Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revamped Dresser with a Cute Crackle Finish

Want to make a cute crackle finish like this.... 

To revamp an ugly piece of furniture like this....? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Foreign Language Resources for Home Educators

Best Language Learning Software: 
  • Rosetta Stone... This is the Cadillac of language-learning programs... even NASA uses it. It offers over thirty languages and follows a natural learning approach, available for both PC and Mac. Just be warned it isn't not cheap! :) Read a review of it below from an experienced language teacher.  *If you sign up at Border's Books for Border's Rewards to receive coupons by email, they send out coupons every once in a while on a Rosetta Stone purchase. Or you can get $100 off your purchase of Rosetta Stone from the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
  • Tell Me More... This is the main rivaling software, operating with the same method and style as Rosetta Stone, but at a lower price, and is currently available for PC only. Some home school magazines have even ranked it above RS. They make a home school edition that provides up to five levels of learning in one program, and unlike RS, TMM doesn't mind if you re-sell your program when you're done using it. 

Free Online Resources: 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Science Resources for Home Educators

The best science learning for youngsters is plenty of direct access with nature- wondering, noticing, examining, questioning, and thinking about what they see. Secondly, look for interesting books that tell them more about what they've seen, so they can narrate it back.  By allowing them to examine the world around them directly for themselves, they'll have so much more to draw from and build upon when they're older and ready for advanced studies. If possible, use tools to inspire fascination, like a magnifying glass, microscope, and telescope- from a young age. Read this post about outdoor learning!

Handy Websites: 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Geography Resources for Home Educators

Free Online Resources:

Free Printables:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

History Resources for Home Educators

History Curriculum...
  • Mystery of History is the program we're currently using. It's a chronological history program for the entire family and it seems to be a great fit for us. I also really like the optional "extras" like printable lap books, challenge cards, audio books, etc. 
  • Simply Charlotte Mason's six history modules are a chronological study of history over the course of six years. Each module's teacher's manual is $10-15 (e-book or print), and can be taught to all grades from 1-12 b/c there are a few common books you read together as a family (all ages) and some that are based on grade level. 
  • If you're interested in either of those two history curriculums, read my review: "Comparing Simply Charlotte Mason History with Mystery of History."
  • I will also mention here one set of free lesson plans available as an online download: America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty... Free award-winning history lesson plans K-12 via free CD or direct download. I have not used it yet, but it appears to be mainly activities that were intended for a classroom but could work well for co-ops too. 
  • ****Regardless of what history curriculum you use, check out The Ultimate Booklist! I combined the booklists from Sonlight and Simply Charlotte Mason and organized them chronologically and by grade. This is the ultimate book list for studying history using living books. I use it to supplement Mystery of History. 

Timeline Notebook
  • History Through the Ages Collection CD of printable clip art images you can print out to use for any type of timeline. I print them small to use in a timeline notebook (here's my review post with pictures), but you can also print them large for use on a wall timeline, or small on notecards for review. They can be printed with or without the dates and summary text. Simply Fabulous! 
  • My FAVORITE timeline notebook: Amy Pack's History Through the Ages Record of Time which is a beautifully bound timeline in a horizontal three binder. 
  • Two free alternatives: Download Simply Charlotte Mason's "Book of Centuries", which is for use in a three-ring binder. OR try my Horizontal Notebook Timeline, which I made intending to custom bind it on the short side. This binding may be done for a minimal fee at Kinkos, or at home with a ProClick, which allows for re-opening the binding later to add or change out pages if necessary. Simply print either one on heavy paper (to allow for gluing) and add to it as you go along. 
  • Regardless of what type of timeline you make (notebook, wall, note cards, etc.) add references to it through the years of what ever you read or study. If you have other material you wish to include in the notebook that doesn't fit onto the page (like narration, travel photos, maps, reports, drawings, etc), then just add in a supplement page that's trimmed an inch shorter then the timeline pages, so the timeline pages still stick out past the supplement pages. 
  • I also really like our "Stick Figuring Through the Bible," from Grapevine Studies, which is a great way for early elementary children to begin making their own bible timeline. 

Memory Tools

Ancient History Resources

Online Tools...

  • A Book in Time gives book suggestions & activities & crafts, arranged chronologically for teaching history.
  • The Learning Calendar   - a free resource highlighting historical birthdays, anniversaries, and provides teaching resources to help you learn about each topic.
  • Animated War Maps from History Animated
  • Presidents Song  - a catchy tune to learn the US Presidents! You can also print out lyrics sheets & background info written by the author.
  • American History in Video  - a website w/ over 2000 videos covering American history from 1492-2000, airing on A & E and the History channel.
  • The Oregon Trail - lots of materials designed for home-schoolers & teachers


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Math Resources for Home Educators

We chose Right Start Math for elementary math instruction, which takes a unique approach that just makes sense to me, and results in excellent mental math abilities. I wrote a review of Right Start Math here.

We supplement & review with Life of Fred. It's an enjoyable set of books that kids can do on their own, so we use it in the summer and/or for car schooling. I wrote a review of Life of Fred here
Here are the math freebies and online resources I've found...

Free Math Games & Drills Online...