Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teaching The Easter Story With Cooking!



 My children have been captivated with the Easter story this year which truly warms my heart. They have asked so many questions and something is stirring within them. My 7yo became quite emotional when we talked about Jesus suffering and said, "Wow, God must love us A LOT!".

I stumbled across this simple Easter idea on Pinterest  for making Resurrection buns to teach part of the Easter story.

Each part of the recipe symbolises a part of the Easter story. I got the idea from this website but I've adjusted the recipe for Australians here.



Ingredients

8 Large White Marshmallows
Melted butter (or butter alternative like nuttelex)
Cinnamon sugar
2 Sheets of puff pastry

The marshmallow represents Jesus - perfect and pure and without sin (white).

You dip the marshmallow into the melted butter to symbolise the embalming oils they put on his body.

Then you dip the marshmallow into the Cinnamon sugar which represents the spices that they use to cover his body in preparation for burial.

Finally, the puff pastry symbolises the cloth that his body was wrapped in and the oven represents the tomb. I cut each piece of puff pastry into quarters and let the kids put 'Jesus' into the middle and wrap him up!


I then used the leftover butter to brush over the pastry and sprinkled the remaining cinnamon sugar.

No, you don't leave the pastries in the oven for 3 days - just 15 minutes at 180c will do!

When kids go to eat it they realise Jesus is no longer there and has risen! It is then an opportunity to discuss the Resurrection - which most kids seem to find pretty cool.

This was a really fun, simple and easy Easter activity to do with kids! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Inspiring Character That Lasts - We Choose Virtues Giveaway!

developing character homeschool

One of the benefits of homeschooling is the opportunity to help shape our children's character. In fact, one of the points from our own homeschooling mission statement is that I desire....
  
To build strong character in my children believing that good character is more important than academic success 

 character development homeschool
  
Children are not born with a set of values and beliefs about the world - they are taught. This means they do not always naturally become kind, patient, content and diligent - they need to be guided, gently corrected and encouraged to embrace the kind of virtues that God desires within us.

I find this a challenge with my incredibly spirited, strong-willed children (yes, all of them fit this description). I have often allowed myself to feel discouraged and disappointed in their behavior rather than see it as an opportunity to teach and shape their character. 


Another benefit of homeschooling is that we can encourage these virtues all day - not just for a few hours in the evening after a long school day. When we see our child display these virtues we can encourage them and when we see an opportunity to correct we can also do that before it becomes a habit. 

Although developing character is a life long process, we choose virtues is a great introduction or supplement to any character study and great for helping kids remember key ideas and memory verses. We have done character studies before but the use of characters for virtue such as 'feather heather' really help kids connect with the ideas and remember the. They have been much more interested and engaged using these tools than with any other character study we have done.

We are really enjoying these character studies and the reinforcement during the day has flowed quite naturally from the lessons in the morning. You can select to to teach them as biblical virtues with additional bible heroes and bible story reinforcement or you can just teach the virtues alone so they are a fantastic resource for both Christian and secular families.



So, who wants to win a set of the we choose virtues parenting cards?


 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Artventure - Helping Kids Create Masterpieces At Home


online art lessons for kids

We found out about Artventure through another homeschooling family who recommended it.

So, what is it? Artvenutre is a series on online videos which give step-by-step instructions for kids to create works of art at home.  Each artwork is linked to the Australian National Curriculum and the instructions are really simple for kids to follow.

I admit I was cynical but my boys LOVED it. The first time I set them up with the laptop to watch the online lesson they spent 2 hours creating works of art.

My 7 year old is very creative and is always making things, writing stories and drawing picutres so I expected him to enjoy it. My 5 year old however, is very academic and I've never really seen him explore his 'creative' side. But since doing artventure regularly he has gained confidence in his ability to create beautiful artwork and has been using the techniques he's learnt to create pictures spontaneously.

The above masterpiece was created by my 5 year old son.

online art lessons for kids

This was done with pastels but it suggests on the site to have a set of pastels and watercolor paints which we went and purchased later that day! 

I highly recommend this program to other homeschooling families. It's brilliant and means that kids are recieving professional art instruction at home. This is great if 'art' is not your thing as a homeschooler as I know it's not my strength - I'm sure I'm not alone.

Artventure is kindly offering homeschoolers a 40% discount on their yearly subscription.You will gain full access for one year to the entire library of video lessons, extras and the gallery of artworks (where kids can upload their artwork too). This licence can be used by anyone living within your home.

 Artventure Huge Discount for Homeschoolers

Check out this link for more info:   Artventure Homeschooler Offer

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Day Out At Kids Fringe Adelaide


Today we went to the kids fringe festival in Adelaide.

The boys had an opportunity to make an African mask and an instrument.

They also got their faces painted which they loved. My 3yo enjoyed correcting people when they said he made a 'cute fish' because of course he wasn't a fish, he was spiderman.


They also took part in a cooking class and made chocolate balls with kinderchefs.

My boys even loved the creepy clown. The strange thing was I actually remember this exact clown from my own childhood...surely he must be 100 by now?

Even my baby girl managed a smile despite the heat and humidity!

I love our days out together!

Monday, March 4, 2013

All About Spelling - Our First Day

Spelling homeschool
I have been really excited about trying out All About Spelling with my 2 boys in our homeschool - especially my 5 year old.

Today we had our first All About Spelling lesson. The boys really enjoyed it and although my 7 year old rolled his eyes when I pulled out the phonograms - he participated and discovered that in fact, he didn't know everything and wasn't aware that 'A' also makes the 'ar' sound.

Spelling homeschool

 So far I am super impressed with the curriculum. It was quite time consuming to set up but once it was done I realised that all that laminating, cutting and sticking was worth it as the program was all ready to go!



Spelling homeschool Australia


I really like the fact that it uses 'steps' - not lessons. This means you can spend as much time as you need on each 'step' until it is mastered. This gives you the freedom to work at your own pace and not feel pressured to get through a certain amount of lessons per week.

Some curriculum do my head in when they try and suggest schedules. I just like something simple and straight forward that doesn't require a huge amount of organisation before each lesson. Once you have done the initial preparation for All About Spelling - you are ready to go!

homeschool spelling

Today we talked through phonograms to learn the different sounds for each and then used the stickers to mark off the ones we already knew - mostly the letters with just one sound e.g 'B'.

homeschool spelling

I'm already looking forward to using it again tomorrow!