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 House.gov: 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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Homeschooling In the News: Stronger Regulations

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of articles in the news about homeschooling because of the unfortunate situation that happened in California with the Turpin family. These articles, which I list below, are a mix of thoughts people have about what should be done about regulating homeschoolers around the nation.

Yes, unscrupulous people hide behind their ability to homeschool in their state to do horrible things to children, but if you follow the stories, and read each one, more of the picture unfolds, and you come to see that many of these families were in the public school systems where these situations were 'missed' or 'overlooked' before homeschooling came into the picture.


I can't help but ask, what should be done when a family, who is under investigation in the public school system, hides behind the guise of homeschooling to continue to abuse their children? Unfortunately, this family was never placed under investigation.


If you are not getting the backstory to this situation, and how it was able to go on for so long, you would think that this family always homeschooled in California, when they didn't, they lived in Texas, and the oldest child attend a public school for four years (K-3), where she was bullied because of her appearance.


Now we have an explosion of opinions and legislation being submitted to keep the freedom homeschooling allows under wraps. 


Why isn't legislation being submitted that would protect young people from unscrupulous students, teachers, and school faculty from doing horrible things? Sure, some get arrested, and go to jail, but I do not see schools, or public school families being investigated for more of the same, or undergoing major and invasive restructuring of their system.


If homeschool families need to submit to home inspections and the like, does that mean all parents and educators will have to be treated as likely criminals as well?


I believe that the backstories to these situations need to be considered before states take away the freedoms of others.


The sins of the very few, should not result in the loss of freedom for a primarily peaceful group of families who are doing the best they can for their children.


Here are the articles I've found this week, please submit other articles, for and against stronger regulations, if you know of them, and I'll add them to the growing list. If you write an article on this topic, I invite you to share it in comments so I can read it and add it as soon as I can.


Thank you for reading, here are the articles that sparked this post:



Homeschooling Articles That Do Not Encourage Change In Regulations


A Psychologist’s Take on the Turpin Case: Homeschooling and Child Abuse

 Articles That Encourage Stronger Regulations







One more thing: This YouTube video features the message a Facebook user wrote about the oldest Turpin girl, his one time classmate. To me, it shows that something could have been done much, much sooner. 
Classmate: Turpin child was bullied in school



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Funschooling With Hearts!



When my kids were little I would offer them quick and easy craft projects to do and we'd do them as a family. Over the years, we expanded this tradition by challenging ourselves to be more creative with the activities we did. The more we challenged ourselves, the more we learned. Turning simple items into something more became an amazing learning experience. I thought of it as recreational learning, my kids called it Funschooling.

With all the benefits we have gained from our experiences, there is no doubt that these activities allowed us to be more creative, forward thinking, better problem solvers, open to exploring new ideas, and make lots of lemonade when things went sour.

Since we thought the activities were so much fun, I used them to develop very successful craft programs for my local library, 4-H groups/programs, and homeschooling programs. 

Now, I'd like to share them with other families so they can enjoy open-ended creative learning activities too.

IntroducingFunschooling With Hearts

You can find it in my Etsy Store: Funschooling Press

There are two parts to this publication:

Part 1 is a printable PDF booklet that offers

  • A brief word about Funschooling with Hearts.
  • Tips for making great patterns.
  • 40 craft/project ideas that promote creative learning fun for all ages.
  • General information about where to fit the activities into a curriculum.
Once you print out the booklet, it can be folded in half.


Part 2 has 7 pages of printable templates that can easily be made into patterns that will be good for many uses. Instructions are included in the booklet section. 

Templates include:

 - X Lg. heart (1 per page) 
 - Lg Hearts (2 per page) 
 - Medium Hearts (3 per page)
 - Small Hearts (6 per page)
 - X-Small Hearts (12 per page)
 - Mixed Sizes ranging from large to x-small (9 per page)

 - Crazy Hearts Page with 6 interesting shaped hearts

These ideas are great for families, homeschoolers, classrooms, groups, camps, libraries, crafters, babysitters, grandparents, and anyone who runs craft-related or learning programs for children, families, or adults.

This digital download is sold as a PDF on Etsy.

I hope you'll take the time to check out the first publication in my math series and be on the look out for more!

The regular price for this publication is $9.00.
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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 Inventors.org: 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 Show.com

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.


Manufacturing.net: 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.

Straw-Free.org - Find out what you can do to help the campaign and go straw-free.

Strawless Ocean.org - Find out who's going straw free and what you can do to help.

Engineering.com: 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.


Videos

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

YouTube: Drinking Straw Playlist - This 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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Plant Propagation

Better Homes & Garden: 
Propagating Houseplants &
Making More Plants From Cuttings - How to make more plants from plant cuttings.

Gardening Know How: Starting Plant Cuttings – How To Root Cuttings From Plants - Types of cutting and how to root them.

The Balance: Best Plant To Grow From Cuttings - 19 Plants that can start from cuttings.

WikiHow: Plant Propagation: Offers steps to propagate plants. Includes pictures.

Wikipedia: Plant Propagation - Explains the process of plant propagation and methods.

National Seed Swap Day 
(Official Day is the last Saturday of the month each year.)
Save your seeds all year long then plan a seed swap!


Tower Garden: 7 Ways to Celebrate National Seed Swap Day - The author talks about his experience at a Seed Swap Day, why they are important, and how to celebrate the day.


Seed Savers.org: National Seed Swap Day 2017 - Info about the day and the benefits of going to one.

Days of The Year: Seed Swap Day - Information about the origins of the day and how to celebrate it.


The Herbal Academy: How To Plan A Seed Swap Day in Your Neighborhood - How to save seeds and plan the event. & How to Save Seeds: From Harvesting to Using Them - Tips for saving seeds.


Extension Services: National Seed Swap Day, January 31st, 2015 - Information about the day and how seed swapping was done by other cultures.

YouTube: Plant Propagation Playlist - The videos in this list show you how to propagate a variety of plants, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and houseplants.
Here are one of the videos in the list...



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Dragons

Wikipedia: Dragon - Information about this mythical creature, including animals that may have inspired dragons, plus European and Asian dragons. Also:
Dragons in Greek Mythology
Japanese Dragon
List of Dragons in Mythology & Folklore

Smithsonian Magazine: Where Did Dragons Come From - Article talks about the possible origins of dragons.


LiveScience: Are Dragons Real? Facts About Dragons - Article: The history of dragons from a cultural and religious perspective.


American Museum of Natural History: Natural History of Dragons:

Article: How dragons have been described through the ages.

Draconika: Dragons: The History of Dragons - How and where dragons showed up in history.


Mythology Wiki: Dragon - This is a Fandom page with information about dragons: How they are portrayed, attributes, and types. 


The Guardian: Top 10 Dragons in Fiction - Pictures and information about the current top 10 dragons in fiction.



Dragon Tales

World of Tales: Here are some of the folktales that can be found on the site, use the search icon (the magnifying glass in the lower left-hand corner of the page) to look for more dragon related tales from around the world.
The Four Dragons Asian Folktale
The Dragon-Princess - Chinese Folktale
The Dragon's Strength - The Story of the Youngest Prince Who Killed the Sparrow  - Slavic Folktale
The Boy and the Dragon - Canadian folktale
The Dragon's Tail - German Folktale

Lit2Go: Stories from Around the World: “THE DRAGON AND THE PRINCE” (Serbia)This story has a 16 minute audio file you can listen to or read along with. It can be downloaded as well. 

Storyberries: Dragons - This site offers 8 stories about dragons that are kid friendly.

Sam & The Dragon - An illustrated story about Sam and a dragon. (IMHO cute!😉)

How to Draw Dragons
Each site offers step by step instructions.

How 2 Draw Animals: Dragon - This is an advanced drawing.

WikiHow: The 4 Best Ways to Draw a Dragon - A mix of advanced and easy drawing methods.


HelloKids: How To Draw Dragons for Kids - An easy to draw dragon.


Dragoart: Dragons - Site offers quite a few different types of dragon to learn how to draw, easy to advanced.


Videos

YouTube: Dragons Playlist - This list includes information about dragons and dragon activities such as: Origami projects, puppets, and drawing tutorials.
Here's one of the videos in 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!

Types of Calendars

Article & Information About Calendars

Timely: The Importance of Calendars - This article talks about some of the import reasons communities and individuals should keep calendars, along with the benefits.


Wikipedia: Calendars - Offers historical information about calendars.

Egyptian Calendar
Mayan Calendar &
List of Calendars - Lists over 80 types of calendars.

Holidappy: Birth Symbols - Each month has its own bird, flower, tree, myth, etc. find out what they mean.


Ducksters: Today In History - Find out what happened today in history and scroll down to the bottom to find out about the rest of the month. Click on a month, then you'll find out: That month's birthstone, flower name, name meaning, most recognized holidays for that month, how to say that month's name in different languages, and fun facts, plus you'll see a calendar of days. Each day will tell you a few things that happened on that day, and the year it happened.


Lifehack.org: The Evolution of the Calendar: How to Use a Calendar Today - This article talks about how calendar use has changed over the years and how technology has helped those changes along.


The New York Times: Paper Calendars Endure Despite the Digital Age - This article discusses trends in paper and digital calendar usage.


Make Use Of.com: Why Paper Planners Are Relevant in the Age of Smartphone Calendar Apps - Article talks about the positive points of both digital and paper calendars.



Calendars That Feature: Events, Wacky Holidays, & Other Special Days

National Day Calendar - Main page - Find out what the day's holidays, birthdays and events are and look at the whole month at a glance.

Time & Date.com: Fun Holidays - Site offers a list of fun, wacky & trivial holidays. Click on the month you're most interested in.


Homefires: Monthly Learning Calendar - This calendar changes from month to month automatically to keep you updated on interesting things to learn about.


Apples 4 The Teacher: Holidays - Scroll down to the month you want to look at to find out what special days there are for the month.


Holiday Insights: Holidays - Daily holidays for each month. Click on the month you want to view. This site offers food days as well.


On This Day: Click on the area you want to know more about each day. Search by name, month, day, or event, birth, wedding, and death.


Still Learning Something New: Special Days Calendars - Archive - You'll get a nice long list of important days that that month offers, featured themes (ex: National Pizza Month), and featured food items/themes for that month.


The Nibbler: American Food Holidays: Index of food holidays by month.


Cultural Calendars

Chinese

National University of Singapore:  Chinese Calendar (PDF) also Calendars in Singapore covers: The Islamic Calendar, Indian Calendar, and other information.

University Washington Dept of Education: The Chinese Zodiac - This informative site gives information about the Chinese Zodiac.

Mayan

WebExhibits: Calendars Through The AgesThe Mayan Calendar - Information about the history of the Mayan calendar and how it works.
NOTE: If you click on the link for Calendars Through The Ages link, you will connect with other types of calendars that are in use and not in use to learn about.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian: Living Maya Time: The Calendar System - Explains the Haab cycle.

Native American

Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center: The Lakota Moon Calendar - Find out how the moon played an important roll in keeping time and the name and meaning for each moon. 

Crystallinks.com: Native American Calendars -Article offers information about how some Native American tribes kept track of days, months, and years.

Native Net: Native American Calendar - Learn the various names for each month's moon.

Other Calendars


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center: Eclipse: Calendars - Includes: Intro, Gregorian, Hebrew, Islamic, Indian, Chinese, and Julian Calendars

Calendar Zone: Cultural Calendars - Many of the links on this site are not working but the information about the dozens of different types of calendars of the world from various cultures offers many more choices and learning directions that can be studied.

Videos

YouTube: Calendars Playlist - Learn how the modern calendar evolved over the centuries. Here are one of the informative videos in the list.




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25 Fun Activities You Can Do Inside, When It's COLD Outside!



When the temperature drops, and it gets toooo cold to play outside for long, here are some fun things you can do inside!

Below, you will find drawing activities, brain games, dice games, science experiments, paper folding projects, and other fun things that can be found on Funschooling & Recreational Learning. 


1. Learn about Fractals -  There's a good chance that you'll find frost on a window or a snowflake or two to look at for this activity! After you observe them, draw/make a few of your own.

2. Make your own Geometrical Designs - Draw a variety of shapes, add some lines, and grab your coloring supplies for this fun activity!

3. Try Zentangles! - If you enjoy drawing while you're chilling out, you may find this activity de-stressing.

4. Observe Spirals - Spirals are fun to draw and there are a few different types. Find out more by visiting this page...but before you do, make a list of something of the things you can think of that are naturally shaped as a spiral...fruits, animals, plants....

5. Ten Fun Projects You Can Do With Symmetry - Make one half of a picture and give it to someone to finish off in the same way! Draw it, use building toys, Tangram pieces, or something else.

6. Play with Circles - Grab your craft supplies and find out how many cool things you can make from a simple circle.

7. Tangrams - Can you believe that over 5900 puzzles can be made with the 7 shapes offered in this puzzle-game! How many can you make? Find out with the resources on this page. Turn those puzzle pieces into a work of art too.

8. Make Folded Hand Puppet - Create a few puppets, decorate them, and make a puppet show with them.

9. Paper Airplanes - Learn how to fold some simple planes and cool stunt planes, check out the plane that won a world record, and get helpful flying tips.

10. Rainbow Code - Grab a friend and play a game where colors reveal the code.

11. Yatch - Dice Game - There are so many cool dice games out there and this is definitely one of them. Play with a friend, on your own, or on line.

12.  Make your own: Bottle Cap Stamps - Take a minute to raid the recycling bin and take all the bottle caps you can find, big and small, then put on foam sticker on it and get ready to have some fun. Stamp a story or play the brain game offered in this post.

13. Holiday and Winter Origami - Fold a sled, snowman, pine tree, penguin, or a snowflake and make a wintery scene with them.

14. Magic Square Puzzles - In the mood for a brain teaser? Try the Magic Square puzzles in this post, then make some of your own to share.

15. Roman Numerals - Spend some time learning how to add, subtract, and multiply in a fun new way.

16. Hangman/House - Use a whiteboard and colored whiteboard markers to play this old favorite...with a fun twist of course. 

17. Solitaire Challenge #1 Peg Solitaire - Whether you decide make your own game board or print one out, have fun trying to finish this puzzling game with one last piece in the middle.

18. Make Your Own What's Missing Picture You can use stamps, stickers, or draw something out to play this tricky observation game. 

19. Petals Around The Rose Play this brain game on line or with a set of dice. If you figure out the pattern, don't tell anyone, give them a set of dice and let them figure it out for themselves.

20. Snowflake Activities & Resources - Learn about snowflakes in fun new ways, make some of your own, and look at some cool photographs of these elusive little wonders!  

21. Mini Marble Run - This mini marble run is great for older kids who want to do something different. How long can you keep your BB from getting to the end of the run?

22. Make Your Own Tic-Tac-Toe Game Board - Did you know that Tic-Tac-Toe is a strategy game? Grab your craft supplies and make your own board to play on with a friend over and over again.

23. Inspiring People Cardstacker Make sure you have a few decks of cards ready to use after watching what this man can do! Amazing!

24. Bubblegum - Find out who invented bubblegum then how big of a bubble can you make with the activity offered in this post. There's an experiment you can do with chewing gum as well.

25. Shadow Puppets Create your shadow puppets during the day and tell your story while you show them off at night. Perhaps a story about cold wintery night!


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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!