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Homeschooling with Real Books

Homeschooling with real books (library/trade books) is much more interesting than exclusively using a textbook. The use of literature can be used to introduce, develop, or reinforce a concept that you are teaching. You may totally agree with me and are getting excited about doing this, but then comes the next thought, “Where do I begin? What books would I use?”

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books by Kristin Draeger is just such a resource you need! Kristin shares her personal homeschool experience of how she created this 120+ page list of books, games, puzzles, videos, and music.  I appreciate that she has created such a fantastic open-and-go reference guide. She has taken the time to do this so that you can do other things! Kristin has categorized the books into the subjects of math, science, history/ geography, literature, grammar, and art history. She has also created subcategories of books for students K-3 and 4th-8th grade.

I love that Kristin has included extras for your student like this CD (or streaming option) that is about addition, skip counting, and money, but also includes some art, history, and information about space.

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Math games are a terrific way to practice what has been taught without the use of yet another worksheet. Kristin recommends this logic game and I second it as my sons had this when they were young. It is compact and comes with a travel bag so that it can be played in the car or taken to doctor’s appointments. If you’d rather not take it out, it can be used as a culminating activity after your math lessons. If you click on the picture, you not only see the game, but you can watch a short video on the webpage on how it is played.

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Serious Fun: Homeschooling with Real Books is a great deal at just $10.00. This is one book that I think you would return to time and again for ideas for your library trips or stock your own library shelves with real books.

  • Note- Kristin mentions the Kratt brothers  Zoboomafoo series. You can click on the highlighted link to watch these science programs for your K-3 grader since they were not released onto DVD.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~ 

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

5 Online Math Courses

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Are you looking for some help in math or different curriculum for next year? I have several that have come recommended by fellow homeschool moms.

Math Help Offers courses from pre-Algebra through college algebra. The classes have lessons, tests, and help if needed. Classes are $49.99, which I think is a great deal!

Learn Math Fast Offers math courses from 1st-12th grade. It is self-paced so your student can move as quickly or as slowly as needed. Books are $45.00 and can be bundled for a discount.

CTC Math Offers online tutorial classes for students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. They also have worksheets, tests, and reports so that you know the progress of your child. This is great not only for you but if you do a written narrative or need to document your child’s work. You can purchase a monthly or yearly subscription.

Aleks Math  From their website- “Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained.”

Acellus has a program called Power House that your student can take up to 6 classes. The fee is $25.00 per month and is available for students K-12. It is a self-paced online video lessons program and tests are automatically graded, saving you time. 🙂

COURSE FEATURES INCLUDE:

    • Video-based lessons
    • Interactive practice problems
    • Help videos for difficult concepts
    • Reviews & exams
    • Memorization drills*
    • Digital books*
    • Onsite lesson plans

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

 

 

 

January 18: Winnie-the-Pooh Day

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What child [or parent] doesn’t love Winnie- the -Pooh? This lovable, adorable bear has been a wonderful companion of children since 1926.

In honor of the day that will celebrate the impact of literature, here are some facts about the characters and the author, A.A. Milne.

  • Winnie-the-Pooh is so well loved and recognized that he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
  • Winnie-the-Pooh’s name came from a combination of a real bear and a pet swan.
  • Pooh was purchased at Harrods department store in London and given by A.A. Milne to his son Christopher Robin on his first birthday, August 21, 1921. He was called Edward (proper form of Teddy) Bear at the time.
  • The above picture is a set of a lot that was sold at Sotheby’s in 2008 for $1,262,863.00 British sterling pounds ($1,623,029.00 US dollars)

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  • The original toys are encased in bulletproof glass and live at the New York Public Library in the Children’s section of the building.
  • The stuffed animals range in height from 25″ (Eeyore, the biggest) to 4 1/2″ (Piglet, the smallest).

I thought it would be fun for your child(ren) to have some quotes from Pooh and his friends for copywork. I hope you enjoy these and spend some time discussing them. There is a link below to click on for the document to download for your convenience. (The adorable bees border is from ClipArtMag.)

Winnie the Pooh copywork

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Teaching Cursive Handwriting

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Cursive = Dodo bird?

Every year during homeschool assessments I get asked the question. “Should I be teaching my child how to write in cursive?” Years ago I would respond to this by saying I think everyone should be able to read important historical documents and be able to sign your name on important legal documents. But, after reading and more research, I have learned there is much more to knowing how to write cursive than just that. Here are just a few of the benefits of cursive.

You can read all forms of written communication. It surprises me as to how many of my junior high students say they cannot read cursive. I have to write in manuscript if I want them to be able to read the comments I have made on their papers.

It is good for the brain. By writing in cursive, both hemispheres of the brain are engaged. It is also multisensory, using the brain, the hands, and fingers to coordinate in order to produce letters.

It is good for fine motor skills. We use our small muscles for movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. It also involves gross motor skills because cursive involves using your arm and has been referred to as whole body writing.

It increases the speed of writing. In cursive writing, letters are connected and nearly all are made in a forward motion. With print, your pencil (or pen) must be taken off of the page and placed nearby the other strokes you have created to form a letter. For instance, a lower case k is taught by first drawing a vertical line and then picking up your pencil and making a sideways v that needs to connect midway onto the vertical line that was just drawn.

It helps dyslexic students. I have written about this topic before, so here is the link to read if you are interested. CLICK HERE

Cursive can be individualized. If you have a creative, artsy child, they can make cursive their own style after they learn how to read and write traditional cursive. Calligraphy is a fun to learn as well.

Ready to get started? Here are some resources for you.

A Reason for Handwriting  This series has scriptures that are copied after the letters have been learned. The publishers have a transitions book that will be helpful in teaching cursive.

Horizons Penmanship Grades 1-5  Cursive is introduced midway through 2nd grade. Correct placement of hands, letter formation, and posture are all covered. Each book has a theme that is used throughout the book.

Handwriting Without TearsMany families with boys love this program and say this is easier than anything else they have taught.  It is simple and straightforward.

Draw Write Now incorporates penmanship, writing and drawing! You can pick from different themes and levels. My sons loved using these books.

Looking for online programs ? Handwriting Worksheets and Writing Wizard would be great places to start. These programs allow you to create your own worksheets, everything from single words to paragraphs.

Happy Writing!  ~ Lisa ~

 

 

A Fun Writing Activity

Sometimes trying to get a child to write is like trying to get an overtired child to take a nap. It. isn’t. easy. I understand your frustration and exasperation since I have been there with my sons before too.

I was reading a blog today called Education with Docrunning and they were talking about creating a newspaper using this free tool at fodey.com. I was curious to see what it was all about and found this to be so fun that I spent more time than I had on creating a newspaper article. There is something about seeing what you have written in a newspaper format that makes it intriguing. I had so much fun that I created two articles and had to stop there. It is perfect for reluctant writers because not much is seen on the page. Of course, you can break it up into several newspapers if you like.

You can use my newspaper as a guide since you can see that you need to keep the name of your newspaper pretty short. Mine was McAfee’s Almanac and it was too long.  You can also make the date whatever you prefer. It would be great to use this style of summarizing an event from history, such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, that occurred on August 28, 1963.  If you are interested in looking into this,  CLICK HERE