Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions

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amazing-leonardo-da-vinci-inventionsI’m a big fan of technology books written for kids. I first discovered them when I homeschooled my son for 7 years. Even though those days are now long past, I still read and use this genre of books constantly.

These books have been the source for some of my most innovative projects. Books from these books have inspired me to make  a pantograph (a type of drawing tool),  a flower press, cardboard furniture, sprouts, flicker books, a bird feeder and homemade cheese.  I loved all these endeavors,  but I would never have tried them without the  “push” that children’s books gave me.

Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions is the newest addition to my book collection. The book starts off with a history of the Renaissance and then goes on to a biography of da Vinci. After that, the project section begins.

The project section is divided into five parts: art, machines, water, flight and war. There are anywhere from 2-6 projects in each category.

For me, the projects are the “meat” of the book. Each project has very easy-to-follow directions, accompanied an abundance of illustrations. In addition, each of the projects is put into historical context, with an accompanying photograph of Leonardo’s work.

As I flipped through the projects,  I mentally made a note of those I would enjoy trying on my own, and those that would be fun to do with the kids.  The projects for me to try include building a perspectograph,  learning two-point perspective, plastic making and paint making.  Projects for the children are a camera obscura, a hygrometer and trebuchet.

If, like me, you’re a crafter who enjoys bringing a bit of technology into her projects, take a look at Amazing Leonard da Vinci Inventions. It’s available inexpensively on Amazon, or at most public libraries.

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Red Bean Soup

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Red Bean Soup

source: Renee Suen

This very healthy and tasty Red Bean Soup is my variation on Nava Atlas’ recipe in Great American Vegetarian.  My version uses canned beans and thereby cuts cooking time down dramatically.  I’ve also  skipped some of the steps in the original Red Bean Soup recipe, but without sacrificing the flavor.

Ingredients

1 can red or kidney beans

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

2 large stalks celery, diced

1 can chopped tomatoes

3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon olive oil

few grains cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Saute the onions in the oil over medium heat, till light golden. Add the celery and cook till celery begins to soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add beans, tomatoes, water, bay leaves and thyme. Add cay­enne pep­per, black pep­per and salt to taste.

Lower heat and sim­mer, un­cov­ered, for at least anoth­er 30 – 40 min­utes.

Add more water if needed, but don’t overdo it. This version of Red Bean Soup is so chunky,  it’s almost  like a stew.

Note:  The original recipe suggests you puree the Red Bean Soup, but I usually don’t, and my soup is chunky instead of smooth.

Read More : Recipes or Home

Eggs And Onions Appetizers

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Eggs and Onions Appetizers

source: esimpraim

I used to believe this recipe was a common American dish, enjoyed by most families.  Just recently,  I was surprised to find out that Eggs And Onions  is  eaten almost exclusively in Jewish homes. Surprise!

Ingredients

4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1 onion, peeled and chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

lettuce leaves, optional

crackers or rye bread, optional

Direction

Fry the onion in a generous amount of olive oil till a rich brown. Do not drain the olive oil.

Chop each egg into  into 8-12 chunky pieces.

Combine the egg, onion and olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow to cool and then serve.

To serve, layer a couple of lettuce leaves and a scoop of Eggs and Onions onto four individual serving plates.  Garnish with thin slices of rye bread or crackers.

Makes 4 servings.

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10 Ways to Help Your ADHD Homeschooler

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10-ways-to-help-your-adhd-childsource: amenclinicsphotos ac

Homeschooling is a wonderful option for an adhd child.  It allows the child to receive an individualized education at the hands of a devoted teacher.  And, it allows his special “issues” to be dealt with fairly and patiently.

Here are some tips for helping your adhd child thrive in the homeschool:

1) If you suspect adhd but have not yet had your child tested, go ahead and take the plunge. The faster you have your child diagnosed and treated, the better for you both.

2) If your doctor recommends medication, don’t drive yourself crazy questioning  his opinion.  If your doctor told you to get your child glasses, you would do it without researching every point-of-view on the subject.  Adhd medication should be treated the same way as glasses.

3) Chunk down assignment into small pieces.  Large assignments can be overwhelming for some children.

4) Allow extra time for completing assignments if your child needs it.  My son is great at math but it takes him more time than many other children.

5) Allow short, frequent rest breaks instead of one long one.  Our homeschooling schedule was an hour of work, followed by twenty minutes of break.

6) Make sure you are available to give you child plenty of reminders to stay on task.  ”Get back to work please,”  is all you need to say.

7) Please, NO lectures or punishments.  Children want to please their parents.  If your child could do better, he would do better.

8) Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish as much each day as the books say you should.  ADHD kids naturally work slower than other children.

9) Try alternative methods of learning.  Science doesn’t have to be always learned from a textbook.  For instance, participation is 4H, watching videos and doing experiments are also good ways to learn science.

10) If you feel yourself stressing out, join an adhd support group.  One or two visits to the group will quickly convince you that your situation is normal and okay.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home

10 Ways to Real World Writing

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source: Ron Lute

Most children hate to write. Writing assignments elicit a higher number of groans per  task than any other type of assignment (except for math, maybe).  However, there are ways around this problem.

One way to overcome this problem is to make your child’s writing assignments “real world”.  “Real world” assignments are tasks that really accomplish a purpose.  The motivation to write is built right into the purpose behind the task.

For instance, ask your child to write a pretend complaint letter and you will get nothing but complaints.  But, ask that same child to send off a real complaint letter, to a company that produced a shoddy toy, and the child will run to get paper and pen.

Here are some more real life writing activities:

1) Letters to the Editor.  Many children’s magazines have an area for their readers to write in with question, comments and opinions.  Take a look at your child’s favorite periodical to find out if they welcome submissions.

2) Letters to Friends or Relatives.  Explain to your child that writing letters is a good way for them to stay in touch with family and friends that live out of state.

3) Family Newsletter. An alternative to letter writing may be for your child (with your help) to produce a monthly or quarterly family newsletter.  Keep this strictly a writing activity, however.  Trying to combine the newsletter with lessons on word processing or graphics, will make writing a harder task than it needs to be.

4) Personal Blog or Website. Show your child some of the fabulous blogs written by children and ask him if he is interested in producing his own.  The topic doesn’t matter.  200 words written on the latest computer game is still an effective writing assignment.

5) Letters to a Pen Pal. The internet is full of penpal request lists.  Just be sure to preread everything your child receives or sends out to make sure it follows the rules of internet safety.

6) Writing for Freebies.  Kids love freebies and this is a highly motivating way to get him to write.  Freebie offers are available all over the internet.

7) Kids Websites.  Several child-oriented websites publish stories and poetry submitted by their readers. Many children get a thrill seeing their work  placed online.

8) Diary or Journal. A beautiful diary is a wonderful way to inspire your child to write.  Even if you are not allowed to read it, you can still be glad your child is getting daily writing practise.

9) Scrapbooking. Girls love to scrapbook and scrapbooking involves both art and journaling. Use art time for preparing the scrapbook page and writing time to do the journaling.

10) Get Well Cards.  Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that collects and distributes get well cards to sick children. A list of do’s and dont’s is available on their website.

Bonus Way:

Write an Author. If your child has a favorite book have him write a letter to the author.  The letter can be fan mail or a question about a favorite part. How-to’s for writing authors is available online.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home


10 Ways to a Better Math Program

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10 Ways to a better math programsource: Dicemanic

Math is the least liked subject in most homeschools (writing is second). Often, both parents and children dread the daily math period.  And yet, a strong math program is important for a well rounded education.

With this in mind, anything that makes math time a little more enjoyable should be vigorously adopted.  Here are a couple of ideas to lighten up this difficult subject.

1.  Play some computer games to supplement practise times when possible. Online games for all ages  are available at FunBrain.

If your are going to purchase a game, make sure you get one with a high educational value, by reading several reviews first.

2. Read fun books like Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School and The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat. These may be available at your library.

3.  Do math puzzles.  Amazing Math Puzzles by Adam Hart-Davis is an especially good book. Online math puzzles for all ages are available at Figure This.

4.  Make sure you use an enjoyable textbook.  Look on Amazon for reviews before buying.

5.  There are some really fun math workbooks available.  Check out 22 Math Puzzle Mini-Books by Michael Schiro and Whodunit Math Puzzles by Bill Wise.

6. Go to a hands-on science museum. Most science museums have math sections.

7. Play some (non-computer) math games.  When my son was younger we used Math Games and Activites From Around The World by Claudia Zaslavsky.  The games in this book aren’t for drilling; They primarily teach mathematical concepts.

Lots of other games are also available free.

8.  Do some off-line math projects. How Math Works by Carol Vorderman is fabulous.  It has dozens of wonderful projects.  The emphasis is on concepts…not drilling.

9. Do some on-line math projects.  The internet has tons of free projects ideas.  Most of these are designed for groups but can be modified for one person.  Check out webquests for some projects to get you started.

10. Use some really great lesson plans.  The best online math lessons I have found came from a website called Fun Math Lessons by Cynthia Lanius.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home

Educational Art Sites For Kids

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artists-toolbox1

The Artist’s Toolbox

Art in homeschools usually consists of drawing, craft kits and craft projects. These are all great ways to explore art and are easy for parents to implement.

Once in while, though, it’s a good idea to teach a little art theory. This is where The Artist’s Toolbox comes in.

The Artist’s Toolbox is a free site from The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It offers an illustrated art encyclopedia and movies of real artists in action. Best of all, though, is its exploration section.

The exploration section of the site has animated demonstrations on the tools of line, color, space, shape, balance and movement. After each demonstration your child can locate the use of the tool on real-life works of art and then create his own art using the same tool.

The Artist’s Toolkit is a easy-to-use site. Both you and your child will enjoy it.

KinderArt

I’m a big fan of teaching arts and crafts to kids. I believe everyone needs a creative outlet, and art projects provide one. Plus, art improves small motor skills.

Even if art just isn’t your “thing”, it’s still possible to provide a great program for your child. A wonderful website, called Kinder Art, has everything you need to create lesson plans for basic subjects like drawing, painting, sculpture, and much more. It also has lesson plans on more esoteric subjects such as printmaking, textiles, folk art and multicultural art.

Kinder Art is virtually a one-stop resource for everything you’ll ever need in the art lesson department.

Crayola Creativity Center

Crayola Creativity Central is chock full of fun and inexpensive crafts for kids, educational materials for teaching and great reads for parents.

There are two extra bonus sections for educators and parents.  The section for educators has curriculum ideas for young children, lesson plans and some nice printables.  The parent’s section has printable travel games, lots of party planning freebies and an eight page pdf on encouraging creativity in kids.

Crayola Creativity Central is an absolute don’t-miss site.  Even if your child doesn’t enjoy crafts there is still lots to read, print and do.

Read More: Arts And Crafts or Home

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