Back to School Week!

This week we are starting back into homeschooling.  We’ll be starting slowly with a number of projects and activiteis.  I thought I’d share some of things our family is starting out with. 🙂

My kids have loved the math puzzles and challenges.  Our favorite book has been Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1: Complete Curriculum for Grades 5 to 7 (affiliate link).  These were a bit hard for my youngest daughter a few years ago, so I thought I’d bring out the book and do these with my two girls for a few weeks as we start off school:

It has puzzles and challenges like this:

Top: Moving just two match sticks, make six.

Bottom: 8 matchsticks are laid out to look like a fish swimming to the left.  Moving just three matchsticks, make the fish swim to the right


It also has logic word problems like this:  on the island of knights and liars, knight always tell the truth and liars always lie… Then the book goes on to set up scenarios and ask who is the knight and who is the liar.  The kids loved these and BEGGGED for more when we used it last.

Hands-On Algebra – Solving Equations Kit I also bought a hands-on kit for introducing algebra problems to kids that looked great.  The picture below is 4/3x + 8 = 12 — then the kid shave to figure out the problem by removing equal amounts on both sides of the equation. My daughter said it looked like fun!  I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂 (Sorry, it’s so new I don’t remember the name off the top of my head. I’ll try to remember to add that in later.)

Hands-On AlgebraFor science I’m going to send my girls out into the woods collecting leaves.  They’ll do a leaf collection and leaf identification.  We’ll go over the organelles of a plant cell, the layers of a leaf and where most chlorophyll is found and we’ll do an experiment that shows why the leaves will change colors later in the fall.  Fun, right?!  Here are the new pages I made for them (I’ll be updating the Cell Packet as soon as I get a chance… I just finished these pages over the weekend. Nothing like some last minute planning! Gulp!!)

Plant Cells WorksheetsFor history, I’m not quite ready to start back into European History (we’re on the Age of Absolutism with Catherine the Great (Russia), Maria Theresa (Austria) and so forth). Instead, my girls are doing a short unit on the Oregon Trail.  We covered this years ago, but neither of the girls really remember much about that unit.

They have two books they’ll read.  They are currently part way through the one about the Donner Party: The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds. (affiliate link) I read it and really enjoyed it.  It really doesn’t go into the gruesome aspects of that tragedy. (My husband saw it lying around and he’s reading it too!!) They are also going to read Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Cambell. (affiliate link) I read this aloud to the kids many years ago. They all loved it and it should be a quick read for the girls now that they are older.

Oregon Trail Books for Kids

I also made new notebook pages and lapbook pages for them as they learn about the Oregon Trail , etc. 🙂

Oregon Trail Notebook Pages and LapbookI haven’t said much about LD, who is now in 9th grade.  He’ll be starting on physics and because it’s a pretty full-on text, he has to jump into that right away.  We decided on Conceptual Physics (affiliate link) (which is algebra based not based on calculus!) for 9th grade. Then he’ll do Biology in 10th and Chemistry in 11th leaving 12th open for higher level science.  He might also do a 1/2 credit of Physical Science as well this year.

I chose the earlier edition of Conceptual Physics (affiliate link) because we also bought the practice problems, lab book, workbook/study guide and test bank CD/Book.

Physics Syllabus Conceptual PhysicsI also bought a DVD video series Physics 101. (affiliate link) We’ll all watch that together.  We watched the Chemistry 101 DVD and really learned a lot.  Note, this is made by a Christian company.

My girls are going to read the Physics , Real Science 4 Kids (affiliate link) after they finish their leaf projects.Middle School PhysicsGerman: We bought a number of fun resources while we were overseas.  Plus, I found a number of video series online that we’ll be adding into our day.  I’ll share some of those later.

I’m about out of time for now!

Happy Homeschooling, everyone!!  ~Liesl

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

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