Expedition: Aquarium


We recently visited Salt Lake’s Living Planet Aquarium.  There’s just nothing like taking a day off of school for a learning expedition.  {Sometimes Mom needs the break as much as the kids do!}  Besides just the break though, expeditions outside of the regular ol’ school day are the most memorable learning experiences we’ve had.  Kids learn when they DO.  They will remember so well the things they really live, so get out there and live!  Experience!  Break away from the books now and again!  We aren’t even studying fish right now, but you know, sometimes that doesn’t matter.  Igniting excitement for learning and creating a memorable experience is enough of a reason for heading out on a learning expedition. I thought you might want to go along on a little photo tour of our expedition. . . hope you enjoy. After our expeditions are over, we often make something to … Keep on reading

South America Crowns


This little craft helps kids learn about the continent of South America.  They can make South America Crowns. Start by cutting out the crown shapes.  These crowns are about 5 inches thick with a center rounded bulge.  The bulge is there to make a “front” for the crown and to make a larger space where the map of South America will fit.  Then print and prepare the South America Crown Badges. When I did this with my kids I prepared the “badges” ahead of time by roughly cutting them out.  This made it faster to get through the activity, but you can have kids cut out their own if you like.  I gave each child a little pack of crayons, a glue stick, and their badges: Then they each colored their own badges and put them back into their own bag.  While they colored their badges I told them about … Keep on reading

Classical Music Cards

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Though all western art music is referred to commonly as “classical” here we are speaking of a specific period which lasted from about 1750 to 1820. This era coincides with the Enlightenment and its hearkening back to Greek and Roman styles, hence “classical”. The music was not composed in Greek or Roman style, but it is more elegant and simpler than the previous Baroque formality and ostentation. Instruments changed too during this period. The Harpsichord fell into complete disuse and woodwinds and brass instruments were added to the strings to make the modern symphony. The pianoforte, which has a softer sound and more range than the harpsichord, was perfected and became the common instrument for composers, with sonatas being written exclusively for the piano. Print these Classical Music Cards and famous pieces by the composers onto white card stock. Cut the cards out on the solid lines. Help your kids become … Keep on reading

Layers of Learning Unit 3-13

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  History: 13 Colonies Geography: Central America Science: Metamorphic Rocks The Arts: Settler Sayings Description In this unit you can make hand dipped candles and homemade toys like the American colonists.  You can learn all about the Salem Witch Trials and the Indian wars, reading primary sources for first hand information.  We’ll also visit Lake Nicaragua and its famous sharks, the mysterious Ciudad Blanca, and cook authentic Central American cuisine.  Then dive into rocks with Snickers bars, play dough, and egg whites (though not simultaneously). Finally learn about all the crazy idioms settlers came up with and that we still use today.  Layers of Learning Unit 3-13 includes all of this, plus library lists, printables, and links to take you to the web.  52 pgs.  Full color.  This is a PDF. In each unit you’ll find a recommended library list, important background information about each topic, lots of activities to … Keep on reading

A Child’s First Hand Sewing Project


I hand sewed this little Kiwi bird for a Layers of Learning exploration one evening.  One of my children came by and saw me at it.  He asked if he could make something.  Really?  Well, okay then.  Soon his brothers saw what was up and they all wanted in on it as well.  So here we are, a child’s first hand sewing project. First Video Instruction This video shows how to do the project, but if you would rather read, scroll down, we have the directions written out as well.   A First Hand Sewing Project We will be using felt fabric because it needs no hemming and won’t unravel. Felt is sold in 8×12 sheets at craft stores. We bought a variety of colors at WalMart for a few dollars. We will also be using scissors, thread in a matching or coordinating color to the fabric, and a needle. … Keep on reading

It’s All About the Family

This kid is worth 18 years of effort and sacrifice.

I read an article recently, like a couple of days ago, but I’ve already lost where it came from.  The author’s position was that she was embracing her choice to quit her career and raise her children.  It was a positive and inspiring message of putting your kids first.  The comments were full of offended people, mostly women, who do not stay home to raise their kids. But I think they missed the point. I don’t think the author ever intended to say that moms who work weren’t good people.  I don’t think she was projecting her circumstances and choices on everyone else.  I think what she was really saying was that her life was all about what was best for her family.  Not what was best for her personal fulfillment.  Not what was best for her pocketbook or her prestige.  She wasn’t positioning herself to weather the possibility of a … Keep on reading

Layers of Learning Unit 3-12

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  History: Settlers Geography: Peru & Bolivia Science: Sedimentary Rocks The Arts: Native American Art Description Learn about the horrible trials the early American settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth suffered through.  Make a three part flap book about the life of Squanto.  Make a model of a reed boat, like the ones floated on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia.   Investigate the process that forms coal, a sedimentary rock, and make a stinky model of the process. And dress a warrior in his feathered headdress as you learn about Native American arts. Layers of Learning Unit 3-12 includes all of this, plus library lists, printables, and links to take you to the web.  56 pgs.  Full color.  This is a PDF. In each unit you’ll find a recommended library list, important background information about each topic, lots of activities to choose from for kids of all ages, and sidebars with a … Keep on reading

Garlic Twisty Breadsticks


These Garlic Twisty Breadsticks are absolutely DIVINE.  Give me a plate full of creamy alfredo pasta and one of these and I’ll be the happiest diner ever.  Besides yummy, they are also really easy (especially for how fancy shmancy they look).  They are perfect to serve when you’re having company because they look like you went to a lot of work.  They’re pretty simple though.  Are you ready for me to walk you through it? Here’s what you’ll need: 1 Tbsp. yeast 2 Tbsp. sugar 1 1/2 cups warm water 1 Tbsp. oil 1 tsp. salt 4 c. flour 1/2 cup melted butter, divided 1/2  tsp. garlic salt 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese  16 – 12″ wooden skewer sticks  And here’s what you do: In a bowl mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water together and let sit for 2-3 minutes until foamy. Add oil, salt, and … Keep on reading

Layers of Learning Unit 3-11

Cover 3-11

  History: Conquistadors Geography: Baltic States Science: Igneous Rocks Arts: Creative Kids Description In this unit you can make a model of Tenochtitlan, create an Aztec style codex, learn all about the Singing Revolution, make an Lithuanian style cross craft, do an experiment to demonstrate anaphanitic and phaneritic rock textures, and boost your kids’ creative powers with a variety of project ideas.  All this plus man more activities can be found in Unit 3-11. In each unit you’ll find a recommended library list, important background information about each topic, lots of activities to choose from for kids of all ages, and sidebars with a bunch more ideas including Additional Layers, Fabulous Facts, On The Web, Writer’s Workshop, Famous Folks, and Teaching Tips. Printable maps and worksheets are included at the end of each unit and may be printed as often as needed for your family or class. This is a PDF.  49 pgs, … Keep on reading

Homemade Thermometer

The temperature is rising on our Homemade Thermometer

We use thermometers all the time.  We measure the temperature outside so we know whether or not to wear a jacket, the temperature in our oven as we bake, and our own body temperature when we think we might be getting sick.  They are simple devices, but incredibly useful ones.  You can make a model homemade thermometer to show how thermometers work.  All you need are a few everyday household items. You’ll need: a clean, clear, empty water bottle a clear straw play-doh or clay rubbing alcohol water a hair dryer (or tubs of very hot and very cold water) red food coloring (optional, but it makes the liquid level more visible)  Here’s what you do: Start by filling the bottle halfway with water.  Fill the remaining half with rubbing alcohol.  We added red food dye at this point to dye the water and alcohol red so it would be … Keep on reading