Tips for Home Schooling

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Resources for Home Schooling

The purpose of this article is to provide you with some ideas for schooling from home, during a strike, and for supplementing your child’s education during the school year. Before becoming a counsellor, (fifteen years ago) I was an Elementary School Teacher, thus education is one of my main passions. I’m hopeful that during the strike, I will be able to create a structured program for my two children, which will engage them in reading, writing and math.  Schedules and consistency will be very important to the success of your schooling-from-home program.  It’s also important for kids to learn “Work and then play” and for us to build in the fun, play-time as part of the schedule too.

Math:

Khan Academy – I highly recommend this free math website.
This has a very comprehensive US based math curriculum for grade 3-grade 12. In fact, the math curriculum on this website seems to be more challenging than the regular classroom curriculum.  If your child is stuck on a question, there is a video tutorial which explains the concept in further detail.  It also has badges which can be earned to show the student his/her progress.

Sumdog – Levels 1-10 which seems to be equivalent to grade levels. This math website is in a competitive game format where one competes against students from around the world. Students are tested on math facts and word problems.

DreamBox – a lot of schools recommend this website and many schools buy a subscription and then give each student a log-in. Both of my children have found that both of their log-in passwords from last school year are still valid.  It can also be purchased as a home program.

Patrick JMT (Just Math Tutorials) for Gr. 3-12 is also highly ranked, although my children and I have not yet personally tried this site, but it does look very good!

Dragon Box app  (+5) for younger students ages 8 and up and (+12) for middle and high-school students.  This app simplifies algebra in a fun way.  

Jump Math workbooks which are used by many classroom teachers with their students, can be ordered by parents from Toronto, Ontario.  This is a good resource to have throughout the year as well, to pre-teach math concepts or reinforce concepts.  In my opinion, Jump Math books are excellent for students who benefit from in-depth explanations of concepts.  For students who are highly proficient in math, I would not recommend Jump Math, I would use the Khan Academy on-line courses.

Book stores such as Indigo sell many workbooks.  Brain Quest has a comprehensive workbook for pre-school to grade 4 which includes all subjects: Math, Reading, Writing etc.

*Sometimes, one can find pdf files of Jump Math workbooks, Brain Quest workbooks etc. on-line

For more top-rated math websites go to: http://student-tutor.com/blog/top-10-math-websites/

Reading:

Library – your local library will of course be able to recommend some excellent books for your child.  If your child does not yet have his/her own library card, this is an opportune time to get him/her signed up.  Libraries also have free downloadable books which will stay on your device for the usual borrowing time (2 or 3 weeks) and then disappear!  Audio Playaway books are also an option at some libraries where one can plug in headphones and listen to a story.

Tumblebooks are audio and visual books which are available through one’s library website.  The books tell you for which grade they are most appropriate. Choose your book and then the text is highlighted as an audio reads the book aloud.

Tumblebookcloud is the version for older kids and teens.

My daughter’s favourite website for finding good books to read is Goodreads.  Here you will find book reviews for any book you can imagine.  One can sign up for a free account and then it will give you recommendations based on your “want to reads” as well as your ratings and reviews of books.

Starfall is a reading and phonics website for younger readers.  Excellent for teaching phonics and for beginner readers.

Young Explorer National Geographic has some great non-fiction books for younger readers.  Also, check out: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com

Writing:

Storybird is an amazing website where one can create picture books with words or chapter books.  The website has free art in order that you can add illustrations to your story, as well as a front cover.  You can then share your story with friends, family or Storybird followers.

Book creator is an app for creating your own story books on an iPad.  Once the book has been created, it can be sent off for publishing (printing).

Fun Quizzes:

Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? app – this app comes from the TV game show which was created for adults.  However, it is fun for intermediate and high-school students to test themselves.  Questions are based on social studies, science, math, english etc.

Brain Quest app based on the famous Brain Quest cards.  Grades 1-5

There are so many wonderful resources and this just mentions a few that my kids and I have explored.  We would LOVE to hear about your favourite resources so please leave comments below with your favourite resources!

Good luck with your program,

Warmly,

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