Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Geeky Educational Link Up - Reserve Field Trip Tips

This week we headed out to the local reserve for a field trip. I was really blown away by the quality of the free class we were able to attend. Do you visit your local reserve? It might be worth giving them a call to see if they offer homeschool classes. Here are a few of the things we did as well as a few tips to make your trip the best it can be.
This week we headed out to the local reserve for a field trip. I was really blown away by the quality of the free class we were able to attend. Do you visit your local reserve? It might be worth giving them a call to see if they offer homeschool classes. Here are a few of the things we did as well as a few tips to make your trip the best it can be.

What we did
We were greeted by an incredible leader and the children were each assigned backpacks and tasks to complete. The children were able to observe wildlife, document the weather, take soil samples, study the water life, and hike through the reserve with a guide to tell them what each thing is. They even showed me what poison ivy looks like.

Planning and Preparing

We really enjoyed this day but there are some definite needs for an adventure like this.

  • Sneakers - We did a lot of walking. Not everyone in our group had on sneakers and they ended up with swamp feet. 
  • Water Bottles - Keeping hydrated is important as you are out enjoying nature. Make sure to plan more water than you think you will need. 
  • Hand Sanitizer - Your children will have a chance to get their hands dirty and germy through the day. Packing hand sanitizer can help you to quickly clean up the germs and dirt. 
  • Camera - You will probably want pictures of the different things you see with your children. I know we loved the gator pictured below. 




My Favorite Post from this week:
DiY Erlenmeyer Flask Soap Dispenser from 2 Dorks in Love
2 Dorks in love shares this great project any geekling would love to have! Read more at 2 Dorks in Love!



Introducing my Co-hosts!
There are some great co-hosts for the Geeky Educational Link Up. You can find out a bit more about each co-host by clicking here. I highly recommend checking out their blogs each week as they will have different favorites than I will. Some of these blogs also post some great geek projects and Science projects! You never know. You might be highlighted on their blog.


Come Link Up!

Monday, March 30, 2015

First Continental Congress Mini Unit Study

Over the last few weeks in co-op we have used the first 2 episodes of Liberty's Kids to teach about the Boston Tea Party and The Intolerable Acts. This week we learned about the First Continental Congress and we really had a great time. I am going to share what we did and a few great resources for you to use in addition to what we did.
Over the last few weeks in co-op we have used the first 2 episodes of Liberty's Kids to teach about the Boston Tea Party and The Intolerable Acts. This week we learned about the First Continental Congress and we really had a great time. I am going to share what we did and a few great resources for you to use in addition to what we did.
What we did
We started by watching episode 3 of Liberty's Kids. After watching the episode we did copy work with the names of the 13 colonies. We then discussed the colonies and what it meant that multiple colonies helped Boston with food.
After this we talked about Novanglus writing under a pen name. I challenged each child to come up with their pen name and let me know why they chose it.
From here we discussed the tar and feathers portion of the episode. We took this a step further and discussed bullying. After our discussion the children did the accompanying page.
We finished our lesson by making our own pamphlets to send to Boston. We simply folded the printable three ways to look more like an actual pamphlet.
Get your Free Printable Pack here! 


More Great Resources! 

Carpenter's Hall Information Page from USHistory.org
Comic Lesson from Donald Nichols
Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress from Teaching American History
Skit Activity from The Bonus Point Band ($)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Sight Word Printable Pack

I am a huge fan of teaching my kids phonics but there some words that just don't make sense phonetically to a five year old. I put together this really fun set of games for you to use to reinforce the sight words with my son and I have made them available to you as well. Please enjoy them.
I am a huge fans of teaching my kids phonics but there some words that just don't make sense phonetically to a five year old. I put together this really fun set of games for you to use to reinforce the sight words with my son and I have made them available to you as well.


What's included?

  • Sight Word Bingo - This is a fun way to practice word recognition. 
  • Sight Word Matching Game - Let your child have fun matching words with this fun sight word matching game. I recommend laminating them to get more life out of them. 
  • Sight Word Worksheet - This worksheet would be a great addition to your sight word practice. 
  • Sight Word Building Race - We laminated each of the sight word matching game cards. Then we had a race between two of the boys at co op to see who could build each word faster with play dough. 


Get Yours Here! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Ways to Save Money on Travel to Central Florida

This week I am excited to have a guest poster sharing some great tips with you.
April Schroader left a career in the Tech Industry to become a SAHM. 3 children later and one on the way, follow her journey as she learns to transition from a yuppie life to a simple life at her blog: ASimpleLifeToo.com .

For many, a trip to Central Florida, whether for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Discovery Cove or many other attractions available there, is a family dream trip that many spend years saving for. Unfortunately, just getting to Orlando can be half of the cost of the trip - about $2500 for a family of 5 to fly from the West. Is there a way to reduce this cost? Yes! Will it be free? Very unlikely, although there are some very creative ways like running your own transportation company and transporting goods between your city and major cities in Florida, or winning a contest (see April's blog for a Disney Contest Roundup).

For many, a trip to Central Florida, whether for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Discovery Cove or many other attractions available there, is a family dream trip that many spend years saving for. Unfortunately, just getting to Orlando can be half of the cost of the trip - about $2500 for a family of 5 to fly from the West. Is there a way to reduce this cost? Yes! Will it be free? Very unlikely, although there are some very creative ways like running your own transportation company and transporting goods between your city and major cities in Florida, or winning a contest (see April's blog for a Disney Contest Roundup).


For the rest of us, here are 5 ideas to get you started reducing your travel costs.

On the road

1) When Driving Costs Less - Let's break this down: A good driving route between LA and Orlando is 2500 miles. If your car or van gets 25 miles to the gallon, that is 100 gallons of gas, each way (total: 200 gallons). Although at the time of writing this, gas is lower then it has been in years, we can't guarantee it will stay that way. Therefore, I will go with the average of $3.36 per gallon in 2014 for a total of: $672. Although some people might love the challenge of driving straight through (with 3 children in the car), most people will want to stop a night or two in a hotel and rest. An average of $70 per night for a mid-level hotel for a family of 5, for 4 nights (that is 2 each way), now brings our cost (with gas) to: $952. Lastly, we will need to eat for the 2 - 3 days it will take, each direction, to travel. Even if breakfast is included in your hotel, and you hit the store for sandwiches and snacks for lunch, we should still estimate at least $100 a day for food. Thinking it will be 2.5 days each way for a total of 5 days, our final total with gas, hotel and food is: $1452. For a family of 5, this is a $1000 savings over the flight. But, we do need to consider the time of the travel on each end and what that costs in terms of loss of work, etc... If you have 3 weeks paid vacation and you would like to explore some of the cities and sites along the way, this can be a great way to go.

2) Go Greyhound - Yes, the Greyhound bus still exists and they have routes all over the country. A fare for a family of 5 from LA To Orlando is only $1310. That is almost half what the airfare costs. However, it takes a little over two days to actually make the trip each direction, you will have to try to sleep and keep children content on the bus for that long, and you will most likely have to purchase food along the way, adding $200 - $400 dollars to the trip. It could be an adventure... or a nightmare. You have to determine if it is worth the savings.

Comparison Shopping for Flights

- If you look at these previous options and decide that flying is the only way you would want to make the trip, the next 3 tips are about how to cut a little of that airfare cost for your family.

3) Use all the available travel comparison sites on the market. Booking Buddy, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are three of many useful sites that will compare airfare, hotels and package deals across many providers. A search on the same dates for Booking Buddy and Kayak found prices as low as $376 dollars per ticket round trip. That is a total of only $1880 for our family. However, note that not all of the results returned include: taxes, fees and/or baggage fees, so be sure to do the research and include these in the final costs. Kayak adds the feature of being able to search +/- 3 days of departure date and return. This search resulted in finding a fare of $325 per person two days before my original search terms. A total of $1625 for our family of 5. I would say that is a super good deal!
4) Watch For Airfare Sales - Each of the previous mentioned travel comparison sites contain a feature to set alerts to watch for airfare changes. I have had alerts set for a couple of destinations on TripAdvisor for a year or so, and I have seen fares vary as much as $200. It is worth the time to find out what fares currently are, what they have averaged during the past year, decide what you can afford and are willing to afford, then wait and watch the changes for awhile to see when the price drops below the norm or average. This is your time to buy.
5) Book Hotel and Airfare Together For Discounts - Many travel sites like Expedia & Orbitz will discount the price of travel to Orlando and other popular locations if you book your flight and hotel at the same time. Expedia claims to discount the flight and hotel package as much as $525, so I did a search to get some real results. 6 nights at a Holiday Inn + airfare for a family of 5 was $2400. Personally, taking into account the airfare I found before and the cost of the hotel separately, this wasn't much of a discount, but I did not change the dates of the search, like I did with Kayak, so maybe there is a better deal to be found. Start doing searches and experimenting with dates and you might come up with something good.

Are you planning a trip to Central Florida? I would love to know if any of this helped you or if you still have questions about saving on your trip.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Geeky Educational Link Up Week 40 - The Science of Nutrition


This week we are featuring Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries on the link up.

This year we decided to tackle the importance of nutrition. We had covered the basics several years back when the kids were in PreSchool and Elementary School but now it was time to get down to the science of it and why it is so important to eat right.  I have found as your children get older just telling them is not nearly enough they need to know the why! Read more at Waldorf Salad and Cottage Fries.


My Favorite Post from this week:

 Homeschool Dreams shares a great post about the importance of Science worksheets in homeschooling. Read that post at Homeschool Dreams.

Study at Home Mama shares a great mermaid slime recipe that looks like a lot of fun. Read the whole post at Study at Home Mama.




Introducing my Co-hosts!
There are some great co-hosts for the Geeky Educational Link Up. You can find out a bit more about each co-host by clicking here. I highly recommend checking out their blogs each week as they will have different favorites than I will. Some of these blogs also post some great geek projects and Science projects! You never know. You might be highlighted on their blog.


Come Link Up!