Monthly Archives: August 2010

Free Entrance Days to the National Parks This Weekend – August 14th and 15th

This weekend, April 14th and 15th, are Free Entrance Days for the National Parks, when admission to all 392 National Parks is free. In addition, many of the park concessioners will be offering their own discounts and deals.

Did you know that many historic sites and natural wonders are National Parks also? For instance, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Antietam National Battlefield, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Cape Cod National Seashore, Death Valley National Park, and Aztec Ruins National Monument are all National Parks and would make wonderful field trip destinations for some interesting history or science lessons. I find that one of the joys of homeschooling is having the flexibility to incorporate more field trips into my kids education.

Many parks even have curriculum based education programs!

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Magnetic Pattern Blocks for Educational Fun on the Go

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This school year, I will only be officially homeschooling my son, who is eleven. My three eldest will be doing college classes, but I will also have my daughter, who will turn two this fall. My son really likes to socialize and be out and about. He loves taking classes, joining clubs, etc. It so happens that all of his activities are located about 1 hour away from our house this year (if things continue this way, we plan to move closer to these programs). As such, my daughter has to ride in the car a lot. Then, we don’t have time to go home, so she also spends a lot of time hanging out at all the places that my son has classes at. Sometimes, there are playrooms and other kids for her to play with. Other times, she will want to stay outside and explore. And at other times, I have to get creative with the things that I keep in the car. As such, I am always on the look out for good travel toys, books, art supplies, and other educational materials.

Currently, she likes to play with math manipulatives, but they are not very easy to play with in the car as the pieces fall in the cracks and so forth. So I have been trying to find manipulatives that travel better. I bought her a really neat case (Magnakase) that stores her art supplies and has a magnetic wipe board on the outside of the case (plus magnets that will hold papers still if she wants to color). So I thought it would be nice if I could find some magnetic pattern blocks. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any magnetic pattern blocks that I liked. So I finally concluded that I would need to make my own.

I decided to post these printables in case anyone else wanted to make their own pattern blocks. These printables can be printed on magnetic paper or regular paper and then laminated or attached to an adhesive magnetic sheet. Kids can then use these pattern blocks on any metal or magnetic surface. I am storing them in a metal tin that I got at Ben Franklin.

I will also make some pattern block puzzles as we go along, but right now she just enjoys playing with the blocks and making designs.

Here are the links to the printables.

Labels: Apps, Blogging Business, Freebies, Math, Printables
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Curriculum and Resources for Teaching Social Studies in Your Homeschool

Well, summer is almost over and I am almost done with this series of posts about curriculum and resource options for homeschoolers. I have converted this series of posts into static pages, which you can see at the top of this blog. I will update the pages as I learn about changes in curriculum and/or new curriculums.

Today, I am covering social studies curriculums and resources. As with the rest of the posts in this series, I’m not covering online/distance learning programs in this post. I have a separate page set up with online/distance learning curriculums.

I must confess that social studies is not our favorite subject, we tend to be more of a math and science oriented family, with language arts coming in 3rd and social studies coming in last for the most part. Thus far, the only social studies program that we have used and really enjoyed was my daughter’s AP Psychology book. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t keep trying to find the perfect match for us.

How about you? Is your household filled with history buffs or do you struggle, like me, to bring history to life for your kids?

Labels: Curriculum, Social Studies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff