Tag Archives: homeschool for free

Across the Curriculum with The Rover Boys- A Unit Study

Reading

The Rover Boys on Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg

For Girls, 10 Free Bobbsey Twins Books on Kindle

people-163906_640Explore the genre with this lesson on Ingredients of a Mystery. Several Free Worksheets are included as well as a list of suggested books. There are plenty of free mysteries for Kindle and on Google Books, including the Bobbsey Twins and The Rover Boys.

There is a little confusion about the real author of these books. In The Story of the Bobbsey Twins, you” ll read about the

Read Mysteries By Kids

Use an interactive tool from ReadWriteThink to dissect your mystery. There are writing activities too!

Writing

Mystery Writing: Write with Writers

How to Write a Mini Myster

Writing Mystery Stories The Best Mystery Writing Tips and Tricks for Kids

Science

Kids Ahead – Crime Scene Investigation Activities

Science Mystery – Educational Mysteries (and Reading)

Detective Science Games

History

The 25 Biggest Mysteries of History

The 20 Coolest Unsolved Mysteries in History

Mystery Timeline and more, including lessons and interactives.

detective-156961_640Math

Mystery Math Pictures -Math Facts

Mystery  Picture Math -Math Facts

Mystery Pictures with multiples and division.

Maths Mysteries Online Games

Math Maven’s Mysteries Home – Scholastic  Various Skills and Levels, including Logic and Reasoning

Mystery Math– an online game of deductive reasoning

Critical Thinking

Solve some mysteries at Mystery Net’s Kids Site.

Mystery Fun
Make your own spy equipment!

You can find more FREE resources in my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

 

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Tappan in the Public Domain, History and Legends Ebooks

This is an incomplete collection of Tappan’s work. She had a way of bringing history to life in her books. Perhaps it was her many years teaching and her in depth knowledge of literature that helped  her achieve success.

The first part of this list was contributed by my friend, Allison. I will update as I find more titles.

tappanThe Story of the Greek People: an Elementary History of Greece

American Hero Stories

Making Your Own Word Family Lapbooks

folders-24867_640Here is a sample lapbook from 1+1+1=1 to model after. I love this simple idea. Those are the best. The lapbook includes a poem, an easy reader, and copywork. We like to use a spiral notebook for ours and use duct tape on the spine for longevity. I think a word list would be a good addition. You could incorporate a word list into your mini-book or even into a word family wheel. You might also use these Editable Lapbook Pages to copy and paste word lists, your poems, or individual words with a picture on the cover.

Word Family Lists and Poems

This endless list of word families from  Mrs. Alphabet also has poems you can copy and paste onto a document or lapbook template.

Here is a grouping of CVC Word Family Wall Cards from 3 Dinosaurs.

Copywork or Worksheets

ABC Teach only has a few of these copywork booklets available for free, but the idea is a simple one a easy to reproduce in Word.

Starfall’s Download Center has several printables for word families that would make a great lapbook activity.

Education.com allows 10 free downloads a month and has several nice word family activity pages to choose from.

Everything is free over at Have Fun Teaching, including these word family worksheets.

The sample at the top used the poem as the copywork activity. You can easily make this yourself by copying and pasting the poems from Mrs. Alphabet (above) into handwriting generator like the one here at Handwriting Worksheets or by using the fonts here at the Learning Place.

Free Homeschool Deals has shared a Short Vowel Worksheet Packet and Short Vowel CVC, Stamp ‘n Write booklets, both from Mama’s Learning Corner.

Word Family Readers

One of the sites below shares how the author made her mini-books.  It is so easy to make your own with the lists available in the above links. You could even incorporate lines from the  poems or make your own simple sentences.

Hubbard”s Cubbard is a great place to start for word family readers.

The Measured Mom has some short vowel word family sets.

Lavinia Pop shares some short vowel word family readers at Teacher Pay Teachers.

These phonics readers from Progressive Phonics include short vowel word families. You could easily print each word family out separately to make your own book or page for your lapbooks.

Starfall’s Download Center has several printables for word families including mini-books. I like the “find the word in  the picture” page.

Word Family Pictures

Storytime Standouts provides and shows you how to make your own word family flip books, as well as providing words and picture sheets.  You could cut the sheets with words and pictures to staple into your own little book or have you child use for a matching game that is then pasted into the lapbooks. Be creative and have fun with it.

About 3 or 4 sections from the top, you’ll find a group of word family printables from The Measured Mom (again). She has a lot of pictures to use for word families. You could use them as a bingo type activity and then create your word wheel (below) using the word ending and pictures provided.

Pixabay is a great place to find your own pictures for free.

Word Family Wheels

I think these could be a great addition to your lapbook. Word Wheels can include some of the words in the list, as well as pictures to match them. You could trace one of the pre-made word wheels to make your own template. If you make one in Word, you can add text/picture to it before printing or you can have those on a separate page for your child to cut and paste on.

ABC Teach has a huge selection of resources on the free portion of their site. Here are some word family wheels.

34 FREE Short Vowel Houses from The Measured Mom (one more time 😉 ). Check out the rest that she has pinned!

Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE

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Makers of American History Series

Makers of American History Series

mount-rushmore-55477_1280This may not be a complete list. I will update the post as I find more titles in the series. This first contribution was built with the help of my friend Allison, who shares the same love for books.

Lee – General Lee

Peck – Daniel Boone

Schouler – Thomas Jefferson

Abbott – George Washington

Courtenay – Christopher Columbus

Abbott – Benjamin Franklin

Courtenay – Abraham Lincoln

Everett – Daniel Webster

Gammel – Roger Williams

Hilliard – Captain John Smith

Ellis – William Penn

Jenkins – John Caldwell Calhoun

Everett – Patrick Henry

Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE

Adam – The Lewis and Clarke Exploring Expedition

Sumner – Alexander Hamilton

Tuckerman – Peter Stuyvesant

 

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Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 1-6 by Sanborn Tenny

tenney-sanborn-iconSanborn Tenny was born in 1827 and was a student of science because he saw the omnipotent God in the creation around him.

Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 1

 
Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 2

 
Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 3

 
Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 4

 
Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 5


Young Folks Pictures and Stories of Animals Vol 6

 

Read more about Sanborn Tenny  here.

 

Visit my Facebook Group for more FREE Homeschool Resources and learn to Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE

Our Favorite Grammar Books in the Public Domain

monkey-236861_1280I love these grammar books and find it difficult to say which I love more. They are simple and to the point but each of the authors has been so creative in the way grammar is approached, making it a lovely experience for all involved. These can be read aloud by the parent or used for independent study. For those that have questions and exercises, I found most are handled well with an oral discussion. Few lend themselves only to a written response. Both of my older students are using their for independent study this year. I let them choose the one they wanted, so grammar is never a subject they avoid. Many of these darling little books only contain 35-40 exercises allowing them to be the perfect supplement to your writing curriculum. My children usually focus on the lesson 1-2 days which opens the rest of the week to writing assignments for other subjects. Other books in this collection are teacher guides for oral exchange and have daily lessons including theory and practice.


The Child’s Own English Book
is just plain adorable with its personable read aloud style and games to play with child after Mommy has read. The games provide a combination of both oral and written exercises for customizing a lesson for your little one. For the younger student, best read orally than in independent study.

First Lessons in English is mostly exercises for the child, so that the child can learn and then use what he has learned often. Included are both oral and written exercises including cursive copywork.

Primary English Grammar is simple and straightforward. This book covers the basics in the eight parts of speech. In completing one section, it provides 40 weeks of learning.

Grammar Made Easy for Beginners speaks directly to the reader, this charming little book teaches the parts of speech thoroughly. This book was written specifically to make a regularly boring subject pleasing to the reader.

Each part of Speech plays its own part in Grammarland. The kids get lost in all the drama and learn the grammar in the process. You can use this as a read aloud alone or can add these Grammarland Worksheets. Here are some alternative Grammarland Worksheets and Game. Librivox provides Grammarland Audio for readers as well.

Harvey’s Elementary and Composition even further breaks down grammar and the written word. Heavier on the written exercises to focus on the polished and effective composition of text. Thorough in its explanation and graduated in exposure of material for the ease learning.

Elementary Grammar is a more advanced and in-depth look at Grammar, with over 130 exercises and 62 lessons.

There are our favorites, but here are more you may like:

Elementary English Grammar

First Lessons in English Grammar

browsing-15824_640
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE

Lessons in English

Excelsior English Studies in English Grammar

Hart’s Elementary Grammar

An Elementary Grammar of the English Language

Come visit my Facebook Group for FREE homeschooling resources and learn how to Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

More on Reading Levels, Finding the Right Book

So, how do I find the right book for my child? I don’t want a book that is too difficult and will halt progress. Iblack-and-white-28791_1280 don’t want something too easy that will not challenge and encourage growth.

This is a question every mom considers when making plans to help her child learn to read. I have some ideas I would like to share with you. They are strategies I have used in the classroom, and I still consider them in my home, when schooling my own children.

I think we all agree that no matter how far behind or how far ahead of the “average” child our child is, we must start at the skill level they have mastered. Moving ahead when a child is not ready will confuse him. Lagging behind when a child is ready to move forward will leave them feeling unengaged. In either case, they may question if learning is worth the effort. We want to avoid both situations and build a love for reading.

Fortunately, finding a books for your child is not a difficult task. We are going to visit two ways to get your child matched with the right  books. The first is by perusing the library. Take your child to a section of the library that you think would meet his level and interests. In our library, we have a place for picture books, children’s chapter books and nonfiction, teen chapter books, and adult novels and non-fiction.

I like to require my children to choose something from both the fiction and non-fiction to check out. I ask them what topic they would like to read about and help them find that section. I give them ample time to pull books from the shelf about their chosen topic. Sometimes another topic attracts them and that is okay. I encourage them to read a page or two from any section of the book. If is is too hard for them to read and they do not understand100_1031 what they are reading, they can put it back. This is not a strict rule, because my oldest has learned to use Google and the dictionary to look up words, concepts and background information to help her understand the book. These are books that are great for instructional reading, reading that includes new concepts and vocabulary in a new context.

However, there is also a time for books that are right on your child’s level. These books are meant to be enjoyed. Your child should not struggle with vocabulary or concepts in these books. With these books you will most likely discuss things like plot, characters, and setting or use these books to teach concepts like cause and effect and other reading skills. It is much easier to teach these reading skills with books they are familiar and comfortable with. Checking for understanding daily will ensure your child has books suited for his comprehension level.

Another way to ensure your child is reading books on his independent level is to get a sampling of different leveled books and have discussions after reading to assess comprehension and find the level he best understands when reading solo. Your library probably shows the reading level of books in their card catalog, and you may be able to search it by reading level. If not, you can use the Scholastic Book Wizard to help you find books by whatever reading level measure is easiest for you. I find that grade level equivalent is easiest for most.  For a book that has a Grade Level Equivalent of 2.6, it would be an independent reader for a typical child in his second year and 6 month of reading, but children vary greatly. This chart might be helpful in translating the correlation of the other reading level measures for you. Choose a starting point for your assessment and then choose books on either side of that level. If you decide to start with leve 3.0, then check out books between 2.5-3.5. If you are not familiar with reading levels, your guess might be off quite a bit in either direction, but before long, you will be able to pick up a book and tell its level by reading a page or two. When I was teaching, I liked to choose one fiction and one non-fiction to assess reading level comprehension. It provided me with more information about strengths of the child’s reading. To read more about choosing books and the discussion used to assess comprehension read my other article on Reading Levels. I start the discussion about halfway down the page.

picture-108539_1280

If the library is not convenient or you simply can’t wait to get started you can visit Reading A-Z‘s site and pull down 1-2 samples from different levels, using the free trial. You can download a couple to start with and if you find the chosen books are not the right level after your discussion, you can download more, either above or below the level you started. Once you have discovered his new reading level, you can decide whether re-evaluate once a quarter or in whatever intervals you are comfortable with. You may be happy simply seeing him read more difficult text as you make trips to the library or assign him books for his learning.  If you choose to evaluate, you might want to get him involved in setting goals of where he would like to be in 3-4 months. He may think that he wants to see progress sooner. You can assess more often if he is comfortable.

It doesn’t matter what method you choose. Both of these methods work. I have used both with great success. Many times a child will tell you a book is to easy or too hard simply by putting it aside. Be sensitive to the choices your child makes and continue with informal assessments of comprehension. You will soon be able to pick out books that fit both his interest and skill level. I guarantee he will think you have some magical skills in finding the right book for him.

Come visit my Facebook Group for FREE homeschooling resources and learn how to Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE
Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum For FREE

Lapbooking in a Spiral Bound Notebook

We are working on Bible History this year. I honestly don’t how long this will take us. I can see it taking 4 years. I don’t map things out well. I just decided it was important to do, so we started. Dad is reading during the evening Bible Study and I am reviewing the information during the day before the kids work in their notebook. We are using Aunt Charlotte’s Stories of Bible History  For the Little Ones primarily. We supplement from time to time when an event we would like to cover is missing.  Often we have used Answers in Genesis. Information for the Ice Age and Dinosaurs after the flood was easy to find in kid-friendly language. They have a great little search engine in the top, right-hand corner of the page. If you type in your topic along with the word “kids”, it  will bring up all of the articles from the kid’s site first.
My oldest two are also reading from The Story of the Bible From Genesis to Revelation told in Simple Language For the Young for their personal devotion. My youngest is reading these slideshows from the Garden of Praise.
100_1243 100_1244 100_1245 100_1246 100_1247 100_1248 100_1249 100_1250For the components of the notebook, I am using a combination of lapbook pages and notebooking pages from a couple of different sites. Each of my children are expected to write according to their skills. My oldest always has the most to say. She is hoping to give it to someone who needs to hear the Gospel. She is writing with a purpose. My middle child hasn’t liked to write in the past , but again he likes the topic and the project has also given him purpose he doesn’t find with other assignments. We discuss what questions to answer and he writes in his best hand, in his own words. My youngest is 5 and she answers some simple questions. I write the answer down on a sticky note and she copies them in her notebook.
Daily work in the notebooks include, copywork, lapbooks, notebook pages, and mini-books from the following sites.

Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool  has designed history units from Creation to Today. They are organized by time periods and include colorful lapbook pieces.

Notebooking Nook has ancient history notebooking pages and activities that coincide with The Mystery of History and some other packaged curriculum. I’m using some of the timeline for my guide and using some of the notebook pages.

Bible Story Printables has Bible timeline cards including blank cards to create your own. The site also has some colorful notebook pages, Bible crafts, storyboard printables, mini-books, copywork and more. So many resources there!

Sprouting Tadpoles is another site I use to help me guide me with a timeline. I also use some of the pictures from the timeline cards to help illustrate the lapbook covers.

We are doing all of this for free with exception of the spiral notebooks. The kids really love what they are creating.

Here are some other FREE Bible History Ebooks you might like to use for the daily readings. You’ll find some for younger children and some for more in depth world history study.

Young People’s Illustrated Bible History

Young Folk’s Bible History

Bible History

Parley’s Common School History Revised

Bible History for the Use of Children and Young Persons

The Children’s Bible Picture Book

Bible Stories for Little Children

Complete Bible History from the Creation of the World Down to the Death of the Apostles

Come visit my Facebook Group of FREE homeschooling resources and learn how to Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Teaching Across the Curriculum with the Bobbsey Twins- A Unit Study

Reading

people-163906_64010 Free Bobbsey Twins Books on Kindle

Explore the genre with this lesson on Ingredients of a Mystery. Several Free Worksheets are included as well as a list of suggested books. There are plenty of free mysteries for Kindle and on Google Books, including the Bobbsey Twins and The Rover Boys.

There is a little confusion about the real author of these books. In The Story of the Bobbsey Twins, you” ll read about the

Read Mysteries By Kids

Use an interactive tool from ReadWriteThink to dissect your mystery. There are writing activities too!

Writing

Mystery Writing: Write with Writers 


How to Write a Mini Myster

Writing Mystery Stories The Best Mystery Writing Tips and Tricks for Kids

Science

Kids Ahead – Crime Scene Investigation Activities

Science Mystery – Educational Mysteries (and Reading)

Detective Science Games

History

The 25 Biggest Mysteries of History

The 20 Coolest Unsolved Mysteries in History

Mystery Timeline and more, including lessons and interactives.

detective-156961_640Math

Mystery Math Pictures -Math Facts

Mystery  Picture Math -Math Facts

Mystery Pictures with multiples and division.

Maths Mysteries Online Games

Math Maven’s Mysteries Home – Scholastic  Various Skills and Levels, including Logic and Reasoning

Mystery Math– an online game of deductive reasoning

Critical Thinking

Solve some mysteries at Mystery Net’s Kids Site.

You can find more FREE resources in my Facebook group, and learn how you can Build Your Own Homeschool Curriculum for FREE.

Mystery Fun
Make your own spy equipment!

Which Homeschool Method is Right for My Child?

right-238370_640There are many methods and philosophies for homeschooling. I can’t condemn any one of them. As long as your method doesn’t include letting your child run wild, while never involving him in discussion that leads to learning, you should be commended for taking on the task that God has given you in the raising of your child. What is key in this education endeavor is finding what works for you and each of your family members. Personalities, talents, and interest vary widely from family to family and person to person. Why would we all homeschool in the same way?

If the method you thought was right hasn’t been working, even though you have given it your best efforts, give yourself permission to change it to suit the needs of your family or the individual child. If the method of homeschooling is working for you, in other words, your kids are learning and your methods don’t cause strife in the home, then don’t let those outside your family shake your resolve. Keep on keeping on.

The truth is there are a lot of great homeschool methods out there, Charlotte Mason, TJEd, unschooling,  basal curriculum and more.  Learning what your children need is not going to happen overnight. It takes time and diligence. So, when you experience some blow-outs don’t freak out. This life affords a lot of do-overs. Forgive yourself. Forgive your kids. Take a day off or whatever you need to collect yourselves. The day is very forgiving.

Whatever you do, don’t spend all your time trying to force learning down your child’s throat. No matter how good the method or curriculum you chose sounds, no matter how logical it seems, you must consider that we are all so diverse. Our learning style is different,  our temperament is different, and our aptitude and abilities are different. And at some point you just may have to face that your child has a limit of understanding, whether it be because of a special need or because Joe is Joe. You might have a mechanic on your hands. He might be bound for vocational school instead of college.  Frankly I love a skilled and honest mechanic. I had a great one through college that kept my jalopy running. On the other hand, you might have a child that excels on his own, who has such focus and determination that he goes through material like the energizer bunny and leaves you and your other children in the dust choking on fumes as he ventures into subjects you did n’t know existed.

If the method you chose is not working and your child is bucking at every task given, consider letting his learning be more self directed and self taught, by taking a guiding role instead of a teaching role. This is especially helpful when a child is not completely trusting of your ability to take on the teaching role (or when you are too scared to). Allow him then, to begin sharing with you what he has learned in casual discussion.

Meanwhile, take on your own learning, perhaps at the same time of day. Something new. Sewing, crochet, making yogurt (whatever really). Watch youtube videos. Read blogs and library books. Produce something from your learning. Show  him that being smart is not about knowing all the answers, but knowing where to find out what you want to know. Learn beside each other.

My oldest is super bright. Truly, if I tell you the details, I would feel I was bragging. It has nothing to do with me it is totally hereditary and she gets it from here father. They are both very annoyingly smart. Hence Jeopardy is never viewed in or home. However my daughter’s weakness lies in the fact that she stops actively listening when she thinks she already knows the information. She tends to miss out on important new details. I still do read-alouds. I do want her to learn to listen, but I have changed her schedule a bit to include a range of specific resources for learning (websites or books), and subtopics(multiplication) under the state required subjects (math)  for her to pick from. We discuss frequently what she is working on, what she has read, what progress she has made. This allows much of her learning to be self directed, though I am right there beside her when she falls into a ditch. It  has been a learning experience for both of us. She still has a listening problem, but here is much more respect for me as her teacher. This does not fit any of the above methods perfectly,  but I cannot argue its effectiveness. She is interested, busy, and learning. I am happy.

empty-314554_640One of the problems in public school is that teachers were not in charge of the classroom, so if the teacher has developed a relationship with a student or simply has a personal teaching style that meets opposition from admin, the teacher has to abandon what she knows to be the best practice for a child in exchange for what outsiders propose to be the “best practices in teaching.”

Here we can enter the discussion of collectivism vs. individualism. Do we really want to adopt a philosophy of  thinking of the group to the suffering of the individual. Sure they have small group teaching in public school. For how long, and how well do they get to know what each child needs? Do the quick learners get the same attention or is time too short? If  they deem one child un-teachable, will he get attention at all? It is almost impossible for individualized curriculum int he public school. Individualism is what is needed no matter your curriculum or method adopted.

How can another person attack your teaching choices without being guilty of leaving out the individual? There is simply not one and only one way to teach your children. One could argue that there is a right and a wrong way to teach your child, but that can only be discovered  by you, when you experience success or failure with a particular child.

My personal approach is to teach my children the basics (a love of reading, writing and math) and then to show them how to use these to research about any topic they want. I want my kids to understand that they are the teachers and learners. Sometimes guidance is needed, but I am not the only authority. In fact sometimes I have to Google the answer. In public school there is way to much dependence on the teacher for the “correct” information.  My last years were spent as a fifth grade teacher. I expected independence on some tasks, after all they had so much more practice thinking than my first graders. However, while my first graders were plunking out five pages during writing, my fifth graders couldn’t think past a paragraph.

Some parents do not agree that you can allow this kind of self guided approach for a bought curriculum, but you can teach your child within a matter of weeks, how to look up a tutorial on whatever subject he is working on in a book, in order to teach himself and complete the page. My daughter thinks this is the coolest thing. She is taking charge of her own education. I am still there in the circumstance that she needs more help or simply wants to share how exciting the information is. She delights in this too.

shoes-291845_640If you are unsure about what curriculum or method to choose, don’t choose one yet. De-school. Have some fun with the local library. Let your kids check out books that they want to read. Encourage a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Enjoy some free outings with other homeschoolers or on your own as a family. Enjoy some movies that teach science, social studies, or theology. Work on life skills like doing the laundry, preparing a meal, or cleaning a bathroom. Oh, you know your child is going to love that one! Or simply put off buying a curriculum and build from from free sources on the internet until you find the one you are in love with (although you could build your own for free until graduation).

Whatever the method or curriculum you choose, don’t let hecklers dissuade you. I know some moms doing the bought curriculum from cover to cover, happy as a lark (and so are their kids). On the other hand, I know moms that are unschooling with the same satisfaction.

New homeschool moms need to read homeschool articles, blog, books, and posts while realizing that all of this advice is subjective.  Sometimes moms read these things and start doubting everything they are doing, others get really defensive and act like someone is questioning them or judging them. Maybe someone is but who cares?  They are  not the ones loving your children, raising them, housing them, feeding them, and they won’t be paying their college bill (not that college has to be the goal). I have one kiddo that  doesn’t care to go. She doesn’t feel like she needs it. Frankly, I have to agree. Her skills will sell themselves. I think she is already a success. There are those that think that college is the goal. Early graduation is the goal. I say that enjoying the learning day in and day out and finding a passion to follow is the goal. If your kids get that, Homeschool is successful. If college is needed for their passion then your little success will probably learn whatever is needed to make that happen.

You are going to find out what fits your kids by learning and gaining understanding your kids day in and day out over the first couple of months of school. When you feel you have a grasp on things, tailor whatever curriculum or method to your findings.