Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reinforcing Schoolwork at Home

Some of you know that before becoming obsessed with photography, I wrote about fun and educational crafts and activities to do with your young children.  I still write articles, but now I write for other sites as a contributor.  We still do a ton of fun activities around here to promote creativity and learning. 

With Cole in kindergarten now I have tried to make things even more helpful for him to excel in the classroom.  The standards for schools are just crazy.  His very first week of kindergarten was completed with a spelling test. Really?!  But it is what it is and unless I am ready to homeschool (which I do NOT have the patience or talents for) I need to get with it.

I found a non-profit site that has links to all sorts of resources for the kindergartener.  It is really a fun site to go to and hop from as I explore a bunch of different activities to see if they are a good fit for us.

I also found DreamBox Learning.  They have a lot of great stuff for Kindergarten through 4th Grade.  I really like the information and resources they have for

I tend to go way too advanced or too simple.  We are currently working on money and their values at home while he is learning it at school.  So needless to say that Cole has become money obsessed as he learns about it.  The good thing is that his favorite thing to do with the money he has been earning is give it away.  It is kind of a good thing and kind of not so much.  :/

So here is where I ask if you homeschool?  If you don’t homeschool, do you try to come up with stuff at home to reinforce what your child is learning at school?  Please tell me I am not the only one that is crazy worried their child will fall behind or not grasp something and fake it. 

What are your favorite online resources for parents (not kid oriented sites)?


  1. Wow, that is a great list of sites.
    We have been homeschooling since my 9 year old was 5. He went to two years of preschool and we knew he wouldn't make it through a full day of K. There was no half day option in our district. Plus, we were less than enchanted with our school district. We've probably used nearly every site out there for younger kids. My preschooler loved ABC Mouse, which is very affordable but only goes up to about 5 years old.

    My 9 year old has ADHD and has been the toughest to homeschool. He's been a late reader, but won't have anything to do with books/sites he deems babyish. Most of the graphics and voices on most reading sites are geared to the 1st and 2nd grade which has been an issue for us.

    We tried Explode the Code online - my older kids grew tired of it after 2 months. We tried Time4Learning, which I thought was pretty great, but after about 4 months the kids were over that too. We also tried Reading Kingdom but had issues with it repeating lessons over and over, or stopping mid lesson and starting over. They quickly grew tired of that.
    I know many homeschoolers and parents love these sites though, and most offer a free trial.

    My favorite resource of all is Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr. We use it every day to reinforce learning and introduce new subjects. My 9 yr old loves it and so do my 6 and 4 year olds. They offer a few free videos per month, but have a wide array of topics in the subscription - there's an app too. I give it two giant thumbs up. The monthly subscription is affordable and worth it.

    I also use for printables and worksheets. Easy to navigate by grade/topic and totally free. Awesome resource. And has cheap and some free unit studies, lap books, etc. to download. There are tons more, but I'll stop my blabbing now. Sorry ;)

    I think the best advice is to incorporate your child's interests and keep learning fun. You can use dinosaurs to teach geography, you can use soccer to teach math, American Girl dolls travel through history, etc. It all counts! ;)

  2. Well - you know I homeschool, that's a given. But you know- the curriculum is really good & rarely do we have to go to the internet for extra instruction. But I do do that when needed. I don't have any particular site I go to the most. Usually when we are searching for a different explanation it's math related. YouTube has been a God send in that regard. I KNOW I would have done so much better when I was in school if I had the resources that my kids have.

  3. I'm already thinking of homeschooling. The schools in our area are good, but the classes sizes are large. Not to mention I don't like the idea of full day Kinder. So we're already looking into options and I'm just very overwhelmed right now by all the curricula out there.

  4. Well, you know I homeschool, no big surprise there. You're not the only one by a long shot who does both, there's actually several bloggers that do both and they started an "After Schoolers" linky, which is for moms to link up who do more with their kids after they home after school (one of the sites hosting is, I don't remember the urls of others offhand).

    Sites for parents....... I'd agree with, I love their stuff, also (I think that's the site) has some great stuff you can do related to books and such stuff.

  5. Hi Kim...I home school too...Never say never girl, the LORD will change your heart and mind as HE did to me, if that is what HE desires of you...I had plans to get my nails done, have lunch with friends and go shopping while my kids were in school...Not that that is what moms do when their kids are in school, I was just dumb...Ha! I think what your doing is so awesome...Even if the school your child goes to is a good school, you still have to be involved...The problems I've seen, is that these kids come home with like 3 hours of homework...I tell my friends you might as well home school, you could get it all done in 3-4 hours and have all that time to spend with your child...

    I also have lots of friends that are homeschooling their teens and get a lot of advice and support from, this is what they say...Read, read, read, read..And when your done read again...I've been transitioning to classical homeschooling which basically tell you to read classic books to your child...I've heard and been told and see for myself that when we read to our children verses textbook teaching, it really encourages the love of reading for your child...There is so much more I can say, but I'll just end it by saying what your doing in math is great! Everything else for his age, I would enforce reading great books & sounds of the alphabet...That's a good start...I can't believe they had a spelling test for Kindergarten...
    Good luck Friend...

  6. I have experienced the same thing with my kindergartener. (We live in Asia and she goes to an International School) It is full day for her and she has homework sent home on Monday that she has to do by Friday. I get afraid that she will get behind also. However, after a full day of school and some days doing homework it is way too much to do a lot of learning activities after school during the school year. She reads a lot to us or her sister and we try to do fun craft activities after school. I read a blog once that inspired me to do "extra" things with her during the summer. I figured if we spent about 30 minutes a few days a week I can work on the things I think would be good for her to have a head start on or that she has been having trouble on. I definitely plan on her working on writing and reading, and we'll see what else we come up with at that time.

  7. We've got a bunch of maths and reading apps for the iPad and iTouch so Ethan doesn't think he's doing any actual work. I then had an extra Raz-Kids account left, so I gave it to Ethan. It's a site where he can practice his reading and comprehension skills.

  8. So funny that when I read your post I was thinking that you are actually home schooling your child without officially home schooling him anyway. Kind of what Denise (my bud) said! It is sometimes true that moms that don't home school spend as much time with home work as they would if they home schooled. I would reiterate to read, read and read to them. The best advice I ever received!

  9. This is a tough one for me right now. I have read so many conflicting reports lately, and the most intriguing was on Finland and it's school system. I can't find the actual article I read but if you do a quick search a lot of them pop up. Here is one I found:

    Basically, they get better test scores (global testing?) than any other developed country year after year.

    Kids don't start school until they are 7, and even then they get out at 1 pm daily. The teachers have a very relaxed curriculum, with very little government involvement.
    A lot of the class is taught outside instead of at a desk all day.
    The teachers have the same student for 6 years, rather than changing every year, which allows them the chance to understand what difficulties a child had starting with and how best to teach them.

    So really, we can offer that at home - but I'm with you, I don't know if I could do it!



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