Tag Archives: botany

Springtime and Flower Pots

aflowerOur part of the country (the southeast) has had an unusually cold winter this year. Temperatures have dipped below the normal range almost every week since the first of January; we’ve had three snow/ice storms in the past two months when we usually only see one during the season. Is it any wonder that everyone in our home is looking forward to spring?

This past week we did a fun activity that helped put us in the mood even more. This simple craft is great for all ages, even moms.

Painted Flower Pots

What you’ll need:

  • Small clay pots
  • Potting soil
  • Acrylic Craft Paints
  • Smocks or Paint shirts
  • Containers filled with water
  • Paint Brushes
  • Styrofoam plates
  • Paper Towels
  • Newspaper
  • Seeds

Before you begin, cover your table top or painting area with newspaper, allowing for easy clean up. Have each student put on a paint smock or shirt; acrylic paints usually don’t come out of clothing.

Provide each student with a pot, a Styrofoam plate to use as a palette, paintbrushes, a container of water to clean the brushes, and a paper towel to dab the brushes on after they’ve been cleaned.

Tell the students that they will be painting their own designs on the pots. Before beginning, though, have them think about what they want to paint. Do they want to paint spots and stripes? Butterflies? Rainbows? Geometric shapes? Solid colors?

Now instruct the children to begin painting. Have them wash their brushes out when changing colors.

After the students have finished decorating the pots, allow the pots to dry for a few minutes. These acrylic paints dry quickly, so they won’t have to wait too long.

When the pots are dry, show the children how to fill them with potting soil. Provide them with two or three seeds (we used sunflower seeds), and show them how to plant them. A perfect opportunity to learn about the life cycle of plants!

Now add a little water and place the pot in a sunny location. Watch for the new life to push through — and enjoy the first signs of spring!

Apologia Science

One of the great things about homeschooling today is the huge variety of curriculum available. Some families prefer to use an entire curriculum produced by one publisher; for our family, however, I’ve found I like to use texts from different publishers for the subjects we study. For science, my favorite is Apologia.

The Apologia Young Explorer Series was written for upper elementary/early middle school. We’re enjoying our third book this year, Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day. Other titles available are Astronomy, Botany, Zoology 1:  Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. Middle school and high school subjects include General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Each one is written from a creationist perspective.

Although I enjoy science, teaching it has never been my strong suit, and there have been years I struggled to fit it into our school day. What a shame, since children love learning about nature, and science readily lends itself to hands-on activities. But I don’t have that problem anymore — the Apologia texts make it so easy. The information is clearly presented, and within each chapter are interesting and fun activities that correlate with the lesson.

And these books are so user-friendly! The beginning pages feature contact information where you can find help by mail, phone, or on the web. Then comes a brief description about what the lessons include. The next couple of pages are my favorite – complete lists of all materials needed for each activity or experiment found in the lessons.

The writers of the text state that it can be read aloud to younger students or worked through individually by older students. I’ve found this to be true. While I’m reading the Land Animals text to my fourth and second grader, my seventh grader is working through the General Science text on his own. His book not only includes experiments but also review questions that I have him answer in complete sentences. Tests and solution manuals are also available for the subjects for older students.

All in all, the Apologia Science series gets an A+ from me!