My April Unschooling Fun & Resources

by ChristinaPilkington on May 2, 2012 · 6 comments

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It seems like I hardly came up for air this month.

My babies turned six this month! Just knowing they will be seven next year leaves me feeling so blessed that I can have so much time with them doing the things we love.

My dad also had a heart attack. He’s fine as of now (4 blocked arteries – they put in stents). It hit me that my dad is getting older, and that I’m getting older, too.

I think it’s helping me to paying attention to those wonderful, seemingly inconsequential moments that come up each day.

I hope that by sharing my family’s  resources and activities each month you will gain some ideas and insights you can use with your own family. (There are no affiliate links in this post.)

 

Books

On the Banks of Plum Creek (A Little House book)

The Blues Go Extreme Birding

Just a Rainy Day

James and the Rain

Twenty-one Elephants and Still Standing

All wet! All wet!

Rain Talk

Planting a Rainbow

The Tree

The Story of Easter

Blizzard of the Blue Moon (A Magic Treehouse book)

Kids During the Great Depression

The Great Depression: an interactive history adventure

Sky Boys: See How the Built the Empire State Building

Liberty Rising: The Story of the Statue of Liberty

The Man Who Made Parks:  The Story of Parkbuilder Frederick Law Olmsted – It was so much fun to read this book because it got us excited for our trip this summer where we’ll see three parks that Olmsted designed: Mount Royal in Quebec, Central Park in New York City, and some of the parks in the Emerald Necklace in Boston. Plus, the village of Riverside, which is just a five minute drive from our home, was also designed my Olmsted, too.

My New York

It’s a Dog’s New York

The Old Pirate of Central Park

Micawber

Hilary and the Lions

Lisa in New York

ABC NYC: a book about seeing New York City

The Adventures of Taxi Dog

Escape of Marvin the Ape

Central Park Serenade

The Mystery in New York City

You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum

Dragon of the Red Dawn (A Magic Treehouse Book)

Spotlight on Japan

The Furry-Legged Teapot

Basho and the River Stones

The Dragons Are Singing Today

Animal Tales: A Little Golden Book Collection

Animals in Hot Places

Charlie Brown’s Encyclopedia – Featuring Your Body

Bob Books – Set 1- Beginning Readers (Books 1-6)

The Napping House

The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales

Mother Mother I Feel Sick Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick

Lego City: Catch that Crook

Lego City: Fight This Fire

Lego City: Darth Maul’s Mission

Curious George Learns to Count from 1 to 100

Miss Flora McFlimsey’s May Day

National Geographic Encyclopedia of Animals – Alexa just got this for her birthday. If your kids like animals, they’ll love this book! She props the book up next to the computer and types in the animal name into Wikipedia.

                                                                                                  TV/DVDS

Little House on the Prairie Season 1

Star Wars Clone Wars Season 1 Disk 3 (animated series)

Scooby Doo Where are You? Season 2 episodes

Louis Pasteur – NEST Family Entertainment

Lego Club DVD – Jared loves being a member of the Lego Club. It’s free to sign up. You get a little magazine that comes to the house about once a month. There are stories, lego challenges, and other games. They just sent out their first free DVD that has some Lego cartoons and also has several shows that show how they create different Lego sets.

The Shaggy Dog

The First Three Transformer Movies

Turtle: The Incredible Journey – A wonderful documentary of the life of a sea turtle. (Watch instantly on Netflix). Thanks Karen!

The Statue of Liberty – Worldwide Academic Programs

Episodes from Jackie Chan Adventures

Episodes from Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season 2

Episodes from Oscar’s Oasis – This little wordless cartoon reminds me of the old Roadrunner cartoons.

Episodes of Wild Kratts

Zoboomafoo: Pets

Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire- Episode 1: The Way of the Samurai (Watch Instantly on Netflix)

Some episodes of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?  - If your kids like playing the bored or computer game, they will love this 40 episode DVD collection.

 

                                                                                Games/Puzzles/Kits

Learning Resource’s Skeleton Floor Puzzle

Color Zone’s Clay Animals

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego: Junior Detective Edition – board game

The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book

Science on a Garden Adventure Kit by The Young Scientists Club – So far we planted a small windowsill garden of spinach, marigolds, zinnias, and wheat. We also read about some bugs that like to live in garden and animals that have homes underground. We dissected a bean seed to see its “baby” plant inside, made a tiny terrarium, found out how the check the pH of the soil and water, and started to germinate a seed inside a straw.

Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game (Now this is a fun game!  It’s great for kids who love to build and for eye-hand coordination)

Lego Heroica: Caverns of Nathuz

Rory’s Story Cubes  After reading about a dozen different posts where people raved about these cubes, we finally ordered a set of our own. And I have to say that they ARE great! I’m really excited to bring them with us on our travels in a few months.

 

                                                                                Magazines

Lego Club Magazine

Highlights High Five

Hidden Pictures Playground

At Home Fun

Practiced Writing Words.  The kids asked on their own to practice writing words. I found this website at http://www.handwritingworksheets.com where you can make your own handwriting sheets. The kids each gave me a three word phrase, then I printed up the sheets, and they practiced writing the words.

Made Salt Clay Sculptures

We made a cuneiform birthday tablet by carving the date of the kids’ birthday in cuneiform into dyed salt clay (We found this activity in the book the Secret Life of Math).

Dozens of hours of pretend play as usual J  Played restaurant with Grammy

Lots of Lego Creations

Outside Fun:  hide-and-seek, chase, flips on the swing set, gun fights with Steve, sandbox, dropping cap bombs from the back porch

Bike Rides – Learning to ride with no training wheels!

Egg Hunt in the Backyard with Steve’s parents.  While they were over, the kids also helped decorate a cake.

Colored Easter Eggs

Out of the House Activities

Library visits & Swimming Lessons

Church

Monday Homeschool Co-op Days

-          Played the board game Sorry for the first time

-          Made up our own card games (adding cards together and subtracting them, doubling numbers)

-          Played with magnets

-          Mancala

-          Don’t Break the Ice Game

-          Lots of pretend play games with friends

-          Face painting using the book Face Painting by Klutz Press

-          Created our own parachutes from plastic bags and talked about air pressure

Went to Friends day at a friend’s preschool and then had an afternoon of lunch and playing afterwards.  It’s funny because now I can say my kids technically went to preschool…. for a day!

Easter Dinner and egg hunt at my mom’s house. We all went for a long walk together in the afternoon.                

Open gymnastics at Flying High

Chicago Children’s Museum – Besides playing the regular exhibits, we also attended a Nature Drawings Workshop. There were plants, twigs and a clear container with crickets on each table. The kids were asked to draw one of those. We also did an art project where we painted on cloth to make butterfly wings. When we opened the cloth, we saw how the painting was symmetrical on each side.  

DuPage Children’s Museum – They had a “insect zoo”, which was really just six aquariums with different insects. The kids held a huge grasshopper, a cockroach, a millipede and a few more insects I can’t remember right now. We also spent some time playing in the other exhibits, too.

Reptile Fest – The USA’s largest educational reptile and amphibian festival is held at UIC in downtown Chicago every spring. We went when the kids were 2 ½, but we haven’t been back since then. It really was an incredible experience. The kids held at least ten different types of snakes including boas and pythons. It was a little disconcerting for me to see a python wrapped around their necks, but I got over itJ. They also held a baby alligator.

Attended a theater performance of Little Red Riding Hood at the Beverly Arts Center

Went to Enchanted Castle to celebrate the kids’ birthday & Birthday Party with extended family

Went to a cousin’s birthday party

On the Computer, Kindle or I-Phone

Kindle:

Checkers – This is Jared’s newest game obsession. He loves to play against the computer.

Angry Birds

Computer: www.pbskids.org, www.lego.com, www.pollypockets.com www.moneyville.com

http://storybird.com/  Another great suggestion from Karen at Homeschool Girls. The kids spent a long time working with each other picking out pictures for their book and thinking up the text.  They would tell me what they wanted each page to say, I’d write it down for them, and then they’d type it into the computer.

Animal Genius computer game – This was a birthday present, too. Really cute.

 

Photo Credit: gordsam

What have been some of your favorite activities or resources this April?

 

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  • http://creatingtreasures.blogspot.com/ Tereza Crump

    I always look forward to your monthly post of resources. I always find exciting themes like the one about sky boys. I had seen a slide show once about those courageous men and cannot for the life of me remember the name of the photographer who took the photos. Do you know who I am talking about?? these are black and old photos of the men doing different things on those skyscrapers.

    thank you for sharing your resources and the fun stuff you guys did. check out my monthly post too. It’s not layout as clean as yours but I have some fun photos to share!! :)

    tereza

    • christinapilkington

      I just finished leaving you a comment on your site. I love, love, love reading your monthly learning logs, too! I come across so many great things to explore because of your suggestions. It seems like our kids have some similiar interests. I also really like the variety of different things you do each month. We are so much like that, too. I suppose it may seem to some that we’re very unfocused to be jumping around like that, but there really is a beautiful way all those things connect to each other and strenghten our understanding of everything else.

  • http://www.littlehomeschoolontheprairie.com/index.html Jenn

    Look at that booklist…and all the other wonderful things you did together!! I’m not sure how you keep track of it all, but it’s inspiring:) I’m trying to do a better job of recording the highlights of our interest led learning each week, but it’s hard to keep up with….guess that’s because we are always learning!

    • christinapilkington

      That’s so true….it is hard to keep track of all your learning because it never stops! Now that I’ve been tracking it for awhile, it’s easier because I have most my categories down. Each month I just copy and paste my layout from the previous month. Plus, my library keeps and online list of my check-out records, so I can just look to see what we’ve read or watched that month. I sit down every three or four days and just reflect back to all the things we’ve done. I used to keep a seperate blog, but it’s been too hard keeping up with two blogs at the same time.

      • http://creatingtreasures.blogspot.com/ Tereza Crump

        hey Christina, I keep my learning log as a draft in my blog. I add the books, websites and things we are doing as we go. At the end of the month, I just add photos or anything else I might have missed. For me, it’s so much easier than sitting in doing it all at once.

        • christinapilkington

          Yeah, that’s pretty much what I do, too. I could never do it all in one shot. I try to add to it some each day, but it usually comes out to doing it every 2-3 days. I’ve always had a really good memory (I usually don’t even write down appointments and never forget them), so I’m usually able to catch almost everything. Maybe I should add a few photos sometimes to make it different.

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