Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Online Spelling Test

The importance of spelling goes beyond just getting all the words correct; it does much to help kids academically. It benefits reading and writing especially. A child who sees continual improvement in his spelling is usually more willing to write because he is not so focused on spelling mistakes; he is not so dependent on others. People often look down on those who don't write correctly, even belittling them, so learning to spell correctly is a great goal for young learners.
Homeschool students have more options available to them when it comes to learning. Spelling does not have to take the traditional form of getting your words on Monday, taking a pre-test on Wednesday, and taking the final test on Friday. You have the option to be more creative with the actual words you learn as well as how you choose to learn them.

Taking a spelling test online is one option, this is also a super option for the dyslexic, right-brained visual learner. The student can practice learning his words online via fun, educationally sound games. Vocabulary Spelling City offers numerous ways to practice spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting. There are also great teacher resources and videos available for free. If you choose a premium membership, you can track your child’s progress, have access to fantastic vocabulary resources, have them do the record keeping, have access to more games, and so, so much more.


If your child hates spelling, give online spelling a chance. You will most likely see improvement not only in his spelling, but also in his attitude toward spelling. Online spelling practice at places like Vocabulary Spelling City offer a great supplement to whatever spelling curriculum you currently use, even the AVKO spelling system.

         Indulge the kids today with a little spelling F*U*N!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Homeschool Geography

Do you tend to put geography on the back burner thinking math, language, and science are more important? The study of geography gives the student a greater understanding of our world. Students will be better prepared to comprehend topics impacting our planet such as climate change, water issues, global warming, climate change, places, and more.

Ten Reasons To Study Geography
  1. To discover your neighborhood
  2. To explore economic patterns
  3. To delve into ways in which cultures — past and present — leave their imprint on the land and landscape
  4. To learn about urban life
  5. To examine the movements of people across space
  6. To recognize geopolitical patterns
  7. To glimpse into the ways in which human relationships to places, spaces, and environments are shaped by — and, in turn, shape — class, ethnic, race, and gender identities
  8. To map the world
  9. To locate and explore natural hazards, biogeography, climate change, and earthquakes
  10. To employ the newest technologies of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing and satellite imagery to better understand the world's constantly changing natural and human landscapes
This back to school year try mixing a little fun into your homeschool geography lessons by adding geography games into the mix.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Highschool Video Question of the Week

The Lets Homeschool Highschool video question of the week kicks off some great discussions of highschool homeschool issues.  Watch it here and then jump over to LHSHS to join the conversation.

This week's question raises a question about us homeschoolers as joiners or not. Very interesting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Teacher Resources: Just a Click Away!

Years ago, when I was still in the classroom, the Internet wasn’t available. Later on, it slowly started evolving, but it sure wasn’t what it is today.

In my day, teachers and homeschoolers relied on the local teaching supply store and their own two hands. I know I sure put in many, many hours making things for my classroom. Whew! I am sure that time could have been spent elsewhere, but you do what you have to do.

Today, the Internet makes teaching so much easier. You have not only resources to use in the classroom, but instruction lessons for students as well, even educational songs and videos. Just about anything your student or classroom needs help with can be found via a simple Google search.

Teacher resources are just a click away. Much of what you search for is free. Free is one of my favorite things.

See what you can find today!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Online Math Would Have Been My BFF

When I was a kid I had a mental block when it came to math. It just didn’t always make sense to me. As I think back to those days, I realize most of the instruction I received was via the blackboard and worksheets. I am a visual, tactile--hands-on type student, and that just wasn't popular in those days.

I could work problems lots of times, but I was just going through the steps, I had no real idea why. For example, I knew how to borrow, but certainly had no idea why, or what it entailed. I just knew to mark through the one number and put one number less above it, then put a 1 next the number to the right. It wasn’t until I was much, much older that I figured out what it was all about, and I did that on my own!

Lots of kids need visuals and manipulatives when it comes to math. I sure wish the Internet had been around when I was in school. An online math program would have been my best friend forever, especially when I hit the oh, so, confusing and abstract world of algebra , and the anxiety it presented.  Math anxiety doesn’t just target kids who are confused, or have poor math skills, it smells fear, and it is no respecter of persons. 

In years past, most people noticed math becoming a problem once kids hit about fourth grade, but that is not the case anymore. Younger kids are falling victim today.

In a 2011 study, Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Vinod Menon, Ph.D., looked at this phenomenon using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans of second- and third-graders. While in an fMRI machine, the children were given math problems to complete, allowing the researchers to see how their brains responded. For those with math anxiety, the fear centers in their brains lit up, while the problem-solving regions showed decreased activity.

Resources are available to kids today via the Internet. Gone are the days of hiring a private tutor, and gone of the days of breaking your bank doing that. Much is free, and some that charge are well worth the investment.

If your child is experiencing math anxiety or confusion, blow the clouds away and research online math programs and resources. Technology is actually our friend.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Root Words

(root word) root: (linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed; "thematic vowels are part of the stem".

A root word is the most basic form of a word that is able to convey a particular description, thought or meaning. Root words are sometimes English words, but often they are words based or derived from other languages like Greek, Latin, German, French, or Spanish (which is quite often based on Latin).

Have you ever given much thought to root words? I bet you just have your child complete the worksheets in your given curriculum without ever really thinking about why you need to teach them, or what benefit they give.

The roots archy (government) and dox (opinion or belief) need to be combined with other word elements, like prefixes, suffixes, or even other roots:

  • dyarchy: a government with two rulers, from the prefix dy-(meaning two) and the root archy (meaning government)
  • anarchist: one who rebels against governmental authority, from the prefix an- (meaning without or no), the root archy (meaning government), and the suffix -ist (meaning one who)
  • orthodox: conforming to established doctrines and practices, from the prefix ortho- (meaning right or true) and the root dox (meaning opinion or belief)

A solid foundation in root words is extremely important for your child. In order to successfully decode some words you must first identify the root. Knowing the root helps your child understand more clearly what a specific word is meant to express. Reading fluency. comprehension, and spelling skills will benefit greatly from studying root words.

Many root words have suffixes and/or prefixes attached to them. When you can put together the meaning of a root with the meaning of a prefix and/or a suffix, you can unlock the definitions of new words without a hitch.

de+ter+ent=deterrent  adj.  impediment

The study of root words begins in kindergarten and continues into college. The language portion of most standardized tests will contain root word questions. While worksheets  are one way to learn about root words, playing root word games are also an excellent way to learn and reinforce this important skill.

*Tip:  When you encounter an unknown word, look at the root first to see if you can figure out the meaning even if you don’t know the word. For example, if you read the word arboreal and you recognize arbor, you know the word relates to trees.