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April 2013

by Mary Ann Kelley
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Webcams, Periodic Table, Insects, Delayed Reading, Insider Tip, and More

From the Editor

Yesterday on the way home from dropping my daughter off at gymnastics, I was excited to notice that the pear trees are full of little white blossoms. Soon masses of white petals will be floating through the air and green leaves will replace the blooms, ushering in the long-awaiting warmer weather of spring. It will be most welcome!

Spring brings us closer to the end of the school year, which means plans for my oldest daughter’s graduation ceremony. Homeschooling has allowed her to finish up high school with 33 college credits completed, giving her a head start on a degreee and flexibility with her choices for next year. I am again reminded of how thankful I am for the opportunity to homeschool. Enjoy your little ones today – you will be amazed at how quickly the time passes!

Enjoy the newsletter!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley


Website Updates and Additions

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Educational Resources

Animal Planet Live

Animal Planet is taking advantage of the cuteness of kittens and puppies. And goats. And chicks.

The beauty of tropical fish and the horror of enormous cockroaches compete with cows, nettles, ants, calves, Beluga whales, and penguins in their new website dedicated solely to live webcams. A few ads are interspersed in the feeds, and the site has sponsor banners on the feeds, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from getting their daily dose of cuteness. According to the New York Times, “The average visitor to the Kitten Cam on Animal Planet’s Web site has a hard time leaving. The live Internet stream of felines has been watched more than 25 million times since it started last September. The average person, seemingly transfixed by the cuteness, stays on the page for 18 minutes and 50 seconds.”

An established and larger version of Animal Planet Live, has almost 40 cams around the world that feed live video of animals, culture, northern lights, and more to its site. There are films of some of the highlights of the videos, photos capturing a variety of stories, and blogs with facts, photos, and videos.

You can truly explore the world from the comfort of your home with


Make Your Own Periodic Table

The periodic table of elements is not just for high school! Teresa Bondara, a former high school science teacher, has made it her mission to take away the intimidation factor by introducing the table early and often. Her free download, How To Make Your Own Periodic Table For Children, shows you how to easily make a periodic table for your wall and refer to it as part of daily life. She also includes a sample page of The Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book, available on amazon.


Virtual Roach

If your kids were interested in the cockroach cam at Animal Planet Live (above), follow up with this virtual roach exploration (because virtual is always better when it comes to roaches!) from Orkin. It is a fully interactive virtual roach designed to be an instructional tool about insect anatomy. In addition to the interactive model, Orkin offers related links for learning more about the insect.

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Recent Blog Posts

Benefits of Homeschooling: Building Content During a Skills Lag

Benefits of Homeschooling: Building Content During a Skills LagMuch has been made of the academic benefits of homeschooling, but often without getting specific about how those benefits actually work. One of the most important benefits of homeschooling I’ve witnessed over the years has been the way homeschooling allows kids to build knowledge during times that some of their specific academic skills might be seen as “behind” (by school standards). Read more »

Resource of the Week: Smarter Every Day

Resource of the Week: Smarter Every DayI admit it – I am a complete failure at science experiments. Maybe that is why I get so excited about cool science stuff online. Recently I discovered Smarter Every Day, a YouTube channel created by a missile engineer in Huntsville, Alabama. This is science the way it should be experienced! Read more »

The Joys of Authentic Engagement: Blending Curriculum- and Community-Based Learning

The Joys of Authentic Engagement: Blending Curriculum- and Community-Based LearningFor many families, homeschooling provides amazing opportunities to reflect on, reconsider, and restructure daily routines and rhythms around what matters the most. They find themselves opting out of the rush ‘n go in favor of a slower-paced, more balanced, fully flavored schedule. Having more TIME is just one awesome by-product: time to slow down and do things your own way, with intention and purpose; time to establish routines that will nourish and nurture you, your children, and your family, your community, restore balance, and provide important flexibility; time

to explore and follow your passions, get involved in community projects, try something new; to time to catch your breath, open yourself up to the possibilities and truly relish your time with your children. Read more »

Featured Article

An Insider Tip For Keeping Kids Focused

by Rebecca Capuano

I think every family needs a highly distracted kid. Because if you don’t have one, you’re just missing out on life’s best possible training ground for patience. And creativity. And endurance. And…

Well, anyway. Let’s just say if you don’t have one, you are not getting the full parenting and homeschooling experience. So go borrow someone else’s for a while, and give some poor homeschooling mother somewhere her sanity for a couple of hours.

These are the kids to whom you can give a task, only to discover, 15 minutes later, that they went upstairs to do the task and got completely sidetracked by a doodad they saw sitting in the hallway, and are now sitting in the floor making something creative of that doodad. Or the children that, no matter how hard you try to get them to listen, can’t seem to focus on what you are saying when you are trying to teach them a Math concept, but can’t pull their focus away from a game on the computer, regardless of what you do. Or the students that you leave with an academic task, only to find, once you’ve returned from helping their siblings, that they have been doodling all over the paper but haven’t completed a single problem.

Read the whole article…

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