Looking Back at 2012 – Favorites from the Homeschool Den

Wow, it’s the end of 2012… a great time to reflect on the year we’ve had.  Here are some of the highlights from this year:

our favorite homeschool activities: It’s hard to choose just two, but I guess these are the ones that really stand out for me at the moment…

the Black Plague simulation we did. None of us ever made it to our destination!!

The kids really loved the projects we did on Ancient Egypt — especially the ancient Egyptian Death Mask!

our favorite science experiments:

 *Germ Experiment–Where Do Germs Grow in Your House -We loved doing this experiment last March. We tested everything from the kitchen sink and toilet to the inside of our mouth, the doorknob and a house plant. Where did the most germs grow? The results were SO surprising!

*it was so hard to choose the second experiment favorite experiment, but maybe the blubber experiment we did with green olives and crisco (margarine) to show why whales are so buoyant.  The plain olive sunk to the bottom while one gooped with crisco floated on the top of the water.

*When I asked the kids what their favorite experiment was, they mentioned two

the Fireworks in Water experiment with shaving cream

and they also really liked the chemistry experiments we did on water molecule attraction

Our most precious homeschool moments:

 *Reading together–We have read so many wonderful books, but I think our favorites have been the Chronicles of Narnia (we’re on the third book now).  We love curling up in front of the wood stove and reading (and reading!)

 *Outdoor Exploration–These really aren’t popular posts statistically speaking, but boy how I love all the critters and creatures we find/see out in the yard and in the creek or  woods behind our house. We thought it was pretty interesting/gross seeing the caterpillar that was being eaten from the inside out last summer.   Since we’re always running back inside to identify what we’ve seen, we can now recognize a half-dozen different kinds of snakes, three or four different types of frogs and toads and more. Plus, last summer we even found an arrowhead out in the woods!

 Our favorite field trips:

One of the most amazing things about being homeschoolers is being able to travel and see new sights.  There were some wonderful opportunities we had this year…

*Roanoke Island — this was such an wonderful, hands on exhibit. The kids learned so much about the failed attempt at colonizing America.

*One of the highlights of our trip to the midwest was a museum we stumbled upon called the Plantation Agriculture Museum in Arkansas.  We learned a lot about the cotton industry.

*USA Science and Engineering Festival —  – This was SO amazing with so many exhibits, we really hope we can go back this spring.

*Homeschool week at Colonial Williamsburg was phenomenal — especially all the hands on activities.

My favorite posts to write are the ones that relate to history

I loved writing up the history of chocolate post (and the kids loved the activity we did!!)

And I especially loved writing up the Labor Day post — Can you imagine your 4 year old working to help pay the bills?

My favorite worksheets

On a practical level the Big Long List of Toddler and Preschool Activities and the Science Experiment Pack I created are probably the most useful for others, but boy, have I had a lot of fun making the other worksheets this year…

I make a lot of our own worksheets… everything from math, spelling and language arts to preschool pages, science and history materials. While the most popular sheet I made this year is the Nature Scavenger Hunt page that made for the kids last spring, I have had so much fun learning to draw on a computer pad! I always worry about copyright issues and figured if I drew my own characters there wouldn’t be any issues. Here’s a collage of some of the things I drew for the kids’ worksheets this past semester. Fun!

The kids loved them and kept giving me demands on what kind of cute creatures they wanted me to draw!! I loved making the Great Pet Races game boards for the girls to practice math, the kitty clock telling time sheets I made for ED and the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses worksheets where I actually drew the gods and goddesses.

Meanwhile, my son absolutely loved the pokemon spelling sort I made!  It’s obvious I’m never going to make a living as an artist, but I sure enjoy drawing more than I thought I would!

On my to-do list for this next year is to gather all the things I’ve made in one spot to make it easy for others to find and use.  In the meantime, you can browse through the freebies category to scroll through and find things that might be of use for your kids!

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  1. by Kristi

    On December 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Love your blog! I just found it last night and have been enjoying all your back posts with real hands on DIY activities! I’ve got you in my reader now!

  2. by Liesl Den

    On December 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks, Kristi! Glad you’re enjoying it. Just so you know, I have things fairly well organized by topic over in the “category” section in the right side-bar. It’s easy to miss that feature, but it might be helpful in looking for topics that are useful for the age of your child/children. :) Happy New Year! ~Liesl

  3. by Sherri

    On January 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I just wanted you to know that really enjoy reading your blog. I have taken a number of your ideas and tips and used them with my four kids. Thank you for sharing your good ideas.

  4. by Liesl Den

    On January 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks so much for your message, Sherri. It’s really great to hear from others and I’m glad you’ve found a few things of use. That makes it all worthwhile!

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