Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bald Eagle Unit Study

We have just started studying birds and the first bird in our science book, Science Essentials, Grades 3 - 4, is the American Bald Eagle. I did not feel that just the one page in the book was enough information for the children so I put together some additional resources that we will use to give the children a good understanding of our national bird.

Free Bald Eagle Activity Book
Man, no one can put together a great educational book on nature like the U.S. government. I really mean that. I  have a list of numerous free coloring and activity books in the tab at the top of the site and many of them were published by a .gov site. This book about bald eagle awareness week is extremely thorough in talking about eagles. As a matter of fact, it contains way more info than what I feel is needed in our studies. So, I just printed off pages 3-6 and that will be plenty for us.

Free Bald Eagle Coloring Pages
There is no shortage of these pages. No doubt you will one to your child's liking by just doing a quick search on Google. I am going to pull up images of bald eagle coloring pages and let each child pick the one he or she wants to color.

Free Bald Eagle Crafts
I am keeping this to a 3 day lesson so we will just be dong a little craft. I am going to let each of the children choose from one of the following.

bald eagle toilet paper roll craft
paper bag bald eagle craft
color and cut patriot eagle

Bald Eagle Documentary
There is a cool little documentary from 1938 on the Internet Archives called Birds of Prey. Bald eagles are discussed briefly.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Free Printable Reading Books for Homeschool

I started writing this post in 2010 but never finished or published it. 2 of my children have now surpassed the reading levels of these books. But very shortly these resources will come in handy for my 6 year old emergent reader.

Print Free Public Domain Books from Google
So far, one of my favorite finds online has been the free primers and readers that were written around a century ago. I was pleasantly surprised the children have really enjoyed my decision to start printing them off of Google again. I rarely (almost never) find inappropriate subject matter in the books. There are some words that are no longer politically correct, but when I come across those I just explain that to the children. And if there is magic or other subject matter that I don't want the children to read then I just don't print those pages. Also, the children really like the stories in the readers.

But I know that one day the readers will be below the children's reading levels. So I'm starting to look for some free printable reading books that will present a challenge when the time comes.

Sites with Free Printable Reading Books
I wonder if Professor Garfield is a hidden jewel on the internet. There are printable books all about everyone's favorite cat in addition to a game and flash card to go along with each book to help enforce the site words in the books.

Learning Pages Ewe books has a lot of free books. And I mean a lot. I printed out a few but found the way that you have to construct them to be awkward. But the material itself is excellent for children who have just become fluent readers.

Reading A to Z is a paid site but they have some free samples you can print out.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Manatee Unit Study

We spent two weeks learning about manatees as part of our science studies of endangered species. They are quite intriguing and the children enjoyed learning about them.

Short Manatee Video
First we watched a National Geographic video about manatees heading south. My children had no idea what a manatee is or what they look like so this was a good introduction.

Free Manatee Activity Book
I printed out a really great activity book called Manatees - Florida's Gentle Giants. In my opinion the book could serve as a complete curriculum. But I like to pull from numerous resources to get some different perspectives and to learn as much as possible.

Free Manatee Printables
So with the activity book as a guide, I supplemented the lesson with manatee printables from About.com. Included in the printables is a: word search, crossword puzzle, coloring page, and printable manatee craft (a door hanger). My children completed most of the pages and 2 of them chose to make the door hanger. I think these printables helped to keep the lesson fun.

Manatee Documentary
We have an Amazon Prime membership which means we can watch their videos offered on Prime for free. I was so happy to find that they currently have a manatee documentary which held the children's interest for most of it's 47 minutes. None of the other material we had covered the fact that sailors of old thought manatees were mermaids (or maybe I missed that part). So the title Endangered Mermaids: The Manatees of Florida  and the explanation of it in the beginning was helpful.

Manatee Games
We didn't play any of these games at SaveTheManatee.org because I didn't find them until after our lessons were complete. But they look extremely educational.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Learning About Adverbs in the Elementary Grades

A free site I had been using to print out grammar books has not been working for weeks now. I really should have downloaded the book onto my computer while I had the chance. Tsk. Tsk. But I did not and now I am finding myself having to put together a grammar curriculum to get us through the end of the year.

I have been rummaging around the internet finding this and that. I found a great grammar game called Grammar Ninja. My son was happily playing it and advanced from beginner ninja to skilled ninja and that is when we discovered that he does not have a strong grasp on adverbs yet. 

So, I have compiled the resources that we are using this week to learn about adverbs.

Here is the the Adverb playlist that I put together on Youtube.

There was a time when I tried my hand at creating my own worksheets. But really, there are so many great, free worksheets out there that I don't feel this is the best use of my time anymore. So I did a quick Google image search for adverb worksheets and found a weeks worth plus one that can be used as a test as well.

Some Free Online Adverb Games
The Adjectives and Adverbs Trail
Adventures with Adjectives and Adverbs
Grab the Adverbs
Practice Using Adverbs
Adverbs Jeopardy - 1 or 2 person game

Adverb Tests/Quizzes
And once the children have had their fill of adverbs they can take an online adverb quiz which can double as a test. The quiz is even scored for you at the end. And here is a shorter 6 question online adverb quiz.

You could throw an Adverb wordsearch into the mix as well.

Monday, August 20, 2012

menu Plan Monday - August 20, 2012

We have lived without buying fast food for about six weeks. A dear friend treated the children and me to Burger King about a week ago, which was very nice.  And a few nights ago we ate dinner made by more precious  friends. But other the that, I have been cooking 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. 

And you  know what ? It hasn't been so terrible. We don't eat out a lot anyway. However, usually my husband treats us to a meal a few Sundays a month to give me a break from cooking. And I am sure that we will get back to that family tradition once we are all reunited in CA. ***I miss my Honey! Anyhoo...*** So, it has been necessary to be as frugal as possible until such time.  Menu planning helps tremendously with that goal.

last week's homemade cheese pizza

(served with fruit)
Monday: cold cereal ~ Tuesday: hot cereal ~ Wednesday: eggs, bread (and possibly meat) ~ Thursday: hot cereal ~ Friday: cold cereal ~ Saturday: pancakes/waffles

(served with veggies or fruit)
~ PBJ ~ grilled cheese sandwiches ~ leftovers x2 ~ tuna casserole ~

(served with veggies and grains if needed)
~ cheeseburgers with homemade hamburger buns ~ chicken tacos ~ spinach quiche ~ baked chicken ~ tuna salad sandwiches ~ BBQ ribs ~ breakfast for dinner ~

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Homeschooling for Free - Elementary Grades

I would like to share our plan for homeschool this year for my elementary students. It is my hope that you will see that with just a bit of preparation that it is possible to homeschool primarily from free resources from the internet and the library.

The children and I will take turns reading a story a day from the Bible using this reading list. We will discuss the scriptures and then the children can draw a picture or do a craft related to the reading. The quickest way to find a craft is to type the name of the story followed by the word "craft" in Google. For example, you can search for a "Noah's ark craft" or a "Daniel in the lions den craft".

English/Language Arts 
We will use McGuffey's Readers for about 15 min a day. You will find more information on how I plan to use them on my post about returning to McGuffey Readers. For grammar I have three living books that we will be reading, one of which is Grammar-Land. This is a humorous book where each of the nine parts of speech must stand trial and prove why he is justified in "owning" the words that he does. And I will supplement the book with grammar songs found on YouTube

For my five year old, I will continue checking out alphabet books and beginner reader books from the library and work out of the McGuffey Primer a bit.

I will hand write copywork for my two children in a notebook that has the dotted middle lines and solid top and bottom lines. I'll print some sheets on both sides from Donna Young and make our own homemade notebooks. I will either have the children copy Bible verses or sentences from their readers. 

Originally I was going to use Ray's for math this year. But after carefully considering what Don Potter had to say I have decided to use First Lessons in Numbers instead. Mr. Potter actually strongly recommended teaching with First Lessons in Arithmetic -which he has links to on his site; but, he said that the two books are very similar. (Mr. Potter is an educator that I respect very much. He incorporates old fashioned public domain texts into his classroom to successfully teach his students arithmetic, reading through phonics, cursive, and grammar.) After comparing the two along with Ray's, I feel that FLIN will work best for our homeschool. I like the abundance of illustrations and I like that the lessons are short.

Also, we will read living math books from the library, use our math fun box, and play plenty of math games.

We will do nature studies using Ana Botsford Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. And we will read several living books from the public domain pertaining to animals, insects,  birds, plants, and gardening. (Here is our reading list for this year.) Also, we will watch Beakman's World on Netflix and attempt some of the experiments from the show.

It took me a few weeks to put all of the resources together.  But I feel that it was time well spent. 

Here is how we are homeschooling high school free this year.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 7/30/12

We are starting school back on August 1st. There is always an adjustment period at the beginning of the school year that can last for over a week. So most of our meals will easy to prepare. That way I won't have to spend as much time in the kitchen as I usually do.

cold cereal~hot cereal~eggs and potatoes~homemade muffins~pancakes
served with fruit

grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches~homemade granola~PBJ~leftovers~canned soup
served with fruit or veggies

french bread pizza~hot dogs~spaghetti~chicken fried steak~homemade Hamburger Helper~bbq chicken~tuna tacos
served with grains/bread (if needed) and veggies

cheese and crackers~popcorn~trail mix