Giveaway for Free Business Cards and Brochures from

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April 23, 2009


Anybody up for a free giveaway on HomeschoolBytes?  Need some free business cards or brochures? 

Have you ever thought about using a business card to put your family homeschool info on, including websites, emails, phone numbers, etc.?  It’s very handy for the kids to give to new friends they make, or to exchange with other parents at homeschool functions.

The Prize:

UPrinting just contacted me and offered to give 1000 free standard sized business cards for one of my readers and 500 free standard sized brochures for another reader in exchange for mentioning them on our blogs.  You can choose from any of their stocks for these items.

How to enter:

  1. Leave a comment to this post describing what you would use the free business cards and/or brochures for
  2. Post a quick blurb with your comment along with the URL to this giveaway on your blog – something like “ is hosting a giveaway for free business cards and brochures – check it out!  I could use some new cards!”

So, I thought there would be a couple readers that could use some new cards and/or brochures.  Enjoy!


  1. Contest is open to anyone – tell any friends you know that could use the cards and brochures.
  2. Contest will end Monday, May 4th, so you have a little over a week to enter.  I will use a random number generator to choose the two winners on Monday, and then send their emails to UPrinting who will then contact you with ordering information.
  3. Winners in the United States and Canada qualify for free shipping. Shipping fees will apply to winners outside these areas.



For over 25 years, UPrinting has been a trusted leader in Online Printing , featuring its signature easy-to-use website and the famous free file review, a complimentary proofing service which requires no upfront payment. UPrinting offers convenient marketing support services such as design, lists, and direct mailing to help grow small and medium-size businesses nationwide.’s high quality printing services include Brochures, Business Card Printing, brochures, postcards and more, all at the most affordable prices.

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Posted under Homeschool Bargains

Online Reading, Writing, Science Curriculum Free May 4th – 8th!

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April 23, 2009


Looking for some online literacy and science curriculums?

Learning A-Z is having a free trial week in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.  If you’re investigating literacy resources, this is a good time to check them out.

They offer the following:

  • Free all week long:  A collection of online books kids can choose, listen to, read along, or read on their own for $60/yr.  (Raz-Kids won Learning Magazine 2009 Teacher’s Choice Award for the Family)
  • Free on May 4th:  Reading A-Z: Everything you need to teach reading including phonics, leveled readers, lessons, worksheets, etc. for $85/yr.
  • Free on May 5th:  Science A-Z: A K-6 science curriculum with lessons, experiments, worksheets, etc. for $60/yr.
  • Free on May 6th:  Writing A-Z: Writing resources including research packets, mini-books, story cards, writing prompts, lessons, etc. for $30/yr.
  • Free on May 7th:  Vocabulary A-Z: After building your word list, a lesson generator will give you a week’s worth of lessons, activities, games, and a graphic organizer.  $30/yr.
  • Free on May 8th:  Reading-Tutors:  If you need tutor lesson plans, this site offers 450 complete tutoring packets with lesson plans, games, activities, etc. for $60/yr.

[tags]reading, writing, phonics, science, homeschool, printables, worksheets, lessons, learning, teachers, websites, review, free [tags]

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Posted under Language Art Websites, Reading Curriculum, Science Curriculum, Writing Curriculum

Ology – a Fun Science Website to Explore!

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April 22, 2009


Need some ideas to make science fun?  Or ideas for a science project?

Check out Ology, a science website done by the American Museum of Natural History (get it? -ology as in bi-ology, arche-ology?)

There are tons of catagory pages including:

Plus for each topic, there are activities in fun categories including:

  • Scientist at Work
  • Inside Story – “Ask a Scientist”
  • Quiz Games
  • Make It – fun activities with supply lists and instructions
  • Interviews with Scientists
  • Explore the Evidence


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Posted under Science Websites

Fritz and Chesster Game Review – My Kids Love Learning Chess!

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April 21, 2009


My husband enjoys a chess puzzle every morning, which is the only reason the game appeals to my kids: Dad likes it so there must be something there. Then we found the Fritz and Chesster game for the PC. It uses a great story line and fun games to teach all the concepts of chess.

Gone are the days of Mom saying, “Uh, I don’t think the knight can go there,” and “Where do I set the bishops at again?”

In the day of XBox’s, DS’s, etc., how do you get kids interested in playing chess? And why would you anyway?

Because chess can:

  • Help on test scores.
  • Teach kids problem solving.
  • Thinking of all the possible moves in your head helps a lot with abstract reasoning.
  • Ups memory, language, and math skills.
  • Encourages creative thinking.
  • It’s fun, and gives the mind a workout at the same time!
  • You can do it together!

    Why Fritz and Chesster?

    It’s fun and teaches all the moves in chess: pawn moves, castling rules, promotion, mate, stalemate, everything! And then the second program, Fritz and Chesster 2, goes on to teach even more tactics and strategies.

    How it Teaches Chess with Stories and Games:

    It starts with a storyline about young Fritz who is left in charge of the kingdom while his mom and dad, the King and Queen, are away. Here’s a picture of the crew with King Black, the hardest king to defeat.


    Here’s a fun game using Sumo wrestlers facing off against each other. They teach how a king moves and the idea of ‘opposition’ as you try to force the other wrestler off the game mat. They are too fat to be right next to each other, so the rules are that they stay at least one square apart 🙂


    And how about bouncing a ball diagnally across a game board to smash toilet bowls? Yes, the potty humor is funny to kids, and meanwhile, they are learning how the bishop moves diagonally.


    What better way to learn how a rook moves in straight lines than trying to escape these spiders in the rook maze and earn a high score.


    And this horse has to jump over the fences, but in the “L”-shaped movement that a knight makes. What a great mind puzzle for kids!


    Once you learn all the rules, you get to practice by playing against opponents of various difficulties.

    At around $20, it’s cheaper than any chess lesson by an expert and with the ability to enter multiple names, all your kids can play.

    What about yourself? If you never took the time to understand how chess really works, give yourself a fun mental workout and learn it together with your child. Isn’t that half the fun of homeschooling? Learning together!

    (You can help support HomeschoolBytes by purchasing Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster from this link and/or doing any Amazon shopping from there also – Thanks!)

    I’d like to review a few more of my favorite learning software programs. Do you have any favorites? Or requests to review? Let me know in the comment section 🙂

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    Posted under Homeschool Software, Math Curriculum

    Top 10 Signs Your House is a Mess

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    April 16, 2009

    I finally realized that one of the challenges of homeschooling is that my kids are home all day, which mean they are not only learning at home with me, but they are making messes at home.  (See this post on some ideas to make chore time more fun and productive.)

    And one of the greatest coping mechanism is having a bit of humor, so you laugh instead of cry when you see something like #4.  Enjoy!

    Top 10 Signs Your House is a Mess

    1. You smile when you hear your kids having a blast playing a new game, until you hear what it is:  See who can get from the front door to the other end of the family room by stepping on objects without touching the floor.  You’re mortified that it’s not only possible, but easy.
    2. When a friend wants to sit down, you need to scoot over piles of laundry to clear a spot.  Hey, at least it’s clean laundry!
    3. Your walls have character, ie. the flat paint from the builder has now faded to a splotchy grey color punctuated with bright splashes of crayon lines.
    4. The occasional wall has even better art on it.  (It’s not chocolate! :-}
    5. wall_streaks

    6. You’ve run around the kitchen, holding a hot baking sheet and it’s taken you so long to find some empty counterspace to lay it down, you’ve almost burnt your fingers.
    7. You ask your child to make his bed, because a friend is coming over to play,and he asks, “Make it into what?”
    8. Your floor gets mopped in sections centered around various ‘spills’ over the course of a month or two.
    9. There is enough food under the kitchen table and the edges of various couches to feed an extra child.
    10. When you scrub up a carpet spill, you notice the now blindingly bright spot in the middle of the carpet every time you walk into the room.
    11. You smile and think of your house as ‘lived in’ and wouldn’t trade all the messmakers for anything.  (Though having a clean house stay reasonably clean is a reason to look forward to grandparenthood)

    Anyone have an extra Top 10 Sign to add to the list? Just add it to the comment section and share a laugh 🙂

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    Posted under Homeschool Humor, Top 10

    Steps that Multiply – “Math Teachers at Play” Blog Carnival #4

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    April 3, 2009

    I’m happy to host the 4th edition of the “Math Teachers at Play” Blog Carnival!

    Learning math starts with baby steps and as our skills multiply, we need less and less help to take bigger and bigger steps.  So, here are some great articles organized by steps. 🙂

    Baby Steps

    (We need lots of help understanding math to make any progress)


    Wendy Piersall presents Spring Math Worksheets: Counting Money posted at Animal Jr..

    And just in time for Easter and all its candy, Shauna presents candy math posted at Treasure Seekers.  She says, “While homeschooling my older daughter for kindergarten, I used some Halloween candy to help teach basic math concepts. (At this time of year, you may have extra Easter candy on hand!) The ideas can easily be adapted and expanded on depending on the student’s level.”

    Denise presents How DO We Learn Math? posted at Let’s Play Math!.  She says, “To teach effectively, I need to understand how students learn. I can think of at least 3 ways that I have learned math — what about you? How do you and your children learn?”

    Elissa presents Red Light Green Light: 9 Tips to Organizing Your Classroom posted at Miss Cal.Q.L8

    Here is a fun set of lessons teaching the ways to add to 10: Magic Number Lesson Ideas

    Childhood Steps

    (A little math help is appreciate, but we’re ready to step out a bit on our own)


     Bogusia Gierus presents Subtractions and Decomposing Numbers | Nucleus Learning posted at Nucleus Learning.

    Brent Yorgey presents Chessboard counting posted at The Math Less Traveled. See also the solutions here.

    Here’s a fun article about Math Salons, a great idea for get-togethers based around a math lesson.  What a fun idea to make math more interesting and fun:  Sue VanHattum presents Math Salons and Base Eight posted at Math Mama Writes….  She says, “This is about my math salon, and a children’s story I wrote.”

    Adventuring Steps

    (We’re off on our own, but may fall in a few puddles along the way)


    Praveen presents What’s the Chance That the Patient Has the Disease? posted at Math and Logic Play.

    If you have a child multiplying 2-digit + numbers, you’ll have to take a look at the video in this article showing how to do calculate by drawing a few lines on paper.  Fascinating!:  Marco DSouza presents Become a human calculator posted at Technology at work and play. Understanding the concepts of Trachtenberg and Vedic mathematics to solve complex math in your mind!

    Here is an interesting discussion on the philosophy of real world math:  Michael Croucher presents Martial Mathematics posted at Walking Randomly.

    Check out Maria’s video lessons – if you have some visual learners:  Maria Miller presents Division of fractions conceptually posted at Homeschool Math Blog.

    Running Steps

    (We take all we’ve learned and leap over the math hurdles we encounter.)


    Dave Marain presents Another Quadratic Function SAT Problem posted at MathNotations.  An example of the type of quadratic function (parabola) question that is currently being tested on the SATs with answers, solution and discussion.

    Pat Ballew presents Testing Understanding of Slope posted at Pat’sBlog. What a difference a subtle shift in a graph can make…

    If you are looking for an interesting field to apply math skills:  TeacherC presents Investigating Social Inequity in the Mathematics Classroom posted at An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog. The mathematics classroom is a place where students can explore inequity and social justice issues that affect their communities and the world.

    Test your math skills on these ancient Algebra problems:  Jon Ingram presents Ten 16th century word problems posted at Lessons taught; Lessons learnt. Ten algebra word problems, taken from The Whetstone of Witte, the first book on algebra ever published in English, slightly over 450 years ago.

    John D. Cook presents Springs, resistors, and harmonic means posted at The Endeavour.

    Edmund Harriss presents Surfaces 1: The ooze of the past posted at Maxwell’s Demon.

    Dave Marain presents Those “Function” Questions on the SATs – Practice, Tips posted at MathNotations. This post looks at a different kind of function question of the type that could appear on the SATs. Issues of coping with function notation and convoluted wording are addressed. The problem also deals with number theory topics appropriate for middle schoolers.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed these articles!  Feel free to post a blurb about the carnival on your blog.  Enjoy! 

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    Posted under Blog Carnivals, Math Curriculum, Math Websites

    Siftables – Amazing New Computer ‘Blocks’

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    April 2, 2009

    You have to take second and watch this video. Every now and then, you see someone come up with a totally new and COOL idea. This is one of those:

    They are working on building these small handheld-sized miniature computer ‘blocks’. It only seems slightly interesting, until you see some of the incredible ideas they come up with to have them interact. I thought ‘pouring’ paint from one to the other was great, and the music making was incredible. I want a set for my homeschool!

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    Posted under Homeschool Life

    Review the Safe Sunscreens now that Spring is Here!

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    March 27, 2009


    Here’s a quick tip – not so much a homeschool one, but for parents with kids who have been chomping at the bit to get out of the house now that the weather is a bit nicer:

    Make sure you’re using a sunscreen that is not only effective, but also safe!

    I stumbled on this amazing online Sunscreen Database published by Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization.  They are a third party who rates the safety and effectiveness of cosmetic products to give you the information you need.

    From their website:  “Our aim was to fill in where companies and the government leave off: companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish, and our government doesn’t require companies to test products for safety before they’re sold. EWG’s scientists built Skin Deep to be a one-of-a-kind resource, integrating our in-house collection of personal care product ingredient listings with more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases.”

    So, grab that bottle of sunscreen from last year, type it in to their “Find Your Sunscreen” page, and see how it rates.  You may be very surprised.  I was!

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    Posted under Parenting

    Memorize the Preamble to the Constitution.

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    March 25, 2009


    We do a bit of memorizing here and there.  In the past we’ve mostly done scripture verses, poems the kids pick out, and the infamous times tables.

    Just last week, though, I thought it might be fun to look at some other famous bits of writing.  I tried to think of what I had memorized in school, and scraps of the Preamble to the Constitution came to mind – a bit jumbled, but most of the parts intact. 🙂  And then my husband started singing it and told me where he’d learned the song from:

    Did you know that Schoolhouse Rock did a little short film on the Preamble?  It’s cute and fun, and the kids pick it up pretty quickly after listening to it a few times.

    (Just make sure to add “of the United States” after “We the people” at the beginning if you want the accurate Preamble.)

    And introducing the Preamble turned into a great discussion with my 9-year-old.  By the time we talked about justice, welfare, a perfect union, liberty, and a fair bit of early American history, we had a great ‘session’ of ‘school’.  What is life about?  Why were those ideas important enough to fight for?  How are those ideas present, or not, in our lives, our homes, today?  It was great fun!  Those are the conversations with my children that I consider priceless.  

    And I just started by looking for a bit of something to memorize and stretch the brain.  Isn’t homeschooling great?

    Do you do much memorizing in your families?  If so, what types of things do you memorize, and do you have a method that you could share with us?

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    Posted under History Curriculum, Memorizing Facts

    Top 10 Signs You’re Getting Old (Happy Birthday!)

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    March 22, 2009


    1. The kids you used to babysit have their own kids and you’re pretty sure it’s only been a few years since they were wearing diapers.
    2. You remember being horrified when your ‘ancient’ parents turned 40, and never thought it would happen to you.
    3. You always knew you would be an adult some day, but it still doesn’t feel like you are . . . even with 5 kids.
    4. You’ve made a two column list of reasons for and against dying the gray scattered in your hair, and still can’t decide.
    5. You actually said, “When I was a young . . . ” out loud!
    6. Teenagers look at you in confusion when you use all your cool, rad, awesome, and stoked words in a sentence.  Or, you suggest a larger size when a teenager tells you someone’s pants are ‘tite’.  They say you must be ‘trippin’.  Since you haven’t fallen, you’re a bit confused.
    7. None of the kids in your life have ever heard of “The Smurfs”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “The Flintstones”, or “Inspector Gadget”.  You think “Pokemon” is something a kid does to someone sitting next to them.
    8. 6-year-olds routinely guess you’re close to 100 years old if you don’t give them hints before they guess.
    9. You’d rather people forget it’s your birthday so you can pretend another one hasn’t come and gone.
    10. After one game of ‘friendly’ basketball with other moms, you’re in pain for a week and can’t make it up your own stairs without groaning.

    Yes, I’m having a birthday 🙂 I’m really young at heart, though, because I’m pretty sure I”m getting some Webkinz from my kids . . . and I LIKE Webkinz. 

    Anyone else out there wondering when they crossed the line from kid to adult?

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    Posted under Top 10