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.

T4L-SummerLearningMeme-2015-1

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/

 

Graduating a Homeschooler…

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So many people think that homeschoolers don’t worry about things like graduations, or continuing their education via trade schools or colleges/universities.

While that may be true for some, that certainly isn’t true for most. Many colleges and universities are becoming more and more homeschool friendly, and more and more homeschoolers are excelling at college. Here are some resources that can help you and your high school homeschooler prepare for “life after graduation:”

~ Dual Enrollment – There’s no better way to prepare for college, than to earn high school credits AND college credits at the same time.

~ High School Requirements for Educational Goals – Whether your high schoolers are considering community college, or have hopes of attending an Ivy League school (or they fall somewhere in between those), you want to know what the high school requirements are for where they want to go.

~ Homeschool-friendly Colleges – I firmly believe that homeschoolers have a shot at attending ANY school they apply to, but there’s nothing wrong with setting your sights on a school that happily accepts homeschoolers, without any additional hoops to jump through.

~ College Alternatives – If a major college isn’t something your homeschool high schooler has their eyes on, that’s okay! Here are some excellent ideas/resources for those who have a different post-graduation plan.