Welcome to my little homeschool world. On the side you will see numerous free or low cost resources to educating your kids. I update the links often. But due to my busy schedule with family and life, I don't get to post little blurbs or reviews as much as I would like. So, if it's been a while, please excuse me. I'm probably busy with our own schooling or part of our lives. But you will find lots of websites and blogs in the links that I'm sure will give you hours of online exploration and reading!
Have a blessed day!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Developing Thinking Skills Through Play - Bloxorz

I recently found a neat game at Cool Math Games.biz. It's called Bloxorz. The goal of Bloxorz is to move a rectangular block around the playing board of each stage. At the end of each stage is a square hole that the rectangular block must fall through when on it's end. The rectangular block can be flipped from end to end or rolled from side to side based on which direction key is pressed to move the block.
The first few stages are fairly easy in order to help you figure out how to maneuver the blocks using the direction keys. But as you progress through the stages you quickly find new challenges. There are 2 types of switches to open and close bridges on the level. There is 1 switch that will transport your block to another place on the playing board at random. And there are also tiles in the playing field that are fragile and will fall away.
While figuring how to move your block to hit each switch just right, and land on the hole just right, you also have to avoid falling off the edge of the playing board.
Fortunately the tutorial for this game is pretty easy to understand.
It's a pretty fun little game, but it does require thinking and some strategy. Once a child gets the hang of the controls they should be able to figure out the rest on their own. I would recommend this for about 8/9 years and older.
The website this is on has lots of good math games to help supplement your math and critical thinking curriculum. You can find the main index here: http://www.coolmathgames.biz/
This is a free site, but does have lots of advertising on it. Fortunately you can view the game alone in a larger pop out window, and minimize the window with the advertisements. This way your child is less likely to accidentally click on a wrong place on the website and click on an add. So far, the adds seem to be only for other games and pretty kid friendly. But they can be pretty annoying as well.
Parents: Please use caution when allowing your children to use the internet. I highly recommend you do not ever let a child use the internet alone and unsupervised. And please pre screen all websites before allowing your child to view them. The websites I recommend are kid friendly at the time of recommendation. But I can not vouch for them in any future time.

Audio Book of the Week - Black Beauty

Black Beauty - by Anna Sewell

All three of my daughters love horses, and my oldest has read through the book at least twice (that I know of). Since we have downloaded the .mp3 format and burned it to CD we have listened to it almost every time we are in the truck going to or fro running errands or such.

Anna Sewell really has a way of writing that emphasises the truth that all animals are God's creatures, but they really are at our mercy of how they fare. (I'm not a tree hugger, nor do I put animals lives on the same importance as human lives. But God did give us dominion over them and that includes the care of them.)

You may download the book version for your E-reader or to print out here: Gutenburg.org - Black Beauty Ebook Archive page.

Go to the Librivox.org Black Beauty Archive Page for the chapter by chapter playlist, download in MP3 format, or click play below to hear Black Beauty from the beginning.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Begining Piano

We were blessed this past weekend with a wonderful piano.

Now we are starting to learn piano. :)

I played when I was younger, and actually competed and won a few competitions. But in my lack of wisdom in my younger years, I didn't pursue it to a higher level after I graduated school.
So I know enough to start my children's journey in music. I will teach the girls up to a point, and then hire a professional instructor.

This morning we had a "formal" lesson, which consisted of reading the lesson out loud, and then re reading the lesson while at the piano and practicing what the piano lesson illustrated.
Since my middle daughter is still younger, I'm going to use the same book for both, and supplement with notebooking and more practice for my older daughter.

"Formal" lesson's will be once a week, then during the rest of the week use the lesson time for practice.

For beginning Piano, I am using the Alfred Basic Piano Library, Level 1A. For anyone just learning piano, I highly recommend this series. They are very thorough and begin at the very basic of skills. Plus the pages are very simple, clean, and uncluttered, but they are also illustrated with fun pictures to help a young child learn. The Alfred Piano Library has a series of books, covering a wide range of ages and skill levels.

There are also a few very good sites on line to supplement piano learning. One is Piano Play It which offers online reading, video, and printables. Another I found this morning that seems very good is How To Play Piano with Andrew .

We read Lesson 1 in the Lesson Book, practiced a short time on the piano, and then watched Andrew's Piano Lesson 1.

Today's lesson was on learning the finger numbers. After the lesson, we traced outlines of the girls' left and right hands on a blank sheet of paper, and numbered them to re-inforce the illustration. If you have more time and don't mind getting a little messy, it would be fun to make finger paint hand prints, and then number each finger in sharpie.

For playing the piano, the finger numbers are both the same on the left hand and the right hand. The thumb is 1, pointer finger is 2, middle finger is 3, index finger is 4, and pinkie is 5. You can also look at it as numbering from center to outside when hands are held side by side palms down. This is illustrated here on Piano Play It Lesson 3.

We also learned how many keys were on the piano, the names of the notes on the piano, and how to find them in relation to the groups of black keys and white keys. And we learned how to identify middle C on the piano. Here's a printable page on Piano Play It showing the layout of part of the piano keyboard, and the names of the notes.

Both the piano layout page and the handprint fingering chart will be put into a Piano notebook for each of the girls. Anything pertinent or interesting we come across in learning piano will go on these notebooks.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New book for History read aloud!

I acquired a small gem this past week at the used book store. I was looking for books on my daughter's reading list. And among the shelf labeled "Olides but Goodies" I spied an old history book.

It's called "The Story of Our Nation", published in the 1940's. Browsing through it, this seems to be an history text from an old catholic school, and it teaches early American history and the Christian roots this country grew from. Seeing that it is from a Catholic school, I might have to pick over a few items. But the non socially/politically correct content is going to be so worth it.

This will probably become part of our read aloud time once or twice a week. We are already reading "Story of the World" once a week, but I think this would make a great addition to history. I'm also going to put this one on my daughters' book list for their 9th or 10th grade year.

This is on the front flyleaf"

"The Story of a Great Country

A Country is made up of people.
A country is good or bad, weak or strong, as the people in it are good or bad, selfish or unselfish.
Our country was discovered by a man who had Faith when all others doubted.
Our country was made independent by men who loved Libery and who were ready to die to obtain it.
Our country was made a Nation by men, who loved Justice and who made a Constitution based on the Rights of Man.
Our country was preserved as a Union by men who believed in Equality of the Soul and in Freedom for all men.
Our country has grown wealthy and prosperous through men of Endurance who worked while others slept.
Our country has been a Refuge for the oppressed from other nations.
Our country - What can we do to keep our country a great land?
We ourselves must be a great people.
Our Ideals must be:
Courage in our own lives.
Justice to our neighbor.
Loyalty to our government.
Peace with other nations.
Faith in God.
These are the things which make a people truly great.

St. Xavier College
Febbruary 2, 1940"

Yes this was published in the 40's and so much has changed. Our nation is in deep debt. Our legislature no longer has Faith in God. We are creating peace with the wrong nations, and shunning our true allies. And so few of us has real courage.
But, I believe, teaching our children the true roots of this country, and giving them a firm foundation of this nation's Faith in history, is a must if we are to have hope of raising up a generation that will make this nation great once again.