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3 Reading Printables and a Lit Board Game

Make their reading experience even more fun with 3 free printables and a Lit Board GameTo wrap up 10 Days of Summer Reading Activities, I’ve put together some fun reading printables for you.

Because I love ya.

Sometimes you just need a way to chart your child’s daily reading, keep track of the books he wants to read, or for gosh sake, find a bookmark.

So I got ya.
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10 More Super Sites for Free Homeschooling

I couldn’t help but notice how much my lovely readers appreciated my list of 14 fabulous sites for free homeschooling.  I’ve been watching the comments and shares and realizing that you guys are really into finding ways to homeschool on the cheap.  And why wouldn’t you be?  You know, of course, that you can come here every week for new free printables and units, but you need more.  Right?

more free homeschooling

Well, it just so happens I am a font of information about homeschooling for free.  I’ve been doing it for 5 years, and I have accumulated so. much. stuff.  Many of the blogs I follow are not only full of excellent advice but offer free downloads and resources for other homeschoolers.  In fact, there are 10 more sitting in my inbox right now, so I thought I would share them with you.  You need them.  Once again, these are in no particular order.  I love them all for different reasons.  You will, too.

  1. Handbook of Nature Study When I first started homeschooling, and I knew Nothing About what I was doing or where to start, one of the first things that intrigued me as I trolled the interweb was nature study.  I had never heard of it until 5 years ago, but I was immediately drawn to it.  Nature study is a fun and ludicrously easy way to start homeschooling.  All littles love learning about their world, and there are so many ways to do nature study that 5 years later, my Littles never get bored with it.  Barbara McCoy’s Handbook of Nature Study site is a great place to start.  If you subscribe to the site, you will receive for free Every Month the Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter, a pdf download that covers a different topic each month.  These newsletters are full of information, ideas, and even printable planning pages for your child’s nature journal.  I’m telling you, this is one of the best resources for nature study I’ve come across.  handbook of nature study
  2. The Old Schoolhouse The Old Schoolhouse is a homeschool blog and magazine that offers tons of free advice from myriad homeschoolers.  Its estore is full of cheapity-cheap homeschool resources as well as lots of free stuff that is truly usable.  I can’t tell you how full my school folder is with awesome stuff from TOS.  My favorites are The Curiosity Files science units and the Wanna Be career units.  And I got them for free!!  You have to check this out.the old schoolhouse
  3. Only Passionate Curiosity Heather has a shop where you can get units and printables on the cheap, and she also offers freebies all the time.  If you click on her Homeschool for Free tab, you will find a huge list of links similar to this very post.  But more in-depth.  With some sites even I have never heard of.  Which rocks, because obviously I am going back there to check those out.  I’ll see you there.passionate curiosity
  4. Schoolhouse Connect Technically, Schoolhouse Connect is part of The Old Schoolhouse.  But if you go straight to this link, you’ll see the opportunity to get a free welcome basket.  And it. is. awesome.  You get a choice of 2–one is all e-resources and is totally free, and the other includes a few physical products that will be mailed to you if you just pay shipping.  This ‘basket’ is full of goodies to help the homeschool parent, whether you’re a veteran or just starting out.  There are even a couple of free Curiosity Files in the basket, so Win.  schoolhouse connect
  5. Hip Homeschool Moms I love the Hip Homeschool Moms.  For one thing, look at that name.  Bask in that stuff.  I crush hard on it.  But also because nearly every other blog post contains free printables.  And because the girls over there are intelligent, witty, experienced homeschool mamas who truly help my journey.  And I have to admit, I kinda have that feeling like when I grow up I want to also be a hip homeschool mom.  Ya know? hip homeschool moms
  6. The Practical Mom Blog Are you kidding me?  Swapna has an entire tab devoted to more than 75 art project tutorials as well as directions on setting up an art studio for next to nothing.  You have got to see this.  The projects are for 2.5 to 5 year olds, but I think they could easily be adapted for older kids.  She also has a link for STEM and literacy activities that is full of juicy goodness. The Practical Mom
  7. The Natural Homeschool Tanya’s site is beautiful and her free printables are excellent.  Think history, organization, science, and all things Montessori-inspired.  I love it when a blogger truly puts effort into the stuff she offers, and Tanya made this list because of that effort.  She also has an activities tab that you Have To take a look at.  Yeah yeah, this one is fun. natural homeschool
  8. The Multitasking Mom Stephanie has free printables for darn near everything.  Not just stuff your littles can use, but stuff for you, too, mama, like personal goal trackers and organization charts.  Plus, 40,000 followers must be onto something.  Check this amazing site out and you’re sure to find more than one thing your homeschool can’t do without.  multi taskin mom
  9. Confessions of a Homeschooler Another very cool blog title.  I like it.  Erica offers a tab full of entirely free downloads that cover everything from art and animals to science and sight words.  Plus, Erica is incredibly cool and honest about her journey and I love reading her blog.  I started following her before I started blogging myself, and I still eagerly await every update.  confessions of a homeschooler
  10. Donna Young This site requires a subscription, but you won’t be sad about subscribing when you see all the free stuff she has to offer.  I have used the science tab on Donna Young more than probably any other site.  There is so much here that it’s almost overwhelming.  Do not blow this one off.  You will be amazed.  In fact, I’d like to start a new club.  We’ll call it “I Heart Donna Young.”  You in? Donna Young

 

Seriously.  Put this list with the 14 I gave you a couple of weeks ago (and don’t forget to add on Lit Mama! haha), and homeschool is taken care of.  Which Rocks.

Also, if you’re into the free stuff, don’t forget to go over to my giveaway and enter to win a canvas with a Seuss quote on it for your classroom or littles’ room.

Have a glorious weekend, lovely readers.  It’s gonna be spring weather here, so I am looking forward.

Love wins,

KT

14 Fabulous Sites for Free Homeschooling

14 fabulous sites for free homeschooling

Sometimes, life hands you a blog post.  I had intended to write about something very different today, but last night a woman I like very much pm’d me on Facebook.  Her daughter is about to start homeschooling her own littles, and she wondered if I could advise them where to go to get free curriculum.  I started getting the list together for her, and I realized this list might benefit a whole lot of people, even veterans looking to spruce up their schooling plans.  So rather than pm her back and keep all this yummy goodness between us, I thought it might be a good idea to share it with you, too.  I’m cool like that.

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Have a Haunting Halloween (with lots of freebies)

When the Littles were very small, we took them trick-or-treating for Halloween.  It was so much fun to watch them scamper from house to house, dressed up as Pokemon, Spiderman, Dracula, and (of course) zombies.  By the time they were old enough to really enjoy it, Big had outgrown it, but he still accompanied us on every trip, helping to corral his little brothers.  Since we live in such a rural area, we had to drive to the nearest small town, park at the library or post office, and trick-or-treat on streets we knew and trusted but weren’t very close to home.  It made for a fun family night, especially the time we parked at the library and saw a colony of bats swoop up through the trees.

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But about 5 years ago, when the Littles were 5 and 8, they were both sick on Halloween.  Not knocked out, but definitely feverish and too ill to be running around the streets and spreading their germs to other unwary children.  So we came up with a plan.  Because Halloween is my all-time, favorite, bestest holiday, and we didn’t want our poor, sick Littles to miss it.  I spent the day planning a party for just the 4 of us –Big was away at college by then, so he couldn’t be here to join in the fun.  And you know what?  The Littles loved that party so much that given the choice, every year since we have had a party at home rather than going trick-or-treating.

Here’s how to have a safe, fun, candy- and treat-filled Halloween this year without ever setting foot out your own door.  You can invite friends if you want; we never have.  It’s become the consummate family night for us.

First, buy a couple of bags of candy varieties.  You know, the kind that have Tootsie Rolls and candy bars and gum and suckers all in one bag?  That way it’s very like trick-or-treating and your littles don’t get tired of having the same candy every time you let them raid the bowl.  We have a big, black, plastic cauldron that we put our candy in.  Then I create a scavenger hunt for them so they have to work to get it.  I don’t know about your littles, but mine LOVE a good scavenger hunt.  Sometimes we have it inside the house, sometimes out around the farm (we do that for Easter eggs now, too, which is a huge hit!).  Here’s a Free Scavenger Hunt Download for inside the house.  halloween scavenger hunt

Second, make some sweet and savory treats for the family to enjoy while they play games.

MONSTER MOUTH TREATS

IMG_20151012_201340515WHAT YOU NEED:

4 Green apples

1 cup peanut butter

almond slivers

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Core and quarter your apples.
  2. Spread 2 teaspoons of peanut butter on the wide edge of one slice.
  3. Insert almond slivers for fangs
  4. Place second apple slice atop peanut butter.

 

SKELETON BACKBONES

IMG_20151012_201806298WHAT YOU NEED:

1 3-oz package cream or neufchatel cheese

4 large tortillas

1 bag baby spinach

8 oz thinly sliced ham

8 oz thinly sliced Swiss cheese

1 7-oz jar roasted bell peppers, drained and sliced into strips

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Spread 2-3 TBSP cream cheese close to the edge of each tortilla
  2. Layer each tortilla evenly with 1/4 of spinach, ham, and Swiss cheese
  3. Lay thin strips of roasted peppers along center of each tortilla
  4. Tightly roll tortillas into spirals.  Slice off and discard rounded ends.
  5. Cut tortilla rolls into 1 1/2 inch slices and secure with toothpicks.
  6. Stack slices to resemble a backbone.

FRANKENSTEIN TREATS

WHAT YOU NEED:

big treat1 can green decorator icing

6 cups Rice Krispies

3 TBSP butter or margarine

1 10-oz package regular marshmallows

12 black jelly beans

12 small licorice strips

24 green jelly beans

WHAT YOU DO:

Prepare the Rice Krispies Treats

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Working quickly, add the cereal, stirring until completely coated.
  4. Using a buttered spatula, press mixture evenly into a 13 x 9 x 2 pan.
  5. When treats are cool, cut into 12 equal squares.

Decorate your treats

  1. With decorator icing, squirt green hair onto top of each treat.
  2. Place a dab of icing in the place of each eye.  Cut each jelly bean in half. Place cut end into icing.
  3. Again using icing as glue, attach a piece of licorice for the mouth.
  4. Dab a bit of icing onto both sides of each treat and add green jelly beans for ‘bolts.’

SWAMP JUICE

Swamp Juice

WHAT YOU NEED:

SWAMP JUICE1/2 cup small tapioca pearls (found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)

Food coloring

4 tablespoons sugar

8 gummy fish

Seltzer water

Lemonade

8 gummy worms

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. MAKE THE EGGS: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the tapioca pearls. Reduce the heat slightly and boil the pearls, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. COLOR THE EGGS: Divide the pearls, with the remaining water, between two bowls. Add 4 drops of food coloring (we used 3 drops of yellow and 1 drop of green in one bowl, and 4 drops of blue in the other) and 2 tablespoons of sugar to each bowl. Stir the mixtures, then allow them to sit uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and rinse the pearls with cold water.
  3. ASSEMBLE THE DRINK: Spoon 2 tablespoons of pearls into each glass and drop in a gummy fish. Fill the glasses with seltzer water, then add a splash of lemonade. Place a gummy worm around a spoon as shown.

Finally, play some awesome games with your family.

You can, of course, bob for apples–so long as you don’t mind cleaning up the mess.  This is a tried and true Halloween game that always makes me think of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and it’s tons of fun.  You can also play mummy wrap–using either crepe or toilet paper, dividing your family up in teams of two, and racing to see who can get his or her mummy wrapped first. (The mummy, obviously, being mum or dad.  It’s only fair. And hilarious.)

One year, I drew up an entire life-sized skeleton (times 2) and we raced to see who could put them together first.  You could also pin the femur or the skull or the tibia on the skeleton if you’re feeling brave enough.  Probably easier to buy one of those hinged skeleton decorations at Dollar Tree for these games, but I never try to make it easy on myself. (eye roll)  At least I traced the second skeleton off the first one instead of free-handing it twice.  Give me some credit.  Sheesh.

Another year, we bought a bunch of different pasta shapes and fashioned skeletons out of them on cardstock.  We dubbed the best looking one the winner.  But Martin didn’t get a prize.

One of the funnest Halloween games we’ve played was Halloween Headbands.  If you’ve never played the game Hedbanz, you’re missing out.  You put on the dorky headband, attach a card to it without looking, and ask the other players questions until you can guess who’s on your headband.  You can only ask yes or no questions.  And you only get one question per turn.  We had a Disney version which didn’t suit, so I made up cards with Halloween monsters on them.  We play this one every year.  In fact, here’s a Free Download of My Monster Cards, because I am nothing if not generous.

halloween headbands

There are better directions with the cards. I think.

Telling scary stories is another way to add to the fun.  Dim the lights, and spook each other out as best you can.  Here’s Another Free Download, with directions for a family round-robin-type story that you can all get in on.

scary story

One more fun game is to try on a monster’s point of view for size.  Here are some Free Cards you can download to get you started.  Your littles will have a blast thinking like a monster.

point of view

After you’ve played some games and worn them out, settle your littles in for a fun Halloween movie.  We love The Haunted Mansion, The Frighteners, Casper, Hocus Pocus, any of R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps movies.  Kid friendly but still in line with the mood of the evening.  We generally wind up our party with a marathon, and since most of these DVDs can be bought for $5 or less, they were a good investment.  Seriously, we watch them every year.

I already told you.  Halloween is my favorite holiday.

There are so many other activities, games, foods, and films you can use to make your Family Halloween Night fun.  I hope my suggestions give you ideas.  And I hope your littles have as much fun as mine do.

Love wins (and sometimes haunts you),

KT