Building a tree house with the boys

Now that the Coronavirus keeps a lot of us home I have an opportunity to spend more time playing with the boys at home.  Here is a list of things I have been doing with the boy’s are home under lockdown

  • Build Lego creations
  • Go on bike rides
  • Read some books
  • Help with math
  • Plant a garden
  • Build a chicken tractor (coop)
  • camp in the back yard
  • Make a rabbit trap
  • Play in the dirt
  • Make a zip line
  • build a treehouse

My son has been wanting to do this for a while, but it seems like I never have the time.  He has several treehouse books but one of the best ways to get inspiration is through Pinterest. You can check out our board here. My son’s favorite treehouse book is How to Build Treehouses, Huts & Forts by David Stiles.

Here is what we learned about building a treehouse.

  • Make a plan!

What about you?  Do you have any treehouse advice for us?

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If you like to use copywork to reinforce phonics and handwriting you want to be sure to take a look at Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook from Everyday Education, LLC.  I have been using it with my kids and I would like to tell you more about it.

What is the ebook about

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is a 216-page ebook that serves as a guide for teaching kids to read.  It is also a way to help your child improve his handwriting through copywork pages that reinforce each reading lesson. The ebook introduction provides guidance to help in teaching reading and writing.

The first lessons start out with letters in the alphabet.  Then words with short sounding vowels are next.  The lessons progress through all the phonics rules and exceptions to the rules. Once the main lessons are done then there are additional copywork sections for handwriting practice.  In the back of the book starting on page 182 there is a section for penmanship practice that covers writing slanted letters, writing with italics, and a little bit of Caligraphy style writing.

How did we use the ebook

Since it is an ebook, I can have a copy on all my devices from my iPad to my computer.  I only have to print off the sections that I need at the moment.  The ebook also has an introduction on teaching your child to read using the book so it’s nice to be able to read it on the iPad.  The end of the book also has pointers for fancy letter writing.

I have several boys who need both help with handwriting and reading.  The book is great for both of these things. The book is set up to start with writing alphabets for children who are just learning their letters. Here is an example of one of the pages my son copied.

For my older sons I found sections to help them work on their spelling.  I printed out the sections to help and put them in a folder.

Here is another sample lesson.  You can see there is a lesson page and then there is a page of copywork to practice the lesson.

What did we think of the ebook?

I really appreciate the versatility of the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook.  The only thing I did not like was that some of the phonics exceptions are taught early on but that might be OK for most students. I used the ebook mostly for reading instruction and for writing practice.  I liked the letter font used and that I could print out the copywork as much as I like.  Best of all I liked that the ebook was phonics-based.

Want to hear more about Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting? Click below to read what other members of the Review Crew thought.

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ebook {Everyday Education, LLC Reviews}

Mega List of Free Resource to Teach Kids to Read

Reading is probably the most important homeschool activity, but it can also be one of the hardest. Thankfully teaching reading doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Here is a list of free resources I have found helpful for teaching kids to read.

Note: Not all are iPad/tablet friendly.  (ie flash player for games and videos)

First: The best free comprehensive program:

Sound city reading is by far one of the best and most comprehensive phonics based reading program that is free! There are many pdf documents you can print off. I love the idea of a reading road with houses that contain all the different sounds.

Free eBooks or iBooks:

Don Potter education pages has many old spelling books to download. He also has some excellent Phonics reading resources. Don also has excellent information also on how Webster’s blue back speller was used to teach reading.

McGuffey reader – a classic of the one room schoolhouse.

New England primer – another good classic.

Dog on a log books has many printable phonics games.

Primary concepts ebook that uses letter tiles.

Free Online games or apps:

Blastoff to reading online games

Teach your monster to read

Free videos:

schoolhouse us free phonics lessons and videos(videos not for iPad but lots of good lessons that can be printed)

Ron Paul curriculum reading program – first 40 video lessons free with worksheets.

First step reading has free video lessons

Full Phonics Curriculum:
Old fashion education – simple

Sound city reading – the best free curriculum.

Reading Bear – some good interactive activities.

Progressive phonics books have you read the hard words, and your child reads the easy words.

The Easy Peasy full curriculum is more than just reading.

The Canadian site for the society for quality education has a free reading program with many resources.

Update:

Here is a good language arts program free for level 1.

Free worksheets:

Tinas Dynamic homeschool plus has many printables.

https://www.studenthandouts.com/handwriting-worksheets/handwriting-practice-dashed-lined-writing-paper.htm

Spelling worksheets and activities.

https://www.123homeschool4me.com/home-school-free-printables/

If you are adventurous you can make your own copywork and worksheets with special tracing fonts and MS word or Pages by following instructions on the link below:
https://www.reallifeathome.com/how-to-make-your-own-copywork-pages/

Free Blog/Podcasts:

IEW – many excellent resources especially on learning disabilities and the podcast is one of the best ones out there.

All About Learning Press has wonderful free resources and a great blog about reading and spelling.

This reading momma is a highly recommended blog.

The measured mom blog also has many free resources.

Other miscellaneous resources

Update 10/16/2020

I just came across these great free phonics charts.

You can search through goverment documents/papers on teaching at Education Resources Information Center

Eye can learn is not technically phonics but there are several resources for eye tracking if you child is having problems reading. (also apps for the iPad.)

Please leave a comment below if you have found some other free resource useful.

SchoolhouseTeachers online learning

20130826-233709.jpg

I am really excited about a new online learning resource called SchoolhouseTeachers. It is a website chalked full of resources for all your homeschooling needs. It is basically an online curriculum that you can access on your computer or tablet. The brains behind Schoolhouse Teachers website are the same that produce the Old Schoolhouse magazine.

With so much information online, sometimes I end up wasting time looking for school ideas or worksheets for school lessons. With SchoolHouseTeachers you do not have to waste your time looking for homeschooling resources.  SchoolHouseTeachers has resources for all school levels even high school.

20130826-233837.jpg

 

There are a number of resources you can print out like copy work from SchoolHouseTeachers online copybook library.  You can follow along with daily lesson plans or you can search for the subject you are teaching.  Daily lessons are organized for quick and easy access in the Dailies Archive.  There are numerous articles about art, homemaking and housekeeping, and nature.  There are also a number of ebooks.

20130826-233918.jpg

On the iPad

I tried out the SchoolHouseTeachers web site on the iPad and everything seems to work just like on the computer.  There are no interactive features for students but SchoolHouseTeachers is an excellent resource for Teachers and parents.

Membership

One of the best features though is the fact that you can get a free year long subscription to Schoolhouseteachers.com if you are a member of Homeschool Leagal Defense.  If you are a member of HSLDA then scoll to the bottom of the page and click on the PerX member discounts to learn how you can get year long access to SchoolHouseTeachers.com.

Free digital Old Schoolhouse magazine

Status

20130826-234320.jpg

Did you know that the Old Schoolhouse Magazine is now digital and it is free?

Occasionally we have had subscribed to the print version of the Old Schoolhouse magazine. I am also signed up for the email newsletter but somehow I missed the transition to digital.

Since the magazine is no longer in print (except as a yearly volume) The Old Schoolhouse now has a special online education portal full of homeschooling resources for every subject and grade. It is called SchoolhouseTeachers.  Not only is the Old schoolhouse digital magazine free but you can try out Schoolhouse Teachers for a year free if you are a homeschool legal defense member!

The digital version of the Old Schoolhouse magazine is like typical magazine. You can scroll through different volumes. You can even pull up past issues in the archive section.

Navigation in the magazine app on the iPad is not the most fluid experience, but it works OK. There is also a search function that can help find a specific topic.  Overall I am excited to be able to use my iPad to look at the Old Schoolhouse magazine for FREE!

20130826-234359.jpg

How to turn around your childs education

Status

I just came across this video that made me think twice about why and how I homeschool.  It is similar to a lot of the talks Sir Ken Robinson has over at Ted talks.  This talk is called  “Stop Stealing Dreams” by Seth Godin.

Why do you Homeschool?  Chances are that you homeschool in part to give your children a good education.  But did you know:

“Large scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars.”

“If we give kids the foundation to dream, they will figure out the grammar and the history the minute it helps them to reach their goals and make a difference.”

You can download Seth’s book for free at this link.

What do you think?  I don’t totally agree with everything Seth says, but I think has does have some good points.  So for now I will keep using google but I will also keep making my kids learn spelling words.