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Quite a few people have asked us what to do for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Those of you not interested in studying Pirates along with us; & we do understand that not all HH families are as Pirate-loving as ours; shall just have to fend for yourselves. Only joking – here are a few ideas to get your gears moving:

* Scary things. This can be anything your children are afraid of: dogs, ghosts, bugs, heights, etc. Turning a fear of the dark into a Dark Art to be fought, could be just the thing to help a child overcome it.

* Fantasy creatures. The HP books are filled with nasty creatures to study; read a little about them all, or choose one to study in depth. This class is a fantastic opportunity to read Greek and/or Roman mythology.

* Problems in the world. Older students especially could study racism, poverty, hunger, disease – touch on these subjects, then guide them toward coming up with ideas to solve these problems.

* Personal nasties.Do you have a child who could use a refresher course in hygiene? How about one with some bad habits you’d like broken asap? You could even turn a chore chart into your DADA lessons! We here at HH are convinced that You Know Who is to blame for the messiness of our children, & their lack of enthusiasm cleaning up after themselves.

***

Your turn.

~Kat

Needed: Pirate-Aurors

property of harrypotter.wikia.com
photo :: property of harrypotter.wikia.com

We meant to have this for you sooner, but it turns out that PDF files baffle Arthur Weasley more than we thought they would. He’s finally discovered how to turn documents into PDF files without the use of magic; but they become a tad wonky in the process. Hopefully Arthur shall soon figure out a way to fix that – for now we hope you don’t mind the wonkiness overmuch. ** note – All PDFs for this subject can be found in the Classrooms/DADA section of our website.**

As we discussed before, our HH doesn’t start until October. We do begin our homeschool year of themes in just a few day though; with a month of piratey fun! The nastiness of pirates was just too good to pass up, so Prof. Lupin (our favorite DADA teacher) has created some pre-term activities.

We’re starting with an Owl from Lupin, giving students an extremely brief background on Pirate Wizards of old, & why he is writing about them now. You can find this (wonky-looking) Owl in the DADA Classroom; titled Owl From Lupin. In the same packet, they’ll get gorgeous pirate print-outs from Ologyworld. If you want to print these fun activity sheets, you’ll have to create a free account with them. The answers to some activities have to be looked up by the students, in their Pirateology Handbooks (see Library.) **Edited to add: It appears the answers are on the print-outs as well. Ink over the answers, before your child sees them. Ooops.**

The next Owl shall be from Durmstrang, announcing a celebration of that school’s founding. This parchment shall be wrapped in brown mailing paper, along with a wooden pirate ship model kit – claiming it to be a replica of the founder’s ship. That Owl too; in all its wonky glory; can be found in the DADA Classroom, titled Letter From Durmstrang. We found our kits at a fabric & crafts shop, for $2 each. Had I not been trying to stick to budget, I would have bought them all this beautiful kit!

Prof. Lupin wants them to help the hunt, so we shall search for Wizard Pirates at the county fair, go on a scavenger hunt in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, & hoist the Jolly Roger at a group camp-out.

As we come up with new ideas, & print-outs, we’ll add them to the DADA Classroom; hopefully in their original state 😉

~Kat

Photo :: Property of HH

Today we met to set the schedule for the HH year; from what classes or field trips are on which days, to what exactly we shall be doing. It took a few hours to get everything on the calendar, but doing so means we don’t have to scramble for lessons later. In the past we would set our schedule of classes, but leave the lessons to be decided as we went. Sometimes this worked, other times it was rubbish.

We are very excited with the classes & adventures we’ve got planned! As each month approaches, we shall post the coming schedule; along with tips, ideas, & resources. Then, throughout the month we’ll share how it all went. Our hope is to have the lessons & other printables in pdf files, so you can print them without worrying over fonts & the like.

This year we shall teach the same subjects as last: Potions, Geomancy, Herbology, COMC, Transfiguration, & Dragon Study. Our new additions are: DADA, History of Magic, Astronomy, & Charms. We also have arranged projects to be sent by Beauxbatons, Durmstrang, & Molly Weasley. Exciting! I know it looks like quite a huge load of classes, but it isn’t. Remember, we shall only meet twice a month, with the rest of the Fridays being home-study classes, or field trips. Over the course of the HH year it; & with some classes only offered once or twice; it isn’t much at all.

Some tips:

* Keep a calendar with you at all times. Everyone has their own preferences, so use what works best for you. I (Kat) like a little 2-year calendar that doesn’t take up much room in my bag. You may come across an event that would enhance your HH, so why not jot it directly to your calendar?

* Ditto a small notebook. Not just for quickly writing down ideas as they come to you, but also for running lists of wants & needs. Let us say you are at a museum’s gift shop, & they are having a huge sale on art or science kits. You know there was something you wanted, but cannot recall what it was. If you have your list with you, there won’t be any struggling to remember – & if you are anything like me; having to leave without the item, because you apparently have been hit with a memory charm.

* Order supplies all at once, & invite others to join you. This is where planning your lessons before the start of term comes in handy – you needn’t waste money & time by placing smaller orders throughout the year. Having other people order with you cuts the shipping for everyone, & people appreciate not having to place orders themselves.

* Keep paper organized. You can house your lists, calendar pages, lesson plans, & any other papers in a binder or accordion file. It’s just too easy to misplace loose papers; especially in a homeschool household. We recommend you choose one you can easily take with you, so you can work on things when out in the Muggle world: during classes, practices, rehearsals, or other occasions that have you waiting for your kids. This year Pia is creating an elaborate system using an accordion file, & individual project folders.

* Boxes, baskets, & shelves are musts. You don’t want to have your HH items strewn about the home; unless you have a House Elf of course. Not only is it messy, but how ever will you find things when you need them? Shan is lucky enough to have a giant bookcase in which she can store all her HH-related books, files, & magazines. I have a thing for wooden boxes, & baskets, so that is how I keep it all in order. What for me has been most helpful is a large basket to house everything I shall need for that month. Currently in the basket: pirate books, a treasure map, a book on the Caribbean, a wooden model of a pirate ship, ‘Wizard-in-Training’ pins for the kids, my calendar, & my binder. In my homeschool file box I keep a few HH files for labels, print-outs, etc.

That’s it for today. How are you doing? Is everything set for your HH school year? Please let us know 🙂

~Kat 

 

Photo :: Property of HH

Just like the rest of you, we at HH are scrambling to ensure all is in readiness for the start of term. The cost of Muggle petrol being what it is, (our classes were held at Shan’s who lives in the boonies) we’ve had to completely alter how we had been running HH.  This year we’ll not meet weekly. Instead, we plan to meet twice a month, & have the other two weeks be either home study classes (with the project shared at the next class,) or field trips.

To match what we are doing with the rest of our homeschooling activities, we’ve decided to eliminate our rotating 6 classes, & go with monthly themes. This accomplishes a few things: it allows us to add more Professors, & we can have HH be an extension of what we’re already doing each month. Please don’t get me wrong; creating a traditional HH is great fun, & easy to do. We all just felt the need to do less & focus more this term in our homeschooling, so decided to take HH along for the ride. We shall see how it goes.

So themes. We don’t officially start our HH until October, but as there are some fun field trips going on in September, we’re proclaiming them Official HH Class Trips. Our theme for Sept. is to be Pirates! If the kids point out there weren’t pirates in HP, we’ll remind them they did not read Hogwarts, A History. Had they done so, they would have read about the dreaded Wizard Pirate (no name yet) from the Caribbean.

Being pirate-lovers, there were already a few pirate books at my (Kat) house: Piratepedia, & How I Became a Pirate. We added to our collection: Caribbean Pirates, Everything I Know About Pirates, The Great Pirate Activity Book, Pirateology, & Pirateology Handbook. Before you start thinking I’m rolling in Galleons, I should let you know that I ordered them all from Amazon’s used section. All but one came looking as though they’d never been opened, let alone read. I recommend this option for purchasing books. Usually the book costs vastly less than s&h ($4)!! If you cannot, check your library.

The last two books listed got me thinking about Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA.) I feel confident that pirates fall into that category. The Pirateology Handbooks is education hidden in a fun how to hunt pirates story. Perfect! Learning the parts of the ship, how to tie knots, map-reading, etc.

Because our HH isn’t in session for pirate month, I haven’t any Potterfied lessons for you. I can give you a few things we’ve found searching around the Muggle Web though.

Here is a cute map. The top version is the Wizard-sized map; the others are meant for dollhouses (or faeries!) You can use the map as is for ambiance, or to inspire you in creating a map of your own. Hunting for buried Philosopher’s Stones would be a great end to a map-reading lesson.

If you can tolerate Veggie Tales; which I love, but other HH Mamas not so much; you’ll find games, printables, & a certificate to earn after learning to talk like a pirate – here.

ABC Teach has a page of piratey links; activities & lessons for the tiny students on up to the teens. Just a little Potterifciation, & you’re good to go. Don’t forget to print them onto parchment!

Still unsure how to incorporate pirates into HH? There is the DADA bent we discussed earlier; couldn’t you just see Mad Eye Moody teaching Pirate Hunting? Watch yer back arrrrgh! Reading pirate fiction for Charms, or non-fiction for Prof. Binns’ History of Magic class. Find something that you want to do, & figure out in which class to stick it!

Don’t forget: International Talk Like A Pirate Day is September 19th!

~Kat

HH was mentioned twice thrice! this week:

At Recycle Email there was:

Session Notes – Care of Magical Creatures
By hogwartshomeschool
You can build the houses from scratch, using items you find on nature walks, or even from your recycle bin. Better yet, you can purchase inexpensive bird houses, & embellish the day away. Paint, glitter, tiny treasures, shells, moss,
Hogwarts Homeschool – https://hogwartshomeschool.wordpress.com

Then at And sometimes I blog:

Although I missed the specific session at the Expo, I have been intrigued by the notion of doing a version of “Hogwarts Homeschooling“.

Thank you! This is even is better than the time we were mentioned in Witch Weekly! The rest of you, go visit them please.

** Edited to add another lovely mention!**

Over at A Homegrown Life

You may or may not know that I’m a big Harry Potter fan. One of the sessions I attended at the homeschooling conference was about how to homeschool Harry Potter-style.

Visit her blog for more of that post. Her passion for creating HH is fabulous!
~Kat

Something Pia touched briefly on during our Expo session was her Care of Magical Creatures (COMC) class. This class has the potential for so much learning; in an interactive, & exciting way; that we felt it needed to be discussed in more detail.

There are two ways Pia uses her COMC classes: to teach about creatures in the magical world, & to teach about creatures in the Muggle world. The creatures in the first category are easy to list: unicorns, trolls, boggarts, elves, etc. I’m sure you can think of a dozen more without even trying. To give you an idea of what you can do, let’s focus on faeries.

I don’t know how much your kids know about faeries; if it’s not much (& if not, where are your priorities?), you’ll need to start with the basics. By the time we began COMC, our kids considered themselves experts on the subject, so Pia was able to jump right in.

Get a few books to read to them, or have them read on their own. You won’t have to look very hard at the library or bookshop; faeries are quite popular these days. Trusty Google shan’t let you down either. There are books that run the gamut from light-hearted stories, to books for the serious faeryologists.

You’ve gotten the basics out of the way, & are surrounded by faery experts of your own – now the fun can begin. You shall want to encourage faeries to visit, so you’ll need little houses. Ask your students to think about what type of home a faery would choose in the city, as opposed to the country. Encourage them to consider where you live, and in what type of home. How does that change their original idea of a faery home? Get out the paper & colored pencils, & get drawing!

Building the faery home is such great fun, that you’ll want to build one of your own along with them. The number of faery dwellings the HH Mamas have built, far surpassed that of our kids long ago.  Here is a gorgeous book  of faery homes for inspiration. You can build the houses from scratch, using items you find on nature walks, or even from your recycle bin. Better yet, you can purchase inexpensive bird houses, & embellish the day away. Paint, glitter, tiny treasures, shells, moss, bark, acorn caps; our students have used it all. Check your large, chain craft shops for these houses. We’ve found ones ranging $1 to $9, & we’re always keeping an eye on sale flyers to buy more.

Other ways you can incorporate faeries into lessons learned: cooking = faery food (bite-sized food), sewing = faery costumes (yes there are boy faeries my son will tell you), classic literature = a midsummer night’s dream, math = how tall is a faery home compared to a human home… & so on. You could even host a movie day, & discuss the differences between Tinkerbell in Hook & in the animated Peter Pan.  I’ll stop there; because if I don’t, this will be the post that never ended.

***

Now we come to the magical creatures of the Muggle world. What magical creatures? you ask. Lady bugs, butterflies, spiders, & their ilk! Do we have you thinking creatively now? Isn’t it easy once you think beyond the obvious? Let’s talk about my son’s favorite magical creature: his pet betta.

Hagrid; by way of Pia; sent each student a book titled Care O’ Magikal Creetures Booklet: Betta. In it was everything they needed to know, to raise & care for a betta fish. The information was taken from an amazing website, then Potterfied. Also sent was a request they each purchase a betta to care for, & a list of items they’d need. Pia went all-out, & gave them little jars with Potterfied labels; freeze dried toad warts, merefolk tears, etc; in which to house their supplies.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much my son has learned from caring for his beloved betta. Our Homeschooling doesn’t involve worksheets, or lessons beyond HH, so for him, the care has been the on-going education. If you want more, you can have them complete print-outs of various fish, keep a journal of their betta’s eating or playing habits, chart how quickly the water becomes dirty in summer vs. winter, & so on. You could follow up with a field trip to the aquarium if you like. You’re a Homeschooler, you know what to do.

We say it often, because it’s the core of what we do: use your child’s love of Harry Potter  to teach them. Don’t put education in one pile & fun in another; & don’t be restricted by what you see before you, alter it, tweak it to suit – the only limit to their learning through HH; or at all; is your own imagination.

~Kat

**We hope to have the individual classrooms up soon; where you shall find sample lessons, articles with tips & ideas, & our reviews of things we tried.**

 

By now you should know what you’d like to teach. You may not have the details sorted, but you know what subjects need to be covered. If you haven’t gotten that far, you might want to come back to this article at a later date.

Once you know what it is you want to teach, start looking at books, magazines, & websites for the information you need. It’s no different than if you were looking up lesson ideas or plans for regular Homeschooling. 

Are you using HH to teach the usual subjects: math, science, reading, writing, etc? Is your plan to have HH be extra, just for fun? If you know this already, that will tell you for what you need to be searching. Still unsure? – look in our Library for the books & sites we regularly use.

What are the ages of your students? Tiny kids will like coloring pages, connect-the-dots, letter tracing, & simple crafts or experiments. The young set can handle actual lessons, & more complicated activities – with or without reading & writing. For teens you’ll get to do some seriously wicked fun. We at HH have children ranging from tinies to youngs – we’re looking forward to the more complex things to come!

You’ve decided what lessons, crafts, & activites you want to do; now what? This is where Potterfication comes in. Instead of trying to explain it, i’ll walk you through a Dragon Studies lesson we did a few months back. We knew we were going on a field trip to the Natural History Museum, so I (Kat) began looking for information on Ptersosaurs. I came across a brief article online; to which I have since lost the link. Owner! If you recognize your work, contact us, so we can give you credit. I then copied the page into Word, & began altering it to suit our needs. Here is the result (Charlie Weasley my additions in italic) :

 

Image :: Property of Wikipedia

PTEROSAURS OR DRAGONS?!!

According to Muggle experts known as Paleontologists:

 

The flying reptiles are called the pterosaurs. They lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, through the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, and probably evolved from the same ancestors as the dinosaurs. Although they originally thought that the pterosaurs were gliders, they now think that many of them could flap their wings, and could probably fly quite well.

 

Pterosaurs (the names means ‘winged lizards’) belong to the extinct order Pterosauria. Like the dinosaurs, it is thought that they may have been warm blooded. The pterosaur wingspan ranged from 6 inches to 40ft, depending on the species, and their wings were leathery membranes stretching from the body to the end of the elongated fourth finger, which supported each wing (think ‘bat wings’.) Pterosaurs probably ate fish and possibly insects.

 

From there information gets bloody confusing, and totally boring. It all sounds realistic, and very official, but I don’t believe it for one moment. If you ask me…Dragons one and all.

 

Go to the room that houses the bones of these so-called Winged Lizards. Look them over, read the information, then chat about it. You should have brought your Dragonology Handbook; which species on page 13 looks the most like what you see in the room? On a Dragon Chart, have a Parent help you chart whichever one you chose.

 

** Please be careful if there are Muggles close enough to hear you**

***

 

 

Image :: Property of ???

We had a fabulous time with this lesson. The kids paid much more attention to what they were seeing in the Pterosaur room than they had on previous visits, & they learned quite a bit. Using the chart, they really got into measuring the creature, & excitedly talked together, comparing notes. Don’t worry that we were teaching the children misinformation, the belief that pterosaurs were in fact dragons shall not go with them through life. One day they will stop believing on their own. For now they are excited, & that excitement is leading to actual things learned – & that is what this is all about.

 

If your students are older, you could have them write a report on their comparisons; or flex their imagination, & have them write a letter of complaint (do not mail it, or at least don’t let the trail lead back to us, ha!) to the museum, listing all the reasons they believe the pterosaurs are mislabeled. Think creatively!

 

Tiny kids don’t need the Potterfied lesson. Print some coloring pages of pterosaurs, & dragons that look like them before you head to the museum. Visit the room, ask if they see anything that looks like a dragon, encourage them to talk about it, or even sit them quietly in the corner to read a short dragon story. When you go to the picnic area for lunch, pull out the coloring pages & crayons, & let them have at it!

 

Do you get the idea? This is so easy, & if you think about it, it’s as much fun to create as it is for them to experience. Now it’s your turn — Go Potterfy!

~Kat 

 

 

 

Get ready to unleash your multiple personalities! In addition to letters from Hogwarts, you can send letters from professors, shop owners, officials, or any characters you feel would lend themselves to a lesson or project.

For starters, you’ll need the official Hogwarts letter; one for each child. You can copy this directly from the first book, write your own version, or alter the original to suit your version of HH. Assuming you want it to look authentic; you’ll need the crest at the top (there are 2 versions in this post,) a font that you like (don’t make it too fussy,) & you should have the text be dark green. We at HH don’t bother with the fancy envelope, as all post arrives in the tubes we described previously. A pretty red ribbon would be a nice substitute for the wax seal, or with a wax seal even. Here is the wording we used our first year:

Hogwarts Charter School

Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc,. Chf. Warlock,

Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. Of Wizards)

 

Dear M_________,

 

We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at our newly-formed Hogwarts Charter School.

 

Unlike students here at Hogwarts, you shall not attend classes with Hogwarts Professors directly. Instead, lessons are to be created and overseen by our Professors, and taught by qualified Parents.

 

You have been sorted into Gryiffindor. As Head of Gryffindor House I would like to extend a personal welcome to you.

 

Your classes have been chosen, and your Professors shall send their own Owls shortly.

 

Term begins on 1 of October. Please see that all is in readiness.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

(handwriting font) Minerva McGonagall,

 

Deputy Headmistress.

 

 

Uniform:

Charter students are not required to wear a uniform, but must remember to dress appropriately when out amongst Muggle.

 

Course Books:

The WandMaker’s Guidebook by Coralis, Master WandMaker

 

Other Equipment:

1 Wand (see WandMaker’s Guidebook)

 

*Please note that Professors will inform you of all that they require.

 

Students may also bring an OWL or a RAT or a CAT or a TOAD.

 

PARENTS ARE REMINDED THAT FIRST-YEARS ARE NOT ALLOWED THEIR OWN BROOMSTICKS.

 

***

You see that we stuck to the wording & feel of the letter Harry received, but we changed things to match our HH.

A sample of a letter they might receive from an individual:

Potions

~ Year One ~

 

There will be no silly wand-waving in this course. If you were hoping to learn to brew love charms, understand there shall be no such nonsense in my Potions class.

 

I have been assured that you attempted a few feeble brews over the Summer, and managed to not blow yourself up. Because of this, I have agreed to allow you a spot in Potions – Year One.

 

To maintain your spot you must adhere to the following rules:

1)      Wash your hands before and after each class.

2)      Follow the instructions exactly as given.

3)      Keep a written record if instructed to do so.

4)      Put no potions in your mouth, nor near your face.

5)      Pay attention!

 

Your lessons shall be sent to Dandelion Cottage, and are to be taught by Prof. ________. She is only teaching on my behalf – I am still in charge! Do not give her reason to contact me with complaints of your behavior.

 

If you will need to know anything before a class, or if I have reason to contact you, I shall send an Owl to your home directly. I trust you have already set up your Porch Mail. If not, do so immediately. Lost Owl Post will not excuse you.

 

(handwriting font) Prof. S. Snape

– Potions Master, Head of Slytherin

***

Other letters can come from: Charlie Weasley (dragon study), Flourish & Blotts (quill making), Diagon Alley (order forms), & so on. Once you get used to doing this, the ideas for letters are sure to start pouring in.

You can also send lessons via Owl, but that’s for another day.

~Kat

 

This is the part that makes the HH Mamas as giddy as if put under a Cheering Charm that went a little too far. None of the below is required, but it does enhance the experience. We don’t want you to feel badly if going all-out just isn’t for you. That said…

* Wands. As we’ve mentioned in the past, this is the most important accessory. I’ve not yet met an HP fan who does not long for a real, working wand (HH Mamas included.) OK I lied above, this part is required. We won’t ban you from HH, but your kids really do need wands to be proper Witches & Wizards. There are different types of wands you can purchase: plastic (cheap to pricey,) or wood (moderate to pricey.) If you’re shopping online, check out one of the shops we list, or Google “Harry Potter wands.” Locally your largest selection will be at Hallowe’en costume shops. If you don’t want to purchase wands, you can make them yourself. Better yet, let it be a class project, & have your kids make their own. We recently wrote about a brilliant wand craft, you could even glue wooden beads to the end of a wooden dowel, or you can paint twigs with glitter as we did last summer. Below you see the table we set, ready for wand-making. I (Kat) made the little bags, so they could hang their wands from their belts, or belt loops. Were I to make them again, they would be thinner & longer. The Olivander’s tags were made by scanning the image from a coloring book we owned. (I‘ve checked everywhere, & I cannot find a link for the book. We’ll make sure one of the images we scan later will be this one.) 

** Photo :: Property of HH

 * Uniforms. Offering uniforms is up to you. We’ve done HH without uniforms, & the kids did not seem to mind. However, when we told them we’d continue offering classes after summer, they insisted on uniforms. You can purchase the costumes, some are well made. If you sew, you can also make them quite easily. We created ours from thrift shop finds. It’s the least expensive, & has turned into the most fun option. My son owns the school robe that his Grammie sewed from a pattern, & an Invisibility Cloak his Auntie Rubelin & I designed. The rest is all thrifted. White blouses, button-up shirts, & even t-shirts are in abundance at thrift shops, so you needn’t worry about finding those. For the summer sessions we’ve had them wear khaki bottoms, & black for the regular school terms: pants, clam-diggers, skirts, & shorts. Sweaters & sweater vests are by far my favorite to create. I buy them; black or dark gray; & use fabric paint to add stripes of color at the collar (red & yellow of course.) Once they put those on, they look like they are on their way to catch the Hogwarts Express. Extras are ties, scarves, cloaks – use your imagination! The key is to look at clothing not just for what it is, but what it could be. My son has a summer cloak that i made from a woman’s black skirt. It was long, & full, so had enough fabric. It was also already split down the front, as it was a buttoned skirt! I took it in greatly at just the back of the waistband, & in 10 minutes he had a cloak that he could run around in when the weather was hot.

*Containers. We have some serious fun creating these. The ingredients you use for Potions look fabulous when set out in altered jars. If you want to give them a try, start saving jars of all sizes from food. Baby food jars are great when you need very little of something. For ingredients used often; baking soda, salt; pickle jars work best. Soak the labels off, & make sure you clean the insides very well. Cut labels from parchment, or Muggle computer paper, & create your labels. If you aren’t handy with a calligraphy pen, you can print your labels on one sheet, then cut them out. Get creative! Here are a few samples from my cupboard:

Syltherin Bone Dust – 100% Ground Bones of Slytherin Skeletons – Coarse Milled

Organic Gnome Droppings – Gathered Nightly

That would be Metamucil & raisins, respectively. Add a Diagon Alley or Knockturn Alley address, then affix it to your jar. At this point you can distress your label if you like. We’ve rubbed dirt on them, dabbed with damp tea bags, scratched at them – whatever popped into our minds. If you are a scrapbooker; as is Pia; I imagine you can make your labels very realistic. Should you want labels on jars, but want a more instant gratification, try Google. You’re bound to find tutorials or photos. Remember to give credit to the creators if you show yours online. You can use other containers to enchancethe experience: wooden boxes (see the above photo,) jewelry boxes, tins, cigar boxes. Again, look at things differently. Some containers will need some altering, others will do wonderfully as they are. You should think about containers as you make your lesson lists; what will the students need? what would that professor have? what could hold the feathers, glue, soil, etc?

* Cauldrons. We cannot talk about containers, & not mention cauldrons. Any cauldron or kettle will do, should you want one for ambiance, or toting supplies. If you plan to mix your experiments within them, we insist you take care in what you use. Something flimsy would be unsafe, or make a mess were they to tear. We would also avoid those teeny ones you buy in packs for Hallowe’en favors. They’re great for decor, but that’s about it. If you will be eating or drinking any of your creations, use ONLY food-safe kettles, & NEVER one that has held inedible ingredients. Hallowe’en is just around the corner, so finding cauldrons & kettles is about to get very easy. Don’t stick with costume shops & party supply stores; our favorite cauldron for mixing potions came from the Hallowe’en section of a pharmacy. We also use: black camping cook-pot, black bowls that have handles, & cauldronesque containers from the dollar store. If you want the real thing, you can find cast-iron ones online. Start looking at the following shops: craft, sewing, costume, party, pharmacy, camping, army surplus, & grocery.

*Pets. ” Students may also bring an OWL or a CAT or a TOAD.”  Our kids were ecstatic picking out their animals. The HH menagerie consists of 2 owls, 1 cat, & 3 dragons (the dragons we’ll talk about another day.) You can have them search through their stuffed animal collection, or buy new ones. Something fun to do: create a Diagon Alley order form, with the animals listed for choosing. You could even print photos of ones you’d be willing to buy; from a catalog or online. They could send their form via their Owl Post Box, & a few days later their new pets would arrive. As if by magic 😉 If your kids aren’t into stuffed animals, then just skip this bit. If they are? We must warn you to be prepared – they will take their HH pets very seriously. There is; as I write this; a small owl in a Victorian cage, on the table next to my son’s bed. The cage is kept latched, so the dragon in the basket next to it won’t mistake the owl for lunch…. & my son is 10.

That’s all for this installment. I imagine by now your mind is racing with ideas. Please come back, & tell us how your HH set up is going.

~Kat

There are some things you need to decide before you hand out robes & wands, (& after you read the Harry Potter books yourself.)

1) How deeply do you wish to get into the magical world of Hogwarts? Some of you may be interested in nothing more than a few wizard crafts, or activities. Others may want the whole shebang: costumes, lessons, & as many props as you can manage. We suspect the majority will fall somewhere in between. Really give it some thought, taking care to consider your budget, as well as how much time you have to dedicate to it all. You should enjoy the experience as much as your kids.

2) Who will be in your classes, & how many professors will be involved? I (Kat) have taught just my child, led activities for a few kids, & am currently sharing professorial duties with my fellow HH Mamas; all versions were fun in their own ways. As with above, give this decision a lot of thought. Are you someone who prefers to share duties, or do you function better when everything falls on your shoulders? If you’re easily overwhelmed, you probably should consider easing in your first year: going solo, & only instructing your own children. Those who burn-out easily, would be best suited to sharing duties with other professors. If it’s the latter, consider having one parent run things to keep it all running smoothly. The HH Mamas & I have equal ownership, & say in everything we do, but I do the official HH work: letters from Hogwarts as opposed to individual professors, & the like.

3) What do you want your kids to get out of this? Interested in some fun crafts for Hallowe’en? Looking for HP-themed summer camp activities? Or are you hoping to sneak in learning whilst they are busy swishing & flicking? No matter which you choose, your Potter fans are sure to enjoy it, & they shall learn from it. Still, you need to choose: heavy on fun, or heavy on learning? Before you decide that, keep in mind how deeply you decided to get into Hogwarts. Heavy on learning, will require you to create lessons, or to Potterfy lessons you find – that does take time.

5) Create a schedule. How often do you want to meet, & will you offer the same classes each time or rotate? If this is just your family, use whatever calendar or date book works for you. If others are joining the fun; whether their parents are involved or not; think about creating a Yahoo, or Google group. This is the easiest way for more than one family to keep track. Pia recommends Yahoo, because she can print one calendar that shows all her Yahoo group activities.

6) What classes do you plan on offering? Assuming you’ve done all of the above, this part is easy. You can stick with classes mentioned in the books, or you can create your own. Depending on what you hope your kids come away with, you can pick fun activities to do, & decide what classes those fall into, or you can use Hogwarts classes to meet state requirements. As with all of the above: it’s all up to you!

( Edited to add :: How old are your students? Hogwarts classes can be created for Potter fans of all ages; yes, even teens enjoy it; as well as for multiple ages in one class. )

You have figured out how deeply you want to go, who shall be teaching & taught, what your focus is going to be, & what & when classes will be offered. Now what?

1) Parchment. If you’re going to use paper, why not parchment-colored paper? Kelly Paper is where we buy ours. They have locations in a few states, with the majority in California. I purchased a ream almost a year ago for just under $20, & haven’t even begun to make a dent. The parchment really lends itself to the fun, but if it isn’t in your budget, you will be fine with Muggle paper.

2) Fonts, fonts, fonts. Again, not a requirement, but the right fonts make things so much more interesting. We get ours from here; all free, & easy to download. Eventually we’ll have a separate page with the fonts we use, ready for you to download. Use fonts that give the look of the class you’re teaching, or if you’re sending letters from professors, consider what fonts they’d use. For example: HH letters & lessons from Prof. Snape use the Parseltongue font.

3) Lessons. Start looking through books, magazines, & websites for lessons you’d like to do with your classes. Some of you may want to start off slowly; many people do variations of Hogwarts with their kids, so it won’t be difficult to find things on the web, already created. If you go this route, remember that you need to adhere to rules & requests of the sites from which you get your lessons. I doubt you’ll find a site that shows you how to do something, then requests you refrain – but you will have to give full credit where credit is due if you post all, or part of it on your own blog, or website. Ask us if you are unsure just what that means. Those of you going all-out; you’ll need to learn to Potterfy. We use that term quite a bit (we did not coin it) around HH. To Potterfy means to take something, & tweak it so it appears to have come from the Harry Potter books. Some examples: baking soda to powdered cobwebs, cooking oil to basilisk spit, paper to parchment, or letters to owl post. Which brings us to…

4) A favorite of the HH students would have to be Owl Post. Letters from Hogwarts & professors, lessons, & even orders from Diagon Alley; all arrive via Owls. Each of our kids has their own Owl Post Box.If you were at the session you saw 2 of them. For the rest of you: The box needs to be large enough for rolled pieces of parchment. Mailing tubes, or those cylindrical potato crisp tubes would be perfect. If you want to go a little more fancy, wine bottle gift boxes work fabulously, & already have a cord with which to hang it. Let your kids decorate their own; unless you’re the type who needs to do the decorating yourself. Don’t feel badly if this describes you – 2 of the 3 HH Mamas fall into that description quite nicely. Now choose where this shall hang: tree, lamppost, on your porch, etcWe’ll have an Owl Postsign you can print & hang as soon as Arthur Weasley figures out how to work a scanner.

That’s all for now. It’s quite a lot to think about, but you’ll get there before you know it. If you have any questions, just ask. Come back soon, & we’ll have the next installment of the Session Notes.

~Kat

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hogwartshomeschool (at) gmail (dot) com

Official Ministry Decree

Hogwarts Homeschool was created to help homeschooling families build a magical world in which to educate their children. We are not affiliated with JK Rowling, Warner Bros., Bloomsbury, or Scholastic, nor do we imply rights to characters or images. Any content within that is not created by us shall have the owner listed alongside their creation. All who wish to hold their own Hogwarts at home are welcome to use what we share, but must give full credit back to us, or the listed owner. Remember: Mrs. Norris is watching you!

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