While a botanical garden is beautiful to walk through, it also provides a lot of learning opportunities for your student. The most obvious one is to learn about the plant life. What are the flowers and plants? What do they do? Even learning how a plant grows could be interesting to younger students.
On another note, there is an abundance of birds and insects at a botanical garden that may interest your student. Why are certain insects there? What do insects do to the plants? What about the birds?
This is very simple, but also a great hands-on way to learn over the summer. If you want to tie it into a curriculum, our recommendation would be our In the Garden Project Pack.
Bring a Camera Everywhere
Most people already have a phone on them with a camera, but learning how to operate a camera can be fun. Have your student carry around any type of camera all day and take pictures as they go. While they are taking pictures, they are learning about how to zoom, focus, what all of the nodes and buttons are used for, as well as what to look for that is a good “shot.”
At the end of the day, look over the photos and maybe even talk about the printing process and what goes into the developing of a photo.
If you’re looking for curriculum to tie in to this activity, we have them for every age group here.
This one is a no-brainer. Science museums are chock full of fun and amazing learning opportunities. Check your local science museum for any events they have over the summer. They usually hold mini-summer camps and classes.
Trip to the Zoo
The zoo is full of learning experiences for your student. You can teach about the types of zoos, purposes of zoos, where zoo animals come from, zoo management and animal care, zoo rules, and comparing animals in the wild to animals in captivity. There are also endangered species and why they are endangered. They can learn more about animal classifications and why animals look differently from others.
There are so many amazing science experiments involving water. Below I’ve listed a few that link to some great blogs with the full projects written out.
The blog Rookie Parenting has an entire section with water science experiments. It includes the properties of water, capillary action, water density, refraction, surface tension and the freezing point. The greatest part is that most of the objects needed to conduct the experiments can be found in your home.
Another blog, Brain Power Boy, is a great resource for water science experiments. The great part about this blog is that it’s all about how to have fun with water and science. There are also some ground rules that Sheila lists out that are very useful and great to remember.
Have any summer activities you tie in with education? Let us know in the comments below or by heading over to our Facebook page.
It’s vital that you incorporate something hands-on or outside of a textbook within your curriculum. Whether that be something as simple as going to the grocery store to have your student add the total amount and other activities or putting together a grand experiment, you want it to be a mix of fun and educational. Below we’ve listed 4 fun games and activities that you can incorporate with our curriculum to help you take education to the next level. Have any other fun ideas? Let us know on our Facebook page!
1. Let’s Take a Trip!
The Plan: Did you know that in our geography section there are numerous states, countries and destination locations that can be learned about? Let your student choose from any one of them themselves or choose a location that may not be on the list. Then, when the curriculum is completed, take a trip! No, we’re not telling you to pack your bags and take a road trip (unless you want to!), but to have your student plan out a trip virtually.
The Details: Pick a location and a specific amount of time you’d be going on the trip for. Have your student map out the time it takes to get there (flying or driving), what cities or activities to go to and the amount of time it takes to do these activities. This allows them to utilize geography in a way that is very realistic. For example, if you pick the state of California, you won’t necessarily want to climb the mountains of Big Sur and walk across the San Francisco Bay Bridge on the same day.
2. The Stock Market
The Plan: The stock market is such a complicated system and always changing! Use the Stock Market curriculum to teach your 9th to 12th grade students all about what it means to go public as a corporation or what it means to have stock in something.
The Details: Give your student a certain amount of funny money they can invest. Allow them to research and decide where they’re giving their money, how much and what they hope to see come back or multiply. Have them track these changes over the time you give them.
3. Bringing Stories to Life!
The Plan: Pick a book, short story or poetry to read. Along with all of the normal activities and curriculum with that literature – have your student re-tell the story in an inventive way!
The Details: Utilizing items and crafts around the house, have your student re-tell their favorite part of the literature. This may be in the form of:
Lego block building
Furniture, toys and stuffed animals
A poster board, glue and tons of magazines…
Whatever medium chosen, let it be their decision. Watch them as they bring the story from words to life.
4. It’s Science.
The Plan: Some of our curriculum is a Project Pack, which include quite a few hands-on activities. One of the most fun project packs is Kitchen Science. This project pack takes what’s in your kitchen and teaches how there are similarities between a kitchen lab and a science lab.
The Details: Within the project pack for Kitchen Science is a fun extension activity, along with the 15 other hands-on activities. Finish it, grab a photo and share it on our Facebook page or tag us on our Instagram.
You may be guilty of it, and most importantly, almost everyone is guilty of it.
What is it you may be guilty of? Scrolling through Pinterest for hours.
You may look up recipes, everything you’re interested in or fun ideas for the kids. The thing is, it’s not just a social media platform, but also a search engine. This search engine can be used in a powerful way to aide in homeschooling.
Here are just a few ways it can be used:
Create new boards for themes or units. Then, whenever you find something browsing Pinterest, blogs or just through Google, you can Pin it to that board to go back when you are about to start that theme or unit.
Use the Pinterest Search Engine. Do what you may already do, but streamline it by searching for things you may need help with. Not sure what crafts to go along with your curriculum on Consumer Math? Search “consumer math crafts” and you’ll get hundreds of ideas that others have tried and tested for you. You can use this in any way, even for things like “homeschool organization.”
Who you follow will show up on your overall feed. So be careful. Not every Pinterest account you follow will be ONLY what they pinned that caught your interest. To combat that, follow specific boards.
Create a board for each child. As you know, each child learns differently and is at a different level of education. Why not use a Pinterest board to pin things you know one child would like versus all of them?
Join group boards with other homeschoolers! Usually the collaborative efforts of all will show some pretty great content.
Showcase your students’ amazing work! Why not use it the other way around and show everyone what you’re doing? You may be able to inspire others, but it also doubles as a tracker as well.
Extra general Pinterest tips:
If you don’t want a board to be public, you can make it “Secret” so that you can only see it (or whomever you would like to add).
You can easily pin the same pin to multiple boards, move pins from one board to the next or even delete pins if they don’t work.
If you try something out from Pinterest, you can go to the pin and click the checkmark. This allows you to write your own notes on the particular post, such as “Will do it again,” “Made these changes,” or even “This didn’t work.” You can go back and look at those anytime.
The beginning stages of having a garden is understanding how they work and the life in it. This curriculum is filled with all the information to get your little one from the books to the garden planting their own.
Whether you live in a small town or big city, chances are you have a park close to you. Parks are great places to get some fresh air and exercise, meet your friends, and have some fun! Make your lesson planning easy with this project pack, which is all about things to do at the park, nature at a park, park and playground safety, playground science, and an introduction to state and national parks.
By the time dinner rolls around, you may not have the time to dedicate one or more hours on a meal for the family. Below, we’ve listed five recipes from recipe blogs that are 30 minutes or less, easy to make and delicious for the entire family. Make sure to visit their sites and grab the recipes by clicking on the images!
So here’s the thing: Maggie from The Love Nerds has put together more than 25 recipes that take 30 minutes or less and are perfect for weeknights. Print it, Pin it and Save it in any way you can to keep this on your list to rotate through.
With the hundreds of lapbooks and note packs in our shop, it may be difficult deciding which one will be next in your curriculum. Using your reviews, we’ve put together a list of the most popular curriculums we have to offer!
For the student who knows or shows interest in a career in veterinary science:
“My daughter intends on being a vet and she loved this curriculum. It gave a lot of insight and contained so much information. It allowed her to learn more about her career choice and it gave her some incentive to do some research!!” by Elaine
“My daughter loved learning about animal care and veterinary science. I even learned something new.” by Tracie
Our top-rated curriculums on the English subject:
“This is the first lapbook i have bought from this company and I will definitely be buying some more! A great practical way to learn and my daughter loves the whole secret agent thing so this was perfect for her.Would definitely recommend.” by Patrice
“My girls are teens and we did this and they loved it. I learned some new things, also.” by Suzan
“My daughter has learning issues and hates (maybe I should say HATES) English – this pack helped her very much……..though English is still not a favorite ;0)” by Denise
“LOVE IT! We used this when my daughter was in third grade and are doing another one-using the same kit as I bought the CD combo- now that she is in fifth and is advancing more in grammar. Easy to us with our grammar program and great review. Can’t recommend it enough. Well worth it. THANKS!”
“This was the first lapbook our family ever used and we were hooked! We loved every part of of this unit. We printed all of our minibooks on white paper and my daughter would color them while I read. Thank for such a great product!” by Rebecca
“We really enjoyed the Little House in the Big Woods lapbook! It helped my daughter focus to have hands on projects for each chapter. We have a better appreciation for how much work they did back then. The more lapbooks we do…the more we want to do! Thanks so much for your lapbooks!” by Heather
“This was the very first lapbook that we did. My 9 yo dd is really into the books and wanted to do a lapbook on one. I had no idea what I would be getting from the company. HOAC did NOT disappoint. We used it along side reading the book aloud which was perfect. My 2 younger children really enjoyed it as well. It caused us all to dig deeper into the book and really think about the story. There are mini books about bee sting treatments, celebrations, difference between then and now and many more.” by Kristi
For the student interested in learning about why certain holidays exist and what they mean:
“I have really enjoyed the variety of activities put together in this lapbook. I also appreciate the fact that it can be used for different ages and abilities. Thanks for putting this together!” by Jennie
“In my opinion, Hands of a Child products are always top notch! This is no exception. Very well laid out. Super easy to follow instructions on construction of the folders, as well as the activities. Can easily adapt for multiple levels.” by Susan
“This was a very easy and fun way to teach what St. Patrick’s Day is all about and how it came to be. My 10 year old really enjoyed this.” by Carol
“A very simple lap book about Thanksgiving. This is for grades 4-8 but my first grader enjoyed this as well as my 6th grader. Easily adapted for the younger child. I had my first grader draw mostly pictures on the worksheets instead of writing. Thanksgiving discusses why the Puritans left England, their journey to the New World, Native Americans, the first Thanksgiving, a timeline, lots of recipes and symbols and how Thanksgiving became a national holiday.” by Kristina
“This is our first year homeschooling and so I have been trying out many of the different methods of teaching to see what fits in best with our lives. I have to say that LOVED this HOAC unit study. It was very easy to follow and I really liked that it had detailed instructions on what to do with the printables for the lapbooks. (especially helpful to me since I had never seen a lapbook before!) I felt that the information in it was complete and my children ages 6 and 7 had a great time doing the lapbooks. They both asked if we could keep doing homeschooling this way from now on! (which of course made me ecstatic!!) I had a day by day lesson plan in it which was invaluable to me. I have a 6 yr old, a 7 yr old and then a toddler. All of them have special needs so my time is extremely limited. It was a really big help to be able to spend my time actually teaching them rather than preparing the lessons. All I had to do was look at the lesson plan and then print what we needed for the week. I did cut some of the things out ahead of time since my children have some fine motor issues. I have tried other unit studies also but this HOAC format was perfect for us, I will definitely be purchasing more unit studies from HOAC! Thanks for all your hard work putting these together so that people like me can utilize them. It has been a blessing for sure!” by Jessica
“Very simple yet thorough lap book. Lots of good, detailed information on Christmas symbols. Now that my kids and I know the history of each symbol it really makes us think and reflect each time we see a candy cane, poinsettia or receive a Christmas card. We decided to create our own Advent calendars after reading about their origins in this lap book. We included special messages for each family member in ours.” by Kristina
“My kids and I learned so much about the symbols of Christmas! There were some projects that my younger ones had a hard time either cutting out or putting together, but it brought us closer so we could help one another. I helped my smallest cut out everything. He got to color it in and glue it on. Now they are keepsakes that we can bring out each year to remember Christmas. Thanks for a great study!” by Elizabeth
For the science lover:
“My son worked on this last year and loved it. He’s my science nut He took the finished project to his merit badge counselor and earned a merit badge too! I love when that happens. Thanks for the great product.” by Kristin
“We loved this animal classification lapbook. I have some samples on my blog at http://myfatherssheep.blogspot.com/2011/04/wb-30-animal-classification-lapbook.html if you would like to see how we made the lapbook and completed the study. They really came out understanding animal classification when they were done. Finish the lesson with a fun field trip to the zoo & see if they can identify the different animals :O)” by Rachel
“This was the first lapbook we completed in the Habitat series. After completing this we can’t wait to work our way through the remaining lapbooks. Ocean Habitats begins by explaining the difference between and ocean and sea. Then it breaks into each ocean along with a few facts about each. You will learn about each layer or zone of the ocean, ocean currents and finally ocean life. It gave very general information about ocean life so I had my daughter, age 11, do research on an animal who calls the ocean home. Animals just make learning more fun. She researched the ocean zone in which the animal lives, how the animal helps the ocean and how we can protect this animal and its environment.” by Kristina
“I was afraid this was going to be “too much” for our boys, but it was great! One day I will realize that HOAC Project Packs really are easy to customize to your kiddo’s level. The boys enjoyed looking for vocabulary words as we went through. Our 9 year old was the “note keeper” of the project and our 6 year old was our “illustrator”. We tied in Creatures of the Deep and will be revisiting our Ocean Habitats when we do the Pirates pack.”
For the pirate enthusiast:
“My boys LOVED this lapbook! They like coloring and thought it was fun to paste/brad and color the pirates onto toilet paper rolls. We used eye patches to make it more fun. I liked the color by number and learning activities included. Anything with pirates and parrots will be a hit!” by Melissa
“Oh my, did my co-op class have fun doing the pirates lapbook! This is a great topic for boys. They had to move our classroom because we were being too noisy talking like pirates! On our last day I had them search the building for hidden treasure. They loved it!” by Lynda
“What a great time we had with this! While my olders (12, 10, and 8 were doing Pirates, the 6 and 2 year olds were able to tag along on the journey with this project pack. We all had pirate names and positions on the crew. It is one of our most favorite studies!” by Vicki
“Great unit to start out with. We spent a week on this unit, and the boys said it wasn’t long enough. I done this with a 1st & 2nd grader. They had so much fun creating a pirate, pirate ship, flag, etc! All the activities were fun & informative. Most activities the boys could do all on their own. My boys enjoyed this unit so much, and I was told I have to get more! We’re looking into doing Blackbeard and the Pirates lapbooks from HOAC also. I shouldn’t say looking into … we will do them! Thank you HOAC for adding such fun to our lives by providing great material for our children to learn from!” by Angela
There are even curriculums that get you prepared for your next vacation:
“We completed this lapbook just before our vacation to Disneyland. Although we are regular visitors to the Magic Kingdom, this lapbook gives a lot of info and would be perfect for someone who has never been there, as well as great memories for someone who has.” by Sara
Any of these catch your eye? What have been your favorite curriculum topics you used so far?
Reading literature is such a vital part of a child’s education. The books read can impact a child’s entire life. With that being said, how do you know you are choosing the right books for their age and reading level? How do you know they are truly grasping the message of the book?
Below are just a few books to start with for different age and grade levels. Some of the books have corresponding lapbooks that can enhance the reading experience and engage them with hands-on activities.
Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd Grade
“Kitten’s First Full Moon” by Kevin Henkes
“Kitten’s First Full Moon is an acclaimed modern classic, from one of the most celebrated and beloved picture book creators working in the field today. This memorable character and her suspenseful adventure are just right for the very youngest child. It is Kitten’s first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it. Does she get it? Well, no . . . and yes. What a night!.”
“The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children’s book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor.”
“Strega Nona—”Grandma Witch”—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical ever-full pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. Big Anthony is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden, but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, he recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.”
“Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder
“This beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family begins in 1871 in a log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard for the family, but it is also exciting as they celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night Laura and her family are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle to send them off to sleep.”
“Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.”
February has officially graced us with its presence, and with it brings brand new monthly planning. Below, we’ve listed the top 5 lapbooks for February that both celebrate history and teach valuable lessons.
This means any President! Use this lapbook with the 18 hands-on activities to learn about important dates, country of origin, family, early life and occupations, election and office facts, impact on national history, qualities and characteristics of the president, and more. Better yet, tie it in with some important dates this month: Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is February 12, George Washington’s birthday is February 22 and President’s Day is February 20.
Do you have a mini-inventor on your hands? Grab this lapbook and learn about the greatest of our time, such as Johannes Gutenberg, Galileo and Benjamin Franklin. Better yet, you can tie this in with Thomas Edison’s birthday on February 11.
Not only is it Black History Month, but it’s also Rosa Parks’ birthday on February 4. This is a great time to teach your children that every citizen is entitled to their own civil rights, however there are those in the past who have had to fight for these rights. This lapbook covers the years 1954 through 1968.
Also we are looking to have every unit reviewed over the course of 2017, if you are interested in helpoing us with this please check out our blog for details and then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org