Thursday, March 31, 2011

Geography Resource- Scribble Maps!

A really cool tool for teaching Geography ~ it is called Scribble Maps.  I tried it out and it is very easy to use, you do not need to login and your work can be exported and printed. We just loved this and will be using this quite often ~

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Updating/Changing Some Plans and Continuing with our New Project

I had been working yesterday evening on the new LAH Academy Blog.  I ended up finding a way to create a post template so that whenever I have the daily/weekly assignments I will be adding (  I am thinking at this point of adding the whole week. Two reasons; one, it is easier than creating a post for each day - even though at times I may want to do this, but not very often, secondly, it will be a good way in case we don't get to something or finish up on a particular lesson they can go back to look at what they had the day before instead of having to go and look at the "past assignments" the weeks work will be all right there, and even thirdly, it can help with time management and act for my teen more of a syllabus so that if we know we have a gym day or teen club coming up he can go and jump ahead and do a bit more lesson assignments if he chooses.

It is taking shape since working hard on it yesterday and it also helps me in going through links I had saved in their folders for future assignments. Now everything will be laid out nice and orderly and having these things on hand might help us to use them much more.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Project - Learners At Home Academy

I am currently working on a new project. We are creating a new blog, Learners At Home Academy. This is a place where all of the boys assignments will be listed daily. It is going to be used much like a virtual school/place where my son can go and retrieve all his daily assignments and link resources for those assignments and further learning.

I plan to pack this site with all the information they need for their studies. I think it is a clever way to assign work, help them stay organized ( including myself) and also take advantage of the internet and resources we have at our disposal much more. 

I had gotten idea when I had posted this link on the AKOL facebook page. I started reading and realized that this is exactly what I needed. A place to post assignments I can do ahead of time to help me save some time and having all of the resources we need in one organized spot will be very efficient.

I decided to not make this site public, however, for those interested you can always contact me and I can add you to the list of readers who might be interested in following our assignments. 

This project will probably take me some time to put together~ I am hoping to have this completed and running within a few weeks. 

I  thought I might share my idea in case others may find this helpful for their own home learning. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

A New Resource- Thought Boxes

I heard about this new online organizational tool and thought it was unique enough, that I might share it with my readers.

It is called Thoughtboxes and from looking at it my first thought was it would be a great list creating tool or Graphic Organizer. Then having thought further I realized this might be a great tool for school projects for students and writing assignments,  research papers etc.. 

I am sure others may think of yet more things they could use this for which is why I am sharing~ enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Teaching and Working with Current Events- A New Resource

As I plan out our new year a bit further, I decided to tap more into the boys strengths/interests.  One really big interest they have is current events. Their day is not complete without watching the days "news events".  We often use these as discussion and debate topics at lunch or dinner time. 

Here is a neat site I found to help me tap into current events, its called Student News Daily.  

Just click on the current event and you can see links to print out the post and also use activities to go along with it to be used as a lesson. 

I really love this and plan on using this quite often.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Making Mini- Offices~ resources/tips

A Reader request~ I had actually started this post a while ago and forgot all about it. I am thankful I still had this in my drafts because with my laptop crashing it would have been really hard to remember just what and where I had gotten some of my things for my mini-offices. Here are some resources that I have used for our mini offices; 

We learned about mini-offices late last year when I was diving into lapbooking. I was'nt exactly sure what it was and the link below that Jimmie had written really helped me out a great deal with resources and just knowing where to begin with our mini-offices.

What is a mini-office?

An important thing to remember about mini-offices is you want to use it so that it meets the child where they are at. You want to create a reference tool with things that they need help with or are just learning or having learned and still need more practice and reference. Be sure to not make the mini-office so elaborate that it is not used. Keep it simple and keep it where they are at academically. You can always add things to this as time goes by or create yet another if you wish with more concepts.

If I couldn't find something I created it myself, for example early on I could not find anything that helped our youngest understand writing the date with numbers (ie., 2/11/09) He just couldn't understand where these numbers were coming from, so I made up our own mini-office reference and it worked like a charm.

Links for combined subjects in Math, Language Arts, Social Studies ~(different ages/abilities)

Mini-Office Resources - this is actually a new resource I just found, hope you find it helpful I plan to go through this one as well!

Shadow-Earth Blog Archive - another newbie for me also you might find many things in this also.

Busy Teachers Cafe

Mini-Office Resources from Ms. Meacham   
( helpful because it can give you some ideas of how these can be used)

Marcias Lesson Links~

Teaching Resources- Mini Offices


Barracudas Lapbook Blog

ABC Teach - printables for Fractions

Math Mini-Office from Lapbook Lessons, this gives a great idea and visuals ~

Donna Young - math charts

Think Zone - visuals of various math formulas and concepts (older child)


Perodical Table - can be printed several ways

Illustrated Periodical Table - elements to remember with pictures

Language Arts and Grammar

ABC Teach 

Language Mini - Office from Lapbook Lessons

Another thing you can do is if you can't find exactly what your looking for is to take from your text or a library book and copy the photos and information ( as long as your using it just for your own child) and add that to your mini-office too. Sometimes we can't always find exactly what we are looking for so you can use those too. I have also gone ahead and used the old Time Almanac for kids also for their mini offices because those are so full of great reference information. ~ 

I hope you have found this information helpful~ 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Learning about Cells- and another resource to share

For our younger learner Thursdays are Science Block Days. He works the beginning of the week on his Core Lessons/Discipline Studies ( Reading/Phonics, Math & Writing) and looks forward to Thursdays and Fridays when he can then set those core studies aside to work on Science for the day and then on Friday is History.

Today we are starting a unit on Cells.  It is the first lesson unit in our Science Lifepac and I plan on incorporating some science folds and few other things to learn about Cells.

Here are some pages I created ( see the Cells page on the list) that are adapted from the Lifepac unit that I made a cover page, vocab folds and a notebooking page ~ I kept this in a word document format in case you would like to change the vocabulary words or anything else to make it your own. As I make more and/or what we find and use I will go ahead and post the information to share.

I also found this link resource from Discovery Education this morning while checking my emails. I subscribe to Kathy Schrock's Education Newsletter and she had a link to Discovery Education's SMART EXCHANGE. The Smart Exchange is a place you can search a topic and find link resources, lessons and assessments. I found this link resource about Cells while searching. You can click on the "preview button" to see what it is like.

Happy Science Learning!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Building our Folds Binder- Not Fancy but Functional-

We have continued working through our folds binder. Adding more and more each day trying to make as many as we can so that when the time comes and we need to use something it is right there and handy for us to use.
Using folds this way (creating your own) makes lapbooking and notebooking very adaptable to what ever you are working on. Your not boxed into a particular thing.
Having these folds finished, ready and waiting is half the battle when it comes to using them for your home learning.

We keep these folds in pocket/page protectors and as you can see from the photo I label them in the upper right hand corner what they are so we can flip through them as we need to.

These are kept in a binder for easy storage and handling.

One idea I had recently is to invite some homeschoolers/parents come over to have a "fold party" we can sit and chat and create our folds while enjoying eachothers company!

Happy Folding!

A Science Notebook

My teen has been working very successfully with his math notebook and is finally starting to see how this tool can really help him retain and learn new concepts.

We decided to go ahead and create this same tool for his science learning as well. With science becoming more in depth, and also more of a sort of incremental learning like math, we created our science notebook this morning.

This notebook will be used just like our Math Notebook is used. For all new concepts learned, only in the area of science and (of course) some mathematics. 
Today we worked on learning more about scientific notation so we created notes on learning how do use and work with this new concept.

This is a great way to teach them also how to write notes in their own style.  To help them understand that this information they are writing is for them to understand and refer to. 
I hope to be able to encourage him to use color and pictures as he goes along ~ he decided also that when something is to be added to a note page on something he already learned (but wants to add just a bit more to it) he will use a "bubble" and write in the bubble something he wants to remember or a new "idea". I really thought the idea (no pun intended) was a good one and shows just one more way he is finding ways to retain and learn in his own special way~ it will only help as he moves along into the higher grades. Just imagine if we all had a chance to try things out to see what might help us to remember or learn something that might be difficult? 

If your interested in trying your hand at using a science notebook like we are~ you can see the photos I posted above,and the links for the breakdown I used for the science in the links below. 

Here is an outline from Wikipedia you can use and here is one from Donna Young that I found helpful. These two both helped me quite a bit in laying out the sections for the notebook. I think I saw quickly is that by using the post it sticky dividers (from Walmart 2.97 per pkg) I could peel them off and make more room if I needed for a particular section.  I also may need to create a binder later on if we are needing much more room especially in the area of the social sciences ( which my son enjoys the very most).  Because the five subject, spiral bound notebook is three hole punched I can easily add these pages to a binder later on for him.

I can keep you posted on how things go with this and show more examples and ideas as we move forward. We are still finishing creating our science and math folds so these also can be added to the notebook also by attaching them to the pages.

Happy Science Notebooking ~

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reading up on Homeschooling Teens- A New Book

While purchasing some curricula for next year I found this book "The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens"  by Debra Bell and decided to pick it up to read ~

The book talks about different things we can encounter and consider when homeschooling our teens since this will be a brand new journey for us I thought it might be helpful to read and share once I am finished.

Anyone have any other favorite reads when it comes to homeschooling teens or highschool? Please share!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Foldables for Learning - When Writing is a Problem

photo credit and more resource found here

Today we worked a large amount of our time in History. Fridays are our big History block and we had been working in our AOP Lifepac on the American Revolution.   While reading we started drawing a Venn diagram as to the differences/similarities between Britain and America.  We took a few more notes and I quickly saw how our youngest on some days still really struggles with writing. He has graphomotor troubles and I could see how have seen how this kind of struggle can really get in the way of the "real learning" that should take place with history and learning about our past.

I decided this Monday we will be having a "Foldables Day" ( I made that up).  It is a day where we will only work our core studies ( disciplinary studies; math, reading, writing) and then spend the afternoon folding, cutting, stapling and pasting foldables.

Since these will be all completed we can then go ahead and store these in ziplock, labeled bags and pull them out whenever we want.  ( I plan to take share some pictures of these when we are done and as we use them).

This will relieve my youngest from all the writing struggles and help him enjoy history and allow him to write and learn about history in little chunks and at the end he will have a wonderful finished project on a particular time period.

Here are some links I have to share if others may be interested in foldables as well:

Review Activities Using Foldables from US History Standards of Learning - this site show pics to give me ideas and some links on what I might want to do.
World History Foldables Booklet 

History Tech~ a blog about history foldables, some tips and a couple links to get you started out.

Lapbooking - a squidoo lens by Jimmie showing how to make certain mini books and folds to try out.

Homeschool Share List of Templates to use

Fabulous Foldables- a blog listing resources for foldables.

Mini books~ another lens on Squidoo from Jimmie

Happy Lapbooking~ !

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What We Have Been Up To Lately: Part III

I have been posting previously about what we have been doing and what we are planning on using in our upcoming new year.  Here is what I have planned for History and Science: 

Sometimes Our Best Laid Plans.......

I suppose many could finish this the way I am about to finish this sentence~ do not exactly turn out the way we planned.... We had been working for several weeks on a specific unit from the Key To Series, it had been going very well so I had ended up purchasing several other booklets in the series.  

However, today we realized something that both my teen and I thought might happen but wasn't exactly sure, so we had forged ahead with this basal approach to his math. In hopes of trying to clear up some areas in fractions that were giving him some trouble. It did and he did very well as I mentioned, all up until it was time to take a test that encompassed all the other booklets ( 4 in all) from that series. 

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