Saturday, February 22, 2014

Use Fun And Games To Break The Monotony

Looking for something different to break up your usual routine while you're counting down to Spring Break?  The internet is full of learning games for kids.  I remember years ago when my kids were still in public school, the last few days before the Spring Break were a pretty unproductive mix of pizza parties, egg decorating, and watching movies, rather than accomplishing any real schoolwork.  And parents send their kids to school for that?  At least at home if we need to take it slow for whatever reason, I can find plenty of educational things for them to do - well, in between Easter parties, of course!  :)

So here we are in the middle of winter, looking for spring and trying to muddle through.  There are some fun kindergarten science games I found when searching the net, specifically.  It sounds so silly but games can be fun and educational!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FREE Printable Nutrition Book

Looking for some kindergarten or first grade science worksheets?  Have I got a deal for you!  I came across this printable booklet that's free for the downloading.  Learn about the different food groups and why each is important.  It would make a fun diversion from the usual science curriculum in the doldrums of winter!
Click HERE.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Deceptive Food Packaging : When Foods Aren't What They Seem

Deceptive Food Packaging: When Foods Aren't What They Seem


Did you know that while Lucky Charms cereal says "Whole Grain" on the package, it also contains almost as much sugar?  (11 grams of whole grain per serving, and 10 grams of sugar)  So you might buy Lucky Charms thinking it was a nutritious cereal since it has whole grain, but you'd be consuming an unhealthy amount of sugar with every bowl - which isn't healthy at all!

Food manufacturers are notoriously good at these types of labeling deceptions.  It's not an outright lie, but it definitely puts forth a particular message about the food - which may not be true at all.
Here's another example.  "Strawberry Sensation"  Fruit Roll-Ups from General Mills actually contain no strawberries whatsoever!  And some Kellogg's cereals with pictures of strawberries on the box don't contain any strawberries either!

Read the article here, for a list of 9 foods that are deceptively labeled.

If consumers don't know what's in the food they're buying, or have to read the "fine print" on the ingredients to see if nutrition claims made on the packaging are true, it  makes it much harder to eat healthy!  Can your kids think of some other examples of foods where the packaging is deceiving and the food looks healthier than it really is?

I was buying a can of fruit the other day and the can said "no added sugar", which I thought was a wonderful thing until I read more closely and discovered the fruit was sweetened with the artificial sweetener Splenda instead!  Yuck!  Go through your kitchen and see what you can discover!

Homeschool High School Blog Hop!

If you're homeschooling high school, check out this awesome Blog Hop for high schoolers - Homeschool High School Blog Hop!

February is the month for love, presidents, groundhogs, Black History, and tons of funky or bizarre things to celebrate and learn about. In honor of so many different happenings during February, this month’s focus is potluck! You get to choose what your post will be about. You might choose to inspire us all, share your current schedule or curriculum, show off your classroom or your high school homeschooler’s projects…well, you get the idea.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chapul Bars: Would You Eat Crickets?

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I have to say, I'm intrigued by this latest development in the realm of nutrition bars.  You've all probably heard of Clif bars, right?  There are many similar brands out there.  But here's something new....the Chapul Bar, which is made from crickets.  Yes, really.

I'm not so sure I could bring myself to eat this, but maybe some of you more adventuresome foodies would enjoy them.  They do sound healthy!  From their website:

For centuries, human civilizations have rightly considered insects an excellent, plentiful and resource-efficient source of protein. Even today, 80% of the world’s people regularly munch insects as part of their normal diets – chapulines in Mexico, stir-fried red tree ants in Cambodia, inago (grasshoppers) and hachinoko (bee larvae) in Japan and casu marzu in Italy. And with good reason…many insects are an incredibly rich source of protein, iron and omega-3 acids and are very low in cholesterols and fat.
The new Chapul bars contain flour made from ground-up crickets, so it's not like you could get an insect leg caught between your teeth.  If you didn't read the label first, you might not even know you were eating crickets, and from what I've read, these things have received pretty great reviews.   Are any of my readers brave enough to try them?

What's Your Strategy For Homeschooling Science?

One thing I love about homeschooling is the flexibility it provides, not only for what material I teach my kids, but how I do it.  Science is one of the tricky subjects that often requires a bit of introspection for homeschooling parents.  Do you want to use a prepackaged curriculum, or combine many eclectic sources of your own choosing?    And just how will you tackle the issue of providing hands-on activities and science experiments for your child?  Is science your specialty, or would you rather someone else teach your kids about changes in matter, the biology of amphibians, and what elements and atoms are?  There are so many questions to consider, and for new homeschoolers especially, it's often best to decide what you're looking for before you start looking.  Would an online science program be best for you?  Or maybe science enrichment classes at your local children's museum?  All of these options have merit, and many others are worth considering too.  Remember, there are as many ways to homeschool as there are homeschoolers!  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Review - Tall and Tasty Fruit Trees by Meredith Sayles Hughes

This is a fun book with lots of photos, graphics, and even a few recipes.  It explores apples, peaches, mangoes, figs, and citrus fruits, and it would be a great way to add some depth to your children's study of nutrition.

The book discusses the history of each of these crops, but in a way that keeps the reader engaged.  It covers the use of apples in legends, for example, such as Snow White and Merlin, the magician in King Arthur's court.  Johnny Appleseed is discussed too, as well as practical information like grafting and growing apples, pesticides and their effects on ecosystems, a bit on the different varieties of apples, and how to prepare many apple dishes and apple cider.

Did you know peaches originated in China?  Me neither!  They were eventually brought to the Americas by European explorers in the 1500s.  Peaches have since become a staple crop in the southern US.  The book also explains the difference between the cling and freestone varieties, how to grow and harvest them, and a bit about their nutrition.  They're high in vitamin A!

The mango used to be an exotic fruit, but has become much more mainstream in recent years.  Most mangoes are from India, but they're also grown in Florida and Hawaii.  Mango trees are tropical evergreens that don't lose all their leaves.  It was very interesting to learn about the proper way to slice a mango, which can be tricky because of the wide, flat pit.

Figs are an interesting fruit that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  They're very sweet, but also contain fiber, and wow, a single fig contains as much calcium as half a glass of milk!  Want to try making your own fig pudding?  There's a recipe included in the book.

The final part of the book takes a look at citrus trees.  I really enjoyed the pictures of Florida citrus trees, loaded down with fruit, and the huge trucks carrying loads of oranges to market.  Some commercial oranges are sprayed with a chemical called ethylene that makes them uniformly orange by getting rid of their green spots.  Some of the more unusual citrus fruits are covered in the book too, like the pummelo and citron.  Kids will love the recipe for making a secret invisible ink from lemon juice, too!

Tall and Tasty Fruit Trees is a fun look at these 5 types of fruit trees that would appeal to a wide age range.  There's something for everyone in this book, from historical information to recipes, and everyone can learn a little something by spending a few minutes flipping through the pages.