Tuesday, August 31, 2010

4th Grade Spelling Lists

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to teach your fourth grader how to spell, you may want to check out the 4th grade spelling lists here.  In addition to the 30 spelling units, there are also hangman and abc order games to practice each lesson.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Winner of $20 Gift Card from GiftZip.Com

We have a winner in our GiftZip.com contest!

The winner is comment #127

shirley said...Email subscriber

I have emailed the winner who has 48 hours to send me their mailing address or I will pick another winner. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Clothespin Letters

A package of wooden clothespins can go a long way in teaching beginning reading skills, word skills and phonemic awareness! First, write a letter of the alphabet on each of the clothespins from A to Z.  Then hang a line of string along a wall or even outside between trees.  Next have your child  put them in alphabetical order!  You can even start with just a few letters at a time.  Another idea is to use the clothespins to make words (like 3 or 4 letter short and long vowel words).  You can also write each of the letters on some tag board and have your child match them up. There are endless ways to use clothespins as learning tools!   What other ideas can you think of?

Word Build Write

Here is a fun way to practice sight words or spelling words with your homeschooler.  Simply print out this form.   I laminated the sheet so that it could be reused over and over again.  You could also place it in a page protector.  Then have your child pick one of the words from the pile to place in the word box.  Then have your child build the word using magnetic letters.  Finally have your child write the word.using a thin dry erase marker.

Sight Word Ring

If your kiddo is working on learning his or her sight words, you may want to make a sight word ring for them to practice whenever they have a free moment (in the car, waiting in line, at the doctor's office, etc.). Simply print out one of these lists on card stock and laminate for durability.  Punch  hole at the top of each one and place on a binder ring.

Phonics Packet

If you have a beginning reader in your house you will definitely want to check out this free printable phonics packet.  It is 43 pages long and is packed with tons of fun phonics activities including:

* letter recognition
*beginning letter sounds
* read aloud poetry
* letter sorting

Read Aloud Questions To Ask Your Child

Here are some questions to ask your child as you read aloud to them to help build reading and comprehension skills:

Create Connections
o       When you read that story, did it remind you of anything you know about?
o       Why did it remind you of that event?
o       If it did remind you of something in your life, did it remind you of any experiences or things that have happened?
o       Are there things you know about or things in your life that help you to understand this book?
o       How does that help?

o       What did you wonder about (or question) while you were reading this story?
o       What questions do you have about this book now?

o       When you were reading this, did you make any pictures in your head?
o       Tell me everything you can about that picture or image you made while you were reading just now.
o       Do the pictures that you just told me about help you to understand the story?

o       Can you predict what is going to happen?
o       Why did you make that prediction?
o       Can you identify something in the book that helped you to make that prediction?
o       What did the author mean by ____?
o       What in the story helped you know that?

Synthesize Information
o       If you were to tell another person about the story you just read, and you could only use a few sentences, what would you tell them?
o       Think about what you have just said about the story.
o       What do you understand now that you didn’t understand before?


o       Did you have any problems while you were reading this story?
o       What could you do to solve the problem?
o       When you are reading other stories, what kinds of problems do you have?
o       What are all the ways you solve the problems?

Conversion Fact Sheet

Here is a great printable conversion fact sheet for using during math lessons, math practice, and more.  The conversion fact sheet is on the 3rd page of the PDF, but there are also great math challenges to have your child try on the first two pages.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pete the Cat - I Love My White Shoes Lesson Plan

Wearing his brand new, white shoes, Pete the Cat sets off down the street to take a walk. Along the way, he begins singing,
I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes.
However, Pete's so busy singing, he doesn't realize he's come across a giant pile of strawberries... and his shoes are no longer white, they're red! Pete doesn't become upset though, and instead adjusts his song to fit his shoes. As the story continues, Pete runs into numerous other problems, all of which change the color of his shoes, but not his attitude!

This is a perfect story for children, as it deliberately states at the end of the book,
The moral of Pete's story is:
No matter what you step in,
keep walking along and
singing your song.

 Learn about shapes and colors with this emergent reader, Red Square, Red Square, what do you see?

  Practice reading color words with this car themed emergent reader. 


Books with repetitive story lines like this one make a great starting point for children to make take-off pages of their own. You can make a take-off book with this worksheet.

Watch the book being read here:

If you are interested in purchasing Pete the Cat - I Love My White Shoes please consider supporting Homeschool Parent by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

Math Flowers

These math flower worksheets are a great way to practice math facts!

Chicken Soup With Rice

I was super excited to find one of my childhood faves, Carol King's 70s children's classic, Chicken Soup With Rice on YouTube!

For more practice with the months of the year, try these calendar tags.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Personal Dictionary

This personal dictionary is a great way to assist your child in their quest to master the art of spelling. The booklet features a variety of  spelling and language arts reference materials for students in grades 3 to 8. The personal dictionary also includes a page for each letter of the alphabet which allows your child the opportunity to record assigned spelling words or those words which simply prove to be troublesome. Also within the booklet, you will find an alphabetized list of 1000 high-frequency spelling words, commonly found in 3rd through 9th grade texts. There are also vocabulary sections devoted to commonly used, and misspelled spelling words in mathematics (counting numbers through one hundred, ordinal numbers through one hundred, & mathematical operation terminology), geography (continents, oceans, countries, 50 states, and major U.S. cities), as well as calendar terminology (days, months, seasons, and noted holidays).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Van Gogh Lesson Plan

Vincent Van Gogh was a famous Dutch artist.  Older students may want to read this biography about Van Gogh along with these reading questions.

Sunflower Series

Van Gogh painted a series of sunflower paintings like the one below:  Learn more about this series here.


1. Count how many sunflowers you see in the picture above.
2. How many different colors do you see?
3. What fraction of the sunflowers are facing forward?


Learn more about sunflowers with this sunflower coloring book.

Make your own sunflower art with this weaving activity. 

Starry Night

Another famous Van Gogh piece is called Starry Starry Night.  A picture of the painting is below:


Have your child practice counting stars.

You can also use stars for counting, sorting, adding, subtracting and multiplying.

For multiplying, point out that each star has 5 points.  One star times 5 points equals 5 points, 1 X 5 = 5, two stars 2 X 5 = 10 etc.

Learn more about Van Gogh with this video:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Lesson Plan


Introduce the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Ask the child what they think the story is going to be about based on the title.  As you are reading the story make note of words not known to be looked up in the dictionary.

A fun packet for completing after reading the story, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Includes a syllables worksheet, reading comprehension questions, creative writing worksheet, and multiplication worksheet.
Language Arts

Explain to your child that a noun names a person, place, or thing.  What nouns can they find in the book?


Write about your own "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."


Locate Australia on a map or globe. Find out ten interesting facts about this country.


Invisible Art 

Mrs. Dickens likes Paul’s picture of a sailboat better than Alexander’s picture of an invisible castle. On a white piece of paper, paint a picture using lemon juice. (As you paint you will be able to see the juice. When the juice dries, it will be invisible.) When your painting dries, have a parent press it with an iron. The heated lemon juice will turn brown, revealing your artwork. Mount your picture on construction paper.

You can watch the story being read here:

If you are interested in purchasing Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day please consider supporting Homeschool Parent by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ABC Go Fish

These adorable cards make for a great way to practice letter recognition!  Print out two copies to play Go Fish with your little one. Laminate the cards for durability.

Flap Book For Report Writing

Flap Books are a great way to teach organizational skills for report writing.  They can also be used to teach paragraph writing with a main idea and detail sentences.

To make a flap book:

You will need three sheets of paper.  Line them up about an inch apart.  Fold one end over to create extra flaps, and staple at top.

Name Book

If your little one is working on writing his or her name, you may want to try making one of these Name Books from Teach Preschool.   Simply print out as many pages as you need for your child's name. Include a laminated copy of your child's name for easy reference.  I have a laminated name plate for Luke that he uses a dry erase marker on to practice first.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Using Sandpaper Letters


Sand paper letters (they are often pricey, so if you don't want to purchase them, you can make your own)


1. Choose three letters to start with.  I started using the sandpaper letters s, m, t. They’re good letters to start with because they’re used so often in the English language. Bring the letters to a table or a rug on the floor. Have your child sit beside you.

First Period: Introduction (“This is”)

2. Trace the letter “s” using the index and middle fingers of your right hand while making the “s” phonetic sound.

3. Invite your child to trace “s”.

4. Do the same with the letter “m” and then the letter “t”.

Second Period: Association – Recognition (“Show me”)

5. Say, “Show me “s”. Show me “t”, etc. (Note: Always use the phonetic sound, not the letter name when introducing the sandpaper letters.)

6. “Trace “s”. Trace “t”, etc.

Third Period: Recall (“What is this?”)

Only go to the third period when you know your child will be successful.

7. Put a letter in front of your child and say: “Can you trace this and tell me what it is?” You could also say, “What is this?” Continue with the other letters in the same way.

Here’s a video from InfoMontessori.com on how to use the three-period lesson to introduce sandpaper letters.

Scrabble Kitchen Magnets

We bought some Scrabble pieces at a garage sale and I had planned on just using them on the table for spelling practice, but I decided to place some magnetic tape on the back and let the boys play with them on the fridge.  They were a hit!  They actually begged to practice their spelling words!

Free Printable Alphabet Flashcards

Homemade by Jill has created some FREE Printable Alphabet Flashcards. There are two cards available for each letter. Print them out back to back, laminate, and put on a metal ring.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lego Cad

Older kiddos will love this Lego Cad program where they can design their own creations.  Excellent introduction to Auto Cad, perfect for the budding engineer in your family.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Learning the ABC's With Elmo

Luke absolutely LOVES this Elmo video!

Here are some other activities to learn the ABC's:

ABC flashcards

Sign Language Alphabet

Alphabet Song Tracer

Assess your child's ability to write their uppercase letters.

Assess your child's ability to write lowercase letters

Simple Subtraction Online Game

Help the duck get to where he is going by solving subtraction problems with this fun on-line game at Toon University.  Choose from three different levels for a variety of challenge.

Free Alphabet Photo Cards

Children identify letter sounds as they explore kid-pleasing photos for each letter of the alphabet! Perfect for pocket charts, games, and more. Printable cards also include fun activities to help children learn to distinguish and recognize initial letter sounds.

Download cards here.

ABC Reading Eggs

Beginning on August 16 and continuing through September 30, 2010, Blake Publishing and Reading Eggs will launch the first-ever “National Learn-to-Read Challenge.” For six weeks, children from the ages of 3 to 7 will be able to sign up for free, at ABCReadingEggs.com (www.abcreadingeggs.com), and participate in this national literacy event for youngsters.

The goal of the Challenge is for parents to register at least 50,000 children and start them on their journey to becoming great readers. Children’s Television personality and celebrated mom blogger Miss Lori is serving as Ambassador of the Reading Eggs “National Learn-to-Read Challenge,” which promotes the importance of reading as a vital educational building block.

Win a $20 Gift Card of Your Choice From GiftZip.com

I heard a man say yesterday that Gift Cards were the answers to all men's prayers of finding a good gift for the women in their life.  I couldn't agree more, and that is why I am excited to offer one of my readers a $20 gift card to the retailer of your choice from GiftZip.com.  In addition to the retailers listed above, there are tons more!  You simply click on a retailer of your choice and GiftZip.com takes you directly to their secure, electronic gift card.

To Buy a Gift Card, simply visit their site at GiftZip.com



1.   Visit GiftZip.com and tell me what gift card you would like to win! (Remember to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!



2. Like Giftzip.com on Facebook

3. Follow Giftzip.com on Twitter

4. Follow homeschool parent publically using Google Friend Connect

5. Follow homeschool parent on Twitter

6. Subscribe to homeschool parent by email

7. Like Homeschool parent on Facebook

8. Tweet about this giveaway (3 entries!)

You can use the following tweet:

I entered to win a $20 gift card from  @giftzip and @kellys3ps here http://bit.ly/czvXcq 

Contest Ends Aug 29th!

Free Back-to-School and ABC Coloring & Activity Pages

Here are some Free Back-to-School Coloring and Activity  Pages from Michael's for your little ones to enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Math TV

If you are having difficulty explaining math concepts to your child, you may want to head over to Math TV for their free math videos that offer step-by-step explanations for all sorts of problems.  Each concept has several teachers who offer explanations with various ways of solving the problems.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Learning Fans

Here is a fun way to review skills such as counting by ones, fives, or tens.  Simply write the skill to be learned on rectangles, place one on top of the other and fasten the bottom with a paper fastener. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Where's the Worm Number Identification Game

Print out the game card here.

1. Lay the apples out on a flat surface, like a table.
2. Player #1 hides the worm under one of the apples.
3. The other players take turns guessing which apple the worm is under by calling out the numbers on the apples.
4. Player #1 turns over the apples to reveal if they were correct.
5. The player that finds the apple is the winner and gets to hide the worm next!
Make the game easier by arranging the apples in correct number order.
Make the game harder by arranging the apples in random order.

Apple Counting

These adorable apples can be print out and used for a variety of mathematical activities including: number order, greater or less than, addition, and subtraction.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Lesson Plan

Introduce the book The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash. Point out that there are sometimes only a few words on the pages, so the child will have to pay close attention to the illustrations. 

While reading the story, ask child what is happening and why each event occurred. For example: Why did the farmer crash into the haystack? Why were the pigs on the bus? Why were they eating the lunches? Is the book fiction or nonfiction? How do they know?
After reading  the story, list some of the events in the story on a white board or piece of paper. For example: The children threw corn. The chicken got excited and laid an egg. The farmer's wife was screaming. Ask child what caused these events. (e.g., They ran out of eggs. Jimmy's boa scared the chickens. The boa was in the laundry.) Add these causes to the board or chart paper before the events. 

Introduce the vocabulary term cause and effect. Explain that a cause is what makes something happen, and label the first column causes. Explain that each cause has an effect, or what happened, and label the second column effects.

Give the child a blank paper and have child fold it in half and label  one side "cause" and the other side "effect." Ask the child to pick any event from the story and draw its cause and effect.

Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Cause and Effect Flowchart
Students complete a flowchart with cause and effect from the story.

After  you read The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, put the event boxes in the order that they are told in the story. Click and drag the event boxes to the numbered positions in the snake.
Boa constrictor comprehension story with questions.
Students read a short nonfiction story about boa constrictors and answer several questions.


The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Spelling Words

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash Crossword Puzzle 

Farm Animal Word Find


The Day Jimmys Boa Ate the Wash Writing Prompt

Why do you think the snake caused problems on the bus.  Explain the reasons here in.My Writing Space.

Draw pieces of laundry and clothing, such as towels, tops, and dresses, on construction paper. Retell the story by writing on one side of the cut-outs.




Natural History Notebooks: Boa Constrictors
Information and images of boa constrictors.  Use what you learn to write a book about snakes with this page.

If you are interested in purchasing The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash please consider supporting Homeschool Parent by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!

Free Post-It Notes!

I absolutely love post-its, or as I call them, sticky notes, and right now there is a great $1/1 Post-it Note coupon out. I got these free at Wal-Mart, because they are on sale for $1! They are also on sale for $1 at Target and Kmart too.  “Yea for free sticky notes!”

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Initial Sound Picture Cards

Initial sound picture cards (a-z), three per A4 page. Ideal for use in phonics games and activities.  Have your child sort the cards by initial sound.

Weather Wiz Kids

Created by a television meteorologist, Weather Wiz Kids was designed especially for kids to allow them to learn more about the fascinating world of weather. It’s also a wonderful educational website for teachers and parents to give them the right tools to explain the different types of weather to children.
The site features information about all sorts of weather phenomena including: hurricanes, tornadoes, temperature, earthquakes, and more.

To learn more about weather, try one of these activites:

Weather graph

Weather sequencing

Measuring tornadoes

Printable Handwriting Paper

Handwriting paper is so much easier for little writers to work with, but it can be pricey!  Here are printable sheets that can be used for handwriting practice. 

*Tip Print out a sheet and place it in a sheet protector to re-use and save even more money!

Color Rule & Yellow Stripe Printable Handwriting Paper

color rule

Black & White Printable Handwriting Paper

black and white handwriting paper

American History Themes Handwriting Paper

This paper is suitable for the middle grades or so. The rule is 5/16 of an inch.

More ThemesFor more Themed paper: Notebook Filler Paper

Back to School Deals at Office Depot 8/8

There are even more school supplies on sale this week!  Check out the deals below that Office Depot will offer starting tomorrow, August 8th, through August 14th…

Weekly Deals
* Wilson Jones 1 inch Poly Binder 25¢ (limit 3)
* Schoolworks 5 inch Scissors 25¢ (limit 3)
* Bookcovers 25¢
* Paper Portfolios 5¢ (limit 5)
* Composition Books 50¢ (limit 3)
* Sharpie Accent Pocket Highligher 6 pack 75¢ (limit 3)

$1 Deals
* Mini milk crates
* Solar Card Display Calculator
* Notebook Filler Paper
* Westcott Twist-It Flexible Ruler
* Select Fashion Portfolios
* Scholastic Washable Markers 8 pack

$2 Deals
* Office Depot Book covers
* Westcott Aluminum Ruler
* Elmer’s Washable School Glue Sticks 4-pack
* Stacking Bins
* Construction paper
* Index cards with file box
* Office Depot brand Correction Tape

$3 Deals
* Mead Five Star notebooks
* Really Useful Boxes brand plastic storage box
* Mead Five Star Reinforced Filler Paper 100-pack
* Spiral Notebooks (6-pack)
* PaperPro Nano Mini Stapler
* Pilot G-2 Mini
* Ticonderoga #2 Pencils 24 pack

$4 Deals
* Purell Hand Sanitizing Wipes
* Pencil Pouches
* Day Runner 2-Year 2010-11 Academic Monthly Pocket Planner
* Swingline Compact Stand-up Stapler
* Stacking Drawers
* Pentel Sharp Mechanical Pencils

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alphabet Word Match

This activity is perfect for beginning sounds, phonics, alphabetizing, and more.  Simply match each word with the letter it begins with.  Print out the worksheet here.

1,2,3 Count With Me Lesson Plan

Here is a fun ebook, Sesame Street's 1,2,3 Count With Me to read with your child.  There are also several other Sesame Street ebooks available here.

  For more counting fun, try these worksheets:

Counting Cubes

Apples in Boxes

How Many Dots

Counting Sheep

Free Sesame Street Magazine July/Aug 2010

Click here to view this month's Sesame Street Magazine. Together, you and your child can enjoy a colorful array of stories, games, activities and more.
This month, you'll find that the seven colors of the rainbow are all around you! Using summer's sunny adventures, this issue will expand your child's appreciation of the world's many colors and develop her artistic eye. Open Sesame Street Magazine now to get started on fun—and learning!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Duplo Spelling

I absolutely LOVE this idea from Filth Wizadry and I can't wait to try it with my own little guys.  I will be on the lookout for Duplos when I garage sale.  Check out the post on their site to see all of the great things you can do with them.

Encouraging Reading and Writing with Pen Pals

Reading and writing are the building blocks of any child’s education.  In order to excel in any subject, children must be able to read and write well.  As a parent, it can be very challenging to find fun ways to engage your children in these activities.  This is where creative writing ideas, like pen pals come in. 

Buddy-Notes.com is a company that was founded by a single mom and her six year old son.  Who knows what kids like better than a mom and her son?  All of the pen pal Buddys were born from the imagination of a six year old and cover topics ranging from coloring to cooking.  All kids love getting mail and all kids love learning about things that they are interested in.  These Buddys are just that: fun mail for kids that include coloring pages, educational tidbits, stickers and surprises.  Kids are prompted with topics for their return letters.  All of their letters are read and the next letter from their Buddy is personalized accordingly.  It’s learning that seems effortless.

Coloring Buddy is one of the most popular Buddys.  He sends one letter per month for six months.  Each letter comes with crayon crafts, fun facts about crayons and of course coloring pages.  Kids are encouraged to write Coloring Buddy back and let him know how their crafts turned out and what they thought of each one. 

Another popular Buddy is Belle Buddy, a cooking pen pal.  Kids enjoy cooking and it can be difficult to find kid-friendly recipes.  Belle Buddy sends recipe cards and will even make a card for kids of their own recipe.  All of her recipes are picked with kids in mind and can be done with limited adult help. 

These are just two of the many pen pals available at Buddy-Notes.com.  New Buddys are always being added.  Remember all the Buddys for special occasions like birthdays, tooth loss, and friendship.  It’s wonderful to see kids excited about reading and writing and pen pals are an excellent way to encourage this.

Stop by www.buddy-notes.com  today and see what all the fun is about!  Get your little one involved in six months of fun and enter one of the monthly kid-friendly giveaways.