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Elementary

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Teaching Parts of Speech

Fun Ways To Teach Parts of Speech

Learning does not have to be boring. Hands-on, active lessons are best for engaging the child and for memory retention. Below are five fun activities to teach the parts of speech. The 9 Parts of Speech: Before participating in any of the activities, review the following parts of speech with your student. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

What Curriculum Should I Use For My 4 Year Old?

Recently on TheHomeSchoolMom’s Facebook page someone asked for recommendations for her soon to be 4 year old. It took me back to when I had a 4 year old and a 1 year old and had recently decided to homeschool.

I. Was. So. Excited. What curriculum should I use? Continue reading »

Peter Gray quote from TheHomeSchoolMom Blog Post "Why Homeschooling Boys Works"

Why Homeschooling Boys Works

Today a friend posted a video called “War on Boys” to Facebook and it showed up in my feed with lots of enthusiastic comments. As I watched the 5 minute video, all I could think was how obvious the video’s assertions are, and yet how far public schools are moving away from addressing the truths presented. Not just limited to boys (many girls share these traits with boys), the video shows how the policies being implemented in schools reward quiet intellectual pursuits in young children while simultaneously removing the opportunities for these kids to explore and learn through play. Continue reading »

Science Notebooking

Science Notebooking

Science Notebooking shows how teachers are using notebooking to enhance their science curriculum at the elementary school level. Although the contributors are classroom teachers, homeschoolers will find many useful ideas and resources, including a free Interactive Science Notebook download. Continue reading »

Editing writing (instead of curriculum)

Instead of Curriculum: Bring Me Bad Writing

“Bring me bad writing,” I told my two homeschool co-op classes of middle school and elementary age writers. “Incorrect writing, wrong apostrophes, sentence fragments, typos, passive voice. Horrible stuff. Bring it.”

The next week, they marched in with an array of bad writing they’d found on websites, on convenience store signs, on gas pumps, in a letter from a college administrator, in text books, in novels, and in their own journals.

They had snapped photos, hand copied passages, bookmarked pages, and printed screen shots. Continue reading »

LEGO® Build With Chrome

Build with Chrome: LEGO® Goes Virtual

As if homeschoolers don’t have enough of the real thing hidden under couch cushions, Google has just unveiled a new virtual LEGO® building site, Build With Chrome. A tie-in with the upcoming film, The LEGO® Movie™, the site features a 3D graphics technology that lets you build and display LEGO® creations using virtual bricks. While LEGO® has offered its own free building software for years, Build With Chrome is adapted for use on touch screens, including tablets and smart phones as well as on computers (with or without touch screens). Continue reading »

What I learned about homeschooling from Saxon Math

What I Learned about Homeschooling from Saxon Math

As you may have read over on my personal blog, I’m thinning my library of homeschooling books, and it’s an occasion for reflection. One of the things I finally feel free to do is to pass along my copy of Saxon Math.

Saxon didn’t work for us. In fact, it didn’t work in dramatic ways. We had multiple reasons for beginning homeschooling, but among the academic reasons was that the math taught at school was a poor fit and created a lot of stress and little math learning. Continue reading »

Learning ABCs with rocks and trees

The Alphabet Walk: Learning ABCs with Rocks and Trees

Winter is a wonderful time to take Alphabet Walks with your children. In my part of the U.S., this means bundling up for the cold weather, but hunting for the ABCs in nature may be just the thing to get you and the kids moving on darker winter days.

The main object of an Alphabet Walk is to find letters that have been unintentionally formed in the outdoors. Perhaps crossing tree branches form an X against the blue sky, or a cat curved on your deck forms a perfect C. A front door wreath on your neighbor’s house is an O. The brickwork above the windows in an old Main Street building creates a V. Continue reading »

Instead of Curriculum: Hands-on Math

Learning Multiplication by Hand: Manipulating Math

In Instead of Curriculum: Math Games, I described some of the games I played with my sons to help them learn and practice their multiplication facts. Today, I’ll tell about some of the hands-on tools homeschoolers use to help their kids make sense of the basic concept of multiplication as well as related multiplication facts. Continue reading »

Instead of Curriculum: Math Games

Instead of Curriculum: Math Games (Fun Multiplication Practice!)

You can drill and kill the times tables to help your kids learn multiplication facts – or you can play math games with them. Here are some of the math games that helped our sons practice multiplication painlessly. Continue reading »

Handwriting: What to use instead of curriculum

Instead of Curriculum: Handwriting Practice

As regular readers know, I’m a big advocate of using accessible learning methods instead of curriculum. For some homeschoolers, this is in addition to their regular curriculum, and for others it’s truly instead of any packaged formal curriculum.

I’m used to hearing that you can’t learn math this way — that’s a common chorus among homeschoolers — but I was in a recent conversation with a homeschool mom who was all for the “instead-of-curriculum” approach except for handwriting. And by handwriting, she meant printing–learning to print. Continue reading »

Resource of the Week: Kids Discover Downloads

Kids Discover Downloads

The Kids Discover website offers a large selection of free downloads that can be used without a subscription (they also offer lesson plans specific to the magazine). The Infopackets are quality resource excerpts from the magazines that are multi-page PDF files. Printable Infographics are available on dozens of topics, along with topical articles on the website. Free registration is required to access the downloads. Continue reading »

Autumn Craft: Candle Making

Candle Making: An Autumn Craft

Longer hours of darkness are settling in on our part of the world with the fall season, and we could use a little extra flicker of light.

Candle making is the perfect autumn craft. The process is creative and rewarding, and the candles you and your kids make together are an autumn antidote to the days’ low angled sunlight and early arriving nights.

If I have a deficit as a homeschooling mom, it’s that I’m not very crafty, and I don’t enjoy or excel at handwork. However, making candles with my sons was one of our more successful craft endeavors, so I’m sure you can do it. Continue reading »

Instead of Homeschool Curriculum: D'Aulaires' Mythology Books

Instead of Curriculum: D’Aulaires’ Mythology Books

Some of my favorite children’s books are also wonderful learning resources you can use instead of curriculum. Among these are the oversize children’s classics about mythology by the d’Aulaires. The D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and the D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths delighted all my kids when they were pre-readers through their late elementary years, and I found that the understanding of mythology they learned from these books persisted through their middle school and high school years, when they needed to spot and comprehend literary allusions to mythology. Continue reading »

Resource of the Week: You Be The Chemist

You Be The Chemist

You Be The Chemist Activity Guides: Lesson Plans for Making Chemistry Fun are first-rate science resources available for free from the Chemical Education Foundation. YBTC offers 2 Activity Guides that contain “a variety of exciting science lesson plans, enabling educators to bring hands-on learning to students, inside and outside of the classroom. The Activity Guides are divided according to grade level, one for grades K-4 and the other for grades 5-8. Together the Activity Guides contain almost 1,000 pages of educator-reviewed experiments, activity sheets, supplements, and a resource guide filled with safety information, and much more.” Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Phylo Nature Trading Card Games

Nature Trading Card Games

A trading card game with gorgeous artwork and a focus on biodiversity, the phylo project aims to help kids to identify the nature life around them. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom's Resource of the Week: Journaling Ideas for Kids

Journal Ideas for Kids

Do you want to encourage your children (or yourself) to journal but it’s hard to stay on track? This Is Me Challenge is a website with writing challenges published on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month. Continue reading »

Get Ready for Spring with Field Guides

A library of field guides is an important resource for homeschooling families, and with spring just around the corner, it’s a great time to make sure you have what you need on hand to help with identification of birds, trees, insects, spiders, snakes, turtles, frogs, toads, and wildflowers. Our field guides have always been among the most accessible books in our house. Rather than shelving them with other books, I usually keep them stacked — with their spines showing their titles — right on top of a low book shelf or table near the back door. Continue reading »

Creating a Calendar with Children

A great project for the New Year is making a calendar with your little ones. I’m talking about making a calendar the old fashioned way, using fresh heavy art paper and your favorite combination of markers, colored pencils, oil pastels, or other media. I first got this idea from the Oak Meadow first grade curriculum, a Waldorf-inspired curriculum which I loosely followed from time to time and adapted for other ages as my family grew. Continue reading »

TheHomeSchoolMom: Quirky Interests Build Strong Kids

Quirky Interests Build Strong Kids

It is pure, unadulterated joy to be wrapped up in a pursuit that is generated by our own interests and fully engages our abilities. For Cameron, as for most of us, the end product isn’t the reward so much as the experience. That’s true whether the work we’re doing is raising children, building a business, filming a documentary or creating a series of paintings. When we connect deeply with what we do it’s a continual process of growth, learning and awareness. We’re not invested in the judgment of others. The satisfactions are much richer. Continue reading »