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Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days: Learning Games

I apologize for getting this link out a bit late today. This weekend has just overwhelmed me. My husband got sick enough last night that I had to take him to the hospital. (He's fine now, just a little breathing problem that's been taken care of.) Needless to say, blogging about a free online resource for homeschoolers hasn't been foremost on my mind this weekend.

The rest of this day has been busy taking care of the husband and kids and working on projects that needed to get done today. I thought I'd at least do an easy quick resource. I really wasn't sure I'd include this one since it tends to already be a fairly well-known site. But it is free, and it's a great learning tool that I've let my kids use for the last 4 or so years. I credit much of my middle son's early reading skills to this website. So for those of you that have never heard of this site:

is a a wonderful language learning site for preschool through 2nd grade.



Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days: Relentless Learning

Every time I see a new post at Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational, my brain starts ticking away. I immediately think of what lesson that activity could enhance.... or just how much fun my boys would have doing it. The activities are designed with a 1st grade boy in mind, so of course with 2 boys within the same age range, I know that they will not only have tons of fun, they will also be challenged.

Milk Chocolate Multiplication - perfect for our chocolate Download N Go unit, plus it gives Cedric (and Elijah) a head start in learning his times table. Free printable worksheet.

Homemade Laptop - sure, not quite as exciting as the actual computer, but great for learning the keyboard and practicing spelling words. Free printable laptop pages and worksheets.

Starry Night - I've been wanting to add some fine art lessons of some kind. Printable art book.

Bowling Addition - hello! Just what I want for helping Cedric learn his addition facts. Free printable bowling record/addition worksheet.

These compose just a small sampling of the inventive fun (and frugal!) ideas posted on Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational... Great supplemental lessons for a homeschooler.

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days: A Seasonal Treat

Classroom freebies

What better place to browse for some great freebies than a blog entitled "Classroom Freebies?" None that I can think of. This blog is like a conglomeration of many other bloggers posting the teaching stuff they have for free on their blog. In fact, their subtitle is "Top educators bringing you the best resources for you classroom every day & always free." So many links to so many neat places!

Some of the posts definitely deal more with classroom management or such that might not be entirely useful for the home educator. But there is an abundance of links for really neat printables or teaching ideas.

What caught my eye recently is this seasonal activity:



Remember how I said I was looking for addition/subtraction for my oldest. How perfect is this?! There is also a cute printout for the above activity for the student to record all the math facts they figure out. Just need to buy some candy corn now... and some ink... been printing too much good stuff lately!

Have fun browsing around!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days: Confessions...


coahbutton

Confessions of a Homeschooler is a neat blog I found awhile ago. Erica has a pretty neat printable chore chart that I've printed off. I almost have it all assembled and ready to put to use. Just need to buy a chart-holder-thingy to hold the cards.

Erica also has a wonderful collection of free printables, separated into categories/subjects. Since I'm on the lookout for some adding/subtracting learning activites for Cedric, I was pleased to find a pretty fun game listed on her math printables page called Add It! Math Game.

She's got some cute PE cards on the Art/PE printables page that can be used as reminders to put some exercise in the schedule. These are great because they give a specific activity. I have a hard time remembering to get the kids out and exercising (which is one reason why we enrolled Cedric in PE class at our local school), and even when I do remember, I can never think of what to have the boys do except to go out and run around the house. So I'll be printing these cards out next! They match the chore chart cards, so it'd be easy to incorporate them into the daily chores.

She also has some great tips on how to get started making your own printables, which is something I've been wanting to do.

Go check out Confessions of a Homeschooler! She has lots of neat printables, hints and tips, just a great assortment of useful info.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days: 2 Teaching Mommies

Today's "free" site is a blog that I recently found.



They have thematic printable preschool packs with the most adorable graphics, and horribly fun activities! And by 'horribly' I mean 'delightfully'! There are statistics pages, puzzles, writing practice pages, matching pages... And many others...

I've used a couple of these unit packs with my Kindergartner who needs extra help in the writing area. Even my 2nd grader is intrigued by the fun look of the puzzless/activities and wants to do them. He complains that Elijah gets all the fun pages to do. Currently we are using their Pirate pack, and I made sure to make copies of some of the pages for both boys to do... even if Cedric is a bit beyond that learning level.

Just downloaded their pumpkin pack to do next week, and the monster pack looks really fun too! Take a peek at their themes and see what you might like... or rather what your kids might like!

(Guess I need to look around for more challenging but "fun" pages for Cedric to do. Anyone know of a good free site that does 2nd grade level theme packs like what 2 Teaching Mommies has?)


2 Teaching Mommies' blog posts include many helpful tips/hints on teaching, craft ideas, and center/sensory ideas, as well as links to download their free printables.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days: Spelling Helps

(Today's free site was brought to my attention recently by my homeschooling, mother of 4, friend, Rebecca. Thanks, Rebecca!)

Does it seem in this age of texting that correct spelling is available, not by brain-power, but by spell-checker alone?

That's irritating to me! Spelling correctly is, in my opinion (Or is that IMO?), an indication of an educated person. (Although, I know and understand that spelling is not everyone's strong suit, no matter how intelligent they may be. I mean no offense to those for whom spelling is a struggle! That is a different matter than the case brought about by texting.) The prevalence of misspelled words because of the texting language is just... irritating!

Okay, okay... I do use some of those acronyms myself. I like to use LOL...  and K (for "okay")... and emoticons... and well, that's about it. I've always said that I can type out the full sentence "See you later." faster than I can figure out the shorthand way (c u l8r). It's rather amusing though, when texting spills over into the spoken word... like when my sister answered a question with, "IDK." (for "I don't know.") I laughingly asked her if it really took less time to say the acronym instead of the full sentence... She hadn't even realized she answered in texting form!

So I'm trying to make sure my boys get a good foundation in spelling (and not introduce them to texting vocabulary for many years to come.) so that when they get to college, they aren't placed in a remedial writing course because of truncated writing that is probably caused by texting. (It's one thing to know how to spell words and write well, yet use texting language for the convenience of it, and another thing altogether to believe that those shortened words/sentences are acceptable in an essay handed in for a high school assignment!)

But I digress... back to the topic at hand!

Today's free site will be of tremendous help for my boys to learn their spelling words.

Spelling City is a fantastic site with all kinds of fun games to play that incorporate spelling words. You can either choose from a selection of vocabulary words, or you can type in your child's weekly spelling words from your own list. Let them learn and play! And even take the test online!

As my husband recounts from his grade school days, playing computer games that contained his weekly spelling words was the main reason he passed his spelling tests.

There are also handwriting pages that can be printed off for practice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days: Flashcards

I bought some flashcards the other day - Lightning McQueen addition and subtraction flashcards! Kachow!

Sure, pretty cool! My boys love the character cards...

But... they don't have all the addition possibilities for adding numbers up to 20. For example, there might be the addition problems 7+3 and 9+4, but not 8+4 or 5+2. My older son is needing help learning/memorizing his addition facts, and I'd hoped these flashcards would be a fun way. For the most part, sure... but not when some of the possible problems are missing.

So - do I go out and look for a new set of flashcards?

I could, I suppose...

OR

I could go to Quizlet and make my own cards!

They have a flashcard creation page that allows you to add images (upload or search through a database of available photos), or type in another language (with a pop-up that has the special symbols for that language).

Of course, if you don't want to make your own flashcards, you can search through their seven million already-created selection! Pick a subject and browse or do a specific search.

For 2nd grade math, here's a set of cards I found already made up, ready to print.

OR

My son can get online and go through the flashcards to practice, and then be tested online as well. 

And think of all you can do with these printable cards! Aside from using them as regular flashcards, you can play memory-type games, or make matching games for file folder fun, or even use them as labels (cards with furniture names can be placed on the objects). How else could you use them?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days: America's Story


Time for a history lesson!

America's Story is a neat website with tidbits of information about the history of America. We first found this site through our Download N Go unit on Amelia Earhart (whom Cedric always ends up calling Amelia Bedelia Earhart because we started reading some of her books around the same time).

Learn about historical people and events. Explore the states and learn fun facts. Find out what some of the favorite pastimes of Americans were (or are still today). Watch a movie or listen to some songs of America's past.

Discover a day when cars were a luxury, when most people rode a stagecoach or train if they wanted to travel. Be a Super Sleuth and figure out what's wrong with the picture. Read about the state where President Lincoln was born.

There aren't any printables or lesson plans... But it is a great informational site - a fun place to let your kid explore some of America's Story. Use it to supplement your history lessons.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days: Bible Story Printables

Today, you are lucky! I'm going to show you two sites with free printables instead of just one!

Bible Story Printables and Christian Preschool Printables are sister sites to File Folder Fun and Laptop Lessons, which I posted about earlier this week. Both of these sites have wonderful free printables to add to your Bible lessons.
  • Handwriting pages with verses
  • Crosswords, word searches and other worksheets
  • Mini books
  • File folder games
  • Story boards (to show while telling stories)
  • Bible crafts
  • Bible timeline cards
  • Song cards
  • Coloring pages
  • Bible verse visual cards
  • Puzzles
  • Flashcards
Some topics include:
  • Creation
  • Adam and Eve
  • Tower of Babel
  • Daniel
  • Noah
  • Holidays
  • Bible ABCs (A is for Adam, B is for Bible, etc.)
  • Courage
  • Prayer
  • 10 Commandments
  • Fruits of the Spirit
Christian Preschool Printables tends to have a larger variety of topics, but each site offers a fairly unique set of lessons/activities. I've used parts of the Creation and Adam and Eve sets when Cedric was younger, and I'm getting ready to start in on Creation with both boys now. I'll be printing out those lessons this next week.

I used the following 10 Commandments Train (from Christian Preschool Printables) in Sabbath School for the quarterly lesson.



Age range tends to lean towards PreK-2nd grade, however, they have printable worksheets for up to 5th grade.


Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days: More Lapbooks!

On Day 11, I introduced you to the website Homeschool Share, which has tons of free printable lapbooks. There's another site I use often that also has a good selection of lapbooks.


Now, I admit... the site isn't entirely pretty to look at. It's a bit disorganized - some sentences laying over top others, making it hard to read, lots of ads placed here and there... and it seems like everything you click opens up in a new tab/window.

But if you look past that...

There are some neat lapbooks with Bible themes:
  • Adam and Eve
  • Books of the Bible
  • Creation
  • Daniel
  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Noah's Ark
  • Prayer
  • Resurrection
  • Ten Commandments
They have a set of Alphabet lapbooks with a bug theme: Alphabugs (cute, huh?)

There are some others as well, including one that I need to do with my boys: Big Brother (A Prince Mission)... not because they need help being big brother to the baby, but because my oldest son could use help in knowing how to treat the middling son!

For the Ingalls Family fans out there, here is a lapbook on the Little House in the Big Woods.

If you're still not quite sure how to do lapbooks, they have videos to help you learn! And blogs to read for inspiration. I've just read one that shows a huge lapbook on Character using free worksheets and booklets from Lapbook Lessons and Homeschool Share... I think I may have to look into that. See! Even I'm inspired!

And they also have templates available for you to make your own minit books if you want.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days: Free Music Tracks

I've been going through my list of Bookmarks on an old computer that I don't use for online stuff anymore. I'm a bit amazed at some of the really neat stuff that I found in the past. One site I bookmarked for its sing-along songs, with lyrics on-screen to follow.

Check it out at: National Institute of Environmental Health Studies (NIEHS)

It's been a couple years since I've been to that site, so as I'm looking around at all they have available for free, I'm just thrilled! They have:
  • Coloring Sheets
  • Games and Puzzles
  • Illusions
  • Jokes
  • Riddles and Brainteasers
  • Stories
  • Science and Environmental Info and Activites
 An example of one of the illusions they have posted. 
 I still like the songs section best of all. Great sing-along music tracks, and I love that the lyrics are posted.  So many songs! Just looking through the various lists reminds of all the songs I used to sing in my childhood. I will be making use of Blow The Man Down and Sailing, Sailing as part of the sea chanty lesson in our pirate unit.... and making note of all the other songs I can use in other units.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days: File Folder Fun

I like to use file folder games to reinforce what we're learning, to learn a new skill, or simply to fill in time with an educational activity. For those that don't know what file folder games are, they are learning activities that can be stored in a file folder and can usually be done by one student, sometimes two. Matching games are a common file folder game where one set of the match is glued into the file folder, and the other set is cut into separate pieces to be placed/matched up with the set in the file folder.

In this cute pumpkin game (perfect for fall learning) at today's free homeschool resource, File Folder Fun, some letters of the alphabet are glued onto the folder. The missing letters are then placed in the right order.



 File Folder Fun is just one website I've found that has really neat free file folder games. You can look at games by grade level (Preschool through 3rd grade - though it looks like they're starting to build a 4th category), or by subject. One nice attribute that File Folder Fun has that not too many other folder games sites have is that they even have some of the games available as templates for you to fill in with whatever topic you want your kids to work on.

They have a nice variety of games with cute graphics. Most of the games are available in color or black-and-white. It's so easy to print them, cut 'em out, laminate (if you're a laminator like me!), and paste.

Ready to play!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: Lapbooking

Do you lapbook? Do you know what lapbooking is?

I just discovered these teaching gems when I homeschooled Cedric in Kindergarten two years ago. I kept reading online about a method of learning through the use of lapbooks. After stumbling around through search engines and education sites for awhile, I figured it out and now we lapbook all the time

Basically, lapbooks are usually books comprised of several mini-booklets and mini-worksheets that are glued into file folders. I love lapbooking for three main reasons.
  1. My kids like the little booklets that allow for learning in tidbits - and they're fun to make!
  2. Everything is organized in one location when it's all done.
  3. They make a great memento/keepsake of what was taught/learned. It's a great record to be able to show people what your child is learning.
Today's free site is the place I learned the most about what lapbooking is... Homeschool Share. They have an incredible amount of FREE lapbooks and notebooks pages on a multitude of subjects. Last year, I used several of the BFIAR topics with Elijah for preschool lessons.

You can browse through their master list of topics here. They also have subjects separated by age/level, by theme, by subject...

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days: Animal Jr.

I've been having so much fun sharing a bunch of the free resources that I've found over the last 5 years. As part of doing this series, I also wanted to find sites out there that were new and fresh to me. I asked a couple of my friends who also homeschool what some of their favorite free sites are.

Laura, of Housewife in Town, passed a couple on to me. The one I'll share with you today is Animal Jr.

I am absolutely overwhelmed at the amount of fun printables and other activities at Animal Jr.
  • Math worksheets
  • Printable mazes and word searches
  • Online games
  • Bubble letters (including a cute bunny set!)
  • Coloring pages
  • Masks for dramatic play
  • Printable cards
  • Craft ideas - especially for fall: Turkey crafts and Owl crafts
  • Reading and Alphabet printables
The activities are geared for preschool through 4th grade. Head on over and spend some time browsing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days: CurrClick


CurrClick
Today's Free Homeschool Resource is CurrClick, a site with a huge collection of homeschooling curriculum. It's a gathering place for many different publishers to sell their product. In fact, if you create some form of curriculum for homeschoolers, you can become a publisher for CurrClick too - for FREE! You get paid in royalties.

One more note about CurrClick, then on to what's free there.

On Friday, I posted about a huge sale happening at CurrClick just this weekend. 50% off! Read my other blog entry to find out about it. The sale ends Sunday evening (9th)!

Now - on to the free stuff!

There are two types of free items at CurrClick that homeschoolers can take advantage of. One is live online classes and clubs. Not all the classes and clubs are free, but there are several (Currently 74 are listed for free) that are. One of note is the Lego Club. Have any Lego enthusiasts? Check it out.


Other free items include downloads for posters, flannel board sets, pocket chart sets, copywork, printable worksheets... Many of them are offered free by various publishers in order to gain more exposure to their products. Some of the free products are small samples, others are full lessons. I'll post some examples below.
  • Wonderful for the Christmas season

  •  An example of sample curriculum
  • An example of a copywork/penmanship book

  • How about some flash cards

There are currently over 500 free products for your browsing pleasure. If you don't feel like sorting through that many, use the qualifiers in the sidebar to choose an age range or topic.

I've found many helpful free items from CurrClick, and I hope you find something useful as well. Even the products that aren't free I've found to be fairly inexpensive.



Disclaimer: This post contains my affiliate id - just to let you know.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days: Free Bible Lessons = Free Bible


Kids' Time is a neat religious kids' show on 3ABN. They run a fun little website with a variety of kid-friendly activities like:
  • Dramatized Bible Stories.
  • A few games to play in Maxwell's Place.
  • Fun facts about animals in Nature Nuggets.
  • Contests like this one... Scroll down and check out the winner of age 5-7 (Historical Place) {Hint: a little boy I know called Cedric!}
  • Variety of activities/experiments with biblical applications in Learning Time.
Those are all fine and dandy activities, but why did I really include this site in my 31 Days series? What could a homeschooler use this site for?


52 free lessons that can be taken online or through the mail.

And after you complete the 52 lessons?
You can get a FREE Bible!

Kids' Time also has an additional set of online bible lessons, courtesy of My Bible First. For completing these 26 lessons, your child can earn this free Creation Wheel.
One fun kids' website with two sets of free bible studies that are great to use for homeschool curriculum, and two terrific free gifts to earn!

Cedric's winning photo for the Maxwell on Vacation Contest.


Friday, October 7, 2011

CurrClick Special Sale Code - 2 Days!

CurrClick is a site I'll be mentioning in my 31 Days of Free Homeschool Resources. I love CurrClick, but I'll talk about that more on another day. For now, I just had to bring your attention to CurrClick because they are having a huge sale that starts today and last only a couple days.

Get 50% off on over 4000 homeschool resources... 

This is amazing because prices on this site are already very reasonable! (Maybe depending on what you buy... but everything I'm interested in is cheap enough to not break the bank.) I'm going to head over there myself to look into purchasing the 8 things already on my wish list! And see what other things I can find...

And pay attention! You must have a special code to get the 50% off! Enter:

 "appreciate" 

when you check-out to take advantage of this incredible sale! So go, explore the site, find a bunch of stuff that you can use for homeschool lessons, enter the code "appreciate", pay, and enjoy!

CurrClick

Disclaimer: This contains an affiliate link, just to let you know.

31 Days: Super Teacher Worksheets

A few weeks ago, I had a writing assignment for Cedric. We'd done a rough draft, and it was time to do a nice edited copy with an illustration. I thought I'd had some paper that had lines for writing on and a blank space for a picture, but couldn't find it.

In a rush, I sat down at the computer, and did a search for printable writing paper. Glancing quickly through the first few choices, the very first click I did brought me to Super Teacher Worksheets. Within just a couple minutes, I found the very type of page I was looking for, printed it off, and Cedric was writing away.

I haven't explored all the possibilities on this website yet. But just on the front page are so many options listed, I'm in seventh heaven just looking at what's available! There are tons and tons of free printable worksheets. The one I was looking for: Primary Paper with Box for Picture (Name Line) found on the Printing page in the right-hand column, down towards the bottom.


Math, Phonics, Spelling, Handwriting, Story Prompts, Reading... even Science and Social Studies, Puzzles and Brain Teaser, and Holiday pages! For grades Kindergarten through 5th grade!

I really must spend more time at Super Teacher Worksheets - Blank Maps! 50 States! Thanksgiving worksheets! Oh yes!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days: Simple Kids Crafts

I mentioned in my DLTK post that I'd gotten directions for making paper flowers from another website. Well, here it is! I've just recently found Simple Kids Crafts.

Simple Kids Crafts has instructions for all kinds of crafts for kids of all ages. They are "dedicated to reviving the old art of handicrafts, an art that has been lost to fabricated toys."

But what's really awesome about this site is that all their instructions are on video! Have you ever read directions for a craft and wondered just how on earth it was supposed to look? This website is for you!

If you're a visual learner, this website is perfect for you. Even if you're not a visual learner, this place is a wonderful resource for all kinds of neat kids crafts, and don't worry - they also have written instructions for those of us that need the words before us.

Just be warned! I have yet to find an actual 'search box.' They do have a feature where you can checkmark a list of the materials that you'd like to work with and that will bring up all the crafts they have with those materials. A nice feature indeed, but if you're looking for a specific craft (like that paper flower we made), it might take a bit of searching.

And after just a few pages flipping through the 'Spring' category, I found the video on making a Mexican Paper Tissue Flower.



Cedric absolutely loved making these flowers, and made three of them! Elijah liked the idea of the flowers, but ended up only choosing out the colors, then had me actually make them.

Tuneables Giveaway at Homeschool Creations

Day 1 of my 31 Days series on Free Homeschool Resources, I introduced you to Homeschool Creations as a great site for preschool printable packs.

I was just visiting her site today, and noticed she had a giveaway going on for The Tuneables. I'm really excited about this! I'd just read a short review about The Tuneables the other day at my friend's blog, Housewife in Town. It sounds like The Tuneables would make a great addition to a homeschooler's music lesson plans for preschoolers.

Head on over to Housewife in Town to read a review (and enjoy her 31-days to Happier Children series while you're there!), then visit Homeschool Creations to enter the giveaway! (Ends Oct. 11, 2011.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Preschool Express

When the boys were younger, I used Preschool Express a lot! Once Henry (my sweet little bundle of joy) gets older, I'm sure I'll be back for more ideas.


Jean Warren runs this website full of toddler and preschool units/themes/everything! From art activities, to songs and poems, to free printables like the ABCs in 3 sizes (I describe how I used these in a post I wrote a couple years ago, Teaching the ABCs.), to cute snack ideas, and the list goes on and on!

She posts things under "Stations," and it can take a little getting used to where she 'filed' certain lesson ideas, but once you get used to the site, it starts to make more sense. She does tend to separate activities under each category by season. So if you're looking for Fall games, you'd look under the Games Station, and then find the Fall column. If you want Fall songs, you'd look under the Music and Rhyme Station, and find the Fall Column. Not quite as easy as having all the Fall activities listed in one location, but hey, it is a free site! So who's to complain!

You can also find things by unit though, in the Theme Station. For instance, since it's fall, you could find a theme of Pumpkins with activities such as Coffee Filter Pumpkins and Pumpkin Puppets. (Hey, I might have to add those to our fall plans. Even though my boys are Kindergarten and 2nd grade, a lot of these activities can be upgraded in difficulty so older kids can enjoy them too.) Then head over to the Music and Rhyme Station for some Pumpkin songs/rhymes like I'm A Little Pumpkin, and 5 Little Jack 'O Lanterns. And the Food Station has some cute Pumpkin face food fun ideas!

For parents/teachers of preschoolers - this site is an amazing resource! One that I have used time and again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days: Twisty Noodle

A few weeks ago, I had a story to read to my boys about some kids who lived near a town that was hit by a tornado. I wanted to find a coloring sheet with a picture of a tornado on it for them to color while I read. I went to my trusty Swagbucks search bar and entered "tornado coloring picture" (or something similar...). After skimming through the various possibilities, I clicked through to a place called Twisty Noodle.

This is the coloring page that came up:












Pretty cool for a quick search. I didn't have time to look at a bunch of different sites. This coloring page would work just fine. Especially since it was free! As I prepared to print it off, I took a few minutes to browse the rest of the page. I noticed several things. First, they had several different formats available:




Wow - that's pretty cool! Along with the different wording, I also noticed another capability. On the right hand side were options to change the font:


Change the Font:
  • Bold Black Font
    Black
  • Block Outline Font
    Block
  • D'Nealian Outline Font
    D'Nealian
  • Cursive Outline Font
    Cursive

So depending on what level your child is at in writing, you can customize the font on any page.

Then I noticed another feature. Even better than being able to change the font - at least in my view. Right underneath the font options was a box to type in. You have complete customization for the wording on the page. Maybe you want to change it to say "T is for Twister."

 

I did an example, changing the font to D'Nealian and the text:
 


The final thing I noticed about this website is the sheer volume of coloring pages and worksheets available. And all for FREE! 

Go have a blast checking this site out! I know for sure I'm heading back there for my pirate unit!