Learning with Pinterest-Ancient Greece

This week, we continued our exploration of ancient civilizations by learning all about Ancient Greece.  As usual, Pinterest was full of great ideas to try out, so we picked a few and had a really fun, educational time.  Our library also had a nice selection of books on many topics related to Ancient Greece, so we scooped those up on our weekly visit.

Books on Ancient Greece (or related topics)

Greek Myths for Young Children (Stories for Young Children)

1. Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery

This was an easy to read book full of the most popular Greek Mythology stories.  Ben did not really care for this book because he thought it was too violent (we read the Prometheus story first and you know how that ends…) But if you have a more adventurous child, then this book would be a great way to introduce Greek myths to your student.

Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations

2. Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton

When you think of Ancient Greece you automatically begin to think about the constellations, which are always a big hit with small children.  This book is full of beautiful illustrations and short commentaries about each animal constellation.  There were some constellations that I had never heard of, so I really liked that as well.

Seeing Stars

3. Seeing Stars by Dandi Mackall

This was our favorite book this week.  I am a sucker for rhyming children’s books, so I loved that they had a short poem about each constellation.  Another cool feature that Ben really liked was that the stars had a glittery finish so each constellation seemed to twinkle.


Ideas we found on Pinterest related to Ancient Greece

It actually worked too!

Apparently Ancient Greeks used catapults in some of their battles, so when I saw this cute pin on how to build a catapult, I knew that Ben would get a huge kick out of it…and he did.

Hey at least we got the columns right:)

I found a fun post on how to recreate the Parthenon as a gingerbread house.  While ours was not as pretty as this pin, it was still delicious.


After we read and did a few crafts, I had Ben create his own constellation and give it a name.  So here we are introducing the constellations, Adventure Pal and Adventure Dude.



**In addition to all of this fun stuff, we also located Greece on the map and visited a few websites about Ancient Greece that were geared towards children.  We also plan to watch Disney’s Hercules and one of the Percy Jackson movies this week for family movie night.  If you have not read the Percy Jackson books, they are chockful of mythology and really fun to read…even if you are a 37 year old woman…


Learning with Pinterest-Ancient Egypt

We started a new year of homeschool last week and now we have a 2nd grader and a high schooler in our house….which makes it all a little crazier! (Homeschooling in high school is way different than middle school…trust me..)  While Emma is trudging along with her massive high school course load, Ben and I have been diving right into 2nd grade history by exploring Ancient Egypt.  Of course, we hit up the library and Pinterest to find loads of cool ideas and books to enjoy on the subject…and spent zero dollars along the way:)

Books on Ancient Egypt:

1. The Mystery of King Karfu by Doug Cushman was our favorite fictional book we read about Egypt.  In this book, while helping the main character to solve a mystery, you are introduced to a lot of interesting facts about Ancient Egypt.  Ben especially loved how the clues are hidden throughout the book in the detective’s journal entries.  My favorite part was that we had to decode a series of hieroglyphics to find out what the lost treasure really was (Spoiler alert: It was not at all what we expected to find!)

Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt

2. Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures in Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole

If you are familiar with the Magic School Bus series, you know that Ms. Frizzle loves to dive right into the school lesson…literally.  In this book, the children travel back in time and get to find out first hand what life was really like in Ancient Egypt.

I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built & Other

3. I Wonder Why the Pyramids Were Built by Philip Steele

I liked how this book was laid out because the author poses a popular question about Ancient Egypt and then answers it with a lot of fun details and pictures that a child can easily understand.  **Ben did not like the section on how mummies were made…which was not a surprise:)

Fun Stuff

After reading all about Ancient Egypt, we headed over to Pinterest to find some fun activities and crafts to reinforce all of the facts we learned during the week.

We found this easy pin on how to make your very own sundial with just a paper plate, playdough, and a pencil.


Knowing that Ben loves to create anything artsy, I found this cute pin on creating a hieroglyphics tablet which Ben really enjoyed making (as did Emma…while taking a break from high school-ish stuff)


I also had Ben draw some Egypt-themed illustrations…which always give me a laugh!

I told him to draw a camel, a pyramid, the Nile River, and a palm tree…he said he was drawing a cactus since it was a desert, so I said ok
A happy mummy because Ben does not like anything scary. Also the book on mummification, may have traumatized him
A nice crocodile
Of course he had to draw a freestyle picture. This is a drawing of a crocodile battling a purple hippo. **I think that is an anglerfish and a mini-shark cheering him on:)

After reading and creating things, I always try to ask Ben questions about what he learned, so here they are:

1. What is the name of the largest river in Egypt?

2. Name three animals that live in Egypt.

3. Why did the Egyptians build the pyramids?

4. What were the Ancient Egyptian kings called?

5. What kind of climate does Egypt have?

6. Where did the Ancient Egyptians grow all of their food?


Well that wraps up our unit on Ancient Egypt.  I hope that this post gave you some insight into how you can homeschool for cheap (or even free) with just a little planning and a lot of Pinterest!





Learning with Pinterest – Birds

Since spring is finally here, we decided to learn all about birds this week in school.  Luckily, our library had lots of books about birds to choose from and of course Pinterest was loaded with great ideas.

Here are some of the bird books that we read this past week, as well as, some that we own and love to read again and again.

Mama Built a Little Nest

1. Mama Built A Little Nest by Jennifer Ward

This was a wonderful book that introduces children to the many different types of nests that birds can build.  The pictures were beautiful and the author used clever poems to introduce each type of nest.  I also liked how the author gave fun facts about the different birds who built each nest because it helped to add more of an educational aspect to the book. **Ben loved the poems and also really enjoyed looking at each bird with its unique nest.

Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!

2. Franny B. Kranny, There’s A Bird in Your Hair! by Harriet Lerner

This book was really cute. It is about a little girl with wild, curly hair that refuses to get a haircut until….a bird happens to land in her hair and decides it will make the perfect nest!  **Ben giggled a lot reading this book.

A Mother for Choco (Paperstar)

3. A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

This book reminds me a lot of Are You My Mother? by Dr. Seuss.  It is about a little bird that goes looking for his mother and cannot find anyone who looks just like him.  He eventually finds a mama bear who takes him into her family that is full of all different types of animals.  We loved this story because it is heartwarming and shows that families come in all different shapes and sizes.

The Baby Beebee Bird

4. The Baby BeeBee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie

This book is about a tiny bird called a BeeBee Bird that gets its days and nights confused at the zoo.  Each night after the other zoo animals go to sleep, the little bird makes a lot of racket, which keeps all of the animals awake.  The zoo animals get fed up with his nocturnal habits and proceed to teach him a lesson that he will never forget.

Horton Hatches the Egg

5. Horton Hatches The Egg by Dr. Seuss

This is a classic book that we read again and again.  It is about a nice elephant that gets tricked into sitting on an egg by a lazy bird.  Poor Horton has to suffer through all types of weather, gets mocked by other jungle animals, and eventually becomes an attraction at a circus show all because he promised to sit on this egg.  We love this story mostly due to its surprise ending, especially as to what kind of animal hatches out of the egg:)

Dr. Suess's Gertrude McFuzz: Vocal Score

6. Gertrude McFuzz by Dr. Seuss

In this classic from Dr. Seuss, a bird named Gertrude McFuzz wishes for a bigger and better tail because her own is pitifully small in comparison to her other bird friends.  One day, Gertrude learns of a magical berry that can give her a new, beautiful tail if she eats one.  However, she decides to get the biggest tail possible and eats all of the berries at once! She quickly learns that too much of a good thing can be bad.

After we read all of these books on birds, I headed over to Pinterest to find other ways we could learn about birds by doing art projects and experiments.

I found this cute pin  and this one.  **Of course, Ben’s turned out to be quite unique, but still awesome:)


Sword-wielding villainous bird


I also stumbled across this pin about how to conduct an experiment on which types of bird beaks are used to eat different foods.  So I decided to make up a couple of worksheets to use in science class this week.


Yes those are devil birds apparently:)


We used tweezers, a clothes pin, a slotted spoon, and a straw to simulate some of the many different types of beaks there are in the bird family.  We tried to see which beak could best pick up bread, eat a banana, scoop cheerios out of water, and drink water from a narrow necked bottle.  We then ranked each “beak” from 1-4 in regards to how well it could eat each food type.  We had a lot of fun with this:)


Then to make sure Ben remembered all the important facts, I made up a simple worksheet that he did really well on.


Overall this was a fun lesson and I think that Ben retained a lot of info about birds and their anatomy.  **In fact he pointed out that the robin at the park had an insectivore-type beak:) So maybe I have a budding ornithologist on my hands!

Family Fun · Homeschooling

Learning with Pinterest-Chinese New Year Edition


We love learning about other countries’ cultural traditions and celebrations, so this year we decided to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Luckily, the library had lots of cute books on the subject and as always, Pinterest had lots of fun ideas to celebrate the holiday.

These are the books we enjoyed the most:

PoPo's Lucky Chinese New Year

PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year by Virginia Loh-Hagan

Ben and Emma both enjoyed this book a lot. This is a cute story about how a little girl’s grandmother comes all the way from China to introduce her grandchildren to Chinese New Year traditions. (Did I mention that the grandmother is also really superstitious?) We especially liked the little asides that give you more information as to why they believe certain things are lucky and which things to avoid that bring bad luck.

Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story (Festival Time)

Lanterns and Firecrackers by Jonny Zucker

This was a nice book if you are looking for a simple explanation as to how to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It was a quick and easy way to show Ben how Chinese families celebrate the holiday.

Great Race

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac by Dawn Casey

This is a definite must read.  It tells the story as to how the Chinese determined which animals would get a year named after them by holding a race.  Ben and Emma really loved this book, due to the beautiful pictures and the great writing.  If your children like fables, they will love this book.

Seven Magic Brothers (Chinese Edition)

Seven Magic Brothers by Kuang-Tsai Hao

This book was not about the Chinese New Year, but is a beloved Chinese story.  It is about seven identical brothers that each have a different magical talent (ex: being fireproof, possessing super hearing, ability to swallow anything, etc).  When one of the brothers is condemned to death, each brother steps in to save the next, by using their amazing talents. This was a really fun read!

Tikki Tikki Tembo

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosul

This book is also not about the Chinese New Year but is a Chinese fable.  We actually own this book because my kids love this story so much! This book tells the story as to why Chinese people choose to name their children short names.  (The main character in this book has an absurdly long name that eventually gets him into trouble)  Both the writing and the pictures are beautiful throughout this story.

Interesting facts about the Chinese New Year

1. Its important to sweep out the dirt in your house before the New Year starts to “sweep out the bad luck”. **But only throw the dirt out the back door!

2. Clean your windows to allow good fortune to flow in

3. Open your windows and doors at midnight to allow the old year to leave

4. Only serve whole chickens (to keep the family together) and whole fish (to have a good beginning and a good end)

5. Leave noodles unbroken to ensure a long life

6. The first person you meet on New Years and the first words you hear are important for how the year to come will be

7. Wear red clothes to scare away the bad spirits

8. Children should wear new clothes to confuse the evil spirits

9. Avoid the number 4, because it sounds like the Chinese character for death, so it is considered bad luck

10. Throw firecracker snaps on your front door to scare off evil spirits

11. Eat oranges to guarantee happiness and wealth for the year to come

**My kids were highly entertained by these traditions:)

After we learned all about the Chinese New Year, I headed over to Pinterest to find a few cute crafts that we could do together.

I settled on making these cute dragon flame blowers and these banners. **Images from Pinterest**

Dragon Toilet Paper Tube Kids recycled Craft - perfect for Chinese New Years, imaginative knight and princess play - easy to turn into a puppet!The Stuff We Do ~ For the Chinese New Year, we made good luck symbols. ~ Sherry

Another fun tradition is to give children money in red envelopes to ensure good luck for the coming year, so I made a couple of these cute envelopes to give to my children.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with these DIY Lucky Red Envelopes. We have a printable template to make it easy!

We ate ramen noodles for lunch (unbroken to guarantee a long life) and cutie oranges (to ensure happiness and wealth)

Before we went to bed we snapped a few firecracker poppers on the front doorstep to scare away the evil spirits.  We also remembered to put the red envelopes beneath the children’s pillows to ward off evil dreams.

Happy Chinese New Year!



Learning with Pinterest-Groundhog Day

overall groundhog pic

Since Groundhog day was this week, we decided to learn all about groundhogs in science and make a few fun crafts for art.

Interesting facts we learned about groundhogs:

1. We learned that groundhogs are related to squirrels.

2. The people who love groundhogs are called marmotophiles and scientists who study groundhogs are called marmotologists.

3. Groundhogs seal themselves into sleeping chambers inside their burrows using mud so they can hibernate in safety.

4. They can swim and climb trees.

5. Some people call groundhogs whistle pigs, because they whistle when they are in danger or scared.

I  found a lot of cute books at the library that were both informational and fun to read, which is always a plus:)

Groundhog Gets a Say

Groundhog Gets A Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow:  The groundhog in this book decides that he deserves a whole month dedicated to him and not just one measly day! So he enlists a reporter to write all about what makes him so special, in hopes of getting February turned into Groundhog Appreciation Month.

Substitute Groundhog

Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller:  In this story, a groundhog gets sick right before Groundhog Day and searches for a last minute replacement.  However, each animal that applies is missing a crucial skill to do the job right.

Double Trouble Groundhog Day

Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts:  Grandpa Groundhog is retiring from his forecasting business and his twin grandchildren start fighting over who deserves to replace him.  They realize that the job is harder than it seems and that they might need some teamwork to get the job done right.

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby:  This is a cute story about a groundhog that is searching for signs of spring and happens upon a hungry fox.  The groundhog outsmarts the fox into waiting to eat her by asking him to help her find the signs of spring.

After we read all of the stories, I had Ben pick out two facts to write about in his journal and then he drew a picture of a groundhog.


groundhog pic

Then, Ben decided his groundhog was too boring and drew another picture with a lot more pizzazz.


Here are some of the questions that I asked Ben, to make sure he retained some of the many facts that we learned about groundhogs this week:

1. What do groundhogs eat?

2. What happens if the groundhog sees his shadow?

3. How does a groundhog keep rain from flooding his sleeping chamber?

4. Name two animals that are related to groundhogs.

5. Is a groundhog a mammal or a reptile?

We found this cute craft on Pinterest and then we made our own groundhog silhouette, complete with his forecast for spring’s arrival.

groundhog silouette

Finally, we decided to make some edible groundhogs to celebrate Groundhog Day and found this adorable/delicious idea on Pinterest.

groundhog cookie


Happy Groundhog Day!



Learning with Pinterest (Snow edition)


This week we had a snow day, so we decided to focus our science and art on all things snow related, like polar bears, the Arctic, snowmen, and Eskimos.  Luckily, between Pinterest and our library we had a ton of really cute ideas to choose from.

Books we read:

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Snow Bear by Jean Craighead George:  A cute story about a little Eskimo girl that befriends a baby polar bear.  The pictures are especially pretty.

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There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro:  Ben especially liked this book.  This lady keeps swallowing random things and eventually spits out a snowman.  Silly, but cute:)

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Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan:  We actually own this book because we love it! Its an adorable story about a little girl that keeps rebuilding the same snowman throughout the winter and finds a fun way to save it to make a new one the next winter.

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Cupboard Bear by Jez Alborough:  This was a new rhyming book we found at the library and really liked.  This story is about a polar bear that has a really realistic dream about snow turning into ice cream.

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The Hat by Jan Brett:  This is a silly story about a little hedgehog that gets a sock stuck on his head and tries to convince all the animals that he is happy and warm, when all he really wants is to get the sock off of him.

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Way up in the Arctic by Jennifer Ward:  This was a really cute rhyming book that introduces different Arctic animals as it counts up to ten.  Ben especially loved it because the numbers were hidden in the pictures, so he enjoyed finding each one.

After we read all of these great books, we picked out some crafty art projects from Pinterest to do for fun.

This one was a really adorable Eskimo that we made using a coffee filter and cotton balls.





Ben’s Eskimo



We also found this cute craft that gives a window view of a snowman outside in the yard.


art projects for christmas | Kindergarten Kids At Play: Fun Winter & Christmas Craftivities
Pinterest version
Ben’s version


After we read our books and did our crafts, I asked Ben some questions to see what he retained.

1. Name three animals that are found in the Arctic.

2. What kind of a home do Eskimos live in?

3. What is an igloo made out of?

4. What does a Polar bear eat?

5. Is the Arctic warm or cold?

6. Is the Arctic at the North Pole or South Pole?

**I am always amazed at how many facts children’s storybooks contain!

After we did all of our school work we headed outside and made what I call “Southern snowmen”….or otherwise known as miniature snowmen:)


Then we finished our day with homemade slushes made from fresh snow and Kool-Aid…the kids might have had 3 or 4….



Well that was how we worked a snow day into our homeschool routine and made some great memories along the way!