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Top 10 Favorite Educational Sites

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Because I’m in the planning stages of a whole new homeschool year and since I promised to bring you along with me, I thought it would be helpful to share my favorite places to go when I need a little help getting our curriculum together.  These are in no particular order, and nothing is on the list that I don’t use with frequency.

CurrClick.com - Curriculum in a click! Homeschooling resources, lapbooks, and afffordable curriculum

1. Currclick Currclick is an amazing site where many different curriculum publishers sell their worksheets, ebooks, unit studies, and the like.  Each publisher offers freebies and most of the products are well-priced.  They also offer live classes in almost every subject, especially handy if you want your homeschoolers to learn something you’re not comfortable teaching, like a foreign language. Another interesting offer from Currclick is the free clubs, including Lego Club, American Girl Club and Magic Treehouse Club.  Once you sign up, you get a library where all your downloads are kept indefinitely with no limit to how many times you can download a product once you’ve purchased it.

Scholastic Teachers Express Store2. Scholastic Teacher Express Scholastic isn’t just for public school teachers.  I can’t tell you how much it helped when we were doing American history last year.  This site also offers ebooks and worksheets for sale.  Several times a year they have a $1 sale on tons of their products. Even though their regular prices are doable, I stock up during those sales.  The only drawback is that you have only three opportunities to download a product once you’ve purchased it.  I usually save them to a flash drive at purchase so I don’t have to worry about it.

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3. School Express offers over 17,000 free worksheets.  If you’re looking for a worksheet to supplement your schooling, this is a good place to go.  My favorite thing about this site, hands down, is the free create-your-own-worksheet option.  There are several different types of worksheets you can create including spelling lists, word puzzles, word searches, and quizzes.  They are awesome to use for spelling practice.

TeachersPayTeachers

4. TeachersPayTeachers Here’s a site where teacher-generated worksheets and ebooks are for sale.  Because they are created by teachers, you can be pretty sure they’ve been tested on students already and found to be successful.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you receive links to 10 free downloads a week.  Often I find just what I’m looking for among those freebies.  The prices range from free to over $10, and every subject is covered.

The Old Schoolhouse Family

5. The Old Schoolhouse  This site is aimed specifically toward homeschoolers.  It is a font of knowledge, advice, and encouragement.  I eagerly look forward to the quarterly magazine.  I have mentioned them before because it was here I found a great source for Middle about becoming a video game designer.  Their store offers a variety of products on every subject imaginable.

logo6. EarthSky Although this site doesn’t offer ebooks or worksheets, it is so full of information about Earth and space, I would be lost without it.  It has some of the most beautiful photos and interesting articles I’ve ever seen.  When we studied astronomy I used it daily.  Two years later, we still read the newsletter every day to keep up with what’s going on both in our world and out in space.  The store does offer some cool stuff, like planispheres (tools for locating constellations), an astronomy kit, and an atlas of the sky.

Writing with Sharon Watson-Easy-to-use Homeschool Writing Curriculum

7. Writing with Sharon Watson Sharon offers writing courses that can be a big help if you’re struggling with how to teach your child how to be a good writer, but perhaps even more helpful, she offers free middle- and high school-level prompts that are Amazing.  If you really want your child to dig a little deeper when practicing his writing, utilize this site.  Sharon also blogs about homeschooling and writing, so make sure to check out her great advice!

8. Enrichment Studies This site offers composer studies, artist studies, art appreciation, and biographies.  In short, it is a deep humanities well from which all children should drink.  The products are well-written and -researched, and there is no expiration on downloads once you’ve made a purchase.  They often offer freebies and discounts.  In fact, through June 6, they are offering a free Women Artists of the Renaissance to new newsletter subscribers.  It’s a beautiful collection, so be sure to sign up!  Erica also blogs about fine art, so check that out, too.

The Art Curator for Kids

9. The Art Curator for Kids I adore this site, I’m not going to lie.  Cindy is an online art teacher, and her site is filled with brilliant information about art and how to appreciate and accomplish it.  It is an invaluable resource, and Cindy’s passion for it makes it even more interesting.  She offers free worksheets, printables, and powerpoints to help you guide your children through the world of visual arts.  If you’re teaching art at any level, you have to check out this site!

10. Barefoot Ragamuffin/Barefoor Meandering This site offers homeschool curricula based on the classical approach and the Charlotte Mason approach.  My favorite (of course) is English Lessons through Literature. I’ve often mentioned how expanding your child’s reading will expand vocabulary and grammatical usage, and this product offers a way for you to guide your child through those lessons.  But check out Kathy’s site yourself, she offers some of the most beautiful freebies in her newsletter.  Be sure to sign up; my article on adding literature to your nature study will appear in the June 2 edition.

Whew.  Those are not nearly all the sites I use in planning.  Check back tomorrow to read about my Top 10 Favorite Homeschool Blogs.

Do you have any favorite educational sites?  If so, please share them in the comments. Not only will it help your fellow readers, you might know one I’ve never heard of.  And you know I could Always use a little help!

Love wins,

KT

Making Math Fun!

Use homemade games to teach your littles multiplication and division

Because I struggled with math when I was younger, I have learned that some people just learn it differently.  I am not so good (at least I wasn’t then) at reading directions in a book and then applying them to solving problems.  I have to have an experience to which to apply the math.  Once I have that, I am a calculating fool.  So when I noticed Littlest still having problems doing basic multiplication and division within more complex problems, I fretted and brooded about why he couldn’t get the basic memorization.  I made up worksheets that showed how each times table is basically counting by the number given.  3, 6, 9, 12, etc.  I printed off copious worksheets from other sources for practice.

Still… he wasn’t getting it.  So I brooded some more.  I watched how he behaved while learning other subjects.  And, as always happens when we homeschooling mamas put our minds to a problem, an epiphany occurred.  Littlest learns best with hands-on tools.  Games are his favorite things in the world.  Board games, dice games, card games, video games.  He never has a problem doing math when faced with a game.

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An Homage to Husbands

Sometimes, at the end of an especially busy day, after I’ve taught lessons and cleaned house, posted to my blog or checked out all the wonderful blogs I follow for homeschool advice, made breakfast, lunch, and dinner, squeezed in a 45-minute workout in the morning (and, three days a week, an hour for Zumba class), kissed my husband as many times as I can, fed all the farm animals–twice–worked on whatever new thing I’ve planned for school, and right now, made some more plans for the homeschool seminar I’ll be giving in March, and done whatever errands I needed to do (whew!  is that all?), I lay in bed and think, “Wait.  Did I play with my kids today?  Did I have a real conversation with them that didn’t involve Etruscan art or the difference between the Spanish verbs ser and estar?”

I bet you have those moments.  Even worse for a mama who has to fit all that in while working.  Cristina at A Homeschool Mom wrote a post a couple months ago called Am I Fun? which I have referred to before when I was having one of these moments.  It prompted me to take the day off and just have a fun day with my Littles.  But sometimes, we don’t have time to take a day off.  Some days I look around my house in the evening and think, “Ah, heck.  I forgot to clean the house today.”  How can you Forget to clean your house?!

At least I didn’t forget to make dinner.

Though sometimes I do forget to eat until dinner.  I feed everybody else, but if I’m elbow-deep in some project or chore I’ll think, “Oh, I’ll get to mine later.”  Later being dinner.  Because we have a strict rule about family dinners, so I Have To put aside whatever else needs done and sit down with my fabulous family.  Which is good.  Because while sometimes I’m too exhausted to take part, at least I get to watch the Littles laugh and talk with their dad.  I try not to think about the work I have to do once we leave the table and just focus on that moment, but sometimes it’s hard.

Thank the stars I have my sweet husband.

Sometimes when I get home from Zumba, dinner is ready and waiting for me.  Sometimes, even though he works very hard all day, he does a load of laundry or picks up the clutter or–and this might be the best–runs the errands.  Better than all that, he truly appreciates all I do to keep our house going.  He thanks me.  He notices when I do something new.  He compliments me.

He tells me I am beautiful every day.  After nearly 12 years of marriage, he still does that.

Whether I believe that I am or not, I believe that he thinks so.  It matters.

But what matters most is the way he picks up, every day, where I left off with the Littles.  He asks them what they learned at school.  He gets in the floor and plays games with them, even when he’s so worn out all he wants to do is veg in the recliner in front of one of his History Channel shows.  He talks to them like they’re human beings because we have agreed from the beginning not to treat them like they’re too young (or, Heaven forbid, too dumb) to understand Anything he has to say.  He listens.  He listens with his whole being.  When they are talking to him, you can see his body listening by its stillness, the way he leans toward them with every part.  He appreciates them.  He notices when they do something new.  He compliments them.

So on those nights when I worry that I dropped the ball on just Being With my Littles, I can drift off to sleep with a smile.  They probably didn’t notice.  They were too busy playing with Dad.

If you have a partner like that, who supports your family with quiet strength and holds all of you up even when things are hectic, kiss him bunches today.  Let him know how much he means to you.  Because he needs those things, too, all those things he gives to you.

Love (Definitely) wins,

KT