Bending A Straw With Light

One of our very first experiments was exploring one of the characteristics of light. Our Classical Conversations science memory work this week was “What are three characteristics of light?”. One of the terms we covered was refraction. Which is exactly what this super easy experiment demonstrates — you probably have all the necessary items in your house already.

You only need:
A straw (or pencil)
A clear glass
Full printable instructions and simple refraction explanation: Bending a Straw With Light
or here: Pencil Refraction Continue reading

Water Filtration Experiment

Ahh The Water Cycle. Always a fun time to do a little hands on science. We decided to talk about filtration and how dirty water ends up clean. Another easy experiment that you probably have all the supplies for. At least, if you drink coffee. Which, I do now. I know. I’m really maturing nicely.

First we needed some dirty water. So we dumped some dirt from the yard into a flower vase filled 2/3 with water. Red solo cup! We’re ready to party!Water Pollution Experiment02

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Our Great Big 50 States Adventure – Part One

There are three cycles of information spanning Ancient History to Modern in Classical Conversations. This upcoming year (cycle 3) the focus is on US History and Geography. We’ll be memorizing the states and capitols, as well as geographical features and historical timeline events.

As we hone in on the United States next year, I thought it would be exciting and enriching to see what stories and facts I could get regarding each state, from people who actually live there. So, I’ve set upon a great adventure to collect information in the form of mail (good mail…the kind with a stamp on it) for my kids. Mail is just flat out fun. Bonus: I got to sign my name 100 times. I love signing my name.

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Monet Style Garden Paintings

During our six weeks of great artists this year, we studied impressionism and specifically talked about Monet. I found a fantastic tutorial on Mr. Picasso’s Art Room and used it to create masterpieces and memories.

Monet Style Garden Paintings

First let me tell you that I am NOT an artsy person. I’ve told the story before of how I went into Michael’s and purchased $100s of dollars of canvases, paints, and paintbrushes thinking I would be the next Michelangelo with all those supplies. Ha! Let’s just say all that crap my art supplies have never been used. Until now. Mr. Picasso must be some kind of genius in the way “he” structures things, because even I figured out how to create art using his tutorial. Here are our finished products. We had a jolly good time and really experienced impressionism. Continue reading

Limited Time Only! Free Geography Curriculum!


Anyone involved with Classical Conversations knows that Cycle 3 is all about the United States for Geography. Head on over to Homeschool Giveaways and pick up this freebie before it expires on Friday! Whether you’re sure you’ll be using it or not — get it before it’s gone! This would also make for great summer activities for any kid who’s studying US Geography or state history.

Included is 50 States and Where to Find Them, which teaches children the states and capitals region by region through mapping exercises and quality literature. Children fill out a map of the region as they learn about each state. State lessons include historical information about the state and coloring pages of the state flower, state bird, and state flag.

Each region wraps up with a crossword puzzle, a word search, and a bonus lesson pertaining to the region.  Bonus lessons include topics such as heraldry, the Erie Canal, and the Underground Railroad.

Also included is The Student Workbook for 50 States and Where to Find Them which is a necessary component of this program. It includes all of the printable, reproducible sheets needed to complete the work.

I love free! Did you know that most library systems allow you to print for free too? My local library system will even let you print a limited amount in color! Check out the libraries where you live – they are a great place to stretch your budget! Yippee!

Here’s the link again if you missed it earlier. Free Geography Curriculum

Geo Puzzles -The Greatest Puzzles Ever

I don’t know about you, but I have a mixed bag of emotions when I think about puzzles. My Grandpa was a stickler about them. You had to look at the piece and just know whether it fit or not. There was no “trying to see if it fit”. He was like the Yoda of puzzles.

But I also have some beautiful memories of puzzles. I’ve searched for years for a duplicate of a puzzle we put together as a family at Christmastime each year. It had pieces shaped like snowmen and ice skaters with hidden shapes. It was awesome. No luck on finding it though. Woe to me.

I wanted to share a set of puzzles that’s even more amazing (at least to a geography nerd like me) than my favorite hidden shape puzzle from childhood. I discovered these recently and they are just fantastic. Geo Puzzles.

They are made by a company called Geo Toys. The puzzles are just one example of their great learning toys. I ordered the 6 Puzzle Set
which includes The World, Europe, Asia, Africa, USA/Canada, and Latin America (South America and Central America). The pieces are shaped like countries, lakes, states etc. and fit together as a map would. You can see here the size of the pieces. The United States pieces are smaller than these because they’re scaled with Canada and Alaska. Which, really is huge by-the-way. The completed puzzles are around 19×16 inches.

Geo Puzzles - The Most Amazing Puzzles EVER!

They came in individual bags and had empty ziploc style bags to put them in after opening the shipping bags. Sweet! My daughter immediately began assembling the Europe puzzle, which was the main focus of our geography for Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations this year. It was amazing how many countries she was able to accurately place without the help of the printed map that comes with the puzzles. You can see below everything my set came with — the printed maps are two-sided, the packing bag is on the far right and the bags that come with to store them in are on the far left.

Geo Puzzles - The Most Amazing Puzzles EVER!

My kids moved right on to the United States and Canada once they’d completed the Europe puzzle. And then asked if we could do a couple more tomorrow. Success! If you are a puzzle family, studying geography, or would just like to learn while you play, I highly recommend these! You can purchase them individually too. I just know that our Classical Conversations curriculum is going to cover the whole world, so I figured it made sense to just get them all in one box. The individual puzzles are about $16 each.

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