I sometimes wonder if I could have handled homeschooling pre-Internet. There are some seriously cool resources online. Free resources. So, so many, cool, free resources that it boggles the mind. So many things that are amazing, and yet I will never get around to using them, but I like having those resources in my pocket. I am sure you, like me, have a complicated bookmark list in your browser, attemting to organize all the wonderful things you have seen and want to use. Add Mensa for Kids.
You add Mensa for Kids under your bookmark list of fun online games. Their Games page has online educational games for math, science, geography, and English language arts. While you are there, sign up for the Bright Newsletter for Kids, which contains games as well.
Or you could file this site under English language arts for their Excellence in Reading program. Reading lists of superb books are grouped by grade range. Students can read or listen to the books, then date and rate each book when completed. When the list is completed, the student earns a t-shirt (and the brain growth of reading great literature). Also under ELA, you could bookmark their A Year of Living Poetically page. This list of twelve classics by famous poets is meant to be completed in a year, at a rate of one per month, of course. However, I would suggest checking the topics of the poems before handing them all to an early elementary student; some of the subject matter gets serious. Young children might benefit from memorizing their favorite Christina Rossetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, or Shel Silverstein poems before jumping into some of these.
And of course, this site has a whole section of lesson plans, so bookmark it for next year’s planning (or finishing out this year). Lessons cover science topics like ecosystems, weather, cells, etc. Math lessons cover topics like probability and shapes. ELA lessons include storytelling, writing, and media literacy. There are even lessons for geography, history and music. All the lessons are rated for elementary, middle or high school, but could probably be adapted up or down based on your need. And note these are not one day lessons. For example, the lesson on Classifying Animals, rated early and upper elementary, actually contains six lessons to take student through the process of observing differences and similarities in organisms to taxonomy/classification. I see this lesson plan being useful in middle school science as well.
There is also a page of Activity Plans. Check out the Pi Day Fun activity. Yeah, I planned nothing for today, we all have colds and barely got our regular school work done. I am making grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner, no pie. It’s that kind of Pi Day. But next year, oh the plans I have for next year’s Pi Day. To the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”:
Oh Number Pi
by LaVern Christianson
Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi Your digits are unending, Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi No pattern are you sending. You’re three point one four one five nine, And even more if we had time, Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi For circle lengths unbending. Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi You are a number very sweet, Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi Your uses are so very neat. There’s 2 Pi r and Pi r squared, A half a circle and you’re there, Oh, number Pi Oh, number Pi We know that Pi’s a tasty treat.