Curriculum, Homeschool Helps, and Games – oh my! (just scroll down)
My kids live for that ‘new’ printable game to find it’s way to the schoolroom table in the morning! They love the spontaneity and flexibility of homeschooling that allows them to provide direction as we tailor learning activities to suit their interests and preferred modes of learning.
Over the years we have developed our own curriculum, homeschooling helps, and games and we would love to share them with you! I will add more as we go along, so check back to this page for updates.
Book 1: “Starting Out With Mental Algebra” is the first in a series called “Doodles Do Algebra”, covering the first 10 lessons, and is designed for kids aged 9 through 16 or 17. Here is the link: Book 1 here
Book 2: “Unknowns and The 29 Articles of Algebra“ is the second in the “Doodles Do Algebra” series, covering the next 22 lessons in the curriculum. Here is the link: Book 2 here
A few years ago, my kids started learning algebra and I tried all the usual math curricula with them and even asked my mother in law for help (she taught math in community colleges for years) but nothing seemed to work for them. And so I wrote the Doodles Do Algebra books for my own kids.
I use the approach to learning algebra that was used in the 1700’s and 1800’s by people like Cocker and Ray. These were the books that people like John Adams and Benjamin Franklin and the later great industrialists had in their libraries, so I figured they must be solid. And it turns out the approach works wonderfully.
Both the kids happily worked through the entire Doodles Do Algebra series that covers modern day Algebra I, Algebra II, and additional topics that most people don’t learn until college and then only when they are math majors. I also have another mom who has used the series with her 10 year old boy and he loves it!
I created these lessons for my own children, who reached algebra a bit young and so needed a curriculum that was engaging and fun and at the same time challenging and rigorous.
The unpublished part of the Doodles Do Algebra curriculum is available as free pdf downloads on my math curriculum site at teachmebetter.org. There is a new worksheet available to download pretty much each weekday and I include the teacher’s notes and answers in each post.
This is algebra for the creative child.
Download – California Map-based History Curriculum Guide
This is a tremendously popular download and consists of a compressed folder with 3 PDF files:
- California Map-based History Curriculum Weekly Schedule,
- California Map-based History Curriculum Map Outline, and
- California Map-based History Curriculum Legends and Labels.
Basically, everything the kids do during the year gets attached to a giant outline of a state map (drawings, cut out pictures, poems, labeled important cities and events).
- Start with basic state geography on the map (draw out the mountain ranges, forests, deserts, and large rivers and lakes). Laying this out provides a foundation that allows you to explain to your kids why certain areas of your state developed with different types of commerce and also provides a point of reference for battles, transportation systems, and the seat of state government.
- Then add state symbols including the animals and plants (put the pictures of those symbols on the parts of the state map where the animals and plants live).
- Now check books out of the library about any indigenous peoples who lived in the state and have the kids draw or label important tribes.
- Find historical fiction at the library that covers the timeperiod of European exploration in your state. As you read the book to your kids, have them draw pictures that you place together on the map. You can also mix things up a bit and share the reading aloud task between you, taking turns. We did some of both as we progressed through the year.
- Repeat this reading process as you work your way through the major historical time periods of your state (including exploration, settlement, statehood, development of transit systems, immigration waves, state government, and contributions to various wars) until you reach modern times. It is best to find historical fiction that includes children as protagonists, because your kids will identify more readily with the time period you are reading about. The stories and images conjured by the books you read to your kids about your state will stay with them always and provide a vivid, colorful record of the history of your state in their minds.
My kids (and I) had a ton of fun doing this a number of years ago – I just wish we had more wall space in our house so I could keep it up to remind me of what a fun year we had.
Download -Teacher Record Form
This is a blank copy of my teacher record form for any of you to use. I keep a teacher record filled out (one for myself and one for my husband) in my master homeschool binder because in California, my state, it is part of the school record information we keep.
This download is in Microsoft Word format so you can use and edit it more easily.
Download – 6 Homeschool Myths Debunked by Data
I hope you never have relatives or friends who decide to insert themselves into your life and critique the decision that you and your husband made to homeschool your children. But just in case that happens to you, I am sharing the 2-page PDF I made up a few years ago to combat nosy questions about why my husband and I chose to homeschool.
Here are the Myths that I debunk on the download above:
- Homeschooling is not common
- Homeschooled kids are not learning as much as they would in public school and are not prepared for college
- Homeschooled kids are not socialized
- You have to be college educated to homeschool your kids effectively
- The federal government controls education / the government supersedes parental rights
- Homeschooling is not legal; homeschoolers have no legal protection
Download – Sharing My Recordkeeping Printables (A Daily Homeschool Planner)
I never found a daily planner that quite fit my needs, and so a couple of years ago, I created my own. It can be printed one-per-page so that you have a lot of room to write (especially useful when the kids are younger and if you have a lot of kids to record), or two-on-a-page if you don’t have as many details to record. We homeschool year round, but at certain times of the year we take it easy for a week or two and on those weeks when there is not much to write on the planner, I print two-on-a-page.
Download – Poetry Analysis Worksheets
This 4-page PDF set is for poetry analysis. We used these sheets for several years, just applying them at different levels of complexity as my kids aged. The last page is a ‘write your own poetry’ page and that we used to rewrite poems with synonyms, in different tenses, with different characters, and in different schemes – and more – all based on a framework used pretty evenly across classical education curricula. But I think the pack of worksheets are general enough you can apply them to any poetry curriculum.
Download – Logic Stage Binder Forms, Helper Printouts, and Timeline Template for Well-Trained Mind Method
Download consists of one PDF file with the following forms:
2. Cities and Settlements
3. Daily Life
4. Art and Music
5. Books and Stories
8. Philosophy and Logic
9. Science and Math
10. Inventions and Technology
11. Wars, Conflicts, and Politics
12. Great Men and Women
- Helper Pages:
1. Timeline Directions
2. Narration How To
3. Outline How To
4. Summary How To
5. Report How To
6. How To Do A Rough Draft
7. How To Create A Final Writing Copy
- Timeline Template (1)
Download – Decimal Derby: a math game to teach how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide by decimal and whole numbers.
Download consists of one PDF with instructions for play and printable game board.
Download – Magic Triangles Activity
A fun and free geometry printable activity for you and your kids
Download – Logic Activity – Murder in the Library
A fun and PDF download with a story to solve.