Earth Day is, in my opinion, one of the most important days of the year. Most of the year, we spend so wrapped up in our own needs and consumption that we forget about the needs of the planet around us or future generations. When it comes to children, it’s not easy to help them think outside of their own needs, so Earth week is a great week to teach kids their responsibility to the planet and the foliage and animals that share the planet with us, because they certainly aren’t going to think about it without our reminders and teachings!
The most fun things that you can do for earth week are going out and picking up trash and then doing something with said trash/recycling. We spent co-op day with some friends out at the playground where we picked up trash and did a nature hunt together, which was a blast. You’d think the kids would find it a miserable task, but even after they said they were done, they kept pointing out trash that needed to be picked up. It is so easy to pass by trash on a daily basis and do nothing about it or ignore it, but when you start paying attention to the junk on the side of the road, you realize how much people waste or throw into our forests, parks and waterways. My girls were shocked at how much trash they found in a field that looked pristine from far away.
Then, when we got home, I let them dig through our recycling bin to find boxes and other fun things that they could create things with. I think that they prefer getting the freedom to create on their own terms. So, we had some buildings and vehicles and rocket ships that were created, which was fun.
I also bought a compost kit and we threw a banana in one box and orange in the other. We have thoroughly enjoyed watching it compost in front of us and plan to place the healthy soil in our garden and start a new batch as soon as the fruit has completely decomposed. Watching Planet Earth and Our Planet was a fun afternoon and evening activity, and the kids really got into some of the stories and watching some of the animals.
I loved how hands-on the whole week was and I think that helped hit home the fact that we need to be better about being wasteful and make sure that we are taking care of the animals and plants on our planet. Hopefully we can raise the next generation to be action takers who help take care of our planet better than those before them!
I am very strategic about when I do a gardening unit because I want to spend the week that we are doing this unit actually gardening in our garden outside (yes, I am unapologetically using my own kids to do some manual labor in our yard). So, I felt like April was the best time of year to do this unit. It also corresponds so well with Earth Day (the week before) and Bug week (the week after), so it ends up being a pretty seamless flow of helping the planet and spending time outdoors at the perfect time of year.
This year, I saved up several kits from consignment stores to make our own indoor and outdoor children’s gardens, which was a huge help. My husband was gone for the week, so I was really happy I had thought ahead and had a fairy garden and glow in the dark garden that kept my kids busy for a while. They are also good ways to teach the girls responsibility, as I made it pretty clear these gardens were solely their responsibility. Yes, it’s a big gamble because they could easily kill it, but better this than an animal and they have to start somewhere!
Later in the week, during co-op we planted a garden outside with organic veggies and herbs that I loaded up on at Lowe’s (thank you, military discount!). Getting our hands in the dirt was really fun, and my girls, who are usually terrified of bugs, pushed past their fears to help me.
We did loads of crafts this week, but the most fun stuff we did this week was play with an over-the-chair felt garden I found at Target and out Green Toys Build a Bouquet. We pulled out our bugs a little bit early and pretended we were planting gardens and even that bugs were pollinating our garden to help them grow. All of this play probably seems silly and a little young for my girls, but I think getting hands on over and over again is the best way for something to resonate in their young brains. Hugely popular with my 3 year old and being so hands on this week meant that she was able to be just as invested in school as Aria.
Though weeks like gardening and bugs may at first appear like throwaways, I find them to be successful in getting my kids outside in nature, which helps their mental and physical well being. It also gets them to be more hands-on and it is great when you can find ways to teach kids responsibility. Plus, if you are like me and making learning fun is important to you, units like this are awesome at giving kids a break from the really structured, heavy materials of, say, continent units, and letting them get back to the basics. Never underestimate the power of kinesthetic learning!
I always love covering Bible stories the week or two before Easter because it gives me a chance to center the girls on Jesus and away from all of the Easter bunny stuff that surrounds the celebration of Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I personally see nothing wrong with enjoying the Easter bunny and all of the things associated with him such as Easter egg hunts, but the week is really about Jesus’ resurrection and that’s what I want the focus to stay mostly on. Luckily, my girls really do love many of the Bible stories and always love learning about Jesus, so the Bible activities end up being a fun lead up to a fun week of Easter activities. However, this unit can easily be done at any other time of year and you will be fine.
This year, I didn’t redo my bible lessons from last year and instead just added a few activities you can try at home. I focused more on Jesus this year and covered some of his parables, but because I had found so many fun workbooks over the years at the Dollar Store (absolutely consider shopping there if you do this unit, especially around Easter), there wasn’t much I needed additional from online. You can easily look at our PK-4 Bible page for plenty more ideas than the ones I post here, but for ease sake and to not be repetitive, I’m going to only add this one list of links.
Hope you enjoy all of the fun Bible activities and preparing for Easter celebrations in your own home!
Bible Week Activity Updates:
Find the spy game Joshua (http://adventuresinmommydom.org/joshua-battle-jericho-activities/)
Gideon quiz (https://www.biblefunforkids.com/2013/12/gideon.html#more)
David’s shepherd’s pouch craft (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shepherds-Pouch-Craft-David-and-Goliath-Bible-Story-3657972)
Joshua takes command object lesson (https://www.futureflyingsaucers.com/gods-battle-plan-deuteronomy-34-joshua-1610-24/)
Joshua battle of Jericho snack with icing, graham crackers, and bugles (http://3cherrycokes.blogspot.com/2011/06/joshua-and-battle-of-jericho-vbs-snack.html)
God keeps us safe orange activity (http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/2015/10/god-keeps-us-safe-assembly-shadrach.html)
Paper plate craft (https://ministryark.com/lesson/stand-strong-sunday-school-lesson-daniel-3/)
Candle craft for Shadrach, Meshach, Abendago (http://onchapter.blogspot.com/2012/07/shadrach-meshach-abednego-jesus-crafts.html)
S, M, A game (https://sundayschoolsources.com/lessons/OT/Captivity/Shadrach.html)
Lion toilet paper tube (http://www.blogcolorear.com/2014/12/manualidades-animales-en-tubo-de.html)
Daniel lion pillow (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/96/9c/6e/969c6e97d628bd017b00fcd73734ccf4.jpg)
Jesus’ baptism craft and science experiments (https://www.123homeschool4me.com/jesus-baptism_67?)
Jesus loves the little children craft (http://www.churchhousecollection.com/resources/Jesus%20loves%20the%20little%20children%20activity%20page.jpg)
Cups story of God’s love for us (https://theflowerdonkeydiaries.com/2018/07/19/the-cups-sharing-the-story-of-gods-love/)
Prodigal son color by number (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/207095282845494950/)
Parables of Jesus songs (http://www.biblesongsandmore.com/songs/new-testament-songs/parables-of-jesus/)
Parables pop up book (http://www.biblesongsandmore.com/2013/07/06/parables-of-jesus-pop-up-book/)
Make homemade “talents” (https://adventuresinmommydom.org/parable-talents-lesson/)
Parable of the talents- chore day (start with a quarter kids can gain a quarter per chore- some worth more or can give up their quarter to lounge on the couch); double the amount gained by the hardest worker
Fairy Tales week is always a fun one, though I suggest that if you have the time you stretch the unit into two weeks instead of the one that I did. I knew I was going out of town and decided that week two would be our spring break, which is good since my trip to visit my mom was jam packed with activities. However, that meant we were unable to do all of the fun stuff I found and weren’t able to get to Hansel and Gretel. I do think this is one of the best units to do with kids, especially those that love to use imagination and play or those that are huge Disney fans. I don’t think you can ever regret taking time on units that are super fun like this, especially if you goal is to make learning fun (like mine is).
The big hit of the week was definitely Peter Pan. Not only did the girls love reading the chapter book, but I had bought a pirate box from Kiwi Crate on super sale that gave us loads to do on that day without me having to plan as much myself. There are also lots of Tinkerbell movies that go along with Peter Pan’s story on Amazon, so right now my girls are big into fairies and playing in their fairy garden, so the timing of this unit was perfect.
Another big hit was the Storytime Toys fairy tale playsets the girls have gotten as gifts over the last few years. They each contain the story and all of the houses and characters for each one, so we spent day after day playing with those. I’m also a huge fan of the STEM game my mom gave Aria where kids have to find the path to grandmother’s house and avoid the wolf. Basically, it ends up being early coding practice. I ended up reusing a lot of the activities from previous years because they were still relevant (and why not reuse toys or worksheets you laminate). But there are a number of new goodies in each pdf download that you can check out!
When it came to math and writing, I really hit the jackpot in pirate activities. There are loads of addition and counting games, along with color by sight words or color by numbers. Super fun way to take a break from Math U See and Sing, Spell, Read, and Write for a few days. Between packing, friends visiting, and doctor’s visits, we weren’t able to do all of the fun stuff we wanted, but every minute of the week was a blast so it didn’t feel like work even when we were working hard. Hope you and your family have as much fun with this unit as we did!
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE FAIRY TALE PRINCESSES PDF
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE FAIRY TALE PETER PAN PDF
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE FAIRY TALE THREE LITTLE PIGS PDF
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE HANSEL AND GRETEL PDF
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE FAIRY TALE LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD PDF
CLICK HERE FOR DOWNLOADABLE FAIRY TALE GOLDILOCKS PDF
Following our Europe unit, it was easy to segue into a week celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I had loaded up on goodies after last St. Patricks’ Day when every item was 70-80% off, which helped a lot with having less to plan. But there were loads of great free ideas I found on Pinterest and, as we did last year, we had fun visits from the leprechaun each day, who we sadly never managed to catch despite setting up an awesome trap! I will say that there aren’t as many items out there about St. Patrick himself, which is disappointing, but there are loads of goodies on leprechauns, clovers, and rainbows. This was a short unit due to a last minute trip to Atlanta for a class my husband was taking, but we spent those two Atlanta days visiting the Fernbank Museum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens, so they ended up being very educational days despite not being as focused on St. Patrick.
Along with learning about the normal St. Patrick’s Day stuff, we also spent a day focusing on the science of rainbows, and here the Magic School Bus Rainbow kit came into helpful play! The kit contained at least 10 different activities, so the kids had a blast learning about rainbows and color mixing (not a surprise since Aria is such a huge fan of science experiments).
On the Sunday of St. Patrick’s Day, the leprechaun came to visit and took the kids on a fun scavenger hunt around the house to “Bag of gold” at the end of the hunt. The girls loved eating their chocolate coins and spent the whole week laughing about the silly leprechaun. They really bought the leprechaun peeing in the toilet to turn it green too, which was funny for us to watch as parents! What a fun week of silly fun learning all about St. Patrick’s Day!
P.S. My best advice for the week is still to check out the clearance section of your local craft store after the holiday. You might even luck out and find stuff for 90% off, which means you could be paying mere cents for activities!
Our Europe unit was such a great way to start out a month of Europe related learning! We are going to be spending the rest of the month studying St. Patrick and Fairy Tales (most of which come from writers in Europe or are based on real castles in Europe), so we were able to really set up a lot of that through this unit. I also ended up planning a last minute spring break trip that will take a week away from our fairy tales unit, so we were able to cover castles and medieval times early so we didn’t miss out on any of that information when we get to the fairy tales.
I can’t stress enough if you do world units the importance of maps. Whether felt or coloring, the only real way I’ve been able to give Aria a sense of not only where a continent is but also the countries within the continent is through maps. I found a really great one for Europe where we colored every single country in Europe, which gave us a good chance to say every country name. We followed that up with writing the first letter of every country and looking at their flags, which I got from Every Star is Different. She has awesome activities for every continent, and her Europe one is amazing (pictures of landmarks, famous artists and their works, flag recognition, counting money, etc).
Once we knew where Europe was, we focused on two different things about Europe: France and medieval times. I could have focused on a ton more things, but I decided to make my life a little easier this week and found an amazing deal on a Kid Wonder medieval box (which gave us 5 full blown activities, all the materials, and kept us busy the entire day). So, along with the castle blocks I already had, boxes from the garage that we made into our own castle, our castle characters, puppets, and dress up costumes, we were set!
We focused on France because our Little Passports subscription sent us activities for Paris. I also own some beautiful wooden Paris blocks and had bought a Paris Busy Book a while back, so we were able to cover Paris really well. We also lucked out and two months ago our Raddish cooking kit included items for a French meal, so we ended our week with a yummy dinner of a Croque Monsieur and nicoise salad that the girls helped me make!
For our co-op of the week, we focused on Paris and Parisian artwork, with a specific focus on Claude Monet’s lilypad works. We made our own lilypad work, we decorated one of his works and made it our own, and then we looked at different European artists, picked a work we liked, and tried to paint like that artist. The kiddos also built an Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows. Super fun!
This was definitely a unit that I wished we had more time to invest in covering, though I may just spend a whole year at some point focusing on Europe because there are so many things we can cover! We had such a fun week and I really think that Kid Wonder and Raddish are amazing investments if you are looking for some complements to your homeschool curriculum! Hope you have as much fun diving into Europe as we did!
Dr. Seuss week is so fun, not just because Seuss’ works are fun in and of themselves, but we get to spend the whole week reading loads of books. Plus, if you are lucky enough to live in a place with awesome libraries, you might be able to go to a fun library birthday celebration like we do! Definitely a silly, fun week that can also be challenging and rewarding in many ways.
Our huge, huge win of the week was Aria reading me Green Eggs and Ham. This is the first time I really had her sit down and read things that aren’t considered “readers,” and she blew me away with how well she did and how little help she needed. Definitely owed to a mix of her determination to succeed and the help of our Sing, Spell, Read, and Write curriculum. I’d like to try and see if I can get her to read Cat in the Hat or One Fish, Two Fish by the end of the year, but we will have to just wait and see!
The girls just loved this week. We did loads of science activities and hands on stuff, crafts, and literature/ math items. The best thing we own Dr. Seuss themed (other than the books of course), is the Cat in the Hat game I recommend in my lesson plans. Not only is it a great way to get kids moving, but it is also a good way to practice reading sight words (even if some are very silly). The Lorax had the best crafts, Green Eggs and Ham had the best hands on activities, and The Cat in the Hat had the best stuff to get you moving.
I highly suggest making celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday a yearly tradition and taking advantage of all of the stuff that goes on in your community during this time. Any unit that gets your kids excited about reading is a great unit in my mind! Plus, his books are too much fun for even the most reluctant reader not to enjoy. Hope you have fun celebrating!
Going into the North America week, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a lot planned for the week, and some of the concepts like money, naming the states, or naming the presidents could have caused the week to be too intimidating and stressful for the girls. However, this ended up being one of my favorite units of the year!
I think one of the smartest things I did when planning was really focus my lessons on learning three concepts: the presidents, the states, and money. We focused first on the states, and I found some great items that really helped us learn our states this week (puzzles, color-me-in map of all the states, a felt states and landmark activity, and a magnetic map). Having a lot of ways to check the map of the USA out was great, and we were able to reach out goal of finding and naming 10 states by week’s end. However, the best thing we found for the week was a book called The Scrambled States of America. Not only is it a silly and fun way to learn the states with a goofy story about the states changing locations, but there is a great Amazon video of the book that you should definitely watch alongside it. There is also a video called The Scrambled States of America Talent Show that was super cute too.
Aria loves George Washington, so we had fun doing crafts focused on him and Abraham Lincoln in honor of President’s Day. We did some fun masks and built Lincoln’s house during co-op, and we learned facts about these presidents along with what makes a president and what laws Aria would enforce if she was president (everyone has to play outside and do science experiments during rest time and no bedtimes were two of her laws). There are lots of fun videos on Youtube about presidents and states that we spent an hour watching and learning from during the week! We didn’t reach my goal of learning lots of president names, but we were having a lot of fun with those two so we ended up staying focused on them.
Money is still something we need to work on post this week, but we had a good introduction to how much each coin is worth and played a really fun game I bought off of Oriental Trading that was all about counting money and amounts. Being super visual really helps when talking about money.
Overall, we learned a ton this week and had a lot of fun doing it, which is the best of all worlds! I will continue to work on states, presidents, and money during the year, but this week was a really fun push in the right direction! Hope you check this unit out and consider doing it in your home (whether over president’s day or not). Perfect intro into America before starting history next year.
Valentine’s week is always a fun week. Nothing like taking a little break from anything strenuous and celebrating love! We had a great time baking cookies and making gifts for friends in our extracurricular classes, making crafts for loves ones, and doing a bit of learning too!
As I’ve mentioned before, Aria is most interested in science right now, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that those activities were her favorite this week. There are loads of fun valentine’s experiments out there, and the most fun ones were the easiest to do (baking soda heart science, bubble science, and dancing conversation hearts).
Last year, after Valentine’s Day I went to the store and loaded up on some crafts for this year at 80% off (and I highly recommend you doing the same if you do holiday units; saves you a bunch of money). So, we were able to give out some cool gifts I got on major sale from Pottery Barn kids and do some awesome and cheap crafts all week from Michael’s. This allowed me to take a bit of a break from the heavy prep work of the previous weeks, as we moms deserve a fun week of celebrating too!
My girls loved spending time making cards and presents for their family and friends, and we had a wonderful special day on Valentine’s Day showing each other how much we love each other! Special weeks like this make me really appreciate not just my family but my amazing readers too for checking out this wonderful website and giving me the push I need to continue improving as a mom and teacher week after week! Happy Valentine’s Day!!
In life, I think you should give pretty much everything a few tries before you admit that it isn’t your cup of tea and giving up, and sports week is one of those things on my list. It wasn’t a terrible week and I think the girls had some fun learning new sports (the Dollar Store actually has some great games that teach sports that I highly recommend) and there are some amazing letter and number activities out there for sports. But I just could feel all of the joy get zapped out of me this week, so this is a unit I’m going to say a fond farewell to going forward.
However…if you have a child who loves sports, there are some great gems in this unit that I suggest checking out. I found a lot of different learning activities for loads of sports, a lot more than I thought I would find. I will say that I had to do more physical prep work for activities this week than almost any other week this year, but Aria seemed to really like the ones I worked hard to prep, so in the end it was worth it.
I think the unit was timed really well to correspond with the super bowl. We are not a football watching family, but we do watch the super bowl, so this was really the girl’s only chance to see the game. We spent the afternoon of the Super Bowl doing a bunch of football activities and even playing football in our living room until the ball got dangerously close to breakable items, so that was probably our most fun day.
Wednesday, baby Skylar turned 3!! So we took a break and had a princess tea party with friends. We then traveled to Atlanta for the weekend to celebrate with family, so very little school overall got done throughout the week (which was probably good per my enthusiasm). But we had a great time celebrating her and I can’t believe how old she is now! She’s so big and loving school. And extremely fascinated in doing “her schoolwork now,” which is adorable.
Long story short, sports week can be good if you enjoy sports. If you don’t I suggest skipping it unless you are stubborn like me! Instead, get your kids involved in sports so they don’t miss out on the physical exercise and learning about at least one sport (we do dance and gymnastics here), and you are all set!
P.S. check out our new schoolroom we set up next week when Skylar moved into Aria's room!
Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.