Spelling can be so difficult for some children, which makes it more challenge to teach them if you are using the conventional way of spelling that doesn't work for some children. I love to implement as much hands-on approaches in early years of homeschooling to not only help my children who are struggling but to give them the ability to learn faster by incorporating their hands into the learning. That is why I love this hands-on approach to spelling!
A Hands-On Approach to Spelling
We I came across All About Spelling, I was so excited to try it with my unmotivated learner. He wasn't struggling to spell, he just wasn't enjoying it and because of that he wasn't motivated to give it his best. When I implemented this into our homeschool he loved it and his spelling improved immediately. I had only wished that this was around when my older two was younger because my struggling reader would have really benefited from this hands-on approach of spelling.
Now, I'm using All About Spelling – Level One as a learning box activity with my youngest and he is doing it quickly.
I love how everything you need is all provided, including how to work through each level for a mastery of the spelling words included in each level.
For the hands-on approach to spelling, we use the magnetic letters and the spelling cards, along with a metal pan to keep our work in one place.
I pull a few spelling words cards, in the same word family, together with magnetic letters and have him build the letters.
Notice that the vowels are red and the consonants are blue. As they develop their spelling skills they will begin to use multi-lettered phonograms that are also colored coordinated. LOVE IT!
Once he is done building the word, he moves his finger to the left and we work on sounding out the word together. When we are done, he will spell the word and say it again, before building the next word in the word family.
This kit is excellence!
Although it is designed for homeschoolers, this would be an excellent way to help your children who are struggling with spelling at school. Just have them make up their own spelling cards from their spelling list at the beginning of the week and then each evening, they can build the words for their spelling practice for the test at the end of the week.
Check out all the resources from All About Spelling and turn your spelling time into a hands-on learning time.
Geography can be a difficult subject to teach if a child isn't interest in maps. Learning how to teach geography with books, as it is taught in the Charlotte Mason way, can really open up the interest of a child and give them excitement about the dry facts of cities, states and countries. Starting your children with learning about geography with books is a sure way to get them interested in geography and building on their knowledge for all future learning.
How to Teach Geography with Books
To teach geography with books, you need to start with the right books. The right books will be the kind of books that include adventure and can hold a child's attention. I have always used a series of books to introduce geography with my children and it has always been successful, as these have become cherished books in our home library.
I seem to use these books from Holling C. Hollings in the same system each time I use them to teach my children. I will share the books in the order that I read them aloud to my children. (These are also perfect books to teach narration as well). Each chapter is only one page, with the exception of Minn of the Mississippi. The illustrations are captivating and aid the younger children in developing narrations skills while keep their attention as parts of geography unfolds.
The trick to adding geography is to always find the place on a map after the reading. A great way to do that is to mark it on a printable map that the child can color on their own.
Paddle-to-the-Sea is a story of a little carved canoe with an Indian that travels through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic ocean and the adventures he experiences along the way.
Tree in the Trail is a story of a tree in the middle of the Santa Fe trail during the western expansion.
Seabird is a story of an ivory carved seabird that travels with a boy through his life as a sailor in America during the early sailing history.
Minn of the Mississippi is a story of a turtle that travels the mississippi. I purposely hold this book off until later years because of its references of evolution and the longer chapters.
Other books by Holling C. Hollings that you may enjoy:
Many children have a difficult time mastering the skills of timelines and narration. Taking the printable timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods, while enjoying a little craft time with them, will allow your children to grow in narration and help them be more interested in giving you more details because it increased their attention with a hands-on element.
An Interactive Timeline for Narration
Most homeschoolers use a timeline on their wall or in a book of some kind. Young children can go through this activity but may not really make the connection on their own of what it really means. For our children, it became easy for them to understand a timeline when associating it with people and events that we were studying in History and making connections with others that lived in that time period.
Over time, it was easier and easier for our children to make the connection and base everything off from what they already knew and understood up to that point.
Here is how to create this Interactive Timeline:
First, you will need to purchase the Homeschool In the Woods Timeline Figures on CDs. This is one of the best investments we have made in our homeschool journey because we have used it every year for all of our children and will keep using them for years to come. I love non-consumable curriculum!
I love to use the full length timeline figures, however some of the figures only have head bust images of certain people, and these are still okay to use, as well. Print off as many of the images as you would like to cover, remembering that the CDs have them organized in chronologically or alphabetically. You can even print off events, with people from the event. For an example, the American Revolution and people from that time period.
Each of the timeline figures can be printed with or without text. For this purpose, I used the ones without text. I then write the name and dates that are the printouts onto the back of the images. I then have my children color them.
Once they are done laminating and cooling, I cut out each one.
I then add double sided tape to the back of the popsicle sticks and attach it to the back of the laminated image. Be sure not to cover up the name and dates, for the children to remember when working with them in their narration. You can color code your popsicle sticks to be for a certain time period or event, if you like to go that far into creating these interactive timelines for narration.
Here is how to use this Interactive Timeline:
Narrate a Biography
Younger children would be thrilled to have the interactive timeline image and be able to retell an oral narration while holding it. If they are a reader, having the name and dates will help them mentally see this information, as they narrate, for a way to memorize the facts for quicker recall.
Narrate an Event
If a child was asked to retell all they knew about an event, like the American Revolution, you can give them a large amount of interactive timeline images that they helped to create over a term of learning and give you a great narration by picking up the different images at different parts of the story. The more they learned of the different people during this period of history will help them make the connections of the timeline and the people who lived during this event.
Free Time Play
Children who grow up on learning history through living books, often times will fill their free time with play that reenacts things that they learned. These interactive timeline images can easily become as enjoyable as paper dolls in their creative play.
Have your children put on a puppet show with these interactive timeline images. They can really enjoy this experience with several images that could carry on a conversation with each other. Children will ask for more narration time if you used the power of a puppet show for the way they delivered what they retained in their lessons.
With all the devices today that give you movie making abilities, your older children will love using these interactive timeline images to create a movie to retell what they retained from their lessons. Building skills, while narrating will be something that any techie loving child will find all kinds of way to make learning fun.
To learn more about Homeschool in the Woods, you may enjoy reading…
If you are looking for a foreign language to teach your children that will also be a great way for them to learn more about scriptures, a great option would be to learn Biblical Greek. Although it may sound like a hard thing, I would love to share with you how to teach Biblical Greek at home.
How to Teach Biblical Greek at Home
Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! A Biblical Greek Worktext is a 36 lesson curriculum. I had the opportunity to review Level 3 which starts with guiding your child through a review of the Greek alphabet. If you want more time to work on the foundation of Greek, you can start with either Level 1 or Level 2 before moving into Level 3.
The Worktext is a consumable curriculum that is spiral bound that allows the student to easily work through the daily assignments, right into the book.
The Level 3 Answer Key is very important and necessary. It breaks down all the assignments, with details for the teacher to implement for each lesson that is covered on a weekly basis.
In addition to the student completing one page a day, as their assignment, they are also assigned to practice the flashcards daily. These are perfect for the short lessons for those following the Charlotte Mason way of educating their children.
Each lessons has vocabulary work that ties together with the flashcards, along with a check box for the daily practice of the flashcards. There is an optional pronunciation CD that can be used in Level Three and Level Four, which would make it easier if you struggle with foreign language and want to ensure your children are learning how to pronounce the vocabulary properly.
As they move through the curriculum, they will build on their sentence building skills, as they practice turning English into Greek and Greek into English. This will be easy for you to correct, as the answers are found in the Answer Key.
If you like to see how much your child retains in their studies of Biblical Greek, you can use the consumable quizzes and exams to evaluate their progress, as they move through the curriculum.
Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek is one of the best curriculums that I have seen for children that are ready to add foreign language to their lessons. The simplicity of the lessons, the addition of flashcards and pronunciation CD and the useful lesson plans and answers provided in the Answer Key makes this a good thing to having your children dig deeper into scripture, as they learn Biblical Greek.
*I received Hey Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek Level 3 for a review and was compensated for my honest opinion for this curriculum.
Copywork is a great activity to not only improve hand writing, but to also ponder great writing, spelling, vocabulary and sentence structure. As beneficial copywork is in your homeschool, it isn't alway easy to find selections that you would like to have your children copy without spending many hours in pulling them all together.
If you have never used copywork in your homeschooling, I would love to give you a few tips to help you get started on the right path.
Start with the goal of having something in each copywork lesson to be perfectly made
Start with short lessons
Use only good selections by choosing your selections to include worthy idea, great information and parts of language arts that will be enforced in the action of copywork
Encourage diligence by watching them until the habit of attention is present
Move into independent copywork
If you would like more help learning how to implement copywork into your homeschooling, you will find this video that I created explaining how to do that, as well as dictation.
Copywork Resources for All Ages
If you are implementing copywork in your homeschooling, you will absolutely love the variety in these resources.
Children love learning centers, so why not create a learning center in your home? Our five year old has had the benefit of learning boxes since he was two and at the age of five, he still enjoys them and learns at all times of the days with the simple addition of a learning center in our home.
How to Create a Learning Center in Your Home
I had creating a learning center out of reach when my youngest was little, because of the choking hazards of many of the learning boxes that we would do together. As he has grown, we realized that we needed to move these loved boxes down where he was able to enjoy these learning activities throughout the day, especially since he is way past the age of putting things in his mouth.
I used a shelf that we have had since we were first married and I decided to paint it to go with the other elements in our school room. We loved the fresh color and how the colors popped together for an inviting area for our son that loves hands-on activities to learn the foundation of his education.
Art is often a curriculum that is overlooked, but it shouldn't be! So I was thrilled that See the Light was interested in having me review their product and share it here on my blog. With See the Light DVDs, art class will be something your children will love to do and you will enjoy the Christian aspect of these 9-DVDs that has 36 lessons in all, plus three bonuses lessons. With these DVDs, you can easily teach art at home and your children of all ages will love them!
How to Teach Art at Home
With See the Light Art Class Volumes 1-9, each DVD has 4 lessons each (36 lessons total) with three of them having an additional bonus lesson, with the total time for each DVD ranging from 48 to 84 minutes total.
I can see this being so easy to add to a homeschool routine, with one lesson a week, each lasting 10-18 minutes long, and of course, additional practice. You can choose to include it on a Monday and assign days during the week to work on what was taught, or have an extended time on one day to watch the lesson and implement it. For our home, Fridays would be the perfect day for us to add ‘art club' which is how it is referred to in the DVD to our schedule without feeling overwhelming.
This was the first time that I had the opportunity to review these DVDs and I wanted my boys (5 and 12) to see what they thought of them as well. I had them go through the first DVD with me and they both were enjoying it a lot. They held the attention of both of the boys and the Master Artist, Pat Knepley explained things thoroughly enough for them to follow along.
Here is a photo of one of the lessons they did and I was so surprised at the photo of my youngest!
As I was reviewing these DVDs, I wanted to see how many things that stood out to me that would work with a Charlotte Mason way of education. I was thrilled to see so many of them!
Here is how See the Light DVDs works so well with the Charlotte Mason way:
The lessons are short
The lessons are first hand instructions of how to work on a skill
My children were inspired and my 5 year old had his own ideas of what to draw immediately (see his photo below)
Habit of attention is being worked on
Observation is taught
Skills are worked on that can be used in journaling, and sketching for narrations
Can easily become a handi-craft (hobby)
Biblical references are used
Multiple ages can do this together – My 12 year old and 5 year old watched together!
I love to have my school things organized. When I heard Pat, the Master Artist, started listing what is needed for this DVD course and how she recommended to store it, it just resonated with me. I wanted to add this list for you as well, so while you are waiting for your DVDs to ship, you can prepare your own tool kit for these art classes.
You can easily take these with you for additional practice while on a nature walk or just visiting a local park for a day out!
Build Your Own Tools Kit to Use See the Light Art Class DVDs
Notebook pages are a great way to inspire narrations, creativity, nature journaling and much more. In our experience, young children are overwhelmed by just handing them a blank piece of paper and expect them to fill it up with things they just learned. Notebook pages are a perfect way to bridge the space between the beginning stages of writing and filling the blank page of a paper or a journal.
Notebook Pages for Most Subjects
Have you ever seen Notebook Pages? This resources has so many free pages and themed pages, as well as bundles that you really could find notebook pages for most subjects, but so far, not math. Who wants that, anyways? I would love to introduce you to some of the ones that would be perfect for the Charlotte Mason method to help your children learn the important factors of the elements of writing and journaling.
If you use Binder Books or laptops in your homeschool, these notebook page templates and mini-books are the perfect thing to have to bring these things to live with different shapes and pop-ups that will make this a great resource for hands-on learners or creative learners.
We all love visiting nature centers from time to time. Why not create your own nature center and have learning at your finger tips? It is something that you can start and add to for years to come, making it a great hobby for all ages. Nature has been something that our children have absolutely loved since starting the Charlotte Mason way.
How to Create a Nature Center
I had bought this adorable shelf at a yard sale for $5 and my daughter did some distressing on it. I loved the glass doors and the drawers and thought it was a perfect item for displaying our nature finds and creating a nature center that can grow with us for years to come.
This nature center gives us the opportunity to store some of our special nature finds or gifts from others (like this photo of a collection that was given to us by someone I met in Florida that loved that we homeschooled and did nature studies – truly a cherished gift!). It allows us to keep them safe but displayed for us to enjoy from time to time.
Our guest that come to our home love to see our nature center display and enjoy hearing the stories behind our nature finds and even enjoy looking at this seahorse and bleached shells.
All of these nature collections in this photo are from our own property: part of a dragon fly, paper wasp nest, bird nest and snake skin from our welcomed black snake that keeps cooper heads and rodents that are often seen on our property from coming near and into our home.
These pine cones are from the nature walk that our family did that allowed our at the time, four year old, to learn all about the Pine Tree and their cones. He wanted to keep the cones to remember that day and now they are displayed in our nature center. He loves telling people that he knows what they are and what trees they come from.
Our family loves the Bible lessons from Grapevine Studies, which teaches children the Bible through drawing stick figures. Our youngest has been doing this since the age of 4 and will often times draw his favorite Bible stories that we haven't even studied yet, while we are out of the house on errands or at church. He loves it! I love that this simple method of learning the Bible has been so effective that he is thinking of it on his own when we aren't even doing homeschool.
That is when I got this idea.
DIY Bible Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go
Here is what you will need to create your own Bible Lesson Cards:
Optional, but highly recommend is an laminator – it will keep these cards looking good through all kinds of wear and tear!
If you do laminate the cards, you will need laminator sheets. I recommend this cheaper brand.
Again, if you are laminating these, you will need a pair of scissors as well.
Here is how you make your DIY Bible Lesson Cards
On the blank side of your index card, you will want to draw the picture for the lesson that you are on or have your children do it, like I did. It is important to use the same color for each of the drawing that is specified. So if your children are doing this with you, be sure they understand to look at the colors for each stick figure and item in the lesson and to use that color when drawing.
Label the top of the card, on the blank side, where the drawing goes with the name of the lesson. This will help readers identify what the lesson is about just by looking at the drawing and the title.
On the lined side of the index card, you will want to write the assignment for Bible reading, skip a line and then write the portion for ‘Discussion'. Although the purpose of these cards are for the children to enjoy using these DIY Bible lesson cards anywhere, they can also be used as true lessons in the waiting room for an appointment, long drives with the family, in lines at the store or sick days in bed.
These are the key things you will want to add to the front and back of these DIY Bible lesson cards.
Another thing that I have added to the lesson cards is the colorful timeline reviews. I love this activity at the end of every lesson! I can't believe how easy it is for my son, who just turned 5, to be able to look at this review and go through the timeline retelling me the stories from the lessons… just from the pictures!
Your children will LOVE this resource. You will love their knowledge of the Bible and how easy it is to teach them, while keeping their attention.
Due to the amount of work that goes into these cards and their value to our family, plus knowing that these cards will be used for a long time with my little guy drawing in church, I wanted to really preserve them by laminating them. I have learned the hard way that when something is used again and again, it is always best to invest in laminating them to ensure they are a non-consumable investment, instead of having to purchase them several times for all of my children.
If you desire to dig into the American Revolution in your homeschool with living books, as the Charlotte Mason way recommends, this booklist is the perfect place to start. This book list ranges from early readers to higher elementary and will be a list that you don't want to lose, so be sure to book mark it or pin it to your Pinterest board for safe keeping.
The Ultimate Book List for the American Revolution (Pre-war to 1783)
This book list will be divided up into themes to help you better navigate to find the books that fit your needs best. Please note that not all books are easily available, others are available at your library or even at used book sales and maybe good finds at the Good Will.
Draw and Write Through History is an interactive learning curriculum that your children will absolutely love. Each of the books in the series gives step by step drawing instruction, plus a selection of history copywork in cursive. You children will love drawing the historical subjects, while learning more about the history surrounding their drawings in these copywork sections.
This series consist of SIX books, each highlighting a different era in history and filled with inspiring step by step drawing that you children will enjoy perfecting their drawing skills with, while learning about the history each subject represents in that era. These books are recommended for ages 8 and up.
Creation through Jonah – Learn how to draw a dinosaur, Noah's Ark, a giraffe, the tower of Babel, a pyramid, mummy, sphinx, silk worm moth, giant panda, Bible characters, the Trojan horse, a phoenician ship, and more.
Greece and Rome – Learn how to draw a Greek soldier, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Great Wall of China, Hannibal's war elephants, the Colosseum, a gladiator, and more.
The 20th Century – Learn how to draw a Model T, the Titanic, penguins, seals, a World War I soldier, The Red Barron's plane, Amelia Earhart, a Sherman Tank, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., the space shuttle, and more.
Here are a few samples of what the books look like…