Monthly Archives: January 2011

Scholastic E-books on Sale for $1

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Labels: Educator Discounts and Curriculum Sales
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Barefoot Books is Having a Winter Sale

Bestseller savings! Check out our most popular books. Discounted until February 8th.

Labels: Educator Discounts and Curriculum Sales
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Printables Round-Up: Calendars

To be honest, I already have a calendar, a very big calendar. I record activities for a busy family of seven, all of whom are going in different directions. I color code the entries, each person has a color, so I don’t have to write down “Gohan Circus Arts”, I just write “Circus Arts” in Gohan’s color. I also have a color for family activities, houseguests, and our pets (our pets’ social schedule is fairly tame thankfully, but they do have vet appointments). I also recently settled on writing our weekly menu on the calendar (in pencil so it can be changed, if needed). This has stopped people from asking “What’s for dinner, Mom?” (Okay, fine, it has minimized the number of times people ask me that…. stopped one kid one time from asking me that…. it might get people to stop asking me that some day, in about thirty years.)

I have been seeing a lot of printable calendars in the blogosphere, however, and some of them are so cool that I have been trying to think of a reason to have another calendar. Here are some of the fun calendars that I have seen:

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Labels: Freebies, Printables
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Free Math Resources Online

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Well, this post took a lot longer to write than I had anticipated. There is so much great stuff on the web for helping kids with math! Plus, we’ve had internet connection problems, which has made it hard for me to post. This is a list of free math resources. I will add it to my math page and update that as I find more math resources.

I’m linking this post to:

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Labels: Math
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Google Science Fair

Google is hosting a science fair for students aged 13-18. The deadline to enter is April 4, 2011.

Labels: Science
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Weekly Wrap-Up January 7

As I mentioned in December, Gohan dropped out of the school district’s Parent Partnership Program that he was enrolled in. So this completely changed the way our week looks. It means that we have to drive to each individual class, rather than be able to take several in one location. I wish he could participate in a co-op, but many of the local co-ops have waiting lists and the only one that doesn’t and is secular, meets on a day that conflicts with the YMCA’s Tweenzone.

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So now for outside classes he is attending Tweenzone at one of the YMCA’s, which consists of PE, swimming, and art. He is also taking a homeschool PE class at another local gym. Then he takes Circus Arts, so by the end of the week, he is physically exhausted, but happy.

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We also tried to enroll him in a homeschool musical theatre class, but it was dropped due to lack of enrollment.

We have joined one of the local homeschool groups, which has teen and tween activities. I believe he will be attending the social and volunteer activities with this group, which will be about twice a month. Fortunately, there is some overlap of the kids in each of the classes he is in, except Circus Arts, so hopefully he will be able to establish some friendships.

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In regards to his curriculum, I seem to be perpetually searching for the right match. I don’t know if I am too picky or it is that no curriculum is really a good match for him, due to his learning disabilities. We are continuing to use A Workbook for Dyslexics, which he has started struggling with. It had been moving along at such a great pace, then it seems like it just suddenly got so much harder and that less time is being spent on these very difficult vowel blends. He has been failing the assignments, despite his putting in a lot of effort. So I think I now need to look for another phonics/spelling program for him.

Growing with Grammar had been working well for grammar, but I decided to have him try the online Scott Foresman grammar and writing hand books that I blogged about. I really like having grammar and composition combined at this age. Thus far, he has been doing well. He complains heartily about the composition, but has begun to see the difference when he puts in more effort.

He is still doing vocabulary with Skills Tutor, but I am not uber excited about that either.

I am having him try Alek’s math via the 3-month trial that I blogged about. I just want to see how it works for him. Skills Tutor has been okay, but is not really meant to be a primary curriculum. I do have to say that I was very inspired after hearing my friend, who is a math tutor in Kirkland, speak about using board games to teach math this week. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of games for teaching advanced fractions, but I’d like to start incorporating more of the fun things we used to do when Gohan was younger, such as playing board games.

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We started using K12 for earth science, since Gohan is no longer attending his science class. Gohan is complaining about it, but the problem is that he complains a lot. He said he liked Awakening Wonders better, but I pointed out that he was not actually learning anything with that program and the only reason he liked it better was because it had no tests. K12 has tests every lesson, which I like. Gohan is really good at seeming like he understands a lesson, even when he doesn’t. The first unit is about maps, so I let him skip geography this week.

So that’s it. I guess we’re not super excited about his curriculum right now. Either he or I am not happy with any of the components and the things that were working before, have ceased working. So I continue my quest to find the perfect match for Gohan.

Am I the only person that finds themselves constantly changing curriculums?

I’m linking to:

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time Weekly Wrap-Up: January 7

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I decided that I am going to start having monthly themes with Dora, though each week may have its own emphasis. For January, we’re “studying” winter. The highlight of the week for Dora was the sensory bucket, which I filled with Insta-Snow from Steve Spangler Science. I then added some of her sandbox toys, clear gems, little plastic artic figures that I happen to have on hand, and blue and silver bells, which got clogged with snow and now do not ring. Not only did Dora really enjoy playing with this, but Gohan and two of my teens joined in the fun also.
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For art, we tried to make ice sculptures, based on this post here. I learned a couple of important lessons. Firstly, do not let your kids help you color the water you are going to freeze. Both Dora and Gohan helped and insisted on putting way too much food color in the water. Secondly, let the ice freeze for a few days before you use it. I tried using it after it had been in the freezer for a day and several of the pieces were not frozen in the center. Thirdly, we did not get our ice to stick together by painting it with water, but that could be because I did not let it freeze well enough.
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Dora’s favorite thing to do with the ice was to have me stack it up so that she could lick it! We did observe that the food color tended to glob together, so the ice would be clear on the outside with a core of very concentrated colored ice. Secunda theorizes that this happened because food color’s freezing point is different than water.
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We experimented with making homemade hot cocoa mix together, but I’m not going to even post the recipe, because quite frankly, I found it to be sickenly sweet (and I have a major sweet tooth!).
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We read several books, but the one that Dora really enjoyed was Here Comes jack Frost, by Kazuno Kohara. I liked that the illustrations look like they were made using stencils. The style and use of blues and whites really exude winter.

 

Dora also loves a series of books about the seasons that is from Scholastic Books. Each book ends reassuring the child that he is safe in either Mommy or Daddy’s arms. The illustrations use a variety of textures and lift-the-flaps. The title we focused on was Welcome Winter.

 

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For a winter-themed field trip, we tried too go sledding, but the trip didn’t work out too well. We’ve had quite a bit of snow (for our area anyway) during the last couple of weeks, however, so she has had ample opportunity to play in the snow.
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I’m linking up to:
Tot School    Shibley SmilesWe Playpreschool corner

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

One More Homeschool Video

I found this on You Tube tonight and thought it was funny and cute.

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Free Journey to the Stars DVD

Several months ago, I requested a free copy of Journey to the Stars, which was originally a planetarium show made for the American Museum of Natural History. I  never blogged about this great opportunity, because almost immediately the offer had to be suspended due to overwhelming demand. The offer has still not been renewed, but you can request to get on a mailing list to find out when more copies will be made available.
To get an idea about what this show is about, here is a blurb from NASA’s site for the DVD:

Journey to the Stars began as a planetarium show produced by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and supported by NASA’s Heliophysics Division. It surveys the mind-boggling variety of stars that dot the cosmos—exploding stars, giant stars, dwarf stars, neutron stars, even our own star! A New York Times reviewer called it “easily the most beautiful planetarium show I have ever seen.” Journey has been playing to packed houses at the Hayden Planetarium in New York since the summer of 2009 and, by popular demand, has now been copied to DVD.

I finally was able to preview the DVD tonight, so wanted to give a review. First of all, if you do not believe in evolution or the Big Bang, this DVD is not for you. Otherwise, the show has incredibly fantastic visuals. Really, they are breathtaking! The show is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, whose gravelly voice lends an otherworldly element to the dialogue. The show is enlightening, yet presented at a level that even elementary students can comprehend.
The DVD also comes with educational supplements, which are also illustrated with stunning photos. There are lesson plans for grades 3-12, which include study questions, hands-on activities, links, and more.
In short, Journey to the Stars would make an excellent supplement to any earth science curriculum, which is what I am intending to use it for this spring. I have embedded a copy of the video that I found on Vimeo above, but I highly recommend that you subscribe to the mailing list to be alerted when this offer is renewed as I am not sure if the above copy is legal (I didn’t make it). Plus, this DVD is a keeper!

Labels: Science
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

The Fed-Up Homeschooler’s Wish List

I’ve seen this list in writing several times. I think it may have originally come from Secular Homeschooler Magazine. I like the extra oomph that this video gives it.

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff