50 States Notebook

notebookingIf you are familiar with the concept of notebooking, you will enjoy this website full of ideas for creating a notebook of the 50 states.  If you have never considered doing notebooks with your students, this topic lends itself very well to learning the ropes.

By doing one state at a time, you can easily get into a rhythm of working on it a little at a time. Here are some possible plans.

              • You can work as fast or as slow as you want. You could do one state every couple of days for the entire school year and get a simple overview of each state.
              • You could stretch it out and do one state a week and cover  everything in two years. Perhaps pulling in a little history in the process.
              • You could also allot several weeks to each state and use it for geography and regional studies for all of your middle school years.
              • If you wanted to work with several students who are in different grades you could start the oldest one and when the next one is ready, have them work on each new state together until the oldest one is done and then complete the states the younger ones haven’t done yet. You could probably work with students from grades 5-9 at the same time, just requiring a little more effort from the older ones.

There are many subjects that work quite well for notebooking. Try the 50 states and then go on to other topics. Soon your students will have a collection of their learning adventures to share with others.

Free Kindle Books!

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I think most homeschoolers look for bargains when it comes to buying curriculum. That’s why the market for used curriculum material is so hot.

I ran across this post this morning for free educational books you can download for your Kindle. You don’t own a Kindle? No worries…you can download Kindle apps for your browser, smartphone, or tablet here. This means you can download and use these books even if you don’t own a Kindle. All you need is an Amazon account.

Take a look at these books on Frugal Homeschool Family. But don’t wait…they won’t be free for long.

Resources to Help with Visualizing Large Numbers

Here are a couple of  great resources that will help students visualize very large numbers.

One is a book written for early elementary ages called How Big is a Million? published by Usborne. It gives a simple illustration about understanding large numbers that young children can grasp. It comes with a poster to further help children  visualize what a million looks like.

And for older students, we recently found a very interesting website called the MegaPenny Project that shows large numbers by using stacks of pennies. The first image is one single penny and by the time you get to the end of the illustrations you are at a Quintillion. While we will,  in all likelihood, never actually have to use a number that big, it’s still quite fascinating to see the stacks of pennies grow to that enormous number.

Have you found other sources that help with this concept? I’d love to hear about them.

 

You Can Teach Your Child Successfully: Grades 4-8 by Ruth Beechick

51aG9UoISCL__AA160_If I had to pick one book on homeschooling to recommend it would be You Can Teach Your Child Successfully by Ruth Beechick. In my twenty-two years of homeschooling, I have never read a more useful book for grades 4-8. Actually, the concepts Ruth discusses in this book will be useful for your entire homeschool journey. Continue reading

The Threat of Pornography in the Home

I raised seven boys during a time when home computers and the Internet were gaining momentum. These tools have become invaluable resources for teaching your child at home. Unfortunately, left unsupervised, your child can get drawn into pornography. It happens innocently enough…a click on a link takes you to a less than wholesome site. Or curiosity takes control and the search engines like Google or Bing lead us to sights and web sites that our child’s young brains and eyes aren’t prepared to handle. Before long, this curiosity can become an addiction.

This video explains how pornography works on the brain and better yet, provides hope in that the addiction can be reversed. Continue reading

Ohio Homeschoolers Granted Equal Access

Ohio FlagGreat news for those families that homeschool in Ohio. Legislation was just passed that provides “… the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year.”

In other words, a student is no longer required to enroll in their local public school system to be able to participate in sports, music, and other extracurricular activities.

Another significant provision of the bill is that homeschoolers can receive funding from the state’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Program (PSEO). This program pays for dual enrollment college courses at participating Ohio institutions of higher learning.

You can read more about the bill, including the text of the legislation, on the Home School Legal Defense Association web site.

Let’s hope that other states take notice and follow suit.

Resources to assist you

Homeschool Support Resources

Websites:

http://sherylmaxey.com/ (clickable links for resources listed)

http://www.home-school.com/ (lists articles, groups, events related to homeschooling)

http://homeschooling.about.com/od/magazines/Magazines_and_Publications.htm (a list of homeschool magazines)

http://www.nathhan.com/index.htm ( homeschooling special needs children)

http://www.homeschool.com/ (has message forums, resource lists and Podcasts)

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com (huge variety of homeschool information)

http://groups.yahoo.com ( search for groups that interest you. If you type in “homeschool” you will get over 7000 results, also try “unschooling”)  Homeschool-Iowa and  Idea-2 are two of the largest state groups.

Books:

Homeschooling from Scratch (1996)  by Mary Potter Kenyon

Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath-You Can Do This (2004)  by Terrie Lynn Bittner

Local Support Groups:

http://www.the-niche.org NICHE – state organization

http://www.sheepgroup.org SHEEP – Christian group in Pleasant Hill

http://www.homeschool-life.com/ia/heed/?public=1 HEED – Christian group in Johnston

http://www.iahomeeducators.org/index.php – inclusive group with a great page of other local groups to consider.

Audio Books: A Great Way to Forget the Winter Chill

At our house it has become tradition to spend the cold days of our Iowa winters listening to books on CD. We are often finished with our schoolwork shortly after lunch which leaves the long afternoons to work together on a jigsaw puzzle while we listen to a book on CD. We have listened to some wonderful books over the years and I wanted to share our list of favorites with you.

As my children have grown we have chosen more challenging stories but while they were younger we listened to books like these:

The Magic Tree House Collection by Mary Pope Osborne ( many sets to choose from)

Little House on the Prairie Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder ( there are several of these to choose from)

Your Story Hour collections (there are many of these to choose from)

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner ( there are many of these to choose from)

Charlotte’s Web by E B White

When the boys got older we listened to books that required a little more concentration like these:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis

Adventures in Odyssey by the AIO Team ( there are many of these to choose from and they are all good!)

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey ( this one is hard to find. Check your library)

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr (this one is hard to find. Check with your library)

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck ( also by this author: A Long Way From Chicago, Here Lies the Librarian, and A Season of Gifts)

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater ( and the sequel – Looking for Bobowicz)

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

The Penderwicks by Jean Birdsall

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

Right now we are listening to the third book in a series by Trenton Lee Stewart called The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This is by far our favorite series to date. The first two books are called The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey.

These titles and many others are available at your public library. You might also consider using a digital download service that many libraries are offering. This service in Iowa libraries is called WILBOR and is easy to access from your home computer. For more information about WILBOR check out my Examiner.com article.

What I’ve Been Reading

You would think with the busyness of the holidays that I wouldn’t have time to read. Wrong! I always have time to read. It is definitely my sanity safety net.  This month I have been reading a variety of things. Sometimes whole books, sometimes just portions of a book. Either way, I have found some interesting reading lately.

One book I have been enjoying is Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. This is a fascinating culinary tour of the world that highlights a vast collection of foods and places. From the cherries of northern Michigan, to vanilla from Madagascar, to the mushrooms of central France, you are treated to delicacies that will intrigue you. And the book is published by National Geographic so the photos are amazing. This book reminds me of the Peter Menzel books that I reviewed in an earlier post. You can find that review here.  Books like these allow you to experience the world from the comfort of your home. I know it isn’t quite like being there, but for large families like ours, on one income, the opportunity to actually travel the world is not really an option. This is one way to bring some of the worlds diversity to your family in a very satisfying way.

Another book I’ve been reading is called Homeschool Your Child For Free by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. This book contains more than 1,400 resources that you can take advantage of for free.  The book is divided into subject areas and then further grouped in smaller subtopics. Every entry has a brief summary of what is available and then the web address. Most are totally free. Some do have subscription options that give you access to more of the website’s resources should you choose to pay the fee. I have found some great websites that I will be using with my boys.

Finally, a book that has given me much to think about is Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr. David Jeremiah. This book is sort of a follow-up to a previous book he wrote called What in the World is Going On? Last winter we listened to a series of Dr. Jeremiah’s messages (on the prophecies from the book of Revelation) that became the book What in the World is Going On? We were fascinated by the information he shared. Now I am reading this lastest book and find that his suggestions about how we are to live, in light of the end times message, are very helpful. His focus is on what we can do that is positive in an increasingly negative world. It has really helped me to redirect my energy to something more productive than living in fear of the future. I highly recommend any of Dr. Jeremiah’s books. He seems to have a very realistic view of how we can face the future with anticipation instead of apprehension.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’ll have a new list in a couple of weeks when I finish these books and start on the pile I have waiting for me!

Happy reading!

–Sheryl