Category Archives: Online Playground…

Excited about school.. all over again!

Did you guys think we had disappeared? 

We’re still here, occasionally doing our school work out of the car while Daddy is in an interview, but we’re still here.  This momma was almost too busy praying for an answer from this one company to worry about school.  Then an ‘out of the blue’ play date refreshed me!

A new friend of mine came by yesterday with her daughter, also 7, also in the first grade.  She’s new to homeschooling, started in Nov or Dec I think, and already she further than us in the Math and Language Arts curriculum we use.  (She purchased the same one I did) 
I do more subjects then her and do more internet supplements but still…  geez…  3 workbooks ahead of me… SO…

I went online with her to show her some of our favorite places to find ‘things to do’ and to introduce her to the world of lapbooking.  Boy oh boy did I find some fun stuff…. 

Here’s the lapbooking links (some of the coolests were links I followed FROM here…)

Homeschool Helper Online

Homeschool Share

and I just joined up at Lapbook Lessons!

For those of you brave enough to make up your own lapbooks here’s a great tutorial (with pictures) on how to make your own templates in MS Word.

We have officially decided to have a lapbooking day next week (cross fingers) since we’ve done one once from a kit and once from stuff we made up and since I have way too much paper and glue and it needs to go somewhere.  (Lucky me found my colored folders last night too!)

Well, after she left I found the COOLEST new beta site.  It is NOT interactive, but rather a worksheet generator for printables…

“You will not find anything on this website that is designed to interact directly with a student. Our guiding principle is that paper-based documents are the best way to help kids learn. There are many good sources of computer-based educational materials, but we have learned through experience that they simply do not compare to a quality printed worksheet. Numerous studies of the effectiveness of computers in the classroom support this view. “

I printed off several worksheets for the girls last night.  An addition ‘word search’ type puzzle,  an alphabetizing practice sheet, magic squares, and fractions  (it’s gets cooler when you get out of First Grade).

They even have a worksheet where you can type in the copy work text and they will shadow it on the paper for them to trace! 

It’s called WorksheetWorks.com and it’s awesome!!  If you already know about it then pretend I’m not a total late bloomer and cheer with me anyway (LOL).  I just clicked on their “site for parents” button where they have a whole bunch of homeschool friendly sites listed by popularity!  It just keeps getting better and better!

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Since it’s 6 am, and Tader is still on the couch with me coughing I guess I better go wake up the coffee pot, no going back to bed now.  I’ll leave you with my field trip tip from last week…

When you spend two days telling your kids they are going to the caverns (aka Daddy’s job interview 2 plus hours away in the mountains where someone is probably going to hurl on the way up or the way down) and you GET there to find out their website LIED was misleading as to their true operating hours you can always pretend they went by stopping by the local Shoney’s and grabbing  a bunch of brochures on the caverns instead.  Tader Bug can now differentiate between a stalagmite and a stalagtite and she’s never actually seen one!  WHOO HOO! 

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A lesson in tooth decay….the hard way.

This mom is having a mouthful of dental issues.  Next week, I’ll be having an abscessed tooth removed.  In the meantime, Momma Taderdoodles is more than willing to remind her children how incredibly painful this is, to have a hole in your tooth, to have it be all infected, and on and on and on.  (quietly giggles)

Can anyone guess how many times my girls have brushed their teeth in the past couple of days?  I still can’t get either of them to use their fancy blue stuff that tells them where the plaque is but their brushing, and that is what is important.

I started remembering those times in school when the dentist would come visit.  He’d pass out those red tablets, and we would all get a new toothbrush.  Being a homeschooling family, we don’t have a dentist coming to visit for a fun school day.  I don’t see dental appointments as the same thing, definitely not as much fun.

I went looking today for a few fun websites to play on, for worksheets to print out and some other fun avenues to help my kids learn a little bit about what’s happening in mommy’s mouth and their own.

Crest had a cool “eggsperiment”

so did HealthyTeeth.org (not to mention a really cute animated graphic of a tooth brushing itself 🙂  )

Dentistry.com
has some fun games (can you say Whack a Molar)

MouthPower.org, with the National Museum of Dentistry has an amazingly packed site in English and Spanish! Tons of stuff for teachers too!

and it was fun playing “To Tell the Tooth” from ADA.org!

Take a moment to try a new subject! Make a day out of exploring your teeth!

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Practice Practice Practice…

This link was shared with me by one of my local homeschool mommy friends…

I’m checking it out now, hoping to find some fun stuff for Sam to do today (so she’ll stop driving me bonkers! 🙂  )


http://www.internet4classrooms.com/grade_level_help.htm

Quarters to States to Aviation to Tornadoes….

I guess today’s lessons went pretty well. What started out with a simple observation on a quarter ended up with a lesson on tornadoes….or as JoJo calls them–TorMayToes

Here’s how it started:

Sam finds a quarter, and informs me that there is a guy walking past a house on the back of it. I stop what I’m doing and investigate the quarter to find that it is one of those fancy state quarters with North Carolina on the back. I explain that the picture is of an airplane, the first motorized one, and the man is one of the Wright Brothers. We talked about how it happened in Kitty Hawk, NC and that momma had been there on Kill Devil Hill and that maybe Daddy could take us there one summer. (she wasn’t done with me)

Next, I took out our old faithful New Book of Knowledge and look up the Wright Brothers, which led us to aviation, and right there in the book was the same picture that was on the quarter! She thought that was awesome! (but she still wasn’t done with me yet)

So I went back to the book of “W” to see if the Wright Brother’s section had anything fun to read about (it was lacking in the picture department) and on my way back to their page Sammy noticed a picture of lightening-appropriately shown under the “weather” page.

That’s when she saw it, the picture of a tornado, and that was the end of special quarters, North Carolina, and those two Wright Brothers. Jo joined the conversation at this point and I skimmed through the book trying to find tornado information that wasn’t totally over her head.

Now I’m spending time finding online sites that will tell her more. She is more than a little miffed that the program we put on her computer talks about weather but NOT about tornadoes… so the search goes on…

Here’s what I found… we should have a lot of fun with this:
National Weather Service-Playtime for Kids
Web Weather for Kids
National Geographic Kids-Storm Chasers
Weather Wiz Kids
Scholastic Weather Watch
FEMA for Kids: Tornadoes

At least three of these sites all had the same “Tornado in a Jar” experiment so we gave it a try…It’s been over 1/2 hour and they are still playing with them. Sam figured out how to get it to work first. I realized about ten minutes ago that if you hold your jar up to the window (or a light) after you spin it you can see the “tornado” better.

Right this very minute, Sam is running through the house yelling “Hide, Hide, get the children, get the pillows, a twister is coming!”

Man, Homeschooling is SO MUCH FUN! (some days at least)

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Let Ben be their teacher!

Benjamin Franklin
Teach Government to a Kindergartener? You’ve got to be kidding me! She doesn’t even understand the hierarchy of our home much less the state or federal government.
After browsing through my “What every Kindergartener needs to know” book again I realized that she only needed to know a few facts, not really understand the whole system of democracy. Who is our President? What does our flag look like? Phew! I really wasn’t that scholarly when it came to topics of government or politics so I was pretty happy to see I didn’t need to brush up on it quite yet.

A friend of mine on the Mommy Auctions forum had posted a question about finding some sites to help teach government to her home schooled kids. Always wanting to help I set about Googling to find her an answer. As usual, I stumbled upon a wonderful site!

Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government, for kids ! (Yep, we’re talking about Ben Franklin here) It covers grades K-12. And it lists various U.S. Government Web Sites for kids.

It has printable and interactive online games: coloring pages, U.S. map puzzle, mazes and connect the dots. There are pages for “Our Nation”, “Our Government”, “Your Neighborhood” and a cute page on “Ben’s ABC’s” where Ben gives you information on words that start with each letter of the alphabet.

The U.S. Government web site list has links listed by agency or by subject. I sat down yesterday and did a CIA emblem puzzle online!

If you’re looking for a fun place, very kid friendly, to help add to your child’s study of U.S. Government make sure to check out Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government, for kids !

Keeping them busy….

I went on a hunt last night. I had to find a new way to keep the girls busy for a little bit so I could finish making ornaments and Christmas Cards. I would have simply let them help me but there are a bit too young to do some of what I’m doing. They can help make the ornaments but spraying them with acrylic paint is definitely a “mom only” job.

Like all moms I try to avoid using the tv as a babysitter, though sometimes it is the easiest option. I wanted Sam to do something at least semi-educational and without a satalite dish my channels are very, very limited. So I headed to my favorite place~ cyber space 🙂 !

Take a peek at PBS Kids. These are the only shows they get to watch that aren’t from a purchased dvd or tape. Sammy LOVES “WordGirl”. Even Jolene watches that show! I am all for anything that helps them practice reading in a fun way.

Also, if you’re worried about kids messing with your computer fear no more!

My sweatheart found a great software program called Peanut Butter PC. We downloaded the trial, loved it so much that we went back and ordered a copy. It creates a desktop for your children, as many as you want on one pc, and YOU choose which icons they can see and click on! No more finding out your files are missing, photos have been edited, or computer settings changed (our daughters LOVE to change the background and screensaver images). Simply hit CTRL-ALT-P to enter a password and get back to YOUR desktop screen. Sammy loves that it writes her name in the clouds when it loads.

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I am terrible at keeping a to do list… it is a love/hate relationship as I LOVE them, I just can’t seem to remember to use them. I have a flash drive (with U3) that lets me run programs off of it, so I went in search of some “to do” type software that I could use on it, in the hopes that making my list available no matter where I was might help me actually use the program. (I was going to use an online calendar, which I won’t name, but discovered they track my activities) I downloaded “Accomplice“, here is a quoted description from their site:

Accomplice™ is a software application that helps busy professionals like you manage your to-dos, goals, and notes, then sync them with your team.
This isn’t some trivial to-do list, and it isn’t an overweight project management suite. Accomplice has just the ingredients you really need to stay on top of your busy life, integrated into an intuitive and flexible system.
It works online and offline, integrates with Outlook and other software you already use, and syncs with your PDA. Oh, by the way, it’s free.

Once the Holidays are over I’m going to start using it to keep track of what I want Sam to do with school. You can add something to your “To Do” list, put it “ON” or “OFF” your plate, and add multiple notes for each task. You can even collaborate via email with others! It took me a few minutes to really get a feel for it, and I know I am totally under-utilizing it right now but I still love it.

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Well, the sun has risen, which means my girlie girls will be up soon….time to go refresh my cup of coffee!

Free with a price…

I LOVE that I can home school my daughter through Kindergarten for FREE! There are so many great resources online! http://www.starfall.com is one of my favorites! Even my three year old has something to do on that site! No more learning the abc’s without phonics included!

I have one small problem though. None of these sites, so far, have shown me how to get a new concept across. It’s great that I can go to http://www.learningpages.com and download a money unit in eight different themes but where are the instructions on HOW to explain why it is that 5 pennies make a nickel but only 2 nickels make a dime, and you can’t put any number of dimes into a quarter without having a nickel, and it only takes 4 quarters to make a dollar! My daughter also stumped me when she asked why the penny said “One Cent” and the nickel said “Five Cents” but the dime and the quarter just said “One Dime” and “One Quarter”. Huh… I don’t know Sammy Lammy… not sure why they did that.

Unable to answer her questions, I was forced to think fast and get her involved in learning it a different way. This is how we ended up with my money jar of the floor making a money tree.

At the top of our tree was a dollar. Under the dollar we put four quarters, in a line, like we were making a flow chart. We just called it our “tree”. Under one quarter we put two dimes and a nickel, under another we put one dime and three nickels, under the next we put five nickles, and the last she lined up twenty five pennies. Under all the dimes we put two nickles, and under each nickel we put five pennies. I’ll admit, we had a BIG tree on the floor. The result was we ended with 100 pennies. And she could follow them down from a dollar through the quarters and through the different combinations until we got to all cents (pennies).

This is when my brilliant daughter proceeded to pose another unanswerable question: “How do I know this is a nickel when it doesn’t have Monticello on the back?” UGH…dern federal reserve making special nickels and quarters!!! She found at least three different pictures on her nickels and I didn’t count how different quarters.

I’ve been told that purchased curriculums have teachers guides and textbooks that will walk me through teaching her a new concept. I guess I figured this early in the schooling game the concepts would be easy to explain. Boy was I wrong…. I take for granted the stuff I just seem to “know”. If anyone wants to explain to my fiesty 5 year old why there are three words that sound like “there” and three for “by” feel free to do so…. I’m just giving her a nice “deer in the headlights look at the moment”.