Streaming and Learning

Not all that long ago, the only time I ever thought about using the TV (in any way) in my homeschooling, would have been if we needed a sick day for mom. And mom would have to have been really sick to default to that, lol.

But, how does that Bob Dylan song go? Times they are a changin’.

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Streaming video services have been on the rise. Why wouldn’t they be? They are cheaper than cable and you basically have everything on demand; you’re not looking through a guide waiting for something to air at a certain time or on a certain channel. Just as with so many aspects of technology, streaming video services are becoming valuable to homeschooling families, and not just for the latest season of The Flash! ;)

Do your kiddos have an interest in bees? There’s a documentary for that. Are they interested in cooking? There’s a TV show for that. Maybe as family, you guys are interested in learning about other world cultures? Yep, you can find films for that.

Here are a few links that have been recommended by other homeschoolers, covering many ages/grade levels:

**DISCLAIMER — only you as a parent can judge what’s appropriate for your kiddos. Goes without saying, but please understand that these suggestions come from many homeschooling families, each with different ideals and belief systems. :)

Netflix

Amazon Prime Video

YouTube

Do you have favorites that you’ve discovered? Add them in the comments below and we’ll update our list to include them!

 

 

Learning with the Election…

More so than ever before, technology and the internet are making sure we know it’s election season. More than just the commercials on TV, and more than just billboards, every single time we turn on our computers or check our phones, chances are we’re going to see something related to the election.

That’s not always bad. I mean, I do think it’s necessary to make sure that each voter knows about all of the candidates as much as possible, but it can get overwhelming when there is SO much information out there. How do you handle questions when  your kids ask about candidates and what’s in the news about them? How do you balance wanting them to learn about politics, yet shield them from the controversy when you need to?

There’s no one right answer when it comes to teaching politics, but there are resources out there to help! For instance, these fun election-themed writing activities are wonderful resources. Broken down by elementary, middle, and high school, there is something for every grade level.

Image via Time4Writing.com

Image via Time4Writing.com

Give these a try, and drop a note in the comments, telling us how you teach and/or shield during the election seasons.

Preventing Summer Brain Drain

Whether you homeschool or not, summer brain drain seems to be a real issue. Kiddos learn and learn and learn all school year long, then when they take an extended break, end up seeming to forget so much of what they absorbed throughout the year.

What are some things that you can do to help prevent that brain drain?

Play online learning games. This is especially fun for those elementary aged children who love being on the computer. There are paid sites AND free sites out there with tons of games. One of my family’s favorite free sites is Learning Games for Kids. SO. Many. Games. :D

If your children are older, keep their minds active by practicing spelling and vocabulary word building skills. Vocabulary Spelling City can help with that, for all grades, K-12!

Go outside and explore. Seems basic enough but many people forget just how much they can learn from simply walking around their neighborhood or town. Nature, science, history…it could all be right there near you.

If you’re looking for something more formal than game play, as maybe a summer school program or a summer learning program that’s an alternative to traditional summer school, take a peek at how Time4Learning can help you during the summer months.

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What about you and your family? What tips and tricks do you have for keeping young brains sharp during the summer break?

Printable Resources and Worksheets

 

A list of free printable resources and worksheets perfect for homeschool or as a school supplement.

Wait. What? Isn’t this the “Electronic Age” blog?

Don’t go anywhere…you’re in the right place! Normally we do focus on all things connected. But what do you do when you need/want to disconnect for a little while?

Whether you want stuff to have on hand if the power/internet goes out, or you want to hang out outside and away from home, or you just want to pull your kiddos and their eyeballs away from a screen for a bit, printable worksheets can come in really handy. So here are some of my favorite printables and printable resources:

Handwriting worksheets – I like to create our handwriting worksheets over at SpellingCity.com. Why? Two (or three if you count vocabulary practice as well as spelling practice) birds with one stone. I just grab some of their weekly spelling lists and viola! Done. ;)

Lapbooking printables – You can find TONS of lapbook resources out there…everything from the super detailed, all the way to the super simple. One cute such “simple” is this free lapbook pocket printable from Time4Writing.

Sample printable worksheets – Don’t really need a lot, or not sure what you need? You can find free and sample worksheets all over the web. Even paid curriculum programs like Time4Learning offer sample worksheets that you can print for free!

Game play – Not all FUN game play has to be done online (shock!). Some of our favorite (and free…there’s that word again!) game websites offer printable versions of some of their games. A word search from Vocabulary Fun or math crossword puzzle from Learning Games for Kids are just a couple examples.

What about things that you may need to print, that aren’t really worksheets at all? Things like templates, certificates, etc? Ask and you shall receive. :D

Printable Homeschool Transcript Templates
Printable Homeschool Diploma Templates
Printable Graduation Planner
Printable Homeschool Report Card Template
Printable Community Service Log

So those are some of my favorites. Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite printables and printable resources (free or paid) in the comments below!

Back to School, or Not Back to School?

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Homeschoolers, is it Back to School at your house, or do prefer the phrase Not Back to School? Neither is more correct than the other, but we do the Not Back to School thing around here.

Why? It sounds more fun. ;)

If you like to have a themed NBtS day, here are some things you can do to spice up the celebration:

*Pick a theme and stick with it. For everything. From breakfast to bedtime and all that’s in between. Fiesta? Sounds fun. Maybe you want a “Zoo Day?” That sounds great too!

*If you think that a theme would be too distracting, but you want to throw something out there that’s a little different than your “normal” school work, try either of these Not Back to School spelling/vocabulary lists:
Not Back to School list 1
Not Back to School list 2

What about if this Back to School/Not Back to School is your first in your homeschooling journey? Are you looking for curricula and other resources? Here is a great Secular homeschool curriculum directory and a How to Homeschool ebook.

If this isn’t your first homeschool year, but you’re starting your homeschooling high school journey, well don’t worry…I’ve got some help for you too:

Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling High School
Getting Organized for the New High School Homeschool Year
High School Curriculum Directory

Now it’s YOUR turn? What do you guys do to celebrate Back to School/Not Back to School?

 

 

 

Free Trials, Giveaways and More…

Most homeschoolers are frugal. In this day and age, most everyone is frugal. If you can try before you buy, or win stuff, or find a way to get something for free, you’re going to. Right? ;)

In that spirit, and knowing many homeschooling parents are browsing curricula and programs/websites to use for their upcoming school year, here are a few opportunities to enter a giveaway or get a couple of free trials:

Science4Us is an excellent resource for elementary science. They have just launched their homeschool review program, which gives you free access for 30 days, in exchange for your review of your experience. Click on the image below to learn more. image001

Time4Learning is an interactive, online curriculum for grades Pre-K through 12. Homeschoolers can use it as a core/complete program, they can use it to supplement other materials, they can use as a way to prevent summer learning loss, etc. They are currently offering a free 14-day trial to a limited number of folks, so if you’re interested, follow this link to learn more and sign up: Time4Learning Forums – FREE 14-day Trials

Secular Homeschool has a great giveaway for July. One lucky winner will receive a prize package worth $75. To enter, just follow this link: Secular Homeschool July 2014 Giveaway – All About Spelling

Know of any other giveaways or free trial opportunities? Please chime in and share in the comments below! :)

Sharing Our Successes…

This time of year is always the time when we as parents/teachers/homeschoolers reflect on the school year that we just wrapped up, or will wrap up over the summer. Instead of stewing over what might have gone wrong (we all have those things, don’t feel bad), let’s share and celebrate each other’s successes.

Homeschool Celebrations

I’ll start. ;)

We finished our first year of high school homeschool this year! I was a nervous wreck before we started, and had been worrying about high school for years. As it turned out, it really went just as smoothly as every other year. There were some initial struggles with how much time we spent on school (prior years we were more relaxed and took a more interest led approach), but when my son talked to other kids who were in high school in public school, and was told about just how much time they spent doing homework AFTER school…well, those struggles were quickly overcome.

Now, let’s hear from you! After you’ve shared in the comments below, take a look at some of these incredible homeschool success stories:

http://www.pinterest.com/lhshs/in-the-news/

 

Multi-tasking…

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For some parents/teachers, their curricula doesn’t multi-task well. Math is math. Science is science, and so on. But for some of us, we need the programs and materials we use to be able to be used across multiple subjects. Here are some examples of how we cover more than one subject at a time:

Incorporate reading into math. Even though we probably all hate those math word problems, lol, they do help with reading comprehension.

We fuse art lessons with history lessons (learning about period pieces and how artists and the materials they used differ than those today).

Using words from our current homeschool social studies lesson to practice word study and vocabulary building skills.

While we use spelling lists from a variety of sources, some of our favorites are actually the geography lists over at SpellingCity.com! We learn about local geography (states and state capitals), but we also learn about other countries. All the while, we are working on our spelling!

I’ve shared a few of the ways that WE multi-task/multi-subject. Now, won’t you please share some of YOUR ways?

Elementary Science

If you’re here, then you already know we love all things electronic/techie/gadgety/online. :D

Knowing that, it would make sense to share when we find something that appeals to us, and would more than likely appeal to our readers. With that, I’d like to let you know about a new elementary homeschool science program called Science4Us.

The Science4Us curriculum is a complete, standards-based, core science curriculum that delivers digital science experiences to early elementary students. While it would be a perfect addition to any homeschool, it would also be a great supplemental program for those in public/private schools.

They have some great interactive demos for both teachers/parents AND students! Head on over, give it a look, and come back and let me know what you think. :)