Helen Hegener on March 1st, 2011

Super Teacher Worksheets provides hundreds of free printable files of worksheets, practice sheets, fun activities and other pages for math, reading, writing, spelling lists, science and social studies, phonics, grammar, holidays, puzzles and brainteasers, and many other subjects, ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade, presented in a simple, no-nonsense manner and with delightful extras such as craft projects and patterns, sticker charts, teaching tips and ideas and much more. While the files are presented primarily for teachers, the site clearly states that homeschool families are welcome to use them also. An excellent resource for any homeschooling families looking for supplemental study materials in a wide range of categories and topics. Super Teacher Worksheets even has a friendly and helpful Facebook page!

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Helen Hegener on February 28th, 2011

Families on the Road (FOTR) is for families who are on the road fulltime, on extended road trips, or who are just daydreaming about traveling. Some families travel because their occupations require mobility, such as construction, telecommunications, and entertainment. Others have traded in fast-paced careers for a life on wheels - maybe for a year, maybe for a lifetime! FOTR is a diverse group, composed of various cultures, economic brackets, occupations and lifestyles. An especially helpful part of the site is the extensive resource section on Roadschooling.

The focus of Families on the Road is topics such as choosing an RV that can accommodate a family, meeting the demands of a traveling occupation, raising children on the road, and the all-time number one question “What about school?” The goal is to share what traveling families have learned and to enable everyone to contribute their own experiences, ideas and knowledge.

The new Families on the Road Blog Carnival is a monthly gathering of blogs by traveling families, and the first collection focuses on the question most often heard when families are considering a travel lifestyle: “How will my children make friends?”

The FOTR web site is maintained by Kimberly Goza, and is constantly updated with the contributions of many traveling families who bring with them a wide variety of fulltime experience. Kimberly has been traveling fulltime with her family (a.k.a. The Activated Storytellers) since 1992, promoting multicultural folktales with an act!vated flair!

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Helen Hegener on January 16th, 2011

Synergy Learning International’s Connect magazine, subtitled “Teachers’ Innovations in K-8 Science, Math, and Technology,” looks like a terrific resource for homeschoolers, too. Published five times a year, each 25-page issue focuses on a single scientific, mathematical, or technological topic. Past topics, for example, have included the scientific method, oceans, geometry, light and color, early algebra, climate change, birds, and ancient technology. In each instance, feature articles discuss and describe hands-on projects, lesson plans, teaching approaches, and innovative educational materials. My latest issue - “Things in Motion: Newton’s Laws,” May/June 2009 - has articles on roller coaster physics, teaching science with catapults, Newton’s Laws on the playground, and Newtonian mechanics with Legos, along with detailed instructions for building a spool tractor and conducting a multidisciplinary study of springs. Also included are resource reviews, literature links, and helpful website lists.

An annual subscription to the print version (5 issues) costs $28, from Synergy Learning, Inc., P.O. Box 60, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0060; (800) 769-6199; an online (pdf) version is available for an annual $20. Back issues cost $6 apiece (ten or more, $4, postpaid).

For more information, visit the Synergy Learning site.

(From Rebecca Rupp’s Good Stuff, Sept/Oct, 2009.)

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Helen Hegener on January 7th, 2011

With over thirty six million books in print, Jan Brett is one of the nation’s foremost author illustrators of children’s books. Her books are known for colorful, detailed depictions of a wide variety of animals and human cultures ranging from Scandinavia to Africa. Her best-known titles include The Hat, The Mitten, The Three Snow Bears and Gingerbread Baby. She was awarded the Boston Public Library’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Her books have been chosen as “Best Children’s Books of the Year” by Newsweek, The New Yorker, Parents magazine, and Redbook.

Jan Brett’s home page offers a delightful collection of free ‘how to draw’ videos for children, free fun activities, coloring pages, murals, beautiful free email postcards, a free full-color 2011 calendar and more!

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Helen Hegener on January 4th, 2011

Best Homeschooling is a free website developed and maintained by veteran homeschooling mom Lillian Jones, and the site offers a broad selection of outstanding articles on homeschooling, both original essays and reprinted favorites, covering many topics and linking to scores of reputable sites where the articles originally appeared. The Best Homeschooling site contains no ads or affiliate links. Any references to resources by writers or the site owner are simply informational.

A marvelous feature of Best Homeschooling is the Homeschooling Gateway to the Internet, with hundreds of favorite links to free homeschooling resources and information about learning and teaching, curriculum information, math, music, sciences, “freebies” (printable learning materials), reading and language arts, history, arts, geography, mythology, college and career information, help for special challenges, educational games and puzzles, long distance learning, tools for Internet research, California field trips, Preschool and kindergarten learning activities, and articles on teens and high school, college, and careers.

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Helen Hegener on January 4th, 2011

We Make Stories, a story-creation site, owned by the children’s paperback publisher Puffin Books, lets kids ages 6-11 make their own storybooks, comic books, pop-up books, and treasure maps for Pirate Island, Deep Sea World or Outer Space. There’s only one free game, the rest are accessible for a one-time fee of $9.99, but the digital tools are superb and kids can create crazy characters, write captions and add fun stuff to tell their stories. Storytelling tips help spark imaginations: “Something unexpected should happen. It might just be something different. For example - a girl gets a pet as a present. That’s pretty ordinary, but then it turns out that the pet is a baby elephant, an ostrich, maybe a gorilla. There’s no end to the kind of surprise you can come up with!”

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