note to self

check out the links (geography) on this page soonest.

A Place to buy science stuff

Science kit is a place online to get science equipment.

Can also check out places such as Scholars Choice, Discovery Toys, teacher supply stores, or GeoSafari. Depends on the age of child and items required.

This post just made me smile...

This post just made me smile...I can somehow see myself in this woman(?) even though I haven't started (as in officially with a plan) homeschooling yet. It is from a blog called Mama Says.

Economics book

This is a recommended book for homeschoolers that talks about economics.

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments

Quick Study labs

Not entirely sure if I"ve posted on this site or not. If so, I can always delete this one.

Anyways, was at The Thinking Mother this morning, and she mentioned how her son did an independent study that he got from Quick Study Labs.

Something for later on with Justin.

The circle song

I thought this circle song could be useful as our boy gets abit bigger, and starts to learn some about math.

Doing up certificates for a job well done.

This idea comes from Teaching Diligently.

Apparently this site will let you print up certificates so that when your child does well at something you can print it off for them in celebration. It is called BillyBear4Kids.

a contest entry

These guys have done up a contest. I entered. I will let you know if I win. :)

mull over and comment on

this is an article I want to mull over.

Math site

here is a math site that might prove interesting. Living Math!

This is the place that gave me the information. Prairie Girl.

Tapestry of Grace

Thanks to Spunky for this curriculum place to check out further.

The curriculum is called Tapestry of Grace.

A brief overview looks interesting. We'll have to keep this and check it out at later date.

Learning for Pre-schoolers

credit goes to Home-Steeped Hope.

And in my opinion, the preschool years are the best for sparking that love of learning. Here are some of the ways I prepared my 3, 4’s and 5’s for Kindergarten.

Use that time in the car for word games and story problems:

* Play the syllable game. Give them words and have them break them into syllables, telling you how many syllables each one has. My girls loved this game, and being able to distinguish syllables is one of the first steps in being able to read and spell. If it helps, have your child “clap” the syllables out as they repeat the word. They’ll catch on in no time.
* Make up short poems; kids love to rhyme and this game will be full of hilarity. Everyone gets a turn thinking up a line.
* Glue and unglue three letter words. This is great exposure to the sounds that letters make. Say the word “cat” and then help your child sound it out (ungluing it) /c/-/a/-/t/.
* Explore homonyms. My middle child couldn’t get enough of this activity for some reason. (strange child!) She still likes to “collect homonyms”. (words that sound the same but are spelled different: reign, rain, rein)
* Play the “Minister’s Cat” (”the minister’s cat is an adorable, bratty, calico cat…and so on taking turns and repeating each adjective all the way through the alphabet) or the “ABC” game (take turns naming and claiming in order the alphabet letters seen on road signs, billboards and license plates)
* Use nature to come up with math story problems. This is great for the contextual learner. If there are 5 horses in that pasture, and 4 in the next, how many all together? What if 3 wandered off and got lost? How many then? (We used to count antelope on family vacations to Wyoming…hundreds and hundreds of antelope…)
* Quiz them about what numbers they should call in an emergency (Grandma, daddy’s cell, 911) (my girls at three years old could recite our bank account number!)
* Quiz them on their phone number and address.
* Give them paper and pencil and see how many times they can write their name in one minute.

At home:

* Dot to dots are really fun for three and four year olds, and it’s a great way for them to learn the coordination needed for writing. Most dot to dots are numbered or alphabetized which gives that added exposure/practice.
* Anything math is made more fun with small candies such as m&m’s. We’ve woven elaborate stories, illustrated even, of a bag of m&m’s and its trip around the neighborhood as it’s divvied up with all the children on the block. These candies are great for sorting and charting, and your preschoolers won’t even know they’re learning math! Until you proudly tell them and watch them beam from ear to ear!
* Teach them games like tic-tac-toe, and rock-paper- scissors. Talk about “critical thinking”. Especially when they ask questions with obvious answers.
* Put shaving cream on a cookie sheet and have fun “drawing” numbers and letters in it. (chocolate pudding works good for this too, but my dh forbids us from playing with food…yeah, no edible play-dough for our family)
* Give them a bucket of water and a paintbrush and have them paint their abc’s on the driveway or sidewalks.
* Use sidewalk chalk to draw a numbered clock face on the driveway and practice running “clockwise” and “counter clockwise”, telling them to stop on certain “times”
* All the science you need for this age is outdoors. Make bark rubbings, wormeries, collect two or three caterpillars and put them in a glass jar with a hole punched lid and a twig with leaves on it…a few months later you’ll have a moth or butterfly! Make sure you take advantage of the time nature-walking to talk about all that was created for our enjoyment.
* If you want to play science while indoors, experiment with the 5 senses. Blindfold your children, and have them guess what certain smells are (vinegar, lemon, banana, mom’s perfume), distinguish between the sours/sweets/salts of various foods (still blindfolded!), have them feel around in a bag of items and tell you what they’re touching.
* Sing. A lot.
* And don’t forget reading. Of all the above, reading is my favorite way to “teach”. Good books are good friends, and a great way to engage the mind. As are magazines like Your Big Backyard, Clubhouse Junior, and Highlights.

I wanted to stress that in addition to Biblical training, children need play time. Time to expand their imaginations, to pretend, to draw, to play outside and explore nature. Not time in front of the tv or computer, if that’s what they’re going to be doing, then by all means, enroll them in gymnastics or tee-ball or piano lessons. Yet, I think children come to depend upon being entertained, and they forget how to exist by themselves happily. Many adults cannot stand to be alone. They’ll leave the tv on, or music, anything to avoid a quiet house. So be alert and try to instill a sense of quiet into your child’s life.

The preschool years are magical. They shape your child’s personality, character, and interests. Don’t take them for granted.

Another Math Game

Found here.

Deck of cards : remove jacks, queens, kings, jokers.

Each player gets 10 cards.

Each player removes the cards that add up to 10.
I.e. has a 2 3 5 7 9 1 2 6 6 8 would remove 2 8, 3 7, 9 1 (puts them in pile in front), and be left with 2 6 5 6

This player would then ask the player on the left if they have a card. For instance in this case.. a 4 (because 6 + 4 = 10)

If player on left does not have card, the person asking picks up from the middle one card.

The aim of the game is to get rid of all 10 cards held in the hand.

Good way to reinforce adding to 10, and can easily to changed to doing 8's or 11's or whatever. Do addition, subtraction etc.

Playing "war" helps with math skills

The concept is found here.

The basic concept is simple.

Deck of cards.. remove all jacks, queens and kings.

One deck per player.

Simple number knowing: Play war : high card wins

Play addition/multiplication war: turn up two cards, multiply, high answer wins

Can also do for subtraction.. and make it so low card wins or whatever desired.

Quick way to reinforce math skills in a fun way.

Craft Ideas

copied over from: 7ValleysHomeschool

1. Paper towel leaf painting- Cut a white paper towel into the shape of a leaf. Put the towel onto wax paper. Then drop food coloring on with a dropper. They turn out beautiful and look amazing stuck to the window. I have also used a paintbrush to drop the paint but watch out for the little ones . They try to rub it around and then tear the paper towel.

2. Nature walk- It wouldnt be fall if we didnt go on a nature walk. Bringing those nature journals along and taking the afternoon to explore all the changes. We also collect things that we see that have fallen. My children are only allowed to collect things that have fallen. If its still attached they aren't to pick it - they are to draw it. Then we go back and look up the different flowers, leaves, and nuts we found. So we can have fun and learn a little about them too.

3. Leaf pictures and book markers- This craft I did with my kids long ago. So I don't think the little ones have had a chance yet to try it. So this year we are going to do it again. I cut paper grocery bags into bookmark shape or the size of a picture frame. You could make fall cards too. Then we used Clear contact paper like you use in your kitchen cabinets. This is an easy way to laminate. These bookmarkers lasted us a long time before they began to turn brown. I am not sure I didnt even throw them away and they still werent brown after a year. You want to contact the leaf inside with the paper and cover it solid trimming the edges. You could also use some leaf punches if you are into scrapbooking or stamps.

4. Math Acorns- I take advantage of all those acorns the kids bring in. We use them for math practices. Also for my little one I cut out a squirrel shape. Wrote a number on each squirrel then had the little ones feed that many to the squirrel. We have also used Cheerios since acorns can get wormy.

5. Pumpkin seeds- We will probably also make a fall decoration for our table. Cutting a pumpkin and scrapping out the inside. There is also a bible lesson in there about how something appears to be on the outside or a person appears to be and how it really is. We will roast the seeds . Some we will dry for a pumpkin counting books (since I mentioned them I will tell you about them at the bottom) or for math practices for the younger again. We will add a mum to the inside and some leaves we found.

6. Pumpkin seed books- I cut out the shape of a pumpkin (11) We write the numbers 1-10 . Add that many seeds to the page and white yarn strips about an in long. The yarn represents the stringy stuff in the pumpkin. Continue to do this on all the pages.

A book to consider

The Edison Trait: Saving the Spirit of Your Free-Thinking Child in a Conforming World

Reviews can be found here.

Quick Study labs

This is an online distance class also labeled as a “teacher assisted Internet class” for homeschooled children in the field of electronics. The teacher is a college professor of engineering and his children are homeschooled.

referenced by: The Thinking Mother.

Quick Study Labs can be found here.

Might be something to look into further if Justin has an interest in electronics.

This lady goes on in the article to explain the value in referencing people who are experienced in a certain line of work and how they can help homeschoolers by sharing that information with them.

Questions to ask when looking at paintings

Three questions that can be asked of any painting:
1. What is it a picture of?
2. What does the picture mean?
3. What meaning might this picture have for the viewer's life?

You might faciliate a discussion within which students consider these questions.

Ask students to imagine that they are inside of this painting.
  • What would it feel like to exist within the painting.
  • What feelings would they have?
  • What thoughts would they have?
(You could also ask students to develop dramatic presentations in which they answered these questions.)

I want to check these out more

I want to check these sites out more.

They are recommendations from: Musing of a Prairie Girl.

HomeSchool This is a site of unit studies that homeschool teachers submit for others to use as well. Divided into primary, elementary and so forth. Should be a useful site to have.

and a site called Five in a Row. Five in a row talks about reading the same book five days in a row and learning different things from it each day. Not a bad approach, teaches children to read critically and observantally.

Then there's is book called "a trip around the world" which is supposed to help with teaching geography.

This lady has LOTS of useful ideas on her site. I look forward to going back and checking things out.

Suggestions from a homeschooling friend

You didn't ask my opinion of what you should use, but I'll give it anyway. Not what you should use, but what I have found overall to be the most useful.
Kindergarten - How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (no I did not use this book, however, I have looked it over and it looks quite simple to use for a very young child and several of my friends have used it very successfully. It only cost $15 which is the cheapest curriculum you will find. I made up my own curriculum using Hay Wingo and An Acorn in Your hand which are out of print phonics books.)After finishing this book I would use the SRA reading books A-F
For math no curriculum just count everything with him. How many weeds did you pull today? These three are a different kind of weed so how many other weeds did we pull? Set the table. How many plates will you need? If Oma and Opa are coming over how many will we need? etc. Make a 100 number chart and count to 100 daily. Get a calendar and have him count the days of the week, months of the year, say the date, etc ( I also use this to teach my children about the Lord's Day. Every day I ask them 1. What is the first day of the week?Sunday 2. What do we do on Sunday?Worship God? 3. Why? Because that's the day Jesus rose from the dead. 4. What do we do the rest of the week? Work 5. Why? Because God said to work on six days and rest on one day. 6. How many days are there in a week? 7 7. Let's say them together. 8. What day of the week is it today? 9. How many days until ________ happens? etc)
That is all you need to teach in kindergarten how to read, how to count with doing simple addition and subtraction in story problems. You could also make up flashcards for all addition and subtraction problems less than a sum of 20

For first grade I would recommend My Father's World. You can find this at This has the best (most biblical) children's Bible stories in an easy to read book.

For second grade and beyond I would recommend
Reading - Robinson curriculum www.
Math - Saxon 1st edition if you can find it, but other edetions ok too
science - Bob Jones through 8th grade then Apologia
History - Bob Jones through 8th grade

For all grades
Art: Teaching Children To Draw (I can look this one up if you are interested)

Going thru links - geography

National Geographic : nationalgeographic

Canadian Geographic: canadiangeographic

Information: geography, history etc. : information please

Encyclopedia : World book

green school project

Math Curriculum by Grade

Check out this link.

Later I will add a brief synopsis of what is expected per grade level.

I was pointed in this direction by Homeschool Math Blog.

Another Book To Look Into

From a comment on my (Jim's) blog by Steve H,

"A great place to start is the small booklet "Classical Education and the Homeschool." By Doug Wilson, Wes Callihan and Doug Jones."

Some quotes from the booklet.

What makes classical Christian education so effective? First, it is based on what has been called the trivium. No matter how your child learns, he or she goes through three phases. In grades K-6, students are excellent at memorizing. In grades 7-8, students become more argument-oriented. They are ready to be taught logic and critical thinking. In grades 9-12, students become independent thinkers and communicators particularly concerned with their appearance to others. To this end, classical education teaches them “rhetoric,” the art of speaking, communicating, and writing.

Foundations Academy integrates subjects like literature, history, language, art, math, and science. Students read the great works of Western literature and philosophy. Classical languages (Latin and Greek) help students understand and think with greater depth about the world around them. Formal logic and rhetoric help students become great leaders and communicators. Classical teaching methods range from class lectures, to debates, to Socratic (discussion-oriented) teaching. Independent learning skills are sharpened at all grade levels.

For education to be effective, it must go beyond conveying fact. Truly effective education cultivates thinking and articulate students who are able to develop facts into arguments and convey those arguments clearly and persuasively.

There is no greater task for education than to teach students how to learn. The influence of "progressive" teaching methods and the oversimplification of textbooks make it difficult for students to acquire the mental discipline that traditional instruction methods once cultivated. The classical method develops independent learning skills on the foundation of language, logic, and tangible fact. The classical difference is clear when students are taken beyond conventionally taught subjects and asked to apply their knowledge through logic and clear expression.

In Dorothy Sayers' essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, she promotes teaching in ways which complement children's natural behavior. For example, young children in grammar school are very adept at memorizing. They enjoy repeating songs, rhymes, and chants to the extent that they often make up their own. In classical education, the "Grammar" phase corresponds with this tendency by focusing on the teaching of facts. During the junior high years, children often become prone to question and argue. Classical education leverages this tendency by teaching students how to argue well based on the facts they have learned. We call this the "Logic" phase. During the high school years, students' interests shift from internal concerns to the external. Teenagers become concerned with how others perceive them. This stage fits well into the "Rhetoric" phase of classical education, where students are taught to convey their thoughts so that they are well received and understood by others. The education culminates with the debate and defense of a senior thesis.

We believe that a sense of self-worth comes from accomplishment. The student who excels after working hard achieves a greater sense of accomplishment than one who is given the grade. By holding students to an objective standard, they gain a true understanding of their abilities.

Finally, we believe that learning, hard work, and fun are not mutually exclusive. Learning should be a joyful endeavor - one that presents a challenge.

The most frequently questioned piece of classical education is its use of Latin. Why do students in the Information Age need something so arcane as Latin? Considering the number of quality schools that for centuries taught Latin as an integral part of any good academic training, the instruction in Latin should need no defense. However, like many traditions lost in the name of "progressive" education, Latin's advantages have been neglected and forgotten by recent generations. Latin was widely taught even in American high schools as late as the 1940's. It was considered necessary to the fundamental understanding of English, the history and writings of Western Civilization, and the understanding of Romance languages.

1. Latin is a language that lives on today in almost all major Western languages, including English. Over 50 percent of English vocabulary comes from Latin. Training in Latin not only gives the student a better understanding of the roots of English vocabulary, it also lays the foundation for learning other Latin-based languages.
2. Learning the grammar of Latin reinforces the student's understanding of the reasons for, and the use of, the parts of speech being taught in our traditional English classwork (e.g., plurals, nouns, verbs, prepositions, direct objects, tenses).

the real power is in teaching ALL subjects from the perspective of the Christian worldview.

that facts, whether scientific, mathematical, historical, or otherwise, can only represent truth if they are taught in the context of a Christian worldview. There is no neutrality.

As the name implies, there are three stages represented in the Trivium: Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.
Grammar - Grades K-6

During the Grammar phase, children are particularly adept at memorization. Young children learn songs, rhymes, and recite facts with relative ease. Because young children are so eager to memorize that they will make up non-sensical playground rhymes, we challenge them by providing substantial subject matter for them to memorize. Each subject has its own grammar. In science, children memorize facts about nature. In math, children memorize times tables. In Latin, teachers emphasize vocabulary. Throughout each year in Grammar School, classically educated children learn the factual foundation of each subject. We use songs, chants, and rhymes to help children enjoy the learning experience.
Logic - Grades 7-8

The Logic phase involves ordering facts into organized statements and arguments. During the middle school years, children are beginning to think independently. They often develop a propensity for argument. Classical education teaches children in this phase to argue well. The study of formal logic helps students understand the fundamentals of a good argument. Practice in making written and oral arguments helps to further develop these skills. Teachers encourage the use of argumentation in each subject. Again, each subject has its own logic. In science, we use the development and testing of hypothesis. In math, we develop a student's ability to logically orient numbers through the more abstract concepts of algebra and trigonometry.
Rhetoric - Grades 9-12

Rhetoric is the art of communicating well. Once a student has obtained a knowledge of the facts (grammar) and developed the skills necessary to arrange those facts into arguments (logic), he must develop the skill of communicating those arguments to others (rhetoric). During the high school years, students become concerned with what others think of them. Classical education helps students develop their minds to think and articulate concepts to others. Writing papers, researching, and orating ideas are skills required in all subjects. The Academy adds polish to these skills to create a well-rounded student who can communicate effectively. We leverage these skills through the final requirement of the defense of a senior thesis.

While each component has a primary focus during a particular phase, all skills are developed during all levels. A second grader will develop certain skills in logic and rhetoric. A high school student will still aquire extensive knowledge in specific subjects. Emphasis is simply placed on different phases during different ages.

Classical Christian Homeschooling

This is a site that I need to further explore.

Not sure about learning and then teaching latin, but I like the grouding in learning how to think and do and the development of confidence in being able to think things through.

Books Suggested to Use

Books and Curriculum ideas

"Living for Triumph" ("Living My Religion Series", 7) (Hardcover)
by Msgr. William R. Kelly (Author)

Bible History (Hardcover)
by William Newton (Author)

A Child's History of the World (Paperback)
by V. M. Hillyer, Carle Michel Boog (Illustrator)

Reason for blog

I'm starting this blog as a storage place for the variety of information I am collecting on homeschooling.

As my boy gets to school age I'll jot down things that we're learning and doing.