Archives for September 2012

How to Make a Hat (Awana Hat)

How to Make an Awana Hat

I love when I have a simple recipe for a project that can be finished in a dozen different ways. By using aluminum foil, duck tape and masking tape, I was able to make the base for a hat. The nice thing about finishing with the masking tape, it provides a paintable surface.

First take a few sheets of aluminum foil and mold it over the child’s head. I followed the hairline to make a rim for the extra foil. Then I covered the foil with duck tape to reinforce the shape and folded under to protect the edge. Next I covered the duck tape with masking tape. At this point we had a nice hat that fit on my son’s head.


Since in a few days at Awana it will be crazy hat night, my son wanted to decorate his hat like Sparky on the cover of his book. We cut a few shapes out of cardboard, covered them in masking tape and taped them to the hat. Follow up with some paint and the hat is done.

My other son is now planning a theme for his hat. I think he is going to skip painting the masking tape and finish with camouflage duck tape, cause every army man needs a protective hat.

This took us less then an hour to do, my boy helped with the taping and loved painting it.

Bonus: Super Sparky wears his hat to recite his Bible verses.

How to Design a Lab Coat

How to Design a Lab Coat

My boys convinced me that they “needed” lab coats for chemistry class. My first stop was thrift store to find two large, white, button-up shirts. Woo Hoo, five minutes in the store and I had two white shirts that would work.

Next stop was the craft store for some iron-on letters, fabric paint and heat bond.

While looking for the heat bond, I found some great oversized, primary colored buttons. Why not have the boys practice their button sewing skills.

Since one of the shirts was long sleeved, I cut off the sleeves and taught my son to hem the new length. Since I was using the heat bond for the hem, my son thought this was the easiest thing to do.

Now if you can handle some simple stitch sewing, use some of the left over sleeve material to make a second pocket. Then we ironed on their names and used the fabric paint for some decorations.



Just “Mom”

Homeschool Mom Inservice Day!

Sometimes you need to just be “MOM”

I won’t even list all the hats I wear; it would probably overwhelm both of us. Since the homeschool hat ranks at the top of my job lists, sometimes I need to close the books and just be “mom.”

Leave the lesson planning, grading papers, organizing books, and take a day to love on your kids. I think every 6 weeks this should be a holiday on the calendar.

No guilt allowed here. I know the math lessons need to be done, but nurturing that bond with your child will carry on long past the multiplication problems. When they are in college they will look back and remember these days.

Grab your planners or log into your Google calendar, and tell the kids that (pick a date) will be a day of no school lessons. Yes, tell the kids, they will hold you accountable.

If you need a certificate for this holiday print this one out and hang it on the refrigerator.


Since my oldest receives my blog updates in his email, I am anticipating a shout of glee when he reads this and shares it with his siblings.

Unplanned Chemistry Labs

Chemistry Labs
Grab the chemistry supplies and safety glasses and let the kids have an unplanned chemistry lab. This week’s chemistry lesson with Christian Kids Explore Chemistry involved learning the names of the apparatuses used in a chemistry lab.

Now I say unplanned, really I mean just let the kids play with the lab equipment, sometimes I can get caught up on doing all the proper learning I forget to let them play.

Chemistry Lab: Learning the Names of the Equipment

  • I introduced the name of each apparatus and placed in on the table.
  • Remember to wear you goggles in the Chemistry lab.
  • Then I allowed them to measure water in the graduated cylinder.
  • Move water back and forth with a pipette.
  • How much liquid can your erlenmeyer flask hold?
  • What are you going to put in your beaker?
  • Keep your test tubes in the stand so they do not roll off the table.
  • I heated a class of water in the microwave to measure the temperature.

Every few moments I would ask them the name of the apparatus they were using. Then I would leave them alone to pretend what experiment they were performing. Since I have boys there was a lot of explosive reactions happening.

My boys are begging to do this again, so I think tomorrow afternoon I will add food color to some of the water, throw a few spices on the table, and let them pretend our kitchen table is the best chemistry lab on the planet. Besides I am sure the teacher in me will ask a few times, “What is the name of that piece of equipment you are using?”

Sometimes you don’t need a fancy science experiment to have fun. But having the fancy equipment can be very exciting when pretending to be a mad scientist.

Teaching the Lord’s Prayer to Non-Readers

Lord's Prayer
I have the privilege of co-teaching Sunday school to a group of 3 to 7 year olds. The beauty of the class is the mix of ages and abilities. Our kids don’t have to move up to the next class until they are ready. Since I have been doing this for a few years, it is great joy to watch our special need students blossom in their knowledge of God’s word.

For the first half of the year, we are going to spend a week on each verse of the Lord’s Prayer. Since I am a visual thinker, I like to place pictures above words to help the non-readers in the class recite their scripture verse. Our goal, that they understand the concepts and don’t get hung up on unfamiliar words.

My pictures are simple clip art and I chose ones that I think this age group would understand.

Here are the PDFs for the Lord’s Prayer:





The size will fit onto the sentence strips that are sold at the Dollar Tree. I matted one set of strips onto a foam board with corner mounts. That way we can add the new strip each week.

I just read a great blog post on using moveable visual schedules over at The Inclusive Church blog. I think this will be a great help to our class. If you are looking for a few more activities for the Lord’s Prayer, I found some sites with lapbooks, mini books  and coloring pages. I think I have a few more verses I want to work on for them.

Here is how our church re-did Jr. Church to better serve the needs of all children.


Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Planning Session

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry Planning Session

This week I am laying out our Christian Kids Explore Chemistry notebooks. I am pretty excited to be teaching chemistry this year! Although I love the experiments in the book, I am planning on adding two or three more to our class each week.

I chose to keep the notebook divided by the units outlined in the book. Thankfully the CD that came with the book helped to print out the student pages for each lesson.

I did make a section for vocabulary. My boys are already doing a lot of writing in their other subjects, so I typed up the vocabulary on address labels. Then I created a page with outlined boxes in two columns. Since the labels are white, I chose to print the blank boxes on yellow paper.

My oldest does have an extra section for the elements. I found an extra book A guide to the Elements that gives a brief history about each element. Choosing 3 a week, he will do a notebook page on each element. My youngest will do the element cards as outlined in Lesson 4 of the book Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.

If you would like a cover page for your chemistry notebook here is the one I made for my boys, chemistry-notebook-page

Since I was on a roll with planning, your students might enjoy a little hangman with their chemistry vocabulary. This was a hit for our first class! hangman-chem

If you are looking for more information,  The Homeschool Scientist did a product review of Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.