Fall, what great time of the year for a unit study. If you have never done one before, you may be wondering what exactly is a unit study. A unit study is when you pick a topic (for example “fall’ or “Halloween”) and while making sure to include: math, history, science, language, you learn about that topic. A unit study can last from few days, to a few weeks. You can buy them pre-made or you can put them together yourself easily. The internet provides a wealth of free information you can use for history and science. Libraries or eBooks are great for reading, theme related of course. You can also make printable worksheets for math, themed spelling printables, or crafts. There are many educational games online too. So, if you were wanting to do something fun this month or the next, why not try a unit study?
Kids today are on the internet more and more, and younger and younger. To be honest, I wish I’d had access like kids do today. Yes, the internet is fun, but it is also a useful tool. The world is literally at one’s finger tips. Still, even though I think the internet is amazing, I also know that it can be dangerous and inappropriate for younger eyes. That is why I want to take a moment to talk about how important internet safety for kids is. No matter how young or old our children are, making sure that we take the steps to provide a safer internet experience is our job as parents. So, talk to your children, let them know there are rules to follow while online. Make sure you have a safe search program on the computer and be present when they are online. Now, I do not mean you have to watch over their shoulder, but checking in every now and then is a good idea 😉
Are you new to homeschooling? If you are, congrats! You may be a feeling bit overwhelmed at the moment, but I am sure you are excited too. The truth is, whether you have always known you would homeschool or you are an accidental homeschooler, we all have the same learning curve. We all have to figure out our state’s homeschooling laws, we all have to search to find out if there are any local homeschooling groups or co-ops, we all have to learn our child’s learning style, we all have to pick out a homeschool curriculum, we all have to create a place in our home to school, and we all have to figure out a homeschool schedule that works for our family. How long this takes for each of us will vary, but we all have our own personal trial and errors of figuring it out. The one thing that we do all share that is the same is that we all have decided that homeschooling is what is best for our children and it is all worth the effort!
Have you been summer schooling this past month? Or maybe you haven’t, but you would like to add something educational and fun into your summer. Then look no further! Educational games are a great way to add some fun, while at the same time providing a learning opportunity for your child. There are so many free resources out there. One of my favorites is a website called Learning Games For Kids. Of course, there are other learning games that are not computer based. For starters, you can play free games like hangman, crossword puzzles, or scrabble. Whichever you choose, games can be a great way to learn while having fun 🙂
Summer has officially arrived! If you have been thinking about ways to continue the learning process during the summer months, then you are not alone. There are many of us who choose to homeschool year-round. There are also many of us who have a child or children, who may need a bit more help in certain areas, whether they are homeschooled or not. Thanks to the modern age we live in, there are so many, many options we have available to us. We can use traditional book style curriculum, an online summer school program, unit studies, lapbooking, and/or roadschooling! The great thing about summer time homeschooling, or homeschooling period, is that there is no one way. As long as it works for your family and your child is learning, then that is all that matters 😉
Third grader social studies, children learn about Vikings. So, today I thought I would give you a few fun ideas for getting started.
- Who were the Vikings? Neat free site.
- After exposure to a little Viking history, create a comic strip about a day in the life of a Viking. It is really fun if your child creates his comic strip online using the free site, ToonDoo. Choose to make your comic strip about the daily life of a man, woman or child Viking. Help your child brainstorm to come up with ideas before beginning the activity.
- Compare your life to that of a Viking at this free site.
- Rune was a type of communication for Vikings. Try writing your name in Rune.
- Explore a Viking board game.
- Make a Viking helmet.
- Make a tiny Viking ship to put in a bottle.
- Make a Viking costume.
Typing skills are essential in today’s computer-oriented society. Kids must learn proper keyboarding techniques before bad habits such like the “hunt and peck” method become concrete.
Keyboarding games are one way to help kids learn this important skill and have fun at the same time. Typing and computer skills are essential for most jobs today. One study focusing on computer use in the school system estimated that students would spend more than 400 hours on microcomputers before they reached the ninth grade (Kidney, 1985).
Keyboarding helps relieve stress for students who have learning disabilities such as dysgraphia or other handwriting challenges. Being able to “create” and correct at one time can make a huge difference in some students actually finishing a project.
I love history/social studies. My father was a history teacher when I was growing up. His love for history and learning transferred to me. How about your kids, do they love history or do they think it is painful? They might be right. How do you teach history? Do you follow the lesson plans laid out in your homeschool curriculum to a T? Do the kids sit and read from a dull textbook? If they do, then they are probably right about history being boring.
Social studies can be electrifying. Here are some suggestions to liven it up:
- Read living books
- Play games
- Act out scenes from something you are studying
- Create your own drama or skit
- Dress up as a character you are reading about (this includes you Mom!)
- Dress up in period clothing as you study
- Make your own game board.
- Compose a song or poem about an event, person, or place you are studying
- Plan field trips to places you are learning about
- Go on a history vacation
- Design a poster about a historical event
- Interview a grandparent or great grandparent about when they were young
- Make a family tree
- Make a welcome brochure about a state or country you are studying
- Make a salt map
- Create a recipe from a time period or a country you are studying
- Design a postage stamp for a historical event or person
- Make a shadowbox or diorama
- Write a historical comic strip
Have you ever read or heard of any of the following books?
- Aesop’s Stories for Pleasure Reading
- Animal stories in basic vocabulary
- Animal tales and legends
- Bear stories in basic vocabulary
- Best friend stories
They are all books written by E.W. Dolch. Do you know who he is? I am guessing you do because you most likely recognize his last name, Dolch.
Edward William Dolch, PhD, published the Dolch words list in his book “Problems in Reading” in 1948. He had researched children’s books to determine which words were most frequently used. He determined there are 220 words that children should master in order for them to read fluently. Dolch once said, “A child’s language development is, next to his character, the most important part of his school experience.”
Dolch called his list of words “service words” or “tools” because he felt they serve as a tool in learning to read. Dr. Dolch’s books might be worth finding at your local library if you are teaching your child how to read.
Special needs learning, do you have a child with special needs that you are homeschooling? My daughter has CAPD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and some sensory issues. It has been a long, hard road, but we are o.k. We did not die, we did not kill each other, my marriage did not break up, and we all still love each other. You are not alone!
Do not keep yourself isolated. Join special needs forums or groups online or locally. Check out your local homeschool co-op. Your child can take classes they might not have a chance to take at home. Sometimes kids work better with someone other than Mom. It also gives your child a chance to be around other kids, many of whom also have learning challenges. Lots of co-op groups even offer field trips.
We still have our roller coaster days around our house, but I always know that we can ride it out. We always make it to the other side and so can you!