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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 learned about a fabulous link that can help you teach your children about the science involved in cooking!  Learn about the scientific processes involved in cooking eggs, baking bread, and so much more!  And of course, a discussion of the science of food wouldn’t be complete without a section on how candy is made!  Quick, tell me about the sucrose molecule!

Go to to learn about the science involved in gardening and in sports!  Have fun!

1.  Free, printable books that teach word families and sight words are available at !!

2.  Dr. Maggie Allen’s Learning Express:

3.  Carson-Dellosa has a lot of great educationl products for sale.  I especially like their math and language arts pocket charts, as well as their chartlets (which are only $2.49 a piece!).  Their website has a section of free ideas as well.

4.  Creative Teaching Press has some nice educational mini posters that are only $1.99 a piece.  They also sell Itty Bitty Phonics Readers for only $1 a piece!  I love their Learn to Read Math Readers.  You can purchase Dr. Jean and Dr. Maggie resources from them.

5.  You can buy some wonderful early childhood products from Lakeshore Learning Materials.  Look for sight word puzzles, word family sliders, and all sorts of phonics and math materials.  You can listen to clips of popular educational music on their website.

Maybe some people dream of a shopping spree in their favorite clothing store.  I dream of a shopping spree at the local teacher’s store.  Order some catalogs and let the drooling begin…

A number of the resources that I mentioned in my previous post, “My Favorite Kindergarten Resources,” are appropriate for pre-kindergarteners in an academic program.  Here are a few other things that I think are phenomenal for the little guys:

1.  Handwriting Without Tears  ( is a wonderful resource for pre-handwriting and handwriting activities.  Before your child even picks up a pencil, he or she makes letters out of play dough and wood pieces.  Look for their two CDs as well as their Mat Man products.  Start using these activities with your three year old, and you can follow the Handwriting Without Tears program all the way through fifth grade!  Highly recommended by occupational therapists.

2.  The Words Their Way series.  Your pre-kindergartener can start with Words Their Way: Letter and Picture Sorts for Emergen Spellers, and then move on to Words Their Way: Word Sorts for Letter Name Alphabetic Spellers in kindergarten.

3.  Find a plethora of phonological awareness and literacy activities at  Your child can use these fun activities to learn about rhyming, letter sounds, and so much more.  The activities are organized into three groups: PreK, Kindergarten, and 1-3.

4.  Do lots of fine motor activities– stringing beads, cutting, etc.

5.  Read, read, read, and then read to your child some more!

6.  Remember that creative play is priceless 🙂

I have had the pleasure of working in both a wonderful pre-K and a wonderful kindergarten class.  I have a B.A. in Elementary Education, and educating young people is one of my (many!) passions.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite kindergarten materials, for homeschooling parents, new teachers, and/or parents interested in supplementing their child’s education.

1.  The Mailbox Magazine:  I love, love, love this teacher’s resource!  They have grade-level specific editions for preschool, kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2-3, and intermediate grades.  Their kindergarten magazine is one of my favorites.  It has a lot of great academic content in addition to seasonal ideas.  Thankfully my library subscribes to this magazine. 

2.  The Mailbox books.  They have a wide variety of books for kindergarten teachers that are full of fun, useful, and creative ideas.  The Mailbox Superbook: Kindergarten has a wonderful selection of materials.  I also really like The Best of the Mailbox: Kindergarten-Grade 1.   If your child is interested in a certain topic (say, pets, or dinosaurs, or insects), look for The Best of the Mailbox Themes.  Each theme book is only $8 and is full of reading and math activities, crafts, and other fun ideas.  I could go on forever about the Mailbox books… I’ll stop here 🙂

3.  Evan-Moor’s Take It to Your Seat Phonics Centers.  These wonderful, colorful, hands-on centers help children learn about letter sounds, word families, and other important phonics topics.  These are available in four different levels, and are great for helping your child with phonemic awareness tasks like rhyming and counting syllables.  You just laminate them and then cut them out.  I tutored a kindergartener last year and she always asked to do these centers!  They have themes like cookies– they’re so cute!

4.  Children’s literature that teaches math.  I especially like the MathStart series by Stuart J. Murphy, a visual learning specialist.  There are fun, colorful books on all sorts of early math concepts.  Also look for the Numbertales series.  I was able to order a single Numbertales book at my local Barnes & Noble– I didn’t have to order the entire set.

5.  Math manipulatives, and any sort of hands-on math activities.  Look for 40 Easy-to-Make Math Manipulatives: Innovative and Inexpensive Manipulatives That Help Kids Practice the Math Skills They Need to Know.  This is one of Scholastic’s many wonderful teacher resource books.  The book says that it’s for grades 1-3, but many of the activities in there are more appropriate for preschoolers or kindergarteners.  This book is so much fun!  Your child can work on counting by tens, addition, subtraction, measurement, money, time, and so much more.

6.  Educational songs.  I like some of Dr. Jean’s songs (although not all of them).   Look for the following albums: Sing to Learn, Totally Math, Totally Reading Volumes 1 & 2, and Kiss Your Brain.  A number of her songs are written to familiar tunes, and so if you like, just look up the lyrics online at  They Might Be Giants also has some great kids’ albums– Here Come the ABC’s, Here Come the 123’s, and Here Comes Science.  I know a Kindergarten teacher who loves their music.  The Mailbox Magazine is another great source for educational songs… wait, I said I’d stop talking about the Mailbox Magazine!  😉

I’m sure I’ll think of a lot more to post later– but these are the resources that really stand out for me 🙂