Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have come across some very good sites that offer extremely fun games for children and adults alike. When we are not formally schooling our children, we encourage a lot of play.Your family will have so much fun playing that TV watching will be seldom to none.www.lakeshorelearning.com (free catalog)I LOVE THIS STORE!!! They built one near my home and it has been history ever since. They also have free craft day every Saturday from 11am-3pm

www. mindware. com - brainy toys for children of all ages (free catalog)If you have young ones I highly recommend The Foundation of Mathematics pattern play blocks:)
www. lauritoys. com - We order from them all the time. They offer lots of lace ups and puzzles.(My children are playing with a few items in our homeschooling albumgreat early learning toys and durable! (free catalog)
Toys to grow on www. ttgo. com lots of toys for imaginative/ dramatic play (free catalog)
www. educationallearninggames. com GREAT GREAT SITE for homeschoolers! they games for all ages in every subject.
These sites have games and toys that stimulate the mind and bring the family together.~Bless~

Building An Inexpensive In Home Library

During our homeschooling journey, we have accumulated a lot of books. through out the years I have learned how to work with a strict budget designate funds for our homeschool. Here is a lest of some of the things we have done to build our library. **If you don't have the money of space for lots of books, the best resource is the FREE LIBRARY**

1.Purchase by current subject or study matter. ..
When we are gathering materials for a certain subject we also look for relevant literature that we can read to the children and they can in turn read themselves. You may also want to purchase an encyclopedia set for leisure or research.

2.Buy Used.
I purchased AFrican Ceremonies which is sold on amazon.com for $94 used for $15. The book was in great condition and I got it for a little more than half the price. Some books and DVDs can be costly, but don't be afraid to shop around for a cheaper price.

3. There's Nothing Wrong With a Good Garage Sale:)
You would be surprised at how many people sell books at bottom prices. I managed to purchase 5 National Geographic animal videos,magnetic words, preschool cassettes, and manipulatives for $15.

4. Designate An Area In the home
Whether you live in a large or small home, you can try to be creative in incorporating a space for a home library. You can purchase small 4 shelf bookcase up to a 6-7 shelf bookcase. You can even be more creative by purchasing a few slabs of wood from Home Depot or Lowes for a few dollars and some cinder blocks (they are about $2 each)

5.Out With the Old and In with the New
As your children get older, you may need to upgrade your collection so you may find your self selling some books older books t o make room for newer ones. You can even pass some along to others or make an exchange.
During the course of your homeschooling journey.you will use 100s of books, so incorporating a library in your home can be fun,educational and enlightening.

Creating Your Own Curriculum Part1 Literature/Reading/Vocabulary

Creating you own curriculum is not for everyone, but if you are looking for something new that the boxed curriculums are not offering, than this is a fun alternative. It takes some time, and inginuity to create your own curriculum, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and what some may call an inconvenience. When creating your own curriculum, you can changes things around quite easily. If you find a resource that you like better than the one you are currently using,it can be esily implemented as opposed to having to conform to the order of a boxed curriculum.
Here is an example of how I have created a Cross curriulum for my daughter that works.
First we pick out the literature selections for the quarter. Our goal is to finish up to 6 books per quarter. Her vocabulary and spelling lessons are incorporated into the literature. By looking up the unknown words she encounters in her literature, she builds her vocabulary. shen then looks up the words in the dictionary and writes the deinitions. If she comes across a definition that is vague or complex, we explain the definition and she then writes in her her own words so that she can have a better understanding. Sometimes we may even look in the thesaurus for similar words and opposites.The words also become her spelling words for the week. Depending on how many chapters are in the book, we usually read 2-3 chapters per week. Her vocabulary words are also used for her spelling words in which we test her at the end of he week. She may spell them orally or write them down. Our children's curriculum is structured, but they are very proactive in what the learn. We allow them to add their own ideas and projects and this has been very succesful.
My daughter has a Readers Book Log (
www.lakeshorelearning.com) It has a book chart in the back that lets your child record the title of the book,the date they complete the book, and it also has a place where you can place a sticker on the kind of book it is. i.e. fiction, adventure, biography etc.


Check out www.planetcdrom.com for your educational software needs.They are very reasonable. I have checked the prices of some of the software they sell on other sites and you can't beat the prices.
Most of the software is free and all you pay is the shipping per software. I have ordered 12 cd's to date over the past year and I am very satisfied with the product, and shipping time.

Order... S&D is:
1 item $6.49 per item
2-5 items $5.99 per item
6 or more $5.49 per item

I look at it as the shipping price is the cost of the software.

I highly recommend Zane Publishing Series for 3 grade and up(depends on your childs level of understanding)they carry many subjects such as,art, geography, science, music, literature and many other subjects. *They have African American software titled:
Zane: Afr Amer His: A Cultural Heritage (African American History)
Zane: Struggle for Equal Rights (African American History)
Zane: Struggle for Freedom (African American History)
Zane: Leading Black Amer 1 (African American History)
Zane: Leading Black Amer 2 (African American History)

I personally like Zane publishing because they have multimedia software. You children can sit and listen to audio instruction with the reading. They can easily go back if they reach a section they don't understand. I like to sit and listen with my children:) Zane Science will teach the entire family. They are readable, easy to understand, and free:)

My first CD-ROM PRESCHOOL is excellent.
Dorling Kindersley is great for PreK-up
Speed Study
Kid Science
Kid Cad (my son's fav) you can actually build and design a house from the foundation to the furniture.
Peace Blessings Balance

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creating The Space For the Little Ones

Through the past few years of our homeschool journey, we have learned alot about our children and ourselves. I've learned that when you provide it, they will come. My children are quite independent and they do not like to ask me for small things all the time so I have created their own leveled space. We have drawers at their level containing puzzles, blocks, paper, writing utensils etc. They have free unlimited access to all these things. They also know that they are responsible for the clean up and maintenance of it all and so far we have been smooth sailing I find my children wanting to do more and read more because they have the ability to grab what they want at any given time. It's truly a blessed victory to me to see children wanting to be creative rather than sit around and watch TV. Some people feel like they shouldn't cater to their children in such a way, but to me that is what having children is all about....creating that space and providing the resources needed for them to blossom and grow.

Teaching Your Preschoolers and Older Children Together

There are a lot of cool subjects that aren't introduced to younger children until they are in about 2nd grade & up and we don't share these nuggets with the little ones because we simply don't feel they are ready to comprehend yet. I'll tell you from experience that they can understand a lot more than what we give them credit for. In order for me to incorporate all my children in a certain subject that would be considered "over their heads", I implement Unit Studies. For example we are working on the Hydrologic Cycle (water cycle) right now to date. We begin the lesson by reading "The Water Cycle(Watts Library". While I am reading this book to my oldest, the younger ones are listening and coloring pictures I drew pertaining to different forms of precipitaion. Once I am done reading a chapter of the book, we have a moment of reflection, going over new vocabulary words and explaining how those terms affects nature and the weather. I even go to the white board and draw examples so that we have a visual understanding to complement the reading. During the begin of the week I had my oldest fill a science beaker(measuring cup)with water and everyday this week she records in her science journal, how much water has evaporated and how much water is remaining in the beaker. When she's dones recording her findings,she works on geometry (currently plane and solid figures,area ans perimeter). While she is working on her math, I read "Down Comes the Rain (Let's Read and Find Out Science)"to my three youngest (including my 1yr old) and talked about what happens when the clouds fill up with water. I also included a small science project with all of them (except the baby because she likes to eat everything), using cotton balls and water. I asked them to describe what the cotton ball looked and felt like before adding the water, explaining to them that the cotton ball is like a cloud. Then we dropped the cotton ball in water completely saturating it and we held them up. When we held them up, the children saw the water dripping from the cotton balls and noticed the cotton balls felt heavy. I explained to them that when a cloud becomes full of water, it becomes heavy and full just like to cotton balls, and the water comes down in the form of rain. With my oldest I explain to her that the water that evaporates travels high in the atmosphere unitl it cools and condenses, forming clouds. Yesterday as an art project, they painted pictures and glued cotton balls on their paintings as clouds. THEY ALL LOVED IT. Today we boiled water and held aluminum foil over it explaining evaporation. Then we used a simple glass of ice water to explain condensation. My 3 & 4 year olds now know that water turns into a gas and travels high in the sky. My 7 year old knows that hot air travels high until it reaches cold air. She knows about relative humidity, evaporation,precipitation,transpiration and collection. We all talk about how awesome God is to create such a cycle through mother earth among other things. Through our short unit study we covered math, science, reading, spelling /vocabulary and the omnipitence of GOD through nature and all things. Mind you, my oldest daughter is 7 yrs old has always been 2 grades above her public schooled peers. You can teach anything to all your children at once. Of course they will all be on different levels, no one is left behind. The younger ones feel good in knowing that they are learning with their older siblings. SO with that I'll say BE FUN...BE CREATIVE....BE YOURSELF YOU'LL BE SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH MORE YOU'LL LEARN YOURSELF