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Winter Olympics 2014 Activity Pack

Sochi-2014-Winter-Olympics-lWith the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics this week, I have been looking for activities for my kids to do around this theme. Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has a great pack that can be used for Pre-K through 6th grades.  Perfect for those families with multi-age kids. This is not just for home schooling, but would make good weekend actives for all kids surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympics 2014 Pack from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

What We Are Reading Now – 1st Quarter 2014

Reading bookI haven’t updated our reading lists in a while, so here are some of the things we are reading now!

Parents:

Kids:

The links provided for these books are from www.cbd.com. These books are also available at many libraries and through e-readers such as the Kindle. We prefer the Kindle. You can download free software to use Kindle books on your computer, tablet, or smartphone for free. You don’t even need to buy the tablet!

The Gettysburg Address: 150 Year Anniversary

Gettysburg AddressToday, November 19, 2013, marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s address at the Gettysburg battlefield and cemetery dedication. Partially because I am from central Illinois, I enjoy all things Lincoln. Here are some sites to help you learn about the Gettysburg Address with your students.

Abraham Lincoln Online – a collection of Lincoln history and information

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum – I highly recommend you visit if you are ever near Springfield, IL.

 

Under His Hat – A collection of information from primary sources about President Lincoln, in collaboration with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Gettysburg.com – A collection of information about the Gettysburg area

History.com – Information from the History Channel

Saturday Project: Fabric Tool Caddy for Chairs

Chair_FullFor those of us who home school or who do any crafting, you know finding a spot for your or the kids items that are regularly used can be a challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if your pens and scissors, or the kids pencils, crayons, and rulers, were all handy right on your chair? Today’s project gives you just that! The folks at Creating Keepsakes have put together this video tutorial for making your own fabric tool caddy for  chairs. Think of all the fun fabric patterns you could use to keep yourself and the kids organized!

Back to School

BACKPACK3Back to school time, whether at a traditional school coming off a long summer break or a home-schooler returning from a vacation, can be a time of strife and chaos as everyone tries to get back into the “normal” routine.  As with most times of change, a combination of organization and flexibility are key. Here are some of my favorite back-to-school tips:

  • Homeschool – Here is a collection of home school tips and organizational ideas that have worked well for my family. Some of these are home-school specific, but many can be used by families no matter how you decide to educate your kids.
  • School Supply Stock-Up – A list of school supplies to stock up on whenever they are on sale
  • Back-to-School Schedule – Tips for getting your kids back onto a school (and not a vacation) clock
  • Back-to-School Trial Run – Making a day to “practice” going to school
  • Morning Cards – A simple system for taking the chaos out of busy mornings
  • Packing Lunches – Tips for setting up an easy-to-use, kid friendly lunch packing station
  • Lunch Notes – Cute notes to put into your kids lunches
  • Must-Have School Items – A list of must haves
  • Color-Coded Family – How to organized your family through color – even in their school supplies!
  • Family Calendar –  A must-have for busy families
  • Monday Morning Organization – Start your week off right with these tips for Mondays

Even though we don’t actually go back to school at this time of year anymore it is still one of my favorite times. My husband is a teacher so he does go back at this time of year, and it is always a time of transition from summer to a fall schedule. This is my “New Years”! We set goals for the next 12 months, stock up on school supplies (the only kind of shopping I actually like), and in general use this as a time to re-set the family.

Curriculum Review: A Beka Math (intermediate)

Concept: Over 170 lesson per grade level, A Beka Math grades 4-6 teaches the four basic operations through introductions to geometry and algebra, with lessons on fractions, decimals, factoring, and multi-digit operations.

How It Works: A Beka math uses daily lessons with speed drills and weekly tests or quizzes to take your child from addition to pre-algebra. Each lesson has board work, oral and flash card drills, timed speed drill, and the introduction of a new concept or review for tests and quizzes. Test are given every 10 lessons, with a quiz on the 5th lesson between tests. Student workbooks have teaching boxes that introduce the concept, as well as problems designed to reinforce what was learned that day and review previous lessons. Optional problems and “homework” are included.

How We Used It: Generally we followed the lesson plan. We did not purchase the additional concept cards as the concepts are given in the student workbook. We found that for kids who excel in math, A Beka was still on the easy side and at times we did two lessons per day. Generally we skipped the green supplemental problems and the homework unless a child was struggling with a particular concept. We did the daily speed drills and review of facts to solidify quick recall.

Concerns: Even though A Beka is said to be at least one grade level above traditional math curriculum we still found it to be fairly easy. Our math nerds were able to essentially teach themselves just by reading the concept boxes in their workbooks. We found that the material was lacking practical (story) problems, offering only two per day. Because of this, we began supplementing with Challenging Word Problems from Singapore Math. We found that the word problems for Singapore ran about 1 grade level ahead of A Beka math.

Recommendation: We recommend A Beka Math for students who are functioning above grade level in math or easily understand math. We do not recommend this if your student struggles with math.