Hands-on Ideas

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Have you heard the joke about how many homeschool moms it takes to change a light bulb? The answer is:

Just one. First, she checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison, and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Then, the family takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a $5 bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the $5 bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light.

Does that crack you up like it does me? I especially like the part about dragging the branches in from the woods to make the ladder. Even on my best days, I am not that mom!

However, I discovered that my kids loved to have a few hands-on activities mixed in with the reading on a regular basis. And while I lacked the time and energy to come up with elaborate projects for them, I discovered that the internet is my friend!

When my children were quite young and we were starting out with Sonlight I began to compile a list of the free resources I found online to go with all the wonderful books we were reading. You see, a lot of public schools read many of the same novels that are scheduled in the Sonlight Cores. They study the same general historical periods as well. Public school teachers who teach the same grade or class from one year to the next often take the time to develop wonderful unit studies and share them online. While they are usually designed for a classroom setting I found it was easier to adapt them for my homeschool than to come up with original ideas on my own.

Other resources I found included printable coloring pages and work sheets, craft ideas, video and audio clips, recipes, and the list goes on. No, I didn't end up using every resource I found, but it was so handy to have them at my fingertips when we did want to spend a little more time on a particular topic. For example, my family lives in the northwestern United States, so we went a little overboard on studying Lewis and Clark when we went through Core D.

Awhile back when Sonlight asked me to develop a Core Tips resource, I knew just where to start. Referring to my original lists, I carefully went through the Core Instructor's Guides week by week, and found even more great supplements to go with each week of the assignments in Cores A through E. Kinda makes me want to go back and re-do all the Cores with my kids!

Sonlight now offers the Core Tips in PDF format with clickable links on a CD to go along with your Core Instructor's Guide. The suggestions include far more ideas than you will ever have time for (unless you're that Super Mom in the light bulb joke!), but when your kids just need a little something more, I hope you'll find it a helpful resource to refer to.

Enjoying the adventure,
~Karla Cook
Lifelong Learner

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