Friday, June 23, 2017

Homeschool Planet Online Planner {Review}

I have been a member of the Homeschool Buyers Co-op since I first began homeschooling many years ago.  It is free to join the co-op and it gives you group pricing for homeschool curriculum and resources such as Veritas Press, Alpha Omega, Institute for Excellence in Writing, Saxon Math, Mystery of History, and so much more!  


Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Like any teacher, I spend my summer planning out the next year for our homeschool.  While we love the flexibility of homeschooling, it does add some challenges to detailed planning because we can change our plans spontaneously to go on a museum field trip with friends or take the day to study nature on the trails or have the dreaded sick day.  One summer I had every single lesson plan written out for the entire year.  I included which pages we would work for each day...for every subject, for the entire school year.  It took forever to do but I was proud of my masterpiece of a lesson planner.  Well, needless to say, a sick day here, a field trip there, and next thing you know none of my scheduled lessons matched up with the days on the calendar.  My beautiful lesson planner could just be thrown out the window.  Then I found THE BEST HOMESCHOOL PLANNER EVER on Homeschool Planet.

Homechool Planet

I signed up for the free 30 day trial and used that time to just play around with the program.  It is pretty self-explanatory but they also offer a set of tutorial videos to help you get started.  

There are so many great features to this online homeschool planner!  I can set up an entire year of lessons for each child and then if we decide to have a field trip or there is a sick day, I can just go into the Rescheduling Helper and it will bump all of my lessons forward for as many days as I need.  I just did this for next week when we are planning a trip to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science with some friends.  


I don't have to re-enter anything.  It is all just automatically adjusted for me.  I have our schedule in time slots but we are flexible with that because some lessons get done more quickly or take longer than expected.  Having the times designated helps us stay on track.  However, you can schedule your lessons for the day without using time slots too!  If a child gets ahead or behind in a subject, I can easily adjust the lessons with a click of a button.  It's wonderful! 

I can set up schedules for each child separately and I even have my own personal schedule too.  We do a lot of read alouds where my son, daughter, and I take turns reading aloud books that all of us can enjoy like the Bible and some of our science and history books.  I don't have to go into each of their schedules to enter that separately.  When I am entering lesson plan information, Homeschool Planet lets me designate whether it goes on Rachel's schedule, Nicholas' schedule, my schedule, or any combination of the three.  It automatically puts that lesson information where I need it to go.  That's a big time saver for homeschool families that do school work together with multiple children.

You can view your lessons plans online from multiple devices.  You can also have your lesson plans sent to your Google calendar or sent to your child's email address so they can see their schedule from their tablet.  If you like pen and paper then you can use Homeschool Planet to organize your lessons and then just print them out.  There are different formats available.  Here is a way I print it out for my kids each day so they can see what they have to do and check it off once they have completed it. 



Some other great features about Homeschool Planet is that you can attach weblinks to the lesson plans so all of the needed resources for the lesson are listed in one place.  It also allows you to enter grades for all assignments or you can enter simply pass/fail.  Homeschool Planet makes tracking easier by keeping up with hours spent on each class and can even create a transcript. Some other helpful features is the To Do Lists, Reading Lists, even receive daily scriptures to inspire you.  

A huge time saver that I love is that the Homeschool Buyers Co-op offers a Homeschool Planet Lesson Marketplace where you can purchase daily lesson plans for specific homeschool curriculums that will automatically fill in your child's schedule on Homeschool Planet for you!   These lesson plans are from well-known homeschool curriclum providers like LifePac, Rosetta Stone, BJU Press, Wordly Wise, All About Spelling, Saxon and Horizon Math, Teaching Textbooks, and even The Magic School Bus books!  And right now, if you sign up for the free trial of Homeschool Planet you will also receive ONE FREE LESSON PLAN!  But the Free Lesson plan offer is only good through 6/30/17 so hurry!


Check out Homeschool Buyers Co-op for more than just Homeschool Planet.  They also have other great curriculum as well as many freebies like a Homeschool ID card and lots of free trials especially during the summer.  You also earn SmartPoints on purchases made through the co-op which you can then use towards future co-op purchases.  For more information about the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, please check out these online resources:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolbuyers
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hsbuyerscoop/
Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/homeschoolbuyer/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolbuyers/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/112069021534542740249

If you would to read some additional reviews about Homeschool Planet written by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, please click the banner below.

Homeschool Planet {Homeschool Buyers Co-op Reviews}

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Review}

As part of our homeschool studies on the original 13 colonies, the American Revolution, and the founding of America, we have had the fun privilege of reviewing Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh.  

I was so excited when the box came in the mail and inside were the five beautiful hardback books in the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series.  The books are beautifully printed with colorful pictures, maps, and diagrams and pages that look like old parchment paper.




The Rush Revere books explain the history behind the founding of America and what makes this country the greatest country on earth.  The stories are told through the eyes of Rush Revere, a substitute history teacher who knows how to make history fun for his students.  He has a snarky sidekick named Liberty who happens to be a talking horse who can also turn invisible.  But best of all, Rush Revere and Liberty can travel back in time as they say "Rush, rush, rushing to history!".  They witness the most famous moments of American history in person and meet some of the people who helped to make this country so great.  Some of the students in Mr. Revere's class get to travel with them and learn history first hand as if they were right there when it happened.  Wouldn't that be fun?

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims (Book One)

In book one, we learned about American Exceptionalism.  We met Liberty and learned about his special abilities.  We traveled back in time to Holland and learned about the Pilgrims' struggle for religious freedom.  We met William Bradford and learned about the Pilgrims' plans to leave for America.  We visited the Mayflower and Plymouth.  We met Myles Standish, a great military leader for the Pilgrims.  We witnessed the signing of the Mayflower Compact and the first Thanksgiving.


Rush Revere and the Brave Patriots (Book Two)

In book two, we learned about the Stamp Act and why the colonists opposed it.  We met Benjamin Franklin and learned that the colonists did not feel like the King was taking care of their needs and they were angry over the excessive taxes they were forced to pay.    We traveled to Virginia and met Patrick Henry.  We met King George III and watched the Boston Tea Party take place.  We learned about the Sons of Liberty and witnessed the Boston Massacre.  We talked with John Adams and George Washington.


Adventures of Rush Revere

Rush Revere and the American Revolution (Book Three)

In book three, we learned about the importance of our military and their families.  We learned about the lanterns in Charleston that would warn of the British..."one if by land, two if by sea".  We traveled to Boston and met Dr. Joseph Warren and Paul Revere.  We met Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  We traveled to Concord and learned about the minutemen and witnessed a clash with the British redcoats.  In Philadelphia, we met General George Washington after he became head of the Continental Congress.  We met Henry Knox and learned about the pamphlet Common Sense by Thomas Paine.  We learned about the preamble to the Declaration of Independence and saw Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams.

Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner (Book Four)


In book four, we learned all about the American flag as a great symbol for our country.  We visited the White House.  We learned that the bald eagle was chosen as a symbol of strength and freedom for our country back in 1772 when the Continental Congress was creating the Great Seal of the United States. We also learned the importance of the three colors on the American Flag - white symbolizes purity and innocence, red symbolizes hardiness and valor, and blue symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.  We visited the Washington Monument and the National Archives where we looked at the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.  We learned about the structure of the government and the importance of checks and balances.  We witnessed the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and met James Madison, Father of the Constitution.   We learned about the Bill or Rights and visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court.  Most importantly, we learned about Francis Scott Key writing the national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.

Rush Revere and the Presidency (Book Five)

In book five, we learned how the Constitution defines the qualifications required to be President of the United States such as be at least 35 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and be a resident of the U.S. for at least fourteen years.  We witnessed George Washington give his presidential oath and met his wife, Martha.  We learned a lot about politics and political campaigns including the importance of debates, political parties, speech writing, dealing with competition and criticism.  We also met Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson.


Adventures of Rush Revere

My kids and I took turns reading the books aloud to each other.  Both of my kids have enjoyed these books.  Rachel is 8 years old and she says the books are "Awesome! They are fun to read like a kid's story and not like a school book."  Nicholas is 13 years old and he rolled his eyes a little when we started reading the first book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, but as we got further into the story he was laughing out loud and asking to read "just one more chapter".  I personally felt the same way.  I enjoyed reading them with the kids and didn't want to put them down.  It was just fun seeing history come to life as the characters in the stories met real historical figures in American history.

Rush and Kathryn Adams are very passionate about teaching kids about patriotism and how great America is.  They have even put together an amazing website full of additional resources for parents and children.  Here are some of the fun things you will find at the www.rushrevere.com:


If you would like to learn more about the Adventures of Rush Revere book series, please check them out online:

Website: http://www.rushrevere.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rushrevere
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rushrevere
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSFc9ZP_GpWdARuKAl08Wdw

This was a fun review through the Homeschool Review Crew.  If you would like to read other reviews on the Adventures of Rush Revere book series, please click on the banner below.

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Internship for High School Credit by Apologia {Review}

Did you know that your high school student can get real world experience through an internship and count it as high school credit on their transcript?  I had not thought about that before but there is a great book called Internship for High School Credit: Practical Help to Explore and Direct Your Career Plans by Apologia Educational Ministries that helps walks students through the process.  This book was offered as a review product to the Homeschool Review Crew and I am very happy to review it.
Internship for High School Credit

Internship for High School Credit starts out by discussing what an internship is and how it evolved from the apprenticeship model of the Middle Ages.  Back in those days, young people would learn their skills and craft mostly from hands-on experience.  They would learn the ways of the trade and practice to improve their skills over time by working with a master or expert in the field.  When they were finally on their own, they already knew what was expected of them and what the day to day requirements of the job would be.  

But over time, that concept has slipped away.  These days, students go through the basic 12 years of school and are expected to know what they want to be when they grow up without having ever actually stepped foot in a place of business in their chosen career.  They then spend thousands of dollars to attend four years of college and still may not know what it is like to actually do that job every day.  

They graduate and they get their first job.  And sadly, many young people are shocked and dismayed after just a few years in their field. "Wait, what?  I have to do that in this job?  That isn't what I thought I signed up for!"  They are discouraged to learn that their career isn't all that they dreamed of and that it really wasn't what they were expecting.  At this point, they have two choices - keep on plugging away at a career that isn't a good fit for them or cut their losses and start over with a new career. 

The idea of an internship is a great way for young students to gain more experience in the career path they want to pursue.  They learn the ins and outs  of the day-to-day job responsibilities of the field BEFORE they invest thousands of dollars and years of their life to it.   They are better able to focus their college degree on the skills they really need to learn because they know where they are heading.  Plus, colleges are delighted to see students' applications that show they have some experience in their field because the colleges know that those students already know that this is what they want to do and are much less likely to drop out of school.  Not only are these all great reasons for pursuing an internship in high school, but also if the student 

So let's talk a little about Apologia's book, Internship for High School Credit.  The book is intended for the student to read and use on their own.  However, there is a section just for parents and it would certainly be most helpful for the student if the parent read the book and was able to discuss the ideas and concepts to help guide their student along the way.

After discussing the benefits of an internship, the book helps the student think through companies that they might be able to contact for an internship, how to write a resume and a letter of introduction, and how to interview for the position.  For parents, there is also good information about how to document the internship on the student's transcript including course title, number of credits, and grades.  

For the most part, the rest of the book is worksheets for the student to complete.  There are worksheets for semester goals then weekly worksheets to be completed during the internship.  These weekly worksheets help the student track days and hours worked but also include questions and activities for the student.  I really love these questions and activities because they challenge the student to learn more.  They have the student research specific element that may involve asking questions of their internship mentor or looking up information on their own.  They weekly activities include things like learning about the job titles for the people at the business, paying close attention to work attire, thinking big picture about the job they do, career specific language and technology, thinking about how the student's strengths and interests fit with what they are doing in this internship, researching companies in the field that they might could later work for, and so much more.

Apologia Educational Ministries

For more information on Apologia Educational Ministries, please check them out:
The Homeschool Review Crew was given the opportunity to review either Internship for High School Credit or How to HOMESCHOOL with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus (DVD and Coursebook).  If you would like to read reviews for either of these products by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew then please click the banner below.

Homeschool with Confidence & Internship for High School {Apologia Educational Ministries Reviews}


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer at the Perot Museum

Summer.  Kids are out of school and it is already getting hot outside.  What better way to spend your time than at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science having fun and preventing that dreaded summer brain drain.

The Perot Museum has some amazing IMAX 3D National Geographic movies in the Hoglund Foundation Theater.  I have honestly loved every movie we have seen there!  This week we watched their newest movie Dream Big 3D.  It is 40 minutes long and it highlights the incredible work of several engineers who dreamed big and used their skills to solve impossible problems to make the world a better place. 


We got to see that by studying soil liquefaction and the secret mortar ingredient in the Great Wall of China (you won't believe what it is!), engineers are able to build structures that can withstand earthquakes and reduce the number of lives lost.  They build bridges in third world countries to help communities get to resources they need without having to risk drowning in the raging currents by crossing through the water.  Dream Big 3D is an inspiring movie, especially for Rachel was really excited to see several female engineers featured in the movie.  Take a look at the trailer below then go see it for yourself.


Also playing are two other National Geographic productions - Walking with Dinosaurs 3D and Wild Africa 3D, each 20 minutes long. 

The Perot also has a new program called Architecture Tours.  The tours are about 1 - 1 1/2 hours long.  We haven't taken this tour yet but I'd love to.  They said that once you've been on the tour, you will never be able to look at the museum's building the same way again.  I've always noticed the big crack in the wall behind the admissions desk.  They said I'll learn the story behind it on the tour!  They will also talk about the reason for the holes in the stairway walls and the vents that are inside and outside the glass walls at the front of the museum.  It sounds like a really unique tour and I can't wait to check it out.


Of course, if you go to the Perot, you HAVE to check out the special exhibit Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.  There are lots of great hands-on activities for kids and adults plus nearly 250 authentic artifacts to exploreIt's only here through September 4th and you don't want to miss it!

We spent most of our morning in the Lyda Hill Gem and Mineral Hall.  My kids are both rock hounds so we always seem to end up here.  Nicholas studied this Pocket in a Rock where mineral crystals form in hollow space within a rock.


We were excited to see a Brainiac in the Gem and Mineral Hall!  Brainiacs are scattered around the museum to talk one on one with guests, to answer questions, and show them up close touchable specimens.  Just look for them with their blue shirts and red vests and a little display of some kind in front of them.


My kids asked tons of gem, mineral, and fossil questions to the Brainiac and I was amazed that she always had knowledgeable answers and never seemed tired of all the constant questions.


Rachel got to use a UV light to look at the fluorescence of calcite and we learned about mining for bauxite to get aluminum to make foil.


Before we left the hall, we had to take a ride on the Shale Voyager for an imaginary trip down the borehole to experience first hand what it is like to drill for natural gas.  The experience includes sounds, video and some chair movements :)


We found out that there was a new Reaction Time exhibit in the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall and it was just its third day to be open.  Not only that, but there was also a special media event to promote it and Kari Lehtonen, goalie for the Dallas Stars, was going to be there!  Nicholas plays hockey and we are all Dallas Stars fans so this was really exciting!



We got there a little early to play with the exhibit ourselves but we got a little distracted by all the fun mascots that were there.  Rachel posed with Victor E. Green of the Dallas Stars!


But there was also some other mascots there including Tex Hooper from FC Dallas soccer team and the Perot Museum's own T-Rex.


Things got a little exciting and Vic had to show us his dance moves!


Nicholas was excited to get the opportunity to meet Kari Lehtonen in person.  He is the current goalie for the NHL Dallas Stars hockey team.


We didn't know about the event or he would have brought his Stars jersey to get autographed.  But his regular t-shirt was better than nothing!



The two goalies took turns on the Reaction Time game.  It's kind of like playing Whack-A-Mole but you have to hit the lit button as it moves around the board.  Chris with FC Dallas scored 28 and Kari with the Dallas Stars scored 29.  Go Stars!!


Next, the kids had to give it a try. They worked as a team on this one but they were still excited to have beaten Kari's score!


Nicholas also tried a smaller Reaction Time game and he was pretty excited to make the new Top Score.  Look at those ninja-like reflexes!



What else is there to do at the Perot this summer?
  • Discovery Days - Foster a love for science on the second Saturday of the month with family-fun Discovery Days featuring exciting experiments, activities, and performances with scientists, educators, and artists throughout the museum.  Free to members and included with general admission for non-members.  It takes place from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with exclusive member-only access from 9:00 - 10:00 am..  Check them out on June 10 (Humanity), July 8 (Architecture), and August 12 (Adventure).
  • Social Science - Ever wanted to play at the Perot Museum without the kids?  Exclusive to adults 21 and up, Social Science makes for an undeniably unique date night or evening out with friends, filled with fun experiments, craft beers and cocktails, performances, engaging discussions, exciting inventions and more.  The centerpiece of this summer's Friday night adventures in Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.  Upcoming dates include June 23 (Patterns) and August 4 (Conundrum).  Tickets are $15 for member and $25 for non-members.
  • First Thursday Late Night - More time to nerd out!  The Perot Museum stays open late until 9:00 pm on the first Thursday of the month with special programming from 7-9 pm.  Upcoming dates and themes include July 6 (Summer of Science: Chemistry) and August 3 (Summer of Science: Biology).  Free to members and included with general admission for non-members.
  • Sleepovers - Snore and explore! We've done this and it was awesome!!  Sleepovers at the Perot Museum feature behind-the-scenes access to the Museum's 11 exhibit halls, exclusive demonstrations, hands-on discovery plus a late-night snack, 3D film and light breakfast to round out the experience.  Summer dates are June 9 (Superhero), July 21, August 11, and September 2.  Cost is $45 per child and $30 per adult chaperone.
  • Discovery Camps - Kids pre-K through 6th grade can ignite a love for science this summer!  Young minds will relish in week-long camp sessions focusing on animals, space, dinosaurs, chemistry, engineering, marine biology and even zombies at Discovery Camp.  Hands-on experiments, 3D films and interactive STEM activities will keep kids content and sharp during the summer months.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

K5 Learning Review

Nicholas is old enough to do a lot of independent learning in our homeschool so he takes a few online courses.  But Rachel has been jealous about big brother's classes and she had just asked me to find her an online class when I learned that K5 Learning was available for review to the Homeschool Review Crew.  

K5 Learning

K5 Learning provides online work for math, reading, vocabulary, and spelling for students in K through 5th grade.  It is intended to be a supplement and not a stand alone curriculum which was just what I was looking for.  


K5 Learning

I researched the program before signing up to review it.  I wanted to be sure the activities were actually at her knowledge level and not just based on an age or grade.  K5 Learning provides math and reading assessments to determine which level you child so work on.  Rachel is in 2nd grade but after completing her assessments, K5 Learning put her at an upper 3rd grade level.  So far it has been a little on the easy side for her so we have talked about moving her up.  It is no problem to do that.  I'll just make the request and K5 Learning will take care of it.

In my research, I also wanted to make sure that my daughter couldn't just choose to sit and play games and avoid the actual learning activities like she has done with another online educational program.  K5 Learning is structured to provide educational activities in a particular sequence and the student doesn't have other options available to just play games.  

The educational activities are a lot like games though.  In this graphic below, you solve the multiplication problem by clicking on the hot air balloon with the correct answer.  The balloon then floats away and you get a little fireworks show.



It makes math fun and therefore Rachel is more likely to want to continue to the next lesson.  I like that it gives the student immediate feedback with positive response or a gentle comment to try again.

There are also printable worksheets that students can use to reinforce learning with pencil and paper.  You can choose the grade level as well as the activity topic such as multiplication, roman numerals, counting money, etc.



Rachel used K5 Learning mostly for math but she also did some reading and spelling work.  For spelling, the program has a pre-defined list for each grade but parents can also add their own spelling word lists.  I think that's pretty cool!  When the student first pulls up the spelling page, the top line is blank.  That is where the student will type the spelling word.  They can click to hear the word pronounced as well as read the definition and see an example of how the word could be used in a sentence.  In this case below, Rachel did these activities then typed "people" in the space at the top of the page.  


It is nice that K5 Learning is set up in such a way that even young children can use it independently in our homeschool.  It is just what Rachel was wanting and it helps me keep her learning while I'm spending one on one time with her older brother.

As the parent, I have a separate log in and I can pull up reports that tell me how my daughter is doing with the lessons.  So far she has only covered numbers and operations in math but you can see the number of lessons completed, mastered, as well as her score in certain areas.



Rachel wanted me to be sure to point out in this review that K5 Learning even has a fun Riddle of the Day for kids to enjoy when they first log on.



If you would like to read some more K5 Learning reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew, just click on the banner below.

K5 Learning {Reviews}


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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Book of Trees Review: Learning Botany with Memoria Press

The Homeschool Review Crew was given an opportunity to choose from several different Memoria Press products to review.  I love Memoria Press because they create wonderful classical Christian homeschool curriculum.  We've used some of their curriculum products in the past but I've never tried their science or botany curriculum so I chose The Book of Trees for the product I wanted to review.


The Book of Trees Set

For my review purposes, I received the three main books in The Book of Trees set.  This included:

Memoria Press also offers two other books to round out this set and I would highly recommend them both - The Peterson First Guide to Trees ($7.95) and The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown-Ups ($15.95).  Both of these books provide great explanations and pictures to help you learn to identify trees.

The Book of Trees is included in the Memoria Press 7th grade curriculum set.  I used the Text as a read aloud for Rachel (2nd grade) and Nicholas (7th grade).  The Student Book is a consumable product and can only be used by one student so Nicholas completed it.  The Teacher Guide covers the goals of the program, a model lesson plan, answers to all of the questions and diagrams in the Student Book, as well as quizzes, tests, and keys.

The Book of Trees Text covers the information in short lessons so even my younger student was able to sit still long enough to listen to the Text.  

The Student Book includes questions and diagrams for the student to complete.  Everything is explained clearly in the Text so Nicholas was able to easily complete the lesson pages in the Student Book.


What I like most about the program is that at the end of each lesson there is a list of hands-on activities.

For the study on root systems, the activities included uprooting plants (with parental permission) and determining the type of root system, looking for root hairs, then making a cross section to look at the internal parts of a root.  

My kids enjoyed this part!  They uprooted two different plants (with my permission).  They examined the roots and determined that one is a fibrous root system and the other is a non-storage tap root.


This fibrous root contains a lot of roots about the same size and all clumped together.


These roots were rather small so Nicholas used a magnifying glass to try to find the little root hairs on it.


While Nicholas looked at the fibrous roots, Rachel studied the tap root.


Together they looked at the epidermis and root hairs.  They were easier to see on this big root.


Next, Nicholas cut a cross section of the tap root.  He made this video explaining what he had learned about the different parts of the root system.


The Book of Trees covers nine chapters including The Beauty of Trees, The Root System, The Stem, The Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, Observing Trees and even some advanced work on Photosynthesis and Respiration.  My kids have enjoyed learning about Botany with The Book of Trees and we would definitely recommend it.


Memoria Press


Some of the other Memoria Press products offered to the Homeschool Review Crew included:


If you would like to read reviews on these other products or other reviews on The Book of Trees, just click the banner below to see what other Homeschool Review Crew members had to say.

Latin, Nature and Trees {Memoria Press Reviews}


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Thursday, June 1, 2017

American Indian Craft: Make a Wampum Belt

Early explorers to the New World learned a lot about the Native American Indian way of life.  One thing they were introduced to was wampum belts. As part of our study of the New World and Colonial Times, Nicholas and Rachel each made their own wampum belts.


Wampum was made up of valuable purple quahog shells and white whelk shells.  The Indians would put holes in the shells and string them to make jewelry or belts.  These wampum belts would be used for trading, as a sign of status, to communicate a threat of war or marriage proposal, and also to record history. 

Here is a great video about the history of wampum.



The kids began their project by making their own loom out of a piece of scrap cardboard measuring 13 inches long and about 3 1/2 inches wide.  They cut six slits on each side of short sides of the cardboard.  Then they taped a piece of thread at the bottom and wrapped it around the card, tucking it in each slit as it wrapped around.  These are called the warp threads.  Once they were finished wrapping the loom with warp thread, they cut it and taped the end down.



I found some worksheets online that worked perfectly for designing wampum belts for the size of our looms.  The kids colored in the squares to represent where each bead color would go.


We used inexpensive plastic pony beads from the craft store.  The kids threaded their needle and tied the end of the thread to the loom thread.  To use this loom, they loaded the beads on the needle for one column then slid the needle and beads under the warp threads, allowing each bead to settle in between two warp threads.  Then they went to the next column on the pattern and repeated.


It was a little time consuming but it seemed to be a relaxing activity for the kids.  As you have seen, Rachel made a purple and gold LSU wampum belt.


Nicholas wanted to stick with a more authentic look to his wampum belt.  Here he is loading his thread up with beads for a column on his pattern.


And weaving on his loom.  


Here are their completed Wampum Belts.  Unfortunately, as Nicholas was taking his Wampum off of the loom the thread snagged and broke and lots of beads went flying.  He taped up the end so its fine, just a little shorter than originally made.


I found several online resources to help us make these wampum belts but the most helpful resource were some YouTube videos called Art with Mrs. Prestigiacomo.


For younger kids, All Things Beautiful demonstrates a way to make a wampum belt without a loom and using macaroni.