Thursday, September 8, 2011

Curriculum: History

While I was contemplating homeschool, history was the one subject that excited me and ultimately threw me over the fence into the homeschooling population.

My own knowledge of history is pretty spotty. So I was pretty excited to join Grace in a study this year of Ancient History.

We use this text:

This text is written for elementary students. And it has its problems. For example. I am not a big fan of some of the dialogue invented. I prefer straight history. But I am an adult. And Grace seems to appreciate the dialogue.

We read 1-2 chapters per week. She colors maps associated with the activities, and we do activities or watch movies having to do with the subject material.

After every four chapters, we make flashcards about the material we've learned, we study it, and then Grace takes a test. It's very fun. She loves the tests. (Our first test is here.)

Also. Once per month we have a school party. It's on Saturday. We invite friends, we have food, and lots of fun. For our first party, we learned about Egypt. The kids found Egypt on the globe, they learned about the Nile, they wrote their names in hieroglyphs, and they turned each other into mummies.

We had a blast. See?

(The real purpose of the school party is to get the kids thinking homeschool is SO COOL that they want to do it too. But shh. Don't tell their parents.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Interweb.

A few of you have asked me about the curriculum I use in homeschool. I'll get to that in another post. Maybe. No, no. I really will.

What I've come here today to post is the list of my favorite educational websites for children. My kids love computer games. And so do I. There are some great free websites. I've also found a few that are available by subscription that I think are worth every penny. I'm a cheapskate, but... I love me some good educational software. Anyway. Here's my list:
  • I cannot say enough good things about Sesame Street and the BRILLIANT educational games they have on their website. Claire plays this thing once a day. And there is no risk of getting bored. Because they have hundreds of games covering: letters, numbers, addition/subtraction, reading, following instructions, potty training, sorting, science, history, etc. I would marry this website. And it's free.
  • Possibly Grace's favorite site ever. She would live here if she could. Honestly, the math arcade is a little too intense for me. I can't move the arrow keys fast enough and my blood pressures starts to sky rocket and then I pass out. So, not my favorite. But it's free too.
  • This website quizzes kids on the books they've read. Then, points are awarded to the child based on how well he/she performed on the quiz. THEN, the website sponsors actual, real-life prizes children may recieve when they reach certain point thresholds. (Like--prizes. Ones that come in the mail. That you can actually touch.) Parents can also specify a point target at which they will award their children a prize. Grace is a huge fan. It has made her more of a reader. And it's free. Bonus.
  • This is a recent find of mine. Most of the content is for subscribers (and I subscribe), but the site offers free content as well. I love this site because it tells me what my state's educational standards are and then links each standard to a lesson offered by the site. (Anybody want to wager on how many times I can use the word "site" in a paragraph? Site, site, site...) My kids love watching the videos and taking the quizzes afterward.
  • Anybody want to flashback to Schoolhouse Rock? Or watch an episode of Magic School Bus? Learn about Ancient Egypt? You can find free, online educational videos at this website. We love this. Because we have no TV service. Turns out you don't need it. (Although Brad and I are still technically debating over the definition of the word "need".)
  • For those of you who are Mormon, I really must insist that you take a look at this website (heck. Take a look if you're not Mormon, too.). The Kids' Club game section is nothing short of incredible. Memberships are reasonable (let's put it in perspective... you pay more than 9 bucks a month on Subway or Redbox. Book of Mormon games are worth it!), and you can try it free for a week. I am telling you about it because it is my favorite LDS thing since, well, the scriptures. And I thought I should share.
  • . Not free. But pretty stinking cool. This site is all about math. It gives TONS of practice and then provides children with digital rewards (you know, like an online collection of stickers) for correct answers. The best part is that it tracks student progress and stumbling blocks and then reports all to the parent. I have just started using this with Grace and love it.
So... pretty much it looks like we are on the computer all day. Every day.


Well, we're not. Real learning takes place here. At desks. With pencils! And paper! And flashcards!

Don't judge me.

Come on. You have some favorite educational websites too. I know it. Spill your guts.