Archives

Illness: How to Keep Going

box-of-tissues

I have had one of those lingering colds where you just can’t seem to find the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. Teaching, doing lesson plans, cleaning the house and going grocery shopping seem like insurmountable tasks. I need a backup plan to get through this time. I am sure you have been there too. One piece of advice that I would like to give to you is to plan ahead in the event that you might not feel well sometime during the school year. So, while I am less foggy-headed, I thought I’d write some ideas that you can use if you find yourself under the weather.

Math

Here are some websites for math worksheets that will help your student stay on track and review concepts.

Homeschool Math

Math Drills

Soft School 

Looking for educational videos? Here are a few that I think your children will like.

Brain Pop It has some free videos and quizzes on a variety of topics for your daughter to take after she watches them. You can assign one or more depending upon your need. If you enjoy what is offered, you can sign up for a year’s subscription.

Social Studies

Liberty’s Kids are great for American history that I think your son will enjoy. They are well animated and would be great to use.

Ducksters has a variety of articles and games that are interesting that include topics of geography, science, and history.

Board and Card Games can also be educational as they teach children to do some of the following: Read and follow directions, strategize (checkers, chess, tic-tac-toe, Sorry, Monopoly), count money (Life, Monopoly), and add (Yahtzee, card games).

Educational Online Games

Sheppard Software would be a way of reviewing all sorts of topics.

 

Stay well!

~Lisa

 

 

 

 

1 Key to Teaching Teenage Sons

imagesWhat is one of the keys to helping teenage boys learn? Movement! Boys, no matter what age, need to be active. Some, more than others. Their natural inclination is to be moving and doing. One time I had about all I could take from my early teenage son and his inability to focus. I thought I was failing as a homeschool teacher; having him sit in a chair was like asking a frog to stop jumping.

I called a friend who was the mother of six boys, ranging in ages from 19-8 and told her the difficulty I was having. She invited me to come and see how she taught her active teens. The day that I went to visit changed my way of thinking of teaching my sons. Five of her young men were there and the house was bustling with activity. Not the kind of atmosphere that I was used to when we were in school.

Her two younger sons were sitting at their large kitchen table working on math problems, while her three teenage sons were all working on school in very different ways than what I was accustomed to seeing. One of her teen sons walked around the house while he was reading his textbook, another was listening to music on his headphones and reading a textbook, yet another teenager who had special needs was watching a documentary on animals, pacing the floor in the other room with the television turned up loudly enough that all of us could hear it.  The two boys at the table worked for ten minutes and were dismissed for a short break to go outside and run around or shoot hoops.

My first thought was, “How could she, how could they, get anything accomplished?” Surprisingly, as I spoke to each of them later, each of the boys could tell me what they had learned that morning. Incidentally, the teenager who read while walking around also explained that he learned his multiplication tables while hanging upside down on the swing set.

Did I rush right home, let the boys listen to music, and walk around the house while reading their Algebra? No, because that was not comfortable for my teaching style, but I did have my extremely active 13 year old son run a determined set of laps around the house or shoot some basketball or play with a hacky sack when I saw him beginning to get jumpy, and it really helped! He was able to come back and focus for longer periods of time instead of me telling him to sit up, pay attention, badger him about doing his math problems, etc. No longer when I announced we were going to do math, did he fall out of his chair because I let him do his work on the living room floor (as long as he stayed focused and his handwriting was legible). As both boys grew older, they listened to music with headphones while working on things that didn’t require so much concentration (as long as they could tell me what thy had learned).

You know the level of concentration your son needs to accomplish a task, so don’t abandon everything you are doing. But, if you have a fidgety son who is having trouble staying focused, how about shorter lessons with breaks, a short physical activity,  or doing schoolwork somewhere besides at a desk, such as the floor or the couch?

~Lisa

A Thanksgiving Unit

 

The First Thanksgiving, Jennie Brownscombe

I love this national holiday for several reasons. First, it’s not too commercialized! It’s a bit hard to sell thankfulness, don’t you think? If so, I would order a case or two of it.

Another reason I like Thanksgiving is the history regarding why the Pilgrims came to America;  plus I love to read about the life of Squanto.  He chose to help the race of people who had enslaved him and were responsible (directly or indirectly) for his tribe’s demise. Squanto is one of my heroes! I have included a list of books that I have enjoyed reading to my sons about Squanto and the Pilgrims that I think you will too.

One more reason I like Thanksgiving is because this day focuses on God and the blessings He has given to us. I have included some copywork/dictation pieces for your students to practice their handwriting. Make an extra set and send them to the grandparents as I am sure they would enjoy receiving them.

Would you like to focus on Thanksgiving and do unit study? I have some lapbooks that you can download. I have included two to get you started. Just look over the activities and see which ones you would like to do with your family. I have activities for students all the way from preschool through high school.

Crafts and Art Activities: There are so many ideas that it can be overwhelming. I have only provided you with some we have done as well as a few websites.

Placemats– Make a placemat for each guest that will be attending dinner. Laminate them with contact paper so that the artwork is not destroyed with gravy. Start early on this if you have a large gathering so as not to overwhelm your artists. You can personalize the placemats or make general themes.

Click to enlarge

Thankful Wreath– Using fall colors, trace your children’s hands onto the paper and cut them out. Have each person tell you (if they are little) or write one thing they are thankful on each of the hands. Glue the fingers of one hand on to the palm of another hand. You will need to have several sets as you will want to form a wreath shape from the hands. If you have a larger number of children than you can accommodate for creating a wreath then you can make more or… you can make a wreath with construction paper leaves instead.

Thanksgiving coloring pages. Print off a few to take with you on the long car ride to Grandma if you are traveling.

How about a word find or crossword puzzle? There are several levels of difficulty that are given on this website.

Have you ever seen about.com? I have found them to be an excellent resource for topics we are studying. You are sure to find something on these two pages that you and your children will enjoy pertaining to puzzles and word finds.

Enchanted Learning has a variety of crafts, worksheets, and mini books to create for elementary students.

Here is a crossword puzzle for Bible: Psalms of Thanksgiving . You can use these verses for copywork as well.

History:

Research the first Thanksgiving.  Ideas about how to use this for school: Have student(s) narrate what they have read; ask comprehension questions about the passage; calculate how many years it was from the time of the first Thanksgiving until George Washington declared  a day of thanks.

Here is another site from Scholastic under the heading of Research Starters that has the history and additional websites to investigate. click here This website can be used for middle- senior high students.

Watch a video from the History Channel about Thanksgiving. (for older students) Accompanying the video are questions to answer.

There is quite a bit of information on this website about the Mayflower. You can read the original compact  and also read it in Governor Bradford’s own handwriting by going here: Mayflower Compact. Middle school students can narrate what they have read and answer questions such as: What was the purpose of the signing of the compact ? Why did all men sign and not women? Junior/senior high students can create their own compact. Consider why it would be important to include when beginning a new colony.  Have them create a model of their colony.

Plimouth Plantation (website with many things to do and see) I would recommend you to go to  Just for Kids, but don’t stop there because there is quite a bit to look at on this website. Older students can use this website to research topics.

Scholastic. com has some fabulous resources that contain videos of the Pilgrim’s and Native American’s villages. There are also activities to accompany your unit. Click on the right hand side for activities, lessons, and worksheets.

Research how and when Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

Books to Read:

Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Robert Clyde Bulla  Discuss how Squanto helped the Pilgrims. Squanto reminds me of another man who was ill-treated but turned it around for the good of a nation. His name was Joseph and you can read his story in the bible: Genesis chapters 37-50.  Older students can compare and contrast him to Squanto.

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh This is a nice read aloud for younger students.

Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey  This a great book for all ages as a read aloud for younger students and an assigned reader for older students. Older students can pick a few stories to highlight and tell to the family if everyone is not going to be reading it.

The If You series are books that my children and I found to provide details and factual information in an interesting format. Here are two that pertain to Thanksgiving:

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann DeVito

How about including a book report to accompany the reading? Here is a book report form from ABC Teach  thanksgiving book reports

Copywork/Dictation:

Students can copy these scripture passages on to a piece of notebook paper. Glue a piece of construction paper to the back to provide a frame. Hang up the masterpieces and memorize this month.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Older students: Use any of the documents listed above as a resource  for  copying such as the Mayflower Compact or the declaration of a day of thanks from George Washington.

Here’s a Thankfulness Character Study for your family. Click Here

Lapbooks:

Here is a lapbook for younger students to complete using the book Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 by Karma Wilson. If you can’t find the book you can still use the psalm from your favorite translation.

Another lapbook from homeschool share based upon the book Goody O’Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink. Even if you do not use the book that is recommended, you can still use the lapbook ideas.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Read Aloud Books about Animals

Summer is such a great time to read and relax on the porch with a glass of your favorite cold beverage. I have had several requests from homeschool moms this summer for books about critters to read aloud to their children. I aim to please (if I can) and have some nonfiction books that I have loved or heard about.

Sam Campbell wrote books about all of the creatures he either observed or adopted while living in the wilderness in northern Wisconsin where he lived with his wife. His books are entertaining as he describes the antics of these creatures.

319Qclbxg8L._AA160_

All Creatures Great and Small is one in a series of books written by James Herriot. Telling the stories of a country vet in Great Britain, Dr. Herriot’s  are funny, sad, and heart-warming. One time we listened to CD’s while we were in the car and the boys were not happy with just one story. They begged for more and more to the point that I thought we would run out of stories before we arrived at our destination. PBS also dramatized his stories if you want to see the countryside where he worked and lived. Some of Dr. Herriot’s stories have been made into children’s books too, such as Moses the Kitten.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.31.31 PM

The Institute for Excellence in Writing has a program for students in grades 3-5 that would correlate nicely with Dr. Herriot’s books called All Things Fun and Fascinating. It includes outlining, grammar, source texts, and creative writing. Here is a description of the program CLICK HERE

A video review of the product by a homeschool mom may prove beneficial to you as well. CLICK HERE

Unlikely Heroes, by author Jennifer Holland, is a compilation of 37 animal stories. Tales of heroic deeds done by all sorts of animals will be sure to be of interest to your animal-loving children. If this title sounds interesting, she also has written a book called Unlikely Friendships.

91gfTpprdOL

End of Year Evaluative Options

Bubble Sheet Test

Congratulations on completing a year of homeschooling! You have finished school, now what has to be done in order to be ready for your summer break?

Many states require some type of evaluation at the end of the year, whether this is testing using a nationally normed test, or having a certified teacher, such as myself, review academic samples of schoolwork. If you are in need of this service, please send me a message and I will happily contact you.

If you are wanting to have your student take a nationally normed test there are several companies that offer  testing services.

Seton Testing Services offers a variety of nationally normed tests.  The first one Listed here is the California Achievement Test (CAT). You do not need to have a college degree in order to administer this test and it is $29.00. It evaluates the following subjects:

  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension
  • Language Mechanics
  • Language Expression
  • Math Computation
  • Math Concept and Applications

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) requires a B.S. or a B.A. and a one-time administrator form to be filled out. Cost varies from $29.00-$39.00. It evaluates the following:

Language Skills
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading
  • Language
  • Word Analysis (Grades K-3 only)
  • Listening (Grades K-3 only)
  • Spelling
Mathematics
  • Math Concepts
  • Math Computation
  • Math Problem Solving
Science, Social Studies, and Study Skills
  • Social Studies
  • Science Materials
  • Sources of Information

The Stanford 10  Online is available for grades 3-12  and no degree is necessary. The price is $35.00 for each student. It evaluates the following:

  • Word Study Skills (grades 3, 4, and Fall of grade 5 only)
  • Reading Skills/Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Mathematics
  • Language
  • Spelling
  • Social Studies
  • Science

The Stanford Achievement Test is available for grades K-12  and a B.S. or a B.A. degree is required; a video must be watched,  and a test administrator form must be completed. The price ranges from $29.00-$39.00 for each student. It evaluates the same subject areas as listed for the Stanford 10  Online test.