Word Game Writing Prompts

Screen shot 2016-07-27 at 11.20.48 AMWritingFix.com, “The Home of Interactive Writing Prompts” has a great section on their site that offers fourteen different interactive Word Games for K-6 Writers. These little programs create simple prompts designed to inspire young writers to launch original story ideas. There’s lots of other helpful resources and lessons on this page too, so be sure to scroll up the page after you’ve checked out this freebie.

Click here to go to the site!

The Easy Essay Maker

The Easy Essay is a unique automated online program that helps students organize and write essays and other articles. It’s a great tool to help a student write papers, theses and essays in a logical and straight-forward manner, and can be used by very young students right up to adults.

Here’s what they say about the program on their site:

The Easy Essay is the 2+2=4 of writing. Just as 2+2=4 works at all levels of mathematics, the patented and free Easy Essay Process works at all levels of expository/proof writing and appears to eventually help the logical thought process itself. The Easy Essay is being used by children who can write a simple sentence and is being taught as a college class. This process is useful in TBI, ADHD, Sp Ed and dyslexia through and beyond the SAT and GED exams. It can be learned in 5 minutes by following simple prompts and can be later used or taught without a computer. The program is effective in any language (see translator) and is limited only by the capacity of the user. The Easy Essay is helpful for virtually anyone who desires to better organize their written or verbal communications.

Click here to go to the website.

(This website is free, but requires you create a login to use and save your work.)



The Story of My Childhood, by Clara Barton (Audiobook)

The Story of My Childhood, by Clara Barton (MP3 Audiobook)

Clara Barton (1821-1912) was a pioneer American teacher and nurse, who was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” during the American Civil War, and later was one of the primary organizers of the American Red Cross. She wrote this biography of her childhood and early years as a nurse in response to many schoolchildren’s requests, in 1904.

This is a very well done, unabridged audiobook reading of this classic American biography from Librivox.org. Not only is is an interesting biography, it is a fascinating “peek” at American home life in the 1820s-30s.

Running time, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Click here to go to the download page.





How and Why to Improve your Cursive Penmanship

This excellent article from ArtOfManliness.com is a great read. It is a neat primer on the history of cursive, the importance of good penmanship, and a plea for improving your own (or your kids’ own) cursive penmanship. We thought it well worth sharing today, as it might inspire some of our families to direct a little more effort to this hugely practical skill that unfortunately is becoming a “lost art” for this generation. Note also the PDF download!

from the article:

With schools spending less and less time on cursive handwriting (and sometimes doing away with penmanship lessons altogether), and our increased reliance on keyboards to communicate, it’s understandable that most people aren’t getting much practice writing things out by hand.

It’s easy then to dismiss the decline in penmanship as a non-problem, but there are a surprising number of people who do wish their handwriting was better. And there actually are a few reasons you might consider joining their ranks. Today we’ll discuss those reasons, as well as how to improve your cursive penmanship.

CLICK HERE to go to the article!

(And for your convenience, here is a link to the Peterson Handwriting primer mentioned in the article!)

English Grammar 101

Screen shot 2016-07-21 at 1.31.23 PMLearn more about the English language and improve your writing with these engaging online grammar lessons from English Grammar 101.  Modules include: parts of speech, sentence striation, phrases and clauses, and much more. This is an excellent site that is both teacher & student-friendly.

CLICK HERE to go to the site!

Understood Betsy

UNDERSTOOD BETSY by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (PDF, kindle & nook ebook + mp3 audiobook)

A truly classic children’s book by Dorothy Canfield Fisher that is a real treat especially for homeschooling families. This engaging tale follows the adventures of thin, pale, 9 year old orphan Elizabeth Ann who is whisked away from her sheltered, overprotected city home and is taken to live on a Vermont farm where her cousins, the “dreaded Putneys,” live. However, it turns out that the Putneys are not at all what Elizabeth was told to expect, and under their care she blooms into a capable, independent and confident young lady.

UNDERSTOOD BETSY is a deeply satisfying story with wonderful insights into education and learning for its own sake, your family will love this delightful heroine and her heartwarming story will stay with you for years to come. Highly recommended!

We have the PDF and kindle and nook versions of the story for you, PLUS a link to the unabridged audiobook version! Enjoy!

To download the PDF version of the ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE.

To download the kindle version of the ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE.

To download the nook (EPUB) version of the book, RIGHT CLICK HERE.

To go to the AUDIOBOOK page, where you can play this audiobook online or download to your computer CLICK HERE!


Explore the Apollo 11 capsule in 3D!

To mark the 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission, the Smithsonian has made available a high-resolution 3-D scan of the command module “Columbia,” the spacecraft that carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon. This highly detailed model allows anyone with an internet connection to explore the entire craft including its intricate interior, which is not possible when viewing the artifact in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian is also making the data files of the model available for download so it can be 3-D printed or viewed with virtual-reality goggles.

This is amazing — even better than seeing the capsule in person. And it’s fun too!

Click here to go to the site!



Homeschooling with Dyslexia 101

Homeschooling With Dyslexia 101:  What You Need to Know to Homeschool Your Kids With Dyslexia by Marianne Sunderland is a concise, informative primer for parents considering homeschooling their dyslexic child.    Whether you are brand new to the idea of homeschooling or you have been homeschooling for some time and need some guidance, this book will help you.

Marianne shares that this eBook is a result of her own journey of homeschooling her 8 children (7 of whom are dyslexic) from preschool through high school since 1996.  She shares many practical steps that you can take to establish, organize and be more successful homeschooling your own kids.

Chapters in this 50 page PDF ebook discuss getting started in homeschooling, understanding learning styles, creating a positive learning environment, setting realistic goals, and more.

Note: This freebie requires an email opt-in.

Click here to go to the site.

Classical Music resources from DSO Kids

DSOKids is an educational website for young people, sponsored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It is chock full of great music education resources, including excerpts of classical music (organized by composer and instrument); How-to Projects to make your own instrument (the xylophone is a great project to build!); online games about music and composers, and more.

You’ll also find over 300 PDF lesson plans that the symphony has created for teachers, to accompany different music programs they have put on in the past. These can easily be adapted for home use. Just search for the appropriate musical piece on their site, or on youtube and you’re sure to find some audio to accompany their lessons and projects.

Click here to go to the site!


Art Lessons & Projects from the Imagination Factory

There’s no machinery at The Imagination Factory, and smokestacks don’t pollute the air. Instead, this “factory” teaches children and their caregivers creative ways to recycle by making art.

From their site:

“Most people are familiar with traditional recycling methods. However, our techniques teach them how to reuse items that are often thrown away, and the projects usually involve solid waste that cannot be commercially recycled. The materials we suggest are a ready source of inexpensive art supplies for parents, teachers, and others who work with children. You Can Use Trash to Make Art, Too!

If you look around your house or school, you’ll find many scrap materials that can be recycled in art projects. These include items such as junk mail, magazines, bottle caps, and small pieces of gift wrap. Reuse old file folders, shoe boxes, and other containers to store your materials until you need them. Bookmark this site, and come back. Each week or so, we’ll present a new project, and you’ll find art/recycling tips and past projects in Previous Activities.”

The lessons and activities include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, papier-mache, marbling, and crafts. There are loads of creative ideas and projects for students of all levels here.

Click here to go to their art lessons & projects archive page.

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives

Screen shot 2016-07-16 at 8.32.03 AMThe National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Here’s a great site from Utah State University’s math department that is chock full of online apps and virtual math manipulatives for teaching math concepts to students of all ages, K-12. ALL the online manipulatives – and there are HUNDREDS of them – are free.
“Learning and understanding mathematics, at every level, requires student engagement. Mathematics is not, as has been said, a spectator sport. Too much of current instruction fails to actively involve students. One way to address the problem is through the use of manipulatives, physical objects that help students visualize relationships and applications. We can now use computers to create virtual learning environments to address the same goals.”
The apps on the site require Java, or you can download their NLVM app to run any or all the manipulatives on their site. Highly recommended!
Click here to go to the site!




The Wonder of the Day, revisited

Screen shot 2016-07-16 at 8.10.54 AM

Wonderopolis continues to offers a series of delightful and intriguing  “Wonder of the Day” questions every day. They are great for homeschoolers. Each day, a new question is posed, then answered in a mini-lesson (often with a video, activity or experiment). They are great curiosity generators. Recent questions posed include “Are french fries really French?”, “Why are trampolines bouncy?” “Why do my feet stink?” and “Can an apple a day keep the doctor away?”

You can see the current “wonder”, then scroll back through past questions as well as subscribe to the site for daily updates. This is fascinating stuff, sure to spark the interest of young students.

Click here to go to the site!