Our Homeschool Weekly Wrap-up

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This week has been a slow week for us because of illness, but I wanted to get back in the habit of doing a wrap-up.  So here I go:

Grammar – We finished PACE 1066 and she has started 1067.  We are working on adjectives and adverbs again.  This time around it seems to be easier.

Reading – In reading Abby is reading “The Spy”.  It is a little harder book, so I’m allowing her to listen to an audio version, which she of course loves.  She does have to read a chapter review and answer comprehension questions.

Writing – This week Abby is working on a descriptive essay.  She had to pick something to describe and is now going through the essay paragraph by paragraph.

Spelling – Our spelling list this week is contractions, academic words, and two sight words.

Math – We have been working on pre-algebra, fractions and decimals.  Today we did stem and leaf plots and Box and Whisker.  This was a little tedious, but it is necessary.

History – This week we started studying Ancient Rome.  We are studying architecture, battles, religion and much more.

Science – We have finishing up our study of “flying things” in the next two weeks.  This week we have been studying for chapter 10 test.

Well that’s it!!


Teaching Tips – Current Events

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Abby’s history this year has her doing current events at different times.  She isn’t sure she like it, but I really do.  I think it helps her to think beyond our little “neck of the woods”.  She also reads a cartoon and writes what she thinks it is about.  I really think this causes her to think through different ideas that other people might have.  It’s a little out of her comfort zone, but she has come to enjoy it.

I believe these kinds of activities can help children to work through ideas and beliefs.  It also gives them the opportunity to see other’s thoughts and to see beyond their own lives.

These activities can be done weekly or just occasionally.  At this point Abby is doing them at the end of each unit.  The websites to find current events are:  http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/archive/world-current-events/ and http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/scholasticnews/index.html . The second website is for younger children.  The website for the cartoons is: http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/archive/editorial-cartoon-for-students/ .

Abby’s Creative Writing Notebook

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I’m not sure where I found this notebook, but I thought it was great! So we decided to make one. I really liked that it had sections, both teaching and her writing, all in the same place. We took a week just to set the notebook up and to do the “Writing Ideas” section. We also did one page in the “Writing Notes” section. So here are the sections of her notebook:

Table of Contents

Writing Ideas

My Writing

Writing Notes

Writing Goals

This week she has started writing and we have set some goals.

Here are a couple of pictures of her Notebook as well as some of the pages we did in the “Writing Ideas” section.

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This is Abby’s cover. I recommend each student be allowed to decorate their cover. It makes it theirs.

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This is the Table of Contents. To make it easier, have your students/children number all the pages in their notebook. Even if they pull one out, they will be numbered and they can then add them to the Table of Contents.

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This is the first page in the “Writing Ideas” section. This is Abby’s Authority List. These are things she feels she has some authority writing about. Abby’s were: One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Deaf/Mute, Family, love, Acteens, Adventures.

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This is the Heart Map. She had to list things she loves. Her list was: Reading, my computer, Bible, Jesus, Writing, my phone, my family, sleeping and helping people.

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This is the Ideas for Writing. She was to write ways and places she could write for. Some of hers were: on a blog, on Wattpad.com, letter to the editor, in a journal,m and Facebook.

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This was her Memory Hand. Here she was to write feeling words on each finger such as happy, sad, angry, excited, nervous, and proud. She then wrote a memory that cooresponded to the emotion. These can then be used to “jumpstart” an idea for writing.

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Here is her first writing assignment in her new notebook in the “My Writing” section. She recently went on a mission trip to Jackson, MS with her Acteens group. She had to write 5 paragraphs about her adventure.

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This page is in the “Writing Notes” section. I used this with my 5th graders when I taught school to help them make their sentences better. I thought Abby could use it as well. On each finger you write: who, what, where, where, and why and then how goes on the palm. We did a lesson together using a simple sentence like, “We went to the store.” We then used the words on the fingers to make the sentence better. Example: Who – change We to Mom and I. When – Add yesterday. Why – add to get milk. Where – change the store to Walmart. How – add in the car. So the simple sentence was changed to “Yesterday, Mom and I went to Walmart in the car to get milk.”

Creative Writing and How to Make a Creative Writing Notebook/Folder


Today we will be discussing Creative Writing.  I will explain the writing process, how to make a writing folder and give you some writing resources. First I’d like to teach the writing process.

There are five steps:

1) Prewriting – This is where the child begins thinking about what they want to write about and organizing their thoughts.  There are many types of prewriting that your child can do.  Things like freewriting, making a web, creativing a flow chart, making a list or using a story map.  At the end of this webcast I will give you resources to graphic organizers that will help in the prewriting stage.

2) 1st Draft – The 1st draft is where the child writes without worrying about spelling, grammar or punctuation.  This is a purely a creative writing time.  For most children trying to spell correctly, making sure they are capitalizing and punctuating can be distracting to the creative side of writing.  So during this step, they don’t need to worry about those things at all.  During the week, allow your child to write up to 5 1st drafts on any subject they like.  After no more than 5 1st drafts, the child will pick one of their 1st drafts to continue the writing process and publish their work.

3) Revising – During the revising stage, the child will read their 1st draft and try to make it sound better and more interesting.  They will:

  • Change sentences – add words, take out unnecessary words, and change to more interesting vocabulary.
  • read, reread and reread again.  Your child needs to learn to read their own writing.  They will find many of their own mistakes that way.
  • Take out sentences if needed.
  • Add sentences if needed.
  • Combine sentences if possible.

4) Editing – This is where your child will start looking at their spelling, grammar and punctuation. They will:

  • Reread. They need to think about their writing. Does it sound correct? Change to make it sound correct.
  • Check for capital letters.
  • Check for punctuation at the end of sentences.
  • Highlight any words that MIGHT be misspelled. Then look up all the words in a dictionary or use spell check.
  • Check for new paragraphs. Did you start a new topice with each paragraph? Change the setting? Use dialogue?

5) Publishing – After your child has revised and edited, they will write their final draft.  This is the writing that they will publish.  There are many ways to publish your child’s work.  Such as: making a mini book, creating a family newsletter and putting their writing in it to send to family and friends, or using one of the many online children’s publishing website.  Most of these website are free and will show your child’s work in a gallery with other students of the same age.  You can give family and friends the web address for them to view the work.  I will list some of these sites at the end of this post.

Now I would like to show you pictures of the Writing Folder that I have used for years in my classroom and in my homeschool.  This made with two pockets folder (no brads), one inside the other and stapled together.



On the back I will put a sheet that gives suggestions on how the child might publish their work.  I just haven’t got it on this one yet.  Before stapling the folders together, you might laminate them for durability.  Your child will use the pockets during each step of the writing process.  The revising and editing sheets are there to help the child remember what needs to be done during those steps.   This folder is a tool to help the child move through the steps in the Writing Process, but the writing process itself has to be taught.


The Writing Notebook –


Graphic Organizers –


Prompts –








http://www.tikatok.com/  (this site is not free)





There are many more, but these are the ones I found quickly.

I hope this helps you to be inspired to teach Creative Writing to your children.  If there are any other questions, please email me.

See you next week,


New Schedule for Webcasts

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I am going to have to change my schedule for the next couple of weeks.  The Homeschool Channel will be streaming the Homeschool Conference from Memphis, TN, so I will not be doing a webcast for April 10th.

My new schedule is:

April 17th – Using the Internet in Your Homeschool

April 24th – Handwriting Curriculum and Tools

May 1st – Organizing Your Homeschool – Tools and Suggestions

May 8th – Creative Writing – The Writing Notebook and Process

Hope to see you there!

Language Arts Curriculum


Today we are talking about Language Arts Curriculum.  But before we do that I’d like to tell you about two Science related things I found since last week.  The first one is on the website, www.homeschoolfreestuff.wordpress.com .  If go click on “free curriculum” and then scroll down just a little and look at her Earth Science.  It is really good.  She wrote the curriculum herself.  The other is found on the “Answers in Genesis” site.  It is 11 booklets that I think are great.  The site is Answers in Genesis.

So I would first like to show you the curriculum I am currently using.  For English/Grammar we are using ACE.  The reason I like this curriculum is because it is comprehensive and compact.  We also like the diagramming feature.  Abby really seems to do well with that.  Most children connect abstract ideas better, if they can use more senses than just hearing and seeing.  The diagramming does that.  For writing we use Writing Strands level 3.  She doesn’t like it, but she is doing well in it.  Spelling we are doing are doing our own thing, but we will begin using Sequential Spelling.  I really think it is a good program. We started it but then let it go by the wayside, but I think we are going to stick with it this time.  Abby doesn’t spell well, so I really need to work harder on that subject.

This week I got my friends involved so I have a couple of other curriculum to share.  One of the best programs that I know of is Easy Grammar and Daily Grams.  Together they are truly the best program around.  I think the only downfall is that they don’t do any diagramming.  Another curriculum is using the Spalding Method.  It is The Writing Road to Reading.

I also found three different online, free curriculum that I would like to share.

http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html  –  Daily Grammar.  This is an online curriculum that can be printed out.

http://www.oldfashionededucation.com/fullcurriculum.htm  –  Old Fashioned Education.  This site has an entire curriculum.

http://home.pct.edu/~evavra/KISS.htm  –  KISS Grammar.  This is a revolutionary program to teach grammar.  It is different, but what I saw it looked good.  It is very intensive!

During the webcast there were many other suggestions.  So I will list those here:

http://www.sfreading.com/resources/ghb.html – Scott Foresman online grammar

http://gardenofpraise.com/mugram.htm – Garden of Praise Grammar Songs

http://www.squidoo.com/grammar-for-homeschool – Grammar for Homeschool

http://highland.hitcho.com.au/langartforms.htm – Language Art Forms

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/curriculum/languagearts/elementary/greatgrammaradv.pdf – Great Grammar Adventure

http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/seminar – Excellence in Writing website

http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/index.html – The Grammar Revolution- Grammar the easy way

http://www.theteachersguide.com/grammarworksheets.htm – The Teacher’s Guide – Grammar Printables

http://donnayoung.org/english/grammar.htm – Donna Young – Grammar


I hope this helps everyone in looking into your Language Arts programs before going to the Homeschool Conventions.  I’ll see you next week.  Don’t forget to bring your math suggestions.  And then on April 3rd we will be discussing Literature.

Have a wonderful week!



Reading Response Journals and Activities Webcast

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Today we are going to talk about Reading Response activities.  I also want to know if any of you use any type of reading response journals or questions to help your child retain what they have read.  Many curriculum have reading response activities that go along with their stories.  But if you’re using your own reading program or just reading books, you might feel that you need something to help with comprehension.

Reading Response Journals are one of the easiest ways that I’ve found to keep up with comprehension type questions.  In my classroom, I had my students put together reading response journals to go along with whatever book they are reading.

There are two ways you can do this.  You can either make a journal for every book they read or you can make a larger journal to keep for an entire semester.  You can make these journals very inexpensively.  This is how I make mine.

I use card stock for the cover.  I have some response questions that can be printed right on the cover or you can cut it out and glue it inside the cover.  Either way works.   You then put in lined paper.  I found a really great site for this.  It is www.printablepaper.net

There are two options that I found.  This one I like but you will have to cut these out.  So more work. The other you will only need to fold and put into the cover.  I staple on the outside because I don’t have one of those large staplers.

The process for this journal is the child either picks one of the questions inside the cover to write about or you can give them specific questions about the book they’re reading.  On the internet you can find many places with questions for almost every chapter of a book.  One of the best places I’ve found for this is “Homeschool Free Stuff”.  Here is the address.  If you look on the right hand side, look under English, and click on “books – supplemental materials”.  There is a long list of books.  If you don’t find your book there, you might need to do a search for the book.  Use the book’s title and then put lesson plans or unit.  This will usually bring up many websites to check.

You can also use Author’s Study, Character Studies, and many other Reading Response type sheets to keep things changing.

My resources for today are:







If you would like to watch the webcast you can click on these links.  There are two because I was cut off and had to start the recording again.

Reading Response Journals and Activities part 1

Reading Response Journals and Activities part 2

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