Thursday, March 31, 2011

Books!! Books!!! & More Books!!!

My boys love to read and recently while surfing I came across Book Closeouts. Oh my!!! What I find, we usually just go to the library because if we bought books all the time we would be broke and there would be no where to walk in the house the way these two read. So, I signed up for the newsletter the last time we ordered and in my email today I get the newsletter announcing a sale. A sale these books are already marked down 50% to 80% off.

Brandon just got done chosing his books and would like more, but until Brett chooses his first. Currently our balance on one paperback (originally $6.99 we paid $2.99) and one hard cover (originally $12.40 we paid $4.99) is $7.98!!!!! Your kidding? Right? Wow!!! we are tickled to death with this great find.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hands - On Science

Hands-On Science by Elizabeth Brough is geared towards K-6 and is the first volume of a series. Volume 1 is Particles in Motion chapters include, Thermodynamics, Weather Climate & Water, Aerodynamics and Astronomy. For $29.95 you get a whole years worth of science, click here to download sample pages.

I love the way each chapter is connected, while you could utilize only the chapters you wanted to it would not be as effective. The author planned the curriculum so that each lesson goes into the next allowing students a greater understanding of why?

Each lesson has two options for the experiments so younger children can learn on their level and older children as well. Experiments can than be carried a step further with the further exploration segment.

While the experiments were easy enough to do the boys hated the fact that the first lesson incorporated math. This was too much for them and they quickly abandoned ship. I tried to explain to them the importance of understanding density and volume were important, but to no avail.

The lesson on clouds however, held their interest and led to the Internet for further research on clouds. My 12 year old and I mostly browsed through Google images utilizing the book as a guide for the different clouds.

Over all I love how the author's personality comes through instead of dry writing. Lessons are short enough so children don't get bored listening, but spend more time doing. A list of materials is included in the front after the how to use section. Some lessons also include simple games and suggested reading.

While the author did include charts to use they were part of a whole page. It would have been nice to have those in the back of the book for easy printing. I would have liked to have seen some online links along with the reading suggestions.

We will be using this book more for my 6th and 8th grade boys. Even if they don't like the math.

Monday, March 28, 2011

High School Credits Before High School???

Wow!! I am amazed at what I read today as my reserch for homeschooling high school continues. In an article written on, Oklahoma High School , the author discuss crediting students before high school as high school work. While laws vary from state to state I don't believe there is any state that requires a credit be earned only during the high school years. As my research continues I will keep an eye for this.

From what the writer states Oklanhoma law requires two years of United States History. While this same subject is usually taught during say 6th through 8th grade it is than repeated. Why repeat it when the child can be credited for what has already been done.

This is only one example of how students not yet in high school can start earning their high school credits. Carefully study your states requirements to see if your student may be able to achieve credits before entering the actual high school years.

I also suggest you start looking to these topics when your child is about to enter 7th grade.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Musems & More Lesson Plans

I love the fact that so many places these days like museums and zoos include lesson plans. Some even offer interactive educational activities and even lend out materials.

What a great way to study the state of Arkansas, the Historic Arkansas Museum has put together some PDF files to learn about the states history. I downloaded the first chapter and was pleased to see they had done it in a fun newspaper format. All together there are six chapters to download and five assements.

They also have loan boxes filled with everything an educator needs, they are free for a one week period. While it does not say so I am sure it is for locals only.

While zoos are a great resource for learning about different animals usually they are geared toward that specific zoo. But, because we are creative homeschoolers we can easily adapt these lesson plans or work sheets for our own personal use. The Saint Louis Zoo has some lesson plans which are not geared towards their zoo.

If you are lucky enough to live in St. Louis you can utilize their library and educational resources which are called zoocases full of educational materials.

Lastly the link that started this whole blog, Show Me a site with links to various museums' interactive sites in the UK.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Take a Break

Every once in awhile take a break from the routine and be free to explore the wonderful world around you. It is amazing the questions and discussions that can take place while out on a walk or just at the mention of a topic. There are so many opportunities for children to learn without their heads being stuck in a book or glued to the computer.

As their first teacher, how much do have to teach your child just through what you have learned about the world and life. Share your experiences, thoughts and feelings with your child/children. This leaves room for them to ask questions, get to know you better and most of all learn something new. Yes, little ones can take part and benefit also you will just have to think more on their level such as blowing dandelions can lead to a discussion on where those seeds go and the fact that they are seeds.

Life is always walking up to us and saying, "Come on in, the living's fine," and what do we do? Back off and take its picture. ~Russell Baker

Friday, March 18, 2011

Educational Online Videos for Kids

I am always looking for new and interesting sites. During my hunt today I found this site which is like YouTube, but it is for kids and educators so it is all educational.

School WAX TV and the sister site School WAX both contain a search engine along with pages for various grades. This is set up as elementary, secondary and so on along with teaching resources.

School WAX also includes various search engines for Google, Fact Monster, KidsClick, CyberSleuth along with a few others. Due to both sites being newer there is limited information on topics. I also noticed when I did a search for human body nothing came up however, when I was specific by using bones or brain results turned up.

It will be interesting to see how it grows as more people find out about it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Field Trip

Tuesday we went on our first official field trip since moving to Louisiana almost a year ago. The Global Wildlife Center is 900 acres of land dedicated to the home of various animals. It was amazing to travel on one of the custom made tractor pulled safari wagons to get up close and personal with some awesome animals. We were able to hand feed a giraffe which was totally way cool. We petted various animals which included the amazingly soft fur of the bison. I could not resit to touch those huge horns which almost hit the woman I was standing next to.

If you are ever in or around Folsom Louisiana this is a must. Not only did I enjoy it, but the boys did also. It was great when I asked them if they wanted to get feed for the animals I was told by both them they were too old. Brett (12) however, was taking feed out of the cup continually.

Folsom is located about an hour from Baton Rouge.

Adults $17.00
Seniors & Military $15.00
Children ages 2 - 11 $11.00

Cups of food $2.00
Buckets of food $30.00

Group rates apply to groups with 15 or more

Blog is the Word

Everyone these days is blogging even the kids. Many homeschoolers utilize this as a way to keep their kids writing or to get their reluctant writers to write. I have been working a lot with Brandon on writing and encouraged him to create a blog for his English. Many lesson require a paragraph or essay on a certain topic and I allow him to pick his own which usually pertains to gaming. So, he has created a gaming blog where he writes reviews for games. Currently he is focued on one "Kingdom Hearts." I don't mind as long as he is writing, I do check what he has written and we have a discussion. After my visit there today I think we need a lesson on capitaliaztion.

I give credit where credit is due and need to say that Jimmies Collage's last blog inspired me to write this. Check out her lastest blog
"Seven Sneaky Ways to Give Your Kids Writing Practice."

The Gaming Lab

St. Patricks Day

Today is a day when people sport green clothing, cook corned beef and cabbage and think shamrocks. I remember when I was in grammar school if someone did not wear green on St. Patricks Day they would get punched. Wow!! just for not wearing green, I also remember a girl with Polish ancestry proudly dispalying her heritage by wearing red and white.

Why do Americans celebrate St. Patricks Day? Do we even know why we wear green, eat cabbage and corned beer or know what the shamrock is? Matter of fact do we even know who St. Patrick was or why he is considered a Saint?

While this is a great day for homeschoolers to relax a little and do some fun worksheets geared around this day it can also be a time for some history and conduct some research.

I have been working with Brandon (soon to be my high schooler) on the importance of researching a topic. We have discussed utilizing various sources for information at one time instead of just one. Accreditaed resources are important, but can your student tell which of the sites below would be considered accreditaed and why? What other issues about the information or sites can they find?

History of St. Patricks Day

Who Was St. Patrick?

St. Patricks Day

Who Was St. Patrick?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Two Finds for the Day

I love to research web sites for their content and usefulness for my family as well as other homeschoolers. Right now I am in the process of moving the main web site for Education Jump-Off to another site. I have more room for links and look forward to find new ones to share.

This morning I have been working on the Bible based page of the new site. Due to the time it takes to create and move everything I decided to research two new sites for Bible studies and blogs which was empty until now.

My search for Bible study for children turnde up A Kid's Heart, but it was not the first one I checked out. Two things made this site stand out for me. First the extensive resources for each topic was wonderful and fresh from other sites I have seen like it. The Second was the section on the Holidays Celebrated by Y'shua (Jesus.)For me and my family these are important for Christians to know about, more so than the secular holidays many celebrate stemming from Pagan roots.

The second find of the day is 100 Best Blogs for Christian Homeschoolers. I love this find because each blog is unique and different. For those seeking information on homeschooling and wondering what is like these are great blogs to check out. Why? Because they are the lives of real homeschool families sharing their experiences with the world.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homeschooling Preschoolers & Learning Styles

There are two topics I feel strongly about and have written about before. So, why bring them up again, because sometimes we get so caught up in things we forget. Before reading any further study the photo and determine if these children are what you want your child to look like (not their fashion.)Do they look like they are enjoying what they are doing?

First of all stop trying to fit the preschooler into some sort of curriculum. Start from the base like building a house, help them to develop a love for learning. This age group learns best through play, their senses and exploring the world around them. Stop trying to force them to read and write if they are not ready, they will let you know. Create a playful, wonderful place for them to learn, education does not just come from a book. Be creative while teaching them so they don't even know it.

It is important to make sure the preschooler has educational materials in their reach, paper and crayons, pretend food, magnet letters/numbers just to name a few.

While there are three different learning styles most people learn best when they are engaged in all three. This helps to enforce what is being learned. Once again YouTube is great for visual and audio, hands on can be anything that engages other senses. This is great for those times when a child is having a hard time grasping a concept, try one of the other learning styles and see what happens.

Rod and Staff English Review

Over the course of our homeschool adventure we have used different subjects by Rod and Staff. This year for the first time we used their English for grades 6th and 8th. At first I was overwhelmed and so were the boys. It appears to be college material there are things in those books I never heard of. I'm looking going what is this, never heard of that before. Now almost at the end of the year we have decided we think it is a good program.

It is very thorough as far as the grammar and puctuation aspect of it goes. We also like they way writing taught and my youngest has learned that he can write. While it does take a while to grow on you we will use Rod and Staff English again.

I also want to say that we only purchased the student's book and teacher's manual.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My First Giveaway

I am giving away one copy of each of the books I blogged on recently, Crocodile Attack and Anna Hibiscus.

Just place a link for my blog on your Facebook or Twitter. Email me @ edjumpoff @ yahoo dot com with the link and which book you would like. If you place a link on multiple sites it counts as an entry. You may also ask for a different book when utilizing multiple sites.

Deadline for all entries is midnight March 16, 2011.

What I Learned this Week about Homeschooling High School

If you haven't yet take a look at the blog under my life homeschooling to see what I found out from other parents homeschooling high school students. I think I will need to start blogging differently on that page so everyone will not have to scroll all the way down. However, it looks so nice with the dates reading downwards instead of upwards.

OK so I joined an e-group on Yahoo called homeschool2college, while I have not posted I have been reading the other posts. Here too I also found homeschool high schoolers being prepared for the SAT or ACT. It was informative to learn that there is no diagramming on either test. This information will enable me to not only prepare my upcoming high schooler for college, but also the tests he will need to take. I also am going to change the way I do English with my 6th grader.

This topic got started by an individual seeking a solution for grammar. It was mentioned that knowledge of the parts of speech and punctuation are a big part of the tests. Various programs were mentioned, but one that I added to my favorites and will utilize this fall for my new high school student is The Blue Book of Grammar by Jane Straus. You need to take a look at this web site and blog, there is already so much without the book. The web sites includes English rules, videos, quizzes and more. What I like is we can see how it works before we invest in the book which is only $9.76 at Amazon.