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Do you homes homeschool all the way through the winter too?
I thought I’d take some time to share with you all some of the homeschool resources we will be using to see us through this season.
This year I am simplifying our homeschool for the winter so that we can make the most of the shorter days and longer evenings. Part of that has required me to take a good look at our resources and pick the ones we will be focusing on mostly over the next few months. I am sure there will be a few additional resources that fall into our laps along the way but these are the main resources I will be using during our set kidschool hours each day.
Pre-K/KG Homeschool Resources
Aside from learning through life activities such as baking, counting objects and reading numbers on signs, packets or instructions, there are a couple of Math resources that I will be using with both M and A this winter.
Khan Academy is a website that hosts free online course in both Mathematics. I also recently downloaded their app to my phone and decieded this would be a great place to start with Math over the winter. They have a complete Early Math course which starts at the basics of counting and then moves on to Addition, Subtraction, Geometry and Measurement and Data. Which I think is perfect for an early introduction to maths.
One thing I really like about Khan Academy is that it allows the child to repeat each course and earn mastery points depending on how many questions they get right and within how many tries. This means that the focus is not based on being able to answer a question once but instead to fully understanding each concept and apply it each and every time.
Khan Academy also has video tutorials so your child has a complete demonstration on hand for each exercise.
Did I mention that it is absolutely free?
This little number crunching monkey has been tucked up in our school cupboard for a good few months now. He has only seen the daylight a handful of times but he is actually extremely useful. Although Math monkey is a little bit too advanced for A, it is perfect for M. Just like a calculator children can do simple single digit addition and multiplication. The difference is a moving monkey makes it all the more fun. Math monkey is the perfect game and introduction to some key early maths skills.
If your looking for a fun addition to your STEAM resources I’d recommend this one.
Life of Fred Math
Ever since I first heard about Life of Fred Math during an online homeschool convention I was sold and I have been waiting to try it out ever since. I am yet to get my hands on this one but my aim is to add it to our school cupboard as soon as we can gt it from the UK.
Life of Fred is a different kind of Math curriculum and it is written in short stories about a little boy named Fred. AS you read with your child about friends life and adventures you visit Math in it’s life application. One thing that has really drawn my attention to this curriculum is that it teaches algebra from the very beginning, in a way that allows the child to immediately make connection between Mathematics and the real world!
English – Phonics and Writing
Since I am trying to simplify things for the winter we have decided to drop our letter of the week curriculum. Both the boys are pretty strong on their letter names and most of their phonetic sounds. Although our letter of the week activities are fun for all, they take up time that could be used for free exploration of other areas of interests or projects.
The long winter evenings are perfect for family read alouds. So there will be plenty of language studies, vocabulary building and general appreciation of the written word. So my aim is to focus on writing, story telling and learning to read.
Write Shop Primary A Book Set
We have been using Write Shop Primary for several weeks now and M is loving it. A likes to join in a little bit helping M come up with ideas for his sentences. M loves writing them and the creative writing aspect is something that he really enjoys. There are few crafts in here too for ‘publishing’ their work and overall the curriculum is so easy to us and to follow. By using WriteShop M gets to practice his story telling, writing skills and is learning to read, sell and recognise common words in his vocabulary.
I’ll be writing a full review on this one soon so watch this space!
Alphabet Notebooking Pages
We are still enjoying our Alphabet Notebooking Pages from Notebooking Pages.com. They are the perfect tool to help M practice writing his letters on the lines, to record words he is learning and to make little letter cards to gift to family and friends.
A also enjoys the letter colouring pages too!
We have been using these for quite a while now and honestly Notebooking has become a perfect way for M to take more control over his own learning. I am leaning towards taking the leap and getting a Lifetime Membership to their site to save me money and time in the future. There are several more sets of Notebooking Pages that I think would be extremely useful for the coming year!
Star Fall is another free online resource that I have only just recently come across. M is constantly asking to use my laptop. This year has learnt to type up texts in Word and use Paint, I am surprised at how well he is able to navigate programmes and menus already.
Phonics has been an area of frustration for M. We began by using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which I still believe is a great resource for the right child. After several weeks however M became to get frustrated with it and I decided it was best to quit whilst we were ahead and to take a different approach to reading with sight words. Sight words have helped M regain his confidence in learning to read and I think it is now time to try and reintroduce phonics.
I’ve decided to us M’s enthusiasm for technology to inspire him to engage more with Phonics and learning to read. Starfall also starts with simple Alphabet and phonics lessons which A is enjoying too. We’ve only given Starfall ago twice so far, but it seems to be a winner with the boys.
This one is a challenge for me as I am still struggling myself to learn Arabic. Turns out foreign languages really aren’t my thing! Somehow however I have to figure it out because learning Arabic is essential for my children. Raising bilingual children also comes with an amazing set of benefits. It’s time for me to up my game!
Leat’s Learn Arabic with Zaky
Okay, so yes I know we have been using this DVD for a couple of years now but that just goes to show how great it is. For us Let’s Learn Arabic With Zaky is a classic. The boys have learnt so much from it already and they pick new things up each time they watch it. So I am more than happy for us to continue utilising it! Plus with more hours likely to be spent indoors over winter, it’s perfect for a little bit of educational screen time when I just need a few mins to put my feet up and relax!
I came across this work book in our local stationary shop. It’s a little bit of a challenge for me to teach from, as the instructions are in Arabic but that’s why I like it. It makes me work harder; reading, Arabic discovering new words and figuring out translations. I learn alongside M and he gets to witness that pursuit too. I like this workbook as it covers very simple Arabic concepts such as common words, Arabic conversation as well as the standard alphabet, colours and numbers. It also has an interactive component that through a QR scanner allows you to watch videos and listen to Arabic audio stories in relation to whats being taught.
Since my husband is at work long hours, he doesn’t find much time to sit with the boys to teach them Arabic and so anything beyond conversation and stories falls to me. We are considering hiring an Arabic tutor for the boys as they get older but for now I have been on the hunt for an online resource that takes a chuck of the teaching and puts it into the hands of someone who knows Arabic better than I.
Dino Lingo looks like it could be just what we need and I am willing to give it a try for a few months. Despite it’s cost it still works out cheaper than a tutor and only time will tell how effective it is!
Games, Toys, Crafts, Projects and Lots of Books!
The rest of our time at home the kids will be given free reign to play and pursue their interests. I’ll be on hand to help, read or find online resources when needed. The kids school cupboards and shelves are packed with picture books, educational toys, craft supplies , puzzles, games and even a few curriculum resources for other topics, such as these Orchestra Flash Cards SQUILTmusic.
Since play is such a valuable learning tool for children I’ll be making sure they have plenty of time to play freely and have full easy access to creative materials.
What resources will you be using this winter?