Category Archives: Unit Studies and Lapbooks

Lewis and Clark Unit Study

Our family loves doing unit studies throughout the year.  Unit studies make learning an adventure.  It takes what could be a boring subject, and makes the material relatable and alive.  Your kids will love doing history, geography, math, writing, science, research, and more when you combine it into learning about a central subject with a unit study.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew was recently asked to review Once-a-Week Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy.  This was exciting to me, because I am a member of the same local homeschool association as the author, Sharon Gibson.  We have spoken on a few occasions, I have purchased two of her unit studies in the past, and I am very pleased to see her materials come through the TOS product reviews.

Sharon is a veteran homeschool mom and has graduated two son’s.  She continues to remain a resource for local homeschool families and for the past several years has been reaching out to a larger homeschool audience with her homeschool products.  She has been a guest speaker at homeschool workshops and homeschool conferences, and you can find her booth at curriculum fairs and homeschool conventions in the south east USA and other areas.

The Once-a-Week Unit Studies are designed with a biblical focus and to be done with families with kids in 2nd grade – 12th grade.   However, my opinion is that anything can be adapted.  My children are 12, 9, 7, 5, 3, and10 months of age.   We did this unit study as a whole family.  Even my 3 and 5 year olds enjoy doing parts of these unit studies and I would encourage families with younger and older children to give them a try.

The current titles available in the Once-a-Week Unit Studies include:

        Birds Of A Feather 
        Christmas Comes To America
        Early Settlers In America
        Forest For The Trees
        Horsing Around
        Knights And Nobles
        Lewis And Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea
        Native America
        Revolutionary Ideas: The Story Of The American Revolution
        We The People: Getting To Know Your Constitution
        Weather On The Move

If you have a child who needs to acquire merit badges for a club such as Boy Scouts Of America, or American Heritage Girls ,etc, these unit studies can help. Several of the learning activities listed meet the requirements for achieving these badges.  Be sure to check the website for more information.  Sharon also encourages using these unit studies to accomplish 4-H clubs project record books.

Our Experience

Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we were given the option to choose a downloadable copy of a Once-a-Week unit study, and I chose to review the Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea  unit study for the purpose of writing this review.  However, the downloadable products are currently not for sale.  If you purchase a Once-a-Week unit study, it comes already bound for you.  The Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea Unit Study retails for $19.95.  It has 80 pages and contains lesson plans for 7 weeks of study.


Included in the unit study are suggested daily schedules, weekly schedules, lesson plans, library book lists, field trip suggestions, worksheets, and more.  Some of the subject areas covered include: Bible, Literature, Language, History, Geography, Science, Writing, History, Arts & Crafts, etc.

Table of contents in the Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea unit study includes:
            Available Once-a-Week Unit Studies
            Boy Scout “Nature” Merit Badge Information
            American Heritage Girl “Nature & Wildlife” Badge Information
            Suggestions for How to Schedule Your Unit Study Time
            Week 1: New France
            Week 2: Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Louisiana Purchase
            Week 3: Fixing for a Start
            Week 4: Sacagawea Joins the Corps!
            Week 5: Trials and Tribulations
            Week 6: Ocean in View! Oh the Joy
            Week 7: Homeward Bound
            Getting the Most Out of Your Once-a-Week Unit Study

We have been using this unit study for 3 weeks.  We do the bulk of the activities one day a week with independant reading and read alouds through out the week.  We have completed the lesson plans for weeks one and two, and are working on our third week.

Gathering Supplies:

There are materials need
ed to complete the learning activities in the unit study.  Included are seperate materials lists, book lists, and movie lists that are suggested to complete each lesson.

Some items are optional, and some items or the equivalent of the listed item, is required to meet the learning objective.  Most of these items can be found at your local library, some on the internet, and some you will need to pick up at a local craft supply store.

It is a good idea to read through the unit study before hand, and gather your supplies, and plan your trips to the library and store.  I would suggest a box or basket to put items like books, printables, and another basket for craft supplies you will need. This organizational step makes my life with 6 kids much easier and helps me keep on track.

We went to a couple of different stores to find items we needed for Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 3.  I will re-group and gather the rest of the supplies to finish the remainder of the unit study; Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, and Lesson 7 in the next few weeks.

Here is a list of some of the supplies I gathered:
        three ring binders to makeistory Timeline notebooks, 
        sketch pads to make exploration journals, 
        Chamois towels to make journal covers, 
        brown embroidery thread, 
        large eye needle.
        clay to create a map of the USA
        paint to paint the map
        tooth picks
        note cards to make flags
        plaster of paris to make molds of animal tracks
        cardboard to make molds of animal tracks
        measuring cup
        plastic fork
        plastic tub with lid
        colored markers, crayons, and pencils
We also picked up a few additional items, not required, to enhance our learning about this time period and these will be great to use through out the study: 
        full color laminated map
        toy knife /sword, 
        a toy tomahawks.
        arrow head
        Bow and arrow
        Fishing line and fishing hook
        Wooden Rifle
        Wooden Pistol
        Knife made from a deer antler and flattened steel
        Shells for making jewelry and use as currency
        gemstones for decorating clothing and used as currency
        Beads for making jewelry and decorations on items
        Rabbits Foot – to represent fur trapping
        Raw Hide – to represent hunting, leather tanning, and leather products
        Magnifying glass
        Raw hide wallet with old fashioned blanket stitching, to show how hide can be made 
        into a useful product
        Book about Native American medicine and some examples of the herbs and plants. 
        Beef jerky
        Dried berries and fruits, other dried foods
        Salt for preserving and seasoning food
There are thousands of great resources on the internet, including videos, books, coloring pages, printables, etc. so I encourage you to do a search and find some to use in your unit study!

I will try to post stories about some of the specific activities we are doing during the course of this study. But below are a few of the highlights from the first couple of weeks, hope it wets your appetite!

Language Arts/Bible Devotions/History/Science/Research:

Each week a list of suggested book titles is given.  Many of these books are available at your local library.  Many homeschool associations also have a resource room full of books that may have what you need.  You can use some or all of the suggested books, or make substitutions as needed.  In addition to library books, you will also need a bible on hand to complete the devotions.

When looking for books for this unit study, I found some books for sale on Amazon, Ebay, and I had several books on hand that discussed the Lewis and Clark expedition, some discussed the lives of different Native American tribes, some wildlife, etc.  I was thrilled to find these books on my book shelves:  History for Little Pilgrims, From Sea to Shining Sea, Indian Doctor, Homes Of The West, Tall Tales Cross Country with Lewis and Clark, Wagon Wheels, Beaver, The Three Little Pigs, Bearnstien Bears, Starting with Nature, Tree, I Wonder Why Trees Have Leaves, Wildflowers Blooms and Blossoms, and several more.

On Youtube, I found so many great videos to learn from.  We watched some serious historical videos and some funny historical videos too.   I will share a new story with links to several videos, but today I wanted to share two with you.  

This one is really cool made by a kid and he used clay to tell the story about Lewis and Clark:

This one is really funny and animated, but gets the message across.

 Make A History Timeline:

Making a History Timeline is a great way to visually see events in chronological order.  My son used a ruler and a pencil to draw a line acros
s the middle of several blank pages to fit into a three ring binder.  Each page represented a span of time of 100 years.  He labeled the pages from the 1400’s through the 1800’s and will continue to add more pages for other centuries as needed.  As we learn about an event or a significant person in history, we add them to the Timeline.

 Explorers Journal craft:

The kids made an Explorers Journal, similar to the Lewis and Clark journal,  to record natural science, animals, plants, and geography they learn about through out the unit study.  Be sure to read our story about the Explorers Journal, how we made them and used them.

My kids had lots of fun making and using these.  We had a few mishaps, so be sure to check out our story about these journals and see what we learned.


Science/Field Trips/Research:

Suggested activities:
    Go on a field trips to locate animals, beavers, crayfish, trees, plants.  Record 
    your observations in your exlporers journal.

Find animal tracks & make a plaster cast of them.  
We have some animal track molds to use with clay or playdough also. 
Find a beaver damn.

Geography Mapping:

Label a map with the 13 states and the territory purchased in the Louisiana purchase.
Make a topographical (3D) map.

Lapbook and Notebooking:

Once-a-Week Unit Studies also encourages families to make lapbooks if they desire to do so, but it is not a requirement for the unit study.  Included in the unit study are a few learning worksheets for different weeks.  There are also suggestions for writing assignments and research. All of these learning activities can be placed in a notebook or lapbook.  

I searched on the internet and found lots of ideas and pages for creating a Lewis and Clark lapbook, and I will share this in a future story.  I also found lots of coloring pages, worksheets, and printables to enhance our study, and we are adding them into our lapbook too. 

I think making lapbooks or notebooks about our learning adventures enhances our learning and they are great fun to look back on for review and to enjoy for years to come. Our Lewis and Clark lapbooks are a work in progress, and I will show the finished lapbooks and where to find the printables in a future story.

Well, I hope that “taste test” of our Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea unit study we did wets your appetite, and you are hungry for more!  These unit studies are a great tool to make your learning adventures fun and memorable for the whole family.

You can order the Once a Week Unit Study products directly from the Homeschool Legacy website.  You can also find these products at booths at several homeschool conventions in NC, SC, TN, and more. 

Stop over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see what others on the Crew had to say about this product.


Disclaimer:  I was sent an e-version of the unit study listed above in exchange for writing and honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own honest opinion. 

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Lewis and Clark Explorers Journal

This was a fun project we made from the Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea unit study.  Be sure to read our review, and other stories about what we did in this unit study, including crafts, timelines, field trips, a lapbook, and more. 

Louis and Clark had a journal covered in leather, Elk hide, that they recorded details of their journey in from 1803-1806 as they explored the Louisiana Purchase, and further west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. They recorded and mapped their route, the landscape, animals, plants, and people they encountered. Their journal was a valuable tool for them, as well as for government, pioneers, tradesmen, biologists, scientists, and historians.

We have 5 school age children (and a baby) and we wanted each of the children to make an Explorer’s Journal.  We had a few blunders along the way.  Homeschooling sometimes is about trial and error. Life is always about trial and error.   Sometimes, projects can go awry and become something other than you originally intended.  Sometimes the lessons are for our children and us parents to learn patience and forgiveness.  Below I have shared our ups and downs with this craft project in hopes that it will bless you and so you can learn from our mistakes and perhaps be able to avoid them yourself.  It is kind of funny now looking back on it, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.

Making the Journal:

Directions from the unit study:

    Inexpensice blank sketch book available at craft supply stores
    Chamois available from the automotive section of your local discount store
    Brown emboidrey thread
    Sewing needle with a large eye

“Spread a piece of chamois out on a table.  Open a blank sketchbook.  Lat it cover side down on top of the chamois.  Using a pencil, trace around your book.  Now draw another line 3″ out from the left and right sides of your tracing.  Set the book aside.  Fold and pin the left and right sides of the chamois in 3″.  Blanket stitch the top and bottom edges of your book cover using a needle and brown emboidery thread.  Slip your notebook into the chamois book cover. Write in your journal…..”  Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea, pages 13, 17, 18.

We went to the store and bought 5 Chamois 18 x 14 inches, brown emboidry thread, 5 sketch pads, and a needle with a large eye for stitching with the emboidry thread.   The Chamois is easy to use and recommended as a substitute for leather which requires some special tools. 

We jumped in to the craft project with both feet (actually both hands).  But I soon learned it required a little more custom work than I realized at first.  Depending on the size of your book, the binding, and the size of your chamois, it requires some calculating and adjusting.

When we opened the 7 1/2 inch long sketch pad, it measured 15 inches from end to end. It seemed that 18 inches would be enough, but 18 inches, minus 15 inches, minus the folds, left us with about 2 1/2 inches, or 1 1/4 inch for each side (not the three inches required for each side).  It did not leave enough chamois fabric length left over to make the pockets. We tried every which way but our sketch pads were to big and did not leave enough material left to make the pockets to hold the cover.

So we had to cut two inches off the length of the sketch pads. We measured everything with a ruler.

We cut the cardboard cover with scissors and the sketch paper inside the book with a paper cutter to get nice straight edges.   It took some time as the paper cutter could only cut through the thickness of one page at a time.  The pages are made out of thick card stock.

Now our sketch pads measured 5 1/2 inches long, and 5 inches tall.

Then we traced out the sketch pad shape onto the fabric. Then measured 3 inches on each side and drew another line. Next we cut out the fabric.

Again this was another place where things went wrong and we had to re-make our custom covers again.  We did not realize we needed to leave extra space on top and on bottom of the fabric for stitching and to accommodate the depth of the sketch book.


If you cut along the top and bottom of the book outline, you have no room to sew the cover so there is room left over to slide the cover in.  This was another place we needed to add in a calculation. So we re-made them leaving an extra 1/4 inch on top and 1/4 inch on bottom, and an extra 3 inches on the left and on the right.


The older boys got a lot of experience measuring, cutting, threading their needles, and blanket stitching. 

Yeah!  We got the pockets done and the cover is ready!!…  NOT!!!…  Now the journals would not close.  ARGH!!!

The next mistake was that we used a sketch pad with a spiral binder and this needed an additional allowance in fabric.  This meant that when the book was laid open, the top and bottom covers laid flush, but when closed the cover slipped forward and the spiral binder stuck out past the covers. This required extra length or the spiral binding of the cover prevented the journal from closing.  Who knew?  OOPPS! 

I just could not believe we had made the covers and they looked so nice, and fit perfect when the journal was open, but when we tried to close the journal, there was not enough fabric to allow it to close.  Another re-do!!!  We had to make them again adding in another 1/2 inch to accommodate the spiral binding when it was closed, except for my 9 year old.  He was determined not to remake his, so he took the stitching off of one side, and reduced the size of the pocket on that side and it added a half inch of slack to the cover.  Then he re-folded the  smaller pocket and sewed both sides of the pocket.  Now he had one big pocket and one small pocket and he was happy it was done!

After going through all of this, we decided not to make covers for the 3 and 5 year olds.  We still had some chamois fabric left, but they did not want a cover and liked the way their journals looked without it.  Why argue with a 3 and 5 year old?  At this point, I was fine with their choice.  Their journals had cute designs already on the covers, one in pink and one in red. If they change their mind in the future, we will make them one too.

We ended up with three finished covers that looked great (and several prototypes).  These books all looked the same when we were done, so for the two older boys, ages 9 and 12, I had them monogram theirs with their first initial on the front and middle initial on the back.  This was great practice for them in creating their initials with the thread.  We drew their initial in pencil backwards on the reverse side and they followed the design.  It turned out great on the front side.  The 12 year old also blanket stitched all the way around his cover instead of only on the pocket.  On the 7 year old’s cover, we wrote his first name on the front.  Now, we can get started using them.  Yeah!  Or not……

Finally, we had one last misshap I will share with you. Older brother had helped me a bunch with this project.  He helped make and re-make the other covers when there was a mistake.  He made his own cover last and finally his was done also.  He was very proud and had monogrammed his with his first and middle initials.  But because all the boys share the same first initial, one brother thought this was his book and used a marker to write the rest of his name after the monogrammed letter.  He was so sorry, and embarrassed when he flipped the book over to see his brother’s middle initial on the back.  But he had written in permanent marker and there was no fixing it.  The oldest brother was heart broken, but took it all in stride.  Now he would have to start over again.  This was a good opportunity for the boys to build relationships and to empathize with each other.  They had to ask for forgiveness, and to forgive each other.

He made a completely new journal cover: from measuring, cutting, folding, pinning, sewing, emboiderying, etc. from start to finish in about two hours.  He had the system memorized! 


He monogrammed the outside with his first and middle initials, and designed a pine tree and a star that he made on the inside pockets.  He did a great job and was a real trooper!


3 Keys to crafting cover success. 
If you plan to make a cover for your journal:

step one:
  make sure you measure your journal, and then measure again.  Be sure you add to your measurements these additions so you can buy the right size material:  add 1/2″ for the binding, 1/4″ for the top, 1/4″  for the bottom, and 3″ to the left and 3″ to the right.  Then when you blanket stitch the seams of the pockets about 1/4 inch from the edges, and open and close the covered journal, it should all fit just right.

step two:  buy the material based on the measurements above so that it is big enough to make the journal cover.

step three: if you have multiple children, be sure to add distinguishing features so the children do not confuse who’s journal is who’s.

If you don’t have a chamois, other substitutes for the leather cover could be felt, thin cardboard from a cereal box, or thin foam sheets.  You could also use heavy multilayered brown paper (often made into bags with nice handles from specialty stores).  I have seen several of these brown paper covers and they look very realistic. The brown paper is aged and made to look and act like leather by wrinkling it up and flattening it out several times and then “trimmed” by burning the edges. It really does make it look like old leather. Any of these options would make a nice cover for an explorers journal.  You could also make your own sketch pad instead of buying one.  We have made these many times with sheets of paper and thin cardboard from a cereal box.

Using our Explorers Journal:

In the 7 week unit study, Lewis and Clark: From Sea To Shining Sea, we are given a lot of fun ideas about using our journals to record plants and animals, natural science, and geography that we learn about along the way.  We have almost completed 3 weeks of the study as of the time of writing this story, and our review for The Old Schoolhouse, and I hope to post a future story when we have finished all seven weeks.

Some of the things we did in the first three weeks of our study with our Explorers Journal include
d leaning about mammals, endangered species, animals that are native to our local area, beavers,  Newfoundland dogs, and crayfish, making a map, identifying native plants.  We spent some time reading and researching.  

During week one, the kids learned about beavers, and looked up information on the internet, what they look like, their tracks, their homes, etc. 

I found some pictures online of beavers, a beaver building a lodge, a beaver lodge “blue print”, pictures of the hands and feet, and the track that matches the hand and foot.  I printed them out for each of the children to cut out and glue into their journals.




Daddy also found a beaver damn at a local creek in Brevard, NC when he was checking one of his job sites and we put this in our Explorers Journal.  We hope to take our own field trip for all the kids to see the damn soon.

During week two, we also learned about mollusks and crustaceans, and specifically crayfish, their body parts, what they eat, and their habitat.  I found some pictures online and a really cool labeled diagram of the crayfish body.


We visited the Mills River, and caught several crayfish and investigated their habitat. 


The oldest drew all of his pictures in his journal rather than cut and paste.  He loves to draw and this is a perfect learning activity for him.

In week three of our unit study, we learned about the Newfoundland dog and its special characteristics.  We added this dog to our journals.  We will be making a topographical map with clay and paint it and add a picture to our journals. We will also learn about 15 native species of plants and 12 species of trees and add them to our journals by the end of this week too.


Each week we will add more records of our learning adventures into our Explorers Journal.  Keeping an Explorers Journal is a great way to record and enrich what you are learning.  You can apply this to so many more things beyond a unit study. 

For example, if you plan a vacation, make an explorers journal to record nature, science, and geography that you see on your trip.  There are lots of great applications for a journal such as this.  For the past six months, we have taken a nature hike at the local parks every Tuesday and Friday and record our journey with photos.  We love looking through these each week.  We are going to expand our learning and make a new Explorers Journal to keep a record of our nature hikes in the parks.  I love recording how the plants change from week to week and this will be a great way to take the information we have recorded in photos and expand our learning in a hands on way.  Eventually I hope all the kids will draw many of the plants we see and I can save money on ink for pictures.  But I am willing to commit to buying the ink for this years record of hikes we have done to get us started and enjoy all the learning we have done over the past several months.

During our unit study adventure with Lewis and Clark, we also made a history timeline journal to record events we learned about.  I hope to post a future story about this also if I can find the time.  I don’t know where time goes, I need a personal historical timeline to record every 24 hours of my day so I can keep better tack of it.  By the time I feed, clothe, clean, teach, write, go here and there, with six kids the time is gone and I have a back log of stories I wish I could find more time to write about and share with you.  Lord willing, I will get it done soon…….

Be sure to read my review of the Once-a-Week Unit Study “Lewis and Clark: From Sea to Shining Sea” to learn more about the fun adventures we are doing with it. 

This post will be linked up with:
No Time For Flash Cards
Show and Share Saturday
Science Sunday
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers
All Things Beautiful

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Space Exploration Sensory Bin

I have been wanting to do a space unit study with the kids.  I had planned to do this at the start of the school year but I didn’t have a space bin ready, so I waited until I had some items accumulated.  I have several books ready, a telescope, some worksheets to make a lapbook, and have been collecting mini space stuff to make a space exploration sensory bin.

For at least the past six months, the kids have been missing a few toys they thought they had.  He, he, he, he…mom was sneaky!   If they got something space like to play with, and a few weeks would go by and they quit playing with it, and if mom finds it, then it went in the bin.

For storage purposes, I kept everything in a small clear bin that fit on a shelf in my storage room.  But when I was ready to assemble it, I put it into a large black bin to resemble being in outer space.

Yeah! I am finally ready to do our space study and build and use this bin.  Here is what I have been collecting.

The base layer has lots of black and clear beads of different sizes and shapes.  Then I added small dark blue, light blue pompoms and small black, blue, metallic, and other color marbles.  the next size was medium black pompoms, and medium silver white pompoms (these look awesome).    Then I layers in larger marbles that resembled planets.  Also a yellow golf ball that looks like a sun.  Some zoob balls that resemble meteors.  We had some glass beads, glass drop shaped spheres, and glass star shaped rocks too. 

The middle layer has all the planets in our galaxy, a moveable globe of earth, a large yellow golf ball for a sun, wooden stars, black and blue snap cubes that connect to build stuff or have holes that can be laced with string. I added black string and gold string too. Star shaped cookie cutters can be filled, used to trace, laced with string, or play with playdough, etc. There are also lots of glow in the dark stars, comets, and planets.

The top layer has lots of astronauts in white and orange.  A poseable astronaut with a removable helmet and backpack.  Lots of rockets, space ships, satellites, space centers, space capsules, land rovers, a wind up land rover, a lego moon explorer, a transformer space explorer, and another special space explorer that came with the poseable astronaut. 

This bin has so much to see and do.  I love it!  All the kids love it too.

This bin really captures the interest of the older kids too.  The first and third grader are busy playing and the fifth grader is drawing items in the tub!  Yahoo!

One of the activities we explored in the bin was the glow in the dark planets and stars.  The kids had so much fun with a flashlight, dark rooms, and holding glowing planets.

We will be learning lots about space related science stuff in the next few weeks.  I love this bin because it has so many hands on realistic science objects that we can use as props in our study in addition to just having lots of fun playing with them.  Check back soon for some space exploration adventures!

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Kids Coop
Sharing Time
Raising Homemakers

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Top Posts From 2011

Hope you all had a wonderful CHRISTmas with family and friends and a special holiday celebration as you ring in the New Year 2012. 

Our family had a super special holiday week from CHRISTmas to New Years, as my husband had a week off work to spend with us and we have a new baby to celebrate.  God has surely blessed us. 

I want to thank everyone for joining in our learning journey and reading this website, our pinterest boards, google friends, twitter, subscribers, and more.  We have grown to nearly 10,000 unique monthly viewers this year.  Your support during 2011 has been such an encouragement, and has made this website a great place to share our journey with you. 

Our Top Fifteen Posts For 2011

Christmas Cashew Chocolate Truffles

Volcano Unit Study and Volcano Lapbook

Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook

Garden Bugs Unit Study

How To Create A Unit Study

Christmas 2009 and All Things Robot

Valentine Cookie Exchange

Field Trip To Cochran Dairy

Garden Challenge

Valentine Goodie  Bags

Pumpkin Science

Green Sensory Bin

Snow Sensory Bin

Valentine Discovery Bin

Raw Milk Is Real Milk

I am looking forward to a wonderful year ahead in 2012.

From our family to yours,


This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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Blueberry Festival at Roper Mt Science Museum

The Blueberry Festival at Roper Mountain Science Museum in Greenville, South Carolina is a great family event.

If you have never been, I highly recommend you put this on your “things to do” for next summer!

There was so much to see and learn, that we could only do about half of the activities offered.

Besides loads of activities and learning adventures, there were lots of venders at this event selling their fresh blueberries, jams, pies, honey, beef, chicken, blueberry plants, crafts, and more.  I have included a few of the venders and links to their businesses in this story.


The Happy Berry is located in Six Mile, SC .   Here is the link to their website

We loved the sweet flavor of their blueberries.  They offer a “pick your own” option at the farm for $2.50 a pound.  And we definitely plan to make a trip out to their blueberry farm and go picking this summer.  They had containers of blueberries today for $6, $12, and $22.  They also had fresh picked green beans, and jams and jellies for sale at the festival today.

The Hardy Berry was bright and cheery with their smiles and beautiful sunflowers.  Here is a link to their website

They also were selling fresh berries and jams at today’s event.  They will be hosting a Kids Festival at their farm for September and October and invited all the families to come.  They will have tons of fun stuff to do during their special event this fall.

They shared free blueberry samples with everyone.  Here is my six year old tasting a sample of their berries.

Just look at all that EYE CANDY!  Aren’t these baskets full of berries just beautiful?

I didn’t catch the name of the gal who baked these, but she obviously worked very hard.  She told us she baked dozens of these pies the day before the festival and brought huge coolers full to sell at her booth.   She sold out of pies several hours before the festival was over.  She let people buy them in advance, and then she kept them cool for them while they finished touring the festival.  Then before leaving, the folks would stop back by to pick up their pie to take home.  I just thought that extra service she was willing to do for folks really said allot.

My 11 year old son begged for us to buy a pie to take home.  So we did, and we can’t wait to dig in to it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream tonight for a special treat!

Meet The Great Harvest Bakery from Woodruff Road, Greenville, South Carolina.  Here is a link to their website

They grind their own fresh flour for the baked products they make.  WOW!  I was so impressed.  They gave away huge slices of whatever you wanted.  Want to try two?  No Problem!  They had huge lines of people lined up to try samples and another huge line of folks wanting to buy products.

We tried samples of lemon blueberry frosted loaf, blueberry scones, and whole wheat bread with blueberry jam.  These were full size portions, not small samples.  I could not believe how generous they were. 

They also had several different breads, muffins, pastries, etc.  Way to many to mention all the varieties.  Everything tasted like it had just come out of the oven.  Everything tasted nutrient dense too, not like fluffy stuff from the grocery store.  No this was full flavored, full textured and absolutely delicious. 

We bought a beautiful loaf of whole wheat bread, and the lemon blueberry bread for breakfast this week. 

I also met, but forgot to get a picture, of the only organic blueberry farm in South Carolina who sells their products exclusively to Whole Foods.  They had large tasty berries to sample too.  They told me they have two farms, one in Marrietta, and one in Salem.

Living History Farm

Meet Amanda and Amanda from the Living History Farm.  They were sharing slices of watermelon with all the visitors.

My kids were all to happy to share a sweet refreshing slice of watermelon on this very warm sunny day.

They savored every bite!

After finishing the watermelon slices, the Amandas’ told the kids to participate in a watermelon rind throwing contest.  The goal was to see who could throw their rind the farthest over the fence into the cow pasture.

In this historic log cabin, these ladies were making blueberry preserves and lathering it on slices of fresh bread, and enjoying it with mugs of fresh milk.  They explained the process of picking the berries and making the preserves.  High in vitamins, this special jam, or preserves, helped many people stay healthy through the year, especially during the winter when the body needs more vitamin C from the diet.

Here is the spot they cook everything in this log cabin.  They had just made their preserves when we arrived.  Last month when we visited, they made potat
oes, onions, and herbs in this fireplace and gave samples for the children to eat.   They cook a lot of food for the Living Farm in this kitchen.  We have seen several staff at the farm enjoying meals that were prepared in here.

On this next fire outside, the Slow Food of Upstate South Carolina was demonstrating a traditional food made by the Native American Indians and shared with the pilgrims and other foreigners when they first came and settled in the North East. 


Corn meal
Cream (or water)
Honey or Maple Syrup (just a little of one or the other)

Cook this mixture slowly over a low heat until the cornmeal is done.  Enjoy like porridge or oatmeal.  This recipe was found in a few of the journals of the late 1600’s.  They also believe this was brought by the Native Americans to the first Thanksgiving and shared with the pilgrims.  They suggested this dish would be good today as a breakfast, and as a side dish for a dinner meal with meat such as turkey.

It was very tasty and not to sweet. 

Another food the Native Americans made with blueberries was PEMMICAN.   This is fun to make and I have made it several times.  They basically dried the berries and dried buffalo meat.  Then pound the two together in a mortar and pedestal.  Add a little fat to this, and it keeps forever. 

Pemmican is a “super food” and is very nutrient dense.  It is full of protein and vitamin C plus other nutrients, and kept the Natives strong and healthy on their journies and throughout the winter months.  The version I like the best is meat (either beef, buffalo, or deer) ground fresh before drying, and mixed with dried ground berries, sea salt and spices of choice, then formed into strips before drying.  After drying it resembles beef jerky strips, except it has dried fruit mixed in.  I especially like it mixed with dried cherries.

This woman is dying garments and yarns with indigo, and others with blueberries to make different colors for clothing and belts.

After she dyes the items, she hangs them up to dry.  Here is a blouse she died with indigo, and a belt she dyed with blueberries.

In the Herb Garden, a volunteer was demonstrating making bow ties with Lambs Ear.  The kids thought this was really something.  Lambs Ear feels soft and just like a real animal’s ear. 

The Herb Garden was really special.  It was an overwhelming sensory experience.  The garden is surrounded by a picket fence.  Then inside the garden is a series of circles or rings that encircle the whole garden.  Each ring gets a little smaller as you walk to the center where there is a lovely stone well full of ice cold spring water.  As you pass each ring, a new aroma hits your nose and brain and it is a very amazing and lively place to sit and take a rest and enjoy the amazing smells.

There was so much more to see today at the Living History Farm including farm animals, woodworking, black smith, crafts (the kids could make their own blueberry baskets), learn about milking a cow, and more.  There are lots of cabins to visit and see the period life.  There was a cabin full of period games for children to play too.   It is hard to pull my kids from this special cabin.

You could really get a feel for how the people lived two hundred years ago, how they ate, slept, gardened, worked, hunted, spent their free time, etc.

Animal Science

One of the animals the children learned about today was the Brown Bear.  The brown bear loves to eat blueberries and many other wild berries.  Besides learning about his diet, the kids got to see a pile of bear poop too.  They thought that was gross, but cool too.

The Roper Mountain Science Museum is really a huge campus of lots of museums (nature, geological and mineral, prehistoric, animal science, marine science, insects, reptiles, human body, technology, etc), several gardens, living history farm, and a planetarium. 

There is way to much to mention all we did in this story, so I just showed you the Blueberry activities.  The rest of what we did today will be going into a story labeled Roper Mountain Science Museum.  Last month, I also wrote a story about the NASA Celebration they hosted.  Please stop by and check out the other stories about this wonderful place for families to go and do learning adventures. 


Here are some of the delicious items we brought home with us from the Blueberry Festival:


Blueberry Pie

Great Harvest Fresh Baked Bread

Frosted Lemon Blueberry Loaf

Which we enjoyed for breakfast the next morning!  This was so delicious with glasses of fresh raw milk and mugs of warm mocha lattes.  YUMMY!!!

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Blueberry Links

If you would like to know more about Blueberries and do some fun science with them and your kids, here are a few links to help you learn more:

Blueberry Mini Unit Study

Blueberry Lesson Plans, Unit Studies, Lapbooks, and Activities

The Quilt Makers Gift Unit Study and Lapbook

Blueberries For Sal Unit Study

Blueberries For Sal Lesson Plan

Blueberries For Sal Lapbook

Example #1 of a homeschool family’s completed Blueberries For Sal Lapbook

Example #2 of a homeschool family’s completed Blueberries For Sal Lapbook

Blueberry Science and FACTS

Juice Density Science Experiment

Make a natural dye with blueberries science experiment

Natural Dye Lesson Plans

Blueberry Dye Recipe

Blueberry Science and Facts

More Blueberry Science and Facts

Online Blueberry Science and Math Game: Blueberry Challenge

Blueberries and Health

May shrink tumors

Mexican blueberries may be more potent than us blueberries.

May improve memory

May help build strong bones

May lower cholesterol

How To Grow Blueberries


Blueberry Coconut Smoothie Video

Blueberry Smoothie

95 Calorie Blueberry Smoothie Video

White Custard and Berry Tart

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Grandma’s Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Muffins

LOTS more Blueberry Recipes

Blueberry Coloring Pages and Crafts

Basket of Blueberries

Blueberries on the plant

A bee and blueberry plant

Paper craft of a blueberry pie

Paper craft of a blueberry basket

Blueberry Cork Stamp Craft

Blueberry Milk Paint

Don’t forget that July is National Blueberry Month.  Be sure to include some blueberry fun with your kids this month.

How do you enjoy your blueberries?  Leave us a comment, thanks!

This post will be linked up with
Science Sunday
No Time For Flash Cards
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Garden Bugs Unit Study

What’s Bugging Your Garden?  

Sounds kinda funny don’t you think?

HSV Garden Challenge 

This is our last post for the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge 2011, and we chose to focus on Garden Bugs.  We have had so much fun with this whole garden challenge learning project this summer.

So after doing all these fun learning adventures with the garden, I thought I would put together a Garden Bug Unit Study to go along with our Garden Unit Study and share it with you too.

Garden Bug Unit Study

Books We Read
I searched our book shelves, and came up with these great stories to explain more about garden bugs:

Topsy Turvey Tracy  The Grimy Slimy Bug Safari

Bugs Life (read the book, and watched the movie).
Black Widow Spiders, Creepy Bugs, Flying Bugs, I Like Bugs, Strange And Amazing Insects, It’s Alive, Slimmy Slugs and so much more…….

We also watched a DK movie called Insects.

Lesson Plans, Unit Studies, and Lapbooks

Did you know that you might find over 40 different bugs in your garden at any given time?  Here is a great website to give you an introduction in identifying some of the bugs in your garden.

How to naturally reduce garden pests.,default,pg.html

What is pollination and how do bugs help polinate the plants in the garden?

Beneficial garden insects verses pest,default,pg.html

Non-poisonous verses poisonous bugs (we live where there are various kinds of black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, wasps, hornets, centipedes, milipedes, fire ants, and so on that cause painful injuries from injecting poinons into their victims).

Homeschool Share: Ant Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Bee Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Butterfly Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Dragonfly Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Praying Mantis Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Snail Unit Study and Lapbook

Bug Facts

Yucky Bug Facts and Games

Butterfly Facts

Adopt An Insect Unit Study

Spider Unit Study For Kinders

Garden Pest Unit For Older Students

great for coloring, matching, skills practice, lapbooking, notebooking, and more.

Pretty Bugs

Garden Printables

C is for Catepillar

Laddy Bug Math File Folder Game
I love this math game!!!  You can adjust it to be simple or more complicated based on your students skill level.

Montessori Garden Printables

Insect Coloring Pages



Activities & Crafts

Draw A Bug Game

Bug Bingo Game

Paint A Bug pages from the dollar store

Bottle Top Bugs craft

Love Bugs craft

Foam Bug Craft Kit from the dollar store

Bug On A Stick craft kit from the dollar store.

Lots of bug crafts

DLTK: Insect Crafts

Family Fun: Bug Crafts

Go on a garden bug hunt and search for bugs and worms.  Use hand shovels, butterfly nets, containers, tweezers, etc. to capture a few harmless bugs to observe them, and then release them back to the garden.  We found worms, beetles, pill bugs, flies, ladybugs, ants, spiders, bees, wasps, butterflies, etc.


fly in our butterfly net



pill bug

Activity Trays

Activity trays with plastic bugs for the kids to sort, count, play, and role play.

Sensory Bins

Sensory & discovery bin.  This can be a small bin, or a large bin.  I made both. 

I  used small river rocks, plastic bugs, various scoops, tongs, funnels, and containers for lots of creativity, some small flowers or plants, sticks (to use as trees or logs or just use as sticks for bugs to crawl on or hide under), use green felt or foam (for a green lawn or to make a mini garden scene), use a minnow net as a butterfly net, colored glass rocks to make a pond and larger rocks for bugs to crawl on or hide under.

Science Experiments

I can’t wait to share some of these fun bug science experiments with you.  But you will have to wait until a future story.  I’ll link it back here when it is finished. 

I found this great science experiment book at the dollar store, and it is totally creepy and lots of fun.

This is another great science book about insects and plants and we have done several experiments from this book too.

Here are some more ideas you can do without a science book:

Grow a bee garden. Plant sunflowers and various flowering plants to attract and observe the bees.

Grow a butterfly garden.  Plant different flowers that attract butterflies and observe their behavior and life cycle.

Raise various bugs from eggs or larve (you can buy these on line, or find them free in nature): lady bugs, butterflies, praying mantis, ants, etc.

Tend a worm bin or worm bed.  Buy it or make it yourself.  Put in a pound of worms for each bin you raise.  Add newspaper, soil, kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps,  and obeserve the worms life cycle and their ability to turn everything into compost.  Apply the compost to your garden and continue the process again and again.

Use a magnifiying glass to look at a live and / or plastic bug up close.  Have the children describe or draw the different body parts of the bug.  Have older children lable the body parts.

What do bugs eat?  Choose a bug and find out if it eats your garden plants, or if it eats other bugs. 

Make Rubber Bugs

We made rubber bugs with a bug machine “Creepy Crawler”.  I found this on clearance for $5 last year.  It is just like an easy bake oven, only it bakes rubber instead of cookies.  It comes with two baking trays, a tray pusher, and various colors of liquid rubber goop to make your designs.  The baking trays are molds that shape the bugs.  Ours contained a spider, fly,  worm, dragonfly, scorpion.

The boys had so much fun taking turns designing their own “creepy crawlers”.

The process was fool proof.  Add a few squirts of colored liquids into the mold/baking pan. 

You can make whatever designs you like.

Place in mini oven.  The mini oven sets its own timer automatically, and shuts off automatically when it is done.  It was very easy to work with.

Allow the bugs to cool.  Then remove from baking tray.  We filled almost two whole cookie sheets, and must have made 50 of these, but I could not find all the pictures of the different colored ones. 

Field Trips:

We visited several places to enhance our learning about gardens and insects. 

Roper Mountain Science Center Butterfly Garden
         and Living History Farm Garden

This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.  My 11 year old son used my camera to capture several lovely pictures from this trip.  Here is a snap shot of a bee pollinating a purple cone flower.  He is going to enter one of his many photos he took on this day in an upcoming photo contest. 

Farmers Market / Tailgate Market to see what farmers grow in their gardens to sell to the public.

Carl Sandburg Gardens

Insect Recipes

Want to try eating some bugs?

Other Garden Unit Stori

Be sure to read our other Garden Stories and Garden Unit Study

Be sure to check out other homeschool families stories about their garden challenge at Homeschool Village

This post will also be linked up with
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
The Play Academy

Please share.

Science Club: Oceans


This past month of June, the NC Mountain Homeschool Coop has officially launched our Science Club.   We are meeting for two hours, twice a month, to give homeschool children a hands on opportunity to study science.

The first subject we are studying is Oceans.   This club will go year around, but each subject series or theme, will last about 6 to 8 weeks.  We are really excited about this hands on science club, and all the learning opportunities it will bring for local homeschool children.

Our First Meeting

We used the first meeting as a meet and great meeting, and a planning meeting.  We had fourteen kids at this meeting.  

While the adults were making future plans, the children worked on some ocean crafts.  One of the first arts and crafts the children did with the club was to make water color fish. 

This activity really sparked a lot of imagination and excitement about the science club. 

The children first colored coffee filters with markers.  Then they sprinkled water on the filters and hung them up to dry.  The water caused the colors to spread across the filters. 

After they were dry, the children cut out fish shapes from the filters and added eyes and some drew on mouths, scales, or fins. 

Each fish was unique and special and colorful too.

We briefly talked about the fact that there are billions of fish in the oceans, and they too are so colorful and unique. 

Some of the children in the club have been to visit the ocean and ocean aquariums.  Some children have not had this opportunity yet.  It was good to talk about what the children know and what they don’t know yet in gaging the direction of this learning adventure.

Our Second Meeting

At our second meeting, we had fifteen kids, plus a baby (not all are pictured here).   This group is off to a great start! 

We are a co-op, so each family takes turns with different parts ( teaching, experiments, crafts, snacks, clean-up).   Today I tackled crafts.  Yikes!!!

Today we discussed the geographic location of the 5 oceans:  Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Artic, and Southern. 

First, the kids filled in a geography page with the names of the oceans and their locations.  This worksheet was from Enchanted Learning.   One of the parents was teaching and talked about the locations of the oceans.

Next, we learned from some science experiments about salt water using water, salt, and food coloring…..


and about ocean currents using hot and cold water and food coloring……


Next we made a craft.   For our craft today, we made oceanography notebooks.  The kids could decorate them however they wished.   These notebooks have 3 punch holders with two pockets.  I inserted a plastic sleeve into each one.  Inside the folders, I placed four learning worksheets and a coloring page to take home in the pockets, plus various stickers, foam sea creatures, and sand paper placed in the plastic sleeve. 

After the children finish the worksheets and coloring pages, they can insert them into the three punch holders to keep them neat and organized.  There is plenty of extra room to store future worksheets and activities, as we learn more about oceans during the upcoming meetings.  We also passed around blue construction paper for a making an ocean scene with the stickers and sand paper.

After decorating our notebook folders, we made ocean pictures and collages with sandpaper, blue construction paper, stickers (fish, sharks, seals, whales, various sea shells, and a beach scene), foam fish and sea creatures, markers, and glue. 

I found all of these craft items at a dollar store called the Mighty Dollar.  I bought enough for 18 kids.  I cut apart the stickers, and divided up the foam creatures, and cut the sand paper sheets in half, so there was enough for everyone.   The cost came out to about $2 per child to make both the folders and the ocean scene.   This was great to create these wonderful and personal oceanography notebooks that will last as keepsakes of their learning adventure for a long time. 

Some kids chose to glue their ocean pictures onto the outside of their notebooks, but others chose to keep them separate and make two different ocean scenes or collages, one on the notebook and one on the blue paper.

The additional printables being sent home in their folders today included:
Geography Map with oceans and continents to mark.
Geography/ Science page about how much of the earth is covered by water and show / color a pie graph.
Coloring /Art page of an underwater ocean scene.
Song about the five oceans, sang to the tune of the 10 little Indians. (from Spell Outloud)

After the crafts, the kids learned to sing a song about the five oceans.  They pointed to each ocean as they sang t
hrough the song.  I found this world geography and ocean placemat at the same dollar store.

We finished up the day with a fun and delicious ocean themed snack.  Another family made cupcakes spread with ocean blue frosting, and gummy fish. 

The cupcakes looked like fish swimming in water.  The kids really enjoyed this.

Maybe enjoyed it a little too much……

After our fun time in Science Club today, the kids went outside to burn off some energy in the park. 

They were bouncing with energy, playing tag, racing down the slides, ….where do they get it all from?

But the science learning continued.  My oldest son found a locust shell and showed it to everyone.

I love to see their investigative skills at work, even when they are at play.

Later that night, the kids wanted to work some more on their oceanography notebooks and ocean art scenes.

These guys seemed to never get tired of creating ocean pictures.

They found my construction paper stash, and were ready to make more pictures.  “Guys, it is almost bedtime.”

My oldest son, age 11, is free hand drawing the continents and cutting them out of green construction paper and gluing them onto blue construction paper.  He is re-creating a world map as he is learning about where the oceans and continents are positioned.  I was very surprised at how skilled and patient he was as he created his project.

Our next topic is sharks and whales.  Sounds like its going to be lots more fun.

Be sure to check out the free OCEAN UNIT STUDY  I wrote about with free printables (including the ones we used today), crafts, and lots of resources.

How do you teach about oceans and marine science to your kids?  Leave us a comment, thanks.

This post will be linked with:
Science Sunday
Kids Get Crafty
ABC and 123
No Time For Flash Cards
Raising Homemakers

Please share.

Fathers Day Unit Study

Call it what you want: Dad’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandpa’s Day, it’s a great day to celebrate the fathers in our life.

Our family is busy this week taking a special look at WHO (our earthly father, and our heavenly father)and WHAT (a mentor, protector, guide, friend, provider, comforter, creator, etc.) a father is. 
To get ready for this, I put together a Fathers Day Unit Study. 

I love to share these resources with everyone, so here is a FREE Fathers Day Unit Study you can do with your kids too.

Fathers Day Unit Study, Lesson Plans, Lapbook, and Notebook Pages, Worksheet Printables, Crafts,  Games, and so much more.

Unit Study and Lesson Plans

Fathers Day Lesson Plan:  The Story Of Last Names

Education World: Happy Fathers Day Lesson Plans  (5 different sets of lessons on different topics)

Wikipedia: Father’s Day

Fathers Day Lesson Plan

History Of Father’s Day

History of Fathers Day Lesson Plans with Worksheet Printables



Little Blots Of Faith: Fathers Day Printables to use in a lapbook

Homeschool Share: Lapbook Any Person

Lapbook Lessons: Lapbook Templates

Christian Preschool Printables: Fathers Day Mini Book

Bible Story Printables: Fathers Day

Just Call Me Jamin: Fathers Day Lapbook


Notebooking Pages

Notebooking Fairy  Fathers Day Notebook Pages

Notebooking Pages


Scripture and Bible Study

Christian Preschool Printables:  Fathers Day Copy Work

Bible Gateway:
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;” Psalm 103:13 NIV

Deuteronomy 32:6
Is this the way you repay the LORD, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?

Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 18:19
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

John 4:23
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

2 Corinthians 6:18
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Galatians 4:6
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

Ephesians 6:2
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:7
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

Dad Is On Duty devotional (give a copy of this to dad)


DLTK Printable Worksheets

Teachnology:  Fathers Day Vocabulary Worksheet

Apples 4 The Teacher: Fathers Day Worksheets and Printables

Father’s Day Crossword Puzzle

Fathers Day Vocabulary Words

School Family: Missing Letters

ABC Teach:  Fathers Day Writing Prompt

ABC Teach:  Write a letter to dad.



School Family:  subtraction practice

School Family: Connect the Dots

School Family:  Addition practice

School Family:  Color By Number

School Family: Multiplication by 5

School Family: Division



Preschool Rock:  Dad’s In the Animal Kingdom

Dominant Side

Compare Dad and child results from this fun science experiment, make a graph of your results, especially if you have several family members who can participate.


Poetry, Quotes, and Songs

Apples 4 The Teacher: Poetry

DLTK Poems, Songs and Quotes

Activity Village: Fathers Day Jokes

Activity Village: Father’s Day Poems

ABC Teach:  Fathers Day Acrostic Poem


Father’s Day Recipes

Kaboose: Fathers Day Recipes

DLTK: Fathers Day Recipes

Bakerrela:  Fast Food Fun

Martha Stewart Fathers Day Recipes


Fathers Day Clipart


Crafts , Activities, and Homemade Gifts

41 Ways to Make Every Day Father’s Day

I love this Painted Hammer Craft For Father’s Day Craft idea from Kaboose

This Trophy For Dad is great too.  We seen a dad with one that his kids had made last year and it was really cute in his office.

Fathers Day Banner Craft

Family Fun: King For The Day Crown

DLTK: Fathers Day Crafts

Apples For The Teacher has a wonderful selection of crafts and activities for Fathers Day

Making Friends:  Crafts For Dad

Greatest Dad Award

Fathers Day Coloring Pages with Grandpa

DLTK Fathers Day Cards

Activity Village: Coloring Pages

Activity Village: Crafts

Frugal Family Fun Blog: Car Wash Kit

Fathers Day Super Hero Gift

Martha Stewart: Fathers Day Frame

Martha Stewart has at least 394 Fathers Day Ideas

Other Ideas

Drama and Role Play:
Play Dress Up.  Have the children dress up in some of Dad’s clothing and role play.  They can act like daddy at home or at work.  They could pretend they are fixing something on the house or car that needs worked on too.  Lots of fun ways to role play with this.

Play Games in the yard or at a park:  frisbee, catch, ball toss, basket ball, miniature golf, frisbee golf, explore a creek or shallow river together, go fishing, go swimming, have a picnic, play on a playground, etc.

Play Games in the house:  hunt for love notes, board games, miniature golf, video game, table tennis, pool, fooze ball, air hockey, etc.

Do a craft together with dad: build a model (car, boat, plane, etc.), build a wood working project, paint something, fix something, etc.  Does dad like computers, wood working, mechanics, cooking, puzzles, etc.?  What ever his interests are, find a craft you can both do together.

Make a meal together:  favorite bbq, pancakes, steak, make whatever dad likes, but make it together.

Have a good time spending quality time with your DAD this Father’s Day! 

And if your dad is away on a trip, seperated from the family, or perhaps has passed away, still honor him with some quiet reflection on what he has meant in your life.  You can still write him a letter, or a poem or anything on your heart to honor him in your own way.

If your dad has done you wrong in some way, please forgive him and move forward with your life.  Unforgiveness will hold you in bondage, and prevent you from ever living to your potential.  Pick out a couple activities above, such as a letter to dad, or a writing prompt, or reviewing the scriptures and ask God to help you forgive your father for whatever it was he did wrong.

A special message to our dad today:


We love you!!! 





Please share.

NASA Celebration

Today we attended the NASA Celebration at the Roper Mountain Science Museum in Greenville, South Carolina.

Each month, the Roper Mountain Science Museum has a special focus on the second Saturday of the month.  This time, it was learning about Space Exploration and NASA.

The kids were so excited to talk to the NASA Representative about space suits, space food, and how the astronaut stays healthy when up in space with zero gravity for six months at a time.  If they did not eat well, exercise, and maintain their temperature, they would could die or come back to earth severly debilitated.  They have to maintain very good physical condition to fly space missions in outer space.

The food was dehydrated in small packets and the children thought this was really gross.  The food did not look yummy at all.   The drink pouches were empty except for a small amount of dried flavoring.  They hook up the spout to a water source on the space ship and fill their drink.   The fella from NASA explained that they still needed to eat a balanced diet and the astronauts are allowed to choose their dehydrated food as long as it remains balanced. 

Their dried food packets are velcro onto to a meal tray so they don’t float around.

The children were able to try on a glove and a helmet from an astronaut suit.  The suits the astronauts wear are made of many different layers to protect the astronaut and keep him or her warm.  It is extremely thick.  One thing NASA is doing for the future is to have mechanical human like robots to be the astronauts and make the repairs and explorations needed outside of the space ship, as it is so cold and dangerous for humans. 

Then we went inside the NASA trailer and it was set up with dozens of video screens with information about different aspects of space exploration. 

Some of the areas discussed were:
Materials of Space Suits and Space Vehicles

And a real moon rock.  This rock came from  the moon.  It is one of only 8 specimens in the world on display for the public to view.  The children were able to touch and learn about the rock.

The highlight for us was talking to a NASA Representative inside the trailer.  Right off the bat, we had some things in common.  He was from Bloomington, Indiana. We were from Indiana too. 

He had attended Perdue University in Indiana, and completed a mechanical engineering degree.  He did an internship on campus that was sponsored by NASA.  When he was done with his studies and earned his degree, NASA hired him and moved him to Houston Texas to work for them.    WOW!

We talked with him about so much that I can’t even tell you all of it.  One serious subject was what course of study or specialization NASA was looking for in employees, and he said “all fields of engineering”.  To build, fly, and maintain space craft and work with the dynamics of space exploration, all fields of engineering are necessary to make it possible to do this. 

It was a very productive discussion for this 11 year old, who is ready to fly a space craft into space!  Hope he can wait a few more years yet.

The kids left here today with a bag full of NASA goodies, and a whole new appreciation for space exploration.

There was much more to see and do at the Roper Mountain Science Museum today, and I will write another post with a link HERE as I get the story written. 

Please share.

Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook

June 8th is National Ocean Exploration Day.

I thought it would be fun to pull together some resources about oceans for you to do a fun Ocean Unit Study adventure and explore the oceans with your kids.

My family loves to visit the Ocean and Ocean Aquariums and Marine Museums.   There is something so fascinating about the wide range of life that lives below the water’s surface.  And there is something incredibly soothing about the sound and the visual picture of waves rolling into the beach in a constant rhythm. 

I was so blessed to have the opportunity as a child to spend two weeks in Hawaii.  That was my first introduction to the ocean and sea creatures.  What a fascinating and inspiring experience it was.  As a pre-teen I went on a three week trip across the USA and seen the ocean from New York and Conneticut, and then all the way across the USA to Los Angeles.  We traveled along the ocean front roads for many miles in Los Angeles.  That summer I don’t think I had ever been any place hotter in my life.   Then as a teenager I visited San Francisco several times, and so enjoyed eating fresh caught seafood on Fishermans Wharf.  I also traveled again to New York and New Jersey and seen the ocean and took a ferry ride.   In college I took a one week trip to Washington and Vancouver Island by ferry, and was again amazed at the vast beauty of the ocean and the beaches and rocky cliffs all around.

When we lived in Indiana, we lived just a little over an hour away from the Newport Aquarium in Newport KY.   That was my children’s first experience with seeing ocean sea life.  We were mesmerized by the amount of see life there was in these vast aquariums holding millions of gallons of ocean water in the middle of the United States.

Now we live in North Carolina and we are close to many ocean learning opportunities.  We live just 2 hours from the Ripleys Ocean Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.   It has become a favorite place to visit for us.

We have been there four times in three years.  It is a great place to study ocean animals.   Some of our favorite ocean animals to learn about are sharks, octopus, jelly fish, sea turtles, sting rays, and one of our favorite sea birds, penguins.  They have an awesome live penguin habitat and also a baby penguin rearing area that is so much fun for the children to participate in.

And there are several hands on opportunities for children to learn through using all their senses.

And my children love to watch the huge sharks and sting rays as the swim over our heads in the walk through aquarium.

We have also been to the ECCO Marine Museum in Hendersonville, NC.   Last summer, we had friends, with 6 kids, visiting from Indiana.  We took our 5 kids and their 6 kids and we went to the ECCO museum and had a great time learning about ocean life.

It only costs $1 per person, and we spent two hours learning from this fascinating marine scientist.  In addition to running this museum, she also teaches classes, speaks at schools, does educational parties and birthday parties, and takes teens to the ocean for scuba diving and marine scientist excursions.    Her son has gone on to be a marine scientist and he specializes in the study of sharks.

She is fabulous with children.  Everything she does with kids is hands on.

Another favorite excursion for our family is visiting the ocean at South Carolina. 

We live just 3 1/2 hours from Charleston, South Carolina.   This is a world away from living in the midwest.  Visiting here is almost unexplainable and you just have to experience it yourself.

The ocean views from Charleston and the surrounding areas are amazing.  We especially enjoy staying at the Isle Of Palms and spending a few days enjoying the beach and traveling to surrounding areas to see plantations, museums, alligators, and taking in the amazing culture and history of the area.  We went for a very special trip last October for our son’s 8th birthday, and we had the best time ever.

Another fun hands on learning activity we did learning about oceans was to create our own mini ocean. 

We made an Ocean Discovery Bin for the kids to explore.  I will write a story about it soon.

The kids enjoyed this bin so much.  We made it in December, and we still pull it out frequently to play and explore in.

In addition to doing our own Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook, another really fun opportunity we are looking forward to this summer is a local homeschool Science Club.  It is just starting up and the first topic they will be studying is “Oceans”.  Our first Science Club meeting is tomorrow.  So we are looking forward to lots more fun learning about the amazing oceans and the sea life that lives in them.

FREE  Resources for an Ocean Unit Study:< BR>

Unit Studies (Science, Geography, History, Language Arts, Literature Book Lists, Reading, Vocabulary, Arts & Crafts, Math, Coloring Pages, and more),  Lesson Plans, and Lapbooks (scrapbook with mini versions of the learning done in the unit study).

Christian Cottage Unit Studies: 
Oceanography: The Waters He Called Seas


Discovery Education: Ocean Exploration Lesson plans


Ocean Animal Lesson Plans


Homeschool Helper Online:  Ocean Unit Study

Oklahoma Homeschool Cindy Downes: Ocean Unit Study


Eclectic Homeschool: Ocean Unit Study


Teaching Heart: Ocean Unit Study

Homeschool On A Shoestring: Ocean Unit Study


Homeschool Share:  Hello Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share:  Fish and Fishing Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share:  Sea Turtles Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share:  Octopus Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Atlantic Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Time Of Wonder Ocean Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Hermit Crab Unit Study and Lapbook

Homeschool Share: Nim (life on an island in the middle of the ocean) Unit Study and Lapbook


1+1+1=1 :  Whale and Dolphin Lapbook

1+1+1=1 : Ocean Animals Tot Lapbook

1+1+1=1  : Nemo Tot Lapbook

1+1+1=1 : More printables & activities about the Ocean


Homeschool Activities:  Ocean Unit Study



All Kids Network: Ocean Animal Worksheets

Learning Page

Math Activites

Kidzone: Ocean Counting Backwards Page

Kidzone: Ocean Counting Forwards Page

Kidzone: Sand Castle Connect the Dots

Kidzone: Addition

Kidzone: Subtraction

Kidzone: Odd or Even


Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Printables

Confessions Of A Homeschooler:  Letter O is for Octopus



Crafts and Activities

Egg Carton Sea Creatures (crab, jelly fish, oyster, octopus, fish, etc.)

Paper mache Star Fish

Sand Casting Craft

Sea Shell Memory Game

Jelly Fish Craft

Under The Sea Pencil Holder

Artists Helping Children: Ocean Animal Crafts (lots and lots)

All Kids Network: Ocean Animal Crafts

Free Kid Crafts

Busy Bee: Ocean Crafts

First School

First School: Ocean Creatures template for use in diaroma or collage crafts

First School: Ocean Theme Coloring Pages

Crafty Classroom: Coral Reef Collage

Crafty Classroom: Star Fish

Pink and Green Momma: Ocean In A Box

Pink and Green Momma: Ocean in a Bag

Pink and Green Momma: Ocean Bubble Wrap Scene

Spell Outloud: Ocean Song

Spell Outloud: Seahorse Craft and Game


1+1+1=1 : Ocean Activities

Counting Coconuts:  Frozen Ocean Sensory Discovery  Tub

Counting Coconuts:  Beach Sensory Tub

Counting Coconuts:  Nature Table


Homeschool Creations: Ocean Biome Diorama

Homeschool Creations:  Animal Sorting File Folder Game

Sort Land and Ocean Animals

Homeschool Creations:  Preschool Activities for letter U including underwater theme

Homeschool Creations:  Letter O activities including an Ocean In A Bottle


DLTK :  Ocean Animal Crafts

DLTK : Ocean Animal Coloring Pages

DLTK : Ocean Mobile

DLTK :  Ocean Habitat Craft

DLTK : Ocean Mini Book


ABC and 123:  O is for Ocean and Octopus Activities


Field Trip Ideas

Visit an ocean aquarium.

Visit the ocean.

Visit a marine science museum.

Do a virtual ocean field trip.   (photo bucket has over 2,000 ocean videos, please screen your choices to make sure they are safe for kids to see)

You Tube (Has over 500,000 videos.  Again, pick a few and screen them ahead of time to make sure they are appropriate for your kids to view.)

Here are a couple of You Tube ocean videos we enjoyed

Under the frozen ocean

Views Of The Pacific Ocean from Land

Blue Whale

White Whale

Sea Turtles

Do a virtual field trip to an ocean aquarium.

Online Interactive Games

Monterey Bay Aquarium  (lots of different Ocean games here)

Ocean Games on Primary Games (lots of different Ocean games here)

Ocean Express

Sea and Sky

Under the Sea

Geography Game

Happy Ocean Exploration Day!
Hope you enjoy your Ocean Exploration Adventure!!!

Please share.