Celebrate Homeschooling this October

October Schoolhouse ExpoYes, The SchoolHouse Expo is back in town and I can’t wait! With the family trying to get back into the homeschooling routine, I’m looking forward to the timely tips and suggestions that the Expo will provide. And best of all I don’t have to drive!

Registration is open for the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It’s five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes. You can save $5 per ticket if you register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you’ll pay only $19.99. Plus you’ll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You’ll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!

A special teen track is planned–the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We’ve also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool–writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

And better yet, if you miss a session because you’re car-schooling you can always listen later because we get MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket. Two special pre-conference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

The theme this fall is “Celebrate Homeschooling!” It’s  going to be a celebration of the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children’s education to best meet their needs.

If you already have made plans and cannot make the Live event,  then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You’ll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information:

http://www.SchoolhouseExpo.com

or

http://bit.ly/aWHFiL

See you there!

AVKO Educational Research Foundation

AVKO is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents, teachers and researcher to find the best ways to educate children in literacy. There is a plethora of free and low cost resources for families to use to help the children in a variety of ways learn how to read and spell better. One thing that I liked about the program was that it addresses educational challenges in a variety of ways. This is not a one-size fits all grouping of tools.

Recognizing that children have dominant learning styles, they’ve provided auditory, visual and kinesthetic ideas and materials to help parents use whatever works best for their children. There is also a ton of research that is stored on the website, so if you have a question about why something is working (or how to get it to work better) you don’t have far to look.

I think that this is one of the first places parents who are new to homeschooling should visit and sign up for a membership.  Although there are lots of free places to get information for developing a homeschooling curriculum, AVKO has the most comprehensive material that I’ve seen since I began this homeschooling journey with my kids. And I was surprised to learn that many of the resources that are sold in curriculum packs from company’s such as Sonlight and other major companies originated from AVKO.

One of the benefits of membership is that you get additional freebies and access to information that are not available to the general public. The basic membership package is only $25 and you more than get your money’s worth from the free e-books that are available to members.  If you have a variety of ages to work with, I think that the $100 membership is well worth the cost because not only do you get the basic member perks, you also get to view all of the AVKO curriculum materials (with the exception of Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits).  I mean, economically speaking, it’s kind of tough to get purchase all of the materials that you might want. This way you can still read through the information and use it in your homeschool.

I wish that I had known about this resource earlier in the game, but I’m definitely going to avail myself of all the things that it has to offer from this point forward.

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abcTeach: As Easy as 1-2-3

abcTeach is an easy way for parents to begin the homeschooling journey without breaking the bank. The focus of this website is to help children to grasp the fundamentals and run with them. There are thousands of worksheets to choose from which allows parents to customize their children’s educational experience.

One of the traps that most homeschoolers fall into during the elementary years is spending a mint trying to buy the “perfect curriculum” for their little ones. But, as experienced home educators know, their needs can be met by resources such as abcTeach for as little as $40/year (or $70 for two years) for individual families. This is an exceptional value, especially when you have multiple children since you can have access to multiple grade levels.

So what do you get for your money? There are over 35,000 worksheets to choose from ranging from the basics (math, time, spelling, and handwriting) to the cool (suduko, shapebooks, and art work). They also offer unit study themes, research tools, clip art, language studies and more!

The site owners are very creative, and since some of their offerings might be new to parents, they provide tutorial videos to help you make the most of each resource they offer.  I found that to be exceptional since I have belonged to other elementary level programs that pretty much just make you it out on your own.

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So, how did abcTeach work out for me and my crew? Well, I enjoyed creating the different worksheets. It was quick and easy. There are also ways to customize the worksheets beyond the original offerings which worked really well to make sure that girls weren’t peeking at each other’s work.  So, I had a lot of fun. The downside for my family is that they don’t really enjoy doing worksheets very much.  My kids are on the kinesthetic side of town, so we do a lot of physical activities while studying, so being made to sit down and fill out papers didn’t really thrill them.

I, however, think that abcTeach is a wonderful tool to add to whatever your homeschooling style happens to be. It’s perfect for those days when the parents are involved in other things, but they still want their children to do some unsupervised schoolwork. I plan on using the suduko and crossword pages for our many driving excursions as a way to keep their minds active without the use of their handheld games. I am glad that abcTeach was kind enough to give me a test drive to really discover the hidden treasures they’ve created.

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They also generous enough to giveaway thousands of free worksheets so that parents can try them out on their kids before they purchase the full subscription. You can also sign up for the newsletter which fills you in on the new worksheets available and other teaching tips. These resources were created for teachers, parents and homeschoolers so be sure to tell your friends that if they have a child who needs more practice in a particular subject that abcTeach should be their first stop.

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