Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Keyboarding {course plans}

Prerequisites: none
Grade Level: 9-11
Credit: .5

Students taking this course will learn correct keyboarding technique and will work to improve their keyboarding speed and accuracy. Formatting of basic documents will also be taught and students will be given opportunities to apply their keyboarding skills in “real life” situations. 

Curriculum List


Additional Projects
  • Use word processing software to type and format papers for other classes.
Personal Notes: I wish we had gotten to this in earlier grades, but it is a necessary life skill. I did research course descriptions from various public high schools to make sure I could legitimately count this as a high school level class. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Kids Need Chores

It saddens me to hear of young men and women who leave home without knowing the basics of how to care for themselves. Perhaps their parents thought it an act of sacrificial service to carry out the duties of home maintenance alone. Or perhaps they felt guilty requiring the child to take on any of "their" responsibilities. In some cases, they may not have even had the time (or skills) required to train their child in the duties of the home. Whatever the reason, these young people enter life seriously handicapped, simply because they never learned as children how to work.

Children need to learn how to work while they are young. They need to see a direct link between their labor and the provisions which they receive. Parents who hand everything to their children without expecting anything in return are doing their children a great disservice. They are giving them a false impression of life and setting them up for failure. These children grow up without learning the skills necessary to survive on their own. They are always expecting more, and never satisfied with what they get. Their parents, who work themselves to the bone just to provide for these ungrateful creatures, may come to resent them. But chores are more than just a way that a child can help their parents, they are vital to the child's preparation for the future.

One of the great things about having nine kids is being treated like a superhero everywhere you go. Mothers of one or two express amazement at my energy and ability to maintain my sanity. Fellow restaurant patrons stop by our table to compliment the children's good behavior, make offers to babysit, or suggest we write a book on child training. Grocery clerks ask me for nutritional advice and recipe ideas. And everyone wants to know, "How DO you do it all?"

While I'd like to maintain the "superwoman" illusion, the truth is that I don't do it all. My children contribute to the smooth operation of our household. All of them, even the littlest, have chores which they do on a daily basis. Raising nine kids is not a "one man" job. But raising one child ought not to be either. I certainly could run the household without their help, but this would not be good for me or them!

In the education of [children] today we've lost the importance of work as the most effective tutor. What is the good of knowing how to read or write if a young [person] doesn't have the heart to work, to produce, and to create? [Children] are often forced to sit for hours, year after year, in front of books. Modern child-labor laws hinder and even prevent them learning to enjoy strenuous work. Then, after twelve to sixteen years of inactivity, folks wonder why all their teenager wants to do is sit on the couch playing games."
~Bob Schultz, Created For Work

Although this book is written to young boys, I recommend it as a must read for all young folks . . . and their parents. Bob Schultz packs a lot of wisdom into every word he writes. This is solid biblical advice on how to please God in everything you do.

I sometimes get the impression that parents are waiting for their children to walk up to them and offer to help out. But in reality, kids aren't really very excited about the prospect of having to work. That's why it is important that they learn early on that doing chores is something that is expected of them, whether they like it or not.

Even a very young child can be given simple tasks to help around the house. A toddler can be shown how to throw their own diapers in the garbage or take their dirty laundry to the laundry hamper. They can help mother put the silverware in the drawer, or take the dry clothes out of the dryer. At first, this may require more work than simply doing it yourself, but by training your children to do these simple chores, and by training them to do them properly, you will save yourself much time in the end. More importantly, you will be equipping your children to live successfully in the real world.

* Above is a chore chart we have used in the past, color coded according to child. (Follow the link for a free blank printable  version of this chart.)

If you want your children to learn how to work, the best way is to show them. Working alongside your children allows you to show them how a job ought to be properly completed. It is a great opportunity for bonding and can actually be a lot of fun for everyone involved. Don't despair that you didn't start soon enough. It is never too late for a child to learn how to work.

If you want to know EXACTLY how to get your children started on doing chores, you have to read this blog series at Our Busy Homeschool. It is the best information I have ever read on the subject.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23-24

Before learning how to fold laundry (as seen above), this little girl helped load the dryer.

Examples of Chore Lists
Although chores will vary from family to family, it sometimes helps to see what others have done.

Chore charts For Large Families {free printable}
Chore List  
Chores For Every Age
Blissfully Domestic
Age Appropriate Chores
Chore Chart For Multiple Children
An organized classy chore chart is headed your way. Can you even imagine what this chore chart for multiple children is made out of??? Yep, 2x4's.
Toddler Chores
age-appropriate toddler chores

* This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ideas For Studying the Viking Explorers

A Viking is one of the Norse (Scandinavian) explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the late eighth to the early eleventh century. These Norsemen used their famed longships to travel as far east as Constantinople and the Volga River in Russia, and as far west as Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. This period of Viking expansion is known as the Viking Age, and forms a major part of the medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles and Europe in general. (Read the rest of this article on Wikipedia.)

Viking Bread
2 cups white bread flour
3 cups whole wheat or barley flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups warm water

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in half of the sunflower seeds. Add warm water and stir. Knead mixture into a stiff dough. Form into a flat loaf shape and place on a greased baking tray. Sprinkle the remaining seeds onto the dough and press down slightly so that they stick to dough. Place baking sheet into a cold oven. Turn oven to 375 degrees and bake for 1 hour. Serve with roasted meat.

Viking Ship

3D papercraft

The Vikings
Activities and a Viking game

Running a Household In the Viking Era
recipes and more

Meet the Vikings
crafts, combat, and more

Viking and Anglo-Saxon Foods

The Vikings
links and worksheets

The Vikings

Viking Tales
free online book

Stories of the Viking
free online book

Runic Alphabets
Little is known about the origins of the Runic alphabet, which is traditionally known as futhark after the first six letters. . .

Viking Multi-book Unit
Unit and Lapbook from Homeschool Share

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Notebooking With Younger Children

Is It Possible To Use Notebooking With a Pre-Reader?

Notebooking is a great way to learn and there is no reason why it can't work just as well for younger children as it does for the older ones. There are many ways to include early learners in the notebooking experience. Here are a few tried and true methods we have used in our own homeschool, as well as some links to additional resources you may find helpful as you begin this adventure with your own little ones.

Use Visuals To Record Information

Items like maps, diagrams, and photos are important additions to any notebook, but they tend to define notebooking when dealing with the younger crowd. A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to children who are just learning to control a pencil. Drawing pictures illustrating the information being studied is a fun form of narration which allows your child to review what they have learned and gives you an opportunity to see what you might need to go over again. Copying the shape of a country to create their own map helps a child to learn that country's shape and recognize it when it is seen again. In the same way, making their own version of a work of art or drawing a plant or animal being studied causes a child to take a closer look at that object. If your child has difficulty with this type of exercise or if you'd like to add some variety to their notebook, try using some pre-printed coloring pages. There are many sources online where you can print off free pictures to go along with your science, history, and geography themes. Simple outline maps and diagrams can usually be found by doing a Google search. You can  include coloring pages from a purchased coloring book. Dover has a nice selection which would work well for this purpose. You can also have your child create a collage or scrapbook page with photographs or clipart of the topic being studied.

Sources For Free Coloring Pages

Edu Pics
Educational pictures for primary schools
Pics 4 Learning
Copyright friendly images for education
Clipart ETC
Free clipart for teachers and students
Dover Sampler
Sign up for the Dover Sampler get a weekly email with links to free Dover coloring pages. These images can be added to your notebook pages.
Ivy's Coloring Page Search
Coloring book search engine. Use this to find images to add to your pages.

Give Them A Model To Work From

Copycats have gotten a lot of negative publicity, but there's no denying that we all tend to learn better by example. There's nothing wrong with letting your little ones copy from the notebook pages of their older siblings or examples you find on someone else's blog. After all, this isn't a test. If the only thing holding your child back from creating their own notebook pages is their limited ability in the areas of spelling and penmanship, try typing out what they want to say and letting them transfer it into their notebook. Copywork is a great way for a child to practice their writing skills and it is a wonderful addition to a notebook on almost any subject. An occasional worksheet or fill in the blank sheet also provides a child with the opportunity to show what they know, without becoming overwhelmed by a large amount of required writing. Adding minibooks to their notebook pages allows them to make a big statement with a few words.

Notebooking Sets For Young Learners

Famous Composer Notebooking Pages
This set of 286 notebooking pages contains 10 notebooking layouts in primary and regular-lined formats for 28 famous composers. The variety of pages for each composer allowed me to use these with both my older and younger children.
Patriotic Songs Copywork
Your children will enjoy creating a copywork notebook with the songs that make this country so special. This set would be a great compliment to any study of American History.
History Crafts for Kids
Free Notebooking Printables and Resources, many for pre-writers

Make It Interactive

Think of your child's notebook as a journal which they can use to record the adventures of their learning experiences. What types of things might an adventurer include in this type of record? A study of birds might lead to a collection of feathers. Add these to the notebook. A study of botany can involve pressing leaves and flowers to glue into a notebook. A study of the water cycle may end with an afternoon spent playing with the hose in the backyard. Take pictures and add them to the notebook. Are you studying sheep? Add a small sample of wool to a notebook page. Try making felt and add that too. Paper models also make great additions to a notebook. There are many books which include directions for studying the human body by creating paper bones, muscles, etc. If you are studying the layers of the atmosphere, you can create multi-page books showing each layer and glue these in your notebook. Paper dolls made to show clothing from around the world can be stored in a pocket in the notebook. Pop-ups showing famous buildings can be folded flat in the notebook. Cut and paste activities are also great additions to an early learner's notebook.

Free Minibooks, Pop-ups, and Printables

Homeschool Share Level 1 Lapbooks
Lapbooks for toddlers and preschoolers
Homeschool Share Level 2 Lapbooks
Lapbooks for prekindergarten and kindergarteners
Lapbook Lessons
This website is full of Free Lapbooking Resources! Great for Homechooling!
Tot-Books by Carisa
A Tot-Book is simply a small lapbook for a tot!

Carl's Corner
Lots of great free printables including some alphabet miniboks which would be great additions to a notebook.
1000s of FREE teaching resources for Foundation Stage and Early Years practitioners. Add extra spark to your classroom!
Danielle's Place
While much of this site is subscription based, there is still much available for free and lots of great ideas. Simple Pop-Ups You Can Make!
Instructions and templates.
Dynamic 2 Moms
lots of free minibooks

Ideas And Examples On The Web

Bookmaking With Kids: The Littlest Bookmakers
The link to this blog post was sent to me by my friend, Jimmie. It explains why and how to teach pre-reading, pre-writing kids to make books of their own. It includes some great ideas, and the blog itself is full of even more great ideas which could be incorporated into a young child's notebooks.
Notebooking Exhibit
You've heard about notebooking. You know it's a flexible tool that can be used with most any curriculum or homeschooling style. You've read a bit about it, but you're still not quite sure. What is notebooking? What does it actually look like, and how does it work? This page, put together by my previously metioned friend, Jimmie, has lots of great examples.
How Do I Start Notebooking?
This article explains noteboking in simple terms and gives some suggestions on how to start the notebooking process.
25 Creative Notebooking Ideas
In case you find yourself in a rut, here is a list of creative expression.
Shepherding the Lambs
Tips and notebooking style resources for preschoolers.
Journal Writing - for pre-writers
Writing a journal is a great pre writing activity that promotes creativity, literacy skills and self expression. Rebekah Patel shares how to do it even if your child can't write yet.
It's Never Too Early to Begin Notebooking
Homeschool Mosaics
Notebooking for 1st and 2nd
Our Busy Homeschool
Examples of Narration Letters from Nebby
Letters from Nebby: examples of notebook pages done by different ages.
Kindergarten Kindergarten: Science Notebooks
pictures and free printables for a rock unit
Our {BFIAR} Lap Journal
The lap journal is: a lapbook, a scrapbook, and a portfolio ~ a record of our learning time together.
His Grace To Me: Our Math Journal/Notebook
A homeschool mother shows how she uses math notebooking with her young son. "It's just a simple inexpensive composition book that we use to record our math experiences."

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