The most effective way to learn a foreign language is to actually use that language in day-to-day life. Most of us can’t just pick up our families and move to another country for language immersion, so products that help you replicate that environment into your home are extremely helpful to homeschoolers. Spanish for You! was created especially for mixed-age groups in the 3rd-8th grade range. Students learn to write, read, and speak Spanish through materials appropriate for their age, while providing plenty of opportunity for practice communicating.
Two full-year programs centered around topic areas, Fiestas (Celebrations) and Estaciones (Seasons), are currently available. Reviewers have been using Spanish for You! with their families, and are ready to share their experiences. Spanish for You! is centered around themes, rather than levels, allowing parents to choose packages based on interest, rather than level of experience. A third theme, Viajes (Travels), is available right now as a short trial program; the complete package will debut in June 2013.
Each Spanish for You! package has been tested by the author, over a full school year, in a teaching environment. This has allowed her to check for consistent quality and usability. Spanish for You! incorporates a variety of learning styles, with workbook pages, audio files, and s
uggestions for interactive learning and communication.
All Spanish for You! programs include a soft-cover textbook, plus multiple downloads that include:Lesson Guides include plans for 4-days per week, but it’s flexible enough that more or less material may be covered, so long as the lessons are worked through in order.
- a 24-to-30 week lesson guide in PDF format (grades 3-4 is 30 weeks; grades 5-6 and 7-8 are 24 weeks) – Sample lesson guide
- self-checking worksheets for grades 3-4, 5-6, or 7-8 in PDF format – Sample worksheets
- MP3 files of the entire book to use as the lesson guide instructs
- bonus MP3 files of a native Spanish speaker reading the entire book
- pictures for creating flashcards and other activities in PDF format
Spanish for You! allows you to purchase the configuration most appropriate for your family. A theme set that includes materials for all grade levels is $64.95. A package that contains just the file needed for a specific level – 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, or 7th-8th – is $39.95. Extra volumes of the textbook are $12.95 each. (The same text is used for all three levels.) Optional teacher lesson plans, only needed if you plan to use Spanish for You! in a classroom setting, are $12.95.
Marcy C. @ Ben and Me — Frugal Family Spring Unit Studies
Two things I love most in homeschooling — unit studies and free. Add gorgeous spring weather to the mix, and I just couldn’t be happier.
Leah C. @ As We Walk Along the Road — The Frugal Homeschool
I will admit that I don’t always take the cheapest route when it comes to buying curricula. But sometimes I can make up for it by saving money elsewhere. So, here are some ways to save (especially if you’ve gone a little over budget with curricula!).
Rebekah T. @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining — Thrift Store Homeschooling
As Frugal Mamas, we all know the benefits of shopping for clothing and books at Thrift Stores. But how can the Thrift Store help us in our Homeschooling? I am going to give you my very favorites ideas for how to take Thrift Store Finds and use them in creative ways for a Homeschool.
Kym T. @ Homeschool Coffee Break — Making Homeschooling More Affordable
One of my favorite words to describe homeschool curricula or resources is: Non-Consumable. That means I can use it for more than one kid, for more than one school year, and when we do finish with it I can pass it along to someone else.
Sarah J. @ Delivering Grace — Keeping the Cost of Living Down
Most home educating families are also single income families. The greatest cost is often the loss of income rather than home educating materials.
Kim M. @ Homestead Acres — Homeschooling Without Breaking the Bank
One of the lessons I’ve learned is it’s not always the curriculum you buy but HOW you use it that is important. Constantly switching curriculum’s to find just the right one isn’t always the answer, try changing how your using it. Don’t be afraid to take control of your curriculum instead of it controlling you!
Jenny M. @ Good Work Academy — Things to Learn About — May Edition
Lots of fun & interesting things to learn about in May . . .
Brittney R. @ Mom’s Heart — I Don’t Budget for My Homeschool
I have a confession. I don’t budget for my homeschool purchases. Yeah, I know. I bet you don’t hear that from many homeschoolers, do you?
Brandy B. @ Kingdom Academy — Tips for Frugal Homeschooling
In today’s economic times, money is tight for almost everyone. Homeschooling moms and dads need to be creative in finding ways to save pennies while still offering their children a quality education.
Heather A. @ Only Passionate Curiosity — How to Homeschool Art Without Breaking the Bank
You don’t need a pricy curriculum to teach art in your Homeschool. Let me show you how to create an art lesson easily and inexpensively!
Laura L. @ Loving and Learning on the High Plains — Homeschooling Cheap
Homeschooling is something we feel that God has called us to do, but it does mean that we have to make it go on one income while I teach the children. As a result, our educational dollars have to stretch! Here are a few of the ways we have done that. I pray this would be encouragement to anyone who is planning to homeschool: that this is not about the money, but the effort!
Maureen B. @ Adoptive Mom Homeschooling and Only Child — Homeschool for Free? It’s possible, come and see.
Homeschooling from your bookshelves? It’s possible come and see.
Nikki F. @ Blessings from Homeschooling — Pinching Pennies
Over the years I have become more and more resourceful! Looking back I laugh at myself and cry over the amount of money I have thrown away. In my defense I can only say that I didn’t know!!!
Kemi Q. @ Homeschooling Organized Blog — My Mother’s Goldmine
My mother, being a retired school teacher, has always collected educational material and for very cheap!
Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy — The Rise of El Cheapo
Whoever told me that homeschooling was cheaper than private school–LIED. OK, maybe in the long run it’s cheaper, but really, I spend a LOT on my kids’ curriculum each year. So, to save our retirement funds, I’ve come up with some ways to take the bite out of the budget, so to speak.
Meg F. @ Adventures with Jude — When the library isn’t practical . . .
Exploring the value of e-books when going to the library isn’t an option.
Kayla @ The Arrowood Zoo — Ideas to Save Money
Over the 7 years I have homeschooled I have learned a lot about saving money. I want to share several with you. Hopefully it will give you some ideas.
Angie M. @ H.O.P.E. Homeschool Consulting Blog — Ways to Save Money Before You Buy Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooling your children does not require purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of school materials. There are ways to save money before you buy homeschool curriculum.
Erin S. @ For Him and My Family — How “F” Stands for Frugal and not Failure in Our School
Receiving a grade of F is not a bad thing in our school but stands for Frugal or frugality. With 8 soon to be 9 kids we make it a game to find ways to be frugal in our school, read on for a few of our tricks!
Crystal H. @ Crystal Starr Blog — 6 Tips and LOTS of Resources for Frugal Homeschooling
I have to tell you, if I wanted to we could actually spend absolutely nothing on homeschooling. Zero, zip, zilch, nadda. Here the six things you have to remember… COMBINE, REUSE, SELL IT OFF, USE THE LIBRARY, BUY USED and ONLINE FREEBIES!
Kerry H. @ Old Fashioned Girls — Homemade and Frugal Foodie
So, I decided to share a day at the table in our home! These recipes are quick and easy…you could say “Homemade Fast Food!”
Lexi @ Lextin Academy — Frugal with My Time
So, when I think of frugal homeschooling resources, I don’t think about finding the least expensive resources – I’d rather be frugal with my time than with my pocket book. My time with my family is most valuable to me.
Dawn W. @ Guiding Light Homeschool — Homeschooling on a Budget
Don’t worry – this is NOT about budgeting! It is about the little things we do to survive!
Frugal might be a popular buzzword right now, but for our single-income homeschooling household it’s a necessity. When we first began homeschooling, the high prices I saw in the curriculum catalogs scared me. Over the years I’ve learned how to get the resources we need for free or low cost.
Have you ever attended a homeschool convention, but found yourself strapped for cash after you paid for convention registration, hotel, gas, etc? Today I am going to share with you five ways to save money at a homeschool convention.
Whenever the local paper prints what the fee schedule is for the public elementary school, I cringe. We would be spending a fortune to send our children. How do we manage to spend so little?
I have run across some Nuggets of Gold that I wanted to share with you today. There are a variety of free resources included, so pick and choose what will be helpful for you, and Enjoy!
I’ve always been very frugal—shopping sales, couponing, cooking from scratch, and so on. In the past several years, my financial situation has been such that I HAD to save money where I could because there just hasn’t been money for “extras.”
Recently, members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had the privilege of reading Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren by Diane Flynn Keith.
This book tells the story of Carol Joseph Flynn, otherwise known as “Papa.” Early on in life, Papa experienced much hardship and adversity which led to misbehavior in school and eventually to involvement in criminal activity. What he thought was the worst thing that could happen to him actually turned out the be the very thing that helped him to turn his life around.Papa became a loving husband and father and passed on life lessons and practical wisdom to his posterity through quirky sayings like “You gotta use your street smarts,” “Tell yourself you like it,” and “Keep a foxy pocket.” Diane Flynn Keith continues her father’s legacy by sharing in her book his insights on how to live a positive, productive, and satisfying life. Each chapter revolves around several of Papa’s sayings and real life stories that inspire readers to work hard, build loving relationships, and live life to the fullest.
An autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren is available for $21.97 which includes shipping.
Cinco de Mayo means the 5th of May in English. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day. This is a time when individuals living in Mexico and the Unites States celebrate and commemorate the victory the Mexican army had over French soldiers at the 1862 Battle of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. People celebrate the Mexican-American culture and heritage with parties, dancing, parades, music, and delicious food. I will sharing several activities that you could possibly do to celebrate and recognize Cinco de Mayo with your children.
Geography and Social Studies
Language and Culture
Learn about Mexican traditions and culture in reference books and through online research. Spanish is the primary language spoken in Mexico. Teach your children words in Spanish including colors, numbers, months, foods, instruments, music genres, and more.
Map and Globe Work
Find Mexico and its capital on the globe and on a map of North America. Apples 4 the Teacher and DLTK both have a map of Mexico coloring page. Children can also paint Mexico on a map. Children can complete USA or World puzzles in order to discuss the location of Mexico in relation to their state.
Flag Research and Comparisons
Take a look at Mexico’s flag. What colors do you see? What do the colors represent? Older children can research the information. The flag colors represent hope (green), purity and faith (white), and blood shed (red). What symbols are displayed? Research the Aztec legend about the flag symbols and how Mexico City was founded. Children can also compare and contrast their flag post-it notes using a hula hoop Venn diagram or they can create a painter’s tape t-chart. Furthermore, a descriptive paragraph can be written.
Make a Tissue Paper Mexican Flag. We used the blank flag template from Activity Village. The flag template was cut and pasted to a piece of sturdy cardboard. Alyssa scrunched up cut pieces of red, green, and white tissue paper and dipped them in glue to attach to the template. She twisted black pipe cleaners over the top of the 10” dowel stick flag handle. Then, I hot glued a yellow pom pom at the top of the flag post. You could create the flag using painted lima beans, flattened pieces of tissue paper, feathers, fingerprints, construction paper, pom poms, daubers, paint, dyed rice, or dyed pasta.
Plant and observe avocado plants, corn seeds, and chili pepper growth over time. Inhabitat has great photographic directions for avocado plants. This activity will take time before noticeable growth is seen.
Plan and a Fiesta (Party)
A “real life” writing assignment could include making and sending invitations to friends for a fiesta. The writing assignment can be done whether you throw a party or not. However, children can plan the menu, discussing the budget and expenses, and participate in the cooking process if you decide to throw a party.
|Hubby’s Delicious and Quick Enchiladas|
|Our Fiesta Meal|
Arts and Crafts
Obviously, you can always purchase a donkey or “burro” pinata to break if you have the extra cash, but I believe it is more fun to actually make one. For our family, it is all about the artistic process rather than the final product. We’ve made many papier mache crafts in the past, however this time I wanted to try something different. We made a homemade Paper Bag Pinata.
|Add streamers to bottom and yarn to hang|
Mexican Papel Picados
Make Tissue Paper Flowers
Music, Movement, and Authentic
Music and Dance
Listen to the Best Mariachi Music. Children can also participate in a traditional hat dance using a sombrero. Here is the El Jarabe Tapatio – The Mexican Hat Dance Music and a link to a Mexican Hat Dance performance.
Sewing or Patterned Paper Clothing
Find and show authentic clothing worn during this celebration. Make costumes or clothing if your children are learning how to sew. If not, you can always create patterned paper sombreros as seen on Chalk Talk. Other items such as ponchos, serapes, ruffled dresses, and more can be created with the supplies you have on hand. Be creative!
Make and paint your own musical instruments using the Mexican flag colors. I found a wonderful step-by-step tutorial at Playing it Cooley which describes how to make plastic egg maracas. I used pencils for the handle instead of skewers. We filled our maracas with dried pinto beans and rice. Supervise small children.
Books to Read
Tortillas and Tamales
Party Planning/Days of the Week
Manana Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul (Version of Little Read Hen)
Other Picture Books
For math fun, check out Cinco de Mayo math on Tracey’s blog.
Tracey lives in the quiet Texas Hill Country area with her hard-working husband Jeff and her five-year-old daughter. She taught second grade in a public school for three years. After the birth of Alyssa, she felt a strong calling to homeschool. She’s a Christian mom that enjoys reading, scrapbooking, cooking, baking, eating lots of chocolate, exercising, and teaching. Her eclectic homeschool style is influenced by Charlotte Mason, Unit Studies, and Classical approaches. She enjoys teaching Math, Language Arts, and Spanish. You can find Tracey blogging at A Learning Journey and you can follow her Cinco de Mayo Pinterest boards as well.
If you are familiar with McGuffey Readers, you know that they have been a trusted name in education, teaching more than 10 million children.
The Phonics and Reading with McGuffey App from LiteracySoft brings these lessons to life in an app, teaching your child to read with 52 step-by-step lessons. Phonics and Reading With McGuffey works on your PC, Mac, and Apple devices.
The Phonics and Reading with McGuffey App is carefully crafted to:
• Ensure no expert phonics supervisor is needed for students to gain maximum value from the lessons
• Work for any literacy level
• Act as your own personalized tutor, except in a computer
• Let students set their own pace, repeating or slowing down lessons as much as they like
• Guide your student step-by-step through reading and spelling practice
• Provide multi-sense learning including sound, vision, and motion to appeal to a wide variety of learning styles
• Utilize the power of synthetic phonics – the dyslexia-busting learning technique
• Be simple and easy to use for students at any level
The first 10 lessons of the PC version and the lite version of the app are available as well, to try out before you buy!
Home School in the Woods specializes in writing hands-on history timelines, activity packs, lapbooks and more! Home School in the Woods was created by the Pak family who began homeschooling in 1996. They found that they enjoyed history a lot more if they could ‘see’ how it all worked together. They began using timelines but their mom — a former graphic design artist-was disappointed in the images in products they found to use.
Finally, in 2002, the family used their talents to start Home School in the Woods. They began with timeline products and have grown to offer many more products to help history come alive for you and your family. The Schoolhouse Review Crew was given an opportunity to try out three of the Homeschool in the Woods products.
Hands-On History Activity Paks — Composers includes six detailed projects to help you get to know over 40 composers, including:
The six activities include an orchestra seating chart from the 4 different periods, music history timelines, composer matching cards, and much more.
This Composers pack is designed for students in grades 3-8. It can be purchased as a download for $18.95 or CD for $19.95.
Using over 35 projects and activities, Great Empires Activity Study covers a total of 14 Ancient and Modern Empires beginning with Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and Ancient China and ends with the Russian Empire and the United States of America.
This interactive study includes art projects, recipes, reading, a timeline and much more!
Great Empires Activity Study is designed for all levels of Elementary students and retails for $18.95 download or $19.95 CD.
The 20th Century in America Hands-On History Lap-Pak is a hands-on History Lap-Pak is designed for students in grades 3-8. This pack guides students through some of the most important moments in the 20th Century, while helping them to create a beautiful lapbook that contains over 20 different activities!
Some of the events highlighted in this pack are:
The Stock Market crash of 1929
The Space Race and more!
The 20th Century in America Hands-On History Lap-Pak is available as a download for $21.95 or CD for $22.95.
The early learning years of preschool and kindergarten are a wondrous time of new discoveries and acquiring new skills by leaps and bounds. Children tend to be eager to learn at this age, soaking up knowledge like a sponge. Although autism presents its own unique challenges, these early years are still precious and full of opportunities to learn.
My middle daughter on the autism spectrum is a kindergartner this year. I’ve come to see that what worked with my neurotypical older daughter at this age doesn’t necessarily work with her. I’m very relaxed about schooling in these early years anyway, so we’ve learned to go with the flow. I would like to share a few tips that I’ve discovered that might help other moms who are homeschooling little ones with autism:
Incorporate multisensory learning as much as possible.
Many children with autism have sensory sensitivities or sensory processing issues. I’ve found that using many different types of sensory input has helped my daughter tremendously in gaining new skills. For instance, using textured manipulatives for math, touchy-feely board books for reading, textured alphabet and sight word flashcards, and alphabet/number DVDs and CDs, help engage the different senses in the learning process. Books and workbooks alone aren’t enough for my daughter to associate meaning to intangibles like reading and counting/addition. I have to show her through the five senses that letters and numbers have meaning. Many Montessori activities work wonderfully for autism multi-sensory learning. A Pinterest search will yield a lot of ideas to try, too.
Having “fidgets” on hand that your child can hold and manipulate while listening to a read-aloud can often help with concentration, too. I like to make homemade playdough that she can squish while I’m reading to her from our Bible or history lessons. This helps her to focus and sit still for a little longer than she usually would without that tactile activity. Coloring or placing stickers on a page are also great choices.
Sometimes lessons need to be repeated and reviewed more often than with neurotypical kids at this age. I take the opportunity to sing the alphabet song several times a day with my daughter so she doesn’t “lose” the information between lessons. We also review phonics sounds throughout the day just by naming objects and saying their first letter and first letter sound three times together. I find that having music CDs with songs about numbers and letters helps, too. Some of our favorites are Kindergarten Learning Songs (available as mp3 download on Amazon) or many of the educational song videos on YouTube. All of this adds fun and interest to the repetition and presents it in a multi-sensory way.
Focus on strengths rather than limitations.
If your child is good at art, try to incorporate more art into your lessons. If he or she is musical, add music. If they prefer to build or take things apart, prepare lessons that showcase those skills. I consider this the “unit study” of autism. Find an interest, a strength, and use that as positive reinforcement in your lesson planning. Remember that you’re building self-confidence and a love for learning, not just focusing on academic gains. If your child becomes too discouraged or frustrated, they’ll lose that spark that makes learning meaningful and enriching. With just a little encouragement from you, playtime can be learning time in disguise!
Grace and patience are the bywords.
Special needs require a little extra patience at times. We often take a few steps forward and then a few steps back. These things are to be expected so we need to allow our children some grace to be who they are, regardless of whether or not they’re meeting a standard on some arbitrary educational chart. We must also extend grace to ourselves because special needs moms are often their own harshest critics. Remember that each day begins with a fresh start and the Lord gives us new mercy day by day. Take a deep breath, step away from those phonics lessons or addition problems if necessary, and just enjoy the time with your kids. It will be okay, really. Does it really matter in the long run whether your child is 5 or 10 when they learn to read? Autism is truly a spectrum disorder so results will vary. Cultivating grace and patience serves everyone well.
A sensory-rich environment that encourages learning activities is the best start in the early formative years. Truthfully, most of these ideas can be applied to “typical”
homeschooling, even if your children don’t happen to be autistic. All children need a positive parent on their side to help them reach their full potential.
You can find Sara blogging about autism, homeschooling, faith, motherhood, books, and more at Embracing Destiny. She is also on Facebook and Twitter. Sara has been Dave’s wife for almost 18 years and their daughters are 11, 5, and 3.
Whether teaching writing skills to a high school student or reviewing existing skills, the process of teaching writing skills can be daunting. Sharon Watson, a veteran homeschooling mom, co-op teacher, and literary workshop facilitator, has taken the dread out of polishing up those writing skills. Schoolhouse Review Crew members have had the opportunity to use and review two of Sharon’s premium curriculum items: The Power in Your Hands: Writing Non-Fiction in High School and Writing Fiction in High School. Through the Writing with Sharon Watson curriculum, students find a conversational-style instruction that turns writing from a subject of dread to a subject of delight.
The Power in Your Hands: Writing Non-Fiction in High School is “the natural next step for those who value college-preparatory material presented in incremental steps with a conversational tone. With over 100 daily lessons and complete instructions for 22 essays and reports, this is an engaging course students will enjoy–or not dread.” Students are given the tools they need to succeed not only in high school writing but also in college writing. They are guided through writing five different persuasive type essays, a comparison and contrast essay, a biography, a literary analysis, a research paper with documentation, descriptive essays, and narrative essays. There are over 400 pages of instruction and activities in the student workbook. The teacher’s guide gives parents the answers to all of the questions in the student workbook and samples of numerous papers to help them evaluate their student’s writings. The student workbook retails for $39.98 and the teacher’s guide retails for $14.98.
Writing Fiction in High School is written in the same conversational-style as Watson’s non-fiction curriculum. It is designed to help teens who love to write stories and want to influence the world as Christians learn to be more powerful and effective writers. Student’s learn about and have the opportunity to practice with the various literary elements involved in story telling and experience critiquing their own stories and stories of others. There is even a manuscript tract for students who have already written a short story or novel manuscript to be able to edit and improve on that existing work. The student workbook, containing over 300 pages of instructional text and activities, is available for $25.05; and the, teacher’s guide is available for $19.95.
To read what our illustrious crew members have to say about their experience with Writing with Sharon Watson, click on the linky below.