Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Skwirk in the Homeschool

I wanted to share some of my thoughts on using Skwirk online as part of our homeschooling environment.

For our family the busyness of homeschooling is seasonal. There are periods throughout the year that we have a heavier load outside of the home.

During these times we often find it difficult to cover some of the subject areas, such as Science and SOSE in a more formal way.

Skwirk has made it so easy for us to include these subjects, with no work or preparation on my behalf, all at an age appropriate level.

This week at the Grade 5 level we looked at the SOSE unit on Australian Symbols.

The unit included a reading component, several images of various Australian Symbols, a vocabulary activity and spelling quizzes.

Here Lego Lover is completing the Cloze activity within the unit.

Towards the end of the unit, an interactive animated activity is included. This time, creating your own find a word. Firstly he needed to choose his topic and the words that he would be finding.

The system did the rest. The find a word works on a simple click and drag operation.

The entire unit is completed with a short quiz for the student to take.

When it comes to a busy homeschooling life Skwirk has certainly helped in ensuring we are covering a wide variety of topics within a small amount of time.

I technically still have a toddler in the house and we all know how demanding they can be. Many a time, with even the best plans, I have had to ditch activities and lessons due to toddler demands. But with Skwirk I can easily search for a topic and find a unit on that topic that the children can do independently.

So even if we are having 'one of those days' with Skwirk I don't have to feel guilty that the children have missed out.

At the Grade 2 level the units are entirely animated. no reading ability required. For all of the reasons I have already mentioned this is a blessing. Skwirk is an independent program no matter what level you are looking at.

We chose the unit on Environments, here the animation is discussing the features of a desert. Further into the unit it looked more closely at Australian environments.

This is such a plus for me, generally we find ourselves making do with American programs that are clearly not written with Australian children in mind. Skwirk is!

Once again each segment of the overall unit ends in a small interactive game type activity. This particular activity was a game of memory.

As you know this year we have our focus on all things Australian and so Skwirk is working as a fabulous supplement. When we are here at home delving more deeply into Australian topics I know I can jump onto Skwirk and find a supplement for that particular topic.

This has also added another element to the children's learning - elearning - so whilst the majority of what we do is covered by great books and hands on activities, once again adding this style of learning has added a whole new dimension to our weeks.

Whilst we are only a few weeks into to using Skwirk I can see that for so many reasons it will be an important part of our program this year.

Skwirk have very kindly offered my readers a 50% discount on subscription rates. Until the end of May you can get 50% off Skwirk with the discount code skwirkclass

Click here to visit the Skwirk website

Disclosure: I was given a family subscription of Skwirk for the purpose of reviewing. All opinions on this blog are my own and were not in anyway influenced by the product provided or by the company.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Free Printable Anzac Unit For Young Learners

Anzac Day is nearly upon us. I'll be honest this is one day on the calendar that we haven't dealt with much in our home.

Granted we generally watch some of the documentaries and always have discussions about the Anzac's and war in general, however we have never gone beyond that.

For me, there are a couple of reasons why. War is a difficult concept for young children to understand and so we have really placed the focus more on remembering those we've lost than on anything else.

Also, having a Grandfather that was a POW in Changi, there are many elements of the war I really would rather not know about. Yes I know, burying one's head in the sand is not acceptable, but when I consider how these events have no doubt shaped our entire family (and many other families world wide) for generations it is difficult to bring yourself to knowing and wanting to know more.

However, now that I have a 10 year old I figured this was the year we would tackle Anzac Day a little more deeply. Still, we are placing our focus more on the Anzac meaning and remembrance than we are on the actual war/s. I am working on a small unit for Lego Lover which I really hope to have ready to share with all of you in plenty of time.

In the meantime I have put together a simpler unit for Fairy Princess (7). I have no desire, at this stage in her life to have her reading horrible war stories. Others may feel differently and that's fine, but it isn't for us.

This unit, in a nutshell, is a simple cut and pasting activity. It can be as simple or as detailed as you wish it to be. I have placed the focus on reading picture books and discussions.

The download includes 3 pages of 'bubble webs'. Each one covers different aspects of Anzac Day.

This is where all the work is done for you, apart from a little background reading (for you) if you don't have a good understanding of Anzac Day and what it entails.

There are enough images supplied to complete all 3 pages of the 'bubble webs' included with the images are links to specific websites which give a clear explanation about each image. In many cases they link to sites specifically aimed at young children. 

You are then free to offer as much or as little information as you wish.

After you have discussed the image and possibly read a book, it can be cut out and placed onto the appropriate bubble web page.

There is a printable easy reader, simply cut apart on the cutting lines, staple and read, or have the child read if they are able to do so.

Ideas for crafts and cooking are also included to add in a hands on element.

A couple of simple pages for younger children.

A small selection of colouring pages are included.

Plus a sampling of Picture Book Suggestions.

As I stated in the beginning, this is a simple unit, where we will finish with 3 pages reminding us about Anzac Day. This will give Fairy Princess a basic understanding of the Anzac's one we can build upon in the years to come.

This unit can be downloaded for your personal use, by {clicking here}

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Money & Magic Squares

You all know how much I enjoy making printable materials for our home school, but there are definitely many times when I need something quickly.

What a breeze it has been to scan through all of the printable items over at Kids Learning Is Fun, choose what I am after, click print and we are ready to go.

To have ongoing access to resources such as these is a definite blessing.

I thought I'd share some of the highlights each month so that you get a good feel for the items available over at Kids Learning is Fun.

I chose to print off the Australian Coin Posters (A4) and do some coin exploring with Little Surfer Dude. Fairy Princess sat in too, this was good revision for her.

Together we discussed each poster and the details about the coins. We sorted through our pile of coins and found various examples and proceeded to match the real life coin to the poster.

This was a great exercise to actually sit and focus on the coin details. Little Surfer Dude was very careful to note the numbers on each coin.

I used an old divided serving platter and taped one of each coin into a compartment. This is a simple sorting exercise for now, but one we can build on as time progresses.

I have placed this tray and the Coin posters on our shelves for him to choose whenever he wishes.

For Lego Lover I printed the Magic Squares file and laminated them. There is a huge number of magic squares contained within this, which means he always has variety! 

For these magic squares you need to use the numbers 1 - 16, only once and complete the grid.....certainly gets you thinking.

You can purchase these items straight from the Kids Learning Is Fun store or have access to these and hundred's more whenever you need them with a Premium Membership.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bambino Academy - More Easter Themed Works

Here are a few more of our Easter themed work trays, for the Bambino among us. Quite often the bigger kids use some of these and that's all good too.

Pastel playdough with these super cute cutters. These have been played with every day this past week.

Easter Bunny puzzle, a little above his ability so someone normally gives him a hand.

Easter Playdough mats. Crosses on hot cross buns, eggs in a basket and adding features to the Easter Bilby.

Handwriting, vocabulary practice.

Cards and counters.

1 - 10 Easter Bilby Puzzle.

Tonging easter 'gemstones'.

Pattern strips

Check out these other Easter themed posts

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Bilbies First Easter Activities

Their farm was baked dry by drought. But with hope, faith, and the help of the bilbies, William makes an Easter surprise more magical than any bunny could deliver. (fishpond)

Easter Bilby Activities
We spent Good Friday with family, the kids enjoyed some fun activity time with Grandma, who brought along her 'The Bilbies' First Easter' story sack.

The Bilbies First Easter

They began by reading the story of The Bilbies' First Easter, before moving into some fun hands on activities to help bring the book alive.

Bilby Activities

Everyone was keen to make their very own chocolate Easter Bilby.

Eating the chocolate, though was a whole lot more fun.

mmmmm Yum, these Easter Bilbies' are good.

Bilby Fun For Kids

In the story the Bilbies' paint rainbow coloured eggs to bring to William, for a simpler version the kids simply decorated their eggs with rainbow coloured felt pens.

The older members of the crew made themselves (with Grandma's help) a cute Bilby pencil topper.

Materials Required:
  • Pencil
  • Grey Pipe Cleaner
  • Pink Pipe Cleaner
  • Pink Pony Bead
  • Goggle Eyes
  • Pink Felt
Begin by wrapping the grey pipe cleaner around the top of the pencil. Use only about half of the pipe cleaner. Shape the end half into two long bilby ears and secure the end of the pipe cleaner with a twist.

Twist the pink pipe cleaner around the base of the grey pipe cleaner, just a couple of times (enough to hold it securely) place a pony bead on the end and twist up the pipe cleaner to ensure the bead doesn't fall off. This is the Bilby tail.

Bilby Craft
Now simply add his facial details, eyes, a small triangular nose and his little pink ears. And there you have your very own special Bilby.

A few simple hands on activities can really bring a book alive.

"Grandma" operates Butterfly Wings: Butterfly Wings Child Parent Programs (BWCPP) are Early Intervention and Early Literacy programs focusing on singing traditional and contemporary rhymes and songs and playing simple singing games which help children and adults to become familiar with each other and form secure attachments.

You can visit their website by clicking here and follow Butterfly Wings on facebook by clicking here.

Why not take a look at some of our other Aussie Book Adventures.

Don't forget to check out where I am linking this post.

What Aussie Book adventures have you gotten up to lately?


I wanted to take a moment to introduce all of you to our new blog sponsor, Skwirk Interactive Schooling.

Skwirk has pioneered Australia’s first online, syllabus-specific, interactive learning portal for primary and secondary school students.

Covering the core subjects for each Australian state syllabus and currently working toward the new ‘Australian Curriculum’, Skwirk's aim is to become the most trusted name and learning destination for teachers, students and parents.

Skwirk covers years K-10, with subjects including Maths, English, Science, Geography, History, Technology and Commerce.

Skwirk caters to as many different learning and teaching styles as possible, with over 20,000 pages of text, 2000 educational animations and ebooks, 1000 interactive activities, 1000 educational videos, along with podcasts, worksheets, pop quizzes and much more.

Redapple Education’s Skwirk has been placed on Education Services Australia (ESA) register of digital resource suppliers that will support the implementation of the new Australian Curriculum.

Our family will be utilising Skwirk in our Home School over the coming months and will share with you our adventures with this type of interactive learning.

Disclosure: We have been given a 12 month family subscription to Skwirk for the purposes of sharing our journey with this online interactive learning program.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Marshmallow Easter Bunny

We had the delightful pleasure of an overnight visit from some very dear friends of ours, the girls dived right in to some Easter crafting.

Everything simple, nothing over the top, our focus was on the special people we had joining us not on the crafts at hand.

Marshmallow Easter Bunnies, so easy, so few ingredients and so cute!!

Simply use icing to 'glue' the marshmallows together and decorate the bunnies face with 'icing pens'. 

I had picked up a couple of small kits that were on clearance, mini easter baskets, which were a simple 'stick together' activity.

And these little easter critters, but as I said, the focus wasn't on the crafts it was on the time spent with friends.

Check out these other Easter themed posts

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