Girl reading book in grass during summer.
Activities, Homeschooling, summer

Kids Earn a Free Book!

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

  1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.
  2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017.Find a store.
  3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.
checkmark list on chalkboard

First Grader Reading Milestones

  • Your first grader is learning to “crack the code” of the written word.
  • First graders learn phonics, the sounds of all letters and letter combinations. They apply phonics knowledge to figuring out or “decoding” words that they do not know by sight.

  • First graders know many words by sight.
  • At the end of first grade, children typically know at least 150 “sight words,” or common words, such as “the” and “no,” that they recognize with ease.

  • First graders can read simple books smoothly, but generally read word-by-word.
  • By the end of the year, the typical first grader can read simple books such as Eat Your Peas, Louise! or Little Bear accurately, by identifying all the words correctly. Most first graders read word-by-word instead of in phrases, and they read fairly slowly, especially if they are reading a book for the first time.

  • First graders can detect their reading mistakes.
  • The typical first grader knows when he or she has made a reading error when the story suddenly does not make sense. While your first grader cannot correct all the errors he or she makes in reading, they are beginning to learn some strategies to “fix” his or her mistakes.

Reference: First Grader Reading

Activity for learning to say Hello and Goodbye in multiple languages.
Activities, Homeschooling

Hello and Goodbye!

Such simple ways to greet and part ways with individuals. has a great learning activity for discovering various ways to greet and say goodbye in various languages. Google Translate is a great starting point for the activity.

Take the activity a step further by exploring news from various countries and listening to music from various cultures.

Have fun and let your creativity flow!

Update: Thanks Abi for the great song suggestion for this activity!

Video Credit: Fun English


What are your suggestions for taking this activity beyond a simple ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’?


mom homeschooling two children

Tips for Getting Started With Homeschooling

If you are considering homeschooling but are unsure where to begin, here are four tips to help you get started.

  1. Figure out the legalities.
  2. Rules surrounding homeschooling can vary from state to state. Be sure to check out your state’s legal requirements regarding homeschooling.

  3. Decide on an approach.
  4. The freedom to determine what and how your children learn is a major advantage of homeschooling. However, many homeschooling methodologies and approaches exist. Be sure to read up on the various approaches to homeschooling to find the best fit for you and your child.

  5. Tap into your local homeschool community.
  6. Reach ouch to experienced homeschooling families to glean from their experiences.

  7. Be patient.
  8. Be patient with your child and yourself. Homeschooling will not be the easiest at times, and information overload can occur. Don’t get discouraged and remember that the experience will be extremely rewarding for both you and your child.

Reference: – Homeschooling: Tips for Getting Started

cartoon of confused individual

How do I choose a homeschool curriculum for my kids?

Jamie Gaddy a previous educator comments:

“When I’m considering what curriculum to buy, I start by analyzing the needs of my kids, individually. Some of my kids are auditory learners, for instance, while others learn best with hands-on activities. I also think about their strengths and weaknesses, and what they are each passionate about. Once I’ve considered my childrens’ needs, I stop and examine my own. After all, I am homeschooling six children at once! If I can find a curriculum that works with my child’s learning styles, keeps his/her interest, and will work across several grade levels, then it’s like Christmas come early at my house!…”

Jamie goes on to answer other burning questions new homeschoolers may have in the original interview with Time 4 Learning.

What are some of the things you would consider when choosing curriculum for your children?

laptop outside

Don’t Fear Summer Learning Loss

Research shows that students who don’t participate in some type of academically enriching activity during the summer months are at risk for losing a percentage of the learning they acquired during the previous academic year.

An academic activity, such as an online course, is a great way to counteract learning loss and ease the transition back to school in the fall.

Check out our Free Resources page for various offerings of online courses.

laptop books iPhone on desk

College Prep Begins Early

Ruth Lohmeyer, a counselor at Lincoln Northeast High School in Nebraska, indicates that to put teens on a track for success, college prep needs to start early. Lohmeyer mentions that college prep begins in 8th grade for their program.

The article points out that students should strive to take more difficult classes early on. Waiting until the junior or senior year will be too late.

Lohmeyer provides recommendations how students should use each year of high school for college prep.

Reference: Use All Four Years of High School to Prep for College