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Archive for February, 2011

Not much to blog about today, as it’s Satori’s school day which takes up our day from 6am to 5pm, so we’re exhausted.

We did a random number based on the number of entries and the winners have all been contacted. As I hear back from them, I’ll post their first names here. One surprising thing, is I had THREE books to giveaway! I found four copies of the art book, I guess I had stocked up for a multilple-winner giveaway. One copy we’ll keep of course, the others will be shipping to their new homes.

Thanks everyone for participating!

The past few weeks we’ve been learning R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey’s Growth and Genetics lesson. I wanted Daddy to participate, so we’ve been doing it on the weekends. Last week we looked at the traits Satori inherited from each of us. Today we played with fingerprints!

Here’s Satori’s little fingerprints, where we then examined arches, loops and whorls. At the bottom, we added thumbprints of Daddy, Mama and our cat, and then one of us did it one more time as a Mystery Print to figure out whose it was.

Looking at those identifying prints a little closer…

To make these colorful fingerprints, we used this fingerprint pad from Lakeshore Learning. It didn’t do the very best job, and neither did our Melissa & Doug ink pad, but we got our prints between the two. Further research led me to discover that there are special formulated inks if you really wanted to take some serious prints, but this was just for fun, so we were fine.

Additional resources on Fingerprinting include:

After our fingerprinting fun and a good hand-wash, we read a book appropriate for Satori’s age on genetics.

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe is an excellent book to delve more deeply into this week’s lesson to learn about Gregor Mendel and his discoveries with genetics.

What a great introduction on one of the more complex science subjects we’ve tackled!

I asked Satori is she was understanding the book, and she said “I totally understand it.” So I’m glad that we have this book in our home library now.  It’s definitely one we’ll want to read again the next time we study genetics.

I remember distinctly learning about this in high school, and it was great to have this review today. 🙂 Of course, the geek that I tend to be, I do have more adult books on this topic to read for myself, or when Satori is older. Here’s a list that older children might dig, they’re cartoon/graphic guides on Genetics and DNA.

The Cartoon Guide to Genetics by Larry Gonick
The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Mark Schultz

Amazing Schemes Within Your Genes by Frances R. Balkwill (ages 9-12)

Don’t forget that this weekend is The Great Backyard Bird Count! It started today and goes through Monday. Just spend 15 minutes observing and identifying birds and enter them at the GBBC.

We saw Dark-Eyed Juncos (Slate), Mountain Chickadees, Stellar Jays, Pygmy Nuthatches, and Pine Siskins in the half hour we watched today.

Satori has been obsessed with learning her U.S. States. She wants to play the US State iPad and board games we have, but she needs to know a bit more than just their names and locations. My plan is to rapidly go over two states a day and only learning the capitals and abbreviations (she already knows locations) to get her up to speed quickly, but this is causing her pure agony. She wants to learn them faster! She wants to learn more about them – state flowers, state nicknames, state trees, state history! I am not prepared for all that, so we’re sticking to learning the two states a day and once that’s done, we’ll then go over them again, but more thoroughly, probably learning a bit of American History along the way.

In the meantime, she’s been re-reading her state books and writing about the 50 states in one of her notebooks. She’s so excited about it, she gets up early in the morning to start writing and works on it late at night. I do not expect or require this.

She’s pretty thorough, incorporating things she knows about each state even from books we’ve read months ago. She woke me up early today to show me her writings on California.


While this is cute, bound notebook pages like this can fall out over time, and it’s not as “cool” as if we did this in a more planned way utilizing a different method…

I have a feeling that she’d like to incorporate actual Notebooking into her homeschool studies, so I started researching some notebooking resources. Had I known she was going to set out to do all this on her own so quickly, I would’ve printed out the State Notebooking pages NOW that I had planned out for our more thorough state study later this spring. 50 States Complete Set w/bonuses

If you want to start a State Notebook, offers the most complete set in their Bundled 50 States Complete Set State Study. It’s just $29.95 for the entire bundle, or free if you’re a Treasury Member (which I found out I am this year, as I bought a lot last year). I am completely overwhelmed with the amount of features in this package! Just view a few sample pages and you’ll see what I mean. I think it is totally overkill for a six year old, but Satori is different in that way that she’ll love all these pages to write on.  If you don’t need the whole bundle, you can buy each state separately for $3.95.

Each individual set of state notebooking pages includes:

  • Notebook Cover (1 pg)
  • Map, Nickname, & Motto Page (1 pg)
  • State Facts Reporting Page (1 pg)
  • State Timeline Recording Page (1 pg)
  • State Symbol Pages – bird/flower, tree, flag, seal, song (6 pgs)
  • Map Pages (2 pgs)
  • Template Pages for History, Government, Famous People, Inventions, Tourism (2 pgs each)
  • Template Pages (Blank) – for your own topics (4 pgs)
  • State Symbol Pages (Blank) – draw your own symbols (11 pgs)
  • Cutouts for Notebooks or Lapbooks (3 pgs)
  • Travel Journaling Pages (4 pgs)
  • 2 pgs of Info, ideas, directions, and state facts.

In addition to the individual state sets, you’ll also get:

  • 13 Colonies Themed Pages
  • National Memorials, Monuments & Parks
  • State Birds, Flowers, Flags & Seals
  • USA Pages
  • Washington, D.C. (same as state individual sets)

Wow! If you’re a notebooking family, that’s the place to be.

The Fifty States Copywork & Fun! by homeschool bits

If you find that huge set overwhelming, I found a simpler, yet still appealing Notebooking/copywork set, which happens to be one of CurrClick’s most popular offerings (it’s a Best Gold Seller). The only setback is that they are releasing them by volume, and have only released the first 7 out of 10 volumes. Volume 7 was  just released this February 2011, so hopefully the last three volumes won’t be far behind. You can get the first The Fifty States Volumes 1-7 [BUNDLE] for just $3.50. It goes alphabetically, so this covers Alabama through Ohio. You can also buy each volume of 5 states separately for $0.50 each. It gives a color summary of the state, then a fill-in-the-blank summary, a flower to color, word search, full color flash-cards, copywork, page of facts, blank copywork pages, and more pictures/info about the state.

Here’s an actual page on Arizona that she loved filling out.

Free State Notebooking Templates

I found this 50 States Notebook Squidoo page by Jimmie about her 50 States Notebook. It’s full of state notebook resources. Some links are outdated, but we found a lot of good resources.

I printed off her free Notebooking Page Template. We plan to fill out just the first page. We’ve actually started using this now. I’ve asked her to hold off on filling out some of the spaces, I am not sure if I want to have her draw the items on her own or if we can paste a picture.

There are so many resources for a great state study. I’ve started a US State Study page (work-in-progress) that is a list of our favorite state resources that includes books, games, websites, etc…

Hi it’s me Satori and I finished Dance Mat typing! I  am also learning my states. I also got a certifiget.

Hi my name is Satori I am six. I’m learning   how to type! I am really interested in things made out of  leafs in stuff  like that I really like drawing them.

Mouse House

Today Satori had her first Top Secret Adventure in Kenya (by Highlights), and she loved it! I had this subscription back when she was four, but at that time, there was no way we could have done it. Your child needs to be able to read, write, and figure out puzzles pretty well to take full advantage of this. Their suggested age of 7-12 years is pretty right on. So I cancelled it after getting the first four countries. After trying it again this year (Satori is 6 but can read/write), we’ve renewed our subscription!

Your first package will be free (except for shipping and handling) and ours consisted of the Japan kit, a world map, passport and stickers. From then on, every five weeks, you’ll be sent a new country (for $13.95 plus $3.45 S&H). You get a folder with your puzzle and guide book, plus a white resealable bag with a puzzle. I’m going to review our experience with the Kenya package “The Nail-biter in Nairobi”. When you get your package, your child won’t know the country until it’s opened.

The puzzle will say “Open Me First”, so open that and complete the puzzle. The puzzle was 36 pieces. Read the puzzle to find out which country is covered, and what your Top Secret Mission will be.

Your child should then find the country on the World Map and stamp the passport. Next she’ll look at the list of villains. There are six, and you’ll notice a lot of plays on words.

You’ll separate these into 6 full-color cards with pictures of the villains. One of these suspects is the person involved in the crime your child will be solving!

Throughout the experience, your child will be solving Who Did It, What Was Stolen and Where It’s Hidden. In the 33-page Kenya Puzzle Book, here’s a sample puzzle, where you find the suspects at a Nairobi market. One is missing, so you can cross that suspect off your list.

You’ll also get an awesome 33 page book – Guide to Kenya. It’s full-color and very informative. Although the puzzle book is consumable, this Guide Book is one you can keep on your shelf for reference later.

You’ll need it to help solve several puzzles in the puzzle book. We learned so much about Kenya, such as geography, culture, history, foods, plants, animals, language, and more.

There were 14 puzzles total in the puzzle book, such as word puzzles, mazes, crosswords, math puzzles, trivia, word search, etc… Each one eliminates either one suspect, item, or place.

In the back of the book, you’ll be crossing off the list as you figure puzzles out. Eventually, the mystery will be solved! It took us several hours to solve the mystery, that included a few breaks, and Mommy skimming the fairly extensive guide book to help with the answers. (I promised people a review, and didn’t’ expect it to take this long, so I gave Satori some help with reading.) If your child is reading  and searching for clues with no parental help, I would suggest breaking it up into several days.

For more information, check out their Sampler PDF file and their main page. It’s pretty detailed. Their customer service is great. I was able to cancel two years ago once I realized it wasn’t for my 4-year old, and just as easily reinstated my service. The lady was very kind when I said I got a few countries but lost a few. She said don’t worry, we’ll send you all the ones you lost for free (as I paid for them once), and will skip the ones I already have, and my service will continue on with the countries I haven’t received yet. How convenient! She also gave me a list of the total countries they are offering.

Top Secret Adventures Country List

  1. Japan (with welcome kit) – “The Riddle of The Rising Sun”
  2. Australia – “The Dilemma Down Under
  3. Mexico – “The Mystery South of the Border”
  4. Kenya – “Nail-biter in Nairobi”
  5. France – “The Left Bank Baffler”
  6. Great Britain – “Trouble on the Thames”
  7. Egypt – “The Puzzle in the Pyramids”
  8. Brazil – “The Ruckus in Rio”
  9. China – “Mayhem on the Mainland”
  10. Italy – “The Colosseum Calamity”
  11. Spain – “The Incident in Iberia”
  12. India – “The Pickle in Delhi
  13. South Korea – “The Snafu in Seoul”
  14. Argentina – “The Problem on the Pampas”
  15. Germany – “The Bummer in Berlin”
  16. Canada
  17. Russia – “The Menace in Moscow”
  18. Peru – “Emergency in the Andes”
  19. South Africa – “The Cape Town Caper”
  20. Greece – “Panic at the Parthenon”
  21. Costa Rica – “The Impasse on the Isthmus”
  22. Sweden – “The Stumper in Stockholm”
  23. Thailand – “The Boggler in Bangkok”
  24. New Zealand – “The Kiwi Conundrum”
  25. Ireland – “The Error in Eire”
  26. Ecuador – “The Query in Quito”

Later this week, we should be getting our first Which Way USA? packets on Florida and Texas, so I’ll provide another review on that Highlights subscription as well. I’ll also give a Little Passports description later this week.