Archive for the ‘ Useful Resources (websites books etc) ’ Category

Free Homeschool and Teaching Resources From Around the Web

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

This week, I’m out of commission. I’m having some pretty major ear surgery and I plan to lock the bedroom door and let my amazing and wonderful in-laws watch the kids while I recover. In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with something to look through.  I picked out some old posts that might be of interest:

Catch up with what’s free out on the web. Check for daily deals and freebies for homeschooling and teaching at these websites:

Free Homeschool Deals

Classroom Freebies

Teaching with Cents

Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary

Teachers Pay Teachers – Has a huge selection of free resources created by teachers.

Get your homeschool life organized with free planners, calendars and more!

Donna Young  homeschool planners, calendars, chore lists, attendance sheets and more

Get organized for Christmas – It’s not at all close to Christmas, but this website is so useful, I thought it was still worth a mention. It has free printables on any subject you need to get ready for the holiday season — gift lists, holiday budget, holiday cards, stocking stuffers, cleaning goals, and more!

If I plan to teach about a specific theme or topic I almost always start by searching these websites: 

Homeschool Share

Making Learning Fun – Lots of free printables for tots, preschoolers and kindergarten.

Activity Village - They have craft ideas, coloring pages, printables for most any preschool, early elementary theme you can imagine! A wonderful resource

File Folder Fun – free file folder games for preschool through 3rd grade. There are games for the young ones on colors, number recognition, phonics, and get more complex in the older grades (skip counting, fractions, multiplication, history, science, language arts (punctuation, for example) and more.

Freebies from the Homeschool Den – I may as well mention my own freebies, right?  I’ve shared everything from a free Rocks and Minerals packet and human body notebooking pages to grammar practice worksheets to preschool math practice, math game boards, fun multiplication sheets and more.

Free Preschool Materials and Resources: 

  • Free “Sam” Phonics Readers – 52 phonics readers shared by Dr. Marriot at his website. This beginning reading program was developed in 1977 and since it was federally funded, federal law requires that the program be placed in the public domain.  I used the entire series with my preschooler last year.  From there we went on to a wonderful program that we purchased called Primary Phonics Storybook Starter Sets. We started with 1 and 1A and continued up through set 6.

Free Elementary Resource for Lapbooks:

Dynamic 2 Moms – This is a great site for homeschoolers in elementary school. They offer lots of free lapbook, notebook and unit studies materials.  Topics include Ancient Civilizations, Daniel Boone, the Rainforest, Lewis and Clark, Westward Expansion, Carnivorous Plants, Toads and much more!

Free Math Resources:

  •  Timez Attack – This just has to go first in the list because this online game is so amazing!  It’s a program for learning, review times tables from 2-12. The graphics are impressive. There’s a free version and a paid version.
  • PEP: Multiple Ways Multiplication – free 295 page multiplication program that has kids skip counting, playing card games and filling out various multiplication sheets to learn the multiplication facts
  • PEP: Acing Math, One Deck at a Time – card game ideas for K through gr. 5 using an ordinary deck of cards, 69 pages
  • Mathwire.com – has wonderful, hands-on math activities to bring math to life. You can look up any number of themes (children’s books, holidays, animals, and on and on). Go browsing if you have the time!
  • Dad’s Worksheets: Over 6,000 free math worksheets. You can print them or work online.
  • Softschools — A place you can make free math worksheets -http://www.softschools.com/math/worksheets/ or including http://www.softschools.com/math/fractions/
  • Number Nut – http://www.numbernut.com/
  • Kids Count 1234–Looking for great math games, printables and ideas for your kindergartner or 1st grader?  Be sure to check out the material shared by Shari. Look down the list and click on Math Centers and Games.
  • Khan Academy: Literally hundreds of videos, from basic arithmetic up to advanced math like calculus and trigonometry.
  • Math Tub Fun–This collection of one teacher’s math tub ideas is really terrific.
  • Mental Math and more – A new website I heard about for grades K-5.  Need to look through this more!
  • Stop the Clock – These games are great for practicing time (to the hour, half hour, minute, etc.). These games are geared at grades 1 through 5.
  • Cool Math – Online Math Games
  • Ghost Blasters — Math, Addition Game
  • Math Mammoth: Free 5th Grade Math Worksheets rounding, addition to 4,5,6 digits
  • Grade 6 Math Lessons–videos you can watch with your 6th grader math student on perimeter, fractions, angles, prime numbers and more.

Free Grammar Resources (Elementary):

Free Science Resources:

Middle School Chemistry Curriculum – free to download.  I’ve looked through it and it looks great.
Scholastic Science Videos and Slideshows on many subjects — plants, human body, landforms, rocks and minerals, force and motion, ecosystems, weather and climate, matter, energy, light and sound
education.com – has lots of great science experiments to do with your elementary student.
Steve Spangler Science–A fantastic resource for your young scientist who loves to do hands-on science.
Free Art History Lessons 
Concordia University Chicago – Free Art History Lessons for grades 1 through 8 with sections about the artist, about the art, directed observation and things to do.
Smarthistory: Khan Academy – Online Art History
Purchase at a Discount:
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op – Before buying any curriculum from preschool on up, be sure to check this co-op which gives homeschoolers more buying power.  It’s free to join and the savings are often up to 45% off. For example, right now you can get 25% off Rosetta Stone, 25% off Reading Eggs and 25% off BrainPop.
Used Homeschool Curriculum:
I have used Homeschool Classified a half-dozen times and find it a great place to buy used homeschool curriculum. It’s not free, but I thought it was worth a mention since I have saved so much money buying gently used materials!
Family Activity Ideas, Money Saving Tips, and more:
Family friendly ideas, deals and more at the Family Bandage.
General Money Saving Tips:
Thrifty Frugal Mom – One of my fellow bloggers here at Parents who shares lots of money-saving tips.
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Hands-On Homeschool Activities for Tots to Ten Year Olds!

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Not too long ago the categories section of my blog was disabled. I’m trying to get that up and running, but in the meantime I wanted to be sure people could cruise through the various topics we’ve done while planning for the fall. I’m sure homeschoolers all around the country are gearing up for the new school year!

Especially for those who are new to my blog, I wanted you to be able to browse through and look through units you might be planning.  The reason I started this blog was to share some of the activities that we’ve done.  Writing this post has sure been eye opening! We’ve covered a lot these four or five years!!

Here are the topics we’ve covered in alphabetical order. Since this is a blog, you’ll need to view the last page first to see things as we covered them chronologically:

5 SensesActive Math Games; Africa Unit; American ColoniesAmerican History

American West Unit; Ancient Aztecs, Incas and Mayans; Ancient Egypt; Ancient Greece Unit

Apple Unit; Arts and Crafts; Asthma; Astronomy Unit; Biomes-Animal Habitats

Bird Unit; Chemistry Unit; China Unit; Christmas Activities; Critical Thinking Activities

Death and Dying; Dinosaurs; Earth Day; Earth Science;

EasterElementary Music (ages 1-6); Fairy Tale Unit; Fall Theme;

Family Meeting; Father’s Day; Fire Safety; Fitness; Flower Unit;

Food in America; Fossils; Freebies; Games (critical thinking, etc.);

Garden Science; Geography; Geologic Timeline (Montessori); German;

Gizmos, Gadgets and Simple Machines; Halloween; Health;

Homeschooling in the News; Human Body Unit; Interviews with Other Homeschoolers;

Japan Unit; Kindergarten; Labor Day; Language Arts (Grammar/Spelling, etc);

LapbooksMagyar;

Math (all posts); Math–Addition; Math–Division; Math–Fractions; Math–Geometry; Math–Multiplication 

Middle Ages Unit; Mom Stories; Money Math; Montessori-General Info; Music;

Native American Indians; Natural Disasters Unit; Nature;  Ocean Unit;

Olympics; Organizing and Cleaning; Our Homeschool (What our day is like, curriculum choices, etc.)

Outdoor Fun; Penguin Unit; Pete the Cat Unit; Physics Unit;

Planning and Preparation; Plant Unit; Preschool–Age 4;

Preschool and Toddler Activities; Preschool–Age 3 1/2; Preschool Math;

Check out all our preschool activities! We did a lot of Montessori inspired activities, arts crafts, science and more! Click here for the link to the huge list of preschool activities packet I share about a year and a half ago.

Rain Forests; Random Thoughts (Articles about various topics); Reading;

Recipes; Rocks and Minerals; Running; Science; Science Experiments;

Slavery and the Civil War; Spelling; Sports; St. Patrick’s Day; Technology;

Thanksgiving; Theme Time (themes for 2-4 year olds);

Think Challenge (Critical Thinking Activities); United States Unit Study;

Toddler (early preschool) Activities; Trips We’ve Taken;

Useful Resources (websites, books, etc.); Valentine’s Day; Vertebrates-Invertebrates;

Whale Unit; Where We Used to Live (Australia); Workboxes; World Religions; Writing

Hope you find some useful resources!  ~Liesl

 

 

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Advice to New Homeschoolers

Monday, August 5th, 2013

At some point soon I’ll be sharing some of my plans and the curriculum  choices for this next fall. But before I do that, I really wanted to write a post with advice to new homeschoolers.  I want to stress how different each and every homeschool family is! So without further ado, here’s some of my thoughts about homeschooling for those who are new to the adventure:

*In many states, you need to file a Notice of Intent to Homeschool.  If you’re planning on homeschooling this fall check into your state’s regulations very soon. There may be deadlines coming up  (in August).

*My second piece of advice if you’re a new homeschooler is to stop reading this blog and turn off the computer immediately!!! Haha! Just kidding, I’d love for you to sneak a peek at what we do, but what I really meant is that NOBODY knows your child and your family better than you do.  That’s why all of us decided to homeschool, right?!  Don’t feel like my blog or any other blog out there is the right path for you and your kids.

*If you are brand new to homeschooling, one way to ease into it is to ask your child what he/she would like to learn. Then run to the library and get 10 books on the subject. Do some projects and activities related to that subject. Try to squeeze in a relevant trip; create a lapbook; do something hands-on. Encourage kids to find work they love.

*Ease into homeschooling.  We generally start with one or two subjects the first week. Once we get going our days can be long, but my kids rebel if our homeschool starts off with too much at once.

*Get ready to just jump in whether you feel ready or not… whether you are a veteran homeschooler or brand new to the adventure, no amount of planning will truly get you ready!  The kids are constantly growing, maturing and changing interests. I’ve found that we are constantly re-evaluating and readjusting the homeschool path. You can read, plan, schedule and have it all laid out in your head, but at some point the journey just has to begin! Invariably we take side-trips and deviations than the path I had envisioned, but that’s okay too!

*Adopt an attitude of excitement and joy in learning. Motivation is often contagious!

*Kids learn a lot of from doing, so focus more on the creative process than the end product.

*Homeschooling often does not look at all like traditional schooling.  In our family, we’ve always done 85% of our school work sitting on the carpets on the floor or outside or cuddled up on the couch. The kids do work at desks/tables at times, but that’s definitely not how they spend the majority of their day. Don’t feel like you have to replicate school-at-home, but if that works for you, great!

*Similarly, I don’t really act as a “teacher.” I’m usually right there in the thick of things with the kids. Perhaps “facilitator” is a better description of my role. (Plus, cheerleader, helper, nagger (oops, I shouldn’t say that!  But, there are times when I *do* have to… umm… prod… the kids to finish some of their work.)

*Grab a book!  Find some Caldecott award winning books to read aloud to the younger crowd or choose a Newbery award winner to read aloud with the older child. It’s lovely to share a story together and these books open up so many doors to discussions about life and learning.  Also have them read on their own (sprinkle good books on the dining room table if you can stand the mess!). If you like that style of learning, you might check out Sonlight, which is a homeschool curriculum based on a rich selection of classic books. We add in many (many!) of the books in their curriculum.

*For math it may take a while to find a curriculum that your child likes.  In the meantime, you’ll find plenty of free worksheets on your child’s level or you can find workbooks at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

There are lots of free online sites where you can print off some math-sheets while you find the math curriculum that works for you.

  • For example, I used the worksheet generators at soft schools from time to time to create multiplication worksheets. They also have addition, subtraction, division, fractions and more.
  • The Teacher’s Corner also has a place where you can make your own custom worksheets.  You can use free resources like these before you sink money into a math curriculum that your child may or may not like.

Math curriculums you might want to investigate (in no particular order):

  • Singapore Math,
  • Right Start Math,
  • Math U See,
  • Life of Fred,
  • Saxon Math,
  • Math Mammoth,
  • Math on the Level,
  • Miquon Math,
  • Horizons Math,
  • and many more!

There are also web-based math programs to check out.

  • Khan Academy Math Videos (free)
  • You could also get a subscription to a computer based math curriculum like IXL which has practice problems on any grade level.
  • I’ve also heard people that have used the online site, Teaching Textbooks, for math.
  • ALEKS Math is also a web-based math curriculum.

If you want to look at non-traditional math resources you might check Games for Math or Family Math out from the library.

*You’ll be learning right along-side your child. You don’t need to “know everything” to teach it.

*Explore deeper issues of ethics, justice, and empathy.

*You’ll never cover everything… not in history, in science, in math… invariably there will be gaps and details you just can’t cover. As long as the kids are excited about learning, though this won’t be a problem?  If you haven’t covered mitosis or the progressive era, the kids can learn that later as long as they have the tools they need… excitement, interest, a knowledge of how to find good resources, the ability to concentrate and work hard… these are the skills to foster on the educational journey.

*So along those lines, think about the end of your homeschooling journey, before planning for tomorrow. What do you want your child to come out knowing?  What skills do you want your child to have as they step into the adult world? the ability to write? the ability to speak in front of others?  a thorough knowledge of A, B or C? Once you think about that, it’s a little easier to fill in the blanks for how you’ll get from here to there.

*Limit Distractions — I find that we need to carve out times for homeschooling. I limit my own computer time to first thing in the morning and then after we’ve finished our homeschooling activities. I don’t answer the phone, unless Hubby starts leaving a message. We limit electronic time to the end of the day. I even have to limit our playdates… and on and on. We also can’t participate in every activity we come across. In our area there are SO many homeschool classes/options (robotics classes, PE classes, art classes, band, science classes etc. etc.) We’ve found boundaries that work well for our family.  It’s useful to think those kinds of issues through and find what works for your family.

*Join a couple of yahoo or facebook groups to connect with other homeschoolers. You’ll find all kinds of different homeschool groups — Montessori, Charlotte Mason, the Well Trained Mind, classical, Waldorf, workboxes, unschoolers, kindergarten, high school, living math and on and on.  You’ll connect with other homeschoolers who share your same general philosophy or have kids the same ages as yours.  These groups have been a wonderful source of inspiration, advice and curriculum ideas for me through the years.

*Some people love and highly recommend attending a homeschool conference. I’ve never been to one, but I thought I should mention that.

*Seek out some local homeschoolers to connect with.  We’ve always had a handful of incredibly close homeschool friends, though, and find we’ve done a lot of amazing field trips and outings with them. We haven’t participated in local homeschool co-ops, but many of our friends do and have found them to be supportive communities.

*Go on field trips — visit the museum, park, local nature center, petting farm, historical site, famous landmark… Homeschooling offers you the opportunity to use the world as your classroom, so plan a few trips until you get your feet on the ground (and beyond!!)

*Here is a long list of teaching and homeschooling resources I’ve found helpful over the years.

*This post talks about how we wind up incorporating lots of the different homeschool methods into our homeschool: What Has Surprised You Most About Homeschooling?

*You might enjoy last week’s post: To Homeschool You Need…  I find much of the skills I use in homeschooling our kids has to do with the skills we have as parents… Love, Patience… etc.

*You can also come join me at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. It’s an easy way to glance through the activities we’ve been up to as I keep a running list of the blog-posts there. I’d love to hear from you and am happy to answer any questions you have!

*Have fun and enjoy the homeschooling adventure!!

 

 

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Long List of Free Homeschool and Teaching Resources

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Catch up with what’s free out on the web. Check for daily deals and freebies for homeschooling and teaching at these websites:

Free Homeschool Deals

Classroom Freebies

Teaching with Cents

Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary

Teachers Pay Teachers – Has a huge selection of free resources created by teachers.

Get your homeschool life organized with free planners, calendars and more!

Donna Young  homeschool planners, calendars, chore lists, attendance sheets and more

Get organized for Christmas — It’s not at all close to Christmas, but this website is so useful, I thought it was still worth a mention. It has free printables on any subject you need to get ready for the holiday season — gift lists, holiday budget, holiday cards, stocking stuffers, cleaning goals, and more!

If I plan to teach about a specific theme or topic I almost always start by searching these websites: 

Homeschool Share

Making Learning Fun – Lots of free printables for tots, preschoolers and kindergarten.

Activity Village - They have craft ideas, coloring pages, printables for most any preschool, early elementary theme you can imagine! A wonderful resource

File Folder Fun – free file folder games for preschool through 3rd grade. There are games for the young ones on colors, number recognition, phonics, and get more complex in the older grades (skip counting, fractions, multiplication, history, science, language arts (punctuation, for example) and more.

Freebies from the Homeschool Den — I may as well mention my own freebies, right?  I’ve shared everything from a free Rocks and Minerals packet and human body notebooking pages to grammar practice worksheets to preschool math practice, math game boards, fun multiplication sheets and more.

Free Preschool Materials and Resources: 

  • Free “Sam” Phonics Readers — 52 phonics readers shared by Dr. Marriot at his website. This beginning reading program was developed in 1977 and since it was federally funded, federal law requires that the program be placed in the public domain.  I used the entire series with my preschooler last year.  From there we went on to a wonderful program that we purchased called Primary Phonics Storybook Starter Sets. We started with 1 and 1A and continued up through set 6.

Free Elementary Resource for Lapbooks:

Dynamic 2 Moms – This is a great site for homeschoolers in elementary school. They offer lots of free lapbook, notebook and unit studies materials.  Topics include Ancient Civilizations, Daniel Boone, the Rainforest, Lewis and Clark, Westward Expansion, Carnivorous Plants, Toads and much more!

Free Math Resources:

  •  Timez Attack – This just has to go first in the list because this online game is so amazing!  It’s a program for learning, review times tables from 2-12. The graphics are impressive. There’s a free version and a paid version.
  • PEP: Multiple Ways Multiplication — free 295 page multiplication program that has kids skip counting, playing card games and filling out various multiplication sheets to learn the multiplication facts
  • PEP: Acing Math, One Deck at a Time — card game ideas for K through gr. 5 using an ordinary deck of cards, 69 pages
  • Mathwire.com – has wonderful, hands-on math activities to bring math to life. You can look up any number of themes (children’s books, holidays, animals, and on and on). Go browsing if you have the time!
  • Dad’s Worksheets: Over 6,000 free math worksheets. You can print them or work online.
  • Softschools — A place you can make free math worksheets -http://www.softschools.com/math/worksheets/ or including http://www.softschools.com/math/fractions/
  • Number Nut – http://www.numbernut.com/
  • Kids Count 1234–Looking for great math games, printables and ideas for your kindergartner or 1st grader?  Be sure to check out the material shared by Shari. Look down the list and click on Math Centers and Games.
  • Khan Academy: Literally hundreds of videos, from basic arithmetic up to advanced math like calculus and trigonometry.
  • Math Tub Fun–This collection of one teacher’s math tub ideas is really terrific.
  • Mental Math and more – A new website I heard about for grades K-5.  Need to look through this more!
  • Stop the Clock – These games are great for practicing time (to the hour, half hour, minute, etc.). These games are geared at grades 1 through 5.
  • Cool Math – Online Math Games
  • Ghost Blasters — Math, Addition Game
  • Math Mammoth: Free 5th Grade Math Worksheets rounding, addition to 4,5,6 digits
  • Grade 6 Math Lessons–videos you can watch with your 6th grader math student on perimeter, fractions, angles, prime numbers and more.

Free Grammar Resources (Elementary):

Free Science Resources:

Middle School Chemistry Curriculum – free to download.  I’ve looked through it and it looks great.
Scholastic Science Videos and Slideshows on many subjects — plants, human body, landforms, rocks and minerals, force and motion, ecosystems, weather and climate, matter, energy, light and sound
education.com – has lots of great science experiments to do with your elementary student.
Steve Spangler Science–A fantastic resource for your young scientist who loves to do hands-on science.
Free Art History Lessons 
Concordia University Chicago – Free Art History Lessons for grades 1 through 8 with sections about the artist, about the art, directed observation and things to do.
Smarthistory: Khan Academy – Online Art History
Purchase at a Discount:
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op – Before buying any curriculum from preschool on up, be sure to check this co-op which gives homeschoolers more buying power.  It’s free to join and the savings are often up to 45% off. For example, right now you can get 25% off Rosetta Stone, 25% off Reading Eggs and 25% off BrainPop.
Used Homeschool Curriculum:
I have used Homeschool Classified a half-dozen times and find it a great place to buy used homeschool curriculum. It’s not free, but I thought it was worth a mention since I have saved so much money buying gently used materials!
Family Activity Ideas, Money Saving Tips, and more:
Family friendly ideas, deals and more at the Family Bandage.
General Money Saving Tips:
Thrifty Frugal Mom – One of my fellow bloggers here at Parents who shares lots of money-saving tips.
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Scholastic Dollar Deals are Back!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Scholastic Dollar Deals are back!  I noticed that they have their $1 sale on ebooks until May 19th, 2013. I have bought dozens of books over the past couple of years. Just thought I’d mention it for anyone who might be interested –

Here are some of the things we’ve bought ($1) and used:

Instant Habitat Dioramas

Instant Habitat Dioramas

Banish Boring Words

Banish Boring Words!

Various Writing Prompt Books

150 Totally Terrific Writing Prompts15 Wonderful Writing Prompt Mini-Books

Math: Fractions

5-Minute Daily Practice: Fractions & Decimals

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