Teaching Your Kids to Appreciate Art

mona-lisa-67506_1280Why teach art appreciation? Just as a young writer can gain experience and style by studying and copying the masterpieces of great literature, a fledging artist will learn an amazing amount by examining and experimenting with the styles and mediums of great artists. Studying great art is a refining experience. Being culturally literate includes being able to identify great works of art. If you don’t know what the Mona Lisa looks like, you miss out on many references and innuendos in reading, writing and conversation.

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Easy U.S.A. Geography Study

united-states-of-america-364546_1280I didn’t learn about the states of our nation in school well enough to remember their capitals or their geography as an adult. We are having a lot of fun in our homeschool learning all about the United States. It seems to be a natural interest for children from about 8 to 12 anyway, so may as well make the most of it. This is a lot easier than you would think.

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Kids’ Gardening

Planting a seed, watering and weeding, watching it grow, and finally eating the fruit of your labor is a fabulous lesson! Help your kids get enthused to plant a garden with these fun ideas!


Instant Radishes

radishes-630868_1280Nothing spurs interest like success! Radishes grow so quickly—just 20 days until harvest—that kids can almost watch them growing. Even if radishes aren’t a favorite, it is worth the price of a seed packet to see such excited kids contributing to the dinner salad. Water them plenty and they won’t be hot.

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Easy Breezy Kids’ Gifts

Make a super easy and much enjoyed Christmas gift for little ones this year! Here’s the instructions for a trio of delightful presents!


1) Oooh Foamy!

Buy a can of unscented shaving cream and a large plastic serving tray from the dollar store. Add plastic utensils, comb, little plastic cups and scoops, popsicle sticks or other “tools” for sculpting and scooping fun. Add a little bottle of food coloring (for mom to add drop by drop, to the enjoyment of the kids).

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Eyewitness to Dumbing Down


people-316506_1280Uh Oh! We’re in trouble!

We run a educational bookstore business, and we often hire employees to help us. Usually these are college students. Recently we decided to give a simple math test to our potential employees as a way to screen out those who may make costly computation errors when working for us. I was stunned at the ease of the standard industry test form we found: simple division and multiplication, addition and subtraction that required “carrying” (“regrouping”). Nothing very advanced. I know that my 11-year-old could do it easily, as could yours!

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Project: Paper Mache

Here’s an art project that’s easy and such fun! You make one too, Mom. A lot of the fun for your kids is working side-by-side and watching Mommy create!


Paper Mache Bowl

This lightweight bowl can hold napkins, hair scrunchies, paper clips, candies for a gift, dinner rolls, and more. It can’t get wet, and it can’t carry a very heavy load.

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Give ’em the Rigamarole

emilylaughHave you ever been given the “rigamarole”? The dictionary says the word rigamarole is a noun that means: a set of confused and meaningless statements or a long and complicated and confusing procedure.

Rigamarole is also the name of an old fashioned American tongue-twisting classroom game . “Give ’em the rigamarole” and your students will learn the writing and speaking skill of alliteration and never forget it! (An alliteration is the repeated use of the same beginning sound.)

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Project: Feel-Good Place Cards

emily_centerpieceMake your Thanksgiving table extra “feel-good” this holiday by tucking a heart-warming surprise inside each guest’s place card!

Make homemade place cards by folding an unlined 3 x 5″ index card in half (or cut your own from colored cardstock). Write each guest’s name on the front and decorate with stickers or drawings, front and back. Pile these into a basket with some pens, so that incoming guests can draw one card out and discover the name. Then inside the place card, they can write an anonymous compliment to the person, telling about one trait that they are personally grateful for.

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