Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time4Lerarning Homeschool Review

As promised in an earlier post I got an invitation to try out the Time4Learning website in return for an honest review on my part. I know it's been awhile but things have been crazy busy here! The good news is we liked Time4Learning enough to keep our subscription going for three months now. So, for the most part we do give it a thumbs up.

However, there are few spots I'd like to nit-pick about. First is the Language Arts sections. My 7 year old son finds them far too easy. He has phonics down and is reading to learn, not learning to read. So the Language Arts section is hardly even touched by us. Most of the introduced vocabulary words were too simple for him in this section as well. The L.A. Extensions section, which has interesting categories such as pollution, biomes, or early America have too much review of the same story.

For instance let's look at the complete lesson for planets. It starts with a background info section which is a puzzle you solve by listening to the clues about each piece. The next steps are: Story: I Wonder Read to Me, Story: I Wonder Read Along, Story: I Wonder Read By Myself, Story: I Wonder I Can Read. Now he would really lose interest if I made him the same story four times (he doesn't mind with real books at all, but these have a sort of "beginning reader" feel to them that he finds dull if read more than once). Of course, if your child could use the extra practice then this will be a great plus for your family. :) So we only have him do the "I Can Read" one, and then the last part which is the story comprehension. This is fine but it leaves the other story lessons as not finished, which means the green check mark won't show up on the main lesson page to show that lesson as fully completed and we tend to forget which ones he's completed without opening each one to check.

Math on Time4Learning has been a great help. He really enjoys seeing everything visually. It's a great compliment to what he's currently learning in his Singapore Math book or a wonderful refresher on previous lessons we've covered to keep it fresh in his mind.

He's completed all of his grade level Science and Social Studies. We both really wish they would of had larger sections on these as they were done really well and he enjoyed them very much.

If I had to give Time4Learning a starred review I would give it a solid 4.5 out of 5. I recommend it to anyone as a solid supplement. On the days when I had come down with a cold and felt miserable it was a real benefit to have him do lessons on the computer and know that at least something still got done.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Time4Learning Website Review Upcoming!

Over the next 30 days, I will be reviewing Time4Learning's online education program. It can be used as a homeschool curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or for summer learning. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. You can write your own curriculum review, too!

My 7 year old in 1st grade will be using the website in addition to what we normally do for his homeschool. I'll let you know if we think it's worth it and if we stick with it after the review period.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best Homeschool Resource Sites

This is an on-going list of websites that have a lot of free (or very cheap) resources for homeschoolers to utilize. If you know of one that you think should be added feel free to comment and let me know.

Book Adventure - Free Reading Program for K-8. Kids take quizzes on books they've read and earn points they can redeem for prizes (similar to AR reading program but accessible for everyone).
Shelfari - A great way to visually keep track of all the books your kids read. Tracks books and pages read by year so you can see how you're doing this year compared to previous years.
Starfall - ABCs, Phonics, and Reading

Khan Academy - Over 3,000 instructional videos on math, science, and history.
Math Pickle - Good resource of free math videos plus other information for parents.
MEP Math - A full math curriculum for grades K-9. Has teaching guides, workbooks, etc. All free and printable.

Learning Games / Videos:
Addicting Games
Games at Scholastic Books
Magic School Bus Games 

Overview of Lapbooks at Squidoo
Lapbook Photos at flickr

Notebooking Pages:
Notebook Information Overview
Color Stationery  - Can be used as notebook pages.
Notebook Nook
Notebooking Pictures Group at flickr
Practical Pages - Many free notebooking pages ready to print.

Free Clip Art:
History Clip Art - Many images/clip art of history topics (plus some science).
Open Clip Art Library - Probably the single largest collection of free clip art.
Sweet Clip Art

Various Other Printable Resources:
Dover Books Free Weekly Samples - Sign up by email for free weekly samples across many topics and themes. They give about 20 samples a week.
Head of the Class
Homeschool Share - Lapbooks, notebook pages, unit studies, etc.
HS Launch - Homeschool resource sharing site. Choose "View Files" at the top then search by category to easily find what you're looking for. Has lots of worksheets, lapbooks, and noetbooking pages.
Lined Paper - More lined paper than you could ever need!

List of Places That Offer Discounts to Homeschool Families
Parent Involvement Library  - This is a public school resource for parents but has good information about teaching in a hands on way for different subjects that you make be able to get some extra ideas from for use in your homeschool.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Workboxes Bookshelf Organization

Our workbox setup was working out good but our storage space for it wasn't. We were using a tall five shelf bookshelf (read more about our workboxes and see pictures of the old setup here) but only had two shelves being used for the workboxes due to storage limits in our small homeschool space. There were several workboxes spilling onto the floor because there just wasn't enough space on the shelves for them. We needed a change.

 Behold the ClosetMaid 9 Cube Organizer. We bought this and what a change it has been. Now we have a designated spot for nine workboxes and they all fit neatly in their own individual spot. No more stacking on top of each other (we rarely used the workboxes that had other workboxes on top of them as it just wasn't convenient).

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby Truck

February was our Pinewood Derby race for the cub scouts. Seeing as the Tiger Cubs are only ages 6-7 the dads had to do all of the cutting and carving. We decided that we wanted something different than the usual generic race car design, so Dad got to carving a truck out of the nice block of wood it started as.

Next was the easy (fun!) part of painting the car. N did most of the painting, but I did help with windows.

Dad the put the wheels on in which case our Pinewood Derby truck could have been finished. However we wanted something with more "wow" factor. So on went a few spare toys. A scorpion to guard the back, a skull on the hood, and a pirate skull on the top. The metal pieces on the back are weights.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cub Scouts Flag Ceremony

Our pack had a practice flag ceremony where the boys each got to learn how to walk properly holding the flags in formation. This was in preparation for any event where they may be in an opening ceremony.

Printable Homeschool Portfolio / Notebooking Cover Pages

Use these printables as cover pages for subjects in your homeschool portfolios or notebooks. The Art page doesn't have a picture as I found it fitting to have my child draw his own art on it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Keeping A Homeschool Portfolio

Below is a list of a few hand-selected blogs and websites which have excellent information or rescources on creating and maintaining a homeschool portfolio.

Heidi's Head: Homeschool Portfolio
Contains images and detailed information on they keep a very nice looking scrapbook type portfolio for each of their children. Worth checking out even if you don't plan on doing a scrapbook.

HS Classroom's Portfolios
Detailed way they plan their portfolios. This is an easy, good looking way to do your portfolio.

Homeschool Portfolio at Oklahoma Homeschoolers
Detailed information on what to include in your portfolio per subject.

Donna Young Printables
Donna Young probably has more printables for use as logs than anyone could ever need. All for free. She also has many Portfolio Cover Pages for each subject that are worth looking at.

Our Busy Homeschool Portfolio
Pictures and information on how they've kept their portfolio. Includes information on how they organize all the child's work during the school year.

I have lots of printable portfolio or notebook covers available for free also.

Need help with logging school hours? This Missouri Homeschooler can help.

Homeschool Reporting Online has information about keeping records which are valuable for logs that are needed in most portfolios.

A note about portfolio evaluations (Florida).

Portfolio Checklist
A checklist for the parent to use of items to be included in their child's portfolio. Note that this is for Florida homeschoolers but can be used by any homeschooler, just be sure to check your state's homeschool laws to make sure you include any other documentation that may be required in your state.

The same site also has a very handy PDF file for you to view which I highly suggest taking a look at. It is short and to the point, easy to understand, and a wonderful reference. Here it is.

Need more info on portfolios? Try these websites:

From an Evaluator: What She Likes To See in the Portfolio
Brief Reading From Another Evaluator

If you're in Florida here is a link that will help you out. It contains contact info for many evaluators in Florida.
Florida Homeschool Evaluators

Here is a list of examples you can read of people's summaries they included in their child's yearly portfolio.
Examples of Summaries

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dr. Seuss Green Eggs And Ham Day

Activities for Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Day:

To start the day we ate some yummy green eggs (no ham since we are vegetarians). I just added a little bit of green food coloring when I cooked the eggs, and N gobbled them up!

We made a small 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch card to go into his collection. It was a simple, hand-drawn green egg. To make the card use a strong backing such as a cereal box cut to size, draw your picture on a regular piece of paper and glue it onto the card. You can then trim the edges of your paper so it is all even with your card.

Printable Native American Indians Symbol Fish

We used these Native American Indian symbols fish in a "fishing" game where I'd ask my son for a certain fish and he'd have to go fishing in the pile for it. Afterwards we taped the fish in a row to a long string of yarn and had a display of caught fish, as if they were hanging, almost ready to eat.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Egypt Notebook Page

Free Egypt notebook page with the flag of Egypt, map of Egypt and Africa which you can color Egypt in to locate it on the map.