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Science: Visual Encyclopedia of Science

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015

    When this book first arrived in the mail a few years ago (I bought it used at Half.com), I was shocked at how small it was.  I was expecting a much larger, much more impressive encyclopedia for me to read to my five-year-old daughter (I was very ambitious when I first started homeschooling).  Instead, I received this six and a half inch book in the mail and it was smaller than my daughter’s barbie dolls.  Disappointed I shelved it away and went on to bigger and better books. Luckily, my daughter did not share the same sentiment.  A few months into our homeschooling year, I found Alice tightly grasping this book and very intently, studying its pages.  Of course, she was too young to read the book, but that didn’t stop her.  Inside it’s pages were pictures of planets, flowers, animals, the earth, weather, and inventions (among other things).    And best of all, it fit nicely into her cute little hands.  It was neither too large nor too heavy.  It was the perfect size for our little girl.  Now that she’s reading on her own these books have taken on a completely different meaning to her.  Whereas before I had to sit down and read them to her, she can now read some of the passages by herself.  Although she still needs me to explain different scientific concepts to her, these explanations are becoming less and less frequent.  For now she’s been looking at this book for so many years, all of it’s great scientific information is finally taking hold. What I’ve come to like best about these books (we have several Visual Encyclopedias by DK), is that the passages are concise and informative.  They contain easy to read summaries, relevant facts, and engaging illustrations, photographs, and charts. Book Facts Title:  Visual Encyclopedia of Science Publisher:  DK Publishing ISBN: 0756607000 Published: 2005 Number of Pages: 512 Topics Covered:  Chemistry, Physics, Earth, Weather, Space and The Living World (plants, animals, ecosystems etc.) Recommended Age Group:  Preschool – 6th Grade Printing Status: Out of Print Price:  Buy it used for under $5 at Amazon.com or Half.com...

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Reading: We Give Books (Free)

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015

We Give Books began in 2010.  As of today over 3, 782, 703 books have been read on this site. We Give Books contains a large variety of children and young adult books that can be read online.    You can filter this collection by age, genre and author.  You can also sort this collection by date and popularity.  Featured books, editor’s picks and classic book lists are also available.  In October 2014, We Give Books joined First Book.   We Give Books   free Registration required (free) This collection includes board books, picture books, easy readers and chapter books in both fiction and non-fiction. Book by popular authors like Rosemary Wells (Max and Ruby), Anna Dewdney (Llama Llama) and DK publishing are included in this collection. Books can be read online (there is no read-a-loud feature) Author information is included with each book (activities and worksheets are listed when available) The recommended ages for these books is 0 – 10 (board books are included in this collection) Activities, plans and other teaching resources Great resource for when you can’t get to the...

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Curriculum: Starfall.com Overview

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015

Starfall is designed for pre-kindergartens to second graders.  We purchased a membership several years ago when my daughter was in preschool.  This is one of the many tools we used in teaching her how to read.  To us, it’s a bargain at $35 a year.  Both of my children, Alice (second grade), and Cheshire (kindergarten) love the books, songs, games and activities that can be found at Starfall.com. Even without a membership, you can still access all of the same learning materials that helped launch my daughter into reading. Membership Details All memberships are valid for 365 days. Home Membership ($35) – This membership provides you with one account that can be used by different members of your immediate family.  After you become a member, you can “authorize” several computers at once so that multiple children can be logged into your Starfall.com account at the same time. Teacher’s Membership ($75) – One teacher and 6 students can use the account simultaneously; see website for details. Classroom Membership ($150) – This membership can be used for one classroom in a school; see website for details. School Membership ($270) – This membership covers one school campus; see website for details. Free Resources Some of the free resources available at Starfall.com include: ABCs: Short animated videos that teach the alphabet, vowels and how to sign the alphabet. Learn to Read: 15 basic and interactive books; these were created to teach the fundamentals of reading.  Each book is a part of a greater lesson that includes additional activities, movies, and games.  Reading is taught through both phonetic and whole language lessons. It’s Fun to Read and I’m Reading: Interactive books help children take their new found reading skills to the next level. Calendar and holiday activities and lessons The Homeschooling section contains free worksheets and books for kids to enjoy, like blank certificates, seasonal handouts, reading and writing journals, puppet templates, etc.. At the Teacher’s Lounge, you can download free ABC worksheets on how to write each letter (A-Z), number worksheets, lined paper, picture cards, sample lesson plans and more. Member Resources Some of the membership resources include: Learn pre-kindergarten to second-grade math skills (counting, time, addition, subtraction, days of the week, basic multiplication and division, geometry, and measurement). You children can learn and sing children’s classics in their sing-a-long section (Farmer in the Dell, Pat-a-Cake). There is also a section for nursery rhymes and historical folk songs. Read more books in the Talking Library (these books are also interactive and there is an option to have the books read aloud). Additional phonics lesson A variety of worksheets (reading, writing, phonics, numbers, math), picture cards, calendars, lesson plans, word find puzzles, color by number worksheets,  teaching guides, unit studies, animal kingdom printouts, writing rubric,  downloadable books, biographical information on famous Americans (Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Rosa Parks, etc.)  and more is located in the Teacher’s Lounge. Starfall Store Starfall also sells games, puzzles, stuffed animals, books, CD-ROMS, and more at their online store. Apps A free Starfall app is available at the Apple Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire (internet connection is required for an app to run). In order to access all of the app’s content, you need to be a Starfall member (there is very little free content provided in the app). At this time, they also have 10 additional apps that range in price...

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