Sunday, August 21, 2016

Vocabulary for Elementary School

Many students with challenges in literacy have particular frustrations over learning a group of words.  But a group of words, the weekly word list for vocabulary and spelling, remains an important educational construct.

To help students learn, there's technology. The irony is that kids cannot test themselves on a list of vocabulary or spelling words. Or they could not before VocabularySpellingCity arrived.  They have 37 different activities so that students can learn on their own.

In addition to activities, hidden in their teacher resources, there are many word lists and lessons for each grade. For example, lets look at 2nd grade spelling and vocabulary words.

VocabularySpellingCity offers hundreds of free second grade spelling and vocabulary lists that correlate with 2nd grade state standards. Second grade teachers have the option of importing from a wide variety of word lists and assigning interactive games and activities to students. Teachers can also access supplemental literacy tools, such as free handwriting printables, via VocabularySpellingCity.
Second grade spelling word lists include Dolch and Fry sight word lists, Words Their Way® word pattern lists, and word structure lists (compound words). Second grade students can build sight word fluency and phonics mastery through the use of VocabularySpellingCity’s interactive online games. Second grade games feature both audio and visual elements, an effective learning tool for all maturing readers and writers, specifically English Language Learners (ELLs).
There are also lists for second grade for science words, math words, social studies words, sound-alikes, multimedia word lists, and basic phonics and phonological skills.  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Metaphors, Similes, and Analogies, Oh MY!!

I'm sitting here with my dog on my lap. He is sweeter than...most dogs. Metaphors. It can be difficult to think of good ones. It takes practice, lots of it.

So what would have been a good metaphor for me to use about my dog? He is sweeter than cotton candy! Not great. I bet you could do better.

We often get analogies and metaphors mixed up. Add similes to the mix and it gets even more confusing! How can we expect our kids to understand these concepts if we struggle with them?

Basically, metaphors describe something by assigning something else in its place. For example we speak of snow being a blanket or life being a roller coaster.

Similes usually have the words "like" or "as" in them and compare two different things. Some common similes are "cold as ice, bold as brass and, cute as a kitten."

Analogies tend to be a little more complex than either of the other two. They tend to be a bit more brainy, using logic to back up the comparisons. Some very common analogies are: "I felt like a fish out of water at that party." or "That girl is as quiet as a mouse."

So hopefully, this will clear up some of the confusion so that you can help your kids have fun with these great ways to use language!

Here's a fun vocabulary exercise? Do you know the difference between STEM, STEAM, and science? STEAM includes Art whereas STEM is just science, technology, engineering, and math. And science, well, it's just science.  Robotics is robotics. AI is artificial intelligence.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Tutoring

Summer is in full swing isn’t it? Are you able to relax a bit and enjoy at least a little down time? I like the beginning of summer when it’s not too hot. By this time of year I am hiding out inside where the cool AC is my best friend.

We used to homeschool year round. I liked doing that for several reasons.It kept us in the swing of things so we never got out of practice or out of our routine. We didn’t have to worry about transitions. It also allowed us to take our time and work at a slower, more comfortable pace. Last year was the first year we took the summer off. It was so nice we did it again this year. I think I needed the break more than my daughter.

When we first started homeschooling we were using a second grade online curriculum, but I still supplemented with lots of extras. I really  enjoyed lots of hands-on activities in those days. I think younger kids especially retain more and enjoy more of their schooling when they can did in and explore all avenues of learning, not just the text. As my daughter got older, somehow we gradually lost interest in hands-on learning, well, she did, I never lost interest. Anyway, now that we take the summer off, we do use an online resource for summer tutoring as needed. We are very low key with it, but it does help.

If you take the summer off, do you use an online tutor for a little extra help or enrichment? Please share.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Homeschool Trends

People homeschool for as many different reasons as there are homeschoolers. Some of the more common reasons include being bullied at public school, religious reasons, health, dedicated sports such as ice skating or horse showing, the need for a more challenging curriculum, safety issues, learning difficulties, and the list goes on.

Homeschool trends in the last several years confirm one main reason for homeschooling, dissatisfaction with public schools. As a public school and private school teacher, who turned to homeschooling, I can wholeheartedly agree with the reason.

My daughter attended private Christian school for three years and while it wasn’t perfect, she was nurtured and learned in a safe environment…she was happy. She attended public school, or tried attending public school three different times, once in first grade, once in third grade, and once in eighth grade. All three times were a disaster.

My daughter has CAPD, ADHD, and dysgraphia. The public school has programs in place to help children like her, but they failed her each time. She received virtually no help from them. She had teachers who told her she would never learn to read and that she was slow or lazy. As a teacher, I was SHOCKED that a teacher would actually say those things, but indeed they did. One of her junior high teachers commented, in a very derogatory way, about the fact that she was homeschooled.

Homeschooling has been the best decision we could have ever made. I no longer have a child who is under huge amounts of stress and suffering from panic attacks. That alone makes homeschooling worthwhile for us. My daughter has thrived and grown in a safe environment, and no, she is not a social misfit.

What’s your reason for homeschooling? Can you identify with my situation? How’s homeschooling working for you? Please share with us all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Whew is just about right. I can feel that big sigh of relief washing over me since we have finished our lessons for the year.
You know how homeschoolers suggest new homeschoolers take time to ‘deschool’ after leaving public school, well I think I need to ‘dehomeschool’ for just a wee bit. Smile
We used to homeschool year round, but last year we took the summer off. This year we will take the summer off again, well mostly. We aren’t going to use a tutor or anything, but my daughter is going to continue working on her economics/personal finance classes that she didn’t finish. We decided she would do this because she started her own business…Mercy Fox Photography. She does mostly cosplay photo shoots, but other kinds as well.
I asked my daughter if she is also experiencing the magic elixir of ‘whew’. Her response was a huge, “YES!” She reminded me that now that she’s 17, she realizes how close she is to being a full fledged adult. Her ‘whew’ feeling was realizing how close she is to graduating and becoming that productive citizen she has grown in to.
What is your ‘whew’ feeling?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Summer Homeschool Planning

This post is linked up with the April Let's Homeschool High School Blog Hop. You can link your high school blog post up too! The link is at the bottom of this page.

Wow! I can't believe summer will be here in the blink of an eye. While I won't miss the cold, rainy days, I will miss cooler weather. I like sunshine, I really do, but I am NOT a hot weather fan. I shrink in hot weather; always have.

What homeschooling plans do I have for the summer? Well, this summer we are going to slow way down and relax more in our homeschool high school plans. We will continue our unschooling life skills though because, well, it's life! My daughter will continue to improve her cooking and sewing skills, animal husbandry skills, yard work and gardening skills, and financial skills. She will also continue her reading and high school writing skills because she loves these. I sure won't complain about that at all. :)

What do you have planned for your summer homeschool high schoolers?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Homeschool Show N Tell

This post is linked up to Teaching Stars.Com: Show and Tell.
Vocabulary is really big in our homeschool. My daughter has always had a large vocabulary because we have always included it in our studies.

One of my favorite homeschool resources for supplementing vocabulary and reading is Vocabulary is Fun. This totally free site features sound educational games.

The games are divided into the following groups:  Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School (9-12). My daughter uses the high school section. This makes it easy to choose the level you want quickly. You can also choose by topic and then by grade level...analogy, opposites, keyboarding games, literature, parts of speech, and so on.

The site is good for:  Phonics--including Dolch words, literature, ESL, vocabulary, spelling, foreign languages (Spanish, French, German, English, and Latin).

The flash animation games help the student make connections between words and ideas, and between words and pictures. My daughter is a right brained visual learner, so this fits her perfectly.

The site also offers super resources for various topics such as speed reading, SAT, GRE Verbal Tips, GMAT Test Prep, How to Increase Your Vocabulary...There are so many of these articles I can't list them all.

There are no sign-up fees, no sign-up process, no setting up an account, or anything like that. You simply go to the site and select what you want to work on. It's as simple as that.

Types of Learning Games Available:

Analogy Games Antonym Games Compound Word Games Context Games Contraction Games English Language Games Foreign Language Games Hig Pig Games Homophone Games Idioms Games Latin Learning Games Literature Games Oxymoron Games Parts of Speech Games Phonics Games Prefix Games Root Word Games SAT Games Spelling Games Suffix Games Syllable Games Synonym Games Typing Games Word Play Games