If I've learned anything since joining the TOS Review Crew it's that there is an insane amount of curriculum out there.
I am a lover of curriculum catalogs and thought that I was pretty well versed on most of the options available for early education. I was totally wrong. The options are vast and, from what I've seen, most of them are excellent.
All the information out there can be confusing and overwhelming. This is why I was intrigued by SchoolHouseTeachers.com.
This site began as a way to offer home educators great resources at an affordable rate. Since then it has taken on a life of it's own. This site is stock full of lesson plans for every subject, theme ideas, magazine articles, and encouragement. It is honestly a little overwhelming. It took me a few visits to the site to get the hang of it, but once I did, I was off and running.
All the lesson plans are written by experts in that subject. This past month's theme was on foreign languages and had some great ideas in it.
All of this material is great and so useful, but the biggest perk is that a membership grants you full access to 5 different planners! You can either use them as digital planners or you can print them out and use them in a binder. There was a lot of thought that went in to these from some veteran homeschooling moms and you can tell. Every possible form or list is in this planner.
SchoolHouseTeachers.com just added a new sample section to their site. If you are considering joining, I recommend checking out these sample lessons to see if it will work for your homeschool.
You can join SchoolHouseTeachers.com for $5.95 per month. If you join now, your first month is only $1! Click here to sign up.
I knew Josie was a visual learner when she mastered phonics after watching Leap Frog Letter Factory 5 times.
It's true for a lot of children. What they watch on TV sticks with them. Zane Education has taken that philosophy and created hundreds of videos to teach students everything from history to math to science. There are online videos for grades K-12. If you have a student, there's a video for them.
I had hoped to use a few of Zane Education's videos during our 4th of July unit, but after watching them I realized they were a little above Josie's grade level. I'm glad that we have this membership for a full year. As soon as we hit a few more basic history facts, I know that she will love these videos. The movies are simple and easy to follow.
All Zane Education's online videos are subtitled. This adds in some reading for a child that is a little older or that is learning English as a second language. There are also online quizzes for each video. I don't do much testing with Josie since she is still so young, but these would come in handy if you are teaching an older student.
This site is very easy to use. You can sort the videos by grade level, subject, or title. They also offer a great user guide with a lot of suggestions for using this program to it's maximum potential.
There are three levels of membership to Zane Education. Bronze membership is $8.99 a month and grants you access to all videos within a subject of your choosing. Silver membership is $12.99 a month and grants you access to all videos, in all subjects in the grade level of your choosing. Lastly, Gold Membership allows you full access for $17.99 per month.
While Zane Education wasn't a good fit for us at this time, I do think that we will use it during the year as we touch on these deeper subjects.
Zane is offering a 35% discount on any 12 month membership through the end of August. Use the promotion code: ZE542HSM
The snow, even though I hated the cold. The constant family gatherings, even though I didn't attend them all. The Mall of America, having four seasons, and the cabin.
Going Up North is one of the many things that I didn't fully appreciate while I was growing up. Spending a weekend miles away from my friends and my pager (hey, it was the 90's) was torture. I can't count how many weekends on the lake that I passed up to drive aimlessly in some boy's car.
Now as an adult, I crave the cabin.
There is something about it that draws me inward. The calm of the lake calls me to set down my phone, disconnect so that I can reconnect. And even though it is equipped with central air and wifi, I'd rather be outside with the humidity and the mosquitoes.
After a week in the city, I was ready for a good retreat.
Slower play, longer walks, bonfires, and fishing.
Well, if you count dropping a line and immediately pulling it back up as fishing. Josie doesn't quite have the patience for the sport.
We were only at the cabin for a few days, but the calming effects are lingering.
The kids slept hard each night and so did I. Fresh air will do that to you.
I'm an intense busy body. So this slow down is good for me.
I've been making a million little notes on little things I want to work on. God speaks louder up here. Or maybe I'm just listening a little better. Either way, I'm learning and bending and letting Him scrape off what needs to go and nurture what needs to stay.
It was a great trip Up North.
But then again, when is a trip that includes s'mores ever not a great trip?
I was uncoordinated, non-athletic, and slightly overweight. I couldn't get the ball in the hoop, couldn't run the 50 meter dash, and don't even get me started on climbing the rope hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the gymnasium.
But there was one week out of the year that I was sure I was going to fit in among my sports savvy peers.
We would all load up on the bus and head down to St. Francis Lanes to demonstrate all we had learned from our middle aged gym teacher who always wore Zubaz. Confident Nicole would walk up to the line, ball in hand, and give it my best roll.
A few frames in, I realized my inability to perform in sports extended into my bowling ability.
Fifteen years later, I still can't roll a strike.
But my kids can. And I have no problem living through them.
Josie opted to have my cousin as her coach, which was a wise move on her behalf. She had gutter guards, but didn't need them and ditched the ramp after a few tries. Girlfriend's got skills.
I conveniently decided to let Gabe roll a few frames after my score was seriously lower then my 3 year old niece's. I had to have someone to blame it on. Turns out he is also part Flintstone and was able to knock pins down with no gutter guards.