triceratops in Hunterian museum, Glasgow

Now blogging here

 

our main section on home education

 

Frugal Living in the UK

 

We highly recommend Goodness Direct as an online health food shop - orders over 35 get free delivery.

 

 

 

  See our designs on t-shirts, bags, aprons, hats and badges in our shop, categories below:

flowers vegan home education ballet misc pics

we also have a CafePress Store in the USA
and an aStore with some favourite books, films and games.

our old resources page contents:

Home Education Sites
Schoolhouse Home Education Association for specific, very expert Scottish information.
AHED - for England and Wales.
Homeschool Social Register - check what's going on in your area (worldwide).
Home Ed Group Twinning Project - connecting groups from around the world.
A to Z Home's Cool extensive worldwide home schooling directory.
Homeschool Australia great resource from down under.
Home Educators Resource Directory comprehensive listing including classes, services, supplies and educational opportunities; State laws and local support groups.
MuddlePuddle - early years home education resources.
Kent Home Educators - useful links and articles even if you don't live in Kent.

Online Buying of Resources
bench in Kelvingrove Curious Minds - one of our favourites, fantastic array of science and nature toys, maths and history game etc. very reasonably priced too.
Viking Direct - stationary specialists with bulk ordering - we love the yellow pads and buy them in boxes of 10 (optimal for anyone learning really/dyslexia/people who feel glare from white paper)
Play.com - weve often found the best prices for audio visual stuff here and they have free postage, also seem to have better stocks of popular items that sell out at Christmas!
Audiobook downloads - from Audible.co.uk - we have downloaded books from here - seems to work out cheaper than buying them. You can stick them on a CD if, like us, you have no ipod! There is a 30 day free trial where you can get two free books now.
BBC shop - great selection of stuff relating to BBC productions.
Schofield and Sims - we like these workbooks cover all primary maths and English.
Wordshark and Numbershark - programs in maths and English for dyslexics
The Book People - discounted books for both kids and adults - similar to Redhouse, very good prices
Cartridge People - our preffered and cheapest ink provider - we have an awkward printer and this is about the only place where we can get a decent price.

Maths
Timez Attack - playstation-like game which teaches tables - free version available.
BBC - Skillswise - Numbers - lots of free printables covering: whole numbers; measure, shape and space; fractions, decimals and percentages and handling data.
Murderous Maths - humerous games and a guide for teachers and homeschoolers.
Maths Dictionary for Kids - excellent resource, good little interactive activities for most mathematical subjects - excellent for basic explanations.
Maths Practice through Games - fantastic listing of maths games - we had good fun finding bananas and shooting spaceships to estimate angles!
Maths is Fun - lots of explanations and printable worksheets.

English
whale pelvis> BBC - Skillswise - Words - fantastic array of free printables covering all basics in English: grammar, spelling, reading, writing, listening, volcabularly.
Dictionary.com Word of the Day - have a daily word sent to you via email.
The Tolkien Trail - fun game travelling through Middle Earth
Children's Storybooks Online - for all ages
Reading Room from the University of Maryland - full text versions of all sorts of stuff from all Jane Austen's novels to the Declaration of Independence - free to download.
International Childrens Digital Library - provides free access to lots of childrens books from around the world in a variety of languages.
Storynory has some free audio stories for kids.

History
BBC history - in depth.
Iron Age - again from BBC and interactive.
Fling the Teacher - fantastic fun this. You choose your history subject, dress up your teacher and then answer 15 questions correctly to have them flung by trebuchet. Aimed at 11-16 years olds but younger children with an interest in history would manage too.
Time Team's Big Roman Dig - has some games
National Trust for Scotland - education section.
Roman Baths - from Bath

Geograghy
Animated Atlas - free 10 minute film showing history of United States.
t-shirt design, Peanuts Sheppard Software - tons of free games with maps and such
Google Earth - zoom around the planet via satellite!
Quick Maps of the World - lots of maps, some for printing and colouring.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/ - large teaching resource with lots of online activities and printable maps.
Graphic Maps - nice site about flags - tells you the reasons for the designs too.

French
Coloriage Accueil coloriages
Coloriage magique : des tonnes de coloriages magiques en ligne et imprimer - coloriage Accueil
Activits enfants et dessins colorier du Futuroscope. Coloriage de robots pour les enfants
coloriage.com : le site de coloriage des enfants
PTifou!
JeColorie.com // jeux, puzzles, coloriages et activits pour enfants

Science
leaf rubbings Astrocentral - good astronomy site for children.
Science UPD8 - really good 11-14 activities in science - you have to register but it is free.
Stellarium - fantastic free download - like being in a mini planetarium!
Virtual Body - great site about the body - brain, skeleton, digestive tract and heart with narrations, animations, puzzles - great fun and detailed.
Google Moon - see what happens when you zoom right in!!
Science on the Shelves - from the University of York, experiments using kitchen cupboard stuff
Guide to Hurricanes - animated from BBC, has other weather things too.
Food most Foul - learn about junk food with Jamie Oliver
Nature Detectives from the Woodland Trust - games, interactive activities and printable worksheets.
RSPB
Magic School Bus
Free Physics Posters
Virtual Frog Dissection - easy to do at home and cruelty free too!
Forestry Commission Treetrunk - lots of teaching resources including some lesson plans on trees.
BBC Space section - excellent with current observing notes in 'my space', games, planets...

Art and Crafts
The Toymaker - lovely paper toys to print out and make.
Kids Domain - lots of great craft ideas for every season, including recycled stuff.
AllFreeCrafts.com - fantastic selection of crafts for all occasions.
Canon 3D Papercraft - fabulous selection of printables to cut out and make from pop-up cake cards to maps with animals, famous buildings, rotating star charts - you name it!
Scratch - great little animation program for kids - quite in depth with a good help section and it's free :)

SEN
maths games SEN Teacher Resources - some useful printable things such as large dice with various faces, blank clocks etc.
Do2Learn - lots of special needs resources with a free section too.
Dyslexia:
British Dyslexia Association
http://www.thedyslexiashop.co.uk/
http://www.dyslexia-teacher.com/
iamdyslexic.com

Portals covering many subjects
abcteach - over 5000 printable worksheets on many subjects - also has paid membership for some things.
Usborne Quicklinks - created for their internet linked books but a great resource in itself.
BBC Schools section - huge resource this one, based on the national curriculum, for all ages.
NobelPrize.org - some great educational games for kids covering literature, sciences, peace and economics.
LearningPage.com - lots of printable stuff (USA based site up to 3rd Grade) and lesson plans. Free to register for full service.
Enchanted Learning - heaps of stuff on here, some of it members only (about 10 a year to join I think).
Project HappyChild - large listing of free worksheets and resources on the web.

Kanji

exam courses etc.
Oxford Distance Learning - GCSEs to degrees from Oxford College.
College-on-the-net looks very interesting, no problem with under 16s either.
Greenfields Educational Agency also interesting
National Extension College do discounts for EO members.
Little Arthur School
ASW2 - online A levels, mentioning home ed. children below the normal A level age, on their list of students.

Misc.
Ian's Shoelace site - lots of ways to tie shoelaces and other knots
Dance Mat Typing - from the BBC, quirky little typing lessons!
chessKIDS Academy - really good site for learning how to play chess

 

 

and our old page of books we studied:

Some of the books weve studied and accompanying bits :) Will try to add them as we go along. There's always piles of them lying around...

pile of books

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This has to be the jewel of the books weve studied so far - we all loved it and felt a sense of loss once we'd finished reading it. It's written in a warm and friendly style, the story being seen through the eyes of Scout who is six years old at the start of the book. You quickly become very fond of her, her brother Jem and friend Dill. Despite the serious issues that are dealt with, the book never loses it's humour or it's ability to make you laugh (and cry).

It fitted in well (home ed synchronicity) with our study of the civil rights movement as one of the main stories of the book is the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman in 1930s Alabama. Atticus Finch, Scout's father, the lawyer who defends him is a very memorable character, teaching the moral of doing what is right even if it's hard and others disapprove. There are strong themes of justice and prejudice running throughout the book, not least in the story of the mysterious Boo Radley who never leaves his house and is the source of much childhood imagination and terror. Without giving away too much plot we loved the way that ultimately Boo's right to be different and who he really is, is respected and truly appreciated.

Lee includes quite extensive comment on the school system, all still valid today. Scout is devastated to be told not to read anymore by her first teacher as she 'won't have been taught correctly'. Atticus reassures her that she can continue to read at home without telling the teacher. She is then one of the few to pass first grade, most other children failing to learn to read with the system in place. Lee (Scout) continues: "The remainder of my school days were no more auspicious than the first. Indeed, they were an endless Project that slowly evolved into a Unit, in which miles of construction paper and wax crayon were expended by the State of Alabama in it's well-meaning but fruitless efforts to teach me Group Dynamics. What Jem called the Dewey Decimal System was school-wide by the end of my first year, so I had no chance to compare it with other teaching techniques. I could only look around me: Atticus and my uncle, who went to school at home, knew everything - at least what one didn't know the other did." ...... "but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me."

It's quite impressive that a book expressing such sentiments is used in schools across the world - very glad it is, it's a wonderful educational title in so many ways.

Buy UK or Buy US

We followed up by watching the film with gorgeous Gregory Peck as Atticus. It did keep the feeling of the book and the characters were all well recognised and superbly acted, but we mourned the ommission of many minor individuals and events which had all added to the rich tapestry of the book, but then that is inevitable in any book to film production. Buy UK or Buy US

Also see the wikipedia page for much more background detail.

 

 

Lunchtime listening on days when we were in and didn't have visitors during May/June 2008 - busy social times!!! Enjoyed the story as told by a bottle of wine... magic, food, love... little girl in this is home ed, mother much vilified by some of the villagers.... good reminder to us that in cases like this ( :) ) there are always people who keep their heads and decide for themselves rather than listening to behind the back speak... can't help feeling the author must have had this happen to her, it's so truly presented. Loved the ending too :D Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

 

March 2008 we read red tent'The Red Tent' by Anita Diamant. We all loved the story of Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, sister of the more famous coated Joseph (who does not come off well in the book!!). This is a real tale of womanhood, births, deaths, loves, mothers. Earthy and adult - it raised many frank discussions about deep issues that are as relevent today as they were in the times of the old testament. There is a very moving atmosphere to this book - it stays with you.

Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

January 2008 we were studying Italian and Sally Vicker's 'Miss Garnet's Angel' accompanied it beautifully. We followed Miss Garnet's journey in Venice, learned lots of tid-bits about Italy, art, sprituality, abuse, sexuality, love and angels - yep, long discussions were spawned by it :)

Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

Celestine Prophecy Summer/Autumn 2007 had us studying modern spiritual literature with the Celestine Prophecy. We liked the insights and much discussion was had about the phenomenal success of the book. Weve read so much fine, classic stuff that this did seem a bit banal in comparison but very good from an educational standpoint anyway. Buy UK or Buy US We folowed up with the questionable film version - again, very interesting and have to admit we really enjoyed it ;) Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wuthering HeightsSummer 2007 was Bronte time for a while. Love seeing the children enjoy these books - so valuable, not just for their literary finery (oh the vocab, the grammar, the research into currently lesser used words and phrases) but for the emphasis put on strength of character and being a good person. We all thoroughly enjoyed Wuthering Heights, getting very involved with the characters. It really is quite a unique book - read up on it's unfavourable reception at the time of publishing and Emily Bronte. We followed up by watching two film versions: one with Ralph Fiennes and Juliet Binoche and a Granada adaptation. Much preferred the latter - found the first so shortened, severely lessoning the impact of Heathcliff's actions, though the actors were very good in their roles. Both were excellent for sparking various points of discussion and noting how the film makers had sought to convey certain feelings, atmosphere etc. Buy Book UK or from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

tenenat of wildfell hall - bbc dvdWe then moved on to Anne Bronte's 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall', one of my all time favourites. Banned for a time for it's feminist leanings, again it is full of those of strong virtue and those not... followed up with an excellent version from the BBC - they can always be relied upon to do good fiction justice :)

 

 

UK Book or from Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsFor a while July 2007 found us all curled up in corners to discover Harry's fate with the last book in the series - all happily satisfied with the end :D This is a fairly rare work in which the central character is selfless in his saving of others... lots of good messages for Humanity there us thinks! Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Entertaining Angels' - this book was a source of light relief to me when we were just starting out with home ed. A little racy (not for kids) and hilarious with ladies fancying the local vicar, this novel has a mum who is teaching her HFA daughter at home. Particularly funny are the LEA visits! Buy UK

 

 

 

 

Also summer 2006, we had a very interetsing time reading My Ishmael, looking at our weird and whacky culture, comparing it to other ways of living... Daniel Quinn has some good stuff to say about education too... Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord of the FliesSummer 2006 we read William Golding's Lord of the Flies. The links below take you to the educational version of the book which has suggested questions and bits to mull over and discuss - got quite a lot out of this. Fascinating comment on the human condition and civilisation... Buy UK or Buy US Then this great game from NobelPrize.org for after you've read it backing up and revising some of the characters and themes - also linking to more information on William Golding. While reading this we were lucky to catch the Simpsons episode 'Das Bus' which is a short parody of the book.

 

 

 

 

May 2006 - continuing on with our study of classic literature, politics and human society with Animal Farm - Charlotte is particularly enjoyed this one. Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2006 - we read the Day of the Triffids - everyone gripped by the storyline - sparked much discussion and imagination. Language and vocabulary skills stretched too. Buy UK or Buy USWe then went on to watch the old BBC series from the 80s which was a good follow up.

 

 

 

 

 

This was another audio book listen in 2005. Loved this frighteningly believable novel and parody of the Blair government. Prime Minister Edward Clare wants to get back in touch with the people of his country. He travels round Britain disguised as a woman (which he quite enjoys) - lots of social comment as usual from Sue Townsend. Laugh one minute, cry the next - a fantastic read. Buy UK or Buy US

 

 

 

 

Summer 2005 found us listening to this hilarious tale with our lunches.Buy UK or Buy US