Friday, September 10, 2010

Word Families Website!

For reading and spelling, I have found that my oldest daughter really catches on quickly when she can categorize words that have similar sound endings. We are focusing on a word family each week to learn to recognize, read and spell the words.

I searched around for spelling books or other types of workbooks with word families and I couldn't find any that I liked. I searched the internet and couldn't find any good sites. But then I came upon a real gem. I love this site!

Reasons why I love Word Way Word Families:
*the pictures are adorable and have more than one picture for different meanings (hook and Captain hook, for example)
*there is a variety of fun activities to do: fill-in-the-blank, word search, name the picture, cut and paste, and other games.
*each word family includes a lot of words, including compound words (for example, for the /-ark/ family, they have remark and bookmark).
*they have a configuration station page. They use these in school to help kids picture how letters are below and above the main line. I think my oldest will really benefit from this and I didn't want to have to create it myself.

We are starting with r-controlled word families found here. As we complete a set of each word family a week (taking out some activities/worksheets I don't like as much), I am also planning on doing other interactive games with the word families. I am planning on building on the word families from prior weeks to review how to spell them as well. So, we will do these activities with the /ook/ family we did last week and the /ar/ family that we learned this week.

Here are the extra games my daughter can choose from to do with me:

*Mommy Matches: Make a matching sheet for Mommy with pictures
*Rainbow Letters: Write five words with three different colors
*Finger Paint Words: Use your finger to spell out five words with a bag full of paint
*Bend it: create five words using wiki sticks or pipe cleaners
*Playdough: create five words using playdough
*Run & Spell with Mom: Mommy gives you clues and you have to run in the other room and write the word correctly
*Silent Charades: act out each word and then the guesser has to write the word down correctly in order to guess.
*Dictation: Mom will dictate a sentence using words from different word families. You will write the sentence and draw a picture.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Power of Cereal Boxes

I just posted a fun new way to enjoy breakfast over at our Spanish teaching blog here. You can apply this to anything you are teaching your children. You could use it to reinforce things they have learned or motivate them to get interested in a new subject. Check it out!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Treasure Hunt Reading!

To change our reading up a little bit, I decided to create a treasure hunt for my 4 year old. It took maybe 3 minutes to do :) I wrote out simple instructions like "Go to Mom's bed" "Go to the fish" etc. At the end, she had to find a cup in the kitchen with her surprise in it. She had a few M&M's in hers, but you could put some yummy fruit or marshmallows or even a smoothie in it. She was so excited to find every clue, she was shaking with excitement as she picked up each paper and then squealed with delight after reading each one. You can make them more complicated depending on their reading level and even make fun riddles. Just a fun way to show kids all the ways reading comes in handy :)

I'm sure everyone has done a treasure hunt, but here is how we did it. For the set-up, write out 5-10 clues. Start with an original clue ("Go to Mom's bed"), then put the next clue at mom's bed (maybe the clue on mom's bed says "Go to the car") so then the next clue would be on the car and so on. The very last clue leads to the treasure :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Peep and the Big Wide World Giveaway

There is a wonderful giveaway and introduction to a wonderful resource for teaching children Spanish. There are darling little videos that teach science concepts. Then there are videos giving ideas for experimenting with each concept. What a wonderful idea. Go see this wonderful giveaway at SpanglishBaby.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Yoga in Spanish Giveaway

I just heard about a great giveaway. There are two yoga workouts, one for adults and another for children. They are in Spanish by a wonderful Colombian lady, Ana Lilian. I love Colombians and the way they speak Spanish. You will understand what I mean when you listen to her speak. Since I am not a native speaker, I always say that just my heart is Latina and more specifically Colombiana. Great opportunity! Go here to enter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

5 Books Every Homeschool Should Have

I am Ginny's oldest daughter Amy, who recently reluctantly began blogging after overcoming my fears that it would take over my life. My personal blog about homeschooling and rearing children, inspired by the Suzuki Method of learning instruments, is

A couple of months ago I read a list online of "5 Books Every Cook Should Have," which got me thinking about what types of books each homeschool should have.

5 Books Every Homeschool Should Have
  1. A history book that reads like a collection of stories. This year we are reading Abraham Lincoln's World by Genevieve Foster for a class taught by my mom. By telling stories from around the world during Lincoln's lifetime, Foster brings history to life and helps the reader feel the spirit of the times. To know history is to better understand humanity if the book depicts it well.
  2. The complete works of William Shakespeare. Through her character Crawford in Mansfield Park, Jane Austen expressed the importance of Shakespeare so eloquently that I will not attempt to improve upon it. Crawford said: "But Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is part of an Englishman's constitution. His thoughts and beauties are so spread abroad that one touches them everywhere; one is intimate with him by instinct." We owe so many words, metaphors and similes to Shakespeare; to know Shakespeare is to know English.
  3. A science book that reads like a collection of stories. In my opinion, all good writers are primarily storytellers. Science can be a pageturner, too. Last year we worked in The Joy of Chemistry by Cathy Cobb, with me doing the reading and then sharing it with my children. Now I know that chemistry affects me every day, running my car, cooking my food, even making post-it notes sticky. To know science should be to gain a greater understanding of how the world works.
  4. A math textbook that uses literature, comics, stories and puzzles to show the relevance of math to everything. When my mom told me to use Algebra by Harold Jacobs, I complied. In no time, though, as my daughter and I anticipated the next lesson each day, I found myself wishing that he had written more than Algebra, Geometry, and Mathematics: a Human Endeavor. If math at all levels were taught in the Jacobs way, everyone would know that to know math is to be able to quantify, measure, and analyze the world. Numbers surround us every day, and we need to know how to manage them.
  5. A classic novel your child returns to repeatedly throughout their childhood. I hope every homeschooling parent can assist each of their children in finding a book they have a strong personal affinity for. Mine as an adolescent was Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt. My oldest daughter Karina's is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and my second daughter Katie's is Watership Down by Richard Adams. I am currently hunting for the right book for my oldest son, Tommy (10). To read should be to communicate with a book on a personal level, to fall in love with a story and feel its resonance in your life. Education would be empty without this.