Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Summer Bucket List for Families


June 21:Tie Dye Party
June 22: Decorate Walking Sticks
June 23: Letterboxing

June 24: Glow Stick Man





June 30: Summer Watermelon Treat Packets


July 1: Seafood Boil at Home


July 2: Make a Zoom "Ball"


July 3: Fizzy Explosion Bags


July 4: Make Red, White and Blue Firecracker Jello Cups

July 5: Operation Rescue Super Heroes

July 6: Make a Mini Mint Garden

July 7: Make Your Own Gem Mine

July 8: Make Ladybug Cookies

July 9: Take a Firefly Walk

July 10: Make a Windsock

July 11: Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Homemade Ice Cream Maker


July 12: Make a Watermelon Cake

July 13: Make a Solar S'mores Maker

July 14: Make a Balloon Rocket

July 15: Make an Edible Sand Dessert


July 16: Make a Watermelon Picnic Blanket or Tablecloth


July 17: Make a Summer Journal


July 18: Play Pooh Sticks

July 19: Make a Strawberry Fizz

July 20: Do Suminagashi: The Art of Japanese Paper Marbling

July 21: Visit a Local Cultural Store

July 22: Make Bejeweled Goblets

{More to Come: Check back for activities for each day of summer!}

July 23:
July 24:
July 25:
July 26:
July 27:
July 28:
July 29:
July 30:
July 31:

DIY Medieval Fantasy and Zombie Apocalypse Summer Learning Camps

For this summer, I have been working on some plans for some lessons review (and some new concepts added in) and yet I wanted them to have fun in the summer and be involved in the process.

Medieval -Fantasy Summer Learning Camp

For this summer camp, the themes are broken down into seperate guilds, which can be done as stand-alone camps, seperate guilds done on seperate weeks (or months) or can be done as a rotating schedule. If you have a large enough group, such as with a homeschool co-op or neighborhood camp, you can run all the seperate guilds at once, with everyone breaking down into smaller groups. However you decide to run it, I will give you a general idea of how to do each guild, including posts for many of the specific concepts. Here are the guilds I'll be covering,  but I am sure that many more ideas can be added using a similar format. Be creative and have fun!

The first days of camp are dedicated to research and solving puzzles (such as researching Ancient Greek so they can read a  clue given them) that give them clues that they will need as the camp unfolds. They learn about the imaginary place they will be in the weeks to come - it's fictional history and geography, as well as what lives there.

Once they are armed to fight a common villain, they become heroes in a literature -based scenario that they act out, using their new-found tools and the character traits of the hero archetype, such as honor, courage and compassion. At last, they celebrate their victory together, building camaraderie.

Warrior's Guild

From history and historical heroes, young warriors learn tactical strategies and from the Master-at-arms they learn swordsmanship. Both of these skills help the young fighters defeat their foes.

Healer's Guild

Young healers learn about human biology and apply what they learn to first aid. Using what they learn, the healer apprentices can design healing "spells" and, as long as they can defend their creations with facts they have learned from biology, they can use them to "heal" those wounded the villains in the story line.

Alchemist's Guild

Using lessons in chemistry, young alchemists apply what they learn about pH and chemical reactions to formulate their own potion "recipes" which they can then use to help their comrades defeat the enemy. These recipes have to named and written in Latin, too!

Wizard's Guild

Using lessons in physics, your wizards-in-training will be able to explain how the forces of nature use matter and energy to make awesome results. These wizards graduate from this school by creating their own "spell" which has to be explained by the laws of physics and nature. These spells also have to be named and written in Latin.

Zombie- Apocalyptic Summer Learning Camp

This camp is divided into three phases, each of which last a few weeks. In the initial phase, students become aware of the zombie attack. Students learn how to use data of migrations to predict the path of the zombie attack, and using scenarios from literature, the story unfolds from there. Students use the information from lessons in human biology to discover what makes a mutant, as well as teamwork to infiltrate the zombie lair. Students also use lessons in geography and military tactics as they plan their defensive and offensive maneuvers.

In phase two, the zombie attack has abated enough that students can use their knowledge of the physical environment to decide where to build a resettlement. They learn survival skills as they have to re-learn how to care for their basic needs in this new situation. As the story's plot furthers, student use aspects of theater such as play-writing, building props, applying make-up and acting to make short films.

In phase three, students learn about how cultural values affect the use of resources, how the principals of sociology and psychology can be used in order to resolve conflicts within the settlement, and how to encourage the work involved with renewable resources.


I hope our summers will be full of entertaining learning and review!

Summer 'Bucket" List: Go to a Local Cultural Store


Going to a local Mexican Grocery that opened recently was on our list of things to do this summer.
 The kids all enjoyed looking at all the interesting and different things that were for sale there.

 The owner showed us a tortilla press...
 and lasso rope...
 and try on hats.
And what did we buy? 
An assortment of Mexican candy...
 a brown sugar cone...
 some cactus to grill...


and an assortment of sweet breads.
A trip to any ethnic market would be equally fun, such as an Asian market. Do you have any specialty groceries near you?

originally posted: Jun 25, 2013

Summer "Bucket" List: Do Suminagashi: The Art of Japanese Paper Marbling



Suminagashi  (sue-me-NAH-gah-she),  which means literally "ink-floating," is the ancient Japanese technique of marbling paper with inks. It originating in China over 2,000 years ago and practiced in Japan by Shinto priests as early as the 12th century. Japanese Sumi-e inks were originally used, dropped carefully to float on a still water surface and then blown across to form delicate swirls, after which the ink was picked up by laying a sheet of white rice paper atop the ink covered water.
I first saw this art form at Inner Child Fun and I used the Aitoh Boku-Undo Suminagashi Marbling Kit Valerie suggests. This kit uses dyes that you drip onto the surface of water.
To make the water surface, you will need a dishpan or the like that can hold a few inches of water.
Some marbling kits come with circles of float paper that you can drop the ink onto so that the ink doesn't sink to the bottom. You can also use pieces of Styrofoam. Other sets have you load up a brush with ink, which is then gently lowered to the surface of the water.
With either method, to create designs, gently swirl the ink on the surface with a brush or by blowing gently on the surface of the water either directly, or with a straw.


When you are satisfied with your design, lay paper or whatever material you want to use (any material that can soak up water such as cloth or wood) on the dye.




Lift up to reveal your design on the paper. Place the marbled paper face up on newspaper to dry. Excess color can be rinsed off under running water first. Once the paper is dry, you can add a second layer of marbling, just as you did the first.
This "fire" effect was created by blowing on the surface of the water after inking.
originally posted: Jun 8, 2012