Showing posts with label Learning Links. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Learning Links. Show all posts

October 10, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Online Resources for Learning & Teaching Kids This Week

I've needed a bit of inspiration this week. So, as usual, when I take time to seek God, He points me in the right direction. In an always increasing effort to simplify and streamline my online time, I decided to begin posting my favorite online links again.

There are so many AMAZING bloggers and online resources out there. I often forget about my favorite ones because I'm always running across new ones. I bookmark them, add them to my Google Reader, follow them on Facebook and Twitter....and then suddenly, I'm swimming in a sea of links and I can't remember where I saw that great teaching tool or lesson plan. I've forgotten which blogger wrote about that free resource that I really wanted to take advantage of. I'm sure Pinterest could help me, but I'd rather keep all my favs in one place...HERE. 

So, here are my Top 10 Favorite Learning Links this week:

  1. Keys for Kids: My boys are young, so bible devotions need to be short and sweet at this point. Although we strive to impress our boys' hearts with the Word of God throughout the day, I still try to do daily devotions with them each morning after breakfast. Keys for Kids is an online daily devotional that is perfect for us because it's brief, life applicable and always leaves us with a jumping off point for really great conversations. 
  2. Chronicles of Narnia: I ran across this and am OVERJOYED about it. I have been meaning to start reading these books with my oldest, so when I found the ENTIRE AUDIO SET FOR FREE online, I bookmarked it and we've been listening to a few chapters every day. 
  3. Talking About Sex with Kids: Sex education expert Mary Flo Ridley encourages parents to have a good offense for discussing sexuality with their children from a biblical foundation, beginning at a young age. This broadcast was so good and I encourage all parents to listen to it. Miss Ridley has a book I plan to buy as well, called Simple Truths: A Simple, Natural Approach to Discussing Sex With Your Children.
  4. The S.O.A.P Method to Bible Study: Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. I love this and plan to implement it into my study time! Amy, discusses a simple way to read through the Lord’s word, pray and reflect on what He might be telling you in that passage. Head on over to Mom's Toolbox to learn more. While you're there, check out the rest of her site....AMAZING!
  5. Kids S.O.A.P Method to Bible Study! Kris over at Wierd Unsocialized Homeschoolers (don't you love that name?) was the one who clued me in to the S.O.A.P method. She has written a great post about how to use this method of bible study with your kids. So thankful I read this as I work toward implementing this method with my boys. Also, Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations has created a great S.O.A.P. Study printable for kids to use. I'm printing these out today. Both of these moms' sites are FILLED with awesomeness! 
  6. Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational: This afterschooling mom of two boys loves to create fun (and sneaky) ways to build upon what her oldest son, a first grader, is learning in school. She is brilliant and enjoying the journey of instilling a love of learning in her child. I am already using many of her great teaching games and activities with my boys.
  7. Housecleaning Strategies: Although this post was written specifically for homeschool families, it just as easily could have been written for any busy mom in search of some help in this area. My friend and fellow writer over at the Hip Homeschool Moms eloquently wrote this great post and it's FILLED with really useful ideas for moms like me who live and work every day in their homes. 
  8. A Year of Slow Cooking: My good friend, Charlotte (and also my co-moderator of the Homeschooling Boys group over at The Homeschool Lounge) pointed me to this site when I asked the group how on Earth everyone is feeding their very hungry boys. I'm looking forward to finding more ways I can begin using my crockpot on a more regular basis.
  9. 31 Days of Simple Outdoor Adventures with Boys: This one is obvious! We have four boys. This mom also has four boys...QUADRUPLETS! And my boys, like hers, love to be outside.
  10. Impress Your Kids: I love everything about this site. Amanda is a mom on a journey to impress her kids' hearts with the Love of God and His Word. She blesses and inspires me with her faith and honesty. She has written so many amazing posts...too many to list here, but one that I am thankful for is her 31 Days to Impress Your Kids.
There it 10 favorite resources for the week. I hope they bless you as much as they are blessing me and my family. What are your favs this week?

Affiliate links included within this post.

Linked up with: Thought Provoking Thursday, Live Called, Many Little Blessings, Women Living Well, Kids in the Word Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesdays, Raising Homemaker

February 19, 2012

Our Top 10 Fun Learning Activities

LOVE these BOYS!

Some days I feel like there are just not enough hours in a day and then other days, the minutes can feel like hours. We like to mix things up with our school lessons and often our days are filled with fun activities, emphasis on ACTIVE. The traditional school mindset in me has to keep fighting the voice that tells me we're not doing enough seat work at the table.

But then I remember why we began homeschooling. It wasn't so we could do busy work or fill out lots and lots of worksheets. Now, personally, I'm a seat-work kinda girl. I love worksheets and writing, printables and lapbooks. I could spend hours quietly sitting and doing school work. All things done at the table...yep, that's me. I love it. But, our boys don't. They'll take it in small doses, but generally, most of their learning happens away from the table, where they can be active and usually loud.     

We love the ability to be flexible with our schedules, being creative and adventurous and following our passions while learning all of the fundamentals along the way. We're ALL for learning our core subjects along with history, science, social studies and art. But we can do most of those things anywhere there's action to be found and a discovery to be made. 

Here is my TOP 10 list of things we're doing with our boys to keep them engaged, learning, challenged and having fun right now.
  1. Scavenger hunts. My boys (I think all boys) love them! Scavenger Hunts can be used for teaching so many different things as well as keeping things fun and interesting. Here's a link to one of our Scavenger Hunts!
  2. Science Experiments. These are so fun and easy to do.We've been doing at least 3 or 4 a week. I also LOVE it when I can teach God's Truth through one of our experiments. Here is an article I wrote about one such experiment that we refer to over and over again and two great Science Experiment books:  We Dare You!: Hundreds of Science Bets, Challenges, and Experiments You Can Do at Home and Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun.
  3. Getting outside to explore...and be more intentional about pointing out God's Creation, asking questions as we explore and collect treasures for crafts at home. (great place for a scavenger hunt as well)
  4. More Unit Studies.(here's one we did for little ones about Super Heroes) And this is how we learn with Unit Studies (for all ages).
  5. Go on field trips that pertain to those areas of study. They don't have to be expensive, just planned ahead of time. For instance, we've been working on a unit study about community helpers. This week it's firefighters. So, I am calling our local fire station to plan a tour. We did this a few years ago, but our boys were so little. It was free and the firefighters LOVED the opportunity to talk about safety and show them the firehouse. And at the end, they let the kids get into the trucks and turn on the lights. So cool!!!
  6. My boys think I'm awesome when I show them magic tricks. So I found a couple books and learned some new tricks. Many of them involve science. I do these when we need to switch gears and lighten things up a bit, like when everyone's cranky. You can also learn many easy magic tricks online as well. Some sites even have demonstrations.
  7. Check into their imaginary worlds more often. Instead of ALWAYS using this time for me to get things done or get the next lesson set up, I want to try and spend time checking in, instead of checking out. So, if they're fighting a battle against the gonk droids or the storm troopers from Star Wars, I can perform a stealth maneuver that gets us out of harms way too.
  8. Object Lessons! I love these! They're easy to find online if you google "object lessons for kids" or you can make up your own. All you have to do is gather up some items you already have and create a lesson. Here's an example. I got out a tube of toothpaste and a baking sheet. Then I asked the boys to squirt it all over the baking sheet. I said, "OK, we're going to try and get this toothpaste back into the tube. I gave them some spoons to give it their best shot. They tried all kinds of ways to get it back in. Impossible. The lesson here was that we need to be careful about the things we say to others. We need to treat them with kindness because once the words leave our mouths, they can't be put back in. They totally got it and it was very effective. HERE is a place that lists some great Christian object lessons. And we absolutely LOVE the Family Nights Tool Chest book series for creating some really amazing biblical object lessons. We have several and love every one of them.
  9. Let them create! I want to make it a habit to fill our table with craft supplies and things found around the house that they can create with. I don't do it enough. Usually our crafts are more planned and have an agenda. Let's call it No Agenda Crafting!
  10. Plan fun celebration parties. My boys LOVE a reason to celebrate. So do I. The anticipation and planning of something simple is fun. I REALLY like this Everyday Holiday Calendar for ideas to celebrate real holidays, famous birthdays, historical events and funny things like Banana Split Day!We even create mini Unit Studies around the lesser known holidays.
OK, so I'm throwing in a few more that I just can't leave off the list because these, too, are goals: 
  • I want to read more stories together that include real life heroes and leaders, full of good and moral character traits.
  • Play more games with them.
  • Use conversation starters during meal times to learn more about one another and open up their hearts. We've done this before and I was amazed at the wonderful conversations we had. I'll be pulling these out again.
I'd love to hear what educational, fun and engaging ideas you have for spurring on your kids' love for learning. Leave me a comment about what you do.  

June 28, 2011

Read-aloud learning

I stumbled across a really great post about reading to and with your kids! Once I read the post, I discovered it was part of a series called Read-aloud learning over at Teach Mama. There are so many wonderful ideas and some really great tools that we will definitely be putting into practice as we are right in the throws of teaching and learning how to read with our 3, 5 and 7 year old. And of course, our littlest guy, who just turned 1 is always listening to our reading time together.

Reading with our boys has always been really important to us and because we've always incorporated sign language into our read-aloud time, it makes it that much richer. Granted, it's a slower process, but teaching ASL while reading books is so fun and easy to do. We tend to take more time with each story, rather than just whizzing through them. The stories, themselves, seem to come alive as we "animate" the descriptions and "label" the pictures using an additional language. ASL is such an expressive language, using all forms of expression, and really helps cement the concepts and ideas of the stories we read.

As I read through some of Teach Mama's posts, I am excited to add further elements to our reading time together...making it more imaginative, interesting and helping to inspire a real LOVE for reading that will last a lifetime.

Here are a sampling of some of the articles in the Read-aloud learning series over at Teach Mama. (all of her posts are really good though!!)

Questioning and connecting during read alouds
5 things never to say to emerging readers
Activating schema (very good article)
Making connections (reading comprehension)
super important inferring during read alouds
Questions to ask to improve reading comprehension
Learning during read alounds: visualizing
Asking the heart questions

June 7, 2011

Notebooking vs. Lapbooking

Here is another GREAT link to a family blog in Australia called the Pumpkin Patch. This mom talks about the differences between lapbooking and notebooking, two methods of creating fun "books" about the units or themes you're studying. We've done both and like both methods. She also lists a TON of resource links that, I know, will be helpful to us.

June 5, 2011

Learning Links

Our boys are ACTIVE, very active! So, anything we can do that takes us away from the kitchen table and out of our workbooks is good! Most of our learning happens when we do hands on activities, play and explore, and read good books.

I am continually finding great ideas from other homeschoolers and educators in blogland. The problem is that I see them, make a mental note or even jot it down and then forget. So, I thought I'd begin keeping track of those ideas by linking them here. That way others can benefit from them too! Win - Win!!

I am truly thankful for all of the amazing bloggers out there who share their lives, experiences, adventures and even their misadventures. I learn from and am encouraged by many of them everyday.

Here are today's links:
  • ABC and 123 has some awesome spelling games and activities posted. If you click on "literacy" in her labels section, there are a myriad of other great ideas. 
  • No Time For Flashcards has quickly become one of my favorite blogs to frequent. Every week there is a Link and Learn post where other bloggers can post their cool kid friendly learning activities. 
  • 1+1+1=1 is where I get SO much of my inspiration and encouragement. I am in the process of printing off the You Can Read program she uses with her 5 year old. (more about that in another post) And will definitely incorporate many of her Word Play ideas.
  • And last, but not least, Amanda Bennett, wonderful unit study author has created a great Summer of Fun calendar filled with daily learning activities for the kids.
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