Is Chemistry Confusing You? Try Chem4Kids.

March 13, 2009

test_tubes_sWould you like to see a picture of crystalline iron found only in meteorites?  Check out these real word examples of elements on Chem4Kids website – a site dedicated to helping teach chemistry concepts to kids.

Here is some of what Chem4Kids has:

Enjoy browsing their site!

As always, though, I think science for kids is best experienced first hand with experiments.  Do you have any good ‘kitchen table’ chemistry ideas?

Posted under Science Curriculum, Science Websites

Some Great Ideas About Teaching Math and Multiplication!

March 10, 2009


Need some math inspiration?  (We’ve often hit points where it doesn’t seem like anything we’re doing is working)

Check out the latest ‘Math Teachers At Play” Carnival for some new ideas.  She has gathered posts on Elementary Concepts, Arithmetic, Basic Algebra and Geometry, Advanced Math, Math Puzzles, and Teaching Math.

Sometimes it pays to try something totally different.  I’ll post about our latest math and school experiment tomorrow.  Enjoy

Have you tried any new math ideas that have worked well?  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!

Posted under Blog Carnivals, Math Websites

Not Sure if a Book is Appropriate? Check The Literate Mother.

March 9, 2009


It’s a big milestone when your children finally start reading books on their own just for fun.  But, my son quickly followed in my footsteps and started checking out stacks of books to read.  So, how can I get some idea of what he’s reading and if there are topics I need to discuss with him or ask him to avoid reading?

Well these two awesome moms have put together reviews and ratings for lots of children and teen books on The Literate Mother website

They have personally read each book and given it a 0 to 5 rating for:

  1. language
  2. violence
  3. sexual content
  4. adult themes

They want to help parents and teacher be informed about book content so they can suggest, discourage, or be prepared to discuss reading material.  Thank you!

Posted under Books to Read, Language Art Websites

Last Chance for the Iditarod – It starts Saturday!

March 5, 2009


If you’re looking for a fun idea for school these next couple weeks, try following the Iditarod Race which starts in two days – Saturday, Mar. 7th.

Learn about and follow the race at:

And don’t forget the great E-Iditarod Project that starts every year in January and involves the kids making a map of Alaska, selecting a musher and team to follow, and following the progress of their team on the race by posting to a blog as ‘their’ team reaches each checkpoint.  Here we are making our map of Alaska for the project:



Posted under Homeschool Activities, Social Studies Websites

A Homeschool Mom’s Great Math Blog – Let’s Play Math

February 25, 2009


Denise is a homeschool mom who knows math inside and out and has put together tons of great articles, ideas, and links in her blog with the great name:  Let’s Play Math!

Here are some of what I enjoyed on her blog:

Thank you for all the ideas!

Posted under Math Curriculum, Math Websites

Looking for Answers to Your Homeschooling Nature Questions?

February 25, 2009

Isn’t this a great picture of an ‘E-fant’?  (my 3-year-old’s favorite animal)  Learning about animals is a favorite part of early education and teaches children science, reading, comprehension, and lots more.

Check out Exploring Nature, a great natural science website with:

Much of the site is free, but there is also a nominal $25/yr to access some of their member only resources.  Enjoy!

Posted under Science Curriculum, Science Websites

Is Math Too Hard to Learn or Teach? Try Living Math!

February 24, 2009


Do you think you are bad at math? Does you child think he or she is?

Math seems to come up often in complaints about early education.

So, if you’re looking for a new approach, you might want to try Living Math which consists of:

  • Early exposure to math as it is used in real life, instead of contrived worksheets.
  • Not requiring mastery of math on a set time table
  • Liberal use of math literature and history to make math come alive and feel more real.
  • A goal to encourage a child’s natural love of learning (even while learning math 🙂

Julie Brennan, a homeschool mom of four, offers lots of Living Math resources on her website:


Posted under Math Curriculum, Math Websites

Need info for a Homeschool State Unit Study?

February 23, 2009


If you’re doing a unit study on one of the states in America, check out this website full of State resources including:

  • State facts
  • Links to TONS of great state-specific websites
  • lots of field trip info
  • local homeschool info

Thank you to The Homeschool Mom for compiling this great resource!

Posted under Geography, Geography Websites

We only write on PAPER! . . . and other tips for Homeschool Handwriting Practice.

January 27, 2009

Writing is an everyday part of a young homeschooler’s life: 


  • Writing ‘I love you’ notes to Mom (or ‘I hate extremely dislike you’ on a bad day)


  • Drawing scribble landcapes as seen out the window. . . on the wall . . . in marker.
  • Adding emebelishments to older brother’s math workbook so it looks much prettier
  • Drawing a mustache . . . on my face . . . with marker (the cheap non-washable kind) . . . oh, and perfect circles . . . around my eyes.
  • Writing my name . . . in pen . . . all over my arms and legs.

You can see why I’m always on the look-out for APPROPRIATE writing exercises.

While searching for printables I found another very generous homeschooler:

I loved the comprehensive set of homeschool handwriting lessons she designed and offers free for personal use.  She includes a whole set of printable handwriting paper, along with 6 handwriting fonts she uses, so you can design your own worksheets.

Also on her website, she offers the following to homeschoolers:

Thank you!  And enjoy!

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Posted under General Homeschool Curriculum, Language Art Websites, Writing Curriculum

A Map of Alaska, the Iditarod Trail, and a Bedsheet – Fun Homeschool Unit Study.

January 26, 2009

Last month, we found the Iditarod Project (thanks, Beth!), and the kids have been having a blast working on it – always a great time in homeschool life.

The first activity is to make a map of Alaska and the Iditarod Trail.  After considering the daily danger to all fragile items in our boy and toddler-heavy household, I wasn’t so excited about making a large paper map.  It didn’t take much imagination to see ripped map pieces, corners disolved by drool, and chunks of paint being pulled off the wall by tape gone crazy.

Good thing someone more creative than I suggested using a bedsheet to make the map. 

Whalah!  We did a quick math lesson on scale, made 8 x 8 inch squares out of cardstock, and the kids got busy marking a grid on the map in pencil.  (Hey, that laundry in the background is clean, at least)


The next day, we transfered the outline of Alaska, the rivers, the Iditarod Trail, and the cities.  After a discussion of map legends, my oldest designed a cool symbol for the cities, including one with a star in the middle for the capital.  (Since everyone has to be involved at our house, the 3-year-old made his own unsupervised permanent marker line across the scale line – at least he didn’t get the carpet!)


We outlined everything in permanent marker.  To remove the pencil marks, we washed the sheet with the regular mountains of laundry.  And finally, we hung the map proudly on the banister in our entryway.  (Who needs interior decorators when you homeschool?)



We’re also reading Dogsong by Gary Paulsen together to get more of a feel for Alaska and some of her culture.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress. 

Meanwhile, check out these other homeschoolers who have also done/are doing the Iditarod project:

If you’re also joining in, post a comment and link about your progress and experiences!

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Posted under Geography Websites, Homeschool Activities, Social Studies Websites