Tag Archives: amazing race

An Argentina craft tutorial: How to make a gaucho sombrero

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gaucho-sombreroWe are learning about Argentina this week, since we like to “Homeschool with The Amazing Race” and  season 27 just raced through there last week…so I was looking for an Argentina craft tutorial…and had a very difficult time finding anything.

This is particularly frustrating because not only am I looking for something for my own kids, but I’m looking for activities for my Noodle Homeschool Amazing Race lessons, so there are other families counting on me to find great resources as well!

This often happens, though, when the Amazing Race races through a country that doesn’t have tons of resources out there…I just didn’t expect Argentina to be one of those countries that I’d be having to work so hard for! Live and learn.

Then I stumbled upon this page in Spanish.   But once translated into English, this is what I got:

  • First we measure the circumference of the child’s head and put 5 cm more.
  • Draw a circle on the cardboard to the extent that we will have taken.
  • Draw the brim and cut the two sides.
  • Draw a rectangle on the elongated corrugated circumference and 5 cm and the desired width.
  • Then paste it into the circle and the brim with the hot glue gun.
  • When we have finished gaucho hat can be covered with fabric, paint or paper hit.

Yeah. Not great instructions, even in English. Some of it, I know, is a bad translation, but just not great instructions either.

So, I figured *I* could come up with my own instructions, with the help of my kiddos. So we set about using the pictures from that web page and making this project ourselves. I think it turned out pretty good!  So we post the following tutorial here for you to enjoy making your own gaucho sombrero!

First of all…you must know that a gaucho is an Argentine cowboy.

Learn more on the gaucho Wikipedia page here.

And here’s another really interesting article about the history of the gauchos. Check out the part about them being a sort of centaur…I thought that part was particularly intriguing!

You may also want to watch this clip of a National Geographic video here. (It’s only 2min long, and pretty interesting!)

Now, on to the craft…

Materials Needed:


  • Corrugated cardboardabout double the diameter of the hat you want to make. My son made a really large brim, so we used the bottom of a refrigerator box. (Pictured left…the final brim is from a dishwasher box because I messed up the first brim and had to get a new piece.) Though this was more than we needed, it allowed for mistakes…which was good because I made several, LOL!
    I made the mistakes so you don’t have to. 🙂
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knife or a box cutter
  • Sewing tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paint or fabric/glue (optional)


Step 1:   Measure around the head of the person the hat is for. Take that measurement and add 2 inches to it. This will be your hat’s internal circumference.


Step 2:    IMG_6452.JPGTake your circumference measurement from step 1 and mark it out on a strip of the cardboard.

I, conveniently, had these flaps on our cardboard, so I decided that was about how deep I wanted the hat to be…perfect! So I just measured out the length on the flap. Easier to cut out because it was folded, I just had to cut off the flap.





Step 3:  If you don’t have a convenient flap, you’ll need to cut out the entire rectangle…Cut it out to the length of your circumference measurement in step 1, and a width that is the height you want your hat to be. Use a ruler to make your rectangle have parallel lines, so your hat isn’t crooked.IMG_6457.JPG








Step 4:  Now take your rectangle and roll it up tight, to make it curved.




So now you’ll have a nice curved piece of cardboard:

IMG_6460.JPG          IMG_6461.JPG



Step 5:  Time to hot glue the ends to make your rectangle into a circle:IMG_6462.JPG      IMG_6464.JPG



Step 6:  Now you are going to trace the INSIDE of your circle TWICE.

2 separate pieces…One will be the top of your hat, one will be the brim of your hat.

It has to be the inside, because otherwise the hole will be too big and you won’t be able to fit the pieces together. (Ask me how I know…)
IMG_6477.JPGWhen you trace the piece that will be the brim of your hat, make sure that there is enough cardboard around your circle to make the brim. Your brim can be however narrow or wide you want it to be…your choice. In the pictures below of my son’s finished product, my son’s brim is 8 inches wide from the circle to the edge, all the way around. He wanted his very large. That gives you an idea of how much cardboard you may want around your circle. (Less, if you don’t want yours as large as his.)

NOTE: The size my son chose for his brim is much larger than what a real gaucho’s hat would look like. It’s just the size that he wanted, and I let him make the choice himself. If you prefer to be more authentic, refer to photos of real gaucho hats and you can get an idea of a more realistic brim size. The original tutorial I linked to above has a more authentic brim size.

Here’s a great pic to refer to…thanks to an Argentinian commenter below, Tomás, for sharing it!



Step 7:  Now draw the outside circle of the brim. To do this, decide how wide you want it to be…as I said above, my son decided that 8 inches was how wide he wanted. Once you’ve decided on a measurement, use your tape measure again…place the end against the circle you drew and mark your measurement out all around the outer edge of where you want the edge of your hat to be. So, for example, my son put a mark at 8in out from the circle a couple inches apart all around what would become the brim of the hat. 

Then just connect those marks to form a big circle all the way around:


Step 8:   Now you need to make V-shaped tabs all along the circles you drew.

On the OUTSIDE of the circle that is the top of the hat:
IMG_6478.JPG  IMG_6479.JPG

On the INSIDE of the circle that is the brim of the hat: IMG_6513.JPG IMG_6514.JPG


Step 9:  Now time to start cutting. Using your scissors, cut out the top of your hat and carefully cut out all the tabs…
IMG_6481.JPG IMG_6482.JPG


For the brim, you can cut out the outside with the scissors, but you will need the exacto knife or box cutter to do the tabs on the inside. This will require adult help and/or supervision, if you are a child doing this tutorial, so CHECK WITH AN ADULT FIRST!! These tools are SHARP!!

Also, make sure that there’s nothing underneath where you’re cutting that could get damaged, like a table top, carpet, or YOUR LEG. Put something like a thick piece of cardboard underneath or cut it vertically, in the air, away from any body parts.
BE VERY CAUTIOUS with your cutting!!

Cut carefully onto another piece of cardboard.
Cut carefully onto another piece of cardboard.




Step 10:  Now you need to score the tabs to make them bend. To do this, you’re going to use your exacto knife or box cutter to cut through the top layer of the cardboard, but NOT the bottom layer.


Use your knife to score along the circle you drew…JUST THE TOP LAYER OF CARDBOARD!!!

First the top of the hat:

Cut along your penciled line.

Once scored, bend them all backward.

Top of hat done.
Top of hat done.


Now the inside of the brim:

Score along the line...     Bend back.

Back of the scored tabs.
Back of the scored tabs.


Step 11:  Now we’re going to glue all the pieces together!

You’re going to need an extra piece of cardboard underneath the hole in the brim to keep glue from getting onto the surface you are working on..so put that down first, and then…

You’re going to start with attaching the brim piece to the crown part (the circle of cardboard). Place the brim piece flat with the tabs pointing up, and put the crown over the tabs so that all the tabs are inside the collar of the crown:IMG_6485.JPG

Using your hot glue gun, start gluing each tab and then pressing it up against the inside of the collar:
IMG_6486.JPG IMG_6487.JPG

Continue around until all the tabs have been glued firmly against the inside of the crown of your hat. (This is pretty time consuming.)

Once you’ve got your brim attached, you’re going to do the same thing to the top of your hat. Lay it flat with the tabs sticking up and position the crown of the hat (now with the brim attached) over the tabs so that every tab is inside the collar of the crown, and then glue all the tabs into place as before:


After this, you may want to go around the top of your hat with a bead of glue to fill in any cracks:


At this point you can use some fabric to line the inside of the hat, if you like….and you could even cover the outside or paint it! Or just leave it plain!  Here’s how ours turned out:

IMG_6529.JPG     IMG_6532.JPG

If you make this craft, I’d love to hear how it turned out! Leave me a comment below and a link to pics!



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Introducing…Moodle Homeschool!!!

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Update: I just got word that I cannot use the name “Moodle” in my biz name, so I’ve changed “Moodle Homeschool” to “Noodle Homeschool”! I think I actually like it better!  The url is the same, but the name and logo has just changed.


Soooooo exciting!!

If you follow me on the Homeschool Realm Facebook page or on the Experience-Based Learning FB group, or listen to the Savvy Homeschool Moms podcast, you’ve seen/heard me talking about Moodle.

I am seriously in love with this program!!

It just occurred to me that I never talked about it here on my blog! Woops! This thing is all-consuming lately,  which is probably why I haven’t found time to blog about it yet!

Ok, so here it is. I’ll start from the beginning.

Moodle is a program for organizing learning online. It organizes teacher’s resources, activities, assignments, quizzes, everything in one place for students and teachers both to be able to access and communicate freely.

Lots of colleges and schools use Moodle all over the world.

Here’s a pretty dull looking Moodle class screenshot I just snagged off the web to give you a taste.  You can see how things are all laid out for students.

Here’s some screenshots of a Japan course I have as part of my Amazing Race 26 series:
(These are only a small sampling of what I’ve put together for this particular course…but it will give you an idea of how *I* do MY Moodle classes!)


Screenshot_4 Screenshot_5 Screenshot_6 Screenshot_7 Screenshot_8 Screenshot_9

Obviously, these are links to the full activity or assignment…and on the full page there is information, instructions, links to outside resources and embedded videos.

And you can see how I’ve brought my Experience-Based Learning idea into these online lessons! I sort every course by station!

Also, the check boxes to the right are for the children to check what activities they’ve completed, to help them keep track since there’s SO MANY things to do! 🙂

One of my favorite things about Moodle is the ability to embed video right into the lesson page!! No more distractions from YouTube! I’ve even learned how to turn off the suggested videos at the end!! Love it!

And there’s loads of ways for students to submit answers to questions or assignments or upload files (still trying to think of a creative way to use that feature that does not involve requiring students to write a paper. Not really the direction I want to go with this. I’ll think of something! Or just skip it.)

I’m having so much fun coming up with creative and fun ways to use all these features…recently came up with an intro lesson for each country that involves an interactive lesson, leading the kids through learning about the basics of each country: language, currency, where it’s located, that sort of thing…Interactive and fun to help them, hopefully, retain the information.

ANYWAY….Can you tell how much I LOVE MOODLE??

I stumbled upon Moodle because Minecraft Homeschool started using it for their classes, which my kids love! It’s a really neat way to pull all the activities and assignments together in one place for kids to be able to do their work, and in a fun way! Because my kids love technology as much as I do!

So I got to thinking….maybe I should try it out and see if I could pull my kids’ stations together online!

So I installed it on my server. (It’s free, open-source, but you have to have webspace to install it on.) And I started playing with it.

Whew, you guys! It’s COMMMMM.PLEX!! But I am loving it!

So I took 2 of the lessons we were working on in our Traveling Through History with Doctor Who lessons (check them out if you have Whovians too! Great way to learn history!) and I started putting all the info onto Moodle for my kids, and in a format specifically for the kids, so it was directed at the student, not the teacher…and I tweaked the hell out of it.

I am not one to leave things the way they are when I see ways they can be improved….so I added and deleted so much that it really no longer resembles the original. Which is good, because even though I started just doing this for MY kids…I quickly realized that here is something I could open up to others and make some much needed income on! (A good thing it no longer resembles the original, I say, because I would NEVER copy someone else’s work! So I basically am starting from scratch on the Doctor Who History idea…using almost nothing from this woman’s work, other than Doctor Who episodes I would have used anyway and links/resources  that I already knew…and I’m going to be providing mine online in such a way that it’s a completely different resource. Plus I will continue to recommend her lessons, because they are good!)

And THEN, I saw the announcement that Amazing Race 26 was starting in about a week. 

And I realized how PERFECT this would be to start this new business venture!!

You guys remember how we homeschool with The Amazing Race, right? Learning about the countries as the racers race around the world? Hm, I don’t seem to have blogged about that either. Geez, I’m really behind on my blog posts! Well listen to that episode of Savvy Homeschool Moms linked above and you’ll hear all about it.

So….Amazing Race….I would have to get my butt in gear PRONTO…setting a system up for payment and spread the word and get the first country material prepared….luckily their Wikipedia page lets you know a little ahead of time what countries they are heading to, and I already have an audience here on Homeschool Realm, the Homeschool Realm Facebook page, and of course our podcast listeners at Savvy Homeschool Moms, so I knew spreading the word wouldn’t be an issue!

So I got to work!! And that’s how Moodle Homeschool was born!!

And WOW, this is turning out to be a lot of work and a lot of FUN!  I have the first country, Japan, done, and just completed the second destination, Thailand!

I have  22 students currently enrolled and enjoying the activities and resources!! So far so good!

At the writing of this, we are 3 episodes into Amazing Race 26, but it’s not too late to join us!
Since past episodes of Amazing Race are available on CBS’s website, you can catch up any time!

ALSO: This season I am only charging the introductory price of $10/child for the entire season (season 26)…That’s 8 countries for $10! An amazing deal! And I will not be keeping it this low next season! I started low to get my feet wet with as many kids as possible trying out my untested idea. After this season, I’ll better know what I’m doing and I can already tell you that price will most likely double, at least.

I want to keep it as affordable as possible for homeschool families so I won’t raise prices crazy high. But I literally put HOURS and HOURS of work into each course…so $10 won’t do for long.

So get in at this great price while you can!!

Moodle Homeschool

And let me know if you have any questions!

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BOOK SERIES REVIEW: Great geography & culture book series: A Child’s Day

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Found this book at the library while researching books on China to use with this idea of Homeschooling with The Amazing Race, as discussed in our podcast episode #19.


This series is full of beautifully done photo picture books depicting a child from a foreign (as in, non-American) city/village. Each book is a different child in a different country.


In the China book, they introduce you to the child and her family, show her home and how she starts here day. From there it goes through her typical day and describes many different items and traditions that are unique to her country (with lots of great photos!)  The story ends with bedtime and afterwards are a few pages with “More About China”, “Language of China”, “The Chinese Words in the Book”, and “Find out more” (which is a short list of other books about China.


Here’s a list of other books in the series:

Bongani’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a South African City

Iina-Marja’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in Lapland

Geeta’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in an Indian Village

Cassio’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Brazilian Village

Nii Kwei’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Ghanaian City

Huy and Winh’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Vietnamese Town

Enrique’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a Peruvian City


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