Archive for the ‘Curriculum’ Category

Free Life Science curriculum

October 1st, 2010

You can get a free life science curriculum from the lab of Mr. Q. Download this free course designed for 6-9 year olds and intended to be used for a whole school year (36 weeks).

One of the challenges in choosing curriculum is knowing if it will work for YOUR family. It may work for your neighbor or your support group leader, may have even worked with your first child, but the only way you know if it will work for you with a particular child and age is to try it.

Here is a great opportunity to try something out, not just for a day or a month, but for a whole year. A free downloadable course, and if you like it — then there’s more where that came from!

Thanks to Kristen for alerting me to the post about this on Money Saving Mom!

Author: Categories: classes, Curriculum Tags:

TOS Crew Review– America’s Math Teacher

September 10th, 2010

“I got a new math teacher this year.”

Kind of an odd thing to hear from a homeschooled student, but it is true. My girls get to listen to someone else during math class, at least for now. We didn’t join a co-op or enroll in an online math course, we found America’s Math Teacher.

They use this site to work through their math topics at their own pace. They watch brief instructional videos, complete worksheets, and even take speed drills online as part of their daily math assignment.

Math Essential

Product: America’s Math Teacher
Details : America’s Math Teacher is produced by Math Essentials and offers online math instruction through videos, worksheets, and tests. The one year subscription allows a whole family to use the site as much as they would like at any or all of the four levels which span fourth grade through Algebra.
Price : $195 for a one year subscription to the site

What we loved . . .

  • Broad use. Students from fourth grade through Algebra can take advantage of this website for one annual fee. They can move around as the parent directs rather than being tied to one level of work. Multiple students can use the program, even at the same time if you have multiple computers.
  • Easy to navigate. The kids can find what they need, or the parents can help them through it, but either way, they can easily find the worksheets, teaching videos, and tests that they need to complete their work.
  • Proven results. Rick Fisher has taught math for many years and has used these same techniques and lessons to bring about dramatic improvement in struggling students. He works primarily with older elementary students to get them “Algebra ready.”
  • Free Sample. On their website you can watch some of their videos and view some of their worksheets (which come with the answer key once you subscribe) even before paying. Definitely take a look and see if this program might be what you are looking for.
  • Good balance of computer and paper. Some programs rely too heavily on computers, but many students enjoy a change from just pencil paper work. Here they print off worksheets that have a reasonable amount of work on them, and also have speed drills they can complete online.

Some considerations . . .

  • Still getting established. The site is still fairly new, having just gone live a few weeks ago. However, despite its newness it packs in the information and has lots to offer. Parts of it are still experiencing glitches, so it might be best to wait a bit before considering this as a viable option. You can definitely use it for teaching and worksheets, but the evaluation portion of the site (tests and quizzes) was still not working for me at this time.
  • May not be usable as a comprehensive math course. It covers a lot of topics, but says of itself, “This award winning program compliments all basic math textbooks, so it is a perfect partner program for schools.” Presumably it is best used in conjunction with a main text, not in place of it.
  • Still math. I can’t say that this program made my kids love math. It’s still math. They still don’t enjoy worksheets and speed drills and listening to lessons. But, it does make it easier, and they definitely have found it easy to grasp the concepts that he presented in the videos. It is still math, but it is math well taught.
  • Doesn’t record or track info. You must keep records of what your child is doing. Since you have a family log in, there are not individual records kept online at this time.

America’s Math Teacher has taken what they do well and put it in a new package that is more easily usable. This is a well designed program for homeschoolers to make sure their students are ready to succeed in high school and beyond.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This web based subscription was provided to me free of charge through Math Essentials as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

LEGOs in the classroom

September 1st, 2010

Check out these free resources for teaching your young ones. They do request that you order for your whole school rather than just one classroom at a time if possible. So, check with your co-op or support group and see who else might be interested, and order for the whole group!

Here’s all the details:

LEGO Club Fire ImageLEGO® Education and LEGO Club are proud to offer exclusive LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazines and LEGO Education Teacher’s Guides to first-grade educators this fall!
These special publications continue the LEGO philosophy of providing children with products that promote imagination, pique curiosity, and enhance learning. Both focus on fire safety and provide important information on what these young learners should know in case of an emergency.
The LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine is designed specifically for first graders. The edition includes exciting puzzles, comics, and games with a fire safety theme. These activities focus on basic reading, math, and critical-reasoning skills.
The LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine combines the thrill of LEGO building with content that will help your students learn important safety tips – and best of all, it’s FREE!
In addition, a custom LEGO Education Teacher’s Guide will be sent with each magazine order. The guides are filled with hands-on activities, classroom tidbits, and articles about how you can create a LEGO SmartTM classroom for your students!
To recieve complimentary copies of the LEGO Club Jr. School Edition Magazine and Teacher’s Guide, simply complete our online request form located at
For additional information or to inquire about other LEGO Education promotions, contact Debra at
Orders will be processed weekly. Shipment of items will begin in October 2010. Magazines are packaged in groups of 50, 100, and 200 for easier distribution. Please consider ordering for your school’s entire first grade and not just your first grade class. Any specific ordering or delivery directions should be noted in the Comment section of the order form.

TOS Crew Review — Peterson Directed Handwriting

August 30th, 2010

I like finding people passionate about their products. Rand Nelson falls into that category. If you want to know the ins and outs of handwriting and have lots of rationale for teaching a certain methodology, he is your man. And, Peterson Directed Handwriting is your product.

Product: Peterson Directed Handwriting
: Peterson Directed Handwriting offers an involved handwriting curriculum based on lots of research. The books begin with posture and procedure as well as teaching actual letter formation. I received the print books.
: $19.95 for each e-book

What we loved . . .

  • Foundational. Peterson Handwriting offers lots of rationales and instruction for establishing good writing habits that even help pre-readers. Too often kids get into bad habits quickly in teaching themselves to write. Peterson addresses these and helps prevent or change them so children can write well fluently.
  • Step by step. The product doesn’t rush into the writing. Students have four steps to follow — Illustrate and Describe, Air writing, Finger tracing, and finally write and say. This helps to ensure success by the time they take pencil to paper.
  • Reuseable. Because this is an ebook, one purchase will satisfy all your kids. Copy and recopy as needed.
  • Helpful. You don’t face this alone. Aside from a website full of articles and helps, Rand is available to personally answer questions and guide you through effective use of this product.
  • Informative. The website is packed with information on how to teach handwriting. It also will help you understand why certain expectations are important. The even have a page full of coaching helps to guide you the teacher through the process.
  • You can preview the product. You cannot print it out (you obviously need to pay for that option), but on their website you can see the complete product before you buy. One of the challenges of purchasing online is that you can’t flip through the pages and really see what you are getting. With Peterson you can! Look at the book, look at the table of contents, look at all 65 pages if you want. You know exactly what you are getting when you buy these ebooks.

Some considerations . . .

  • Lots of preperatory reading and pre-teaching. The actual writing is the goal, but there are lots of steps and instruction before you get to that point.
  • Not for every student. While the printable pages can be used by any student, the methodology might not be a good fit for all students. My son loved the verbal cues that matched the movements and the other prep steps. My daughter found them cumbersome. She likely did not really need all of that to get the point across, but it did definitely cement it in her thinking and habits.

Peterson offers a great product for beginning writers, or for those that need to relearn due to poor writing habits. It does involve a lot of teacher intensive time to make sure the student truly settles into the best writing habits. In the end, the time invested is worth the effort as these are habits that will last a lifetime.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This ebook was provided to me free of charge through Peterson Directed Handwriting as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

Author: Categories: Curriculum, Reviews, TOS Crew Tags:

Not back to school blog hop

August 1st, 2010

Not Back to School Blog Hop

A little fun for this “not back-to-school” time of year. I know many of you are looking for some inspiration, some fire to start off the year properly, some kind of plan to get you enthused for the year.

Emotions right now often run the gamut. Excitement, intimidation, trepidation, fear, doubt, joy. Maybe you feel excited, or maybe you wish you had more enthusiasm for the year to come.

To help us all get in the mood to not head back to school (you know, since we homeschool and aren’t going to school . . .) you can get a peak into the homes and daily organizers of some other homeschool moms over the next four weeks.

The first edition comes out this week and gives people an opportunity to share their curriculum plans for the upcoming year. If you click the icon above it will take you to the list of other blogs and curriculum sharing which start on Monday August 2. If last year is any indication, hundreds of families will participate over the next month, and they will show you many different styles, ideas, family sizes, student ages, and approaches to homeschooling.

Author: Categories: Curriculum, Homeschool tips Tags: free!

June 25th, 2010

Like I promised, here is the great deal from The sooner you sign up, the longer you can enjoy this. It expires on August 31, so check it out soon! Of course, to take advantage of it, you do need to join the Homeschool Buyers Co-op first.

An Exclusive Co-op Special Offer
*** FREE ***
All Summer Long!
A $69.50 Value!!
Including Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry,and Algebra 2
Offer Expires 08-31-2010 at 11:50 pm Eastern
Homeschool Buyers Co-op
A Complete Homeschool Math Curriculum with a Personal Teacher Inside Every Lesson

Do you want to keep your middle or high schooler engaged with math studies through the summer? The Homeschool Buyers Co-op is pleased to offer members a FREE subscription to, a leading online math curriculum for middle and high school-level math. This subscription gives you full access to ALL courses — Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry — through August 31, 2010.If you were to itemize the elements of an ideal online math program, your list might include some of the following:

  • Video tutorials by an experienced math teacher
  • An abundance of interactive practice exercises, with step-by-step audio explanations
  • Self-tests that your student can take over and over until she develops a sense of mastery.
  • Reports, so that you can keep track track of your student’s progress
  • Audio, video, text, and Flash animations for students visual or auditory learning styles
  • Correlations with standard math texts, so that it can be used in conjunction with your favorite math text
  • Built-in SAT and ACT prep for college-bound students.
  • Self-paced instructionof course! — so that students and proceed as quickly or slowly as needed so as to not become frustrated or bored

If any of those elements are on YOUR wish list, then may be the right program for you, because all of the above are standard features of!

Acclaimed by Homeschoolers

One of the things that drew our interest in were the reviews and testimonials by homeschoolers:

  • “Lessons are very thorough and offer a number of ways for students to learn and practice the material. Explanations are excellent. This is one of the most truly ‘independent-learning’; math courses available.”
    – Cathy Duffy, Author of “100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum”
    (Read more.)
  • “ excels in the comprehensiveness and clarity of the lessons, in the ease of use, and in functionality.”
    – Maria Miller, Founder of
    (Read more.)
  • “”I can personally vouch for this program … awesome!” – Paula H., Co-op Member
  • “WE LOVE YOUR PROGRAM” – Shawna, homeschooler
  • “… perfect for homeschoolers.” – Lisa, homeschooler
  • “… an absolute godsend for us.” – Linda, homeschooler
  • “I love it!” – Melanie, homeschooler
  • “The best website for math on the Internet.” – Shirley, homeschooler
  • “I LOVE your site!!!! So do my children.” – Tamara, homeschooler
  • “I love your lessons…” – Cherie, homeschooler

Available FREE, Exclusively Through the Co-op!

This offer definitely goes into our Group Buy “Hall of Fame” — up to 3 months of a leading math curriculum, absolutely FREE — a $69.50 value! But don’t delay! To take full advantage of this special offer, sign up now! Your free subscription to will expire at midnight, August 31!

To take full advantage of this special offer, place your order TODAY!

Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Homeschool Buyers Co-op

June 24th, 2010

I have mentioned on here before the Homeschool Buyers Co-op. This is a free website that offers great deals to homeschoolers. I finally joined (no idea why I waited so long), and I can tell you it is completely painless. And, the deals are amazing!
Membership is free and confidential, and gives you access to great discounts from over 100 educational suppliers.
They also have a “SmartPoints” program where you get points for doing things that benefit you and other homeschoolers. You can then use your SmartPoints to buy curriculum.

If you click the following link and join, I’ll get 100 SmartPoints, and you’ll get 100 SmartPoints just for joining. (Click me!)

Tune in tomorrow for a great freebie that you will need to be a member of the co-op to join. Free higher level math for the summer . . . be sure to check it out.

Virtual vendor hall

May 12th, 2010


Many of you are fortunate enough to attend a homeschool convention this year and will get to enjoy the overwhelming vendor hall atmosphere. But, just because finances, scheduling conflicts or travel arrangement have kept you from attending this year doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the vendor hall experience. I’ll be booth hopping right from home at the Schoolhouse Expo, and I’m not even attending the expo (which is sold out, btw).

If you’re researching or buying homeschool curriculum, you have to check out the Vendor Hall at the Schoolhouse Expo! It’s open to everyone. Browse through companies such as Rainbow Resource, WriteShop, Apologia, Latin Road, Phonics Road, Multiplication Shake, Go Phonics, and MANY MORE!

Latin Road, Phonics Road has freebies in their booth. Rainbow Resource has a free shipping offer. Spears Art Studio has a free CD. Real Science by Gravitas has a 25% discount coupon.

There is just so much to see. Stop by and meet the virtual hostess from each company, browse their selection, and look for “conference specials”.

You don’t even need your walking shoes or suitcase to lug your purchases in! Be sure to check out the Schoolhouse Expo Vendor Hall.

Disney’s Oceans teacher’s guide

April 22nd, 2010
Oceans Poster
Disney’s new film, Oceans, hit theaters today and if you are interested in working this into your school curriculum, they have a 42 page download available on their site. Go to Disney’s Oceans’ website and click on “for educators.”
They have an 8 page download and a 42 page download as well as some other resources and information. They had a mural contest, but registration has already closed.
A word of warning, that might not even need saying . . . These materials are from Disney and National Geographic, and as such come from an evolutionary mindset. I personally think there is enough beneficial information to make it worthwhile, but I wanted to include that so you can prepare how to best deal with it in your home.

Hope you find this information helpful whether you decide to go see the film or not.

History resources

March 17th, 2010

The History Channel is giving away a free DVD to all schools, and they have some other web based resources that you might find useful:

History in the Classroom

HISTORY™ provides free curriculum resources for middle school and high school classrooms. Explore our This Day in History teacher’s guide

Idea Book for Educators

The Idea Book for Educators is our free biannual teacher’s magazine. Sign up to receive the Idea Book today!


Learn about History Channel interactive lesson plans. Visit History Education to learn more.


Explore significant personalities from throughout history at