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What kind of projects or "fun" school things do you do with older kids?


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My 8 and 10 year old are doing the same things, but here are some recent projects:


After reading about the Trojan War we made a trojan horse out of paper mache and put candy inside and had a little pinata fun.


They are also growing a plant from seed in a contest to see who can end up with the most unusual looking plant.


They are also starting to use a fractal computer program this week.


That is all that I can think of right now.

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Done/on the schedule this week for my 7th grader:


Hands On Equations - introductory algebra with manipulatives.

Creating a new Middle Earth creature out of clay, painting it, and writing about its attributes (literature)

Putting together a star map and staying up to learn how to use it along with a compass.(science)

Gardening (health)

Bottle rockets made with different combos of ingredients (science)

Life of Fred (math)

Advanced Microsoft Works class book from our local college



We just got another activity book like The Dangerous Book For Boys - the American Boy's Handy Book (?) or something like that - but it breaks down activities into seasons to give us more ideas.

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We changed things up a bit here last week. I asked my boys to choose a vacation destination, and research, and develop a presentation.

One son chose Maui, the other Nepal. They did a lot of research about the people, history, geography, etc. They created large presentation boards with pictures and small essays on each subject. We also listened to music from their countries and found recipes to try.

At the end of the week, they gave a presentation to grandma and grandpa.

It was a fun change, not to mention they became very proficient at using search engines and performing library searches. We talked about citing sources, copyrights, plagerism, etc. They LOVED it, and it gave us all a nice break from our normal workload.


Another thing we do, is a few times a month we pack up all our school books and go to a local coffee shop to do school. They get to munch on yummy food while doing school in a different environment.

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Wow, my "fun" things with my 4th grader no longer look so fun. But for more "fun" in our days we do:


Art. Just making sure to include art each week and to hang it up has been very good. I am also seeing the benefits of the weekly drawing lessons. I see her art she is doing for other places (co-op, scouts, on her own..) improving so much.


Read alouds. Some seasons I get busy and start forgetting to get this in during the day. At night I am often so tired, that I can only do some shorter picture books. So I set aside part of lunch time each day to read aloud from longer books last year. We all look forward to it.


Latin: This weekend I had dd9 make a poster of a man in a toga and decorate him by labeling all of his body parts in latin along with the English translation. This is nothing in our curriculum, but she needs to learn the body parts for the ELE coming up. So I am giving her projects on them. It is fun because it is out of the ordinary. We usually copy vocab lists and translations, yk?


P.E. I sent off for Subway's Everyday Fit freebie program they were giving away to teachers last summer. We don't do the activities in it all of the time, as they do other things for P.E. But mine love when we go out and do the activities together. Last week they had timed warm up activities. One week it was relay races balancing ping pong balls on spoons. One time it was measuring our steps w/pedometers for several days, etc. It adds something different to the weeks we do it.


Nature: I just sent them out with a camera to capture things that were changing in our yard. They brought back several pictures. We looked at them, then we talked about lighting and they went back and shot them from different angles. I am thinking about adding a nature notebook at some point kind of like from Pocketful of Pinecones.

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My 9 and 12 yo have been eating up Bill Nye and Periodic Tables YouTubes.

They also have been watching the Bio and Chem 101 Dvd's by Wes Olsen.

They check NOAA daily, and go onto NASA with Dad several times a week (they check out the Astronomy pic of the day, but also check the space station, and breaking news, etc).

We also like Google maps.


I've been having my 12 yo get up in the a.m. and have 17ds (of course ex A.F. officer dad joins the party) to work out with him. Ds 12 LOVES all of the attention and ds 17 LOVES being the drill seargant.


They LOVE mags- we get Nat'l Geo, Science News, Kids Discover and Ranger Rick. They count reading mags as total play time. Love that!

We have a regular lit read-aloud going all the time.

We are also reading HOTW outloud with ds 17. The younger 2 are well versed in SOTW and LOVE this time talking history with big bro.

Dd 9 has just discovered sewing, thanks to co-op art. She has gathered lots of felt squares and has been creating tons of felt animals. I also have pounds of LARGE drawing paper around. They draw, paint, etc regularly.


I'm in the process of creating a "calendar math" set up- like a morning meeting but with math facts for upr eled. I've gotten tons of pins on it and I think it would make learning math facts more fun for ds 12- he is good, but...methodical in his math calculations. I'd like him to speed up and feel mastery before Jr. High.

Edited by laughing lioness
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Just curious what kind of projects everyone does with older elementary and middle schoolers. I'm feeling really blah about our school days lately. We need a fun project.


Link in siggy. We've done tons of science, snap circuits & robotics lately. It's fun -- but that isn't my goal. :)

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Really feeding my dd's interests. I don't know that most kids would consider it fun (and it is definitely not project oriented) but she has developed a love for Shakespeare and poetry and we have spent hrs delving into topics that I normally don't do with a 7th grader. She has blossomed under the challenges presented.


FWIW.....that meets the definition of fun in our homeschool. :)

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My oldest two kids are into ALICE (computer programming).


They're also reading through the Chronicles of Narnia and we are following along in ROAR!.


We also started a huge gardening project. We bought the wood and built the frame last weekend. We spent hours planning what plants actually grow in Texas :glare:, browsing through nurseries and we're going to do our planting this weekend.


My son and I built several bookcases this winter, too. He's actually pretty good with a drill - for a 9 yro. :tongue_smilie: (He still has all his fingers)


My daughter also went to my husband's work for a tour. I shouldn't post what he does, but there are lots of high-speed aircraft involved...;) She had a blast and probably learned more that day than in months of my teaching.

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We inserted DNA week into chemistry after polymers. Using the Science Wiz kit for DNA, we extracted DNA from a banana, built a double helix, replicated our helix, did a karyotype, extracted DNA from cheek swabs and used it to make identifying ink.


I am planning bio next year for a bio-phobic 11YO, and I found some things to include that will appeal to him. I found a kid's survival manual, a book on identifying tracks and scat (and laminated poster), water and soil test kits, and the like. He will still have to cover traditional biology, but we will also spend time identifying edible and poisonous plants (my sister is actual a certified herbalist; not just doing that from a book), learning to build shelters and identify animal sign, build signal flares and start fires, and learn what is going on with the local ecology by monitoring the local soil and water over time.


For German, we Google Pokemon videos auf Deutsch and watch some of their favorite episodes and movies-- ones they know by heart-- and have some fun language immersion to take a break from "What is the man doing?" "He is eating rice!" "The bicycle is green!"

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I use Oak Meadow for my main curriculum with my 6th grader, and it incorporates a decent amount of hands on activities and projects for social studies and some hands on experiments for science (plus creative writing projects and interesting reading assignments for English). We also supplement with Story of the World because we enjoy it, which also offers fun projects and activities in the Activity Guide.


Our math is Teaching Textbooks a few times a week and Life of Fred one time a week. Since Teaching Textbooks is done at the computer and uses an animated buddy, and Life of Fred reads like a silly story, math at least isn't too dry and boring.


We use Meet the Masters for art which she loves, she really enjoys the art projects (and best of all, I'M not artistic really at all and I can still manage to teach it using that program).


So for me it's just been a matter of picking things we enjoy, things that aren't overly dry/textbookish/boring. We like more creative/hands-on kind of stuff. And of course we supplement with field trips, extra-curriculars (guitar, judo, book club, girl scouts and so on), and whatever things she likes to do in her free time. It makes for a pretty well-rounded curricula overall, I think!

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Ds10 has been lucky enough to go to work with Dh every so often this spring. He gets to sit Dad's office to do his work and talk shop (video games....:glare:) with the guys all day. Plus, he has been allowed to sit in on some of the pilot briefs and classes that the aviators have to give to the troop. It is very exciting for him, and he is learning a lot about what Dad does at work.


I know not everyone can do this, but maybe it is something that can be arranged (even with a family friend or something). It is such a great change of pace for the school week!


It seems like parents used to have "bring your kid to work" days a lot when we were young... whatever happened to that?

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