You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

One more post and then I can finally take my Home Education magazines back to the library.  I just hate to lose track of all of the cool resources that I learn about!

Free, interactive online games:

The Quiddler Daily Puzzle:    kind of like Scrabble…


Games available for purchase:

Authors, from U.S. Game Systems– play Go Fish with famous authors and their works.  Also see their similar games, including Pioneers in Medicine, Scientists, and Exprlorers of the World.

I will be adding to this list as I come across more resources!


I found these resources in Home Education Magazine’s Sept-Oct 2009 issue, so I can’t take credit for discovering any of them.  But I liked them so much that I wanted to record them for future reference!  Rebecca Rupp, one of Home Education Magazine’s regular columnists, put these together.  Here are my favorites, which are the ones that are appropriate for elementary schoolers (the descriptions of the sites are my own):

Design Squad is a show on PBS in which high schoolers tackle really cool engineering problems, like building a remote-controlled, acquatic pet rescue vehicle.  The show’s website,, is an absolutely fabulous resource for parents, teachers, and, of course, kids!  You can watch past episodes of Design Squad, find instructions for builing your own, cool projects (like a hidden alarm), and even download a free educator’s guide called “10 Engineering Challenges for 9- to 12 Year-Olds.”  There’s even an online workshop to help educators learn to lead kids in engineering activities.  You can let your kids loose on their two online games.  I love this site!!

If you’d like more lesson plans and online resources, be sure to go to “Engineer, Go for It!” at , which is hosted by the American Society for Engineering Education.  Click on “For Teachers” to find lesson plans and class activities organized by grade level.  You can even read the eGFI magazine online.  It’s geared toward young people and has great pictures and short, interesting articles.

If you go to the website of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association,, you can find a long list of teacher resource websites.  There are some materials that are only available to members, but the ample resources available to everyone make it more than worth the visit.

Find more resources and ready-to-use activities for elementary-level students at, the website of Children’s Engineering Educators, LLC.

Don’t forget the Legos!  Be sure to visit  Under Teaching Resources, look for activities such as the Dancing Robot!  An age range is given for each activity, and there are activities for kids as young as five.  You can’t go wrong with legos!

Brain P. Cleary also writes books to help kids with grammar.  I just finished reading Under, Over, By the Clover: What is a Preposition?, which is part of the Words are Categorical series.  The illustrations are fun, there’s not too much text on each page, the text rhymes, and the prepositions are in bold.  I do take issue with the fact that they deliberately end a couple of sentences in prepositions, but that’s just the stickler in me.  It’s a great book, and explains that prepositions tell about time, place, direction, and more.  And of course, there are ample examples of prepositions!

I’m looking forward to checking out Brian Cleary’s other grammar picture books, including A Mink, A Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?, To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What is a Verb?, and Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective?  Paulie, be prepared to learn some grammar!  (Although I promise to wait until grade school for these particular books!)

I love children’s books, and one of my favorite categories of children’s books (there are many!) are books that teach English in a fun way.  I learned about In a Pickle and Other Funny Idioms by Marvin Terban when I was looking for kids books on idioms.  I highly recommend this book– almost all of the idioms are those that are commonly used, and there’s only one idiom per page spread.  Each idiom has a funny, full page illustration, a description of its  meaning, the history of the idiom, and an example of the idiom used in the sentence.  I’m going to add this book to my website for kids with Asperger’s.

Marvin Terban also wrote Mad As a Wet Hen and Other Funny Idioms, but I don’t like this book that much.  The pages are really cluttered and crowded– there are multiple idioms per page.  A number of the idioms are ones that people don’t use any more.  Still, if your child is really into idioms, it might be worth checking out from the library.  The idioms in this book are organized by category– animals, body parts, feelings, colors, food, and hats.  For example, “He escaped by the skin of his teeth” would be in the body parts section.

I’d really like to own a copy of Terban’s book, I Think I Thought and Other Tricky Verbs.  Each two-page spread gives an example of a verb used in the present tense and in the past tense.  All of the verbs are irregular– they don’t change into the past tense by adding “ed” at the end.  The sentences are silly, and they use alliteration and rhyme to make them even more fun.  For example, “Frederick freezes fruit pies in his freezer.  Fritizi froze her nose, which didn’t please her.”    There are funny illustrations to accompany each sentence.  This would be a good book to read to a younger child who’s still learning to use verbs properly when speaking.  It’s also a good resource for younger kids’ phonological awareness activites.  I think that slightly older kids would enjoy reading this book, too, and it would help them with their writing.

Have fun!

I’ve decided to try out Elimination Communication with Paulie once he’s born.  I just finished reading the book Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygeine by Ingrid Bauer.  I have a friend who successfully used EC with her son, and so I’m looking forward to having her for support.

When I first heard of Elimination Communication, I thought it was absolutely crazy.  I mean, it sounded as if they were trying to potty train babies!  Seriously!?  But it turns out that it’s not so much about potty training as it is about potty communication.  I still plan to have Paulie in a diaper (to catch the times that I miss), but I plan to use EC at least part-time.  I’ll start by pottying him when he first wakes up in the morning, and after naps.  I figure, if I can learn to anticipate when he’s going to use the bathroom, and what nonverbal signals he gives when he’s about to use the bathroom, then I may as well take off his diaper and hold him over the toilet.  It seems that this is the way that many people in traditional societies take care of their babies.  It makes sense that there must be a way to keep babies clean, even for people who don’t have access to the facilities to wash diapers.  And obviously disposable diapers are a fairly modern invention.

Here are some websites on Elimination Communication/Natural Infant Hygeine, in case anyone’s interested:  Ingrid Bauer’s website  DiaperFreeBaby Support Network

6 weeks, 4 days until Paulie’s due!