Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homeschool Tips & Tricks

I am so blessed to be part of a mom's group that is wonderfully supportive and encouraging. Each month, we have a Mom's Night where we share what we have learned on this homeschooling journey. Well, last night's theme was Tips and Tools for Homeschooling so it just wouldn't be right if I didn't share them here with all my readers for my Tuesday Tipster post, right?

Girls, there were so many ideas flying around that I could barely squeeze them in on my whiteboard! So go grab a cup of coffee or leave this page up and come back when you have some time to yourself cause you're going to have a blister on your clicking finger before you get through them all! So exciting! Are you ready?

First we'll start with our favorite homeschool tools:
  1. A Laminator  I have the Purple Cows Laminator and it works great for me! Another popular model is the Scotch Laminator
  2. Proclick Binding System I got mine 1/2 off on eBay, so shop around! This thing is amazing! It's a "spiral" type binding that can be opened and closed. WHAT????
  3. Paper Cutter I highly recommend the rotary style cutter vs. the little blades. You can get these at Michaels or JoAnn's with your 40% off coupon.
  4. Colored Pens  My kids came from the classroom environment and in that short time, developed the red-pen-aversion! So I got colored pens and grade their papers in their favorite color - crazy that this little psychology somehow eases the pressure of mistakes :)
  1. IEW
  2. Spelling City
  3. Spelling Bee  I use this with my son to practice his All About Spelling words.
  4. Spellosaur I have used this in the past and love it. We only switched to keep things fresh. We will use this again though.
  5. Playful Minds Math  My 2nd grade son absolutely loves this one.
  6. TeachMe   Individual apps from Toddler to 3rd Grade
  7. Bible Memory Verses  NIV
  8. ToonTastic   This is an unbelievably great FREE app for reluctant writers to create picture stories along the story arc in an unusual way and record them instead of handwriting. They can even add mood music and upload them to share. This is a must see!
Homeschool Shopping & Resources
  1. Rainbow Resource  Request their catalog. It's like 4" thick and free!
  2. Christian Book   Prices are often lower than the publishers.
  3. Teachers Pay Teachers  check out your curriculum's table of contents to search for products (many, many for free) to boost your learning.
  4. Teachers Notebook   Very similar to TPT above.
  5. Currclick   Your one-stop shop for homeschool downloads, ebooks, lapbooks, live online classes for homeschoolers, unit studies, affordable curriculum, novel studies.
  6. Pinterest   If you haven't found pinterest yet, be prepared to lose yourself in idea overload! This is the best thing ever!
  7. DealOz  Book finder that lists multiple sellers.
  8. Book Sale Finder  Includes library book sales
  9. Educents.com  A flash sale website for great teaching and homeschooling materials.
  10. Free Homeschool Deals
  11. Homeschool Classifieds
  12. Home Science Tools
  13. Homeschool Buyers Co-Op
  14. Lakeshore Learning
  15. 2nd & Charles  We just got one of these stores in our area!
  16. Scholastic's Teacher Express  Throughout the year, they have $1 sales where you can buy many of their 100's of e-books for only one dollar. Be sure to sign up with them!
Learning Websites
  1. Click-N-Read & Click-N-Spell Award-Winning Phonics and Spelling program
  2. BrainPop Jr
    Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help  Grades K-4
  3. BrainPop  Animated Science, Health, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music and English movies, quizzes, activity pages and school homework help Grades 5+
  4. Khan Academy
    Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more.
  5. Shepperd Software 
    Hundreds of fun educational games and activities for kids to play online. Topics include math, geography, animals, and more.
  6. Math Magician Games  Practice math facts online
  7. Quizlet Vocabulary lists, science terms, history dates, etc. created by people like you. It also has games and activities to practice those terms. You can also print tests! Search for the book you're using (like Apologia Biology, Module 1) and get started right away!
  8. Stossel in the Classroom  offers a new, free DVD per school year for educators to use in their classroom. Great for critical thinking!
  9. Make your own handwriting sheets from Zaner-Bloser or Handwriting Without Tears or the ESL Writing Wizard. This is a great way to practice handwriting and spelling words at the same time.
Helpful Tips
  1. Make daily lists or checklists so the kids know exactly what is expected of them. Here is one example.
  2. Workboxes are a great way to keep kids moving along. Find out more about Workboxes HERE. There are many variations on this so dig around and find one that fits your family.
  3. Develop a reward system! One brilliant mom listed the behaviors she expected of her children and uses these scripture coins and another uses "Big Bucks" from the dollar store to reward their children's good behaviors. Then your children can purchase treats, later bed times, screen time, etc. by cashing in their coins or bills! I'm so doing this!!! Get the Attitude Checklist free from my friend, Dee!
  4. Check out Landry Academy. On of our moms went to their Mom's Retreat and was absolutely raving about it!
  5. Our resident expert who has homeschooled from kindergarten and her oldest is now in 9th grade uses Homeschool Skedtrack for planning and record keeping. It even makes report cards and transcripts; and best of all, it's FREE!
  6. Check out yahoo groups for your favorite curricula and you're local area homeschoolers. Here is an example of a search for apologia.
  7. One mom works a little over the weekend and has dad help out with his favorite subject. It becomes a special family time and helps dad relate to mom's homeschool experiences.
  8. One mom recommended these Edge CD's that focus on leadership.
  9. Be sure to check out Book It Program from Pizza Hut.

Thanks to all my gals for their great ideas! I hope you found some great tips here and if you have one you'd like to share, please leave me a comment below!

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