Thursday, June 28, 2012

Homeschool Summer Pick-ups

Summer is a great time of year. The kids can go outside and play in the fresh air, but don't forget the sunscreen. Fourth of July means fireworks and picnic fun. Summer swimming and water parks are great summer fun too. Movie matanees, concerts in the park, and icecream stops are near the top of the to do list. Summer is usually a little more laid back and relaxing, well for kids anyway. Even if you homeschool year round, summer is still a very fun time of year.

It's not all that hard to find fun ways to sneak a little schooling into the lazy days of summer. Give the kids colorful sidewalk chalk and encourage them to see who can spell the most words on the driveway before Daddy comes home from work. Let them fix a cool summer treat in the kitchen. Make sure you have them weigh, measure, and read the directions for the recipe on their own. Have a nature scavenger hunt looking for certain types of leaves, rocks, flowers, tree branches, snails...., write summer poetry, tell stories around the fire pit, play hangman for kids, act out your favorite story book, make your own bubble blowing solution and see who canblow the biggest bubbles, fly kites after you explore why kites can fly, star gaze at night, and more. The possibilities are endless, and the kids won't really even realize all these activities are educational because they are having so much fun.

What do you and your kids do for sneaky educational fun in the summer? Please share with everyone.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Find Your Homeschool Spot

It's nice to share information with like-minded homeschoolers. There is no room for negativity about the way someone chooses to homeschool. One of the beauties of homeschooling is the freedom to choose to school the way that best suits your child and you. 

Freethinking homeschoolers often feel there is no place where they can comfortably share their ideas about homeschooling without being criticized. However, there are more and more secular online groups available today. In that same vein, Christian homeschoolers have many online sites to share their ideas, resources, and make new friends with those who think along similar lines.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter whether you are a secular homeschooler, Christian homeschooler, accidental homeschooler, African American homeschooler... you have the right to homeschool they way you choose without being condemned. A little extra work on your part will turn up great forums, blogs, and resource sites that fit your homeschooling style. Join a few this week and begin sharing your teaching gifts and talents with others.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spelling Goes Techy is a super place to practice and test spelling words, practice and test vocabulary, practice handwriting, play around with spelling flashcards, work a few printable worksheets, watch teacher training videos, practice sentence writing, access a loaded resource page, have your child watch a video lesson, play educationally sound games... This is one action packed, super-duper, educational playground of FUN! They offer a database of more than 42,000 spelling words and sentences. The words and sentences can be customized for your students, plus they also provide clear, spoken recordings of every word.

VSC is geared for elementary, middle school, and high school, even ESL students will benefit. The site is free, but they do offer a Premium Membership with great extras at an unheard of low price. Premium members have access to extra games, tracking, ability to give assignments, print records, no advertising, telephone support... It's well  worth the price.
 The Teaching Resources section that has recently received an overhaul. This awesome page has sections for Language Arts Lessons, Useful Word Lists which include games to go along with the subject material including science and social studies vocabulary+, articles, and other help and information all just waiting for you!

Drum Roll please:  VocabularySpellingCity is coming out with two new apps! The first one launched just recently and is available in the Chrome Web Store for use with Chromebooks. It is free.
The next, which is currently in beta testing, will be for the iPad. If you would like to get in on the beta testing of this new app, go to this link and fill out the form.

This newest techy app is due for release before the start of the 2012-2013 school year, aren't you glad?

Monday, June 11, 2012

English Vocabulary Learning with Games

1)Word Find – Players are thrilled to learn English vocabulary by this fun combination of word search, Scrabble, Boggle, and anagrams.  The game can be loaded with the list of your choice.
2)Crossword Puzzles – Students are fascinated by crossword puzzles and are driven to complete them. Jazz up your assignments by putting them into this to play it online or print out worksheets.
3)English Slang  – Get as "sharp aa a pin" or be "in th know" with this fun way to learn current English usage. It is for business or classroom use (nothing suggestive or obscene).
4)Word Root Games – Word roots in English are the  key to a broad conceptual understanding of the language and to unlocking words that you have not yet encountered. Yet who wants to memorize lists of word roots?  This game evokes prior knowledge so ESL students  realized that they actually know most of the word roots already.  Think about a game that points out what you already know from the words bicycle, tricycle, and unicycle.
5)HangMan Games – Hangmouse is the most weirdly popular word game in the world. Why are so many teachers and students OK with the pending murder of that poor stick figure. In our version, the drama is focused on whether the mouse will get the cheese or the cat will ge the mouse.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Online Literature Games

Some kids love to read while others have no interest. Obviously, kids who struggle with reading don't always want to read, but there are lots of kids who are good readers who just plain don't enjoy it. 

I was the kid who was a good reader, but didn't want to sit still that long.  I read for information only, and still do to a small degree. I enjoy good books when I am reading them, but I also want to finish the book the same day I start it...not always possible! I think lots of kids tend to "watch" the movie rather than read the book. 
Kindle readers are so popular right now. I wonder what impact they have made on furthering the reading movement. There are great speech-to-text readers for kids who struggle, which makes reading more enjoyable. Something that can encourage reading is having your student play literature games online
 Getting kids involved in books is key. There are awesome free educational games available for books like Harry Potter, Gulliver's Travels, Matilda, Ramona, Where the Wild Things Are, David Copperfield, 1984, Romeo and Juliet, and many more. Not only are games fun, but they help kids remember. How many times did you study for a test only to forget what you learned just one short week later? 
Games are an easy way to sneak in a little learning without kids realizing it, and they are super for right-brained visual learners.

                     Get your game on!