Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spelling Practice!!!

Despite all the excitement about big ideas and constructing knowledge and understanding, there is still some places where rote memorization for rapid fluency and total automaticity is important.

Math facts and sight words. We need to practice these so that there's not a slight hesitation and so we can really think quickly about other things.  This requires practice practice practice practice.
Fortunately, there's technology to help us practice and practice and practice.

To help practice, there's VocabularySpellingCity with lists of words by grade level and over 35 different learning games to practice with. Take a look? YES!

1st Grade Word Lists
2nd Grade Word Lists
3rd Grade Word Lists
4th Grade Word Lists
5th Grade Word Lists
6th Grade Word Lists

It's free. Free. Well sort of free. The saving of lists and setting up of parent homeschool accounts is free. The vocabulary and writing exercises and the student login cost some money, around $35 per year. So, a good deal. Enjoy

Friday, March 18, 2016

Let's Stop Contraction Abuse!

When my kids were learning to read and spell, contractions were one of the thing that seemed to trip them up the most. They can be tricky buggers! Trying to explain to a the concept to a child can be a bit difficult. Thank goodness for sites like spelling city that help to make learning about contractions easy and fun.

Now my kids get annoyed when they see a contraction misused. Such as using they're in place of their or your for you're. That happens all too often on Facebook and other social media sites. Quite frankly it annoys me when I see it too.

Perhaps if we raise awareness then fewer people will abuse poor innocent contractions! I mean what did they ever do to these people anyway??

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Redesign of the SAT; It's Finally here!

It's 2016 and there is a a  Redesigned SAT!!!

The SAT® has changed. Rather than drift off into oblivion, the SAT folk (ie the College Board) changed directions!

In March 2014, the College Board  announced a complete overhaul of the test. It's becoming much like their arch rival, the ACT!  

The new SAT is no longer referred to as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Its an test of academic skills, not than the old of aptitude or IQ. Basically, it tests what you've learned in Math,  Reading. and Writing. 
Prepworks software helps student prepare by both familiarizing them with the test questions, providings strategies for approaching the questions but most importantly, it actually builds the skills that the SAT tests. In some ways, its a course totally focused on the skills that the SAT will measure. 

In terms of knowing the strategy for test taking, here is some of Prepworks info on scoring:

The Redesigned SAT scoring breakdown is one of the most noticeable changes to the College Board’s test.
The Old SAT penalized students ¼ point for an incorrect answer and was scored on a 2400-point system. Starting March 5, 2016, students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers and the composite score (a.k.a. overall score for the test) will use a 1600-point system, pulling from 2 section scores that range from 200-800 points.
The new SAT Score Breakdown:
  •    Math: 200 min./800 max.
  •    Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 200 min./800 max.
  •    COMPOSITE SCORE = 400 min./1600 max.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Homeschooling Ideas

Many parents like to have a different less intense schedule in the summer but they also want to maintain educational momentum. Reading can be a mainstay of summer intellectual activity.  Here are some other ideas for summer supplements or programs:

Time4Learning’s automated learning system has been helping over 200,000 homeschool families for over a decade by teaching concepts and promoting computer literacy through entertaining and engaging tools. Students love the "outside the box" combination of animated activities, instructional videos, and interactive lessons that allow them to learn at their own pace. Try giving Time4Learning for summer study!

Alternatively, many parents take advantage of the summer to work on their student's creativity and writing skills.  A good way to get one-on-one writing instruction over the net is with Time4Writing's summer writing courses.

The incredibly popular VocabularySpellingCity has a summer program that they provide to their premium members. Sign up for a family membership and get their summer vocabulary program included. They have 40 word learning games and activities for each level.

Learning Programs for Summer Study


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elementary Science Education

Learning about science can be a lot of fun. It can be a walk in the garden, it can be a series of "thought experiments."  It can be hands-on, you can tinker, you can play, you can build, you can make, and so on.  Many homeschool parents really enjoy and do a great job of providing great hands-on experiences for children. Pets, field trips, use of the garden, and all sorts of experiments are popular with homeschooler.

But what's best?  For what age?  Realistically,  it's a mix of hands-on with a structure that provides a good science foundation.

S4U features physical science for elementary, earth/space science, life sciences, and inquiry.

Here's my favorite science songs for elementary students.

I think the way to go is use Science4Us for PreK, K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. It provides a structure for the program and makes sure that you cover the basics. Left to their own devices, many  families will probably put together a science program which is heavily biology and avoid physical science.  S4U will make sure that parents provide a balanced program. Parents can still do lots of hands-on either using the Science4Us lesson plans or invent your own.

Science4Us has hundreds of suggested hands-on elementary science activities most of which can be done with equipment that can be found around the house!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thank You!

This past week we celebrated the 4th of July, a day of independence. There are so many military homeschoolers out there. I would like to say THANK YOU, to those who serve and those families that are out there that we often forget.

Summer Fun Tip #4

Summer Fun Tip #4

During the summer a lot of families take road trips. Here are a few ideas for games to do while on the road.

Travel Bingo -  There are so many different ways or version to play Travel Bingo.  The simple way without having to print anything is to make a list of items you think you might see on your trip. This is a great reading activity.  Your child must read the list and check all of them off to win. (Or check a certain number off to win.) In searching for travel bingo printables I found all kinds of versions. Like these below.

But if you don't want to have something printable there is always other games. If you have a child who has problems looking out the windows, car sickness stinks. Then you can play an analogy game. This is simple your child can sit with their eyes closed if they want.  

Give an example, like foot is to sock like hand is to glove. After you have given a few examples then start asking them to finish the analogies. Some example to use are…

Car is to Road as Plane is to ________ (Sky)
Red is to Apple as Yellow is to ________ (Banana) 
Dog is to Puppy as Cat is to _________ (Kitten)
Moon is to Night as Sun is to _________ (Day) 

The possibilities are endless. Once your child gets the hang of it ask them to think of some and see if they can stump you. 

What other games do you and your family play? 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Laid back schooling during the summer.

Even though most are in full summer mode. We are still in school mode. We school year round. We did take a week off for boy scout camp but we will be jumping right back in come monday. I am in the process of writing lesson plans.  We do our school a little more laid back then the regular school year. Okay we are laid back in all of our schooling. (big smile)

When I say laid back I mean in every since of the word. We will lay around reading history, reading chapter books, hang out under a tree or on the beach doing math. Yeah laid back is what I would call our way of doing school during the summer. Oh wait, we are like that year round.

Are you laid back or very structured? I would love to know about your homeschool day in the summer vs school year.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Fun Tip #3

Tip #3

Don't you hate getting stuck inside during the summer. Either it is TOO HOT 

or it is RAINING

Why not start lapbooking at the beginning of summer and add to it when it is either two hot, raining outside or your kids say I am bored!

A lap book can be based on one subject, multiple subjects or a book. Here are some examples of different lap books.

Lapbook on Fish - You can add items about fish in general, maybe get into more detail on your favorite fish. Share the difference in sharks, fish, dolphins etc.. Write a poem about fish. What is the biggest fish or what is the smallest fish.

Lapbook on Farm Life - You could add animals that are on the farm; how do they eat, how do they sleep; how do they grow. Maybe add a section on crops that can be grown on a farm. The different kinds of crops, what area they grow best in etc.. Then there is the farm equipment that is needed for both animals and crops. 

Lapbook on your favorite book - Share about the author, what their life is like, where do they live, what caused them to start writing books, Share about the time period that the book is written. Add a few booklets about each character or set of characters. 

There are so many ways to enjoy lap books. You can stretch them out all summer long. Just pull them out as you need something to do. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Fun Tip #2

Summer Fun Tip #2.

How do you keep your kids from forgetting all that they learned through out the school year? Choose different fun ways to refresh their memory.  

  • Vocabulary Test - don't sound fun at all do they? What about when you are in the car bring along a dry erase board and though out a vocabulary word you had over the past school year and have the kids draw a picture of what the definition is.
  • Math Quiz Beach Style - When you are at the beach challenge your kids to answer math problems like 8x8 but write it in the sand and have them write their answer in the sand, too.
  • History Review - Choose a topic from your history and dress up and even make food from that time period. 
There are so many ways to review your school year and still have some fun. What are some of your ideas?