Candy Experiments: SWEET!

(Blowing bubbles into the water to see that air floats! Don’t worry – they weren’t drinking it!)

We had a blast doing candy experiments with leftover candy. I snagged some clearance bags of warheads, nerds, crunch bars, skittles, m&m’s… and we got to work! I found all of the ideas at Candy Experiments and typed out my own lab sheets. The girls were introduced to the words, “hypothesis,” “results,” and “control”, as well as the concept of conducting orderly experiments with only one variable.

M&M Chromotography

Sink or Float

Does my candy have acid in it?

For the Sink/Float and the Acid experiments, I gave each student four tape-donuts. She taped the wrapper to the paper and recorded her results with a pencil.

The sweetest news? I compiled the experiments and the lab sheets into a pdf just for YOU! Enjoy!


Posted in Early Elementary Education, Homeschooling, Kindergarten | 3 Comments

Summer Center: Bugs

I set up a little table in the dining room that would inspire the girls to read, write, draw, and create in a laid-back way. A few weeks ago, it was flower themed. I forgot to take pictures of it. But, you’ll get the idea from this week’s Bug Theme. It’s not scientific as much as it’s just fun. Of course, they’ve been spending the most time using the push-pins as “poison-extractors” for the squishy little bugs. Viv could play “bug dissection” all day long, but I finally heard Lia speak up for herself, “I don’t want to play bug-dissecting anymore!” (Oh, the things you never expect your children will have to say…)





Posted in Arts and Crafts, Kindergarten, Preschool, Summer Centers | 4 Comments

The Joy of Reading…

As part of the library’s summer reading program, Vivienne has been reading silently for 30 minutes each day.

She finished the first book in Beverly Lewis’ Cul-de-sac Kids series the other day.

Just when I was about to hand her the second book in the series, I noticed that it was missing.

It turns out, she had already gotten it down off the shelf!

She’s entered the world of personal reading!

I’m delighted for her.

Posted in Kindergarten | 5 Comments

A while ago, I posted our curriculum plans for “first grade”. On paper, this year was definitely “first grade” for Vivienne – first grade reading, first grade math, you name it. HOWEVER, we learned something important: everyone in the whole wide world groups children according to grade level and not age, so our sweet 5 year old would technically be bumped up with the 6 and 7 year old’s in all other activities. Until, of course, she begins her second grade work this Spring, at which time she’d join the great-big 7 and 8 year old’s… all the while, she’s very much just a five year old with many, many “just five year old” ways.

So, we decided to call this year Kindergarten, regardless of how far ahead or behind she may be of the typical “Kindergartner”. It finally dawned on me, that our entire homeschooling life will operate on this principle: she will always be working at her personal pace, and we can’t keep shifting her “grade level” to match what she is – or isn’t – achieving academically.

It only took her a few days to reverse the habit of saying “I’m in first grade!” To saying (for one more year), “I’m in Kindergarten!” just as she is. It hasn’t fazed her one bit. This way, she is with the Kindergartners in Sunday School – exactly where she should be. Sure, she is probably reading more fluently than some of them, but they are probably accomplishing other things that she still needs to learn. I’d much rather her stay with her appropriate age-level, than be rushed ahead.

Down the road, I do not want her to think she is in 11th grade, begging to hang out with the 11th graders because she is “doing some 11th grade work”, but is only 14 or 15 years old. At that point, she will just be a sweet little ninth grader, thank you very much.

SO, we take a deep breath and learn a valuable homeschooling lesson that you probably knew all along and were praying I’d understand before too long. Thanks for the prayers. We got it! :)

Posted in All Posts, Early Elementary Education, Kindergarten | 8 Comments

Getting Outside: Jump Rope

With one jump rope, even the littlest ones have tons of fun on the tundra.

We played “horse”; Lia being a particularly diligent little horse, who even ate imaginary carrots.

Then, of course, Viv skipped to her only jump-rope rhyme: “Cinderella, dressed in yellow; went upstairs to kiss a fellow…” Yup. That’s the only jump-rope rhyme she knows. And I can’t rack my brain for any other rhymes besides “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”. So, I pulled our “Anna Banana” book off the shelf in search of one or two redeeming rhymes we could use as we skip. As it turns out, it’s hard to find a jumping rhyme that doesn’t include kissing or violence (‘Remember “My ma and your ma hanging out the clothes? Yup, my ma gave your ma a punch in the nose!” This was a new one to me that gave me the shivers:  “Charlie Chaplin sat on a pin. How many inches did it go in? One, two, three, four…” Yikes!)

Here are some good ones we do like…

MY favorite: “Tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, peas. Mother said to eat lots of these. One, two, three, four…”

The GIRLS’ favorite: “Candy, candy in a dish! How many pieces do you wish? One, two, three, four…”

“I’m a little Dutch girl

Dressed in blue.

Here are the things I like to do:

Salute to the captain,

Bow to the queen,

Turn my back on the submarine.

I can do the tap dance,

I can do the split,

I can do the hokey pokey

Just like this.”

Tie one end of the jump rope to a post and squiggly the jump rope over the ground like a river: “All in together, girls. How do you like the weather, girls” January, February, March, April…” (The girls jump over the rope when you say the month they were born.)

Posted in Early Elementary Education, Healthy Living, Kindergarten, Preschool | 1 Comment

Sweet Science

Target has massive bags of candy on sale for $1.50.

I don’t mean to be bossy, but buy one.

Choose the bag with Nerds, BottleCaps, and SweetTarts.

At home, set up mortar and pestle, pipettes, spoons, tiny bowls, sieves.

Fill three little bowls: water, baking soda, and vinegar.

Let your children mix, dissolve, filter, and fizzle.

Though my camera battery was dead at the best moment when the kitchen table looked like a full-fledged laboratory, the girls spent an hour and a half completely enthralled with… read the rest at Raising Homemakers!

Posted in All Posts, Early Elementary Education, Kindergarten, Preschool | 4 Comments

Hammer a Pumpkin

You were on my mind this weekend.

‘Thought you might be itchin’ for an inspiring activity to occupy your children and your pumpkins.

Your wish is my command.

Grab some nails, sturdy hammers, and get to work hammering pumpkins!

The nails slip in so easily, even the littlest workers can succeed.

Older children might want to create a design; all the children will enjoy adding magnets for decoration. (Be sure to make a few whacks yourself; it’s highly therapeutic.)

Posted in All Posts, Kindergarten | 4 Comments

Need a Smile Today?

Here’s the cooking video that we shared at

by Vivienne!

Of course, I’m biased, but I know you’ll just love it!

YouTube Preview Image

Posted in All Posts, Early Elementary Education, Kindergarten, VLOGS | 13 Comments

Playtime with Drama

Let’s face it, the common denominator in playing mean mommy and ghost is the EXCITEMENT!

We mothers would be remiss not to acknowledge this to our children. After all, sin and evil are exciting to all of us humans. But when we become children of God, we learn two things:

1. That there are certain pleasures and excitements that we simply must not touch, and

2. That goodness and light are always more thrilling than darkness.

With those truths in hand, we have enjoyed one exciting plot in particular: the outback mission.

The day after the “mean mommy” episode, we packed a tin full of snacks, grabbed some old pots and pans, and headed up to a fort in our pine woods. Our nephews had rigged up a really neat fort several years ago, and the girls and I set to clipping back the weeds and outfitting it as a rescue mission for sick and threatened children. I let the girls transplant some ferns into old clay pots to grind up for ” medicine” or “ointments”. Viv took to the woods in search of children who needed help, while Lia preferred to wield a big chunk of chalk to write notes on an old slab of wood.

Together, we splinted broken legs, taught children how to read, shared the gospel, and taught them hymns to encourage their spirits. We hauled logs for firewood, collected nuts and berries, and escaped the villain, Old Crow Feet.

Did my girls even look back in affection to mean mommy? Not a once! :)

Posted in Character Training, Early Elementary Education, Kindergarten, Motherhood | 5 Comments

How To Play GOOD Mommy

Idea #1: When overcoming a rousing time of mean mommy, the first thing to do is to remind your children how to play good mommy.

When I was a little girl, I was happy to rock my babydoll, change her diaper, and take her for walks. The urgency of getting her a nice warm bottle was sufficient drama for me.

I loved playing mommy because my mom played with us. I remember her helping us tuck the babies in just so, and setting up our little table with cloth napkins and plastic plates.

A naturally domestic little girl will initiate this play on her own, but all the others need some coaching and camaraderie.

Maybe in the olden days little girls naturally played mommy, while their own mommy worked hard to maintain the homestead, but I’m convinced that today’s little girls really do need us to play with them regularly… Especially to establish their ability to play sweetly and tenderly.

If your child has a natural interest “outside” of traditional motherhood, show her how to love and care for baby-dolls in that context.

For example, Vivienne is a nurse. In order for anything to be interesting to her, there needs to be a blood transfusion, an oxygen mask, or a heart monitor at least. So, we’ve been playing a lot of hospital, where sometimes she is the nurse, and other times she is the mother who must work with the medical staff to secure the best care for her child.

I find that when I play with the girls, ideas don’t get carried away in the wrong direction. Instead, we work together to brainstorm solutions to problems, and I pull from realistic scenarios for a wide variety of plots to navigate.

Of course, my girls always love a little drama. More on that tomorrow…

Posted in Character Training, Early Elementary Education, Kindergarten, Motherhood, Preschool | 1 Comment