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May 2013

by Mary Ann Kelley
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Science, Math, Notebooking, Changing Curriculum, and more

From the Editor

This month my oldest daughter graduates from high school. We are blessed to be in an area with a support group that puts on a lovely graduation ceremony for homeschooled seniors (although my I-don’t-like-pomp-and-circumstance teen would disagree about it being a blessing). We are busy preparing for graduation and her (gasp!) eighteenth birthday, which occur the same week. As you begin to wrap up your school year and plan for next year, take some time out to just enjoy your kids. You won’t regret it.

Enjoy the newsletter!

Warm regards,

Mary Ann Kelley


Website Updates and Additions

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Educational Resources

Notebooking Fairy
Notebooking Fairy is a wonderful collection of all things Notebooking. Not only has Jimmie put together a bunch of free notebooking downloads at her site, but she has gathered links to the best notebooking resources on the web. My favorite resource is her Notebooking Roundup. Spotlight features interviews with homeschool moms telling how they use notebooking to enhance learning, and Show Offs is full of examples. Her How Tos section is full of great tips and ideas as well as reviews of notebooking products. Jimmie sells a resource of her own, too — an e-book called Notebooking Success ($6.79) that explains how notebooking is a learning technique that is applicable to all academic areas for every student you teach regardless of grade level.


Scitable is a free upper level science library and personal learning tool from Nature Publishing Group. The resources are mainly in the fields of genetics and cell biology, but there are other resources available. High school students interested in science might find the guide to life science careers useful, and Scientific Communication details how to present science research in writing, in person, and through visuals. The site has an abundance of useful information in their Career Guide.


Illuminations is the website of National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and offers resources for teaching math. Over 100 activities are organized by grade and over 600 lessons are organized by grade and topic. The Dynamic Paper generator is a cool way to print nets (printable patterns that fold into shapes), tesselations, number lines, graph papers, and more to your exact specifications.


American Sign Language Browser
Although ASL, like any language, is best learned in person through an immersion method, the ASL Browser is a nice tool to introduce students to the language and allow them to teach themselves words and some basic phrases. The browser opens to the “A” page and the words are listed down the right side. To move to a different letter of the alphabet, choose it from the list at the bottom of the main frame. Motion signs are displayed through videos, static signs are displayed as images. ASL Browser is free but not currently updated. An alternative is SignSavvy, which has tiered access ranging from free to $9.95/month.


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Recent Blog Posts

Kindness Makes a World of Difference

Kindness Makes a World of DifferenceKindness is taught in many schools alongside the ABCs and the multiplication tables. And when asked, most parents would probably say we already are teaching our children to be kind every day. But are we? Or rather, how can we do this more consciously and more effectively? Read more »



Simple Steps for Teaching Kindness to Kids

Simple Steps for Teaching Kindness to KidsHow we speak to and treat our children matters. Modeling skills such as good listening, how to speak nicely even when you are in a hurry or upset, and the Golden Rule, all contribute to creating a kinder Planet Earth. Of course, demonstrating behaviors like these is one thing—figuring out how to teach these “kindness skills” to our children can take a bit more thought. Read more »



How to Choose Extra-Curricular Activities For Your Child

How to Choose Extra-Curricular Activities For Your ChildSoccer? Dance? Basketball? Piano lessons? Swim team? Debate team? Choir?

There are so many options, it can make your head spin.

At some point in your homeschooling career, you will have to decide: What are we going to do about extra-curricular activities for our children? Read more »



Resource of the Week: Could Lincoln Be Elected Today?

Resource of the Week: Could Lincoln Be Elected Today?“Could Lincoln Be Elected Today?” is a resource for teaching critical thinking from FlackCheck.org, the political literacy companion site to FactCheck.org. “The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.” Most of the content is video and a 4 page lesson plan PDF file is available for the Lincoln lesson. The resource is an excellent way to train students to look for manipulation and fallacies in political arguments, and it is enlightening to learn the lesser known facts about Lincoln and see how the
y could be used against him if he were to run for president today. Read more »


Featured Article

Changing Curriculum, Again

by Rebecca Capuano

I am going to be a math curriculum expert before this whole homeschooling thing is over.

Yep, we are now on our third math program in four years.

This isn’t how I planned it, but then, does anything in homeschooling go according to plan? I would have liked to have begun a math program in Kindergarten and stuck with it, at least through the sixth grade. That would have helped me be able to avoid repetition, progress more efficiently, and be able to keep a more accurate assessment of exactly what she was mastering.

Alas, it was not to be.

My oldest daughter struggles with math; the logical, detailed nature of things like arithmetic are just a challenge for her creative, spatially-oriented, holistic right-brained mind. To help her, I have used a variety of programs — actually 3 different programs in 4 years. I’ve tried a number of different approaches, with mixed success. The good news is that she is progressing adequately, and I have learned a lot about homeschooling math programs. The bad news is that it is highly likely that no matter what program I use, math is just not ever going to be “her thing”.

Except, is that really bad news?

Read more…

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