Funschooling News #8

Hi! Welcome to Funschooling News!

Are you looking for some great family-friendly activities that will make your week a little more interesting? Then you’ve come to the right place!

 Be sure to scroll all the way down to the Special Days section where you’ll find a fun activity to do or an interesting topic to learn about each day of the week. 

Paper Airplanes

Paper, IMHO, is one of the most useful and versatile items in the home, and as a bonus, it comes in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Our favorite type of paper is recycled paper and we especially like giving junk mail a new lease on life. One of the things we enjoy using junk mail for is to make paper airplanes that can do all kinds of cool tricks.

If you click on the link below, you’ll find sites for a variety of ways to fold paper planes, tips for making and flying them, and info about world record holders. 

For this activity, you will need: Paper Optional: A printer, measuring tape, crayons, paper clip, glue, a skewer, and a pencil. 

I hope something in this post brings a smile to your face!

Homeschool Humor

Still Learning Something New: Homeschool Humor
Here’s a peek at what you’ll find…

Funschooling Press: On Sale This Week

Beach-Themed Word Games are 25% off this week! 
is on sale for 25% off this week!

Get your copy today!

Funschooling Videos

Paper Planes

If you are looking for some really cool engineering projects, check out the first three paper airplane videos. Then try your hand at drawing an optical illusion. Look for the link for the fun math game: Hex Flood below the videos.

How To Fold A Paper Airplane That Flies Far. (Full HD)

How to fold the world record paper airplane

How to Fold Five Incredible Paper Airplanes | WIRED

Drawing a Hole – Anamorphic Illusion

Try this fun math game out! Dr. Mike’s: Hex Flood.

Special Days & Holidays Aug 19-25

Betty Jo, of Still Learning Something New, has posted the newest version of her August 2018 Special Days Calendar. It has a long list of famous birthdays, historical events, interesting days, monthly event and food themes, and more. 
Betty Jo and I have created a Special Days Companion filled with 100 activities you can do as a family during the month of August. To find out more about this wonderful product, click here.

Here are a few of the things on her list and some helpful activities and links:

August is Crayon Collection month. Gather up your old crayons and learn or figure out some ways to recycle them. Click on the link for some great ideas!

🛫August 19Inventor Orville Wright Born 1867 – Learn about the Wright Brothers. Watch the documentary: Wright Brothers Fathers Of Aviation Biography Documentary Films.

August 20Radio Day – 
Learn about the history of the radio, then make your own radio.

🍍August 21Hawaii Statehood 1959 –  Find out more about the Great State of Hawaii and learn how to play a Ukulele.

August 22Eat A Peach Day – Find out how healthy peaches are. Go Peach picking and preserve some to enjoy at a later date! Learn where you can pick your own fresh fruits and veggies in your state here.

⛵August 23Ride the Wind Day – Play with the wind! There are a lot of fun ways to play with the wind such as to: Flying Paper airplanes and kites, and blow bubbles.

August 24Pluto Demoted 2006 – Learn about Pluto and take some time to watch: 
First Mission to Pluto – Documentary 2018 HD

🦇August 25Bat Weekend begins (last full weekend) – Learn about bats! Play a fun sound game too. More Bat resources can be found here on this blog.

Thank you for stopping by, please feel free to share this post with others!
Have a wonderful week!

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Ways To Learn About History….Without A Textbook

History can be one of the most interesting and exciting subjects you can learn about… but textbooks tend to deliver information in the dullest ways possible!
Here are some interesting ways to learn about history that are much more true to life.

Museums – There are many different types of museums that can be visited in person and virtually. Check for art, science, historical, and specialty museums. Look into getting a yearly membership so you can visit them all as often as you like. See if you can arrange for a tour.

Go To A Reenactment – Check out your community calendar for locations, dates, and times of local reenactments and plan a trip to those further away.

Visit An Old Structure – There are beautiful old buildings with amazing architecture to see in historic districts, and old period houses that have been preserved. Do a search or ask someone what’s available in your area.

Visit A House Museum In Your Area – Some areas have an old house or building you can visit for free or a low fee. It’s like stepping back into history because it often looks like it did when the place was lived in. If there is a tour available, take it so you can learn more about it.

Check Out Old Ruins – Is there an old farm or plantation you can visit in your area? Many places are turned into parks and preserves. Watch for archaeological discoveries in your area too. Plan a trip to a ruin of interest.

Visit An Old Cemetery – Walk through an old cemetery respectfully to see how long people lived.

Visit A Monument – Make a plan to visit a local monument and use the library or the Internet to learn about the history behind it. Take a tour, read books, and websites, and watch documentaries, etc..

Watch A Documentary – Many modern documentaries are very interesting and informative. Check local listings and YouTube.

Talk To Someone Older Than You – Ask questions about days gone by. Talk to a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or visit a nursing home to talk to someone older.

Listen To A Historical Storyteller – Some people tell stories about the good old days, take time to listen to what they have to say and the way they say or sing it. Libraries often bring people in, check your library to see if they have anything scheduled or make a suggestion. Check YouTube for videos that feature storytellers.

Do A Craft From An Era Of Interest – A lot can be learned about a culture via their crafts and traditions. Choose a time period and look for some craft ideas. Make traditional foods too!

Watch An Old Movie – Old black and white movies are easy to come by these days – check your local listings for programming info… Observe the language used, the way they dress, how people lived and interacted with each other, the music being played… of course you can watch something in color as well! What was life like without cell-phones, computers, and cars??? Ask someone who can explain things to you so you can gain a better understanding of the historical value of what you are seeing.

Read An Biography or An Autobiography – Reading a historical perspective can help you take a step back in time and take you to a place you wouldn’t normally be able to go. Look for graphic novels too!

Take A Step Back In Time – Visit a pioneer settlement (museum), historical village, castle, an old fort, become part of a reenactment, or go to a renaissance fair/festival etc..

Visit An Old Fort, Battleground, Landmark, etc. – Visit local sites or plan something in another state.

Go to the library, book store, or use the internet to learn about histo
rical places such as castles, ancient buildings, people, inventors, and other fascinating things.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of virtual tours of places, people, and things of interest you can check out on the Internet. 
Bring your camera with you so you can capture the things you discover.

Funschooling and Recreational Learning has a quite a few resources pages relating to history. I hope you’ll check some of them out!

Thank you for stopping by!
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Sir Conan Doyle Puzzle Page

Now available as a instant digital download on the 
Funschooling Press

The Sir Conan Doyle Puzzle Page has 3 fun word puzzles to do:

1 Word Find (12 words)

1 Word Scramble (11 words)

Cryptograms (4 Codes to break) – Dancing Men Code Font

The word find and scramble are based on the life of Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

This is an Instant Download – A Digital File. No physical item will be shipped.

Upon payment, you will receive:

1 – 2 page PDF file that includes:

1 – Full page with the following puzzles:  Word find, word scramble, and cryptogram (8.5 x 11).

1 – Answer page. 

Pages are not editable.

For personal use only. Print as many puzzles as you like, but do not resell this file or any printed material for profit.

For commercial use, please contact me directly.

Copyright © by Fran W and Funschooling Press. All rights reserved.

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Fun Ways To Learn At A Public Garden

There are a great many benefits to walking through a public garden, and if you ever taken the time to visit one in your community or area, you know it can be a peaceful and relaxing place that leaves you refreshed from the experience. It is also a great place to give your observation skills a workout because of all the sites, smells, and sounds that naturally occur everywhere.

Here are some fun learning activities you can do while you are there that can enhance the experience!

  • Identify the flowers, plants, and trees you see around you.
  • Observe the wildlife that comes to visit the plants. 

Use the Shazam for Nature app to help you identify plants and animals you don’t know.

  • Join a garden association or society or volunteer your time to a community or public garden. Compare different gardens if you can visit a few of them. Volunteer to learn how they work and the amount of work it takes to keep them going as a valuable part of the community.
  • Look around to see who’s pollinating the plants and how it’s being done.
  • If you can, find dead plants/insects to observe. Take a pocket microscope or magnifying glass with you so you can get a closer look.
  • Read the map of the area, if one is offered.

  • Make a map of the areas you visited/enjoyed the most. How did you get to your favorite spot?

  • As you walk around, identify the scents and sounds around you. Take a deep breath and do your best to identify specific scents.

  • Put a name to the colors you see. A general color my be yellow, blue, red, green, etc., but then there are more sophisticated names for shades of colors such as buttercup yellow, fuchsia pink, azure, avocado, etc..

  • Find a quiet place to draw or paint what you see. If you enjoy drawing or painting, bring your supplies with you and enjoy being outside doing what you love.

  • Talk to the botanist, horticulturist, or the garden’s caretaker(s) and ask them questions about the things you find most interesting. A public garden near me allows us to take native plants to grow in our own yard and the caretaker is always eager to share her knowledge with us.

  • Find patterns within the flowers/plants and animals around you. Natural patterns are everywhere in nature. If you look around you’ll find them.

  • Sit down and observe the day and area around you. Find a comfortable spot to sit and be for a while and observe the sites, sounds, and smells all around you. Close your eyes and take it all in. It’s a great way to release stress.

  • Take pictures and videos. Take pictures and videos of the things you see and do. Use them to create a nature scrapbook, to help identify the things you saw, or to remember the great time you had! Post them to your blog or social media page.

  • Participate in a public vegetable garden. Many communities have areas were you can grow a garden to share with others.
Don’t forget to pack a lunch with you so you can spend the day exploring and discovering the gardens you visit!

    What are some of the fun and interesting things you like to do when you visit a public garden? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

    Thank you for stopping by!
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    Ancient Egyptian Resources

    Smithsonian: The World’s Oldest Papyrus and What It Can Tell Us About the Great Pyramids – Article about the great pyramids.

    Discovering Egypt: Egyptian Mummification – Article about the mummification process and ways to embalm.

    Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing – Champollion & Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing
    Egyptian Mathematics Numbers Hieroglyphs – Egyptian Mathematics Numbers Hieroglyphs and Math problems for kids – Learn about Hieroglyphic Numbers.

    BBC: History: Egyptians – Includes the following topics: Overview, pyramids and monuments, mummification, Gods and beliefs, pharaohs and dynasties, daily life, and hieroglyphs. Each area connects to one or more articles.

    Encyclopedia of Visual Arts: Ancient Egyptian Art – Egyptian Art (3100 BCE – 395 CE)

    Metropolitan Museum of Arts: Egyptian Art – What’s on view, history of the department, and if you scroll down, you can view highlights and all the featured art and view the videos provided. Not all the 27,000+ pictures are available for viewing online. The videos provided are lecture based.

    Ducksters Education Site: Ancient Egypt for Kids – Overview, Monuments and Geography, Culture, People and Other.

    Wikipedia: Egyptian hieroglyphs & Ancient Egypt 

    History: Ancient Egypt – Article contains information about the Egyptian civilization. Videos are available as well.

    History for Kids: Egyptian Food – Learn how food is grown in the desert. Coloring pages can be found on the right-hand side of the page.

    Nature: Mummy DNA Unravels Ancient Egyptians’ Ancestry – Article: Genetic analysis reveals a close relationship with Middle Easterners, not central Africans.

    History On The Net: The Egyptians – Food – Article includes – How the Egyptians grew food, made bread, beer, the meats and veggies they ate too in their desert environment.

    Crafts & Hands-On Activities

    DLTK: Egyptian Activities for Children – Benu Poster, Camel coloring page, Egypt Coloring pages, crafts, and other activities.

    HomeschoolShare – Ancient Egypt – Downloadable Lapbook about Ancient Egypt.

    YouTube: Ancient Egypt Playlist – Documents about Ancient Egypt, Egyptian music, and crafts.
    Here’s one of the videos in the list…

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    Dictionaries – Day #3 Dictionary Creators

    I personally think a dictionary is a very useful tool and was curious to know who was the first to take the time to create one. I also wondered if any other cultures had and used a similar idea. As it turns out, dictionaries go WAY back to ancient times in one form or another!

    The modern English dictionary was invented by Samuel Johnson and published in 1755. 
    This is a documentary about Samuel Johnson: The Dictionary Man

    If you would rather read a little about him: 

    Noah Webster wrote the first American dictionary in 1806. This video:
    Noah Webster: Biography, Education, Facts, History, Dictionary, Quotes has information about him.

    If you would rather read about Webster:

    Information about various cultures who had and used dictionaries can be found here:

    Wikipedia: Dictionary – Offers a history of cultural dictionaries from ancient to modern times.
    Also: Oxford English Dictionary, Chinese Dictionary, Japanese Dictionary, and others such as specialized dictionaries.

    Here’s some information about the The first dictionaries of English, you’ll need a membership to access all the information, but it’s a good jumping off point if you want to study more about the topics included in the article on your own.

    Other Things of Interest

    Read an interview with a lexicographer Erin McKean:

    YouTube Dictionary Playlist – These videos and others can be found in the playlist created for this topic.

    🐞 For the Little Ones 🐞

    If you have a little one, go to the library and find some picture books and a child’s dictionary and check a few out.
    If you have a few of your own on hand already… Find words via the pictures included in the publication and read or talk about their meanings. Act out pictures and have fun with them. Make up a sentence using the actions you created while reading though the books together.

    Related Post: Dictionaries – Access all the days in one place!

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    Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!


    Cultural & Botanical Information

    Irish Culture and Customs: Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock Learn how the shamrock became an emblem of Ireland. 

    Fine Gardening: The History of the ShamrockFull of symbolism, this plant has mystical roots – Article

    SFGate: Botany Difference Between Clover and Shamrock Plants – Read about the difference between the two.

    Wikipedia: Shamrocks – Offers information about different aspects of the shamrock: As a cultural icon and plant species. 


    Craft Projects
    DLTK: Shamrock Crafts – Get instructions to make: A 3D Shamrock paper craft, a lacing craft, a cross stitch pattern, and more.
    Artists Helping Children: Shamrock Crafts For Kids: Saint Patrick’s Irish Shamrock Day Crafts and Activities for Children & Preschoolers – This site offers a variety of crafts that include shamrocks.

    About Framily Crafts: 21 DIY Shamrock Crafts – This site offers links to a variety of shamrock related crafts.

    Kids Activity Blog: 17 Shamrock Crafts for Kids – Links to shamrock crafts.

    Hands On As We Grow – 20 Lucky Shamrock Crafts for Kids to Make this St. Patrick’s DayMore interesting ways to make shamrocks. 

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    Presidents of the United States of America Resource Page

    The following resources can be used with the Presidential Fill-In Challenge, a research project I developed, now available on Funschooling Press.

    White Learn More About Each President – When you click on this link, you will be taken to a government site. Click on the name of the president you want to learn more about and read the brief information offered. The names appear in order of their presidency. 

    Wikipedia: Each link offers general information…

    List of Presidents of the United States

    List of Presidents of the United States by Home State

    List of Vice Presidents of the United States

    History: U.S. Presidents – Information, videos, and photos. Click on a photo of a president to learn more about them.

    Still Learning Something New: Resources for Presidents – Links to: Biographies, short videos, quotes, and a quiz.

    Enjoy the follow video about presidents of the U.S..

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    Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

    Drinking Straws

    Bon Appétit: A Brief History of the Straw – This article talks about:

    • How the first drinking straw was made.
    • How the bendable straw came to be.
    •  How they went from paper to plastic.
    • Krazy Straws.
    • Modern straw designs and uses. 
    • How we’ve gone back to paper straws and why.

    The Atlantic: The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw – The story of the how the bendable straw was invented.

    Smithsonian: Inventions – The Straight Truth About the Flexible Drinking Straw – How the first flexible drinking straw was invented.

    Wikipedia: Drinking Straw – History of drinking straws and their modern uses. Also types of straws.

    Howstuffworks: How are Bendy Straws Made? – The first page talks about what straws have been made up of, click on the word “NEXT” under the video and the second page will tell you what straws are made of now and how they are made. The third section is an author’s note.

    The Drinking Straws – This short article starts with the history of the drinking straw and ends with other things spiral wound tubing lead to.

    Days of the Year: Drinking Straw Day – January 3rd of each year is drinking straw day. Learn about the history of drinking straw day and how to celebrate the day. Try a recipe for Mint Julep – an adult drink. A kid-friendly mint julep recipe can be found on Twice As Good

    NASA: Rockets – Rocket Pinwheel – This cool experiment requires a straw, balloon, pencil, a sewing pin, and tape to make it. Go to the site for full instructions. Va Plant Produces 4B Drinking Straws Annually – Information about a plant that makes more then 4 billion straws a year.

    Going Plastic Straw Free

    Seattle Time: The last straw? Seattle will say goodbye to plastic straws, utensils with upcoming ban – News article about a new ban.

    Washington Post: A campaign to eliminate plastic straws is sucking in thousands of converts – News article about a young man on a campaign to eliminate plastic drinking straws. – Find out what you can do to help the campaign and go straw-free.

    Strawless – Find out who’s going straw free and what you can do to help. Engineers Develop Edible Straws to Combat Plastic Pollution – New developments in drinking straws that are plastic free.

    One of the ways to help the straw-free movement is to reuse the plastic straws that you do have in positive ways such as in art projects, science experiments and math activities. Below, you will find videos that show you fun ways to reuse plastic straws. Once you are done with them, clean them out well, and get creative!
    Straws can be cut down and melted, and used in some cool ways, as you’ll see in the selected videos.
    If you like to use straws, purchase reusable straws in stores and online.
    Once your plastic straws are gone, make straws from other materials, as show in the videos below.


    HowStuffWorks: Stuff of Genius: Joseph Friedman: The Flexible StrawThis 1:27 minute video tells you about the inventor of the bendy straw.

    YouTube: Drinking Straw PlaylistThis playlist includes information about the history of drinking straws, and fun activities you can do with them such as science experiments, art projects, and math activities.
    Some videos will require adult supervision to use a lighter, hot glue gun, or cutting tool.
    Here’s one of the video from the list…

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    Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

    The Poe Project

    I’m pleased to announce a brand new publication is available in my Etsy store, Funschooling Press, called The Poe Project‘.

    The Poe Project is a 16 page Research Project and Activity based publication, written and developed by Fran Wisniewski.

    This publication offers some interesting facts about Poe, more than 10 questions to start you on your learning journey, ideas to help spark your curiosity and help you express your creativity, and fun and inspiring family-friendly activities that include: A word find and cryptograms. The Poe Project offers printer-friendly templates, activities, and a coloring page.

    The Poe Project is great for families who enjoy learning and playing together, self-directed learners, and anyone looking for activities related to learning about Edgar Allan Poe, one of the most famous classic authors in history, in a fun and informal way.

    This one-of-a-kind publication contains: 

    • Facts about Poe’s life and accomplishments.
    • Leading questions to help get the learning process going. 
    • Poe inspired writing pages: One blank and one lined.
    • A word find and answer page.
    • Tips and suggestions for creating your own personalized Poe study. 
    • A printable information page to help you collect your thoughts.
    • Secret messages you can solve with a code I created for you.
    • A printable page of grids so you can design your own secret codes.
    • A printer-friendly page so you can create your own secret messages.
    • And a Poe coloring Page.
    Plus, you have access to a time-saving resource page that’ll help get you started as soon as possible. 

    Once you purchase your instant download, you’ll be able to begin your personal learning adventure.

    I hope you’ll take the time to check out The Poe Project and get your copy today for $10!

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