Friday, May 13, 2016

Freebie Faves

I love freebies,  but there are a lot to wade though.   Here's my favorites I've found recently.  Just the best of the best.

Language Arts

Sight Word Sampler - by Kinderbabes (HWT Compatible!)
I'm sharing this one because all the words the kids copy or color in are HWT compatible!   Woo hoo!  This sampler includes sight words and, am, go, he, she and from.

Sight Words Worksheets - by  Cathi Ludi (Semi HWT Compatible!)
Another semi-HWT compatible resource with 91 pages of sight word practice (sorry, not going to list all those).  The tracing/copying letters are great with the a, b, d, g, p, qs but do have a slight curle to all the letters (sort of an in-between manuscript and cursive).  Coloring letters in outline manuscript.

Seasonal Sight Word Word Searches - by Kindergarten Rocks
Word searches are great for helping little kids learn sight words, but most are too complex.  These are just right for beginners.

Nouns No-Cut Book
I love how these activities all re-reinforce what a noun is.


Number Sense Game - from The Measured Mom (and blog friends)
I just love the idea of this game because it's got sillyness built in.  I could see using picture cards from another set of flashcards you might have and using two dice to add or multiply to find out how many of that thing there is to take this to another level.

Origin of Our Number System - by Dazzle on a Dime
This little printable blew my mind.  Did you know that our numbers were based on Phoenician trading symbols and that in their original form all the numbers had the number of angles they represented?    I didn't.  This is a great math+history resource.


STEM Building Challenge - by Teachers are Terrific
A building project (which can be done sans printables), and some worksheets that help kids think through their design process.

Social Studies/History

Presidential Printables - by Make Beliefs Comix
These would be a fun way to get your kids talking about the presidential election.   The older ones a bit heavy on printer ink.

Money:  The New Faces of Currency
The people pictures on our currency is changing, and this set has reading and other activities about that change.  A great current event piece.


April Morning Work - by Mrs. Kadeen Teaches
I love mixed "morning work" because it's great to pull out when I'm not sure what we're going to do today.  This is a fun one April sampler.

Spring Freebies for Every Grade - from Educents
Not a big thing, just a bunch of small things in an easy to sort layout.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jump and Learn Game

Here's a fun, active game to play with your kids to help them practice a whole number of things.  You can practice letters, numbers, shapes, colors (in English, or a foreign language).  It can be played indoors or outdoors with different materials.


OUTDOORS: Chalk, and an area with cement.

INDOORS: Colored construction paper and scissors (you can also use colored play foam sheets, which cost more, but last longer).


OUTDOORS: Draw whatever you want to learn with the different colored chalk.

INDOORS: Cut out shapes in paper or foam sheets of various colors, then draw other things you want to teach (like numbers, letters, etc) on them.  Scatter them around the room.


To play the game, the parent or leader calls out the shape, color, number, letter, etc. The children have to run to what you just called out  and stand or jump on it (for indoors, I suggest telling kids to just touch it with their hand or foot, as the paper gets messed up pretty quick). You can mix it up twister style, and tell them, for example, to put their foot on red and their hand on the number 1.   This is especially fun with several kids but can be played with just one, and you as the caller. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Pinterest Guide

Hello!  I expect you thought that link would take you right to my pinterest profile.  But you see, because I've been doing Pinterest a LOT LONGER than I've been homeschooling, my homeschooling stuff is buried down deep on my boards.  This should help you find all the homeschool stuff more easily.

Homeschooling Boards

Imaginative Homeschool

Homeschool (General Homeschooling Stuff Board) 

Computers Typing and Coding




History - SOTW Vol 2 - Middle Ages to Early Renaissance

History - SOTW Vol 3 - 1600 to 1850

History - SOTW Vol 4 - 1850 to Now

Language Arts

Lit 6th Grade




Art 4 Kids

Middle School Homeschool Ideas

Handwriting With Tears Supplementary Resources

Sign Language

Spanish Learning

Spanish Jokes

Learning Chinese

HS Unit Studies

Cooking Science

Space (Unit Study)

Dinosaurs (Unit Study)

Cave Science (Unit Study)

Vikings (Unit Study)

New England (Unit Study/Trip Plan)

New York (Unit Study/Trip Plan)


Habitats - Oceans (Unit Study)

Bible 4 Kids

Home Prep (for kids)

Online Learning

Homeschool Planning

Homeschool Assessment Tools

Homeschool Bloggers 

Handwriting Without Tears Compatible Resources

HS Used and Loved (Curriculum/Resources) 

Educational (not just homeschooling)

VBS Boards
Lots of stuff to use for homeschool history here, cause our VBS is like Biblical historical reenactment. 

VBS Egypt

VBS Wilderness

VBS Rome

VBS Galilee & Nazareth

VBS Persia

VBS Future Ideas

Other Kids Boards

Kids Crafts

Fun for Kids

Fun for Kids - Outdoors

4 The Boys


Homemaking/Parenting Related


Looks Delicious (recipes)

IS Delicious (recipes I've actually tried)

Fun With Food (cutesy stuff you can do with food)



Thanks to SassyDeals for the cute pinterest graphic!

TESTING: A Homeschooler's Story

I currently only homeschool ONE of my children.  The other two attend public school.  So, the issue of standardized testing very important to me.  On the one hand I understand the need for some sort of assessment that helps schools to know how well they're doing.  On the other hand, I see how standardized testing comes with baggage that can hurt our schools as well.    I'm wary of too much time being spent on "test taking techniques," or of too much pressure on kids to do well on these tests.

I've personally seen the push towards more academic pressure in the early grades which high stakes testing can lead to...a trend which researchers say doesn't lead to any later gains, and which can burn out students on school and actually lead to worse results later on.   I was disheartened to hear our son's kindergarden teacher say that she had been discouraged from incorporating too much play-based learning in the classroom, exactly the type of learning that is so essential at that age.  And I see testing, and the pressure it puts on schools, as the main driver of these misguided trends.

Equally troubling is hearing from my son, towards the end of his 5th grade year, say that they were "finally doing more labs" in his science class "now that testing was over."  Things like that make me concerned that testing is negatively affecting what goes on in the classroom.

But while I left testing behind when I decided to homeschool my youngest,  not every homeschool parent can do that.  In some states yearly testing is required for all homeschoolers.  A homeschooling friend from one of those states shared the following story with me, which she graciously allowed me to share here:

We are doing our annual Stanford test.  It's online which is awesome because I don't have to worry about occupying the other kids at an away location for the entire 4 days of testing required to accommodate my family.

However, this testing is still troublesome to me.  I do understand why PA wants testing in certain grades.  I get it.  They want to make sure that no one is educationally neglecting their kids.

But!  Today has been heartbreaking so far.

I walked up the the boys' room this morning to get DS(9) up for testing.  Inside I hear hushed tones:

DS(9): Please don't go out.  I don't want to start those tests.

DS(11): I need to pee!  I've gotta go out to the bathroom.  And it doesn't matter, she'll come get you anyway.

DS(9): But I hate those tests.  They make me feel stupid.  I want to know if I got the answers right.  Let's just stay in here and stay quiet.  Maybe she'll forget to start the test.

DS(11):  She gets an email telling her the codes to type in for our test sessions.  That email isn't going to let her forget.

DS(9): [crying now]  But I don't want to take those tests.  And if I don't do a good job, they'll make me go to school.  I want to stay home.  I hate tests where they don't tell you if you got an answer wrong right then and there.  

DS(11):  Instant gratification shouldn't be necessary in a man your age.

We hugged and I reassured him as much as I could, but I just hate having this kind of morning.

I also told him that no matter how he does on the test, I will fight tooth and nail for him to make his own educational choices.

I just had to share our crappy day with people who will understand.

What is your opinion of standardized testing?  Do homeschoolers have to take standardized tests where you live?

Linking up at...

Simply Knowledge Homeschool