Monday, August 11, 2008 Homeschool and Preschool Resources and related sites, such as and are invaluable resources for homeschooling and afterschooling families. These sites are packed with coloring pages, worksheets, tracing pages, information, crafts projects, scissor skills, etc. Topics are wide-ranging. They include animals, seasons, music, countries, math, and more.

I especially like and its preschool themes. As an example, if you want to teach your child about frogs, you can go to the Animals theme
. Then choose frogs from the list. This brings up tracing pages, lesson plans, crafts, coloring pages, online stories and activities. also has a frog section that includes the Life Cycle of the frog and a body parts page. You can also do comparisons. For example, you can compare the metamorphosis and life cycle of the frog to that of the butterfly.

With my daughter, I choose a theme and then go through the various coloring pages, worksheets, crafts, etc. I print out everything I want to do for that lesson. These sites have so many resources that you will need to plan what you want to use in advance. After my daughter has completed all of the activities, I staple the pages together and put them into a folder. We can then pull out the folder from time-to-time to look over what she has done and review what she has learned.

If you are teaching your child to write, you will love the tracing section
. A nice feature here is that you can make your own tracing pages. So, you can make tracing pages with your child's name. Or if you want to introduce easier letters first, such as E, F, L, T, V, W, X, Z, you can customize the tracing sheets to suit your needs.

These sites are great. Don't homeschool or afterschool without them.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review: Total Math Preschool

Total Math, Preschoolpublished by School Specialty Publishing is aligned to the proficiency standards set by No Child Left Behind. It covers the numbers 0 to 10 with various exercises to teach number recognition and quantities. There are plenty of drawing and coloring activities, which makes it great for developing a preschooler's drawing and coloring skills.

The book covers many premath concepts, such as What Comes Next?, First, Next, Last, One-to-One Correspondence, What Belongs?, What Does Not Belong?, Patterns, Position Words, Basic Shapes (including tracing) and so on.

The book also introduces time and money. Time covers o' clock and half past. Money covers pennies, nickels and dimes and includes counting.

There are a lot of tracing and writing exercises, especially in the numbers section. If you have a 3 year old who isn't ready to write yet, you may want to skip the number section and come back to it later. Or you can skip the tracing/writing pages and work on the numbers exercises.

My one complaint is that there aren't any addition or subtraction activities. Preschoolers can easily understand that you can change quantites by adding or subtracting, so I'm surprised that these are not covered. Total Math, Kindergartendoesn't seem to cover these concepts either, so you may have to look at a 1st Grade book, if you want to do this with your child.

My daughter asks to do workbook everyday. We usually do 5 to 8 pages a day of this book. I recommend this workbook for 3 to 4 year olds.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I showed the ABCs to my daughter when she was 14 months. She knew all her uppercase and lowercase letters by the time she was 18 months. That's how good this site is.

ABCs (Phonics)
The ABCs section teaches letter recognition and phonics. It uses captivating animations that easily hold a child's attention. Your child will be exposed to dozens of words, which will help with word recognition when they read. Definitely good for kids 1 to 6 who are learning their letters.

Great for beginning readers. The Learn to Read section focuses a lot on phonics. It introduces short vowels and long vowels. It also introduces word endings, such as an, at, ig, og, etc.

The It's Fun to Read section has stories, music, poetry, riddles and more.

The I'm Reading section has plays, fiction, nonfiction, folk tales, Greek myths, and Chinese fables.

This website is amazing. It covers every aspect of learning to read. My daughter learned to read using the
Your Baby Can Read DVDs. I have found invaluable in helping her improve her reading and phonics skills.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Review: Peep and the Big Wide World

Peep and the Big Wide World is a Discovery Channel show that teaches simple science and problem solving concepts to young children. Peep (a baby chick), Chirp (a baby bird) and Quack (a young duck) explore the world around them and make discoveries in the same way that young children often do.

Each segment with Peep, Chirp and Quack is followed by children doing an activity related to that segment. For example, in one episode Peep, Chirp and Quack find a balloon. Chirp, who hasn't yet learned to fly, uses the balloon to "fly" by holding the string and floating in the air. This segment is followed by children testing whether balloons will float with various objects of different weights attached.

This is the best thing about the show. You can turn off the TV and try the science activities. Kids love to explore the world around them. The show will give both parents and kids lots of ideas. The Peep website provides a list of science activities you can do with your child.

Science and math are becoming more important in an increasingly technological and globalized world. US students are way behind their peers in other countries in these important subject areas. Peep and the Big Wide World is a great way to develop your child's interest in science, math and problem solving.

My daughter loves this show and watches everyday. She enjoys doing the activities presented. Adults will also enjoy the great dialogue and humor in these shows. You can either watch the show on TV or purchase it on DVD.

Visit the
Peep and the Big Wide World website.
Science and Math Activities
Watch a Show