tomatoes

We’ve been seeing a lot of the Muggles’ latest way to get along without magic of late. The Topsy Turvey is a hanging bag in which you grow your tomatoes upside down. All of us at HH are fascinated by this invention, but unwilling to pay what they charge to give it a go. Then last night I was chatting with Kell (a Minnesotan Hogwarts Homeschooler) about this very thing, & she informed me that she was planning to make her own! Well if that doesn’t have the makings of an Herbology project, I don’t know what does.

From researching on the Mugglenet, I’ve seen many ways people have created their own upside down planters. The one Kell suggested; & the one we’ll be using here at HH; is the reusable grocery bag. Of course you should poke around, to find the planter that best suits you & the ages of your students. For instance: Some use plastic buckets that require drilling. If you dig that sort of thing, or have older kids, then you should choose to go that route. I’m lazy, & have extra grocery bags, hence my choice. The bag needs to be the more durable of the reusable ones. Ours came from a Muggle shop called Trader Joe’s, is made of a woven plastic, & has strong handles.

We shall plant one tomato plant upside down in the bag, & an identical tomato plant in a pot of the same size. Over the summer we’ll compare how the plants are doing, making notes of any differences we see, (Those with gardens could even plant a third in the ground for observation – extra credit!). Your students can compare & track height, health, bugs, disease, size of fruits, number of fruits, taste of fruits, & so on. How does growing upside down affect the plant? The fruit?You get the idea.

What you’ll need:

2 tomato plants (same variety, & size) – 1 sturdy, reusable grocery bag – 1 planter of the same size – potting soil – duct tape (optional)

Cut a small x in the bottom of your grocery bag. If you are concerned that over time the x will rip, reinforce it with duct tape. We’ll be leaving ours to chance, so omitting that step. Remove your plant from it’s pot, & gently poke it through the x. Now I don’t think I have to say this, but just in case: You’ll be poking the plant out through the x so it faces downward. Next fill the remainder of the bag with soil, water deep, & hang it in the sunshine from its handles.

Plant the other in the pot, & you’re all set.

Suggestions: Choose a variety of tomato that  does well in a pot. Place your bag & pot in the same area., so the experiment will be more accurate. Water daily. Avoid placing them in a windy spot – tomatoes do not do well in wind. You can also do cucumbers this way, if your kids prefer them to tomatoes – Lemon Cukes are an excellent choice.

To Potterfy: Use Hogwartsy fonts, & parchment when creating your charts for keeping track of things. Send your Owls from Prof. Sprout. Change wording: water to gillywater, tomato plants to non-venomous-fruiting tentacular, & so on.

~Prof. Kat

Advertisements

Hogwarts approved word searches:

Here.

Scroll down to the category “Medieval/Mythical”. There you’ll find a few different ones on Dragons, & one on Unicorns.

To be fair to the Muggle world, there are loads of great word searches on this site. I’m only paying attention to the Hogwartsy ones though 😉

*Read the directions above each word search. These aren’t your usual ones!*

~Prof. Kat

At the moment we seem to be obsessed with eggs here at HH – & why not?! Spring is an eggcellent (you didn’t expect me to resist that, did you?) time for using eggs in all sorts of lessons. The most obvious being Spring itself. There is the symbolism of the egg to the ancients in Spring; which could lead to why the Easter Bunny brings eggs should you be so inclined. Had I written this sooner, you could have attempted to get an egg to stand on one end during the Equinox – oops.
 
So far we’ve kept our eggperiments (again!) fairly basic. Ater all, Prof. Pia is busy with her CHN political career, & I’m still brewing that babe. Still we’ve managed to make it fun, & engaging enough for the kids. First we had Transfiguration, where they dyed miniature Dragon eggs in ingredients from the kitchen. All you need do is Mugglegoogle to find the how-to, but here is one that is pretty good.
 
Your younger students won’t need more than the activity itself to make them happy. Don’t forget to Potterfy the ingredients! Had I not forgotten to, I would have made Knockturn Alley labels for the dye ingredients. As you can see from the photo, I was forced to say they’d been altered to appear like regular Muggle items. The kids didn’t buy that, but they appreciated the effort, then proceeded to come up with their own Potterfications – the chili powder was freeze-dried phoenix blood.  **From one parent to the next – turmeric stains tile!**
 
Older kids can go further into it, learning the chemistry, experimenting with colors & time, & even looking through the kitchen to see if they can come up with dyes of their own. If you have traditional dye on hand, you could have them dye some miniature Dragon eggs in those colors, & discuss why the colors are more intense than the natural dyes. Left to work on their own, our students discovered that the least effective dye was the boiled spinach. They also discovered the difference between spinach & chard, when they first picked the wrong plants from our little farm.
 
Photo :: property of HH
Photo :: property of HH

 

An Herbology lesson we had planned, was to grow grass in eggshells. I was ready to do just that, when I came across these ceramic eggshells! They are meant to be painted, but our kids opted for permanent markers. The eggs came in a dozen, so when they were done with theirs, they decorated the rest to be given away to their friends.

Another change we made to this lesson, was to plant Giant Sunflower seeds instead of grass. They’ll have to keep measuring their plants once sprouted, so they can be transplanted to the garden when ready. The plan is to have them keep track of the growth through the summer; starting with a ruler, then a yard stick, then finally switching to measuring tape. If you do this project with the very young students, stick with wheat grass – the seeds sprout within just a few days.

Photo :: property of HH
Photo :: property of HH

 

There are many more ways to use eggs in your lessons this Spring. Here are a few ideas to get your brain bubbling:

Dragon Study – Dad Can Do has quite a few Dragon Egg projects. It is a pay-to-use site now, but very worth the annual fee. I’ve corresponded with the site’s owner, & he is charging out of necessity, not greed. He also seems like a very nice man. I signed up for membership, because the projects he comes up with are mind-boggling! Plus he hasn’t said as much, but I suspect he’s a Wizard.

Potions – Magically remove the shell from an egg. Here is a good how-to; use the raw egg though, it’s vastly more Hogwartsy. You can even use their Muggle eggsplanation (haha), & Potterfy it. This site has a few egg-lessons; all look easily Potterfiable.

Care of Magical Creatures – what creatures from Harry’s world came from eggs? Now would be the perfect time to study them!

Cooking (whatever name you’ve come up with) – Get out your cookbooks, & teach the kids to make all your favorite egg dishes! Cooking is so easily Potterfied, & teaches science, & math without even trying. If you dyed as many eggs as we did, you’ll probably want to stick with Dragon Egg Salad Sammiches or Bedevilled by Voldemort Eggs.

As we always say – you’re only limited by your imagination.

~Prof. Kat

A great way to incorporate foreign language into your HH is through Inter-Wizard Relations. Are your students studying French? Why not have all your french lessons come from Beauxbatons?

Dumbledore can send the initial Owl, explaining that the Ministry would like to improve relations between the two schools, so all Hogwarts students (and Homeschool Charters) shall begin by studying their language – and they ours.

From then on have your lessons come from some Professeur of something or other at Beauxbaton. You can have this fall under Advanced Charms, or simply Lanugages – that’s up to you.

If you’re just starting out, keep it simple. Start with vocabulary words, and simple sentences that pertain to your everyday life. Things that you and the kids will be saying regularly: bed, door, car, etc – and – put away your toys, i love you, etc.This is a wizarding school, so don’t leave out wand, owl, etc.

For families who’ve been studying a language for some time, it’s as simple as having lessons and Owls coming from the other Wizarding school. Though, as, with those new to the study, add wizarding phrases: Has anyone seen my cauldron?, or the ever-useful You probably should not eat that, as I made it in Potions class.

Don’t forget to make it fun! Kids just starting out can label everything with little squares of parchment. Seeing the words on the items is a great way to reinforce what was learned. If you’re going to write out sentences (in which they’ll insert the correct vocabulary word) make it Hogwartsy: Moaning Myrtle lives in the u-bend of the ____. That’s vastly more fun than In the bathroom we sit on the ______.

More advanced students need to have fun too! Have them write letters in the other language. Perhaps a letter to Charlie Weasley for advice on rearing dragons, or to Professor Flitwick asking for the charm that enchants spinach into tasting like chocolate? (assuming you know more of the language than your students, don’t forget to write back!) 

Older kids can write to penpals; either those who are also learning the language, or those from the country in question. Make sure to find penpals from reputable places (to ensure safety), and stick with other HP fans.

Inter-Wizard Relations can carry over into other areas of HH. Teaching Kitchen Potions? They can plan and cook a meal from the other country. Herbology? Plant a French/Spanish/Etc herb garden. As usual, the only limits are your imagination.

We here at HH are just beginning our Inter-Wizard Relations. Our students shall be receiving lessons from a Wizarding school in Spain. Due to still being behind, we were forced to explain what was going on – and of course blamed Errol for Dumbledore’s Owl having not yet arrived. Errol does come in handy 😉

I hope we’ve given you a few ideas to get you started.  Oh! Don’t forget to use parchment instead of boring Muggle paper.

~Kat.

We are so sorry for the complete lack of posts & lessons! Please do not think we’d abandoned all you fellow homeschooling Wizards out there. Just when we thought we had everything back on track, life decided to throw a bludger at us.

Shan’s family left our midst due to the changing needs of her children. After a few years studying together, we were sad to see her family drop out, but we do understand.

Pia’s plate has become freakishly full. In addition to all the stuff she already managed to cram into her schedule, she is now running the Family Village at this year’s Homeschool Expo.

And me? Well I’ve been busy brewing a little Wizard in my oven. The first few months were fairly rough, leaving me little headspace for planning Hogwarty goodness.

So you can see we weren’t being dreadful on purpose!

Happily Pia & I are slowly getting back into the groove. We’ve gone through the remainder of this session’s lessons, replaced the ones Shan would have taught, tweaked things here & there, & even managed to hold a few classes.

Expect more articles, lessons, & ideas to come – barring any stray bludgers of course.

Thank you for being so patient with us.

~Kat

Hello fellow Hogwartsians! We’ve been receiving comments & emails, telling of all the things you’re up to, & we’re thrilled that so many people are having such fabulous homeschool experiences.

One of the greatest witches of our age – Martha Stewart – posted a wonderful craft that we just had to share with you.

Paper Dragon 

If you’re studying China, this will fit in perfectly! If not, don’t be disappointed, you can still use the craft for Dragon Studies, or COMC.

Add an Owl from the appropriate Professor, a bit of history of the holiday from the library, or internet, & you’re good to go. Those of you who own the Dragonology book, don’t forget to have your students read about the Asian Lung.

~Kat

asian lung dragon

Welcome back! We trust you had a most magical holiday break. As much as we love to extend the merry-making, it’s time to get back to work.

This month our theme is “China”! With such a long, rich history, China lends itself to Hogwarts with little Potterfication.

Some of the things we’ll be studying this month:

Transfig: Paper lanterns

Dragon Study: Asian Lung

Divination: Reading tea leaves

Muggle Studies: A trip to Chinatown.

Special lesson from Dumbledore: the Phoenix

***

Chinese New Year (the year of the ox) falls on the 26th of January this year. If you’re lucky enough to have a Chinatown near you, find out when they’re having their parade, & add that to your calendar. Loud parades not your thing? Don’t be sad at missing out, because the celebrations generally last for days – there is sure to be something for your family.

***

Websites: Chinese New Year, Dragon Study

Books: Happy, Happy Chinese New Year!, The Boy Who Painted Dragons, Made in China: Ideas and Inventions from Ancient China, You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China!

If you follow any of the book links, then scroll down to see Amazon’s suggestions, you’ll find loads of books on the same topic. We cannot tell you how many amazing books we’ve stumbled upon this way.

***

As soon as lessons get completed, we’ll have them up for you to use. In the meantime, see what you can come up with on your own. Are your students teeny? If so, focus on Chinese crafts & food. Older kids will enjoy both of those, but will get so much out of all China’s history has to offer. Definitely look into all the inventions that hail from China! Perhaps the head of a Chinese Wizarding school could send some lessons? A cultural exchange project?

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

~Kat.

We here at HH are insanely busy. So much so that if we had time to make cocktails, we’d start drinking now, & not stop until 2009. If that feeling is remotely familiar to you, we advise you do yourself a favor, & begin Potterfying your holiday activities. Still sound like too much work? Do what we did: have the kids dress in their uniforms, & go on a field trip.

A few weeks ago they had a COMC field trip to a miniatures shop. Our kids are mad for The Borrowers, & each keeps his/her own dollhouse for the illusive little people. This trip was not only to see what amazing miniatures there were out there, but to give them ideas for what they themselves can make.

Being so close to the holidays, we HHMamas took turns sneakily purchasing tiny treasures for them. Um… them the kids, not them the borrowers.

Think of all the things to be learned via the world of miniatures. There is scale, architecture, history, furniture styles, & if you are lucky enough to work on a posh dollhouse you can learn how to wire it! Our kids are not so lucky.

***

So what is going on near you? Where would you usually be going this time of year, or where have you always wanted to take the kids? First make a list of where you want to go, then sit down with your calendar, & choose your dates. That really is the hard part. Potterfying is easy once you get started; & like I said at the beginning of this post; if you are too overwhelmed with holiday spirit just put them in their uniforms, & head out the door.

***

Tip: If you have a Waldorf school near you, go to their winter faire. They usually focus on a magical winter; faeries, elves, gnomes; rather than a religious holiday. (If you live in Los Angeles, you can meet the HHMamas at Ocean Charter’s Winter Faire: December 13th 12606 Culver Blvd., Mar Vista. We’ll be in the Dragonfly Artisans booth.)

~Kat

Oh my fellow HHers, you have no idea how sorry we are that we’ve not been able to get stacks of new lessons uploaded for you. I wish we could blame Peeves, but alas we have only life to blame. I shall spare you the boring details.

I think we have things under control over here, & to prove we’ve not abandoned you to the Muggles, you can now find the long promised snowflake lesson in the classrooms.

snowflake
photo :: property of kats in the belfry

Please note: You can use string, or even embroidery floss in this lesson – we use fishing line, because it’s clear.

Happy snowflaking!!

~Kat

We met last night for a planning meeting. This summer we set things up for the year, with December being the exception. Last year we learned; the hard way; that there is just too much going on that month. Sticking with our idea to have our classes mesh with the month’s theme, all December activities & classes are to be geared to the holidays.

I know we’ve only just begun November, but we HHMamas have to plan it all now. The three of us belong to an artisan co-op, & need to use all our free time (haha did i say ‘free time’?) getting ready for a December show.

So what did we plan? For the in-uniform classes they shall make ornaments out of applesauce/cinnamon dough (to give away at a party later in the month,) & they’ll build gingerbread houses. The instructions for both these activities will be posted closer to December.

The home-study class is to be a snowflake Potions lesson. We did this last year, & it was too amazing not to do again. The PDF for this will also be posted later. We’ll make sure to get it to you before December, so you’ll have plenty of time to ready your lessons.

One thing we’ll be doing this December, is something Pia came up with last year. Instead of treats for her advent calendar, she had an activity listed for each day. I tried it as well, & not only was it great fun, it didn’t add to the gift-frenzy of the holiday season. Her countdown is to Christmas, & mine to the Winter Solstice, but yours can be to whatever you’d like: Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah, New Year, etc.

We did do many activities together last December, but this year we’re having them mesh with HH whenever possible. When it’s not, the kids can do them with their own families, but still have the excitement of knowing the others are doing the same. We are lucky with our HH in that our kids are the best of friends. I think that makes all of this so much more special to them.

Some other things easily Potterfied are: making clove-studded oranges, baking treats, decorating winter houses for the faeries, making soap, rolling beeswax candles for your menorah, or even writing a letter to Santa. As usual, your only limit is your imagination. If you have an activity, or field trip you want to do, but just cannot think of how to Potterfy it, you are always welcome to e-owl us for help.

Make it easy on yourself this holiday season, & incorporate what you’ll already be doing into HH. Nothing ruins the holidays like a mama who is too busy to enjoy it herself. If your students are small, don’t forget that visiting Santa Claus is very HH – according to my son, he’s an even more powerful wizard than Dumbledore 🙂

***

We’ll be resuming classes this week, so will be able to get back to regular HH lessons & information. Thanks for being so patient!

~Kat.

** Edited to add :: Christmastime is important in the world of Harry Potter. To get into the spirit; or for ideas more closely linked to the story; check out the chapters that take place during Christmas. **

E-Owl

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!

Astronomy Tower

CURRENT MOON
Add to Technorati Favorites