Tag Archives: homeschool

Summer Science: Watermelon Volcano

science watermelon volcano

Ready for a summertime twist on a classic experiment? Watermelon is in season and it’s the perfect time of year for outdoor science experiments. So, head to the grocery store, pick up a watermelon, and get ready to do a lot more than just eat a tasty treat! Here’s how it works:

What you need:

  • A watermelon (it can be any size, whatever size your family feels like eating really)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Optional: Food coloring

What to do:

  • The goal of this is not to waste the watermelon. Start out as if you are carving a pumpkin – cut a hole out of the top of the watermelon. You want the hole to be big enough that you’ll be able to scoop out the inside of the watermelon, but the smaller the hole, the better your volcano eruption will be.
  • Scoop out the inside of the watermelon with a melon baller or spoon. If you like, you can take a break now and enjoy a little snack.
  • Put about a half a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the emptied out watermelon. Add a couple of squirts of dish soap and, if you’d like, the food coloring.
  • Now you’ll want to take your watermelon outside for this next part. Begin pouring vinegar into the watermelon and wait and watch for a giant, bubbly explosion! The chemical reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda is what causes the explosion, the dish soap just adds a little more pep!

Have fun and don’t forget to check out our free trial!

4 Ways to Keep Learning Over the Summer

summer learning

Learning over the summer doesn’t have to be overly complicated, formal, or boring. In fact, it can be a fun way to pass the time and keep the gears in your kids’ brains turning over the long summer months! Here are a few ideas:

  1. Art History Project: Teach your children about several different famous artists. Pick artists from different places, time periods, and artistic movements. Be sure to go over their lives, show them their work, and talk about their artistic style. This can be a very informal overview, just enough to get your child interested in the artists and their differences. When you’ve finished, have your children each pick an artist they like. Have them create their own artwork, mimicking the style – but not the exact works – of their chosen artist. Show off the finished work in your own mini gallery!
  2. Messy Science: Summer is the perfect time to do messy science experiments that can be done outside! Say hello to easier clean-up and kids having a ton of fun while learning! We’ve got a few great examples for you to check out like these magical color-changing flowers, this awesome bubbling sidewalk chalk, and the most scientific way to make tasty s’mores.
  3. Engineering Projects: Summer is also a great time for those big engineering projects that require a lot of open space or outdoor activity. Have your kids construct a slip ‘n’ slide and figure out the materials necessary to make it the most slippery. Or have them build their own little boats and test them out in a large tube of water or nearby pond.
  4. Seasonal Learning: Teach your children about the way different produce items are seasonal. Foods like peaches and strawberries are best in the summer, and so on. Together, choose a favorite summertime ingredient and teach them to make a dish using that ingredient! You can enjoy the tasty fruits of your labor and learning when you’re done!

Enjoy! Don’t forget to check out our free trial!

Summer Science: Color-Changing Flowers

color changing flowers

In the summertime, when you’ve most likely stopped formal learning for a few months, it can be best to keep the learning activities you do do simple. It’s also the perfect time for activities involving being outside. This super simple experiment involves getting flowers to change colors! It will amaze your kids, especially once you explain the science behind it. Here’s how it works:

What you need:

  • White flowers (wildflowers like Queen Anne’s lace, or something like daisies or carnations)
  • Clear containers like glasses or jars
  • Food coloring
  • Water

What to do:

  • If you’ve got a nearby area with lots of wildflowers, send your kids out to gather the white flowers you need for the experiment. They’ll have a ton of fun hunting for flowers and gathering them up. If not, pick up some simple white flowers at the grocery store, they’ll work just as well.
  • Separate the flowers into multiple containers based on how many colors you want to try. Fill the containers about 3/4 full with water and add food coloring. You want to add enough food coloring so that the water very clearly appears that color.
  • Now, just wait! Plants have a system of veins just like people do. Their cells soak up the water and their veins spread it to the farthest reaches of the plant. This is why, after some time, you’ll see that the flower petals have begun to change color!
  • Keep in mind, not all of the colors will necessarily work. Most likely because the molecules making up that color in the dye are too large to effectively pass through the plant’s system.

Have fun and don’t forget to check out our free trial!

Summer Goal Setting

summer goal setting

The summer is a great time to get things done. You’ve generally got more free time, which means more time for working on the stuff that you just couldn’t get to over the school year. We recommend that you set goals in small categories, so that your list doesn’t turn out looking like one, big, overwhelming, monster list. Here are some suggestions:

  • Your kids: Start out by having your kids each make a list of goals for themselves. This is a great way to add just a little bit of structure to their summer. On the side, you can make your one list of goals you’d like them to accomplish and suggest they add a few from your list to theirs. These can be simple things like keeping their rooms clean all summer or reading 10 books over the summer. Just make sure that these goals are practical and that you support them in their efforts over the next few months.
  • Your whole family: This one would be more of a general list for your family. It could include vacation you want to go on, field trips you want to take, or even simple things like eating dinner together every night or revamping your chores schedule. The overarching goal of course, being to keep your family happy, healthy, and having fun over the summer.
  • You: There must be some things you’d like to get done over the summer, right? Maybe learning a new craft you didn’t have time for during the school year? Or getting organized for the autumn? Whatever your goals are, write them down and then break them down into smaller, practical steps. For example, if you wanted to get organized for homeschooling in the autumn, your list could include: find new math curriculum, buy new art supplies, plan field trips, etc.

Good luck! Don’t forget to check out our free trial!

Baking Soda Experiments: Part 2

baking soda exp 2

Looking for a baking soda experiment beyond your typical volcano? Then this one is for you! A simple experiment, this activity lets your kids make their very own miniature electric eels. Watch as the gummy worms sporadically bounce around – science that looks almost like magic! Here’s how it works:

What you need:

  • 2 glasses
  • Dish
  • Fork
  • Gummy worms
  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of water

What to do:

  • Cut each of the gummy worms into long, thin strips using scissors. This will ensure that you get the most movement out of your worms. The lighter they are, the more the chemical reaction and resulting movement will be visible.
  • In one glass, mix the baking soda and the water together. Add the gummy worm strips to the glass and let them sit for a good 10-15 minutes. You want them to really marinate in the mixture.
  • Using a fork, remove the gummy worms from the glass and place them in a dish.
  • Take your empty glass and pour in the vinegar. Add the gummy worms one at a time to the glass. Watch closely! The chemical reaction will begin immediately and the gummy worms will begin to move like magic! As the baking soda and vinegar combine, they create bubbles and fizz, allowing the light and floating gummy worms to bounce around in the glass.

Have fun!

Learning on July 4th

july 4th

July 4th is of course Independence Day. It commemorates the day the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence and as such, is the perfect opportunity for picking up a little American history. We’ve got several ideas on how you can do exactly that. Check them out:

  • Revolutionary War reenactments: If you really want to check out some living history, head to a Revolutionary War reenactment! Everything from the costumes to the weapons are meticulously prepared to be accurate historical representations. You’re likely to see some demonstrations, drills, and even cannon fire!
  • Naturalization ceremonies: Many naturalization ceremonies take place on July 4th – one is even held at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. What better day to accept new citizens into our country than on the anniversary of its birth? If you can, attending one of these ceremonies is an incredible experience both for learning and feeling patriotic.
  • Staying home: You don’t have to go anywhere to show your kids some American history! There are many, many movies surrounding the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers, and the creation of the Declaration of Independence. So, before the fireworks start, turn one on and enjoy the learning experience as a family!

Happy 4th!

Make Your Own Moon Sand Activity

moon sand

Moon sand is awesomely fun. It’s squishy, it’s moldable, it’s perfect for playing with and experimenting with. Plus, it’s super easy to make your own. Here’s how it works:

What you need:

  • 3 cups of corn starch
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 6 cups of fine, clean sand
  • Food coloring/glitter/scents to jazz it up

What to do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Get to playing!
  • You can make different combinations of colors and scents and such easily, by divvying up the mixture before adding to it. Each of your kids can make their own custom moon sand. Or each child can make multiple combos!
  • One of the most interesting experiments you can do with this, is to see how it reacts in water. Pour small amounts of sand in different amounts and temperatures of water, and watch what happens!
  • You can also task your children with building things out of the sand! It’s almost like bringing the beach, and all of its sandcastle possibilities, right into your home.

Have fun!

Solar Oven S’mores Experiment

s'mores solar

What activity is more classic and fun in the summertime than making s’mores? This activity adds in a little scientific learning to make eating s’mores even more satisfying! Here’s how it works:

What you need:

  • A pizza box
  • Aluminum foil
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Cling wrap
  • Black paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • S’mores ingredients

What to do:

  • Draw a square on the pizza box lid, leaving a one inch border around each side.
  • Use the box cutter to cut out three sides of the square. Leave the line at the back of pizza box attached.
  • Fold this flap back so that it stands up when the box is closed. Cover the underside of the flap with aluminum foil using glue. Be sure to smooth out the wrinkles and cut off any excess foil.
  • Cut a piece of cling wrap large enough to cover the hole and tape it securely on the underside of the whole box lid.
  • Close the lid, leaving the flap open, and tape another large piece of cling wrap over the hole. This will help to trap heat in the box. You’ll want to make sure both pieces of cling wrap are pulled taut when you tape them.
  • Glue or tape a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom of the inside of the box. On top of this layer, glue the black paper.
  • On a sunny day, take your box outside. Close the lid. Leave the flap open, propping it up at an angle that best reflects the sunlight into the box.
  • Let your oven preheat in direct sunlight for 30 minutes. Then, place your s’mores inside the box. Remove when the chocolate has adequately melted.

Have fun!

Summer Community Service

comm service

Community service is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences you can share with your children. Summer is one of the best times to look into doing some service, because you’ve generally got larger blocks of free time and can tackle bigger projects. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mission trips: These are often organized through churches, but there are also organizations that put them together. Usually about a week long or longer, your children can spend some time helping to fix or build houses, amongst various other projects that encourage learning both empathy and practical skills.
  • YMCA or similar organizations often have opportunities for volunteering during the summer. This could be anything from helping to teach sports to just helping out with childcare for impoverished families. This is a great one for teaching your child leadership skills!
  • Local clean up: Many communities have opportunities for cleaning up parks, beaches, or other areas of the community. This way your children can learn how important it is to contribute to and take care of their community. Plus, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn some environmental science!
  • Programs for the homeless: Programs that benefit the homeless almost always have some way that you can help out. Whether that’s organizing a clothing drive or serving meals, your children can learn the importance of helping those less fortunate than them.

Good luck!

Baking Soda Experiments, Part 1

baking soda experiment 1

This is one of the best summer science experiment ideas we’ve heard: erupting ice chalk! A colorful, scientific activity perfect for taking outside during these hot summer months. And it’s pretty darn simple too! Check it out:

What you need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Liquid watercolor paint or food coloring
  • Ice cube trays
  • Vinegar
  • Squeeze bottles

What to do:

  • Mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cornstarch, and 1/2 cup water. Stir well. Pour into the ice cube trays, mixing whatever colors of paint or food coloring into the individual sections. Stick the trays in the freezer until the mixture has solidified.
  • Pop out your ice chalk and invite your children to paint on a sidewalk or driveway. Fill your squeeze bottles with vinegar.
  • Once the chalk has begun to melt together and your kids are done painting, have them go at it with the squeeze bottles! You might even want to hold back some of the chalk at the beginning so they can watch the effect of the vinegar on full cubes.

Have fun!

Homeschool Summer Reading List

reading list

Reading over the summer is one of the best ways to keep children’s minds active and learning during the long months of informal schooling. Not sure exactly what they should or might want to be reading? We’ve got ideas for every age group! Check them out:

Ages 3-5:

  • What Pet Should I Get? - Dr. Seuss
  • Penguin on Vacation - Salina Yoon
  • Duck & Goose Go To the Beach - Tad Hills
  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • Froggy Learns to Swim - Jonathan London

Ages 6-8:

  • Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret of the Silver Key – Jane O’Connor
  • Bedtime Math: The Truth Comes Out - Laura Overdeck
  • Race the Wild: Rain Forest Relay - Kristin Earhart
  • I Will Take a Nap - Mo Willems
  • Cakes in Space - Philip Reeve

Ages 9-12:

  • Circus Mirandus - Cassie Beasley
  • Book Scavenger - Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  • The Island of Dr. Libris - Chris Grabenstein
  • Echo - Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Flora & Ulysses - Kate DiCamillo


  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
  • Egg & Spoon - Gregory Maguire
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  • Paper Towns - John Green
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon

Have fun!

United States Field Trips: 50 States, Over 100 Ideas!

field trip list

Are you looking for a local field trip and coming up empty with ideas? Or traveling to another state this summer and curious about what there might be to see? We’ve got multiple field trip ideas for every state, so read on and get ready to explore!


1. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum,  Birmingham

2.  Battleship USS Alabama, Mobile

3.  Rosa Parks Library and Museum, Montgomery


1.  Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, Fairbanks

2.  Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage

3.  Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau


1.  Grand Canyon National Park

2.  Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson


1.  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville

2.  Museum of Native American History, Bentonville

3. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs

4.  Blanchard Springs Cavern, Mountain View


1.  The Getty Center, Los Angeles

2.  The Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

3.  Yosemite, Yosemite

4.  San Diego Zoo, San Diego

5.  Long Beach Aquarium, Long Beach

6.  Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey


1.  Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver

2.  Telluride Mountain Village Gondola ,Telluride

3.  Mesa Verde National Park


1.  The Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford

2.  The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum, Bridgeport

3.  Kidcity Children’s Museum, Middletown


1.  Johnson Victrola Museum, Dover

2.  Hopkins Farm Creamery, Lewes

3.  Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island


1.  McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary, West Palm Beach

2.  Zoological Wildlife Foundation, Miami

3.  Dry Tortugas National Park,Key West

4.  Discovery Cove, Orlando


1.  Savannah Historic District, Savannah

2.  Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Atlanta

3.  Museum of Aviation, Warner Robins


1.  USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu

2. Haleakala Crater, Haleakala National Park


1.  Idaho’s World Famous Hot Pools, Lava Hot Springs

2.  Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise


1.  Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

2.  Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield

3.  Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago


1.  Children’s Museum of Indianapolis 

2.  Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Fort Wayne


1.  National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque

2.  Capitol Building, Des Moines


1.  Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Overland Park

2.  Sedgewick County Zoo, Wichita

3.  Kansas Atmosphere and Space Center, Hutchinson


1.  Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville

2.  Keenland Race Track,Lexington

3.  Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville


1.  The National WWII Museum, New Orleans

2.  Frenchmen St., New Orleans

3.  Laura: A Creole Plantation, Vacherie


1.  Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay Harbor

2.  Portland Head Light House, Cape Elizabeth


1.  Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg

2.  National Aquarium, Baltimore


1.  Fenway Park, Boston

2.  Freedom Trail, Boston

3.  Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge

4.  Boston Tea Party Ships and Museums, Boston


1.  The Henry Ford (museum) in Dearborn

2.  Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit

3.  Greenfield Village, Dearborn


1.  Extreme Sandbox, Hastings

2.  Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona


1.  Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg

2.  Tupelo Automobile Museum, Tupelo


1.  Sight and Sound Theatres, Branson

2.  National World War I Museum and Memorial, Kansas City


1.  Playmill Theatre, West Yellowstone

2.  Little Bighorn National Monument, Crow Agency

3.  Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center, Great Falls


1.  Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha

2.  Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering


1.  National Automobile Museum, Reno

2.  Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park

New Hampshire

1.  Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia

2.  Kancamagus Highway, North Conway

New Jersey

1.  Cape May County Park and Zoo, Cape May Court House

2.  Silverball Pinball Museum, Asbury Park

New Mexico

1.  Deming Luna Mimbres Museum, Deming

2.  White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo

New York

1.  Cave of the Winds, Niagara Falls

2.  Central Park, New York City

3.  National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown

North Carolina

1.  Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum, Maggie Valley

2.  Airborne and Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville

North Dakota

1.  North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismarck

2.  Scandinavian Heritage Park, Minot


1.  The Farm at Walnut Creek, Sugarcreek

2.  Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland

3.  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Cleveland


1.  Woolaroc Ranch, Museum, and Wildlife Preserve, Bartlesville

2.  Stafford Air and Space Museum, Weatherford


1.  Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria

2.  Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park


1.  Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg

2.  Sight and Sound Theatres, Strasburg

Rhode Island

1.  The Breakers, Newport

2.  Beavertail Light and Park, Jamestown

South Carolina

1.  Litchfield beach, Pawleys Island

2.  Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville

South Dakota

1.  Badlands Wall, Badlands National Park

2.  Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone


1.  Terry  Evanswood Presents “The Wonders of Magic,”, in Pigeon forge

2.  Sun Studio, Memphis


1.  Zip Nac (ziplining!), Nacogdoches

2. National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock


1.  Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab

2.  Zion National Park, Springdale 


1.  Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich

2.  Shelburne Museum, Shelburne


1.  Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Chantilly

2.  American Shakespeare Center, Staunton

3. George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Mt. Vernon

4. Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg


1.  Mount Rainier, Mount Rainier National Park

2.  Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

West Virginia

1.  Bloomery Plantation Distillery, Charles Town

2.  Lost World Caverns, Lewisburg


1.  Rick Wilcox Magic Theater, Wisconsin Dells

2.  Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan


1.  Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody

2.  Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

Don’t forget to enter our Summer Homeschool Field Trip Giveaway!

Be sure to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!

How to Homeschool Through the Summer With No Lesson Plans

homeschool summer2

Summer is traditionally a time for school-aged kids to take it easy and enjoy a well-earned break. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t or can’t incorporate a little learning into summer vacation. It doesn’t have to be formal, you don’t have to have any plans in mind. But, it’s always good to continue making at least a little progress, even if the effects are subtle. Here are some ideas:

  • Field trips: The great summer boredom-buster? A good, old-fashioned field trip. Whether you’re traveling or staying at home this summer, field trips are a great way to incorporate informal learning into your vacation time. You can go virtually anywhere! Museums, landmarks, the world is your oyster.
  • Simple outings: Looking for something a little simpler than a field trip? Why not head to the library for the day? Your kids can practice their reading comprehension and library skills, while enjoying a day spent out of the heat. Or take them with you to the grocery store and have them practice math with taxes and discounts while you shop! Trust us, almost anything can be turned into a learning experience.
  • Camping: Summer is a great time for camping. Whether you stick to your backyard or head out farther, camping provides a great opportunity to teach some biology, botany, and basic survival skills. Plus, it’s fun for the whole family!
  • Stay informed: Discussing current events with your kids is a great way to keep their minds active over the summer. Watch the news with them or read the newspaper together and have fun chatting about what’s going on in the world.

Have fun and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!


Field Trips Your Pre-K Kids Will Enjoy Too

Pre-K field trips

Finding a suitable field trip when you’ve got kids at a range of ages can be hard. You want to challenge and educate the older ones, but you don’t want the younger ones to miss out on a potential learning opportunity either. So, what do you do when you’re taking your Pre-K kids on a field trip too? We’ve got some ideas:

  • Aquariums: Aquariums are awesome in general, but particularly awesome when it comes to being a great choice of field trip for kids of all ages. With your older kids, it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss marine biology and how environmental changes impact the creatures you see. And, for your younger kids, it’s just an exciting opportunity to see aquatic wildlife in person! They’re sure to be mesmerized by the sight of schools of fish swimming before their eyes, and some aquariums even have interactive exhibits where they can actually touch the animals!
  • Zoos: Going along with aquariums, is the field trip classic – a trip to the zoo! Again, this is a great opportunity to discuss zoology and the preservation work zoos do with your older children. Meanwhile, your Pre-K kids will be ecstatic just to see all of the animals in person. One fun tip: have your little ones draw pictures of the animals as you go through the zoo, like a little picture diary.
  • Kids Science Museums: Most big cities have some sort of science museum designed for kids. These are highly-interactive museums meant to encourage as much learning as possible. While some of the scientific concepts might go right over their heads, little kids are still sure to enjoy all of the activities available. Think – things like giant bubble blowers and fun mirrors, with scientific bases to help your older children learn.

Have fun and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!

Homeschool Science: Earthquake Experiment

earthquake experiment

Science experiments don’t have to be super complicated! Sometimes it’s the simple experiments that kids learn the most from and enjoy. Take this simple earthquake experiment for example. It demonstrates important concepts and only requires a few materials. Check it out:

What you need:

  • Metal cookie sheet
  • Wooden blocks
  • Lego bricks

What to do:

  • With the metal cookie sheet representing the tectonic plate, have your children build a tower out of the wooden blocks on top of it.
  • When the tower is complete, have them shake the cookie sheet to simulate an earthquake. They can shake at different speeds and intensities and observe what happens to their tower.
  • Next, have you children build a tower of Lego bricks on top of the cookie sheet. This time, when they shake it, they should be able to notice some key differences. The tower might fall over, but is a lot less likely to crumble.
  • The lesson here? For buildings to withstand earthquakes, they must be built differently and with the potential motion in mind.

Have fun and don’t forget to check out SD Accelerate’s free trial!