing the firearm. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to teach your kids about firearms in a safe way so that they are aware of how careful one must be around it.

Don’t Keep Your Firearm Hidden Away

According to ABC News, there is currently a vibrant debate regarding whether or not it is more beneficial to hide or to show the firearm to your child. The truth is, you can’t always protect your child from the world. Shielding them away from what a firearm is will prevent them from learning that one needs to be careful and considerate around it. Therefore, the best solution is to take your firearm and your optics accessories out and to show it to them. Explain what each part of the weapon is, and what cannot be touched and what should be locked up like shown in the video below.

Teaching About a Gun Also Means Showing What it is to Use One

There are many ways to teach your kid about firearms. One thing you should cover safely is that a firearm is more than just a tool, it is something that has the potential to hurt someone if not used safely. The most ideal way to teach this lesson is to take your children in a clear area and demonstrate what shooting a firearm can do to an aluminum can. Keep your children at a distance, add great rifle scope accessories to your firearm, and shoot at the can. The force exerted and the bullet in the can will indicate that a firearm isn’t just for activity on a shooting range, it is also something that can damage, which means that one needs to be very careful with it.

A Toy Gun for Your Child – Lesson Learned

The final step that you can take, once you’ve covered handling a weapon, its components, and what happens when fired, give your child a toy gun and ask them how they would use it safely. At this stage, you want to make sure that the child is aware that the firearm is not a toy, but something that needs to be well taken care of and used properly.

Summary

Teaching your child about firearms safely is no easy feat. Taking the above steps into consideration and teaching your child early on about guns can help them understand that the firearm requires careful handling. By teaching about firearms safely, you are also creating a better environment for your child, rather than sheltering them away and creating potentially dangerous curiosity later on.

Watch and Learn Games For Better Listening And Learning

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Listening exercisesEveryday Everywhere Science

 

One of the advantages when your home becomes a classroom and laboratory is that life lessons are all around. You can help your kids learn them by showing them how to be better listeners and lookers.

 

Practice Listening

 

Good listening is key to successful learning and living. It’s also the foundation of good science. Here are a few fun exercises that help students of any age become more effective listeners.

 

Listening Exercise #1 Home Sounds

 

Listening for your baby

 

 

 

Have the kids sit silently to see how many sounds they can hear for a certain period of time (relative to age). Make a list of all the sounds students report. Have the students keep a log of sounds in a notebook, tablet, or computer file.

Listening Exercise #2 Baby Sounds

 

If you have a baby monitor in your home, kids can practice focused listening, especially if there is a baby at the other end. Home students can become baby scientists as well as help parents as caregivers.

 

  • Count the number of breaths in a minute
  • Keep a record of baby’s sleeping and eating habits
  • Record cries other baby noises

 

Listening to the baby sounds better through a monitor in the houseYou don’t have to have the latest, hi-tech monitor with Wi-Fi streaming video. The best baby monitor for this exercise is the old-fashioned, audio-only baby monitor.

 

Practicing Looking

 

Like good listening, learning to be more observant is a skill that will serve your student in every area of his or her life.

 

Observing Exercise #1 Bug Eyed

 

Present kids with small, interesting objects such as a bug. If you don’t have a bug or would rather not handle one, students may be asked to find an insect of their own –

weather permitting and with guidance on those species to avoid. Ask kids what they see:

 

  • How many details can you see on this bug?
  • How many legs?
  • What is its body shaped like?
  • What colors can you see?

 

Always supplement home learning with off-sites, or as the Boy Scouts say, Go See It events. Visit a museum of natural history, a bug house at the zoo, or a library to learn more about insects and how scientists study them. To help students develop observing skills take them to places that encourage and reward close observation and study.

 

Observing Exercise #2 Scene of the Crime

 

Ask your students to sit in one of the rooms of your house and be quietly observant of the space. Tell them to try to notice everything, take it all in. Give them two or more minutes to be observant of their surroundings, and then have your students leave the room. Take a picture of the room, make twenty-one changes to the room, and then take another (or two).

 

Tell the students that the criminals or leprechauns snuck into the room and made 21 changes. Ask the students how many changes they can spot. This game can be played by any age and as many times you wish. Students will also have fun taking turns being the changer.

 

If your students want to play a clever video version of the game, here is one that challenges viewers to spot the 21 changes made in a brief theater scene. How observant are you?

 

Looking and listening carefully are the foundations of science and thus essential to the training of good scientists. Supplement and deepen close observation and listening with off-site or on-line research and plenty of discussion. Home schooling presents the unique opportunity to turn the home into a laboratory and open up the everyday to novelty and surprise. As your students become more attuned to the world around them, you may find the same happening to you

Making Your Kids Go Out and Stay Active

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SKeep your kids active too while homeschoolingkateboards have long been a favorite American sport. Recreation for most young people between the ages of 12 to 18 can encompass a number of sports from football to skiing.  Still a majority when facing time with only a few friends or while alone will find themselves playing a video game or watching television. Passive activities are not the best, but when there are a limited number of options it’s likely to happen.  The answer many have found for the long afternoon, or for weekend boredom is skateboarding. Cruising on a cool loaded longboard is entertaining and offers a chance to practice both balance and coordination. The extra bonus for taking up this form of exercise is it can also be used for short-range trips such as visiting a friend, or going to a park.

 

Longboards and the Fun of Cruising

 

Those boards built long and low to the ground are best for cruising and sliding. Even the beginner boards are good for short trips for a few blocks, or just to practice close to home. For most new skaters it will take a little practice to maintain balance and speed at the same time. Beginners are recommended to go slowly at first, and to always wear protective gear in order to avoid injury. The longboard is a fun choice for those who want to commute short distance, but some training is necessary as is gear that will protect the knees, head, and hands. Some riders use these boards often throughout the day as they are comfortable to ride, and easy to carry around. Boards

 

Downhill Cruising

 

The downhill cruise is an intermittent move made more entertaining with a cool loaded longboard. Downhill it’s possible to pick up speed and practice slides, or simply glide down feeling the power of the board under your feet. Anyone of any age can appreciate the feeling of freedom enjoyed with a board that will sustain weights up 185 or more depending on the board. With wheels that extend outward the board is easy to steer and guide for riders of any level of experience. Flexibility in the board increases the stability of the ride. Loaded longboards typically feature a symmetrical shape for a better center of gravity and for the ability to weight the deck to control and give it energy as the rider needs to push off to coast. Speeds up to 25 mph are possible, although beginners are recommended to stick to comfortable speeds at first.

 

The Possibilities

 

For the young person with time on their hands such as those who have limited access to extracurricular activities or who are homeschooled this affords some time spent out of doors enjoying a fun sport or traveling to a friend’s home. Shortboards are good for time spent learning tricks and stunts, but the longer boards are great for long afternoon outings, and time spent with the great feeling of energy and speed offered by this stable form of transportation.

College Debt vs Free Virtual Schools

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A virtual school gives opportunities to students to learn more and possibly gain a college degree out of a classroom. Aside from freeing you from paying an expensive student loan or seeking loan forgiveness, virtual schools allow you to flexibly take different subjects as you work toward the possibility of gaining a college degree.

College-Campus-is-it-Worth-It

College Campus

For prospective learners who are discouraged by the high price of college education, pursuing a degree through virtual schools is an option most students choose. Aside from being practically free, students can flexibly choose from the different courses available online.

 

Photo Credit

Advantages of Attending Virtual Schools

For students looking for free alternatives or additional supplement to lessons in colleges and universities, elearning has become the primary option to pursue higher level education. Virtual schools have been existent since the 1990s and they have provided alternative learning options from primary schooling up to higher level post-graduate level subjects. Currently, there are many premiere universities throughout the world offering some of their courses for free online. Through this, students are able to learn for free from these free online schooling options. Since these modes of education free students from the burden of student loan and the stigma associated with it. Free virtual schools give students, adults and other individuals alike the opportunity to learn university subjects and courses at their own pace, at their own time, without requiring them to pay expensive matriculation fees.


(video showing how to calculate the ROI on Student Loans)

Disadvantages of Attending Virtual Schools

While virtual schools are a great alternative to actual university study, there are still some things that only university education gets to offer that virtual schools cannot provide. For one, a virtual university entails limited access and interaction with fellow students. Moreover, assessment of actual learning may be difficult on the part of the teachers. In a group class, the teacher may choose to proceed with more advanced lessons without taking into consideration if the students have actually grasped the basics and the foundation of the lessons. While a free virtual school’s main advantage is that it frees a student from the burden of a student loan, a certain investment must still be made by prospective learners. In order to succeed in virtual learning, a student must have access to high speed internet, a computer and the required software for these programs. The initial outlay of money, in this case, is higher than actually going to university.

How To Look Great and Stay Sane While Home Schooling

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I chose to home school my children because I wanted the absolute best for them. Educating children at home takes a huge investment of time and energy. It was really very easy for me to go overboard with the curriculum planning, the field trip planning, and just focusing totally on my children. One day I looked around and realized I had no energy.

I had been wearing pajama bottoms for three days. I realized that if I didn’t take some time for myself, I could not be there one hundred percent for my kids. I would like to share a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Homeschool Fun Zone ArticleThe first thing I did was care for my appearance. Looking great makes me feel amazing and gives me extra energy to deal with the hectic life of a home school parent. The internet provides me with a plethora of information on the best hair. I like to buy quality styling tools that will last a long time like the ones that are reviewed at www.betterhairday.com. I struggle with oily problematic hair most days. I need all the helpful hints I can find to deal with the problem. While surfing through the product reviews I stumbled across a great article for my problem. Read the full article for more great information on to keep your hair looking awesome while home schooling.
Secondly, I realized I needed some pampering. When I drop my children off for music lessons, or other educational activities I often grab a manicure while I wait. This also gives me the opportunity to socialize with other grown-ups. As a home schooling mom I worry so much about my children getting the proper socialization that it would be easy to forget about myself. It really is important to continue to form adult connections and conversations. Although, I admit often times the conversation does turn out to be about our kids.
Finally, I knew I had to find a way out of my pajamas. I know many home schooling families are on a tight budget. There are still many affordable options out there for style. In my neighborhood there are many thrift stores and resell shops. I have found great deals on stylish outfits that have been gently used. There are also many websites that sell overstocked clothing items and shoes at greatly reduced prices. Looking my best does not have to break the bank.
I learned the hard way that I had to invest in myself. I was getting burned out. I have learned that a little time and money spent on myself and quality products goes a long way into keeping my sanity. I deserve as much care as my children.

At first I had the little voice of guilt that I think many parents suffer with. I should spend that money on the kids. I don’t really need a curling iron, new outfit, shoes, or anything for myself. I finally realized that an investment in myself is still an investment in my children.

Benefits Of Home Schooling Your Children

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So you’re considering schooling your children. It will be great that you can spend more time with them, teach them practical things like money management, and they can do their chores like filling up the cat litter box with flushable cat litter. But, you’re a little concerned whether or not you can provide them with a well rounded education, social skills in line with kids who go to school, and you’re nervous about the state and national tests. Fortunately, you can rest easy because those questions are easily answered.

teaching how to use flushable cat litter at while home schooling

Courtesy of Kate Ter Haar

You Can Teach your Children Just Fine

What is the phrase that we always hear when politicians are arguing over education: overcrowded classrooms. Overcrowded classrooms is a talking point for politicians on both sides of the isle, and for good reason. The more students in a classroom, the harder it will be to give each student the attention they need. Whether it’s an advanced student, or a student who learns at a slower pace, each student needs varying amounts of attention. Fortunately for you, you won’t have to deal with that. You will be able to give your child all of the one-on-one attention he or she needs to become a successful student. Your child won’t feel embarrassed to ask a question, the answer will be explained until they understand, and chances are that your child will finish their studies much quicker than the standard public school classroom.

 

Social Skills

 

Yes, it’s true, children who go to school do develop good social skills that children who are home school may not, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of ways to get your child involved in social activities without them going to school, and you should get them involved as much as possible. Some day they won’t be under your care any more and they’ll need those social skills to function in the real world. Sports is a great way to do that. There are lots of sports clubs for kids that aren’t attached to a school district and anyone can join if they pay the fee. Also, a lot of states allow home-schooled students to participate in public school sports. Just because you home-school your children doesn’t mean you don’t pay local and state taxes, and taxes pay for those sports, so there is no reason your child could not participate. If that sounds interesting, call your local school district superintendent and ask him/her if that is the case in your state.

Standardized Tests

A recent study conducted by The Home School Legal Defense Association showed that the average home schooled child scored in the 88th percentile in core studies (reading, language, math) and they also scored an average of the 85th percentile in science and social studies. The average public school student scores in the 50th percentile.

 

If you’re thinking of  home schooling your child and you have these concerns, put them at ease. Home-schooling may be right for you.

A Lesson In Grilling

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 Whenever you break out the grill to cook lunch or dinner, it brings families together. There’s just something about the flavor the grill imparts on burgers, chicken, steaks or corn on the cob and other vegetables that brings great anticipation and makes family meals a little more special. Well, grilling can be more than just a way to cook food. It can be a great multi-topic homeschool lesson, too.

Research

The first lesson can be one in price comparison. Have your children research some of the best gas grills to find out what features are standard and what are extra, and then compare the prices. Have them explain why they chose a specific model and why they believe the grill is a good buy for the dollars spent.

  Math

As you know, cooking and following recipes involves math. Search for different grill-oriented recipes, such as spice rubs, marinades, and barbecue sauces. Then have students double the recipe, or cut it in half. In order to do this, they have to add or subtract fractions. Or instruct them to make a second version, but change the proportions of some of the ingredients, then have them taste the difference. The changes in flavor—too spicy or too bland—or texture—too oily or too dry—will demonstrate how cooking is based on formulas.

Nutrition

There is such a wide variety of foods that are grill-friendly; however, some are better nutritional choices than others. Compile a list of different grill dishes and ask students to pick the healthiest ones and explain why they made their selections. Or ask them to figure out ways to make foods healthier, such as switching to ground chicken or turkey for burgers or swapping out meat for portabella mushrooms.

 

Take the lesson a step further and have the kids plan an entire healthy meal. Give them a budget and have them write up a grocery list to meet the budget. Then let them prep the marinade or spice rub. With supervision, have them run the grill, which should include testing the meat’s doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer. This could be a chance to talk a little science about bacteria and food safety.

 Fire Safety

Gas grills ignite with a push of a button or turn of a knob, which means no need for lighter fluid or matches to get the grill going. However, gas grills still get hot and could experience flare-ups, so operating a grill is an opportunity to address fire safety with older students. Discuss how to properly handle a hot grill, and for that matter, a fire extinguisher. Teach the differences between a “regular” fire and a grease fire, and how each should be put out.

 

You could also turn a grilling experience into a first-aid lesson by identifying different degree burns and how to treat each.

 

Side Benefits

Even if you don’t turn grilling lunch or dinner into a homeschool lesson, it’s a great opportunity to get the kids involved with what you’re doing, and that comes with benefits.

  1. When children are more actively participating in planning and preparing meals, they are more likely to be interested in what they’re eating.
  2. While you wait for the grill to do its thing, take the opportunity to talk with your sons or daughters without distractions.
  3. If you have some favorite smoking or barbecue techniques, “pass them on” to the next generation.
  4. Finally, if your son or daughter really likes being in charge of the grill, then you can count on having help when grilling meals in the future.

5 Tips for Fun Homeschooling Field Trips

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Homeschooling doesn’t have to be devoid of all the aspects of a traditional school experience. While home-schooled kids might not have the same type of sugar fueled, playground madness filled school days that mainstream-schooled kids have, they have opportunities to learn in innovative ways.

Photo credit: Ricorocks
Parents who choose to keep their kids at home are coming up with new methods to keep their students engaged every day, but sometimes the old standbys are the best bet for educational success. Whether you’re working one-on-one with your child or in charge of a collective homeschooled classroom, field trips can be an exciting way to spice up the learning experience for everyone. 

 

1. The first step toward a great field trip? A car (or cars!) with enough space to get everyone to reach their destination safely. Protip: minivans, minivans, minivans.

 

2. Make sure you’re organized. Figure out who’s coming, who’s driving, and who’s riding in what vehicle. Write everything down so you won’t have any funny business at the last minute. If it’s just you and your kid/s, this step is a obviously little less important, but still, it can’t hurt!

 

3. Make sure those kids (and you) are fed and watered! Depending on the field trip, you might need to bring a cooler or picnic basket-contraption of some sort. Failure to consider this can result in some very grouchy kids and supervisors. If you’re going somewhere outside, get enough food for everyone or make sure everybody brings something to eat. While you’re at it, bring some folding chairs for sitting in! If you’ve got enough space in your vehicle (again, can’t vouch for the minivan enough), these extras can make your excursion just a little easier for all involved.

 

4. If you’re opting for an indoor field trip somewhere you’re not permitted to bring your own food (like a museum), make sure you have lunch/snack plans! Do some research. Find out if there is a food court available to you, and if so, check out the prices so you can alert other parents to the cost. Being prepared to cover that kid who forgets his or her lunch money couldn’t hurt either (there’s always one, isn’t there?).

 

5. Do more research! Learning some things about the place you’re going can make the trip there a bit more educational and entertaining. I like to give my kids a run-down on our field trip location on the way there. When I took them to the zoo, I used the lengthy car ride as a chance to tell them a little bit about what they’d be seeing and experiencing, especially about the exotic animals they’d never encountered before. When my daughter heard that she’d get to see something called a red panda, she was even more excited about the day ahead of her! The car ride can also be a great way to get your kids asking questions (like “What’s a red panda?!”) about their impending adventure, and questions are the first step toward learning!

Extracurricular Activities

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Beyond the Classroom

As with any child’s educational plan, balance is always extremely important. As much as a child needs mathematics and science, a child needs physical activity and the arts. But as I think most homeschooling parents are aware, striking this balance at home can be a challenge. Often times the first thing to fall out of the schedule is physical activity which can be detrimental to the development of a child.

Physical activity takes many shapes and forms. Going outside to do jumping jacks or run around the yard is a form of physical activity just as playing on a baseball or soccer team is. However, not all physical activity is created equal depending on the age of your child.

Typically, homeschooled children are learning as an individual or in small groups, typically with their brothers or sisters. Something those children miss out on throughout the day is the interaction with other children who are not their family members. It’s extremely important to understand that kids need to interact with people outside of their family which is why team sports can be a fantastic addition to any home school curriculum.

Teaching Teamwork

Let’s take a closer look at baseball, where most children end up playing a little bit as a youngster. The barriers to entry are low as kids can share much of the equipment and really only need their own baseball glove. What is fantastic about baseball however is the way kids need to work together to accomplish a common goal. Furthermore, the game teaches responsibility and a commitment as every kid on the field has their own job to do and failure to perform will disadvantage the entire team.

Another important skill baseball teaches children is the proper way to win and lose. Children who don’t play sports often don’t understand that it is a perfectly normal part of life to lose. And when you lose, you reflect on how you could have done things differently which might have resulted in a different outcome. And of course, learning to win ‘properly,’ is just as important as learning how to lose. Being a good sport to the opposing team, your teammates and your coaches are all important skills which will benefit a child later on in life.

All about Balance

Balance is the key and joining a recreational or competitive sports team is a perfect way to commit to balance. Once a child is registered, games and practices will be scheduled which also give the homeschool teacher a bit of a break from instruction. Plus, when a child joins a team sport, they are introduced to many other children from the local community which is a much needed for homeschooled children.
Homeschool-team-sports
Of course, if sports aren’t something a child enjoys, there are other activities parents can explore which promote these skills. One example is for a child to join a dance program. Just like baseball or soccer, dance teaches children valuable skills which are often missed inside the classroom. It’s always great to provide a child options and allow them do something they want to do. Just make sure to give options which include the above skills.