Preschool Fun With Mega Blocks!

In just about every home in America, you can find something called mega blocks. Young children love playing with mega blocks! But did you know mega blocks can also be educational? If you have a preschooler they are the perfect hands-on learning tool! Here are a few ways that you can have fun with your preschooler and mega blocks.

 

Read the post at the Southeast Homeschool Expo

 

 

 

5 Learning Sites for Elementary Ages

I don’t know about you, but my kids are sometimes more tech savvy than I am. Our kids are exposed to technology at a young age, and while this means they need reasonable limits. It also means that we can and should utilize technology in our homeschools.

One way to do this is by allowing our children to engage online using learning sites appropriate for their age. Today we are going to look at some awesome learning sites for elementary aged children.

  1. Funbrain.comThis site boasts of math, reading, online books and learning games! The learning starts with preschoolers and includes learning activities for children up to eighth grade.  preschoolers through 8th graders.
  2. CoolMath4Kids.com– One area where a lot of children struggle is math. Cool Math 4 Kids takes the frustration out of learning math by providing math games for elementary students. The site is interactive and a lot of fun.
  3. MakeMeGenius.com– The name leaves a lot to live up to, but it has the potential! This site is full of videos that cover a wide variety of topics including physics, electricity, solar system, the nervous system and more. The videos are all kid friendly and can be watched by children of all ages.
  4. TIME for Kids– The publishers of TIME magazine have created a learning site for kids as well. Articles, photos and videos cover topics like politics, the environment, sports, health and more. While it is not as interactive as others, it does cover current events from a kid’s perspective.
  5. The Kidz Page– With more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. This site is massive! It includes online coloring pages, word games, holiday activities and much more!

Learning online is going to be a natural part of our children’s education. These are just a few of the many learning sites for elementary students out there. As always, each family needs to make their own decisions regarding how much time a child should spend online and what sites are acceptable for their family.

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

 

 

 

 

Keeping Grades in Homeschool

Keeping grades in homeschool may seem a little silly. After all, you are their teacher. You know whether or not they are learning right? While this is true, it is also important to keep records and documentation while you homeschool.

Benefits of Keeping Grades

Keeping grades when your child is young will benefit you when your child enters high school. He will already be used to having grades, and you will be used to keeping them. Keeping grades will also help you if your homeschooling is ever questioned by the school system in which you reside.

What Should I Grade?

I do not recommend keeping grades in every subject when your children are small. In the early elementary grades, I would recommend keeping grades for Math, Grammar and Language Arts and Spelling. Spelling tests can be given weekly and grades recorded easily. Most math curriculums come with Math quizzes and tests. Grammar and Language Arts programs may come with tests, worksheets, or another method of review.

As your child gets older you can expand what you grade to include subjects like History, Science, Geography and Foreign Language.

How do I record Grades?

There are many options out there for homeschool record keeping, including recording grades. I use the Well Planned Day Planner, and highly recommend it. There are also free printables out there that you can use in your homeschool to help with recording grades.

Grading scales are up to you, the homeschool parent. We use the 90/80/70 method for grades. Ninety percent or less is an A, 80 percent or less is a B, and so on. It is easy to remember, and seems like a fair system.

Tips to Remember

Don’t put a lot of focus on a grade. Remind your child that grades are just to help you know what your child is learning, and what they need to work on. Mastery is key, and ultimately you want to know your child has mastered what you are teaching, not whether or not they get straight A’s. You want to see improvement, and progress. Not stress them out over a letter grade on a paper. For more information on keeping grades in homeschool check out this sites: How Do I Grade My Student?

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

Should You Homeschool Preschool?

As you look at your active three or four year old, you may be contemplating what step to take next. Should you put them in preschool? Try it out at home? The questions may be swirling through your mind making you wonder if you should homeschool preschool?

Homeschooling preschool is a great option for a lot of parents. And it just may be what you are looking for!

 Read this post at Southeast Homeschool Expo

 

Homeschooling with Little Ones

I founded a homeschool group a few years ago and one of the biggest questions I get from new homeschoolers is “How do I Homeschool with My Little Ones?” It can be tough having older children who need your attention when you have a toddler and/or preschooler running around or when you have a new infant that needs your constant attention. There are a few tips I have learned through the years that have helped me homeschool with my little ones.

Give Them Attention First

This is very important! Fill their “love tank” first by reading them a story, playing with them, or doing their “school” before starting with your older ones. Giving them this one on one attention before your distracted by your older ones will make them feel important. It also will fill their need for attention and most likely they will be able to play on their own for a short while and you can tend to your older children’s education.

Utilize Naptime

Do one of your older children have a subject they need a lot of one on one time from mom to complete? If so, have them complete this subject during the little ones naptime. This means they will have your full, undivided attention. You would be amazed how much you can get done while little people nap!

Give them Educational Toys or Workbooks

The year my youngest turned two, I gave him his very own school cubby. It had some workbooks and crayons, a dry erase board, and some counting bears in it. I swapped out the bears every so often for other educational toys, stacking toys, or board books. He also had his very own school table. This kept him “busy” while I helped my older children. It also made him feel involved in what we were doing because he could “do school” too.

Educational Videos

Some people don’t let their children watch TV at all. I understand this to an extent, but I also don’t see a reason to not utilize an educational video every now and then. Dora, Bubble Guppies, Curious George, Leap Frog, and other similar videos can keep your little ones occupied while allowing you to focus on the education of your older children.

Homeschooling with little ones can be done! I have homeschooled for four years and when I first started, I was running a daycare. During that time, I kept the kids all together as much as possible and they entertained each other. When I quit daycare and had my youngest, it was harder because he didn’t have a playmate to help keep him entertained. This is when I began utilizing some of the above tips. They helped, a lot!

The key to homeschooling with little ones is to find what works for you. It may be doing school during nap, it may be turning on a video every now and then, or it may be giving them their own “school”. Find what works for you, and utilize it! Before you know it you will be giving others tips on how to homeschool with little ones.

 

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Preschool at Home

Preschool registrations are in full force right now! If you have been debating on sending your child to preschool because you are not sure you can “do it” at home, let me reassure you that you can! Preschool is actually a great age to try out homeschooling, and find out if it is the right fit for you.

What to Teach

Preschool is something anyone can teach. Many of the things taught in public preschool are things you are already doing with your child. Things like cutting, pasting, teaching colors, counting, reading and looking at books, singing songs, and dramatic play. All these things can be done at home without a curriculum. If you look into your state standards many states will have preschool standards listed. There are also websites like this one that will have a breakdown of things children need to know before Kindergarten.

Curriculums to use

If you choose to get a curriculum there are TONS of options. A few free ones are Easy Peasy Homeschool Getting Ready 1 and ABC Jesus Loves Me. Through my years of teaching preschool at home to my children and daycare kids I have used Little Hands to Heaven, Before Five in a Row, Rod and Staff Preschool, and Christian Liberty Press. You can also buy basic workbooks at Wal-Mart and the Dollar Tree. I have not been able to tell a big difference in using a curriculum that costs money vs. free options. There are also tons of ideas on Pinterest for making your own preschool unit studies.

How do the Kids do in Kindergarten?

There are a few moms in our homeschool group who had no intention on homeschooling long term. Their oldest children are already in Kindergarten. Every single mom said they could not tell a difference in their child compared to the others. You could not pick out the “non” preschooler from the group of kids. Two moms said their child had been a little “bored” when preschool first started due to already knowing what was being taught.

What about Socialization?

There are tons of opportunities for children to learn all the necessary “social” skills before going to Kindergarten. If you know a homeschooler ask them if your children can tag a long on field trips, play dates and holiday parties. Most homeschool groups would be more than accepting to have some at home preschoolers join them. Another great option is a MOPS group. Check out their website to see if there is a group near you. When my crew was little we always went to library story times, parties, and activities. The kids made tons of friends at the library through the years.

I think it is important for parents to be aware that there are other options for preschool than sending their kids to public school. You do not have to plan on homeschooling to keep your children home during the preschool years.

Some of my favorite memories are from teaching my children during the preschool years. It is such a great stress free time. We had a blast learning our shapes, playing with play doh and making all kinds of messes! Preschool is a great time to build relationships with your children, and let them have relaxed learning before starting Kindergarten.

Guest Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Not Just My Way!

One of the beauties of homeschooling is the opportunity to tailor education to each child.  Everyone learns differently…some absorb through reading while others by doing, some grasp concepts just by listening, others need to ‘see’ it.  In a home education setting, we have the flexibility to cater to preferences and strengths.  In so doing, though, we must be careful to exercise our children’s weaknesses or we will deceive them into thinking things must always be done ‘their way.’

Embracing challenges is a key to successful living, yet eliminating difficulties is the natural desire of a mom.  Furthermore, as a homeschool mom, it is easy to grow weary of the battles.  All parents bear the weight of guiding children to do what they do not naturally desire to do:  clean their rooms, learn self-discipline and sacrifice self for others.  In home education, we also have the weighty responsibility of academic success.  It is tempting to smooth the difficulties for our children so that we have just a little bit less stress as well.  It is wearying to ‘nag’ about EVERYTHING!  Truly the key is to remember we are not nagging, we are preparing our children for the future.  When it comes to our children’s studies, we must help them accept that learning is not always easy.  We can facilitate their understanding with various approaches, but we must be careful not to let them coast through their studies or always follow their own ways of doing things.  Creativity is divine—but so is order.

Every subject helps us shape our children’s character but math is the one that gave us the best lessons.  Procedures are repetitive and boring—and in the early years unnecessary.  Yet those procedures lay a ground-work absolutely necessary to advanced math.  We used kinesthetic learning…hopscotching answers to addition and subtraction problems, which gave us enjoyment in the work of education.  But the boring math fact sheets and memorization work are still bearing fruit.

Beyond the academic truth is the life truth that ‘my way’ is not the only way.  It helps our children understand that there is benefit in reaching beyond ourselves. With the exception of eternal salvation, there is always more than one way to do things.   One of my favorite quotes reminds me to “Never deny the right to be right to anyone but you.” We always want to be right, but being right is not always useful nor is it always necessary.  While we live in a world that says it values individuality, this world really tells us to conform.  We can use home education to help our children appreciate diversity while enjoying their own uniqueness!

-BJ