• General Homeschooling

    by Published on 02-17-2020 02:08 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling

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    Arts and Crafts Project of the Month February Edition:

    No Cook Chocolate Playdough Recipe

    Welcome to our first Arts and Craft Project of the Month Series! Each month Secular Homeschool will feature an art or craft project that you can do with your homeschoolers. Whether you are artsy or not, these will be easy, fun and perfect to do as a family. I will include several fun facts that coincide with the featured project, so for homeschool, we can pull double duty and learn something while we craft. This month let’s explore Homemade No Cook Chocolate Playdough. We’re using a DIY no cook method which makes it easy and safe for any age level to get involved.

    Who doesn’t love the smell of chocolate? The sensory aspect of chocolate alone has proven to be memory inducing, and what a great memory to give your children! We all associate February with Valentine’s Day. Chocolate and Valentine’s seem to go hand in hand. So we’ll kick off this Arts & Crafts series with a seasonal flavor: chocolate! That’s right, this is a scented playdough recipe. If you don’t love chocolate, no worries. I will include a substitute below.

    Ok, here’s how to make our homemade playdough!


    No Cook Chocolate Homemade Playdough Recipe

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup salt (does not matter if iodized, plain, etc.)
    • ½ cup of cocoa powder
    • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (FYI: 4 tablespoons is the same as ¼ cup)
    • 1 cup boiling water (you can use cold water but you will not get as smooth a mix; it tends to stay drier)
    • 1 teaspoon food/flavor extract (optional)
      • Use options that pair well with chocolate like vanilla, mint, lemon or raspberry

    • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (optional) - used as a preservative and only needed if you are storing long-term. (I don’t plan on storing mine. House of sick kids means it is a one-and-done batch for me.) If you are wondering how to store this playdough, I recommend an air-tight zip top bag or plastic container with a lid.


    Instructions

    Total Prep Time: 10 minutes



    1. Add flour, salt, cocoa to a medium bowl, whisking together. Add cream of tartar at this point if you choose to use it.
      no-cook-chocolate-playdough-jpg
    2. Carefully add the oil and extract (if using) to the hot water. Stir to incorporate. (I added vanilla because that is what I had on hand. Next time I want to try mint.)
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    3. Pour the hot water mixture into the dry ingredients.
    4. Stir together. You can add an additional teaspoon of oil if needed (I did). I then tossed my wooden spoon and used my hands to mix it more into a solid mass.
      no-cook-chocolate-playdough-5-jpg
    5. Remove from the bowl, place on a floured board and knead until a soft, elastic dough forms. This takes several minutes. Now, I am not gonna lie, it doesn’t look appealing. It smells great but it looks like, well, cow manure. I ended up adding 2 more teaspoons of oil while kneading as mine felt dry. When done, I put it in a gallon sealed plastic bag to rest until playtime. I would personally recommend this--let it sit for at least 30 min. It got more pliable as it rested.
      no-cook-chocolate-playdough-4-jpg
    6. Use as you would regular playdough. You can decorate with Valentine sprinkles, cut into fun shapes or anything your imagination desires.
      no-cook-chocolate-playdough-7-jpg
    7. Not recommended for eating, despite that it smells yummy. Don’t worry if someone does consume some. All ingredients are safe and used for baking. It tastes very salty and unappealing.


    Personal Note: We sat down to play with it, approx. 4 hours after it was made. It had resided in the sealed plastic bag the whole time. It was slightly crumbly, so I added more oil, kneaded in and handed it off to the kids. I think next time, I will add more oil and knead it in 1-2x before we play with it. Just to prevent the crumbles.
    no-cook-chocolate-playdough-8-jpg
    no-cook-chocolate-playdough-2-jpg



    Non-Chocolate Substitution

    • Omit cocoa powder (CP)
    • Substitute the ½ cup CP with a mixture of flour and ground cinnamon to equal ½ cup. Adjust to your likeness. Reminder: cinnamon can be strong to the senses so less is better. I suggest adding a little at a time. You can always add more to the kneading flour if not strong enough.
      no-cook-chocolate-playdough-6-jpg


    Fun Facts About Chocolate

    • Chocolate has been around about 2,000 years, though many historians think longer as evidence suggests closer to 4,000 years.
    • Chocolate is made from the fruit of the cacao trees. (Does this mean chocolate is a fruit, and therefore can be counted in my daily diet?!LOL) The fruits are called pods, each pod contains about 40 cacao beans. These beans are then dried and roasted to create what we know as cocoa beans. This is NOT the chocolate we are used to eating and in fact is quite bitter.
    • Hot cocoa as we know it, was not how it started. Think more along the lines of black coffee using cocoa beans. It was dark and bitter and used for rituals, preparing for war and an aphrodisiac. Not my cup of cocoa.
    • Cortes brought it to Spain and they mixed it with sugar and honey, therefore starting the path towards chocolate we know and love.
    • 1828 the chocolate pres was invented, giving us the ability to separate the cocoa butter and leaving behind cocoa powder.
    • Most known kinds of chocolate are milk, semi-sweet, dark and bittersweet.
    • White chocolate is not actual chocolate. It contains cocoa butter but no chocolate solids.


    Fun Facts About Play-doh

    • Play-doh was created in the 1930s as a wallpaper cleaner. Yep, you read that right. Weird!
    • It was reworked and marketed to schools in the late 1950s.
    • It premiered at the 1956 educational convention (Educational conventions were a thing even back then, cool.) and was picked up by several prominent department stores.
    • In 2003, it was added to the “Toys of the Century” list put out by the Toy Industry Association.
    • More than 2 billion cans were sold between 1955 and 2005.
    • Sold in 75 countries.
    • According to Hasbro, it mainly consists of salt, water, and flour with a few other preserving ingredients.
    • As demonstrated in the recipe above, you can create homemade playdough in both cooked and no cook form. Check out our Pinterest board for more recipes and ideas!


    We hope you enjoyed this Arts-and-Crafts of the Month demonstration. If you create this, please share how it went for you in the comments. Add a photo if you can, or better yet, share on our Instagram page tagging @SecularHomeschool.

    I welcome suggestions for future Arts-and-Crafts of the Month ideas! Drop me an email at [email protected] with your ideas. I love hearing from members.
    by Published on 08-23-2019 02:45 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling
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    While book learning is fun and shows that you are doing something with your preschooler, in a physical sense. Children, ages 2-5 are geared for play, not workbooks and sitting still. Don't fret if you have one this age and planned on doing homeschool. You can still teach them and they will still learn, through ...
    by Published on 08-01-2019 01:38 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. General Homeschooling
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    Start your homeschool year off by checking out the results of our 2019 Secular Homeschool Back to Homeschool Curriculum Awards. Participants listed in order of most to least votes.









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    a proven “phonics-PLUS” approach that works! Reading Kingdom teaches your child everything they need including reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension


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    Time4Learning is an award-winning, online curriculum for PreK-12th. Their learning system teaches and grades lessons, tracks progress, and works with a variety of learning styles. The comprehensive curriculum includes lessons in math, language arts, science, social studies and more. Students also have access to printable worksheets and the ability to advance at their own pace. Time4Learning's elementary curriculum provides engaging online lessons that kids love!

    ...
    by Published on 07-30-2019 02:18 PM
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    2. General Homeschooling

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    So, we have all been there. Spent the good portion of a week or two combing the curriculum sales, decided the next school year’s curriculum. Plotting and planning on paper what we will do, emptying the bank account because we NEED that science book…. We are so pleased with ourselves that we have created an awesome school year. Your kids will be thrilled, you will get parent of the year award.

    Curriculum arrives, you set it up and start the school year and within a week, you realize you hate it. Your kids hate it. It isn’t working. This sucks. But you paid for it, you planned the year for it, you are using it. You will push through.


    DON’T!!!
    I cannot emphasize this enough. I have been there. I did that. We usually use Time4Learning as our core curriculum. I decided one year to create my own. I am not a stupid person. I followed many groups and boards. I had a long list of great curriculums that would work for us from years of notes. I broke out the credit card and ordered it ALL. I bought a planner. I bought special colored pens. The laminator worked overtime. School year starts at our house in August and by end of Septemeber, I knew. UGH I had made a horrible mistake. The boys hated it. I hated it. But I had spent a lot of time, energy and brain cells creating this. We were NOT giving up. We pushed through. We made it to Thanksgiving before I admitted this was dumb. It was a daily fight. They would not do their work. There were tears and a lot of them were mine. I admit it. What do I do now? I tossed it all. We stopped doing it. We took a LONG break until after the holidays. I knew we needed it. It was basically a mini version of deschooling.

    Did I buy new curriculum? Nope. We went back to Time4Learning. I am great at the fun supplements my boys want, but NOT planning a whole curriculum and enforcing it. I boxed up what we had and gave it away to other homeschoolers. Use what you want, pass along the rest. Pay it forward. I could have sold it. I could have listed it on a homeschool SWAP site. I just wanted it gone and knew we had several families within our homeschool group that were on strict budgets.

    So, what am I saying… I am saying that if you buy or inherit curriculum and you hate it, the kids hate it, it is a daily fight… DON’T USE IT. Homeschooling is meant to be fun, educational and the ability to change as we see fit. It isn’t worth ruining an entire school year because you bought curriculum you really don’t like.

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