Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blueprint for Field Trips

Field Trips are so much fun and they can round out a unit study, history lesson, science lesson or whatever. There are also some neat ways to expand your field trip experience.  And what's wrong with a little sneaky learning?

I'll use our Mississippi Petrified Forest Museum as an example.  We took a visit there last May and had a good time. This was my last field trip to plan for the year for our local homeschool group as our field trip coordinator.

Before going to the museum I explained to my kids what we might see there and what petrified wood is  We checked out some books from the library on the topic (and I even included some books on erosion since that seems to be a big theme on the nature trail at the museum) and why it's so interesting.  We checked out mostly nonfiction books since there isn't much children's literature about petrified wood. So my kids were aware of what to encounter and was even somewhat knowledgeable on the topic.

If your children are older, they can write about what they think they'll see on the field trip and compare it to what they actually saw once the field trip is over. They can also think of some questions to ask the adults in charge.

Once there we visited the gift shop and browsed around and picked up some souvenirs.  Postcards are great for notebooking pages. The Notebooking Fairy has some great tips on how to notebook with postcards. She also has some free printable Postcard Notebooking pages .  Here is another great example of postcard notebooking. 
Be sure to pick up some extra postcards to send to their penpals.  This is a great way to get them to write about what they saw and learned. 

While we were in the gift shop we picked up the brochure for the nature walk and make our way outside.  Brochures can also be included in notebooking.  We had a good time walking and reading about the points of interest from the brochure while we were walking. 

Don't forget to take lots of pictures!  They can take the pictures and add captions to them in their notebooking pages (can you tell I'm a fan of notebooking?). Photo journaling is alot of fun and great practice for new/reluctant writers.
It can be hard to get everyone to look at the same camera.

After playing and having a picnic lunch it was time to go home.  We talked all the way home about what we enjoyed and what we saw.  Getting them to talk about it is a great exercise for them to arrange their thoughts before writing about it.

Then of course after some much needed down time we pulled out our notebooking pages and got to work writing about our field trip.  If you need a set of notebooking pages here is a fantastic generic set. 

If you need a little more instruction on actually notebooking a field trip click here.

I love how field trips and notebooking go hand-in-hand.  It kind of combines traveling, journaling and scrapbooking.  It's also a learning tool you can use to help develop writing skills.  With a little creative effort you can make field trips memorable and fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New for Thrifty Homeschooling

Thrifty Homeschooling is now on FACEBOOK!  I have been planning to do this for months and now Thrifty Homeschooling has it's own Facebook page.  It is listed as a group that is open to all.... you just have to join.  I will be posting all kinds of free or cheap homeschooling resources and ideas.  You are also welcome to post on the page!  But don't limit yourself to homeschooling.  We are also homemakers.  If you see a link you would love to share that would benefit us as homemakers and homeschooling moms.... POST IT!  I'm looking forward to the great posts to come.  I will also keep up with this blog.  I am looking forward to making another blog post soon. 

Thrifty Homeschooling on FACEBOOK!!!
Join the fun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our State Study

This year as we study Early American History with Adventures in My Father's World we are also doing a state study. Yes, there is one with Adventures but it was just so boring so we came up with our own.  We spend 2 days on each state. 

My 2nd grader has her own notebook that is for our history and geography.  I'm not sure why I didn't take a picture of her notebook.

We have a United States Map in the front of our state pages.  When we "visit" a state, it gets colored in.  It looks like we still have a long way to go.

Next is our notebooking pages about the state.  This page is on Georgia, our first state to study.   I use mini post-it notes on the first page to mark each state for easy reference. There are a lot of great state study pages for free.  This Squidoo Lens has alot of great options.  The one I used is the last notebooking page set "Two Page State Layout".
This is Page 1.  You can use this set for any state.  Instead of getting her to draw and color the state flag I used a great product that I'll tell you about a little later.

Page 2.  This is for Tennessee.  We actually got to visit Tennessee on a recent family trip.  While we were there we visited the Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville (see the pic).  We used the brochure to enhance our page. 

State Coloring Page.  There are lots out there.  You can google "Mississippi flag coloring page" or whatever state you're studying and get several great options,  but these are my favorites.

Another great coloring page.  My Kindergartener loves coloring pages and it makes it more bearable for her who finds this type of study very tedious.  Again you can google this, "Alabama State Coloring Page" and get some good options.  Here is the one I use.
Pictured above are our state study packs.  Each bag has a printable element to complete our state study.  Bag #1 State Seals; Bag #2 State Birds and Flowers; Bag #3 State flags.  Our state notebooking pages requires all of these and I made it easy for my 2nd grader to be able to just open the bag she needs, cut out the specific state and paste it onto the notebooking page. has a great product for this.  I like the convenience of having this already printed out and ready to use.  For the label I just cut out the label for the first page of each set and package taped it onto my bag.  Easy Peasy.  We kept the bags in the front pocket of our 2" think 3 ring binder.

For facts and information my favorite resource is America the Beautiful, third series from Scholastic.  Each state has it's own book and they are expensive ($30 EACH!!).  I would just plan ahead and request them from my local library.  Don't worry, if you're library doesn't have this set, there are plenty of great reference books out there to choose from.  You just have to do some research.

So far we are really liking this set up.  I hope I've inspired some great ideas for a future state studies.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Curriculum Plan: 2012-2013

As we begin our 4th year of homeschooling, I've had to reflect on what has worked and what hasn't.  Most traditional methods work with  my oldest who is now 8 and going into the 3rd grade and it's the complete opposite with my middle child who will be 6 and going into the 1st grade.
Their learning styles are so completely different.
3rd grader: concrete sequential- Perfect Paula
1st grader: Abstract Random- Wiggle Willy

With the beauty of homeschooling I can tailor their lessons to their needs.

3rd grade:

Language Arts:  Learning Language Arts Through Literature- YELLOW but I'm also supplementing with Readers from Sonlight that I will borrow from the library. I am so very excited about this one.

Math: A Beka Arithmetic 3 We have used this since first grade with success.  Don't fix what isn't broken.

1st Grade:

Phonics: MCP Phonics Level B Workbook. I'm not using the Teacher's Manual. I'm just using the workbook.  We are also doing lots of picture book read-alouds and her reading list will be in this Blog Post.

Math: Horizons Math 1.  Using the Teacher's Manual and Student Book

For Both Children:

Bible:  Bible Study for All Ages- Unit 1  This is our first year with curriculum.  There are 4 units which last for four years (1 year each).  I'm still debating on whether I'll order the CD and student pages that are additional purchases.  I've already bought the Teacher's guide used through so I can preview it at my leisure.

Science: Exploring Creation with Astronomy.  We have the regular notebook (for 3rd grader) and junior notebook (for 1st grader) and using them pretty regularly.  We started this after Christmas so we will continue using this until our study is complete.  We may use Exploring Creation with Botany next. Which I already own.  It depends on how interested the children are at the time.

History/Geography: Expedition Earth by Confessions of a Homeschooler.  We are studying Countries and Cultures.  I decided to skip My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures since it's not geared toward 1st and 3rd grade learners.  This is more hands-on.  I do plan to use living books for each country that we study.

Spelling: Spelling Power. I'm using it mainly for my 3rd grader and sparingly for my 1st grader.  I will also use They have some wonderful free games.

And whenever we get bored or need a break from our usual studies I have

Five in a Row Vol 1 and 2 ready to go.  I honestly wish she would come out with a more updated version since some of these books are out-of-print and hard to find. 

That's the plan so far but it may change.  I'm so ready to get started.  We are year-round homeschoolers so I don't follow a typical school year calendar.  Happy Homeschooling!

NOTE: I originally posted pics for each product but Blogpost refused to let me publish it.  It was way too slow. Maybe in the future i'll update with pictures.