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Teaching at Home
Children are learning about their environment even before birth, and this learning continues for the rest of the child's life. Most learning is accomplished by age three, but those who have been set back for one reason or another still have the opportunity to learn those skills to enable their brain cells to grow and develop. Children are naturally curious, and want to find out "Why?" They want to know how it works, what it feels like, and what it does. They "work" to find the answers to their questions, as they enjoy discovering and gaining knowledge. Children enjoy the challenge of repeating actions to perfect their skills. Children will be eager to learn and discover all sorts of things as long as the adults around them encourage them, provide a safe environment for them, and set a good example for them. Setting a good example for the children to imitate is far better than any lecture you can give. They do not find their "work" dull, boring, or hard, unless someone has tainted their mind with that notion.
By age two, a child is ready for many more opportunities in exploration, observation, and movement. Greatly encourage them and provide open-ended activities to stimulate their mind and bodies, which will help to develop their character. Avoid interrupting your child when he/she is engrossed in learning a skill. Provide, as much as possible, a semblance of order in your home, as this will alleviate much confusion in your child's mind and help speed up the process of learning. When a child's daily life shows organization, their mind will become organized and this will be shown in their organized behavior.
A good principle is to let the child do for themselves what they can do. For example most 3- and 4-year-olds can dress themselves, pick up their toys and put them away (if there is a place for everything, so that everything can go in its place), make their beds, and do simple tasks around the house.
One of the goals of early education should be to let the child find a particular piece of work that meets his or her needs. At this point, the disoriented, destructive, and depressive actions are left behind, and the child becomes self-controlled, spontaneous, joyful, and mindful. This can be accomplished by having unscheduled blocks of time in an environment not segregated by age. The environment needs to be calm, uncrowded, and clearly arranged, with easily-accessible, appealing materials. Having an expansive library of materials that can be used multiple ways is an added benefit, as it enables the child to spontaneously devise lessons to create inner skills. Having only one of each material allows the child independent development and makes social cooperation necessary. Adults should make essential, constructive use of the materials attractive to eliminate destructive behavior.
We should be raising children to be adults who have originality and creativity. It is important to teach our children how to learn and think for themselves. We should not raise a generation of pampered, dependent children who will remain children and never grow up.
Discipline is the slow, bit-by-bit, time-consuming task of helping children see the sense in acting a certain way. It might seem easier and faster to scold, threaten, or punish children for misbehavior, but the real goal is to develop their abilities to solve their own problems.
Children have a difficult time respecting those who do not respect them. If a parent wants their child to respect them, they must first respect their child so that their child realizes they respect him or her so they can respect the parent in return.
Prepare A Place For Education
Some factors can contribute greatly to the ability of the child to learn. Music is one of these, as it can lift people up or bring them down. It may be helpful to have a collection of acceptable music that can be played at a low volume during specified activities. Another helpful concept is to have many of the activities performed outdoors, if possible. It may also be wise to have a separate room designated as a library and writing center. This will enable the child to read and write with little or no interruption. The kitchen/dining room can be transformed into an art studio as well. Additionally, an area for manipulatives can be of assistance. This may include puzzles, mathematics manipulatives, science experiments, etc.
Have a place for everything and everything in its place. Everything should be proportionate to the child's size. The child cannot work properly on adult size furniture. Arrange furniture and equipment in an orderly and attractive fashion. When a child has completed a lesson, the materials should be returned to their proper storage area on a shelf, which will teach them respect for things. Casters can be attached to the bottom of a shelf so that it can be rolled into a closet when not in use.
It is best if equipment and materials are designed to be self-correcting, as this enables the child to correct his/her own mistakes and to learn from them. The child must still be taught how to properly use and care for the equipment and materials.
When presenting materials and equipment to the child, use a minimum amount of words and actions. The child may work with materials only after a proper presentation. Do not tell the child too much. Let him/her make their own discoveries to tell you. Observe the child, but restrain yourself from correcting the child unless they are acting improperly with the materials. The task must be completed before the child puts the equipment or materials away. Even if the child loses interest, they must persevere and complete the task, as this is a lesson in self-discipline.
Classes for the preschool years should be one-half to two-and-a-half hours. If the children become bored, it is most likely the way in which the materials were presented--not the child.
Turn your kitchen into a stimulating environment for your child using everyday items in your kitchen. These activities can help improve motor coordination, develop sense of independence, and promote self-confidence. Before presenting activities, always seat yourself at the child's dominant side. When handling food, ensure hands are clean.
Your kitchen is rich in opportunity for these practical life exercises. An area of your kitchen could be set aside so your child could have access to the materials. A child-sized table could be set up where your children and their friends could work together. A shelf could be set at child's height so they could choose what they would enjoy working with.
By doing just a few of these lessons each day, the kitchen can become a part of your home where your child feels useful and needed, develops a sense of accomplishment, pride in achievement, cooperation and has fun.
Practical Exercises are designed to help the child perform everyday tasks in a calm, logical, progression. These are exciting actions for children, even if they seem routine to parents. In these exercises, the child learns to open and close doors and drawers quietly. They learn how to care for their clothes by hanging them up, folding them and putting them in a drawer, and taking them to the laundry area for cleaning. The parent models the good behavior of keeping the home orderly and clean and shows the child how to do parts of the tasks. The child assists by performing part of the work to accomplish the goal of keeping the home in order, such as cleaning their room, emptying wastebaskets, sweeping the floor, cleaning the table, and putting groceries away. They do it because they learn it is their responsibility—not because they will get money or another reward from the parent. Children enjoy doing these exercises--many of which calm the child down, as they concentrate on using the child's energy in a precise and productive way that benefits the family.
The goal of the activities during the 7- to 12-year-old period should be focused on helping the child gain complete independence and preparing the child for venturing out into the world. Special attention is given to increasing endurance and introducing skills that will enable the child to thrive outside the home environment. The child becomes more interested in the abstract, and they begin to realize how everything is interrelated.
Many children are kinesthetic learners, meaning they need hands-on lessons to help them better understand. Help them follow their interests, but do not get pushy. If the child seems to have hit a standstill, it may be that they have lost interest in a particular aspect of the study or they are attempting to assimilate information. In some cases, you may need to help them with the assimilation by using problem-solving and the scientific method. If this does not seem to be working, help them move to another primary subject (they may still keep the former as a secondary subject).
Portfolios, work folders, charts, videos, and checklists can be helpful to track each child's progress. Children who can write may want to keep their own journals of what they have learned. Older children can help keep journals for younger children as well. Some children may enjoy helping a younger sibling. Use the terms you feel will motivate your children most: teacher/student, master/apprentice, etc.
Some children (and even adults) may have Irlen Syndrome, which can cause learning difficulties. Proper lighting does not necessarily mean brighter lights, but possibly dimmer or tinted lights. Fluorescent lights often give people headaches. Sometimes a more natural light, such as natural light bulbs, may be better for the eyes. Doing kinesthetic activities, such as finger math, can assist with kinesthetic learners. Clothing colors and design can also affect learning. This can also include bedding and room decorations.
The more senses you engage, the better it is remembered, and if they teach it to someone else, they remember it even better. Teaching with food (or while eating) can be a bonus for this reason.
Children's tools need to be their size. Color coding for each child can also be helpful (pens, pencils, sticky notes, rulers, etc.).
- A table about twenty inches high
- A chair proportionate to the child's size (and lightweight so it can be carried)
- Cupboard or shelves low enough for the child to reach all parts of it
- A table cloth made of oil cloth
- Child-size cleaning equipment
- carpet sweeper
- Low hooks for clothes
- Low drawers for frequently used clothing
The following list includes items that may be found in a Montessori school. The links lead to how-to-make-it pages. These items may also be purchased.
- Play Dough
- Easel Paint
- Busy Board
- Individual Dressing Frames
- Baric Tablets
- Command Cards
- Rough and Smooth Boards
- Scent Bottles
- Sound Bottles
- Thermal Bottles
- Color Tablets
- Color Circles
- Spindle Box
- Pictures and Sounds
- Movable Alphabet
- Sandpaper Numbers and Letters
- Geometric Insets
- Number Rods and Numbers
These tools can be used with any topic, and may be done indoors or outdoors, each giving different results and utilizing different muscles to broaden the range of motor skills. For potentially messy activities, it may be best to do them outdoors, or have a drop cloth under the table in the activity area.
Paper and Other 2-Dimensional Mediums
- Origami, paper folding, and making pop-up books
- Drawing (regular pencil, charcoal, pastel, color)
- Inking (Pens, Stamps, etc.)
- Combining drawing, painting, collage, and other mediums
- Making or coloring in coloring books
- Blackboard with fluorescent markers
- Dry-Erase Board
- Graphing Board/Paper
- Paint with water on a chalkboard
- Make a pinhole picture related to the subject
- Use stencils
- Cereal Box Covers (find interesting ones, or make your own)
- Books (make and/or read books with colorful word pictures relating to the subject)
- Felt Board
- Make a stamp of it with apples or potatoes that are not for consumption
- Draw and/or look at charts and maps of the natural range, important places, etc. (can be put under glass table top)
- Make and/or look at graphs related to the subject
- Use and/or make place mats about the subject (may have dot-to-dot, crossword puzzle, drawing section, games, fun-facts, and pictures)
- Make stained glass and sun catchers with sheet protectors, vinyl sheets, or clear photo sheets (CAUTION: do not leave sun catchers in a window where they could cause a fire [as a magnifying glass can do])
- Lace-up cards
- Jigsaw puzzles made with cereal boxes
- Pressed flower book mark
- Use feathers as a pen, for painting, or for making pictures
- Make a board with holes in it and put a light behind it, using colorful transparent pegs to make a picture
- Marble or bead "pixel" pictures
- Clay (modeling, sculpting, play dough, etc.)
- Ceramics (painting, decorating, reusing)
- Jewelry-Making, including making beads and doing beadwork
- Cement work (includes making stepping stones and using plaster)
- Rock Sculptures
- Design a garden, situate rocks, and/or manicure trees in a pattern that relates to the subject
- Make silly putty and use it to mold into a shape related to the subject of study
- Candle Making
- Soap Making
- Sponges cut into various shapes
- Displaying items related to the subject (such as on top of the shelves or in a table with a clear top so you can see what is in the drawers)
- Make a miniatures museum
- Woodworking (includes carving, using a wood press, making jigsaw puzzles, sanding, nailing, and using a scroll saw)
- Make ice, slush, snow, and/or frozen water sculptures
- Metalwork (aluminum and copper rubbings, welding, wire-working, using metal snips for cutting, etc.)
- Puppets (made from bags, papier-mâché, fabric, or wood)
Finer Visual Arts
- Photo editing
- Pictures (name/label parts of birds, boats, flowers, buildings, etc.)
- Put pictures in a bag, wall hanging, or quilt with slots for the pictures
- Do a play/sketch about the subject
- Videography (make and/or wathc video(s) about the subject)
- Fractal computer programs
- Crossword puzzle
- Word Search
Needlework and Textiles
- Cross stitch
- Finger knitting
- Using a knitting spool
- Rug making - yarn, rags
- Clothing (look at, wear, and/or design clothing to fit the subject - possibly clothing that can be worn multiple ways - vests, jumpers, skirts, shirts)
- Make a textile print related to the subject
- Pillow-making (great for learning geometry and symetry)
- Napkin folding
- Leather work
- Alphabet Foods (foods that begin with a particular letter or are in alphabet shapes)
- Cake Decorating
- Chocolate and Candy Making
- Recipes (can be from different countries and/or cultures)
- Making bread
- Make fruit leather or gelatin cutouts
- Mold it with marzipan
- Sculpt and/or paint with mashed potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes
- Painting on bread/tortillas
- Make pizza, biscuits, and/or cookies in a shape related to the subject of study
- Use cookie cutters to cut food and/or dough into the shape, or use as a stencil
- Singing fun songs and playing musical games
- Play instruments, such as fiddles, flutes, rhythm instruments (drum, cymbal, tambourine, etc.), and bell choirs
- Write and/or listen to songs about it
- Nature Walks
- Finger Plays
- Action poems
- Shadow puppets
- Field Trips
- Games - fishing, mother/father may I (such as for putting away laundry)
- Fun Facts
- Points to Ponder
- Mind Bogglers
- History Hindsights
- Find the uses for the subject of study (its place in the ecosystem, how people use it, how animals use it, how plants use it)
- Explore with chemistry, physics, astronomy (such as the Farmer's Almanac), geology, and biology
- Finger Math
- Using a microscope and/or magnifying glass
- Look for it in the clouds
- Look for it in a kaleidoscope
Practical Life Exercises
Some of these exercises are used in Montessori schools. They are adapted for use in the home.
- Baric Tablets
- Mystery Bag
- Sound Bottles
- Thermic Bottles
- Color Tablets
- Scent Bottles
- Geometric Insets
- Geometric Shapes
- Naming the Colors
- Doing puzzles (interlocking, jigsaw, and made of squares)
- Sandpaper Letters
- Writing Letters
- Command Cards
- Pictures and Sounds
- The Movable Alphabet
- Word puzzles (crossword, word search, fill-in-the-blank)
- Making a grocery list
- Number Rods
- The Spindle Box
- Sandpaper Numbers
- Writing Numbers
- Number Progression
- Measuring Exercises
Control of Movement
Walking on a line (stairs, ladder, beam, log, around a rug, in and out of a maze made by the red rods, in and out of a maze made of closely placed furnishings)
- Walking on a line normally, using the line as a guide
- Walking exactly on a line with the feet heel-to-toe
- Walking on a line, feet in the correct position and hands by sides with no need to use them for balance
- Walking on a line, feet in the correct position, hands by sides, and head erect with no need to look where your feet are going
- Walking on a line in correct posture carrying: a flag in one hand, a flag in each hand, a tray, a tray with a solid object, a tray with a breakable object, a tray with a glass of liquid, a bell without ringing it, a lighted candle, part (then all) of the pink tower
- Walking on a line in correct posture with a book on one's head, with a bowl of water on one's head
- Walking on a line in correct posture beating a musical instrument to the rhythms of one's movement
- Walking on a line in correct posture to the rhythms beaten by someone else
- Walking on a line in correct posture to rhythms of various kinds of music
- Keeping silence in relaxed position at a leader's signal, such as her challenge, her verbal or written command, a bell or musical chord, or her own example
- Responding to one's name in a whisper
- Acting out commands called in a whisper without making a sound: shutting a door, carrying a bell
- Listening for soft noises and identify them
- Identifying a sound at increasing distances
- Listening to a story, poem, prayer, or music
- Grains from vessel to vessel (different kinds, such as rice, beans, and corn)
- Liquids from vessel to vessel
- Serving from large vessel to several small vessels
- Filling a vessel from a faucet
- Use of sponge to move water
- Use of syringe to move water
- Use of siphon to move water
- Use of funnel to move water
- Use of dipper to move water
- Peeling (carrot)
- Slicing (banana)
- Dicing (cheese)
- Mincing (celery)
- Grating (apple)
- Paper with scissors
- Cloth with scissors
- Thread, string, and yarn with scissors
- Use of letter opener to cut paper
- Use of sharp fold to cut paper by tearing
- Use of perforations to cut paper by tearing
Fastening, Opening, and Turning on and off
- Buttons (see Dressing Frames)
- Hooks and eyes
- Key and lock
- Safety pins
- Bobby pins and barrettes
- Clothes pins
- Clothes hooks
- Rubber bands
- Paper clips
- Hole punch
- Screw tops
- Corked bottles
- Can opener and cans
- Hook opener and capped bottles
- Nuts, bolts, and wrenches
- Push and pull buttons and chains
Care of Person
Dressing and Undressing
- Matching arms to sleeves
- Matching legs to pant legs
- Matching head to neck opening
- Matching heel and toe to socks
- Matching thumbs and fingers to gloves
- Matching right and left shoes to right and left feet
- Matching clothing to front and back
- Matching inside and outside of clothing to body
Care of Clothes
- Folding a sweater
- Rolling socks
- Hanging a towel on a rack
- Hanging on a hook
- Using a hanger
- Washing wool mittens
- Brushing off lint
- Wiping feet on a mat
Care of Body
- Cleaning teeth
- Washing hands
- Manicuring nails
- Applying lotion or powder
- Combing and brushing hair
- Washing face
- Blowing nose
- Using the toilet
Care of Environment
Home education has many times meant that the housework suffers if the schoolwork is completed, or vice versa. This curriculum is designed to help you teach while you work. You will help them count everything you do -- how many dishes, knives, forks, and spoons it takes to set the table, and after meals how many are washed, dried, and put away; how many cans of vegetables you buy, how many towels each of you and both of you fold, etc. Your housework and their homework will be done. They will have manipulatives (spoons, forks, towels, cans, etc.) that are meaningful and cost nothing extra. They will be performing addition and subtraction, as you will automatically be teaching it to them through every day life experiences of doing laundry, making meals, and grocery shopping. You will be training your children to be responsible adults.
The following are activities that can be practiced to learn to accomplish common household tasks properly. As teacher, you can decide how often each task needs to be done. A task may need to be taught several times before your child can accomplish it on their own. It may take many more times before it is mastered. In a sense, you will be designing your own curriculum, as you will know best when your child is ready to advance.
You choose how to teach. Basic counting of forks, spoons, etc. can be first. Progression to simple addition and subtraction will follow when you see your child fully grasping counting. After these can come fractions, measurement, money, and time.
At the end of the day, your child (with your help at first) can count how many jobs were completed. The tools you have been given are guides designed to be flexible for your family. You will not have to search for an answer key as you will know how many yellow, green, and pink towels you folded.
Washing (use of basins, scrub boards, pails, mops, brushes, dishwashers, washing machines and all forms of soaps and drying procedures -dryer, towel, sponge, clothesline, irons)
- Cloths (including curtains - read labels as some may reqire dry cleaning)
- Area rugs and throw rugs
- Cooking utensils
- Counter tops
- Stove top (adult supervision required - ensure power is off and cannot accidentally be turned on by child; this may also include cleaning the inside, the drip pan - which can then be lined with foil, the knobs, clock, and range hood; the same may be done with a microwave)
- Toaster (adult supervision required - ensure power is off)
- Cutting board
- Refrigerator (interior - dispose of spoiled food, exterior - including top, behind and under, vacuuming cooling coils, defrost freezer and reorganize)
- Bathtub and shower stall
- Shower curtain
- Wash and disinfect toothbrush holder
- Ceiling fan and light fixtures (adult supervision required - ensure power is turned off)
- Telephone (adult supervision required - ensure power is off)
Polishing (adult supervision required - use latex or vinyl gloves if harmful to skin, do not use types that are harmful if inhaled) - use all forms of child-safe polish, applicators, and shiners
- Furniture: wood, marble, metal, glass
- Leather: shoes, belts, handbags
- Metal: silver, brass, copper, chrome (polishing faucets), stainless steel (canisters), glass utensils
- Floors: wood, tile, stone
- Glass: mirrors, windows, chandeliers
- Bottles and Tops
- Replacing materials and tools
- Rolling rugs
- Arranging furniture for special purposes and replacing it (see Carrying a Chair)
- Checking to see that all lights and appliances are off
- Ironing (Adult supervision required)
- Folding a towel
- Folding: square, rectangle, triangle, three-fold
- Packing: box, basket, bag, suitcase
- Wrapping packages
- Pulling shades, adjusting venetian blinds, adjusting vertical blinds, drawing curtains
- Replacing books
- Organizing drawers
- Cupboards (empty, wash, inventory, and organize)
- Emptying garbage
Indoor Plants and Flowers
- Polishing leaves
- Arranging cut flowers: bud vases, pins in clay, dividing mouth of container with tape, using pebbles as holders, styrofoam or florists' foam
- Turning for sunlight
- Fertilizing (Adult supervision required)
- Preparing soil
- Planting bulbs
- Planting seeds
- Planting seedlings
- Fertilizing (Adult supervision required)
- Picking fruit and flowers
- Scrubbing vegetables
- Use of stove
- Tongs and potholders
- Measuring wet and dry ingredients
- Spooning out
- Straining and draining
- Spreading with a knife
- Breaking an egg
- Greasing and flouring a pan
- Stirring, beating, and folding
- Rolling pastry
- Preparing specific vegetables and fruits
- Sandpaper, paint, and varnish
- Gluing wood, china, and paper
- Taping torn paper
- Use of hammer, screwdriver, wrench, saw, level, pliers, drill, and clamp
- Threading needle and knotting thread
- Basting, hemming, and darning
- Sewing on buttons and name-tapes (tags for identification purposes)
- Stringing Beads
- Paints (may be done with water and a variety of paints)
- Constructions (this may be done with boxes, blocks, and geometric shapes)
- Coloring with crayons, pastels, inks, colored pencils, pens
First Aid and Safety
- Washing a cut or scrape with clean cotton and water
- Washing a cut or scrape with clean cotton and antiseptic
- Applying a bandage
- Caring for a bruise with ice
- Caring for a burn with cold water (and possibly ice)
- Use of fire (Our most valuable tools help if used correctly, hurt if used incorrectly)
- Use of electricity (Our most valuable tools help if used correctly, hurt if used incorrectly)
- Use of medication (Our most valuable tools help if used correctly, hurt if used incorrectly - properly dispose of any outdated medicine so children do not touch or swallow it)
- Use of automobiles (Our most valuable tools help if used correctly, hurt if used incorrectly)
- Use of a mouth thermometer
- What to do when you are lost
- What to do in case of a fire
- Calling the emergency number to get help in an emergency
- What to do if approached by an untrustworthy stranger
- How to handle a bully
Grace and Courtesy
- Rising and sitting
- Greeting elders and associates
- Taking one's leave
- Excusing oneself when causing inconvenience
- Sincerely apologizing when at fault
- Asking permission
- Inviting other people to join you
- Accepting invitations politely
- Refusing invitations politely
- Welcoming guests and introducing them
- Passing and handing objects to others
- Offering help politely
- Giving help politely
- Receiving help politely
- Refusing help politely
- Asking for help politely
- Avoiding interrupting others
- Avoiding being interrupted by others
- Taking and giving messages
- Following directions
- Use of a telephone
- Responding when spoken to
- Indicating when you don't understand
- Folding a napkin
- Setting a Table
- Serving others
- Correct use of table utensils
- Routine of a group meal
- How to take care of spills in company
- Blowing nose, sneezing, coughing, etc., in public
- Self-Improvement This series has a concise description of 14 character traits to establish. It is a good subject for starting education, as well as for periodic review.
- Reading Skills Explore the world of the written word, whether learning the alphabet or studying higher-level vocabularies and story plots.
- Exploratory Art Experiment with paint, clay, collage, different sizes of paint brushes, crayons, markers, different types of glue and paper, different sculpting methods (pinching, coil, potter's wheel, and slab construction), and different paint textures.
- Cleaning Chemistry This unit enters the world of chemistry as used in the home. Find the differences between bubbles from various household detergents, the shapes of the crystals, and how substances react to various detergents.
- Motion Study Principles Learn how to do more in less time by reorganizing.
- Inventory Control Explore the basics of inventory, by keeping track of cupboard supplies, purchases, etc.
- Dietary Studies Discover the world of food. Plan meals, find the most healthful food choices, and learn how vitamins and minerals affect people. Learn about versatile vegetables and a variety of vitamins.
- Maintenance Engineer Learn the basics of mechanics and how machines operate. Read owner's manuals to find the most efficient operating ranges of vehicles. Learn how to do routine maintenance on everyday machines.
- Botany Learn about how plants grow, and what they need. Learn what plants produce fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Chart growth on grid paper.
- Animal Psychology Discover how animals think, by studying the behaviors of solitary carnivores (some big cats, bears, and crocodilians), social carnivores (dogs, wolves, and lions), social herbivores (deer, horses, cattle), and solitary herbivores (rhinoceros and tapirs).
- Zoology Study an individual species at a time (or a single animal) to find its habits, diet, and how it communicates.
- Paperworks Experiment with paper textures and techniques while making pop-up books, weaving paper, sculpting with paper, and making paper. Learn about origami and paper folding.
- Clay Crafts Make and shape your own clays, goops, slimes, silly putty, and silly string.
- A Decade a Day Explore the last 50-100 years (or more, if so inclined) finding the crafts, games (jump rope, making a radio show, bubbles, button collage, cat's cradle, bean dolls, decoupage, gift boxes, old-fashioned purse), books, clothing, architecture, and foods (made from scratch) of the time period. Talk to or interview people who lived through these years.
- Through Time and Space Have marching drills, design a flag, make and race cork (pine, nutshell, aluminum foil) sailboats. Enter a particular time and/or culture by playing knights in shining armor, cowboys, Native Americans, or any other group the students find to be of particular interest. Learn the climate, culture, useful products produced in that place and/or time. Decorate for dinner and use foods and music of the time and place. Knights can learn how real chain male is made. Cowboys can learn how to run a ranch. Explore the possibilities.
- I Spy Mysteries (using science to solve mysteries, fingerprinting, blood types, hair, and fiber analysis)
- Under the Weather Learn how weather changes, weather patterns, and how weather affects people, animals, and plants. Discover how to stay safe during weather extremes by learning weather-related safety. Make your own simple weather instruments, capture a tornado in a bottle, and make it rain in a jar.
- Aquatic Biology (microscopic protozoa and macro invertebrates, dragonflies, mayflies, crayfish, turtles, frogs, and fish)
- Orienteering and Geocaching (use maps, charts, and globes to find hidden treasures; be a surveyor; learn how to use GPS as well as the "pace and compass" method of making and using maps)
- Insect Safari (learn about habitats, food, and life cycles of bugs through hands-on activities)
- Going Green Learn the basic principles of chemistry and physics necessary to make and use energy without the use of fossil fuels. Design and build your own working models of green energy sources or alternative methods to reduce fossil fuel and nuclear energy use. Design and build your own solar cooker. Learn how quartz watches work.
- Marvelous Machines (learn about basic machines; learn the forces and principles that affect machines; design and build your own machines, rockets, cars, etc.; race your model cars)
- Simple Science (grow crystals, look at pond water under a microscope, make a sundial, make your own scientific instruments)
- The Science and Art of Cooking Learn how weather affects food preparation. Discover how ordinary ingredients, such as salt, yeast, vinegar, baking soda, and baking powder, react to each other and affect a recipe. Learn how and why mixtures of certain ingredients make tasty treats, discover some chemical reactions that occur during cooking, and make ooey-gooey edible concoctions for hands-on exploration. Learn about the differences in animal and plant-based greases and oils.
- Creative Characters and Playful Performances (discover techniques, props, scenery, costumes, movement, mask work, improvisation, and make-up; designing and developing characters, settings, and situations for one act or a whole play; learn about comic timing, working with and off of others, learning to be creative and quick on your feet; learn the performing elements of theater, such as vocal techniques, audition portfolios, dissecting script, and bringing the written word to life; examine a variety of scripts and discuss different ways to interpret and present the material; gain knowledge of theory, technical theater, and theater history as it relates to performers; designing costumes; learn basic sewing and design skills to create your own drama-inspired fashions; learn trendy needle-working, beading, making accessories, fashion drawing, stage make-up and hair styling)
- Raise an Animal Learn the cost, the supplies needed, and what can be gained by raising an animal.
- Garden Growers Plant and care for something, whether it is a tree or a garden. Learn how much you can save by growing your own food, and learn about how different crops affect the soil.
- Basket Weaving Learn how to weave baskets, as well as which materials are best suited for different kinds of baskets. Learn about how to weave larger branches and twigs into furniture.
- Preserving Food Discover how foods have been preserved in ancient times, and learn new methods as well. Includes dehydration, freeze-drying, and canning.
- Miscellaneous Measurements Discover how volume, area, and weight are measured. Learn about architecture and how geometry affects perception. Find the most efficient way to pack a moving van. Estimate how much of various containers will hold, and fill them with water, rice, beans, nuts, pretzels, or other treats to determine their volume. Come up with ratios to describe how many of each type or color of object are in each mixture.
- Light and Luminescence Experiment with prisms, mirrors, ellipses, and the color spectrum of various lights.
- Cardboard Construction Make your own building (or a whole town) out of cardboard boxes.
- Architectural Engineering Learn about how to design rooms for efficiency, as well as the basics of house planning and storage solutions.
- Picture-Perfect Portfolios Make a portfolio or journal of your educational process. Include pictures and articles about concepts you learned and places you visited.
- Distant Destinations Discover how to read maps and charts for travel planning. Calculate distances, mileage, fuel costs, travel times, and necessary supplies (such as food and drinks). Experiment with packing to enable easy access to often-used items, while efficiently using the available space. Plan activities for trips.
- Tools of the Trade Learn about the tools in the kitchen, tool room, and any other tools in the house, barn, shed, and garage. Learn how to use and care for the tools.
- Calligraphy From beginning printing to advanced signatures and invitations, this unit explores the art of writing.
- Product Review Learn how to determine what product will best suit your needs.
- The Ecology of Ecosystems Learn how an ecosystem functions, and what each species contributes to the whole.
- Event Planning Learn how to plan a party or gathering, decorate a cake, and prepare special foods.
- The Wild Wilderness Go to the great outdoors and learn how to survive in the wild.
- Knotty Knots Learn the basics of knot-tying, which knots to use for particular applications, and a bit about knot theory.
- Movement and Medicine Explore how to make your exercise work for you. Discover how colors, scents, and shapes can affect a person's mood and how to keep fit and well-adjusted by learning about pressure-points and various forms of exercise.
- Nimble with Numbers Explore the world of mathematics with games, mind bogglers, and the numbers surrounding your favorite subject.
- Spice It Up Learn about the spices in your kitchen cupboards, and those that may be less common.
- Fabulous Fruit Fun Discover what the definition of a fruit is, where fruits grow, and how to turn them into tasty treats.
- Good Clean Fun Explore the world of bubbles, and make your own soaps - including dinosaur egg soap bars.
- A Variety of Vegetables Learn about where vegetables grow, how to grow them, and delicious ways to eat them.
- Make a job chart Add pictures to illustrate the job and assign jobs according to age and skill.
- Special awards Give children awards that say, “I am special because ______.”
- When I was a baby Let children look at pictures of themselves as babies. If possible, include baby pictures of parents, grandparents, etc.
- Autobiography Help children write an autobiography about themselves.
- Sand Travel Collect sand from family trips and layer it in a vase, labeling each destination.