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Freebies ’ Category
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Last week I mentioned that we’ve been doing some grammar review again. We went over 11 comma rules. Then each day they’ve been doing five or six sentences — adding in the comma where needed and identifying the comma rule that applies.
My kids love science, so the comma worksheet has a lot to do with science this time. (There are sentences about the plague, polio, the Venus fly trap, ocean currents and so forth.) I made another sheet last year that is quite similar and I’ll include the link to that and some other free grammar sheets I’ve made at the bottom of this post.
As always, the Comma Rules and Practice Worksheets are free to download!
By the way, if you don’t have a color printer I included p. 3 without pictures at the end of the document.
My youngest wants to do everything her older brother and sister are doing. I made a simple comma rules practice sheet for her as well, but she only went over four of the comma rules:
In this related post, you’ll find links to more of my other free grammar sheets. They cover not only comma rules, but capitalization, homophones, possessive nouns and pronouns, the use of apostrophes, quotation marks, underlining and more: Various Free Grammar Sheets
Here are examples of a couple grammar worksheet sets I’ve made.
NEXT: Printable Christmas Coloring Pages
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Monday, December 2nd, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, I started writing a series about how and why we started our own Homeschool Writing Workshop. This is the fourth post in the series. Since it’s been a while, let me link to the first few posts in the series:
Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop — Post #1: How and Why We Got Started with a Workshop Model.
Creating a Homeschool Writing Workshop – Post #2: Creating a Writing Workshop Area and Materials to Have on Hand
Creating a Writing Workshop Post #3: This post is about Mini-Lessons during writing time, mentor texts and includes reviews of 8 or 9 writing books that you might find helpful.
As I started on this journey, I realized there were certain materials I needed right at my fingertips. It was wonderful to have read all the books and looked through tons of resources, but I needed to be able to reference the information that resonated with me immediately. I started creating a Writing Worksheet Resource Pack. I kept adjusting and modifying the pack (and still do!) but I thought it was about time to share it with anyone else who might find it useful.
Let me explain what is in the resource pack, so you have a clearer picture of the kinds of things we have covered in our writing workshop this fall. These pages are not necessarily in this order, but you’ll find them all in the writing workshop pack I made.
The kids brainstormed some of the different types of literature and writing genres they were familiar with. We went over this long list (and actually, they thought of a few that I had to add to the pack!):
I’ve gone over the six writing traits in general (I talked about this in the very first post in this series)… and then gone into specifics as well. I’ve referred to this chart a couple times a weeks since we started:
In the third post in this series, I talked about the mini-lessons we’ve done after we read a book together. I have a page of some of the mini-lessons I hope to cover in the next couple of semesters:
I have a number pages that go over some of those lessons. For example, we’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about how the opening of a story should really capture the reader’s attention. We’ve also talked about making sure to write about a manageable topic:
And we talked about characters, the plot and setting:
And we talked about knowing where your story is going, creating tension, coming to the climax of the story and bringing the story to an end.
And more mini lessons — on using descriptive words and strong verbs, creating strong visual images and more:
We’ve also talked about non-fiction writing a number of times this semester. I also wrote some resource pages about non-fiction writing:
Much of the time, the kids decide for themselves what they want to write. DD spent several weeks writing a story about a phoenix (which wound up being 30 pages long!). LD is more likely to write about one topic each day. At times, though, he can’t think of how to get started. There are a couple pages of ideas of what he can do if he gets stuck. This is a laminated sheet that he can grab and quietly look over if nothing comes to mind and he can’t think of what to write:
I’m sure that I’ll be adding to my resource pack as I go, but there’s enough here that it might be useful to some of you!
Download the Writing Workshop Resource Pack:
If find this useful or if you create your own writing workshop, I’d love to hear from you over on my Homeschool Den Facebook Page!
Don’t miss the previous posts in this series…
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Yesterday, I mentioned that we’ve added a new portion to our math day. For much of the fall, the kids were simply doing math problems from their math book and they were complaining that math was B*O*R*I*N*G. What? Oh NO!! It was true, though, with everything else going on they were doing straight-forward stuff; you know fraction problems like this…
or long division… or a good meaty problem like 5789 x 673… but honestly I could understand the kids’ complaints. There’s so much more to math than the plain old arithmetic from their books! We really needed to make sure that math was relevant, engaging, challenging and even a bit fun!
As you probably know, the American students rank 25th in math among the 49 industrialized nations that were involved in the study. Here’s a question from the 4th grade test:
From: The Nation’s Report Card
This kind of question definitely goes beyond straight arithmetic, right?!!
As I started looking around, I read about something called Math Circles and saw collections of Math Circle problems. I was intrigued… just what was that? There’s a tradition in Russia of hosting math contests where students compete to answer various word problems. The contest itself was designed to get students intrigued and excited about mathematics. There’s something similar here in the US called the Math Olympiad.
I started looking into some of books on Amazon and decided this “math circle” approach really might be a good fit for our homeschool. The math riddles I shared just a couple of days ago are examples of the types of questions that get kids thinking. I’ll share the answers to the brain-teasers I asked:
The questions from the other day were… 1) Three matchsticks are laid out like in the picture below. Moving just two matchsticks, make six. 2) 8 matchsticks are laid out to look like a fish swimming to the left. Moving just three matchsticks, make the fish swim to the right:
Did you get the first solution for the first challenge (III)? My husband got it right away! And my 8 year old wondered if the solution was XI… That got my son thinking — and they figured out the answer (they said IV first, but when I told them that was 4 they quickly figured out VI is six).
For the fish puzzle, the picture on the left shows which match sticks to move, the picture on the right shows the final solution:
These are the types of questions you’ll find in Mathematical Circle Diaries. This is one of several books I bought recently and the kids absolutely LOVE the questions and challenges in this book!! It’s quite challenging for both my 8 year old and 10 year old, but they BEG for more math time!!! I love that!
I also searched the internet for some math puzzles and we’ve worked through this set of problems as well. My kids really enjoyed these — and maybe you can challenge your kids to answer these over the Thanksgiving break!! The answers are available if you click on the picture below.
Download and print the Math Riddles Page:
We’ve been using a couple other math books to add a new challenging, fun dimension to our homeschool, but I want to use them with the kids a bit more before talking about them here on the blog.
If you have any great suggestions of math resources that go beyond the traditional math book, I’d love to hear from you over on my Homeschool Den Facebook Page! The kids will be grateful too!!
You may be interested in reading the Harvard Study: Achievement Growth: International and State Trends in Student Growth which explains how math scores are improving in the US and internationally.
You might also be interested in the Nation’s Report Card: 2013 which shows the progress US 4th and 8th graders are making in Math and Reading.
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Last week my daughter did several skip counting mazes and she asked for more. I whipped a few new sheets together for her… the turkey has to find his lost hat (and not wind up as dinner!). You can move in any direction including diagonally. If you are interested you can download them and use them with your kids as well! Enjoy!
Thanksgiving Skip Counting Practice
If you found these helpful, I’d love to hear from you over on my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. That’s also a great place to see if you’ve missed any other previous posts that might be of interest! ~Liesl
You might be interested in these other Fall and Thanksgiving posts:
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Monday, November 18th, 2013
This semester we are studying India. Back in September I shared the huge India Unit packet I made. We’ve gone through most of that packet and have done a lot of the readings I mentioned in that post. Then while I was recovering from my surgery the kids and my mother-in-law read lots and lots of children’s books about the various Hindu gods and goddesses (books are listed in this post).
As you probably know, Buddhism began in India. Siddhartha Gautama was a Hindu prince who was protected from the harsh realities of life as a youngster. When he realized the extent of human suffering (old age, sickness, death), he was profoundly moved and set out to find the answers to life. He wandered for six years living in poverty, fasting, listening to holy men while looking for the answers he needed. He finally found enlightenment while sitting under a sacred fig tree. To many, Buddhism is more than just a religion, it is a way of life. Buddhism explains the purpose of life and Buddhists try to live a to lead a moral life, try to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and try to develop wisdom and understanding.
Last we watched segments from the BBC documentary about Buddha. It’s available online: The Life of Buddha a The Life of Buddha– BBC Video Online.
Some of the books we used for this part of our unit included The Story of Religion, The Evertyhing World Religions Book, and several children’s books including Becoming Buddha. My kids loved the children’s book The Prince Who Ran Away (in fact, DD has read this book at least a half-dozen times!!).
and Buddha by Demi:
And here are a few other books we read. The books above (and the one on the left below) were about Buddha’s life, the two books below on the right are stories Buddha told:
And, once again I made some notebook pages for the kids. It includes some information about Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhism today (how many followers there are, how many Buddhists there are in the world and where they live), and some famous Buddhist temples.
I’ll share it below with anyone who might be interested. It is about 10 pages:
Free Buddhism Learning Packet:
If you found this helpful, I’d love to hear from you over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page! It really makes my day to hear from other educators!
Other Posts on other World Religions: If you are studying other world religions you can check out the free resources I have made on
Catholicism (the New Catholic Pope),
and the Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
You might also be interested in the free India Unit Packet (20 pages):
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