Early Learning, Elementary(K-6), Special Needs

Letter Tiles as Manipulatives

Next time you are at a yard or jumble sale, don’t walk past that ragged Scrabble game box.  The game board may not be of interest to you, but the letter tiles are homeschool gold.    They are sturdy, portable and great manipulatives for working on letter sounds, word families and spelling/word study activities.  A visual learner’s delight!

Bible, Elementary(K-6), Grades K-12, Jr. High(7-8), Reading, Reading, Sabbath, SDA Resources, Special Needs, Teaching Helps, Unit Studies

Resource Review: Learning About God’s Letter to Me

My Sabbath School class is learning about the Bible as our theme program/lesson.  We are using a resource from My Bible First that would be a definite blessing for family worship, a Sabbath afternoon activity or for Sabbath School.   Learning About God’s Letter to Me is a two-part resource consisting of a spiral bound, 46 page booklet and a separate device booklet.  The 23 lessons in the booklet are 1 to 3 page stories that teach how we got the Bible, how to find things in your Bible, how the Bible is organized, etc.   The back of the booklet includes a brief summary of each book of the Bible as well as the music and lyrics for three complementary songs.   Don’t read music?  That’s okay, because you can go to the product page for God’s Letter to Me and download the MP3 music file for each song.   What a blessing!

The device folder is purchased separately.   The folded 17″ x 11″ full-color cardstock device includes two sheets of full-color illustrations to cut out and glue in the device as you read through the booklet.

My Sabbath School class is a unique group of children from ages 3 to 13, including a few with learning and developmental disabilities. A large portion of my class is new to attending Sabbath School.    I have found the language of the lesson booklet to be accessible for all of the ages in my class.  Having the device in their hands as we talk helps those who need a visual connection with what they are hearing.   I will cycle through this book again in a few years to make sure the youngest students have another chance to learn the material.


The price of the this resource is more than fair!  The spiral-bound lesson booklet is  $4.25, and the full-color device is just $1 each.   Very budget friendly for homes and Sabbath Schools.  My Bible First offers extra resources to expand on this theme, including additional question cards, illustrated Scripture songs and more.


There are several other topics available in the Learning About series. including the importance of the Sabbath, and the 10 Commandments.   You can be sure that my Sabbath School students will be going through those topics as theme lessons as well!

Elementary(K-6), High School(9-12), History/Geography, Jr. High(7-8), Online Resources, Special Needs, Websites

Virtual Tour of Machu Picchu

We are learning about the Andes Mountains and Machu Picchu this week as part of our World Geography studies.  I thought I’d share the amazing virtual aerial panorama tour of Machu Picchu that we are enjoying via Air Pano.

360* Aerial Panorama of Machu Picchu

AirPano is a project created by a team of Russian photographers focused on taking high-resolution aerial 360° photographs and 360° video. This site has lots of virtual tours that would make great visual supplements to any World Geography or World History curriculum.

English-Language Arts, High School(9-12), Planning/Scheduling

Thinking About High School English – A Revisit

I’m revisiting this post because there are currently some questions about high school English curriculum on the AHE email group.  When this post was first written, my oldest was a high school sophmore.  Since then I have graduated two high schoolers.  I was curious- Have I changed my mind about what I’ve written?   No, my thoughts/advice remain the same.  It is especially important to choose curriculum in light of your student’s strengths and weakness. 


Thinking about high school English/Language Arts (ELA) curriculum? Things to consider as you make your choices: What are your student’s future educational goals? Is your student planning to pursue vocational training or attend a college/university? What are your student’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to reading and written communication skills.

high school englishVocational training programs will require basic technical reading comprehension skills as well as basic writing abilities. Your student will also need to be able to communicate effectively on written tests. It might be a good idea to compare your student’s abilities with the minimum high school competencies for ELA in your local area. Many high school competency ELA tests mirror the level of essential skills needed for success in vocational studies.

If your student is planning to complete a degree program at a college or university, then your focus will be different. Acquiring strong composition skills, especially in the areas of report of information, persuasive and analytical writing will be a priority. A college-bound student will also want to develop an outlining/note-taking strategy to help with keeping track of lecture information.

What to do for literature studies? The answer is one of personal family preference. Many SDA families choose to exclude fiction from literature study. It is important to note that literature study can be accomplished without fiction: essays, biographies, journals and other non-fictions works can provide the foundation for analytical writing, one of the main purposes for literature study.

Continued grammar or vocabulary lessons and the study of Greek/Latin roots can be helpful for students preparing to take the SAT or ACT.


Online Grammar Handbook– from the University of Minnesota.  Helpful for high school level students to see what type of writing and competency is required at the college level.

Elements of Style : classic writing handbook

Merriam-Webster – online dictionary with a Word-of-the-Day

SAT Question of the Day – get an idea of what type of grammar/writing is on the test.

High School(9-12), Higher Learning/College, Jr. High(7-8), Online Resources, Spirit of Prophecy, Websites

Free Adventist Learning Community Course ~ Steps to Christ

Interested in an in-depth study of Steps to Christ?  The Adventist Learning Community or ALC, is featuring a free course on the book, Steps to Christ led by Pastor Denis Fortin, a pastor at Andrews University.    The self-paced course includes activities and quiz questions.  The student will also create a journal for chapter reflections.


The ALC, an initiative of the North American Division is a Seventh-day Adventist educational platform designed to provide continuing education courses, teaching courses, ministerial training, and  uniquely Adventist content for the church community and beyond.  To learn more about the Adventist Learning Community and the Steps to Christ course, click HERE or on the image above.

Grades K-12, Out and About

Get the Most out of Your Local Library

Our local children’s librarian has again requested that I submit a list of suggested books for future library purchases.  Books that homeschooling families would find valuable.   Last year I asked them to add more simple biographies to the children’s collection and they did!  What an opportunity!  I’m looking through what we plan to study next year to make a nice long list of suggested titles, especially those ‘nice to have’ books that are beyond our budget.  The librarian’s request reminded me of this past blog post, so I thought I’d share it again.  Every time you visit the library, leave suggestions for books or other media.   Make maximum use of your library! 

 15 Ways to Make the Most of the Public Library

The local public library can be a homeschooling family’s best resource. Are you making maximum use of the libraries near you? Here are some ideas for utilizing the libraries in your area:

1.Don’t just go to your nearest library, make an effort to visit all of the libraries available to you in your area. Different amenities may be available at each location. Get cards from multiple libraries if necessary.

2.Call and inquire if the colleges and universities in your area will allow you to check out materials. Colleges with teacher education programs often have excellent educational materials . Even if you cannot have borrowing privileges, you can still stop by and use the resources in-house.

3.Contact your local school district about borrowing privileges in the school libraries.

4.Be sure to pick up fliers listing the resources and activities available at each library. What classes, story times, lecture series and tutoring programs are available?

5.Take time to meet the children’s librarian as well as the reference librarian. These librarians are excellent resources for unit study ideas and research projects. They can alert you to resources that you may not know about. Share what you are planning to study for the year, and give the librarians a copy of the textbooks and literature selections you would like to use. Many times children’s and reference librarians are looking for ideas on new books to order, and your curriculum plans may help.

6.Take note of library book sales. Savvy homeschool moms will be there when the doors open to purchase books for mere pennies.

7.Check to see if your library offers inter-library loans for books and videos.

8.Do you have an e-book reader? Be sure to share your e-book requests with the librarians as well.

9.What online resources does your library offer? Online catalogs are very helpful for searching from the comfort of home. Can you renew your library books online? Does your library give out passwords for special online collections and sites? Many libraries have subscriptions to reference resources online. Be sure to ask for a list of those subscriptions.

10.If your library does not give receipts for books checked out, make it a habit to have your children complete a library book log to keep track of how many books to return. Assign a child to mark the due date on a calendar as soon as you return home.

11.Are there conference or meeting rooms available for you to reserve to work on a research project? A conference room may be a more comfortable space to work in if you are also bringing younger children along.

12.the library have display space available for larger homeschool projects? Perhaps your library may allow your child to display his science project for a week or two.

13.Are there special library privileges for teachers that you can also use, such as longer check-out dates, or sets of themed materials. It never hurts to ask!

14.Genealogical resource rooms are full of inspiration for great local and state history study. Be sure to go in and browse.

15.Are there library-related service projects available for your child to participate in? Creating a themed bulletin board, sorting books for a book sale, organizing display cases, etc.

Stack of Library Books