Homeschool Reading Blog

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Ocean Poetry

Read some ocean poetry here. Try writing a few of your own together if your child gets into it.
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Hatch a Jar of Pets

A fun experience/experiment that doesn't cost much, does take some time to collect the stuff for, but will be a memory maker is hatching brine shrimp. If you had "Sea Monkey" kits when you were young, this is exactly the same thing, just more "sciency" looking & much better results. (I never actually got any Sea Monkeys hatched as a kid, did you?) Get brine shrimp eggs at your local pet shop. While you are there, if you don't have an aerator pump (used in aquariums) & some tubing, get that, too. Here is a link to some good educational tips. I'll include pictures of how we did it. We do it every year we have a kindergarten/first grader in the house & it is legendary. They may not remember a bunch of things you do or did with them this year, but I'll bet they remember this one if you chose to do it. Our kids take their jars of shrimp to the store, church, wherever. They only last a week or two so the mess is short lived & you don't have to feel guilty about it, unlike a goldfish, etc.

Our hatchery:


Jar full of eggs & new hatchlings:


Day three:


Day five:


Our shrimp pet jars:


This guy gives a pretty good tutorial below.


I used a lot more eggs, so used a bigger container & the air pump to keep things aerated. We chose a honey jar so that it was clear, bigger, but not too wide. It actually was a perfect shape to see what was going on with our shrimp. Our eggs didn't come with any sand or food. They looked more like tiny poppy seeds. We don't use a thermometer. We just put the eggs in room temp water which probably causes them to hatch day later while the water warms up. Oh well. After they hatch, we turn the air pump off, suck them up with a pipette & put them into jars. We put like 30 or so in each smaller jar & keep the jars under the lamp for temperature. We then get the fun of experimenting - put more food in one jar, less in another, none in another. Keep one in a cooler part of the house. Etc. We look in each jar every morning & night with magnifying glasses to see how big they are, how they swim, etc. A couple tips: one teaspoon of eggs is a TON. Do not dump a 1/4 cup in the jar; too much. They eat yeast after they hatch & you get them into smaller jars. And lastly, remember to use a pipette to aerate the smaller jars twice a day, too. Just squeeze 8-10 times into each jar morning & night. Food only has to be sprinkled in (VERY sparingly, like five grains?) every couple days.

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Ocean Explorers

Watch Nest DVDs on Christopher Columbus and/or Marco Polo.

Some ideas for studying Christopher Columbus:

  • Talk about north, south, east, & west. Label them in your child's room with small bits of paper marked N, S, E, & W. Draw a very simple map of things your child knows like this one. Ask questions using your map similar to the ones asked on that link. Have fun with it. This is just an introductory lesson. Make a paper car or use a little toy car & have your child "drive" to various spots on the map & you just tell them which direction they're going. If you really wanted to stick with the ocean theme, you could make a treasure map.   Let your child "sail" their ship in the directions you give them to reach the treasure. Help them make a compass rose on your map either way.
  • Make a simple world map by blowing up a blue balloon & taping the basic continents on where they go. (A template of the basic continents can be printed out here.) Point out North & South America, Italy (where Columbus was from), and where you live.
  • Make three little boats out of a sponge cut into three (get cheap at the dollar store) & label their sails the Nina, Pinta, & Santa Maria. Make the sails out of toothpicks & construction paper triangles. You could also make boats by shaping tin foil into boats & adding little paper sails with straws, anchoring them with a dab of play dough. Let your child play with these in the tub this week.
  • If you have a compass, show your child how it works.
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Let Them Eat Seafood

Have octopus hot dogs & gold fish crackers for lunch one day, just for fun! Make sure your octopi have eight legs & let your child count them. Talk about oct meaning eight & review the octagon shape (stop sign). You can put your "octopus" on a bed of blue colored ramen noodles for even more "seafood" fun. Of course, if your children like seafood, plan a meal of their favorite real seafood dish this week.
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Looking Ahead

Get camping books from the library for next week.

If you can, try to get the DVD of Sid's Backyard Camp Out (Sid the Science Kid) out of the library. To whet your appetite for next week...

Be thinking about when & where you could have a campfire next week. If you don't live out in the country, see if a friend or family member could get one going that you could join. If you tell them you'll bring the smore fixings &/or wienies, they should be thrilled to have you over. : ]

Make sure you have marshmallows, graham crackers, & chocolate bars on hand! Oh, and trail mix items: raisins, cheerios, peanuts, & chocolate chips.

If your child doesn't have a sleeping bag, try to get a hold of a king sized pillow case for him to pretend next week.

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General Goals

  • To count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects.
  • To connect numbers to quantities they represent using physical models and representations.
  • To recognize, duplicate, create, and extend patterns in various formats.
  • To express curiosity and ask questions about their world.
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  • Sounds of the Wild: Bugs - Maurice Pledger 
  • Big Book of Bugs - DK Publishing 
  • Bugs! - David T. Greenberg (Warning: This one is pretty disgusting, but if you've got a child who enjoys being grossed out, this is the book for them.) 
  • The Best Book of Bugs - Claire Llewellyn (Beautiful illustrations!)
  • Any of the pop-up or lift-the-flap "Bugs" books by David A. Carter
  • Any of The Fly Guy books - Tedd Arnold 
  • Caterpillars, Bugs, & Butterflies: Take Along Guide - Mel Boring 
  • The Very Quiet Cricket - Eric Carle 
  • The Very Busy Spider - Eric Carle
  • The Very Lonely Firefly - Eric Carle 
  • The Very Grouchy Ladybug - Eric Carle 
  • The Very Clumsy Click Beetle - Eric Carle 
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears - Verna Aardema 
  • Buzz, Buzz, Busy Bees - Dawn Bentley 
  • The Ants Go Marching - Dan Crisp 
  • One Hundred Hungry Ants - Elinor J. Pinczes 
  • The Honey Makers - Gail Gibbons 
  • Are You a Bee? - Judy Allen 
  • Are You An Ant? - Judy Allen
  • Are You a Ladybug? - Judy Allen
  • Are You a Grasshopper? - Judy Allen 
  • Are You a Dragonfly? - Judy Allen
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Watch Ants

Set up an ant farm & have fun this week watching those little critters go to town! If you have a sidewalk or driveway with ant hills in your yard, you can just go out with your child & watch them in "the wild". Sooo much fun!! Take a magnifying glass or two with you. And some bread crumbs.
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Make fireflies out of plastic eggs, pipe cleaners, LED tea lights, silver duct tape (or foil), & something to make the eyes (they used white sticky labels). Too cute & I think the kids will LOVE them as they wait for the real lightening bugs to show up for the summer!
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Spider or Insect?

Talk about the differences between spiders & insects. Spider: two body parts, eight legs, no antennae or wings. Insects: has three body parts, two antennae, six legs, sometimes have wings. Spiders catch & then suck blood out of insects for their food. For some spider fun, make a cute spider web with a paper plate & some yarn. Make a little spider to put on your web as well as a bug or two stuck in the web out of play dough if you don't have plastic ones around.