Cool Activities for Summer Homeschool

Keeping on homeschooling year round is usually a good idea. You can always take some time off in between classes to have some summer fun. Here are some cool activities that your homeschool students will definitely enjoy participating in.

Side walk Painting With Coloured Ice Cubes

Get a whole lot of containers and mix some water colour with water in them. Put them into the freezer overnight to get huge bricks of coloured ice cubes. These can be used to make paintings and abstract art on the side walk. The best part is that once the painting session is over, you can bring out the garden hose and wash that art right off along with the kids who have paint all over them. If you want to preserve some of this ice cube painting for a while you could have them paint on chart paper with the coloured ice cubes. These can be made to dry in the sun and brought in to the homeschool classroom for display later on.

Target Practice with Balloons

Fill up water in balloons and set up some soda cans filled with sand at the end of the range. The idea is to hit as many soda cans as possible in a limited number of tries. The younger kids can get to stand closer to the targets if they do not have the same reach as the older kids. In order to avoid time between bouts it would be a good idea to set one day aside for merely filling up and storing the water balloons in a couple of buckets or tubs. That way you can drag out two days worth of fun with a single activity.

Building Ice Sculptures

Just get the largest container that will fit into your freezer and fill it up with water. Let it freeze overnight. Then remove the chunk of ice and give it to your kids to sculpt. They can use a hammer and a chisel if they are old enough to handle it. For younger ones you can teach them the technique of melting away ice in bits and pieces using salt. Let them form the shapes that they want to. Make sure you get a picture of the final sculpture with the budding artist.

 

 

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More Online Resources for the Homeschool Classroom

Education is not limited to the four walls of the class that a student sits in. As a homeschooling family, you understand this better than most people. Education is a constant process which can occur anywhere, any time. Here are some more resources that homeschooling students can use to help the process along.

EVI

An app from Amazon, it’s mission is to help people get what they want and need through our understanding of each user and the world they live in. It was originally launched under the name of True Knowledge, with the mission of powering a new kind of search experience where users can access the world’s knowledge simply by asking for the information they need in a way that is completely natural.

Oral English Activities

At http://waze.net/oea/ you can find a treasure trove to teach pedagogy. While the site is not being actively maintained, the content is available to teachers to use as they wish. If your homeschool student requires any help in fluency while speaking, the exercises suggested here will come in handy. From telling jokes, spinning stories, two minute long debates, to comparison role play. There is a whole lot to pick and choose from.

Pearson Education

A good education has the power to change a life. What Pearson believes is new is the demand for that change.  At the Learning Curve homeschoolers can find out just how educated the rest of the world truly is. There are a number of tools to play around with to present the data collected as well. Textbooks published by the company can also be accessed in digital format as well as reading quizzes to monitor how well the content has been assimilated. Take a look at a biology text book here.

Teaching Resources

At http://www.tesindia.com/ you can be part of a community of teachers who share their content as well as worksheets. Pick up grade wise and subject wise worksheets for you child to work on. There are literally hundreds of contributors producing thousands of worksheets for you to use.  Feel free to add to the community by sharing your own resources.

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Free Educational Websites Homeschoolers Can Use

In order to teach your homeschool child details about a subject that you may not be familiar with, you can consult with expert professors from across the world. Massive Online Open Courses are run by a number of websites. Here is a brief run down on some of the more popular websites that offer free educational courses that your homeschool students can take advantage of.

Udacity

At https://www.udacity.com/ the focus is more on computer programming skills. The big guns like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Cloudera and more have come together to explain the basics and help self learning students across the globe. The main idea for the website was to be able to provide a place for ongoing education for global citizens regardless of their situations in life.

Coursera

At https://www.coursera.org/ the subjects are wide spread. You can learn about psychology, micro finances, social entrepreneurship and music production to name a few popular courses. You also have the ability to register at specific universities around the world for credits towards your degree. This can come in handy if you are planning to enrol your homeschooling child to a specific university.

Web Adventures 

At http://webadventures.rice.edu/ homeschool students can explore medical mysteries, cool careers in science, do virtual clinical trials, engage in forensic sciences and more. The site offers cool animation based learning that will capture the imagination of most children. You may catch them going back to the site just to play with the data available even when they are not supposed to be studying.

Saylor Academy

At http://www.saylor.org/ you can work towards paid college credits like at Coursera, as well as avail of a large number of courses for free. The subjects include diverse fields such as Art History, Business Administration, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Philosohpy and Physics, just to name a few. Find the course and university that suits your homeschoolers.

Class Central

At https://www.class-central.com/ the courses offered deal with Health and Medicine, Engineering, Humanities, Art and Design and a whole lot more. The courses are short term and usually last about a month or two, making it ideal to include in homeschooling subjects.

 

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Handling Homeschooling with More than Three Kids

Handling one or two children in a homeschool classroom is a piece of cake. You get one child busy with some activity, then move over to the second one and supervise them both as they work through the paces. Now add another sibling or two to the mix and suddenly the simple system doesn’t seem to hold up all that well. How do you handle several children in different grades in the same homeschool classroom at the same time?

Training Aids are the key

The idea is to train your children to keep busy on their own, in a productive manner, without needing your supervision constantly. If you can set a task for the child and have him tackle it for the next half hour, you get time off to handle all his siblings. When you set in systems where your homeschool students can each be learning something with an aid like the smartphone, a tablet or the laptop, each child is occupied gainfully.

Schedule a child to see a video on a certain topic, another child can be asked to read up from the text book before attempting a worksheet, and yet another child can be given an interactive learning application to work with on the tablet. All you need to do is supervise each child to see that they are progressing as per schedule.

Combining Subjects

If you read a story out loud about the American Civil War to your full class it can be used as a history lesson for a higher grade, a social studies lesson for a lower grade and a literature lesson for a junior grade. Using Unit Studies also works well when dealing with different ages and grades.  Older children may write reports on what has been taught, younger ones can do worksheets based on the same information.

You can even use daily life experiences as good tools for teaching. Everything from shopping for groceries, making lunch and loading the dishwasher can become an opportunity to learn. Growing your own vegetables and fruit, putting up fences to protect the produce from pets and even plucking your own fresh products is all part of an education that all ages can participate in.

 

 

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What can you find in Homeschool Classifieds?

Local classified services like Craig’s list have made it easy to connect with people in your own area for stuff that you may like to buy or sell. There are specific websites online that do the same for homeschooling families. You can schedule activities, share costs of bulk purchases with other homeschooling families, and even sell things that you no longer have any specific use for.

Books and material may be classified according to the subject they deal with such as Maths, Science, History, etc. Or they may be split up as per the category that they are covering such as biography, phonics, foreign language. There is also the option of listing books as per the publisher or title, which is helpful if you are looking for a specific book.

Not sure what you need and just want to take a look at what is available? You can also classify them as per the grade level but sometimes the homeschool students may be able to deal with books from a higher grade level as well. So it is best to keep that in mind before restricting your search to grade level books.

The main advantage of using online homeschooling classified websites is that you can explore hundred of listings from other people with homeschooling experience. You can get items that are commonly used by homeschoolers, as well as some good advice about how to use them. Plus you are not restricted to picking and choosing from your local bookstore or library when you have access to thousands of sellers from across the country.

The best part is that you can actually find listing for free activities that your homeschooling students can take part in, both online as well as in the local community in your town. This sense of connectedness to the homeschooling fraternity goes a long way in helping with making new friends in town. Best of all is the fact that all this information can be accessed anywhere and at any time for free! So if you have not begun using homeschool classifieds, now is the time to check out what they can do for you.

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Using Homeschool Classifieds

In most cases homeschool classified sites are free to use for buyers. You merely have to log on to the website and browse through the homeschool material available for sale. When you find what you like you can purchase it by either paying online or agreeing to pay cash on delivery of the material. Although it is a good idea to register for an account on the website as it will allow you to leave feedback for material that you may have bought. It is also a good deterrent against fraud.

It is a great place to sell your own surplus or unused homeschool materials as well. As a seller on a homeschool classifieds website you will have to register an account and provide some details before you are allowed to list anything for sale. Most listings on sites can be made for free and they charge a nominal fee when something is sold. The percentage of the fee differs on different websites but it is usually not too high.

On the whole the system works very well providing homeschooling families with a lot of relatively cheaper homeschool material without spending too much time and effort hunting for them. Unfortunately with any system that functions online there is the possibility of fraud and scamming. In order to ensure that you are buying from a seller who can be trusted, it’s a good idea to go through the seller’s available profile as well as feedback from other buyers.

There is usually a list of banned users on websites as well. These could be problem people who have had less than stellar interactions with the community of the homeschool classifieds website. Also if you are buying from a first time seller don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you like before confirming the order. You may also ask for the seller to share more details than listed about the homeschool material in order to make up your mind. Getting photos of physical materials is a good idea as well.

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Scoring Free Worksheets for Homeschool from the Internet

Some homeschooling parents have no trouble creating and printing out worksheets from scratch for their homeschool classroom on a regular basis. However the majority of them could use a little help with creativity and content once in a while. Screening through the various free worksheets that are available online can give a homeschool teacher a fairly good idea about what to add to their worksheets. Some worksheets can even be used “as is” by the homeschool students. Here are a few online resources where you can get free worksheets.

Education.com

This website is an open source worksheet paradise. Teachers from across the globe contribute to the worksheets that are available on the numerous topics here. The unpaid membership which involves a free sign up process allows you to download any five worksheets for any subject or grade you wish in a month. So you can get 60 worksheets for free each year from this website. You can even preview the content of the website and read up on the description given by the teacher who designed it before you download it.

BusyTeacher.org

Similar to the previous site, this one has worksheets that focus on reading and writing. The subject scope may be limited but the worksheets are fantastic. The variety is great and if you are struggling to give grammar worksheets for practice to your homeschool students you are going to love this site. Plus they have no restrictions on the number of worksheets that you download from them after you complete the registration process. So if you have the time to spare you could be getting all your language worksheets from here.

Ted Ed

Most of us have seen Ted Talks and been touched by them. The quality of talks is always exceptional and the experts are able to connect with a lay man audience beautifully. Now consider some of these talks as teaching tools for children. Yes your hoemschool students can get to the bottom of a subject with an expert teacher through a video and then follow up cementing what they have picked up by using a worksheet from the website. Superb learning tools.

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Thrifty Homeschooling Tips

Running a homeschool for all your children can become a bit of a costly affair if you are not careful about just where you spend your money. Here are some tips that can help you be thrifty without affecting the quality of care that you pass on to your young ones. Some staples in a child’s life just have to be bought but for most of these there are alternatives that you can use.

Books

Get books from second hand stores so that you spend less on them. Switch your attention to the eworkbooks that are usually offered free online. Many of them can be used with a few minor changes to accommodate your style of teaching. Don’t buy reference books, visit the library for accessing them. Reuse textbooks for all the children so ensure that they are kept in good shape with no pen or pencil markings to help preserve them longer. Storage also plays an important role in preserving books to be used in the homeschool.

Clothes

For some reason the month you decide to buy children new clothes is the month their bodies decide to grow a couple of inches. Again bargain hunting for children’s clothes during seasonal sales is a good way to keep clothing costs down. To get good discounts buy winter wear in summer and vice versa. Buy durable materials which will hold up well to wash and wear repeatedly. Hand me downs can also be spruced up with some extra frills and lace for girls, while patches of favorite movie characters may do the trick for boys.

Toys

As far as possible don’t buy any new toys. Home made toys that you sit down and make with your children can provide just as much fun as store bought toys. Ensure that you ask grandparents, uncles and aunts to fund the toys in your homeschool. You will save a ton of money and gifts will be eagerly anticipated by the children. Try not to insist on only educational toys as gifts. The kids won’t be harmed if they play with a toy that serves no educational purpose but is only entertaining in nature.

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Finding Kindle eBooks for Children

Finding interesting books for children to read no longer involves a trip to the library. There is a wealth of ebooks available on the Amazon Kindle store that you can read for FREE. Here is how you can set up an unlimited reading supply for your homeschooling students on the Kindle online store.

1. Create an account for Amazon

If you do not already have an account on Amazon create one for downloading the Kindle ebooks to. You may also wish to open a separate account on Amazon in order for all your kids to be able to access it without creating security issues for your credit card.

2. Download the Amazon Kindle App

The Amazon Kindle app can be downloaded on the smart phone, tablet and even the computer. This will allow you to download a book to the specific device and read it on the go. If you are reading on the computer and are connected to the internet while doing so, you can also use the cloud reader from Kindle. However downloading the app makes more sense for most readers.

3. Browse through the given books

While your homeschool kids may have a budget that they can spend on the number of books they wish to buy each month, teach them how to find free books. Its actually as simple as typing “free kindle books for kids” in the search bar in the Kindle store on Amazon.com. Check out the results that come up and then read the book descriptions to decide which one you would prefer to read.

4. Click on the book and download

Once you have selected the book you wish to read, click on the icon and go to the individual product page of the book. Now click on the buy now button and on the next page that loads click on the send to device button to send the book to the device that you will be reading it on. Check the device to see if the book is available. It does take a minute or so to sync and get the book downloaded, so don’t bother if it doesn’t show up instantly.

 

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Avoid “Over Scheduling” in the Homeschool Classroom

Perhaps the most common mistake a homeschooling teacher makes is over scheduling activities in the homeschool classroom. Each minute of time in the class room has to count for some productive work or else it is considered wasted. Are you one of these homeschooling parents who tend to over do things with time management? In a bid to ensure that the children are always engaged in a gainful activity, some homeschool parents tends to forget that children need some play time as well.

“Organized Sports” are not the answer

When we speak of play time, it is not the kind spent in playing tennis with you, shooting hoops with the  basketball or indulging in a game of baseball with other children. It is not about organized sports events at all. It is about giving them time off to indulge in free play. The kind where you put down a cardboard box and it becomes a space ship that is just waiting to refuel before soaring off into outer space. The kind of play where the imagination is the most exercised tool.

It can be more than just play

If you feel that they need to get something more out of free play than merely being happy for the couple of hours that they indulge in the story, you can structure their free play. Have them come up with a theater performance all on their own. They can make their own costumes by tying up bedsheets and scarves, their own sets by shifting around the furniture in the room, their own ticket booklets to have you pay to see the show and more.

Its only free play if its fun for them

The idea is to ensure that your involvement is to a minimum and that the homeschool students are handling the show. The pirate battles, the princess balls, the cartoon characters hanging around as imaginary friends, its all part of their ability to imagine more than what already exists. It also gives them a good, well deserved break from the “reality” of homeschooling. This unscheduled play allows them to dive into their own selves and come back richer for the experience.

 

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