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Posts from February 2011

Teaching 9/11 to Young Children

The subject of 9/11 is a difficult one to teach as it touches many of us personally. Recently, I came upon a couple of resources that might be helpful in teaching this topic to young children. 

Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman. This delightful picture book tells the story of the John J. Harvey, a firefighting tugboat that was taken out of "retirement" to help put out the fires during 9/11. The author does a great job explaining the events of 9/11 in a way that children can understand. Colorful illustrations. 

LEGO City Fire Ship - For your kinesthetic learners, this LEGO fire ship is an excellent tool for creative re-enactment. Children build the ship using the LEGO pieces; then "put out the fires" with six water cannons, a dinghy, and a fire

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Using a Camera in Your Homeschool

Today, just about everyone has a digital camera or a mobile phone that takes pictures. Why not use this handy tool in your homeschool? Here are some ideas:

Field trips:

Take photos of animals at the zoo, aquarium, or natural history museum. Create a notebook with one photo per page. Have your students label the photo with the name of the animal, as well as write a short report that includes the animal’s classification, natural habitat, diet, and other facts of interest.

Take photos of historical sites. Have your students write a short report about the historical significance of the site or a biography of a famous person connected to the site. Include photos in the report. For younger children, create a matching game. Using a large poster board, paste photos on the board along

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Any Child Can Write

One of the hardest things to teach, and the most neglected according to college admission officers, is composition. Most students enter college with inadequate writing skills. But there is a solution!

Any Child Can Write by Harvey S. Wiener is an older book that has been recently republished because it works! Using this instruction guide, you can teach your students the basics of good writing, giving them a solid foundation to build on in later years.

In this book, Weiner shows parents how to encourage their children in creative expression. He also provides guidelines to parents on how to evaluate their children's writing skills. Very important! 

There is a lot of "meat" in this book and it needs to be read cover to cover to get the most from it. Then, using the exercises

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Tips for using the Checklist Assistant

The Checklist Assistant (CLA) is a database of educational resources that includes links to websites, audio files, videos, worksheets, lesson plans, educational toys, links to recommended books, and much more. Here’s how you can use CLA to find what you want.

Let’s say you have a child who is an auditory learner and you want to teach simple machines. Select “Simple Machines” from the Subject pull-down menu and “Auditory” from the Learning Styles pull-down menu. You will then see a list of resources for teaching this subject to your auditory learner.

For those of you who like to create your own unit studies, this tool is a gem! Perhaps you want to teach a unit study on the Renaissance. Select “Renaissance” from the Subject pull-down menu and hit enter. From the list, you will want to

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Free Reading Curriculum from Dept. of Education

The Department of Education offers these free resources to help parents reinforce the reading and language arts skills that their children are learning at school. This is a great resource for homeschoolers, as well!

More than 100 activities are provided for each grade level (Kindergarten, first, second and third grade) in PDF format (download and print on your own printer). The activities cover same/different, rhymes, color words, reading and writing the letters of alphabet, beginning and ending sounds, vowels, upper and lower case letters, sight words, syllables, compound words, following directions, predicting, capitalization, writing sentences, reading comprehension, prefix, suffix, blends, writing paragraphs, using reference books such as the dictionary and atlas, parts of speech,

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Opal Wheeler Biographies

One of my favorite series of biographies was written in the 1930s and 40s by Opal Wheeler. For a long time, they were out of print and you could only find used copies. Now, they are back in print! 

Each book tells the story of a famous composer from his childhood to his death. Here are the titles in the series:

Simple, pen and ink illustrations add

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