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August 2014

by Mary Ann Kelley
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Mapping Books, Geography, Student Newspapers. Organizing Homeschool Activities, and More

From the Editor

Another school year beginning… and this one I’ll have only one child at home. My eldest transfers to UVA this month as a 3rd year. While I’m excited for her and all that the future holds, it will be awfully quiet without her around. I’m still working on plans for my younger daughter for 11th grade, but it will be a light year since she will be taking 3 classes at the community college and I’m outsourcing her Spanish class. I hope things are shaping up nicely in your homeschool for the upcoming year. If you are likely to organize any homeschool outings for a group this year, be sure to read Jeanne’s #1 tip for organizing homeschool activities in this issue’s featured article. Enjoy the newsletter!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley


P.S. If you haven’t Liked our Facebook page yet, please do – it’s a great way to keep up with new content and interesting homeschool resources from across the web.


Teaching Calendar

August 14, 2014 — Japan agrees to surrender to the Allies – 1945

August 18, 2014 — Virginia Dare born – 1587

August 19, 2014 — National Aviation Day

August 21, 2014 — Hawaii Admission Day – 1959

August 24, 2014 — Mt. Vesuvius eruption – 79

August 26, 2014 — Charles Lindbergh died – 1974

August 27, 2014 — Krakatoa eruption

August 28, 2014 — “I Have a Dream” speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr.

August 29, 2014 — Hurricane Katrina anniversary – 2005

View the entire calendar »


Educational Resources

Booma: The Book Mapping Project

Ever wondered about the geography of a place in a book? We have featured Google Lit Trips in the past, and Booma is a new project along the same lines. The site wants to “build the world’s largest database of geographic information that’s pulled from books.” It’s a great way to continue to interact with a book after you have read it, and can be a launching point for further learning. You can Like their Facebook page to keep up with new content.

Around the World in 80 Books

Along similar lines is this resource from New York Public Library featuring 80 books set in other countries that would complement any elementary or middle school geography study. The compiler writes, “In selecting books for a specific country I attempted to cover that country’s customs, folklore, traditions, cuisine, art, fashion, cultural attitudes to childhood, as well as famous historical figures. Artistic and literary merits of the book, as well as its current availability were taken into consideration. Given a wide variety of children’s reading levels, as well as the indisputable appeal of picture books to readers of all ages, I would recommend this list to children from kindergarten all the way to middle school.”

ModMath App

“For some, the hardest part about math is writing the darn problem.” Designed for use by people with dysgraphia and dyslexia, the ModMath app for iOS was designed by parents whose son struggled with dysgraphia and dyslexia to help their son avoid math problems caused by writing out the problem. They recognized that if “a student can’t read his own writing, or if the number columns don’t line up, how is he supposed to master math concepts like regrouping, long division, or multiplication with multiple digits?” The ModMath app “is an adaptive program that improves math skills. The app lets you type math problems right onto the touch screen of an iPad rather than write them out long-hand. You can then solve the problems using the touch pad and print or e-mail the assignments all without ever picking up a pencil.” ModMath is a free download in the iTunes App Store.

Teachers’ Guide to Creating Student Newspapers

This free download from the Free-Lance Star newspaper covers all of the basics and then some for anyone wanting to produce a student newspaper. Student-produced newspapers are a great way to integrate learning in language arts, technology, social studies, and more. Students could work on a newspaper covering a topic they are studying for the year or even specifically for a topic of interest, more like an topical periodical. The download covers the following topics: News
Writing, Feature Writing, Editorial Writing, Sports Writing, Entertainment, Writing, Business Writing, Photojournalism, Advertising, Design and Production of the Newspaper, Tips on How to Read a Newspaper, Freedom and Responsibility of the Press, Sensational and Tabloid Journalism, The Far Side of the Newspaper, Other Kinds of Newspapers, Newspapers on the Internet and Into the Future, and more.


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Featured Article

#1 Tip for Organizing Homeschool Activities

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The #1 Tip for Organizing Homeschool Activities


You float an idea on a homeschool email list or a Facebook group:

“I’m planning a field trip to Smith Historical Farm on the morning of April 10. I can get a group rate if we have 20 kids, and they’ll do special hands-on projects with the children.”

You give the details, and people say “count us in,” giving a headcount of 32 children for the field trip.

The day before the field trip, emails start
flying with all the reasons people can’t be there. You go anyway, embarrassed to find that only 11 kids are there, and two of them are technically too young to participate. The Smith Historical Farm people are nice, but point out that you no longer qualify for the group rate, meaning that each family is now going to pay double what they expected.

The families who attend feel resentful at the unexpected cost, you feel unwilling to organize future events, and the Smith Historical Farm staff have supplies they didn’t need for people who didn’t show up – and not the greatest impression of homeschoolers.

What’s the solution?

Read the rest »

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