Christmas Jesse Tree

This advent, my youngest child and I created a new, quick and simple Jesse Tree using chicken wire curved to form a tall narrow cone and decorated it with free downloads from around the Internet.

Homeschool moments

  • First I drew and painted some small Jesse Tree discs to follow our Jesse Tree Bible study and added these to the Jesse Tree Ornaments I had previously downloaded free from Paper Dali  (I don’t think that it is available free anymore ….)  To protect them I covered the discs with clear packaging tape.  Then my daughter ran the discs through the sewing machine to join them together into a lovely long bunting.  We draped this bunting around the tree.

Homeschool moments1

  • Next I painted the black & white version of the Names of Jesus Ornaments downloaded free from Bible Story Printables.com with bright,bold colors.  You can print out the colored version, but I wanted to save on printing ink and I loved painting them myself!  These discs are larger than the small Jesse Tree discs and fill in much of the wire tree space.
  • Last year we made Names of Jesus strips which my youngest stapled into paper rings and interlinked them to make a lovely paper chain to decorate our Advent table.
  • Lastly I downloaded our Jesse Tree ornaments from Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift download.  We colored some elements of each picture in with silver and gold pens and protected the pictures with clear tape.
  • We used thin florist wire pieces to twist through a tiny hole pierced in our decorations and hooked them simply over the tree’s wires as we follow our Jesse Tree Advent story.

Here are some extra Jesse Tree ideas and resources ~

  1.  Jesse Tree ornaments from Printables.Your Way.net
  2. Beautiful felt Jesse Tree Ornaments from Mandy Pelton.blogspot.com
  3. Jesse Tree Ornaments.com
  4. Alanna George.com – Advent Activity – The Jesse Tree For Kids
  5. Cresourcei.org – Jesse
  6. www.teacherspayteachers.com – Advent-Liturgy-Jesse-Tree-485053
  7. Simple Jesse Tree Ornaments {Tutorial}  keepinglifecreative.com
  8. Jesse Tree Ornament Set with Old and New by InspiredTraditions  www.etsy.com
  9. This Simple Home: Homemade Jesse Tree  http://www.thissimplehome.com
  10. 12 Days Blog Hop: Jesse Tree Advent with the Jesus Storybook Bible | Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs – kelleighratzlaff.com
  11. Biblical Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar Jesse by NavyMango  www.etsy.com
  12. The Jesse Tree Advent Study and Free Advent Printable Set | Free Homeschool Deals © – www.freehomeschooldeals.com
  13. Jesse Tree Ornament Set with Old and New Testament Scripture for each…http://www.pinterest.com

Hope this inspires you if you are looking for Jesse Tree and Advent activities.

Blessings

Creative Crafts ~ Bleach Painting

 Cheap, instant, magical … bleach painting adds a stunning creative touch to clothes!Kate's art2 Nadene Oct

Some bleach painting tips:

  • Always test on a scrap of similar fabric or on a part of the garment where the bleach effect can be tested but not seen (like inside a seam or on a hem).  Most dyes leave a trace color after the bleach has worked.  Some fabrics are extremely color-fast and do not bleach out.
  • Work on a plastic sheet and newsprint.  I bleached my skirt over a covered ironing board.  Place a plastic sheet or plastic packet inside a shirt so that the bleach doesn’t bleed through to the other side.
  • You can use basic domestic liquid bleach and a waterpaint paint brush.  You can also use water brushes and even simple ear buds/ Q-tips!
  • You can paint bleach on to stamps and press the stamp onto the fabric.
  • Plan your design on your garment with a chalk pencil or fading fabric markers.
  • I found great simple designs on Pinterest.
  • Stencil designs work well too!
  • Note – the bleach is invisible at first, but within a moment or two begins to fade the fabric.  If you paint over a bleached area after it has dried it may go even lighter!  I loved the magical appearance of the design a few seconds later!
  • Caution – some fabrics become fragile under bleach.  Hand wash carefully.
  • Caution 2 – wear protective clothing when working with bleach.
  • This is an excellent activity for middle-school children and teens.  Ask them to bring an old colored T-shirt to class and provide small cups of bleach and Q-tips for them to paint and design patterns and images on their shirts.
  • You can spray bleach with a fine misting bottle over a stencil or design pasted onto the material.  Some folks use freezer paper.  Lettering or a simple cut out design works well.

Bleach painting is addictive!  You may find good reasons or no reasons at all to bleach paint a huge number of your clothes!  Stop before your wardrobe looks like it fell into a bleach fountain!

Have some creative fun this festive season!

Blessings

Creative Crafts ~ French Patio Ideas

I recently created some wonderful crafty decor for our patio in French Provence style.

Bunting always creates a festive atmosphere!

Using unbleached calico I made some French Style Bunting with fabric painted details ~ use the free stencil download below for ideas).  Baste the triangle pieces edge-to-edge on wide ribbon and then fold the ribbon over and serpentine stitch the ribbon to cover the top of the bunting.  (Remember to add at least 1m of ribbon to either end of your bunting to use to knot over poles or around trees.)

French patio1

My daughter and I created a Printed Table Runner.  Pop over to my Project Page for the tutorial.

French patio

I painted some patio cushion covers for my bench and wicker chairs.

French patio2

Lastly I hung a few lanterns on blue ribbon over the table for some ambient light and intimacy.

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A week of creative fun transformed my patio into a festive French-styled outdoor area.

For some French Provence stencil ideas here is a free download ~ Provence patio stencil ideas

Blessings

 

Solar System Comics ~ Uranus & Neptune

We’ve enjoyed creating comics for the planets we have studied in our Apologia Astronomy studies.

It takes a fair bit of thinking and planning, and quite a lot of quiet time to draw and write the dialogue for the comic strip.  We both found that it helps if you have an amusing character or story line to get into the creative flow.  I tend to try fit in too many facts and find that I get bogged down, while Miss.L12 has a blast adding sound effects and drawing humorous situations!  In fact, one can get away with totally absurd ideas!

This past week we studied Uranus and Neptune. Both planets’ comic strips are on one page.  (Miss.L12 will hopefully complete her comic soon and I will add it here.)

Solar System Uranus & Neptune 001

And if you missed our earlier Solar System Comics, here they are ~

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages.

Blessings

 

Solar System Comics ~ Jupiter & Saturn

During our Apologia Astronomy studies this year we have been amazed at the incredible “real outer worldly” astronomy happenings!

This week the Philae landed on a comet called 67P!  We have followed its progress the past few months and I was surprised how excited we both became when it actually landed 2 days ago!  What an outstanding epic journey so far!

Mission facts from BBC News

Philae lander

  • Travelled 6.4 billion km (four billion miles) to reach the comet
  • Journey took 10 years
  • Planning for the journey began 25 years ago

Comet 67P

  • More than four billion years old
  • Mass of 10 billion tonnes
  • Hurtling through space at 18km/s (40,000 mph)
  • Shaped like a rubber duck

We continued our own Solar System studies and here are our Jupiter & Saturn comic strips ~

Solar System Jupiter 001 Solar System Jupiter 002

Solar System Saturn 001 Solar System Saturn 002

And if you missed our earlier Solar System Comics, here they are ~

Here is a free blank comic strip page download ~ Solar System Comic notebooking pages.

These comic strips are actually such fun that one doesn’t realize that they are chock full of interesting facts and information!  Print them out for your kids to color in and read and enjoy!

Blessings,

 

How to Fit in Creative Hands-on Ideas

Commenting on my recent post “Make Memories with Hands-on Activities” a reader asked ~

How do you do it all and where do you get all your creative ideas from?”

As many other readers may wonder and ask similar questions, I thought I would answer in a full post.

Firstly, I DON’T “do it all”!  I think this post may describe my failings and fears of not getting it all done!  But here are a few simple strategies to plan and add hands-on activities and to create fun learning opportunities in our homeschooling experiences.

1.  Plan it 

Start with your year plan or the book index.  Look over all the main topics and themes in the schedule that may provide interesting activities and highlight them.  Add a few days to a week, or even longer for your activities, depending on the activity.  Usually I source (or create) a lapbook and a few quick hands-on activities for each theme.  We don’t always do them all, but I like to have some options planned.

Essentially I extend our 1-year schedule to 18 months or even 2 years.  I have NEVER regretted taking our time with extra hands-on activities, but have always regretted rushing on when there was still a sparkle of interest and enjoyment.  None on my children have ever fallen behind academically.  Carry on with the 3’Rs (Maths, Spelling, Phonics/Reading, Handwriting) according to their normal grade schedules and simply extend your core.  At first, you may feel anxious, but don’t worry.  You will find your rhythm and flow.

2. Pinterest  Pinterest Homeschool

Where did I find my ideas?  In my early years, I simply Googled the topics and themes for projects, plans, ideas and activities.  These days, Pinterest is a fantastic resource!  Type in your search topic and pin away! (Here are my Homeschool, Art, Famous Artists, Bible, Nature, Maths, English, Printables and Science boards.)

Practical Tip:  

While I search, I use Microsoft OneNote (here’s an online tutorial) to collect all my ideas so that I can work with them offline. Other folk swear by Evernote.  (Read the comparison between them here and here. ) OneNoteWhatever works for you is fine! 

I love OneNote because I can easily create tabbed notebooks and sub-tabbed pages.  OneNote automatically adds link and web addresses whenever you copy text or images.  I especially like the screen clip insertions as it gives me quick visuals of my searches.  OneNote  allows you to attach files, pages and portions from the Internet to the notepage, so everything is in one place and saved automatically. Later, I play around with my Internet finds and create my projects and pages.

3. Print & Prepare

After collecting my hands-on activity ideas, I create my pages and then print everything out and prepare the work.  After many years of homeschooling I have found all these time-saving tips for doing lapbooks that really work. We save time and avoid much frustration if we cut, fold and pack all the minibooks and store them in Ziplock bags, or better still, paste all the minibooks into the file folders ready for our lapbook sessions.  I file my lapbook planner with the index page and notes, all ready to whip out when we need them.

4. Promote it

Usually our hands-on activities are the best part of our theme.  My kids love to know what hands-on activities they will do with each new theme or topic. Introducing a theme with a hands-on activity is so stimulating!  But if we need to first do read alouds, narrations and notes, then the hands-on activity is a wonderful reward to complete the work.  If interest flags, or kids are tired, sick or unmotivated, hands-on activities revives our days.

5. Provide options  Science experiments2

Children have unique interests and learning styles.  I find that younger children need more physical activities, while older kids may prefer creative activities. One of my children is very shy, while the other loves to act out scenes and present puppet shows and speeches.  One is very visual, while the other loves listening.  One is very left-brained and logical, the other very fluid and right-brained.  Find activities that serve the individuals as well as the group.  Co-op with other families for added hands-on excitement!

When teaching several children together, (and I highly recommend moms combine their close-aged children on the same core) it is good to have options and allow the kids choose what activity they would prefer to do.  My kids notebook in individual ways, uniquely combining notebook pages with their minibooks, and I try to create pages and projects that are open-ended and flexible.

Many of our activities have started with an idea which the kids developed and fulfilled in ways that I did not necessarily anticipate.  The more I homeschool, the more I realize that my kids love to take an idea and run with it!  I am often simply a facilitator!  More and more, I am learning to let go and allow my kids to lead & take charge of their learning experience.

Whether your hands-on activities are “extras” or essentials in your homeschooling, please plan time for them, take your time and enjoy these homeschool moments!

Blessings,

 

Make Memories with Hands-on Activities

Revisiting earlier posts ~

Way back in 2009, when I re-used our Sonlight Core 1&2 World History with my youngest 2 kids, I ignored the time-frame suggested in the Sonlight schedule and followed it as a mere guideline.  Adding hands-on activities to our themes made homeschool come alive and filled our school day with fun!  

But, more importantly, it really helped my kids learn.  In fact, when I asked them what they remember of their studies, they mostly only remember the hands-on activities!

I am re-using Core 1&2 with my younger 2 girls and decided to relax, stretch the schedule and do hand-on activities when we could this year.

Buiilding castles

building castles

The girls have made models and built castles.  They have created interesting project pages.  They have dressed up and acted out scenes from read alouds.  They have cooked and baked and then ate foods from the country or era.  We have visited places and museums.

Dressing the part

Dressing the part

During school they have played online educational games and they have created interesting notebook pages.  We have made lapbooks for as many themes as we could find or create.

Mapping World War II

Mapping World War II

These activities have been the highlights!  I highly recommend that you allow more time to ‘flesh out’ the schedule!  How can one spend only 1 day covering Japan?  Or take just 2 days to enjoy the Knights and Castles?

Sonlight has offered me a great framework and I have enjoyed this approach SO much more than my first year of homeschooling tick-the-box-stick-to-the-schedule approach!

Life is the learning journey!

Especially while you are teaching your young children, even up to junior high, add and include hands-on activities!  Make time for it!  It is an investment in your children’s learning experience that will last!

Blessings,