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Friday, May 30, 2014

Free or Frugal Homeschool Friday

Here we are at Friday, again.  I have some more free or frugal links to share.  Some of these we have used in our homeschooling, some are new and I have not yet tried them.  You look and decide if you would like to try them. 

This is a brand new Math video for multiplication.  My daughter has been trying to get a grasp on the concept of repeated addition, or multiplication.  I am hoping this Youtube video will explain it to her in a way she will understand better.  https://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=c1EJYhWos1o

Tenmarks offers a Summer Math program for free.  I considered doing this, but I already have our Math planned for the Summer, so I opted to not do the Tenmarks.  Check it out if you are interested https://www.tenmarks.com/consumer/signup

Do you and your kids like to bake?  Then check out the Holiday Baking for homeschooling at free Homeschool deals http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com/holiday-baking-as-homeschool-curriculum/

Want something fun to do over the Summer?  How about a fun camp from home, it is free and fun.  We did this last year, and it looks even more awesome this year.  Early registration for Camp Wonderopalis is open now http://wonderopolis.org/camp-early-registration/


I collect tons of cool, usually free, links and resources to my Pinterest account.  Then each Friday, I share some here on my blog.  Be sure to check back each Friday to see new ones.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Are Testing These Next Two Weeks

This year, I am taking a different approach to the end of the school year, by testing.  We don't normally test.  DJ is working his way through his for 8th grade, and he has a 9th grade Language Arts test.  Plus he has two 4H project books to finish up some odds and ends.  He painted the cover for his 4H Marine Biology book last night.  I will finish putting it together for him, today, I hope. 

We had a couple of unexpected tangles to work through, but thank goodness they did not effect our homeschool day.  Caitlin will begin her testing next week.  She is working on an end of year writing assignment.  She is trying her very best to have good content, capitalization, and spelling.  Those are her three focal points for her end of year writing assignment.  Her spelling has improved so much this year, I am so pleased with that. 

We were supposed to go to the Springs for an end of year picnic for our Run group.  But, they are all flooded and the tangles I mentioned above interfered with all that. 

I look forward to our Summer adventures.  We have family visiting at the end of June, both my sisters, then DJ heads off to Summer camp the very next week.  Vacation Bible school will be after that, and then our homeschool evaluations.  June and July is looking pretty busy.  Plus, we are doing Geography, Math, DJ will be finishing up Forensics, and he wants to do a computer class.  The last one might get put off until the new school year.  No full days of school, and not every day either. 

How do you end out your school year?  Do you school over the Summer?  Share your thoughts.  I love to hear from fellow homeschoolers. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Free or Frugal Friday Homeschool Lessons

This week I am sharing some Language Arts websites that are free, or frugal to use.  The first one, Coursera, is free, but not just Language Arts.  These are college level courses, that anyone can take.  My 8th grader just started his first week of lessons in the course Introduction to Forensics.  He loves it so far.  If it works out well, and is not too awful difficult he will do other courses.  You can get a certificate at completion, for a fee of 40 dollars. 

Help Teaching, offers both free and paid services, for all courses offered in a school.  So far, I have only used this website for Grammar and Language Arts.  It is a nice quality site.

Cengage offers free online grammar quizzes.  I have not actually used this site yet, but will be being used in the very near future. 

At one point, I had typed into my search browser, fun ways to learn Language Arts.  I mean lets face it, it is pretty boring, unless you love Grammar rules, bleh.  Well one of the websites that came up was, Many Things. org.  I have not tried this website yet, but my 4th grader will begin using it here at the end of the year to review. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Time 4 Learning Review

My free 30 day trial ended on Wednesday.  So, now I will give my honest review, as promised, for the online curriculum website called, Time 4 Learning.

First of all let me just say right off the bat, Caitlin loves it.  I mean loves it!  She just turned 10, and since we are at the end of fourth grade, I signed up for her to do 4th grade work.  When we first signed on, and I looked at it, I was not sure if it was going to be enough work  I still would supplement, but it appears to be a complete curriculum and they keep track of all the grading and stuff I hate to do. Why would I supplement?  Because, all online work, and no textbook or offline work, is not optimal in my opinion.  Having some of both modalities is the best way in my opinion.  She did Science, History and Language Arts.  I did not use their Math.  Math is something I don't want to mess with, when she is progressing with what we are currently using.  They also offer Art, which will be available soon, for just a little bit of extra money above the regular tuition price.  At 20 dollars per month, it is affordable, and more importantly, enjoyable. 

I myself, learned some very important things over the last 30 days.  For example, Caitlin is not used to testing and definitely not multiple choice tests.  She really had no clue what she was doing at first.  She didn't understand the concept of pick one answer, or some had all of the above, none of the above or just this one and that one.  Now I know she needs to improve in this area.  I also think she recalls well what she reads, but that does not necessarily mean she is comprehending what she is reading.  Another area of need that Time 4 Learning has helped me to see. 

If I had to make a negative observation, it would be that I thought my 30 days were up the 22nd, and they removed me immediately on the 21st.  Why does that matter?  Because I wanted to print off what she did for her homeschool portfolio.  I think sending me a reminder letter would have been awesome, but that would be the only thing I could nit pick about.  Since, she already completed a whole year of fourth grade, it is not a huge issue.  We will be using Time 4 Learning in the Fall, for the 5th grade.  We will not use their Math, or Art, I have both of those set already.  My 13 yr old did not try Time 4 Learning at all.  He has his hands full with completing his homeschool curriculum, and didn't need anything else. 

Time 4 Learning is not just for homeschoolers.  It can be used for after school work, preschools and day cares and cover Pre K through grade 12.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Looking At the Moon

I will admit, I am fascinated by the moon and stars. I don't know why, just curious I guess. We had about two weeks were it was clear at night, something that is unusual this time of year. So, Caitlin, and I, were outside every night playing with those two apps I shared a couple weeks ago. It is nice because you can zoom in on the planets, and moon, and see them up close in detail. Like a telescope without owning a telescope. It was a full moon last week, so I decided to shoot some images while she was busy looking at everything. Saturn was right close to the Moon, so that was cool to look at. The last three were actually taken a couple of days before the first three, and are the best ones I think. Do you and your kids like to look at the moon and stars? Do you ever try to take good night pictures?






Friday, May 16, 2014

Free or Frugal Homeschool on Friday

Ooh I am excited about the first one I am going to share.  I just found this website, when I was browsing new apps in the playstore.  I signed up for the app, and now I have signed up on their website.  Coursera offers free courses, most taught by colleges.  You can get a certificate for some of them, for 49 dollars.  DJ will be starting the Introduction to Forensics, that starts on Monday, and runs for 8 weeks.  I actually am going to replace it with the Science he is currently doing, since he is almost done with that anyways.  I can not wait for him to dig in and give this a try.  I want to take it too, and may sign up for the next class when it is available. 

Next is McRel Lesson Plan Library.  This is a new website to me as well, so I can only share it and encourage you to check it for yourself.  


Last, but not least, for this week, is the Watch Know Learn website.  They offer thousands of videos for History, and other classes.  We use it mainly for History.  They are a nice supplement to the American History we are learning right now.  Read the chapter, then find the video that corresponds to what you read, and History becomes more fun. 

Be sure to check back next week, for more awesome resources to help in your homeschooling journey.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Properties of Sand and Horseshoe Crabs Field Trip to Cedar Key

Today was our last Earth Kids meeting, for this school year. Next year, I have made some changes. Most lessons and activities will be online on Facebook, and once in a while a field trip. I have many reasons for making this decision.

Today, we headed out to Cedar Key, a tiny resort town on the Gulf about an hour from our home. The weather was breezy and warm, then the breeze left and it was just hot, lol. We studied Horseshoe Crabs, which surprisingly we did not see any. We always see Horseshoe Crabs at Cedar Key. The tide was coming in when we got there, and usually we are there at low tide, so that might have something to do with it. The kids also did an experiment on the properties of sand. That was very interesting. It was to complete DJ's Marine Biology project book, for 4H, but I decided to make it a group project too. Then the kids get to chill, swim, look for shells, or just walk the beach. Another thing we found, that we have never found at Cedar Key, are small perfectly polished and smooth white rocks. We have been to Cedar Key lots of times and never seen these particular type of rocks there.

All in all it was a beautiful day.





Monday, May 12, 2014

Last Art Class for 2013/2014 School Year Pink Parakeets

Today was our last art class for this year. Caitlin picked the Pink Parakeet for us to paint, and then proceeded to paint hers purple, lol. DJ painted his on a perch, in a cage, and my two are in a beautiful tree. Next year, we will again do Art, just not sure what we will do, or if I will purchase a curriculum. Do you do Art, in your homeschool? Which do you use?




Friday, May 9, 2014

Free or Frugal Friday Homeschool

 Happy Free or Frugal Friday!  I am late, I know.  It is almost 11 PM, and I am just getting to this now.  It has been a crazy week, and tomorrow, and Sunday are crazy busy too.  First, I want to share two of my favorite apps.  The first one, Distant Suns, is not free, it is $5.99.  But if your kids love to look at constellations, planets and stars you will love this app.  Plus, if you do not have a super powered telescope this is fabulous. It is very detailed and gives tons of info.  The second one Google Sky Viewer, is not as fancy, but it is easy to see the constellations, and find them in the sky.  Plus, this one you can zoom in on the planets and get an awesome up close view.  We look at the moon a lot with this one, and the details are amazing.  Google Sky Viewer is free.  I share only Android apps, because I have an Android phone.  I do not have an Iphone or Ipad, so no Itunes apps here.  We used the Distant Suns app last year, for the International Observe the Moon Night.  This year that same event is on Sept 6th.  So, I will have to decide if I want to do a group viewing again, or just a family viewing. 

Today, I was looking through my Eclectic Homeschooler Pinterest Board, trying to find all the websites I saved for testing.  I still did not find them all, so I will share those on another Friday, but I did find Turtle Diary.  Which is one of the newer websites I had discovered, and saved, for future reference.  Now, the only option for 4th grade is Math games.  5th grade is being created, so I will be watching for that.  There is no History option, which is kind of disappointing.  But, all the other subjects look awesome.  I signed up for the free version, and I can not wait to have Caitlin give it a try.  The 3rd grade Science, and Language Arts could still be applicable to her, so that is nice too.

Then I found Playing History, which could easily make up for the lack of History in the above website.  I have not tried this one yet, but it is free, and if you sign up as a member you can review the games they play.  Both of my kids can benefit from this website, and the both love games, so it will be a win win.

Well that is it for this Friday.  Be sure to check back next week, to see what goodies I find. 








Thursday, May 8, 2014

Caitlin Turns 10

Today, we celebrated Caitlin turning 10. Tomorrow is her actual birthday. Tomorrow we will do school, lol. Anyway today we went shopping and got some cute pink supplies for her birthday. Add a cake, a pool and some pizza and everyone had a ball. I can't believe my baby is 10.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

School, Birthdays and Baking Soda~!

OK, I will admit that is a weird title, lol.  My daughter will be ten years old, this week.  We are having her birthday on Thursday, a pool party.  Usually she gets to pick if she wants to have a fancy party, with all the favors, and decorations and all that nonsense, or an expensive gift.  We do not do both.  Last year she picked the big party, and she had a lot of fun.  This year, she decided she wanted a year membership to Animal Jam, and just have a few friends over for cake and swimming.  So, all this week we are preparing for a swim over.  The backyard, and pool, need a lot of preparing.  So, on top of school the kids and I are working hard to get it all ready.  Plus the weather is awesome, so we are doing Run Club twice this week. 

Then, Caitlin has two friends that also have birthdays this week, with parties.  So on Sat, we will go to one party, stay awhile, and then head to the second party.  We had to do this last year too. 

So, what about the Baking Soda?  I have read several places that using Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide on your stove will clean off the black burnt stuff.  So, on Monday I made a beautiful paste using the above ingredients, and slopped it all over my stove.  Now, technically only one burner really needed it, but why leave the other three out.  I left it on for something like three  hours, and then proceeded to wipe it off.  I have to say it did take a lot of the yuck off, but it also left a gritty leftover film that I do not like at all, just more work to get it off, and if you are not careful, which I was not you will plug your burners with the mixture and then yes more work.  So, for now, I will stick with Mr Clean Magic Eraser, it works just as good, if not better, leaves no film and does not clog my burners.  Of note this stove is old, real old, it was in rough shape when we bought the house.  So, whatever mysterious stuff is on there, might never come off no matter what I use.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

4H District Events

Yesterday, was our 4H District Events. This was DJ's first year attending Districts. Not because he didn't qualify, but because I always had to work on Saturdays. This year, I made sure I was off. It is run slightly different than County Events, which is in January. DJ did his Leatherback Sea Turtle demonstration, and he did win a blue ribbon. I am not sure of his score, because I don't have the score cards back from Districts or County Events. That is how he gets feedback to see where he needs to improve. I tried to get the video to load here, but it will not load. I have no idea why. Caitlin did not participate in Districts, even though she qualified, but next year she will be required, by me, to do a presentation at County Events. Once a child reaches 14, they are in the Senior level, and then if they win a blue ribbon at Districts they go on to the state level. Next year, DJ will qualify if he wins the blue ribbon. It is a busy and tiring day, but it is worth it for the kids to do.







Friday, May 2, 2014

Free or Frugal Friday

Happy May!  May is a busy month around here.  It is our last month of homeschool.  The first week of June is officially the last week, and I do testing.  My son is getting tested a lot this year.  Caitlin is not used to testing, and since she is using Time 4 Learning, this last month, she gets tested on every chapter.  This has been a challenge for her, especially History, she hates History.  So, her testing will not be as intense come June.  She just doesn't know it yet, lol.  We are not using the Math on T4L, only because I want her to keep on doing what I already planned out for her.

 Speaking of testing, I found a cool website last night, while looking for American History tests for my son.  It is Easy Test Maker.  It is free, and there are paid options as well.  DJ started 9th grade American History, a couple weeks ago.  To my disappointment, the website does not offer chapter tests, at least not that I can find.  So, I made my own.  I just read the info supplied and make my own questions.  He also enjoys History videos, so I find videos for him on the chapters he is reading.  The American History website is free to use, and says it is advanced placement.  There is another website that offers free tests for American History, but I find it does not go in the order I need it to, and I have to browse through them all.  Just easier to make my own, but you can check it out at USQuiz

Next week is Mother's Day, and we have three birthdays all right before Mother's Day.  I am hoping all this rain will be out of here by then.  Have a great weekend!  If you have any free or frugal websites, related to the topic of this post, please feel free to share in the comments.

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