Curriculum Finds- Free Online Resources For Kids

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I’ve arranged these learning websites by subject. We have either used these websites or I’ve looked at them enough to be confident in recommending them, but parents should always preview sites and be aware of what their children are doing online.

A Little of Everything

BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. offers a selection of free videos, games, quizzes and activities that covers different subjects. The rest of the site requires a membership subscription.

Learning Games For Kids features educational games covering multiple subjects, plus some songs and videos.

Art & Music

Classics For Kids introduces kids to composers, instruments and music.

Tricia Hodges offers free art lessons at Hodgepodge.

The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling are just…. AMAZING! I’m thinking “music appreciation”. Now, that’s talent.

Foreign Language

Duolingo is somewhat similar to Rosetta Stone’s approach to learning a second language. I’ve used both and while I loved Rosetta Stone, it’s quite expensive. Duolingo is free, fun, easy to use, and works just as well.

Geography & Science

lizardpoint has free geography quizzes and in study mode, offers facts on individual states and countries. Your child can register for free.

National Geographic Kids features games, animal facts, videos, etc. Your child can create a free account.

Switcheroo Zoo lets kids create funny new animals, as well as offering several other educational games and activities, all related to animals.

Science Monster offers free science lessons and games.

MakeMeGenius offers free science lesson videos, categorized by grade level.

The following sites offer free science experiments/labs. All you do is add the supplies, usually common household items or easy-to-find, inexpensive items from the store:

Science Bob features demonstration videos.

Steve Spangler Science also features videos. This website is my son’s favorite.

TOPS Science has free labs for science activities.

History

Have Fun With History features free history videos, timelines and activities. I recommend that parents preview the content on this site before showing it to younger children, but I think this would be great for the middle school range.

Math

Cool Math 4 Kids offers free math lessons and games.

Phonics & Reading

Starfall features phonic activities in four steps to help your preschooler learn how to read.

Storyline Online features videos of storybooks read by celebrities. Very cool!

There are a lot of ways to access free books online. Check out a few of these sites: International Children’s Digital Library, Children’s Storybooks Online and Kids World Fun.

If your family has a favorite free website not listed here, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.

Book Review- What Would the Founding Fathers Think?

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untitledWhat Would the Founding Fathers Think?: “a young American’s guide to understanding what makes our nation great and how we’ve strayed,” is a little gem that I believe would add value to any homeschooler’s study on the government and our constitution.

The author and illustrator is David Bowman.

This book features founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and George Washington, traveling forward in time to see what America has done with the constitution they worked so hard to establish for our great nation.

I love this book for its delightful illustrations, simple analogies, and basic truths. Our country really has strayed from the principles that our constitution was built upon. I want my teenagers to understand how wise our founding fathers were to put a Republic form of government in place for us, and I want them to realize that our government was meant to have limited powers, given by the people.

One of my favorite analogies from the book-

As Ben Franklin is flying a kite, a young boy suggests,”Why don’t you cut the string and then your kite will fly even higher?” Ben Franklin answers, “An interesting suggestion. Actually, my boy, it is the string that keeps my kite up in the air. It might look like it is restricting it, but the wind pulling against the string is what gives the kite the freedom to fly.”

One of my favorite quotes from the book-

“My young Americans, let it be known that we believed in God. We were dependent on God. We turned to Him for help. Our belief in God was the main reason we settled this land. God and religion was and is the backbone of this nation. It has always been so, despite what critics in your time might say.”

I am so impressed with this book that this year I am giving copies to a few of my teenage nieces and nephews for their birthday presents.

Sweet Mommy Memories

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♥ I was 19-years young, when I first became a mommy. ♥

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♥ A wife and mom, was all I ever truly wanted to be. ♥

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♥ I enjoyed every moment of my first year of mommyhood. ♥

Zach2♥ ♥ And every moment of the second year. ♥ ♥

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♥ And it just kept getting better. ♥

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♥ Time for a story- Once upon a time there was a young mommy who took her toddler daughter to a university for a parent-child study. The mommy was instructed to play peek-a-boo with her daughter, first with the words, “peek-a-boo”, and then in silence. The mommy and daughter were led into a room with a child-size table with chairs in the center, and nothing else. They were left alone, but the mommy knew they were being watched and recorded for the purpose of the study. She started playing the verbal version of peek-a-boo with her baby…♥

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♥ The mommy clapped her hands over her eyes, and then she quickly uncovered her eyes, exclaiming, “peek-a-boo!” at the same time. Only her daughter was too busy running around the room to notice. So the mommy began chasing her daughter, enthusiastically playing peek-a-boo with…herself…which promptly ended when she chased her daughter right into the wall! Uninjured, yet dazed, the baby began to wail and the embarrassed mommy carried her out of the room, thus ending their participation in the study. ♥

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♥ A year later,along came my third beautiful child and that’s an exciting story for another trip down memory lane. ♥

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♥ I’ll just say her birth did not take place in the hospital as planned. ♥

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♥ My girls have always been so cute together. ♥

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♥ And when Zach was ten-years old, he finally got his wish for a baby brother. ♥

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♥ So many sweet mommy memories. ♥

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♥ Children grow up, but they will always be their mother’s babies. I love being a mom. ♥

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Crafty Kid Fun

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Marcus has been in a crafty mood lately. Here are some of his latest projects, which he made for his online class

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Marcus enjoyed recycling materials into these musical instruments. He found the instructions for the kazoo HERE.

He found the instructions for the banjo and the matchbox guitar HERE.

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He had a lot of fun making these paper cranes. I bought the origami paper at a craft store. There are lots of youtube videos showing how to make an origami crane. Here is one we like:

He also made a dreidel. He made this without instructions, using oven-bake clay, a golf-pencil and a sharpie.

You can learn about the dreidel and the game HERE.

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What crafts have your kids made lately?

Marcus’ Starry Night

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Although I only just discovered this tutorial from a search on Pinterest, it sums up how my son created his own Starry Night version last week, except he followed instructions given verbally by his awesome Liahona teacher.

I think it’s fun to teach kids a little background about the artist first. I like this website and this webpage about Vincent Van Gogh.

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Using only black construction paper, white school glue and oil pastels, as well as a look at the original art, Marcus created his own Starry Night-

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After using the glue to outline his picture, he let it completely dry and then he colored over it with oil pastels.

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I think it’s fun to help children recreate a famous piece of art, and Starry Night has this magical feel to it that children enjoy.

Pinterest is an excellent resource if you are looking for ways to incorporate more art into your homeschool. Use the search to find all sorts of ideas. I typed in: famous art for kids, for example.

Or you can check out my Pinterest homeschool arts and crafts board.

What famous artists have you incorporated in your homeschool?

Spring Paper Craft

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As I’m posting this, it happens to be snowing here! Needless to say, it doesn’t resemble spring at our house at this moment. I am crediting this craft project to my son’s online teacher as it was an assignment for his history class, tying in with his agricultural revolution studies. She called it nature paper. She has a blog called Puddle Wonderful Learning, which hasn’t been updated since the end of last summer, but still contains some fun ideas for children that you should check out.

For this craft your child will need the following supplies-

*White tissue paper  *Elmer’s glue *Water *String *Hole punch *Sponge brush *Construction paper (any color- 2 sheets) *Wax paper *Scissors *Flat leaves, blades of grass, flower petals, etc. collected from your yard. (All nature items must be able to lay flat.)

Start by folding a sheet of white tissue paper in half and cutting it to the size of an 8 & 1/2 x 11″ paper, or to the size of the construction paper if so desired. We used a regular sheet of printing paper as our template. Remember to keep the fold intact.

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Lay out some wax paper as your working surface. Open up the tissue paper (over the wax paper) and on one side of the fold only, lay out the leaves, grasses, flower petals, etc. Leave the other half of the tissue paper alone so that you can fold it over to cover the nature items.

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In a small plastic bowl, mix equal amounts of Elmer’s glue and water. Using the sponge brush, lightly dab the glue mixture all over the folded tissue paper. This will seal the nature items to the paper. If your child accidentally tears the tissue paper, just patch it with left over tissue paper. Tell your child not to brush the paper with the glue, but to sponge it on. There will be wrinkles.

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I’m not sure if I can recommend what we did next, but I’ll tell you anyway. We covered our wet paper with a layer of wax paper, and pressed on it to completely fuse the nature items to the tissue paper. Although our paper turned out ok, it was tricky to peel it off from the top layer of wax paper (the bottom layer was easy to peel off).

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Whatever you do, make sure the nature items are completely sealed into your folded tissue paper by the glue-mixture and that the whole thing is as flat as possible. Then let your paper sit somewhere safe and allow the glue to dry naturally. This may take a day or two.

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Once your textured paper is completely dry, carefully peel it away from the wax paper. If you want, turn it into a nature journal cover by hole punching it, and 2 pieces of construction paper (one for the cover, to go underneath the textured paper, and the other for the back), with blank or lined paper layered in between, tied off with string.

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We’ll have to try this again in the fall. Then it can be fall paper.