Granola reminds me of early morning hikes, field trips and play dates. It is an all around healthy, easy, guilt-free comfort food. Its also extremely versatile. My kids love to help in the kitchen so this is a recipe they can do alone without much interference. It involves measuring, self awareness, and critical thinking. I ask the following questions to keep them engaged and learning.
What ingredients do you think will make you full? Why?
Which ingredients are sweet?
Why honey instead of sugar?
Which ingredient did we use they least of? The most of?
Once you start asking your students questions more questions will naturally come about as you explore what you are doing and why. Remember it doesn’t have to be a well planned lesson to be a lesson. Look for ways to teach your children as you go about your regular activities.
This is our go to recipe but feel free to sub out ingredients and please let us know your tasty combinations below.
3 cups quick oats 1/2 cup honey (replace with Aguava to make vegan) 1 cup peanut butter 3 tbs protein powder 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Mix all ingredients. Pack down into a lined square pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!
** If you want granola but not in bar form you can make these into balls or cut the amount of peanut butter and honey to make it more like a crumble.
My kids love yogurt! This year we eliminated all dairy from our diet and adopted a mostly plant based diet. My kids didn’t mind to much but they did miss yogurt. I stumbled upon a two ingredient recipe from Minimalist Baker and had to try it out. It was a hit! I didn’t even need to go shopping since we had all the ingredients in house.
I simply put a can of full fat coconut oil in a glass mason jar, broke open 4 – Life 9 probiotic supplements, mixed them in and covered the jar with cheesecloth. I let the mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours. Once it is thick like yogurt you can go ahead and place it in the fridge. This perfectly tart yogurt also works well as a vegan sour cream. Make and easy parfait with 15 Min Jam homemade granola and fresh fruit.
Probiotics are great for your gut health and ultimate physical well being. It encourages the growth of good flora allowing you to better break down food which reducing bloating, discomfort and may even lower your chances of colon cancer. Many doctors recommend taking probiotics after a round of antibiotics to restore any micro-organisms who may have been removed by the medication.
This easy homemade yogurt is a great way to introduce students to micro-organisms and their role in the human body. Dr. Binocs has a cute video appropriate for elementary aged kids.
Followed up with questions such as:
What kind of microorganisms are there?
What are hyphae?
Why are micro-organisms important?
Are bacteria good or bad?
Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before adding any supplement to your diet.
We use jam in this house for quite a few things. A classic PB&J, to top some homemade yogurt, on a slice of fresh bread or to top some vegan pancakes. Once I found out how easy it is to make I began making jam at home. We have a purple plumb tree in the backyard and lots of little hands so our jam making shenanigans began. First we started with plumbs alone, then plumbs and strawberries now we mix up whatever fruits we have in the house that are about to go bad.
This is the recipe we use to make our delicious jam.
3 cups purred fruit (the picture above is blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.)
1 cup of sugar or Stevia
3 Tbs of low or no sugar pectin
(I used orange vitality oil from Young Living to give this blend a hint or orange)
Bring puree to a boil. Mix pectin with sugar to prevent lumps. Add sugar mixture to the fruit a few tablespoons at a time until the sugar and pectin dissolve. Once the fruit mixture reaches a boil that cannot be stirred down remove from heat and add to hot jars.
Meanwhile place a pot of water on the stove to sterilize the jars and lids that will hold your jam. Place glass jars in the boiling water to sterilize. Remove right before filling. The jars should still be hot when they are filled with the hot jam. Put the lids on the jars while it is still hot and leave on the counter to cool. The jam will thicken as it cools.
I love the tiles floors in our classroom. They have proved so useful this year! I use them in many ways but one way is to teach the kids to be still. For some time I taught English to students in China virtually. One of my students (11 years old) told me a technique her father used to teach her to study. He would have her sit quietly for a time appropriate to her age. When the time was up she got a treat. I started doing this with my kids at the beginning of the day.
My children are instructed to sit in the square. No hands or feet outside the square, no talking, no playing, be a statue. SJ closes her eyes during this time to tune out her brother and will often face away from him. KJ is wiggly (which is appropriate for 4) however, he can go the entire time without talking. The time is between 2 and 4 minutes depending on our morning.
After meditation the receive a prize.
The objective is to teach them to be still on demand. As homeschoolers most of our day is spent up and about they are all over the classroom, the house and eventually outside. Compared to their counterparts in public school they move a lot. On Sundays at church they are in children’s church so they are able to sit still for the lesson and pay attention without any problems.
Meditation is a good practice the Bible tells us to “Meditate on the Word of God day and night.” Joshua 1:8 it also says to, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
If it seems like we are all over the place when it comes to math we are. I follow SJ’s interest and try not to discourage her by the order in which I think she should learn. The way I see it addition and multiplication are similar so are subtraction and division. So while she is hitting the ground running I am still trying to insure there are no learning gaps. So we have been talking quite a bit about math families.
This was a pretty easy concept to introduce because shes learned about word families. This concept was picked up really quickly because as my oldest child SJ likes to be in control. The ability for her to catch her mistake has been invaluable to her.
When I walk by her before she has had a chance to finish and check her work she immediately covers it, not wanting me to correct her before shes reviewed it. I’m really enjoying the responsibility she seems to be developing. I want her to take pride in her work and do well and that seems to be the case…at least when it comes to math.
Its no secret that my oldest is a STEM girl. She loves math so I am always looking for ways to foster and grow this love. We discovered this activity when she wanted to do math but not in her math book. I keep beads on hand for the kids. In this case I wrote various multiplication problems on SJ’s white board. She then used the beads to show what each problem looked like with the beads, Once she successfully answered the question on the board and with the beads she could move to the next problem. At one point both younger kids needed me so she answered all the questions and waited for me to check her work.
This was a fun activity that allowed her to be creative as well as practice her classification skills. When starting this activity it is important that the student understand their one’s and two’s multiplication facts. These are to be understood but don’t have to be memorized. Once the student understands the task you are only limited by the amount of materials you have on hand.
My five year old is very familiar with this activity but recently my four year old has shown he can show the multiplication problems he sees with the beads as well. This is why I homeschool. I love seeing what my children gravitate toward while its happening then discovering how I can help them be great!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of helping my sister host a baby shower. We had some cups left over and in the blur of exhaustion set the cups down on the floor by the front door. Days later (don’t judge me) I finally picked up the cups. Did I mention we have a dog, a various curious dog who I am sure put her nose in the cups. So what was I to do with these paper cups? Games!
I took the cups and put letters and numbers on them. I told the kids it was game day and I set the game rules they had a blast!
For the Math Game we used our Base Ten blocks and put the appropriate tens and ones inside the cup to make the number.
As the kids filled the cup I would stack them. They loved seeing the stack grow as a mark of their accomplishments.
We then flipped the cups over and used the letters to make words. Once the kids discovered a word I would write it on the white board. My kids are motivated by praise and a sense of accomplishment so seeing there progress is important for them.
I hope you and your kids enjoy these cup games!
What do you do with an empty box, bored kids and art supplies? You build a car!
In the box above I have:
A hot glue gun
An empty egg carton
Star cut outs
Round make up applicators
Styrofom or paper plates
A Shower curtain
The first thing I did was hot glue the shower curtain to my tile floor.
This made for easy clean up and the hot glue did not damage my tile at all.
Next I put some paint on a plate and let the kids apply it with the make up applicators.
They are kids and are going to make a mess but I find the applicators are easier to hold than paint brushes and you can throw them away after.
While the paint dried I had the kids get started on coloring the wheels. The then put a star on each wheel. For the steering wheel I used the glue gun to melt a hole in the Styrofoam plate and use a pipe cleaner to secure it.
We put the plate inside the box and pushed the pipe cleaner through the box.
Egg cups from the egg carton were cut out to make headlights and yellow tissue paper was glued inside. They were secured to the front of the box using a hot glue gun.
We used stars and pieces cut from a recycled box for the tail lights.
The kids loved this activity and they still play with their car weeks later.
My kiddos ask to do experiments just about everyday! I actually will be reviewing a site that I joined for that purpose called Mystery Science in a different post. This experiment was very easy and a lot of fun. Most importantly you probably have most if not all these ingredients in your home already.
The experiment calls for equal parts oil and water, food coloring, and Alka-Seltzer tablets.
**We tried the experiment with aspirin and it fell flat so we re-did it with
Alka Seltzer and red food coloring.
First we put the oil then water into the jar and let it settle.
I asked these questions:
What is happening to the water?
What is happening to the oil?
Next we added a few drops of food coloring. Add as much as you like we did 6 drops.
I asked: What is happening to the food coloring?
(If the jar is steady it should stay together and not mix very much.
Finally we dropped in the Alka-Seltzer tablet and watched the magic happen.
What is happening to the oil and water?
Why do you think that is?
Since oil and water do not mix, the water bubbles caused by the Alka-seltzer float through the oil causing it to take on the same effect as a lava lamp. When the mixture is shaken the oil and water in time will separate again rather than mix.
During experiment week this one was a hit! The objective was initially to have the kids walk on water. Due to the limited supply of corn starch we did this experiment in a bowl rather than our kiddie pool.
Here’s what you need:
Shower curtain (for easy clean up)
Ball and car to explore how they react to the oobleck.
This recipe is simple 2 parts corn starch one part water. The kids loved exploring to see the progression of consistency. Its extremely messy so here is a teaching hack I have learned. When doing messy learning I tack the curtain or table cloth to my tile floor using my hot glue gun.
The kids had a lot of fun discovering how this liquid behaves (at times) like a solid. They were covered in oobleck by the time we were done. I let them play with it after our official lesson so they could mix various colors.
Here are some questions and discussion points.
1. What are the stages of matter? (We focused on three rather than five)
2. What stage is this in?
3. How does each stage behave?
4. How do you know something is a gas? A liquid? A solid?