Tag Archives: workbooks

Educational Place Mats for Seatwork

Last summer I spent several days designing and creating personalized place mats for our children.

Well, now I’m here to tell you to save your time and efforts! Buy a few place mats to fit your child’s educational needs and swap them out once a quarter or whenever needed. I highly recommend the Melissa & Doug place mats because they’re super easy to clean and will last MUCH longer than any laminated type of place mat.

countries matWe have the Melissa & Doug Counting to 100 Write-a-Mat for our 1st grader and the Melissa & Doug Countries of the World Write-A-Mat for our 3rd grader. Both mats are 2-sided and can be written on with wipe-off crayons or dry-erase markers. Melissa & Doug also has place mats with US presidents, dinosaurs, phonics, math, and more!

You may be thinking why would my homeschooler need a place mat? A place mat helps to protect the surface your child is writing or drawing on, plus they can refer to it when they need help remembering things like which direction to write a J, or where China is.

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more info.

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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Making Homeschool Life Easier


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Is Fancy Curriculum Neccessary?

Many people just starting out with homeschooling seem to think they need fancy curriculum to teach their children.  While it’s true that some of the boxed curriculum sets may be easier to teach, they tend to be very expensive and may not suit your child’s needs in each subject.  I’ve found that it really helps to read curriculum reviews online and talk with other parents who have children of similar ages.  My favorite book for choosing curriculum is “100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum“.  This book can be quite overwhelming for someone in their first year of homeschooling, so I’d recommend reading it in very small dosages to keep from feeling lost.

Did you know some parents teach the lower elementary grades by using inexpensive workbooks, library books and the many free resources available online?  Seriously!  Here are some of the 2nd grade workbooks I’ve picked up from yard sales and thrift stores. The top two books cover all the basic subjects and focus on the typical things learned by 2nd graders across the US.  The bottom left workbook is a reading/literature/writing book and the bottom right is a math homework book.  Both of these are used by the public schools here in Alabama.

There are many educational DVDs available at the public library which can be used to help teach some subjects.  For example, I’ve found DVDs on numerous topics in science, history, math, grammar, phonics, and reading.  It’s also important to check out non-fiction books AND quality fiction.  I find that many parents tend to forget about non-fiction for the younger elementary grades.  Be sure to read aloud to your child as well as having them read to you.

To make learning even more fun I recommend these awesome online resources.  (They are listed in no particular order.)

Spelling City – Vocabulary & Spelling lists and activities
Khan Academy – video lessons in math, science and more
IXL – math, plus standards for each state listed
Illuminations – math activities & lessons grades K-12
EZ Tales – online books & reading activities for ages 2 – 10
Cool Math for Kids – lessons & games in more than just math!
Fun 4 the Brain – many subjects, even up to middle school
– learning games for K-5th grade

If you happen to be like me, you might take the eclectic approach and use a combination of curriculum and workbooks from a variety of sources.  I’ve never used a boxed curriculum set and though I’m sure it works for some people I really don’t think it would fit for us.  Like many children, our son has strengths and weaknesses in different subjects.  If I feel that he isn’t understanding a certain concept I simply try to find another way to tell him or show him.

If you’re looking for a FREE way to homeschool using all online resources then definitely take a look at Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.

Whether you choose fancy curriculum or go another route, remember to keep things fun and they will enjoy a life of learning.

Happy teaching!  🙂


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