We recently went on a bit of a "road schooling" adventure, flying over to the mainland and road-tripping our way through six states on the West Coast and then hopping over to Alaska before heading home. It was an experience filled with memories that will last a lifetime. We visited museums, state and national parks, science centers, beaches, farms, historical landmarks, and both big cities and small towns. Throughout it all was the common thread of learning more about our nation as a whole, but the individual state that intrigued the girls the most was Alaska. Capitalizing on their deepening interest in the states we had just explored, we've been using the Make-a-State Activity from Home School in the Woods to expand on their knowledge using a hands-on flair!
About Home School in the Woods
They have multiple product lines, including things like:
About the Make-a-State Activity Pak
The Make-a-State Activity is part of the Activity-Paks series. It consists of a CD or downloaded set of files that contain twenty projects that combine to make a lap book about a single state, along with all the necessary instructions on how to make it happen. The projects are mostly themed templates/masters of different kinds that are printed on paper and/or cardstock, and then cut-out and completed with details from any U.S. state of your choice, then taped or glued into a file folder that you assemble specifically for this purpose, eventually resulting in a "lap book" that cohesively brings it all together into a great little package presentation. While many of the activities require state-specific research, writing information, and/or coloring or drawing on the given lines and spaces of a generic template, several of the project files have state-specific details and illustrations already on them, such as the state quarters and basic state maps.
Project topics include: key state facts, origin of the state name, state motto, symbols, song, industry/agriculture and climate, wildlife, geography, government, seal & flag, history, landmarks, quarter, sports teams, vocabulary, and timeline, recipes, native tribes, famous people, and regions.
Also included in the Make-a-State Activity CD or downloaded files are two bonus materials:
1) "State pages" - files for each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. which consist of a single page loaded with basic information about the state, including key facts, dates, and a super brief overview of history. This is meant to get a student started, but they will still require books and/or online resources to fully complete the projects. Thankfully, there are some suggested resources if you're not sure where to look for information.
2) "Name that State!" File Folder Game: a printable game that can be assembled in a file folder and used to practice state and capital knowledge and recognition in a fun way.
Once I finally got everything printed up, the directions were comprehensive and easy to follow and the completion of projects (and later the lap book assembly) went smoothly.
We chose to focus on Alaska for this lap book and we were excited to get started! After the initial printing and prep, we spent some time on this nearly every weekday.
The projects varied greatly in the amount of time it took for us to complete them. If you plan to schedule this lap book's activities into your school routine/schedule and want consistency, I would recommend devoting a certain block of time to it (such as 20 or 30 minutes a day, for example) vs. planning to do one of the twenty projects each day. Since it is summer and we don't have a busy schedule right now, my daughter just worked on this at her own pace.
Big Sis enjoyed this product and said that she wants to do one for all of the states that we have been to thus far. I will share her own review with you here now, per her request.
"They make it really fun by using a lot of different activities in the projects, like reading, writing, research, pasting, cutting, and putting it all together into a colorful lapbook that you can look back on later and be proud of. It's not just one thing. It's not monotonous so you don't get bored of doing the same thing for a long time - like only writing. I also like that you can make it colorful and that they have things like pouches in the lap book that you put things in. There was a lot of drawing. Personally, I love drawing! Some people may not like that though, so maybe they could find pictures to print or cut-out from a magazine instead. That's what I did for the state symbols project in our lap book. My favorite projects for this lap book were the 'my name is Alaska' one, the newspaper, and the tourist brochure. My least favorite thing was all the cutting that was necessary, but that's because we cut out all twenty project materials (to prepare in advance), so I would suggest that you cut out one project at a time when you go to work on it each day."
You can also find Home School in the Woods at their website to explore their wide variety of product offerings and learn more about the company, or visit them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube!
They also have new co-ed Homeschool Classes beginning in August! Looks like they are currently scheduled for Tuesdays at 10am for kids 8-13 and Wednesdays at 11:30 for ages 5-9.
Plus, for younger kiddos, they have a Morning Fun Group. See the image below for more info on that.
To be held at: McKinley High School Cafeteria
1039 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96814
Hours & Info:
July 13th - Preview Sale for Friends of the Library of Hawai'i, 5-9pm
July 14th - Preview Sale for HSFCU & FLH members, 5-9pm
July 15th - Opening Day! - 9am-9pm
July 16th - 9am-6pm
July 17th-20th - 11am-7pm + 25% off in the overstock tent
July 21st - 11am-8pm + 25% off in the overstock tent,
July 22nd - 9am-8pm + 50% off everything
July 23rd - 9am-2pm, everything is 50 cents
From their website:
"The Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i (FLH) is pleased to announce the 70th Annual Booksale, sponsored by Hawai‘i State Federal Credit Union (HSFCU), from July 15 - July 23, 2017 at the McKinley High School Cafeteria. At Hawai‘i’s largest used booksale, you can choose from over 150,000 books in every category imaginable!
Since 1947, the FLH Annual Sale has invited Hawai‘i residents to browse selections of new and used, out-of-print and bestselling books and media. After 70 years, the sale is an island tradition and each summer thousands readers of all ages and backgrounds converge on the McKinley High School cafeteria for 11 days of bargains and a selection of titles to rival any bookstore.
Encompassing much more than books, the booksale will feature a selection of CDs, DVDs, comics and manga, and many more hard-to-find items. A popular section of the sale is the eclectic selection of donated ART. There is modern art, prints from local artists, lithographs, and sculpture.
A catalogue of FLH’s rare and collectible books will be open for inspection at the sale. All books in the catalogue are available for purchase, including rare Hawaiiana titles.
On opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 18 and 19, look for authors from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in the grey tent in front of the cafeteria. They will be selling and signing their brand new children’s books, with a portion of sales going to support Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i."
Hosted by Former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, Steve Smith, Sr.
2-Day Clinic: July 19 & 20th, 2017 @ Ward Field
Camp runs 4-7pm, with sign-in starting at 3pm.
Open to the first 200 youth, ages 6-13, to register
Pizza will be served for dinner both days (for kids & parents!)
Registration available at www.greatlifehawaii.com or 808-473-0789.
Walk-ins will NOT be accepted.
About Homeschool Planet
- A calendar with day, week, month, or planner list views, which can be shared with other calendars like Google Calendar and iCal. Those calendars can also be imported to Homeschool Planet's calendar. Reminders can be set up and daily digests sent and printed. It works for birthdays, holidays, appointments, lessons, extra-curriculars, chores, or pretty much anything you want to put on there.
- Lesson plans - the ability to create lesson plans or import one of a variety of pre-made lessons plans. Lessons can be shared or individual, copied, changed, shifted, or removed. Notes, assignments, and links can be included.
- A resources tracker is available, with the ability to link resources to specific assignments.
- Widgets for secondary features like shopping and reading lists, daily or Bible quotes, weather, messaging, and a lookup tool.
- Keep track of grades and attendance, and even print transcripts!
My Experience & Opinion
Homeschool Planet is well-thought out with a lot of attention to detail throughout the program. It is fairly easy to navigate and learn to use, with a familiar calendar style default presentation. At first, I wondered if it was really necessary to use something like this... why not just use my Google Calendar or spreadsheet system? Oh boy, I had no idea what I was missing! This planner is so much more powerful with far more features.
Of course, I did still have to input our schedule and lesson plan for the most part. However, I was happy to receive a free pre-made Homeschool Planet lesson plan from their Lesson Plan Marketplace for one of the curriculum programs we use and there are more that they have available to choose from, all designed to make things even easier by laying everything out and populating your calendar for you (with options to change stuff, of course)! Some of the free lesson plans include All About Spelling, Veritas Press, LifePac, Mystery of History, Wordly Wise, IEW Fix-It Grammar, Math Mammoth, Saxon, BJU, Meet the Masters, and more!
The lesson plan that I chose to try out was a history one. I found it helpful, but I did notice that I had to manually go through and remove assignments from every week that we did not plan to do, having to do with the historical fiction books that my girls would likely read all in a few days, so I didn't need them broken up into assignments over several weeks. But removing them was easy (albeit a bit monotonous and only slightly time consuming) because I just unchecked the boxes next to those assignments when importing the lesson plan. It took less time to do that than it would have had I needed to plan and type it out myself! I was a little bummed, though, that more of the curricula we use was not yet included in the available lesson plans, but there was an option to contact Homeschool Buyers Co-op to let them know what I'd like to see. I can't wait until they add more!
So I did say it is fairly easy to use, BUT it did take me some time and watching a few videos to really understand the features and know what everything was for and how to use it all. They say it doesn't require hours to learn how to use it and I would agree with that, except that I think spending the time to watch their tutorial videos did help me find more value and get more out of the planner. You see, I did sign up for a free trial of this planner in the past (a year or two ago). I logged in, looked and clicked around a bit, but didn't fully realize the full potential, so I never really tried to use it. This time, I took the time to settle in and get a real feel for it, and I'm glad I did.
The simplicity and ease of making changes to our schedule is probably my favorite part of this planner! I mean, really? What homeschool family is actually able to make it through a year (heck, even a week!?) without something unexpected coming up or needing to change course a bit? If you are such a family, I need you to come teach me how! In the meantime, I'm over here trying to cross things out and re-write my plan for the week or jumping on the computer to alter and re-print the next few months - all of which takes mental energy and extra time. But now? Oh my goodness, NOW I just click a little box and BAM! Everything is shifted for me. Ahhhh! (Me? Type A? Well, maybe a little...) No more scribbles on my calendar and no more trying to see what would work best to fit things in that we missed. No more re-writing task sheets for my kids. No more fuss over schedule changes! It's. so. easy.
Another feature I love is the resources page - it's a place to keep track of things that we might plan to use to complement or support a lesson. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten a cool book or science kit or saved a link to a great video or helpful website... and then totally forgot it ever existed. That is, until months after we covered that lesson or topic and then we are all bummed we missed out on the opportunity to include those cool extras. Now I can input the resources we acquire and even attach them to the lesson/assignment they fit best with and then the miracle happens - I can remember to use them! (Oh, and some of the pre-made lesson plans Homeschool Planet offers have website resources already included, which is a nice time saver and perk.)
And for June (until June 30th at 11:59pm EST), Homeschool Buyers Co-op is offering a FREE 30-day trial of Homeschool Planet AND a FREE lesson plan! Check it out. Take advantage of the free trial and give it a full try (dig in and make sure you see all that it offers).
"Operation Homefront is happy to announce the start of [their] Back-to-School Brigade where we provide backpacks and free school supplies to military families. [They] have over 50+ locations for official events. Check out [their] website at www.operationhomefront.net/event/list."
There is an event scheduled for Schofield Barracks on Jul 28th.
"IMPORTANT: If you already have a registration profile built, please make sure all information is up-to-date, especially your child's grade, before you register." #BTSB2017 #1Mil1Fam
Note: I'm not associated with this program. This is NOT a sponsored post or paid advertisement. I'm just passing the information on in case it is helpful to some of my followers.
The stories involve magically jumping back and forth through time between modern day and American historical moments. They are very patriotic and attempt to mix a silly story with learning facts and events from history, progressing from the pilgrims through to early Presidents over the course of the five books.
Since there are homeschoolers of all different backgrounds, styles, and approaches that follow my blog and visit my website, including both secular and faith-based, I would like to note that this series did not seem to be expressly or heavily faith-based. There are brief and occasional mentions of God, religion, silent prayer, etc. here and there. This is not surprising, however, since religion and faith (of many kinds) played a role in many events of our nation's past.
The first few books end with a quiz of sorts, called "Liberty Asks", with questions about the story. However, I didn't see the same type of questions in all of the books.
It's also helpful to know about the "Rush Revere's Homeschool Depot" website, designed to compliment the book series with resources for homeschool families, like study guides with answer keys, stories, "Revere's Library" with additional info, challenges, and even scholarships!
In the first book [Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims], there is an introduction of main characters and everything, they visit the Mayflower, and they interact with pilgrims. My favorite part of that story was when William Bradford invited Rush to the First Thanksgiving.
In the second book [Rush Revere and the First Patriots], they meet patriots like Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere. They don't like King George III, the Stamp Act, or taxes. It is actually in this book that we meet Cam.
The third book [Rush Revere and the American Revolution] is about the American Revolution, battles, and the Declaration of Independence. I'm reading this one right now. So far, I liked the part about the candles being used to send a signal, especially because I like codes. 'One if by land, two if by sea'.
I haven't read the other two books yet, but it looks like the fourth one [Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner] is about the Star-Spangled Banner, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and the last one [Rush Revere and the Presidency] is about the early presidents, like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. I can't wait to read them both.
I loved the Rush Revere books. They were really fun! I think they are historical fiction and they helped me learn things I didn't know about history and remember more about stuff I did know. I would tell other kids about them and I think kids around my age would like them if they like time travel, horses, and history. If they don't like history already, maybe they will after they read these."
We read some of it out loud to Lil Sis (age 7) and she thoroughly enjoyed listening as well. It was easy to read and engaging for kids, highlighted many significant events of American history, and seemed to capture my daughters' interest and spur them to ask more questions - which is always fantastic! I found that both girls were incorporating aspects of history into their play, talking about famous figures and historical items and artifacts as part of their games and activities, which I thought was pretty neat. Obviously, a lot of it is sticking with them.
The books all have a lot of beautiful color illustrations, both cartoon-like enhancements to the story and historical art, images, and artifacts. Big Sis really enjoyed these pictures and said she spent a lot of time studying them. (She said her favorite from the story itself was the one where Elizabeth came around a corner and found out their secret about Liberty.) I do believe they added a lot of value and interest to the stories. I didn't particularly care for Rush's big head on the illustrated body, but it didn't phase my kiddos. (I also felt the name Rush Limbaugh was oddly and awkwardly bigger than the books' titles.)
It will be held on Friday, October 20th from 8:30am-2pm & Saturday, October 21st, from 10am-2pm, at the UH-Manoa campus, SOEST buildings.
"The SOEST Open House presents a diverse array of entertaining and educational hands-on activities and demonstrations, which highlight the research conducted by [their] faculty, students, and staff." They have info and exhibits on all kinds of topics, like " volcanoes, tsunamis, El Niño, planetary exploration, hurricanes, coastal erosion, marine ecosystems" and more.
If you plan to go with a group of ten or more, they do ask that you use their Group Reservation Form to reserve a spot.
For more information, please call 808-956-3151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I am NOT affiliated or associated with this event or UH/SOEST, I have only heard great things and rave reviews from fellow homeschoolers about this event, so I'm passing along the information to you. If you attend, please do feel free to get in touch and let me know what you thought of it!
"Open to CHOH subscribers and non subscribers! Admission Fee: $1 per person over the age of 5 (this includes buyers, sellers, and their family members)."
For questions email: email@example.com
Note: I am not affiliated or associated with this sale. This is not a paid ad or sponsored post. Just passing on the info in case it is of interest.
I'm a homeschooling mom of two, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.