Tag Archives: Free

How to Teach Handwriting in 8 Easy Steps

Despite what you might think, teaching handwriting to your seven year old isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Just follow these eight easy steps . . .

Step 1: Decide that your seven year old needs to learn how to correctly form her letters, despite her hesitancy to try anything new and hard. Determine that her resistance to handwriting is actually a product of fear–and not because she is incapable or unready. Determine that this is something you feel ready to require her to do.

Step 2: Spend an afternoon looking through your boxes and shelves of curriculum for the handwriting workbooks you were given years ago. After a fruitless search, determine that you must have given away that curriculum at some point because you decided you didn’t believe in workbooks any more. Continue reading



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Math Magic

Time for another great little gem that my family found the other day.

Math and Donald Duck. Who knew that such a combination could be so entertaining? On a day when I could do little more than slap some food on the counter for lunch, this served for a great educational diversion.

And my kids, who are enamored of Pythagoras because we’ve read “What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras,” and “Pythagoras and the Ratios” by Julie Ellis recently, spent the next few days pointing out golden rectangles wherever they could find them.


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A Giant Science Opportunity

On a day I’d rather not remember, I mentioned we started out by watching science videos by the very cool, very talented, very musical group “They Might Be Giants.”

We found said videos because I had borrowed their alphabet CD, “Here Come the ABC’s” from the library, and we had listened to it over and over and over again in the car . . . and in the living room . . . and in the kitchen.

Why I went searching for videos, I can’t remember. But I stumbled upon an entire YouTube channel of They Might Be Giants educational videos. And what a treasure trove it is.

I really enjoy their alphabet and number songs (they have a CD for each with a DVD that has a video created for each song), but the one they did for science has turned out to be my favorite!

You can watch all the videos on YouTube for free. (Here’s the science videos. And the alphabet videos.) I ended up buying the CD/DVD combo for the science one because I loved it so much and wanted to own a physical copy. How can you not want to own songs about the periodic table, cells, and photosynthesis? And what’s not to love about lyrics like these: Continue reading


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A Parable of Porcine Proportions

When I was a junior in high school, I read The Scarlet Letter in English class. Nathanial Hawthorne’s language was a bit daunting at first, but after awhile, I grew to love his flowery, adjective-laden prose. As one of the closing assignments, my teacher assigned her students to take a minimalist, modern short story and rewrite it using Hawthorne’s language.

I loved it. I found it exhilarating to watch the plot unfold in the same way but with completely different words. I gained a new appreciation for the power that words have.

So I was delighted when this video of the Three Little Pigs by comedian John Branyan started floating around the internet. Continue reading

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Music Fun and Games

It’s time to drill . . . and no, we are not going to the dentist.

Lima Bean (9) is getting more and more proficient at the piano, but his teacher requested we spend some extra time doing note recognition with flash cards. The ones I found several years ago online are small and only have one staff. I knew it was time to look for something new.

Ah . . . the joys of Google. Five minutes later, I stumbled upon an AMAZING music-teaching resource site. Not only does she offer great flash cards, but also all sorts of games and ideas for teaching music theory, along with a series of technique books.

And IT’S ALL FREE! Continue reading

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Fancy Flight

I love history. I love good animation. And I love feel-good inspirational music.

I loved this video.

As my kids and I watched, I was so excited to talk about all the people I knew. And I was inspired to go look up the ones that I didn’t.

Maybe you will be too!

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My family spends a lot of time in the car. Since my oldest is only eleven, I figure we’re only at the beginning of years I’m going to spend chauffeuring.

Thankfully, I keep finding great resources to maximize our hours on the road. With some healthy mind food to listen to, the time spent doesn’t seem to bother me so much.

My latest find is Storynory. Continue reading


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