Categories
Curriculum Planning Homeschool Planning Mom Thoughts

Should You Teach Cursive Handwriting to Your Kids

Should you teach your child cursive

Should you teach cursive handwriting to your kids?

I could just say YES and be done with this entire post.  But I guess I’ll elaborate.

So what are the reasons for teaching your children cursive?

 

  • Historical Documents are all written in cursive.
    Do we want a generation of people who are unable to read original historical documents?
  • Important family documents may also be written in cursive.
    Notes in the family bible, letters great-grandpa wrote home during the war, your great-aunt’s famous cornbread recipe – probably all written in cursive.  What good is it passing these mementos down to our children if they can’t read them?
  • Taking notes is quicker in cursive.
    I take notes every Sunday during church.  They’re all in cursive and pretty much everything else I write is print.
  • Research shows that writing in cursive uses a part of our brain we don’t normally use.
    And I’m a firm believer that if you don’t use something you’ll lose it.  So I’m all for exercising as many parts of our brain as possible!
  • You have to know cursive to have a signature.
    Signatures are as unique as you are.  Without cursive, you’ll never have a signature.  And there are some pretty important things that require a signature – driver’s license, marriage certificate, legal papers, financial papers, etc.
  • It’s a fine motor skill.
    Meaning, the sooner your child starts practicing it the sooner his fine motor skills will be honed.
  • And probably a lot of other reasons….

Ready to start teaching cursive?

Download FREE cursive handwriting worksheets on Educents!

So, WHEN should start teaching cursive?

Well, I say it’s never to late to start!  I went to private school and I started learning in 1st grade.  I think that’s a good age to start.  I know some people teach their children cursive before they teach them print!  That’s okay too!

BigG is in 2nd grade right now and we started cursive on his first day of 2nd grade.  Full disclosure though, he’s 1st grade age – he skipped Kindergarten last year – so he’s the same age I was when I learned.  That’s one of the reasons I held off last year when we started 1st grade.  I wanted his maturity level a little higher before we started – getting him to write anything last year was a hair-pulling ordeal   Shortly before we finished our year last year, he saw a cursive book and said, “When are we going to start doing that?”  And I said 2nd grade.  And he said, “Oh, but I want to do it NOW!”  He was really excited about it.  I had to fend him off the last couple weeks of school because he realllllly wanted to start Cursive.  On our last day of 1st grade I showed him his name.  He practiced it all.summer.long.  And talked all summer about how he was going to learn cursive in 2nd grade!

So go figure, I guess I could’ve started last year!

So I guess the moral of the story is to start teaching them when you feel like they are ready.  If it’s not working, shelve it for 3-6 months and try again!

Handwriting Resources for Kids

Are you an educator or parent who wants to spend time teaching your kids how to write in cursive? If so, these resources from Educents will make it a lot easier and FUN to learn cursive. Super Cursive Freebie - Educents Blog

Web Learning Resources for Kids

Online learning is becoming even more important for the next generations. Educents also has affordable resources that helps children develop their typing and coding skills.
Writing Programs - Educents Blog

  • Learn to Mod with Minecraft – Did you know kids can learn how
    to code by modifying (or “modding”) Minecraft®? Kids learn how to code in Java® and apply it to Minecraft® themed problems!
  • The WriteWell App– A simple and intuitive web-based tool that makes writing fun and effective. With its unique visual and tactile interface and library of interactive essay templates, WriteWell is a convenient tool for teachers and students at home or in the classroom.
  • Handwriting Worksheet Wizard – StartWrite helps teachers, homeschoolers, and parents create handwriting lessons quickly and easily. This program saves hours in lesson preparation time, yet allows you to easily create fun, meaningful worksheet to teach handwriting.

What do you think?

Will you, are you or did you teach your children cursive?

Categories
Geography

Ready-to-Go Geography Lessons with Mona MELisa Peel-n-Play World Map

Geography Lessons - Educents Blog
World Maps are so exciting to explore. The best way to engage a student learning about the world, is to ask them to label it. The Mini Peel & Play World Map Set on Educents provides students all the materials they need to
explore and label a world map. Better yet, the map is small enough to stick onto the car window while you’re traveling. It’s also easy to move the map from room to room in your house – the map has a safe adhesive that allows students to stick the map to a surface over and over again.

The Map In Action

Check out the Mini Peel & Play World Map in action during this video.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id90EWRm7SI]

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!

Activity Ideas

Looking for ways to make the Mini Peel & Play World Map interactive?

Use these activities:
Label the oceans – use the labels to point out oceans around the globe.
Ask your student to match the sticker with its continent. What does
your student see in that continent? What is the  climate there? Is that
continent above or below the equator?
After your student has placed all the sticker labels on the globe, s/he can refer to the map while responding to these writing prompts:

  • Name all of the oceans in the world.
  • Locate your home on the map. If you wanted to visit Australia, which direction would you need to travel?
  • How would you travel to Europe – by foot, by boat, or by plane?
  • Which direction does a ship need to sail to travel from South America to Africa?

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!

About the Sets

Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play Sets go beyond the World Map. Learn
about all the themes and ways to use the sets in your l essons.
Peel and Play EducentsTheme options
:
Math, science, geography, spelling, counting

Great for: all ages, visual learners, kinesthetic learners (kids will love
touching the pieces and moving them around from place to place), auditory learners (sets can be combined with verbal instruction)
Parents: Stick your sets to a car window, on any wall at home, or on your child’s bathroom mirror to practice counting while brushing teeth.
Teachers: This tool will save you hours preparing any of your lessons. The labels are made and ready to go!
Homeschoolers: Provide hands-on lessons for your students! Visual
learners will love the colorful map, and kinesthetic learners will enjoy sticking and unsticking parts of the map.
What’s included?: The Mini Peel & Play sets are fabrics with a safe, adhesive backing. They sets measure 11 by 17 inches.

Bonus!! You can download ready-go-to lessons to accompany the Peel & Play sets. Check out the World Map Teaching Guide.

Click here to find the Mona MELisa Mini Peel & Play World Map at a discount on Educents!

Categories
School Day

We’re in 2nd Grade!

2ndgradepic

So what if it was the 1st day of the 5th week of school before I took our back to school picture?

IHeartNaptime has these ADORABLE back to school printable signs that we use every year.  And they just say “I am a ___ grader” instead of “first day of” so I don’t technically have  to take the pictures on the 1st day.  As long as I get a picture before August is over, I’m happy!

 

Categories
History School Day Sonlight Core A

Week 5: Pterodactyls, King Tut and Togas

This has been a good week!   We took last week off so this was week 5 of school.  But in our Sonlight curriculum we just finished week 4.  Since Sonlight was new to us this year, we spread week 1 over 2 weeks to get used to it.

Anyway.  We took a few moments at the beginning of the week and back up to what we talked about 2 weeks ago – Ancient Egypt.

I picked up this awesome book at a book sale a couple weekends ago (it even still had all the posters in it!)

Learning About Ancient Civilizations Through Art (Grades 3-6)

Full-color posters and activities that teach about eight incredible cultures of the past: Prehistoric, Minoan, Eqyptian, Mayan, Pompeian, Chinese, Mayan, and Pueblo

I gave less than $5 for it at the sale.  Which was awesome.  It’s for grades 3-6 but some of the activities are easy enough to pare down for a 2nd grader.  I knew we had to take a moment and go back to the civilizations we had already discussed.  We looked at the poster of the cave painting and discussed where it was and how it was found (Sonlight Core A week 1 discusses cave dwellings and cave paintings.  We even made our own cave painting)

But we spent a few extra moments on the Egyptian section of it.  We studied King Tut’s Throne, made a cartouche and designed our own throne.  I’m glad we took the time to do that because it gave me a chance to see what he retained from a couple weeks ago.

ancienthistory

Our history this week has been about Ancient Rome so of COURSE we had to make Togas to wear.  And we talked about Roman Mosaics and made our own.  I really think art is a great way to learn about ancient civilizations.

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3 is another great resources.  We’ve been using the “words to know” cards and “Postcards from….” sections in our History Journal and have done a couple other activities that go along with our section of history (so far, the book has been useful for Egypt, Greece and Rome – 3 of the first 4 Sonlight Core A history topics!)

I know it sounds like we’re supplementing a lot to our Core A history.  There was a discussion about this in one of the Sonlight Homeschool Mom Facebook groups I’m in.  We’re using Core A which is suggested for K-2nd grade/ages 5-7.  We are on the higher end of the core recommendations – which is fine and I’m glad we didn’t skip this core and go straight to B.  But so far the history (which is at most, 2-4 pages a day from the Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia or The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the Ages – which are fun books.  But so far it’s a repeat of our history last year (which was just a hodge-podge of stuff I put together based on BigG’s interests in countries and maps) and lots of Magic Tree House books.  So I was getting a lot of “I knew that already” and history was taking about 5 minutes a day.  So I’m glad to have something that is hands on and expands our history to 15-20 minutes a day – still a reasonable amount of time to expect a 2nd grade almost-7-year-old to pay attention.

Ok, so Tut, Togas and Pterodactyls….

We’re bouncing through Apologia Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the 5th day.  It’s a deep text.  We’re hitting the high points.  We actually started it back in the spring because we were finished with our 1st grade science way early thanks to BigG wanting to do 2-3 lessons at a time and it having only about half a year’s worth of (easy) lessons in it.  Plus, spring is a great time to start learning about bird’s anyway!  We turned our back yard into a haven for birds, got to see some species of birds even I had never seen before and make science come alive a bit.

So we’ve finished the bird part of Zoo 1 and we skipped ahead to the back to do the butterfly section while it was still spring/early summer and could study butterflies outside.  Now we’re on the section about Pterosaurs.  We’ve spent a little more time on this portion because dinosaurs has been a HUGE interest area for BigG for years (but yes, we learned that pterosaurs are a different order of animals than dinosaurs.)  So it’s been fun.

We’re going to make fossils today to wrap it up and move on to another section.  I think we’re going to do bats next.

This was a really long post to say that it’s been a great week!  We took a week off last week so we came back this week refreshed and ready to learn some more!

Be sure to check out my post on our “Semi-Year Round Homeschool Schedule”.

yearroundhomechool

This post is part of the Weekly Round Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Weekly Wrap-Up
Categories
Homeschool Planning

Our Year-Round Homeschool Plan

yearroundhomechool

When I decided to homeschool I knew I didn’t want to follow the traditional school year but I also didn’t want a full-on year round schedule… Because everyone needs a summer break.

Our state requires 160 days of instruction between June 1 and May 31 each year. But I’m an overachiever and I want us to have 180 (36 weeks).  That’s how many days the public schools are in session, so we can do the same.

So I sat down with a calendar and devised a plan that (I think) is perfect!  If you’re looking for something “in the middle” of year round and traditional school, see if this plan works for you!

  • It starts the first full week after July 4th week.
    It’s so ridiculously hot here by late July and into August that we’re staying inside and trying to keep cool anyway.  Might as well do school!
  • We school in 4 week blocks with a one week break until Christmas.
    The break 1 week breaks fall perfectly in line with the week our local schools start back (always fun to take a week off when everyone else is having to go back), the week of my son’s birthday, and Thanksgiving.
    If Labor Day Week is a big deal to you (vacations etc), you can do a 3 week/5 week split because the 4 week blocks have a break the week after Labor Day as the off week.  I’ve scheduled just Labor Day as an off day because we’ll be swimming at my in-law’s house.  We will make up that day the week before Christmas.
    The week of Christmas (for 2015) we will school 2 days.  One to make up for Labor Day and one to make up for not going back until the Tuesday after New Year’s.  This is the beginning of your 20th week of school.  So by Christmas, you’ll have 19 1/2 weeks of school finished.
    Each year, based on when Christmas and New Year’s fall, you’ll probably find yourself dividing the last week before Christmas and the first week back on different days (just as long as the # before and the # after equal 5 – you’re good!)  And once or twice every few years, you won’t have to split a week.
    This year we are schooling until December 22nd (Christmas is Friday the 25th).  And will start back on January 5th.  This works for our family.  You may find that you want more time before Christmas.  If so, just don’t school any days the week of Christmas.  You can make them up by schooling a couple days the week after (between Christmas and New Year’s) or just tack them on at the end of the year.
  • After Christmas we school in 6 week blocks with one week breaks.
    The weather is so foul in January and February that I would rather buckle down and do extra weeks in favor of being finished earlier in May when the weather is MUCH better!
    This means we are most likely schooling during the public school’s Spring Break.  But that’s fine with us.  Our “Spring Break” will be the week after the school’s.  Meaning we can go to all our favorite “fun spots” and they won’t be crowded with kids on Spring Break.  😉
  • The school year ends the second week of May.  This is your 36th week.  Plus, since our state requires x number of days by May 31st, this leaves us wiggle room if something happens – spontaneous vacation during a scheduled school week, illness that knocks us out for more than a day or two, etc.  We have 2 more full weeks at the end of the year if we need the make up days.
  • If all goes according to schedule we are off for 8 weeks for “summer”.  This is the 3rd & 4th week of May and all of June, and one week of July.  All together that’s 8 weeks!

I like this because it’s simple (at least to me it is).   I just have to keep up with what week it is.  I don’t have to worry about counting days because we have 3 days some weeks and 4 another.  Plus, we’re using Sonlight (on the 5 day schedule) and they do such a good job of wrapping up the week on the 5th day that it just makes sense to do Mon-Fri schooling.  So we’re not stopping in the middle of something on Thursday that we don’t pick back up until the following Tuesday.

How can you figure this up for yourself?  Easy!

  1. Go to print-a-calendar.com or printfree.com and print out the calendars for the year.
  2. Write out a list of important dates.  Holidays you know you won’t want to school, birthdays, planned vacations, etc.
  3. Grab a highlighter.yearplan1
  4. Go through the calender highlighting 4 weeks and skipping one week between.  See if this conicides with dates you want to take off.
  5. Figure out your Christmas split.  Add up your weeks.  (Should be 19 full weeks by this point)
  6. Highlight 6 weeks, skipping one week through the second week of May.  (This should add up to 36 total weeks).

Your results should look a little something like this:

yearplan2

I would love to hear how this is similar or different from your plan or if this idea works for you!

Categories
Resources

Cursive Writing Freebie! 53 Pages of Practice Sheets

cursivefreebie

 

If there is on lesson BigG gets excited about every day, it’s Handwriting time!  He loves learning cursive!

I found him some fun extra practice!  (Because most days he asks to write more than what is assigned!)

For a limited time on Educents, you can get 53 pages of  FREE CURSIVE alphabet worksheets – includes all upper and lower case letters!

 

 

Categories
History Resources

FREE Ancient Egypt Mini-Unit Lessons to Download (thru 8/19)

Did you see where they think they’ve discovered a hidden entrance to Queen Nerfertiti’s Tomb in a wall in King Tut’s tomb?  (Tut was supposedly the son of Nerfertiti.)  They think the tomb was built for her but the entrance to her burial chamber was bricked up and Tut was buried in her antechamber.

Yes, I know, I’m geeking out about it too.  BigG likes Ancient Egyptian stuff too and these FREE worksheets are going to keep him busy!

egyptianlessonplans
Download a FREE lesson for kids about Ancient Egypt and jump into King Tut’s history! The freebie has several activities included in this pack, including reading comprehension, math review, map skills, and timeline practice, so there are a multiple ways to use them.

Hieroglyphics Math

Use these fun pages to practice place value and/or addition and subtraction skills! Page 12 of the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie asks students use the symbols to determine the number. The following page goes a step further and asks students add or subtract numbers.

Fun facts about Ancient Egypt:

  • The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs!
  • Egyptians believed cats were a sacred animal and having a pet cat would bring a household good luck.
  • Ancient Egyptians invented pens, toothpaste, and a game very similar to bowling.

More Ancient Egypt resources:

Mini Bio: King Tut – Here’s a mini bio about King Tut to go with your mini unit!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pKOcOITUHo]
Ancient Egypt Lapbook – Study interesting facts about the discovery of hieroglyphic writing, the Rosetta Stone, the great King Tutankhamun, the lovely Cleopatra and more.
Recipes From Egypt
– Delight your little cooks with two authentic and easy-to-make recipes from Egypt: Tameya (the original veggie burger), and Basboosa (Semolina cake with honey and lemon).
My Book About Egypt – My Book About Egypt takes elementary students to the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and Giza.

Want free lessons for kids about Ancient Egypt? Download the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie on Educents!  Only FREE until 8/19/15!

Categories
History Resources

FREE Ancient Egypt Mini-Unit Lessons to Download (thru 8/19)

Did you see where they think they’ve discovered a hidden entrance to Queen Nerfertiti’s Tomb in a wall in King Tut’s tomb?  (Tut was supposedly the son of Nerfertiti.)  They think the tomb was built for her but the entrance to her burial chamber was bricked up and Tut was buried in her antechamber.

Yes, I know, I’m geeking out about it too.  BigG likes Ancient Egyptian stuff too and these FREE worksheets are going to keep him busy!

egyptianlessonplans
Download a FREE lesson for kids about Ancient Egypt and jump into King Tut’s history! The freebie has several activities included in this pack, including reading comprehension, math review, map skills, and timeline practice, so there are a multiple ways to use them.

Hieroglyphics Math

Use these fun pages to practice place value and/or addition and subtraction skills! Page 12 of the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie asks students use the symbols to determine the number. The following page goes a step further and asks students add or subtract numbers.

Fun facts about Ancient Egypt:

  • The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs!
  • Egyptians believed cats were a sacred animal and having a pet cat would bring a household good luck.
  • Ancient Egyptians invented pens, toothpaste, and a game very similar to bowling.

More Ancient Egypt resources:

Mini Bio: King Tut – Here’s a mini bio about King Tut to go with your mini unit!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pKOcOITUHo]
Ancient Egypt Lapbook – Study interesting facts about the discovery of hieroglyphic writing, the Rosetta Stone, the great King Tutankhamun, the lovely Cleopatra and more.
Recipes From Egypt
– Delight your little cooks with two authentic and easy-to-make recipes from Egypt: Tameya (the original veggie burger), and Basboosa (Semolina cake with honey and lemon).
My Book About Egypt – My Book About Egypt takes elementary students to the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and Giza.

Want free lessons for kids about Ancient Egypt? Download the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie on Educents!  Only FREE until 8/19/15!

Categories
Mom Thoughts

A Homeschool Mom’s Musings on the First Day of Public School

homeschoolmom1stdayschool1

Today is the first day of school for our county.  In our little homeschool of 1 we’ve already done 4 weeks of school and we’re taking a break this week.  (Yes, that was totally planned to coincide with the week everyone else went back to school.)

I was contemplating this post as I was lying in bed this morning.   I don’t know that the post has a specific points.  Which is why I just called it “musings”.

While I was lying in the bed, I heard the school bus coming down the road. “Thank goodness I don’t have to be up already.” I thought.  It was almost 7.  I was enjoying a few quiet moments before I got up.  BigG wouldn’t be up for at least another hour.  I laid in bed a little longer than usual this morning.  I knew when I got up and logged on the computer I would be bombarded with “first day of school pictures” on Facebook.

Now I’m up, sipping a smoothie and trying to get a little work done, in the quiet.  Can I point out how glad I am we don’t have the “get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, get out the door” morning routine?  BigG does better when he’s had a good night’s sleep and gets to wake up at his pace and start his day on his terms.  Aren’t we all that way?   I’ve read several articles lately about how early school times are making it hard for kids to get enough sleep (here and here are two of them).  That’s why I’ve decided to not wake BigG up at a certain time in the morning just for the sake of having him be up.  He’s 6.  If his body stays asleep until 9 then it needed it to make up for a particularly busy few days or using a lot of energy the day before swimming, at the park, etc.

So, on to the “first day of school” pictures all over Facebook this morning.  I do love seeing my friend’s kids smiling faces and excitement over their first day of school.  I am happy for them.

We never did the public school thing.  BigG went to day care/preschool from 12 weeks to 5 years old…but I always worked in the same building at the time.  Then last year we jumped into homeschooling with both feet.

Last year I thought I would be sad when all those pictures started flooding my newsfeed.  But I wasn’t.  Today I was afraid I would be sad even though I wasn’t last year.  But I’m not.

In some ways, the first day of school solidifies my decision to homeschool.  Being in bed when the bus goes by, BigG getting to sleep in, starting our morning on our terms, no rushing out the door.  It just feels like the way life should be.  It works for us.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I hear little footsteps coming this way.  That means it’s time for breakfast.  We have karate later this morning and then we’re going swimming.

Happy first day of school – no matter when or where yours is!

Categories
Art School Day Sonlight Core A

Weeks 3 and 4 Wrap Up: Field Trip, History Journals and Art

119911

Wow, last week was insanely busy.  I didn’t even have time to write about it!    We did take another field trip.  This one was short and only partially educational so we did a half school day that day.   What are your requirements for day to count as school?  I feel like three core subjects must be completed to call it a school day.  Our field trip day coincided with the end of a math unit and spelling test day.  So when we got home he did his tests, reading and a short LA assignment.  School day done.  🙂  (As I’m writing this, today consisted of Science, Reading, Spelling and Art.  We doubled up on some lessons earlier in the week because we have plans tomorrow and then next week is our break.  So we couldn’t really start anything new.   But I still wanted it count today as a school day.  Our state requires a certain number of days to be completed.)

We are rocking along in Sonlight Core A and still loving it!

One thing we started this week to go along with Core A’s history is a History Notebook – or History Journal.  I stocked up on these Primary Journals when they were on sale for back to school.  (I got them for $2 each).  So we’re using one to journal about history.  Which is mostly me writing down important facts after our history readings, having BigG read the facts to me and then illustrating something from the reading.

119912

Writing skills is something we’re working hard on this year.  But I’m not pushing him because when it comes to writing, that really backfires.  Sonlight’s LA for 2nd is about all the writing he can stand for one day.  So as long as he’s doing that well, I’m ok with him dictating and me writing.  We do the same thing with our Apologia notebook.

As for week 4, we didn’t take any field trips this week.  (I know!  I broke our streak of a field trip a week for 3 weeks!)   We finished reading The BoxCar Children which is the first Read Aloud for Core A.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it.  But we did read two stores from James Herriott’s Treasury for Children.  They were sweet stories.  BigG and I both enjoyed them.  I can’t wait to read more.

I’ve also been trying to find something for Art that’s REAL art and can be taught by someone who is not artistic (me).  I came across the Adventures in Art Curriculum at a consignment sale for just $5!   And it just so happened to be 2nd grade!

adventuresinart

We love art.  BigG loves making art and we both enjoying looking at art.  So far, this curriculum is great!

adventuresinartinside

So that’s four weeks of school down for us!  Local public schools start back next week but we will be taking our first one week break!  Yay!

Next week I will share with you our semi-year round schedule for school.

This is part of the Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Weekly Wrap-Up