A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Beyond the Books - Social Studies and Science

This week's topic for Virtual Curriculum Fair brings out the inner Ms. Frizzle in me.  If you're familiar with Magic School Bus, you know that her wild clothing usually matches the topic the kids are learning about.  That's me, but not with clothing.  Or at least, not just with clothing.  I love themes.  I will take a topic and run with it.  Which is great for getting really into science and history, this week's topics.

Social Studies
This year, we're working on California History.  We're using Our Golden California.  Because we live here, we have great field trip opportunities, such as the capitol, the missions, and other historical sites.  Field trips are one of my favorite parts of homeschooling.

The day of our Mission field trip

Other resources we've used for History include:
My Father's World - I really enjoyed MFW.  We did 4 years of the 5 year cycle.  Exploring Countries and Cultures was my personal favorite, but part of that may have been because it was such a new way for us to homeschool, after many years of workbooks.
Write Through History
Moving Beyond The Page
Hewitt Homeschooling
Art In History - truly a favorite of ours!  We've done about half a dozen of these projects, and they're very nice.  The projects include a link to a lesson plan to go learn about what you're making, but since I usually pick the project based on what we're learning about, we have usually already covered what's in the plan.  Those lesson plans did once save Eli's bacon, though, when he needed a project for school.
Homeschool Legacy
Carole Roman books - She does both a series for younger kids about different countries, and a series for slightly older kids on different time periods/places in history.

"Bendy guys" from Figures in Motion - our school room has several posters featuring various historical figures we've made.
Biographies, like the ones from YWAM Publishing
Audio Dramas from Heirloom Audio
History, travel, and science related videos from SmartKidz Media.  Also classical and international music.
Eli used several Nano Blocks kits to build various buildings/monuments from around the world as we studied about them.  Brianna built St. Basil's Cathedral from a larger scale kit.

Geography is usually lumped in with history under "social studies," but this year I wanted a deliberate geography program.  Katie is using Beginning Geography, and Jack and Hannah are using Daily Geography Practice, but we're going through it faster than recommended.

Making globe cakes, 2010-2011 school year

Make African inspired beads
Make chocolate
Games are a great way to learn geography, as are my very favorite puzzles.

This year, Jack and Hannah are using something different to cover reading comprehension, test prep, and science.  It's not a full fledged science curriculum, but it exposes the kids to a lot of science information, and vocabulary, and they both need the reading comprehension skills.

Field trips are also a great way to learn science!  Zoos, obviously, are great for this, but also farm trips, pumpkin patches, mines, fish hatcheries, and manufacturing trips.

Other fun stuff that falls into the science catagory:
Montessori By Mom - great explorations in science for little ones (and not so little!)
Go Science DVDs
Groovy Lab in a Box - we have a couple more of these that we need to use!  They're really fun; I just forget to pull them out.
Color Mixing
Circuit Maze - still a favorite
Curiosity Quest DVDs - These are pretty cool.  I would love to find them on Netflix or Amazon so we could watch more of them.
We've done the butterfly kit thing a couple of times now, and I think we could probably do it again next year so the younger kids can enjoy it.
I know most people think of K'nex as toys, but they put out some nice science kids, too.  Eli really enjoyed them.

The other great way to learn more about social studies and science is by reading!  We have enjoyed geography linked series, such as Carole Marsh's Around The World chapter books, and history related series, such as Dear America, or Magic Tree House.  And, of course, science chapter books featuring the gang from Magic School Bus!

Okay, slightly off color, but it made me laugh out loud.

Happy learning!  Remember that there are many, many ways of learning social studies and science, and the beauty of homeschooling is that you don't have learn them in someone else's order or method.  Have fun!

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:
Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.
Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Social Science, Science and Exploring our World - Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Beyond the Books - Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time
Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

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  1. What a great list of resources for learning about our world. Thank you for sharing. :)

    1. Thanks, Susan! I hope that our experience helps moms who are just starting out. There's so many curricula out there, it's easy to forget that that's not the only way to learn or teach.

  2. Lots of fun learning and opportunities. Variety definitely adds lots to the experiences. - Lori

    1. Fortunately, I have kids that will pretty much roll with whatever I do, which helps, lol.

  3. This is an awesome list of resources! I see a few favorites of ours too, though I admit I need to add more field trips.

    1. Sometimes I have a hard time getting motivated to leave the house, but I always enjoy our field trips once we're out there.

  4. some of those resources you have used are new to me... research!!! :)

  5. I LOVE Ms. Frizzle! Making learning as hands on as possible makes it even more fun!

    1. I'm a total Friz wanna be, lol. Hummingbird earrings to the aviary, giraffe skirt to the zoo... :D