Homeschool ABCs | Craft x Stew
Category name:Homeschool ABCs

16 Ways To Stir Your Child’s Creativity

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15 ways to stir your child's creativity

Children are born with innate creativity, so it doesn’t take much to encourage that crucial trait. Just a nudge here or there is plenty.

Here are some fun ways to stimulate the creativity in your child:

1. Paint one wall of your child’s room with chalkboard paint. Remind him to make frequent use of his new canvas.

2. Teach your child your favorite craft.  Use simple projects and large tools to make the learning experience enjoyable.

3. Introduce your child to the concept of the art journal. Explain that thoughts, emotions and ideas can be explored through both pictures and words.

4. Take reading for pleasure a step further. Encourage your child to create illustrations  or clay models of scenes from his favorite books.

5. Give art and craft supplies as holiday and birthday gifts. Something about an unbroken crayon, or a brand new pad of paper,  is irresistible.

6. Find out if your local community center offers weekend art classes for kids. One of my favorite memories is of my childhood ceramic classes where I was free to experiment to my heart’s content.

7. Allow your child some occasional downtime.  Creativity requires a vacuum to thrive.

8. Encourage your child to make some of his own toys.  One summer, while staying at my grandmother’s virtually toy-free home,  I spent every morning inventing my own card games.

9. Head to the library and borrow drawing, painting and crafting books for kids. Make sure your child has the basic supplies he needs, but then, leave him alone to experiment on his own.

10. Make innovation probable. The next time your child asks you to buy something for him, consider asking…what do we already own that we can use instead?

11. Have your child help to plan his own birthday.  Allow him to  decorate the cake, use stickers to dress-up the goody bags, and design his own centerpiece.

12. Introduce your child to the world of online collaboration.  Pictures can be submitted to the Global Children’s Art Gallery and learn about online writing opportunities at Kidpub.

13. Offer your older child frequent creative challenges. Prompt him to draw a happy day, use his Legos to build a park or help with designing projects to utilize empty boxes of tissues.

14. Cooking is always an opportunity for innovation.  Consult your child on what to garnish the salad with, which vegetables to add to the soup, and fun ways to shape the bread dough.

15. If your child dislikes using a pencil or scissors, help him to enjoy drawing programs. Microsoft Paint is easy to learn and fun for  a variety of ages.

16.  Most important, remember that creativity is supposed to be fun. If you find that you are critical or dissatisfied by your child’s efforts, do both yourselves a favor, and quickly walk away.

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325 Fun And Frugal Homeschool Resources

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8437484533_18a43e7e1e_zsource: Charlotte90T

When I first started homeschooling my son I decided we would follow an exact school curriculum. That meant rigorous math, spelling, reading, social studies and science with plenty of homework thrown in.

It was a total disaster.

My son was exhausted and miserable. I was a nervous wreck. It took me all of 24 hours to realize my method was never going to work.

Instead, I totally changed gears.

I got hold of a curriculum guide and made sure we followed it. But instead of using mostly textbooks, wherever possible, I looked for other resources. In other words, instead of teaching civil war from a text, we read a fact-filled historical novel. Instead of doing jumping jacks and pushups for phys ed, we went ice skating and horseback riding. Instead of making him memorize math facts by rote, we used fun math games and software.

As a result of my constant search for fun materials, I became an expert on finding resources.

Here are a couple of our favorites. Of course, the list has been updated, as many of the things we used are longer available and newer and better resources have come out in recent years.

By the way, this list is far from complete, so please feel free to send me comments with the resources you enjoy using.


4765562928_1362387cbf_zsource: Geek Calendar

Math Books

How Math Works by Reader’s Digest
Geometry For Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Math For Every Kid by Janice VanCleave
Multicultural Math by Claudia Zaskavsky
Numbers by Steve Parker
The Moscow Puzzles by Boris Kordemsky
Mathematical Circus by Martin Gardner
The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
Math For Smarty Pants by Marilyn Burns
The Book Of Think by Marilyn Burns
I Hate Mathematics Book by Marilyn Burns
Math Wise! by James L. Overholt
Mathematical Circus by Martin Gardner
Mathemagic by Raymond Blum
Math Trek by Ivars Peterson
Cool Math by Christy Maganzini
Mathematics A Human Endeavor by Harold R. Jacobs

Internet Math Activities

Cool Math Games for Kids – Lemonaide Stand, Brain Busters and more – 25 Games for grades 1-8
Fish Count – A colorful counting game for kids
Time Clock – An easy game for learning how to tell time
Arithmetiles – An enjoyable equation making game


Sciences Resources For Homeschoolerssource: Mosman Library

Science Books

Blood And Guts by Linda Allison
Volcanoes by Philip Steele
Medicine by Steve Parker
Chemical Chaos by Nick Arnold
Nasty Nature by Nick Arnold
Fatal Forces by Nick Arnold
Blood, Bones & Body Bits by Nick Arnold
Solids and Liquids by David Glover
Flying and Floating by David Glover
Batteries, Bulbs, and Wires by David Glover
Sound and Light by David Glover
Body by Andrew Haslam
Building by Andrew Haslam
DK Nature Encyclopedia
DK Guide To Space by Peter Bond
DK Science Encyclopedia
Planet Earth by Martin Redfern
Inventions Explained by Richard Platt
Television by W. Carter Merbreier
The Magic School Bus Series
Earth by Wendy Baker
175 Science Experiments by Brenda Walpole
How Science Works by Reader’s Digest
Fun With Nature: Take Along Guide by Mel Boring
The Kids’ Wildlife Book by Warner Shedd
Bridges by Carol A. Johmann
Skyscrapers! by Carol A. Johmann
Bridges and Tunnels by Donna Latham
Geology Rocks! by Cindy Blobaum
Gear Up! by Keith Good

Science Related Community Resources

4H Projects
Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
The Zoo
Children’s Museums
Science Centers
Factory Tours
Nature Centers
Star Gazing
Local Veterinarian
Animal Shelter

At Home Science Projects

Create a pinhole camera
Keep a nature journal of your own backyard
Do low cost science projects
Make a food pyramid from old magazines
Plant a vegetable garden
Observe your pet and record your findings
Grow an indoor terrarium
Compose new, science-based lyrics for popular tunes
Participate on online projects
Make and observe a bird feeder
Deconstruct (and reconstruct) computers
Make a science fair for other homeschoolers
Make your own rock candy
Create a homemade solar cooker
Invent something
Design and participate in a nature scavenger hunt

Science Television, Radio, Podcasts, Videos

National Geographic Kids
Make Me Genius
Minute Earth
Minute Physics
The Spangler Effect

Science Websites

CIESE – Enables your child to participate in ongoing collaborative projects with schools all over the United States. One of the titles, “The Global Water Sampling Project” gives a good ideas of the flavor of these projects.


3293117576_05f43d8305_zsource: Jeffrey James Pacres

Writing Books

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme by Jack Prelutsky
Look At My Book by Loreen Leedy
Keeping a Journal by Trudy Trueit
Research and Writing Skills by Rachael Stark
You Can Write a Report by Jennifer Rozines Roy
Kids Write Right! by Jan Venolia
Get Wise! by Nathan Barber
Word Crafting by Cindy Marten
Scholastic Writer’s Desk Reference by Scholastic
Spelling Book by Edward Bernard Fry
Painless Spelling by Mary Podhaizer

At Home Writing Projects

Enter all kinds of contests
Keep a nature journal of your own backyard
Write to an email penpal
Keep a diary
Design a web page
Observe your pet and record your findings
Write a script for a puppet show
Solve crossword puzzles
Play scrabble and other word board games
Compose new lyrics for popular tunes
Try your hand at writing poetry


32646191332_ebfb5eaf3d_zsource: ThoroughlyReviewed


Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Redwall by Brian Jacques
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander
The High King by Lloyd Alexander
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

Literature Related Community Resources

Attend free puppet shows
Attend free Reading Hours at the library
Volunteer for community theater
Volunteer at the library

Literature Related Television

Sesame Street
Reading Rainbow
Between The Lions

Online Books With Lesson Plans

Book: Paul Bunyan
Resource: Paul Bunyan Lesson Plan

Book: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Resource: TheTale of Peter Rabbit Lesson Plan

Book: The Little Red Hen
Resource: The Little Red Hen Lesson Plan

Book: The Lion and the Mouse
Resource: The Lion and the Mouse Lesson Plan

Book: The Turtle and the Hare
Resource: The Turtle and the Hare Lesson Plan

Book: Puss In Boots
Resource: Puss in Boots Lesson Plan

Book: Bremen Town Musicians
Resource: Bremen Town Musicians Lesson Plan

Book:The Secret Garden
Resource: The Secret Garden Novel Guide

Book: Call of the Wild
Resource: Call of the Wild Reader’s Guide

Book: Alice in Wonderland
Resource: Alice In Wonderland Comprehension Questons

Book: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Resource: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Lesson Plans

Book: Wizard of Oz
Resource: Wizard of Oz Comprehension Questions

Book: Anne of Green Gables
Resource: Anne of Green Gables Study Guide

Book: Treasure Island
Resource: Treasure Island Study Guide

Book: Beowulf
Resource: Beowulf Lesson Plan

Book: Huckleberry Finn
Resource: Huckleberry Finn Study Guide

Book: Julius Caesar
Resource: Julius Caesar Lesson Plan

Book: Macbeth
Resource: Macbeth Reader’s Guide

Book: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Resource: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Reader’s Guide

Book: Hamlet
Resource: Hamlet Lesson Plan

Book: Pride and Prejudice
Resource: Pride and Prejudice Lesson Plan

Book: Wuthering Heights
Resource: Wuthering Heights Lesson Plan

Book: The Red Badge of Courage
Resource: A Study Guide For The Red Badge of Courage

Book: Little Women
Resource: Little Women Lesson Plan

Book: Peter Pan
Resource: Peter Pan Lesson Plan

Book: The Velveteen Rabbit
Resource: The Velveteen Rabbit Lesson Guide

Book: The Jungle Book
Resource: The Jungle Book Lesson Plans

Book: Just So Stories
Resource: Just So Stories Lesson Plan

Book: Heidi
Resource: Heidi Lesson Ideas

Book: Robinson Crusoe
Resource: Robinson Crusoe Lesson Ideas

Literature Related Internet Resources

The Online Books Page – This fabulous site contains over 25,000 books to read online. – Use a dictionary or thesaurus.
Reading Quest – Handouts and lesson plans to improve reading comprehension.
Book Printables – A nice selection of book related activity pages for younger kids.

Phys Ed

7146979359_32ee4e4de5_zsource: Carl Wycoff

Community Resources For Phys Ed

Boy and Girl Scouts Hikes and/or Camping Trips
School and Park Playgrounds
4H Archery Unit
Boy Scouts Sponsored Target Shooting
Biking Trails
Hiking Trails
Neighborhood Baseball Games
Swimming at Beaches
Little League
Summer Park Programs

Home Phys Ed Ideas

* Rig up your own Tetherball game by placing a tennis ball in a sock and attaching it to a tree with a string or light rope.
* Use empty 2 liter soda bottles to create a makeshift bowling alley.
* Gather all your spare balls from around the house and set up a bocce ball game.
* Tie together the ends of a long piece of elastic to create a Chinese jump rope.
* Make your own golf course by digging holes in your backyard and filling them with tin cans.
* Hula hoops are generally available for the dollar store.
* A table tennis set can be purchased for less than $10.00 at discount stores. Set it up on your dining room table and you’re ready to play.
* Learning to walk on stilts can be a great cardiovascular exercise.

Phys Ed Related Videos

Shiny Clean Dance
Body Bop
Boom Chicka Boom
Happy Dance
Dr. Knickerbocker
Goodbye Song
I Am The Music Man
From Your Seat
Move and Freeze

Phys Ed Lesson Plans

The Physical Education Lesson Plan Page – Adaptable for one child or small groups of children.
PE Central – I especially like their dance lessons.
Kid’s Games – Let your child get his daily exercise while playing games.

Art & Music

source: Gina Lee Kim

Art & Music Books

Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids: His Life and Ideas
The Kids’ Multicultural Art Book: Art and Craft Experiences from Around the World
Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures
Ecoart!: Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3-To 9-Year-Olds
Kids Make Music!: Clapping & Tapping from Bach to Rock
Adventures in Art: Art and Craft Experiences for 7-To 14-Year-Olds
Kids Create: Art and Craft Experiences for 3 to 9-Year-Olds

Art & Music Activities

Study cartooning
Make nature crafts – painted rock, dried flowers
Build from cardboard
Create a birthday card
Make a quilt from recycled materials
Build with scrap materials
Learn origami
Make your own holiday presents
Make handmade paper
Create paper mache bowls from old newspapers
Learn to paint with watercolors
Learn to sew
Design a variation on the game checkers
Practice cake decorating
Buy and learn to play the recorder of harmonica
Draw original mazes

Art & Music Related Community Resources

Free Art Exhibits
Free Concerts
Attend local museums on free days

Social Studies

source: Thomas

Social Studies Books

Pyramids!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience Ancient Egypt
Japan: Over 40 Activities to Experience Japan
Going West!: Journey on a Wagon Train to Settle a Frontier Town
Mexico: 40 Activities to Experience
Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Encourage Cultural Awareness
A Kid’s Guide to Asian American History: More than 70 Activities
The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Join the Corps
Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Middle Ages
Make Map Art: Creatively Illustrate Your World
100 Things to Do Before You Grow Up: National Geographic Kids

Social Studies Hands On Activities

Design a quiz type game show on history
Cook an authentic Chinese dinner
Create a historically accurate diorama from scrap materials
Arrange a neighborhood yard sale
Get a job walking dogs, cleaning or doing errands for a neighbor

Social Studies Community Resources

Children’s Museums
A Subway Trip
Museums (on free days)
Fire Station
Nursing Home Volunteer
Hospital Volunteer
Community Festivals
Church/Synagogue Activities
Historic District
Borrow educational videos from the library
Flea Markets
Farmer’s Markets


source: Christina Kessler

Online Preschool Books

The Adventures of Sidney – A choose your own adventure story.
Anthropolis – Has related songs and pop-up dictionary.
The Adventurous Bunny and Easter Island – Illustrations for this book are made out of felt.
Bembo’s Zoo – You MUST check out this wonderful alphabet book.
Alice In Wonderland – Lovely color illustrations on every page. Excellent!
Bunny and the Robot – Bunny and Mugsy build the FRED 2000
Bunny and the Haunted House – Bunny learns practical jokes are not fun.
Bunny and the Pirates – Bunny and Blue Penguin go exploring
Bunny and the Scary Movie – Bunny learns that scary movies can lead to scary dreams.
Bunny and the Wild Crazy Sheep – Bad behavior can lead to unpleasant consequences.
Bunny and the Brave Bear – Bunny takes a balloon trip and learns an important lesson.
Blue Penguin and Bob the Guinea Pig – Older children may be able to read this on their own.
The Bee’s Knees – Silly little story with attractive illustrations.
The Monkey’s Blue – Learn about monkeys in a fun way.
Perhaps – Super cute book about a boy who hears scary noises in the dark.
Miggi In Space – The story of Miggi’s adventures in space.
Miggi Gets Some Pants – Has a regular version and a surprise version.
A to Z – Animated ABC’s.
Dottie’s Garden – A good story for very young audience.
Even and Odd – Two beetles teach your child counting.
I Spy – A familiar children’s games helps to review colors.
One Little Ball – An animated counting book.
Sammy’s Shapes – A nice review of shapes.
What Is Kwanzaa – Teach your child about this holiday.
Old MacDot’s Farm – A well done re-creation of a familiar song.
The Story of Jeremy Dragonfly and Schlomo The Dog – Jeremy needs a dog.
Jeremy Dragonfly Catches The Art Bug – The simple story is followed by three online art activities.
Merpy and the Monsters Go Swimming – Another wonderful tale from M.R. Petit.
Merpy’s Bad Mood – Sweet and funny at the same time!
The Ghoulashes Birthday – The Ghoulashes find out their friends really do care about them.
Merpy’s Graduation – Merpy graduates from Monster School.
The Story of Jeremy Dragonfly – Beautiful music, text and illustrations tell the saga of Jeremy.
Introducing Rufus The Firefly – Rufus is always getting into trouble.
Moogie The Messie Beastie – Very well done story about why it’s good to be neat.
No Goozles – Sometimes a change of plans can be for the best.
My Two Blue Shoes – A short, Dr. Seuss-like story of the adventures of two shoes.
Barnyard Babies – A singing storybook.
Emily Elizabeth Goes to School – Part of the Clifford The Big Red Dog series.
“Here, Clifford” – Help Emily Elizabeth find Clifford.
Clifford’s Big Dig – Clifford is looking for a hidden surprise.
Where is Emily? – Help Clifford search for Emily Elizabeth.
A Paper Chain for Edgar and Andrew – The bunny children go to their grandparents house.
But That Wasn’t The Best Part – Find out what was the best part of the parade.
Pigmoose on the Loose – Pigmoose makes a big mess.
Pigmoose on the Loose, Again! – Uh Oh.  Pigmoose got out again.
Art is for Everyone – Everyone sees the world and makes art a different way.
The Kitsville Caper – The adventure of Jasper the detective cat.
Shyanne, The Blue Cow and Friends – Shyanne makes friends with the animals.
When I Grow Up – A boy considers all the things he can be when he grows up.
Tippity Witchet’s Fish Ditty – A very pleasant poem about fish.  Nice illustrations.

Preschool Community Resources

Animal Shelter
Exotic Pet Store
Pick-Your-Own Farms
Grocery Store
Free Puppet Shows
The Airport

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10 Ways to Help Your ADHD Homeschooler

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10-ways-to-help-your-adhd-childsource: amenclinicsphotos ac

Homeschooling is a wonderful option for an adhd child.  It allows the child to receive an individualized education at the hands of a devoted teacher.  And, it allows his special “issues” to be dealt with fairly and patiently.

Here are some tips for helping your adhd child thrive in the homeschool:

1) If you suspect adhd but have not yet had your child tested, go ahead and take the plunge. The faster you have your child diagnosed and treated, the better for you both.

2) If your doctor recommends medication, don’t drive yourself crazy questioning  his opinion.  If your doctor told you to get your child glasses, you would do it without researching every point-of-view on the subject.  Adhd medication should be treated the same way as glasses.

3) Chunk down assignment into small pieces.  Large assignments can be overwhelming for some children.

4) Allow extra time for completing assignments if your child needs it.  My son is great at math but it takes him more time than many other children.

5) Allow short, frequent rest breaks instead of one long one.  Our homeschooling schedule was an hour of work, followed by twenty minutes of break.

6) Make sure you are available to give you child plenty of reminders to stay on task.  ”Get back to work please,”  is all you need to say.

7) Please, NO lectures or punishments.  Children want to please their parents.  If your child could do better, he would do better.

8) Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t accomplish as much each day as the books say you should.  ADHD kids naturally work slower than other children.

9) Try alternative methods of learning.  Science doesn’t have to be always learned from a textbook.  For instance, participation is 4H, watching videos and doing experiments are also good ways to learn science.

10) If you feel yourself stressing out, join an adhd support group.  One or two visits to the group will quickly convince you that your situation is normal and okay.

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10 Ways to Real World Writing

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source: Ron Lute

Most children hate to write. Writing assignments elicit a higher number of groans per  task than any other type of assignment (except for math, maybe).  However, there are ways around this problem.

One way to overcome this problem is to make your child’s writing assignments “real world”.  “Real world” assignments are tasks that really accomplish a purpose.  The motivation to write is built right into the purpose behind the task.

For instance, ask your child to write a pretend complaint letter and you will get nothing but complaints.  But, ask that same child to send off a real complaint letter, to a company that produced a shoddy toy, and the child will run to get paper and pen.

Here are some more real life writing activities:

1) Letters to the Editor.  Many children’s magazines have an area for their readers to write in with question, comments and opinions.  Take a look at your child’s favorite periodical to find out if they welcome submissions.

2) Letters to Friends or Relatives.  Explain to your child that writing letters is a good way for them to stay in touch with family and friends that live out of state.

3) Family Newsletter. An alternative to letter writing may be for your child (with your help) to produce a monthly or quarterly family newsletter.  Keep this strictly a writing activity, however.  Trying to combine the newsletter with lessons on word processing or graphics, will make writing a harder task than it needs to be.

4) Personal Blog or Website. Show your child some of the fabulous blogs written by children and ask him if he is interested in producing his own.  The topic doesn’t matter.  200 words written on the latest computer game is still an effective writing assignment.

5) Letters to a Pen Pal. The internet is full of penpal request lists.  Just be sure to preread everything your child receives or sends out to make sure it follows the rules of internet safety.

6) Writing for Freebies.  Kids love freebies and this is a highly motivating way to get him to write.  Freebie offers are available all over the internet.

7) Kids Websites.  Several child-oriented websites publish stories and poetry submitted by their readers. Many children get a thrill seeing their work  placed online.

8) Diary or Journal. A beautiful diary is a wonderful way to inspire your child to write.  Even if you are not allowed to read it, you can still be glad your child is getting daily writing practise.

9) Scrapbooking. Girls love to scrapbook and scrapbooking involves both art and journaling. Use art time for preparing the scrapbook page and writing time to do the journaling.

10) Get Well Cards.  Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that collects and distributes get well cards to sick children. A list of do’s and dont’s is available on their website.

Bonus Way:

Write an Author. If your child has a favorite book have him write a letter to the author.  The letter can be fan mail or a question about a favorite part. How-to’s for writing authors is available online.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home

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10 Ways to a Better Math Program

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10 Ways to a better math programsource: Dicemanic

Math is the least liked subject in most homeschools (writing is second). Often, both parents and children dread the daily math period.  And yet, a strong math program is important for a well rounded education.

With this in mind, anything that makes math time a little more enjoyable should be vigorously adopted.  Here are a couple of ideas to lighten up this difficult subject.

1.  Play some computer games to supplement practise times when possible. Online games for all ages  are available at FunBrain.

If your are going to purchase a game, make sure you get one with a high educational value, by reading several reviews first.

2. Read fun books like Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School and The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat. These may be available at your library.

3.  Do math puzzles.  Amazing Math Puzzles by Adam Hart-Davis is an especially good book. Online math puzzles for all ages are available at Figure This.

4.  Make sure you use an enjoyable textbook.  Look on Amazon for reviews before buying.

5.  There are some really fun math workbooks available.  Check out 22 Math Puzzle Mini-Books by Michael Schiro and Whodunit Math Puzzles by Bill Wise.

6. Go to a hands-on science museum. Most science museums have math sections.

7. Play some (non-computer) math games.  When my son was younger we used Math Games and Activites From Around The World by Claudia Zaslavsky.  The games in this book aren’t for drilling; They primarily teach mathematical concepts.

Lots of other games are also available free.

8.  Do some off-line math projects. How Math Works by Carol Vorderman is fabulous.  It has dozens of wonderful projects.  The emphasis is on concepts…not drilling.

9. Do some on-line math projects.  The internet has tons of free projects ideas.  Most of these are designed for groups but can be modified for one person.  Check out webquests for some projects to get you started.

10. Use some really great lesson plans.  The best online math lessons I have found came from a website called Fun Math Lessons by Cynthia Lanius.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home

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Educational Art Sites For Kids

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The Artist’s Toolbox

Art in homeschools usually consists of drawing, craft kits and craft projects. These are all great ways to explore art and are easy for parents to implement.

Once in while, though, it’s a good idea to teach a little art theory. This is where The Artist’s Toolbox comes in.

The Artist’s Toolbox is a free site from The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It offers an illustrated art encyclopedia and movies of real artists in action. Best of all, though, is its exploration section.

The exploration section of the site has animated demonstrations on the tools of line, color, space, shape, balance and movement. After each demonstration your child can locate the use of the tool on real-life works of art and then create his own art using the same tool.

The Artist’s Toolkit is a easy-to-use site. Both you and your child will enjoy it.


I’m a big fan of teaching arts and crafts to kids. I believe everyone needs a creative outlet, and art projects provide one. Plus, art improves small motor skills.

Even if art just isn’t your “thing”, it’s still possible to provide a great program for your child. A wonderful website, called Kinder Art, has everything you need to create lesson plans for basic subjects like drawing, painting, sculpture, and much more. It also has lesson plans on more esoteric subjects such as printmaking, textiles, folk art and multicultural art.

Kinder Art is virtually a one-stop resource for everything you’ll ever need in the art lesson department.

Crayola Creativity Center

Crayola Creativity Central is chock full of fun and inexpensive crafts for kids, educational materials for teaching and great reads for parents.

There are two extra bonus sections for educators and parents.  The section for educators has curriculum ideas for young children, lesson plans and some nice printables.  The parent’s section has printable travel games, lots of party planning freebies and an eight page pdf on encouraging creativity in kids.

Crayola Creativity Central is an absolute don’t-miss site.  Even if your child doesn’t enjoy crafts there is still lots to read, print and do.

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High School Science, The No-Math Way

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Science, The No-Math Waysource: Ohio Sea Grant

When it came time to teach my son high school science, I knew I was going to have a problem.  I have no science or math background at all.  And, since I was already paying hundreds of dollars a month for religious tutoring, I had no additional money left for private science classes.

Since I knew my son was not going to go to major in the sciences in college, I took a shortcut. 

Here’s what I did:

1) For the first two years of science we studied Life Science and Biology.  Neither of these subjects require a lot of math skills.

2) For chemistry and physics I bought regular high school science texts and taught as much as I could from those books.  When I got to chapters that were too complicated for me to teach, I went to the library and got out an easy books that covered that same material.  We used that book for the chapter instead.

For chapters in which there was no book, we skipped them entirely.  We skipped anything to do with math. Sometimes we skipped so much we were unable to return to the book and that was as far as we got in that science.

3) We read a lot of non-technical science books and websites.  For instance, we read articles from How Stuff Works almost every week.

4) We participated in collaborative, online science projects from CIESE and other interactive sites.

5) We used a lot of science experiments and equipment bought very cheap at the local charity thrift store.  We made a mouse robot, looked at slides of onion skins and made a working radio.  We even found an old Radio Shack 40-in-1 kit and spent time making circuits.

6) Lastly, we took out all the science videos at the library and watched them over and over.  When they ran out of new ones, we bought videos from ebay, watched videos online and listened to science radio programs.

The way we did science was far from what is recommended by the school system, but it worked.  My son had a basic knowledge of all the sciences….enough to pass the GED and more than he will ever need for real life.  I figured if he goes to college and needs two sciences to graduate, he can take astronomy and earth science, like I did. Sometimes, when you have no choice, practical has got to win over correct.

Update: When I first published this article, ten years ago, I got a lot of criticism.

Some homeschooling parents said I was letting my son down by not giving him a math-based science program. Since hindsight is always 100% accurate, I’ll tell you what actually happened post high school.

My son decided against going to college. Instead, instead he took the Comptia A+ certification test to become a computer repairman. After a few years, he became bored with fixing computers and took a 18 month technical course in programming. He now works as a CSS programmer for a major website development firm. He is well payed and his boss said that as he improves his skills his pay will increase. He is currently learning Drupal 7.

As far as income, my son makes more than many professionals with college educations. As to job satisfaction, he loves his job.

He may eventually go to college, but if not, he’s doing great as is.

Read More: Homeschool ABCs or Home



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