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BellaOnline's Homeschooling Editor

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November 25 2009 Homeschooling Newsletter


Happy Turkey Day everyone! Here is a quick recap of homeschool gift ideas for all of you Black Friday shoppers!

Any history buff knows that there are many gift ideas for fellow friends. But how about the homeschooler that loves history? Below you will find several ideas for the perfect historical themed gift.

Studying the American Revoloution will be exciting when you use the The American Revolution for Kids: A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series) by
Janis Herbert. The text is perfect for elementary grades (2-5), and the 21 hands on activities are challenging and fun. In keeping with the early American theme, I have always been a fan of the Liberty's Kids series. The complete set is on dvd, which is from the television series on PBS. These dvds are wonderful not only for historical depiction, but also for a wholesome and educational perspective.

If your homeschooler is into ancient civilizations, then the Professor Noggin Ancient Civilizations Card Game is perfect for them. Geared for children ages 7-12, this game appeals to all folks who love a historical trivia game. Other renditions of this game worth noting are Civil War Trivia, Famous Inventions and a game titled "Extraordinary Women Game". Time Life has an encompassing dvd series highlighting "Lost Civilizations" for the middle and high school crowd. These dvds will inspire critical thought and enriching ideas.

Jon Sczieska has authored a fantastic series of books titled "Time Warp Trio". These chapter books are for children in grades 1-4, and there is even a corresponding television program on Kids Discovery Channel. These stories are humorous and fact based taking place in different time periods.

Older homeschoolers who are fans of Geography will find "The Geography Bee Complete Preparation Handbook: 1,001 Questions & Answers to Help You Win Again and Again!" book to be resourceful and entertaining. The game titled "Do You Know Where You Are? - World Challenge Edition" is perfect for children ages 10 and up, and it can be adjusted according to levels of play. Longitude and Latitude mapping skills, along with geographical placement challenges make this an awesome game.

Technology fans will appreciate the Scientific Toys Interactive World Map. For younger elementary students this is a super hands on resource. Whether you choose a technological, geographical or puzzle themed gift, your history loving homeschooler surely love it.



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When asked for a favorite subject, my ten year old homeschool son always chooses reading. For him, reading anything is enjoyment. Books are a wonderful gift for homeschool students, especially books in a favorite series. While many homeschoolers utilize the library and book swaps, receiving a new book for Christmas will put a smile on any child's face. There are some great book choices for your homeschoolers this holiday season, from mysteries to adventure series. I have selected some super books that your homeschoolers will get enthusiastic and joyful about reading. These book choices are "vampire free", as I wanted to showcase other options for literary choices!

Preschool students develop their love for reading during these formative years. Having a well stocked home library full of interactive books will create an excitement and love for books. A wonderful book called "Pat the Bunny" will quickly become your child's favorite. Perfect for kinesthetic, or hands on learners, this book appeals to a child's senses. It is also a fun story to read! While "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" is a classic preschoolers love to read, there are several other books in this series. "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?" as well as "What do you See?" books about both "little bear" and "panda bear". These are wonderful choices to add to this collection. Don't forget about the beloved Dr. Seuss when choosing books for your younger child. Many of his books, like "Hop on Pop" and "Cat in the Hat" are tried and true classics every child loves to read. There is a fantastic beginner book set as well, which offers five of these time honored treasures.

The younger elementary years are a perfect time to introduce a chapter book series. Junie B. Jones is a funny and likable character for boys and girls in the younger grades. Subjects like losing teeth and keeping secrets appeal to all children, and the easy flow of the chapter books makes this series one to get. There are several boxed sets to pick up, along with additional books featuring Junie, like "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells". Marc Brown, creator of the Arthur character, has written many fabulous books based on this kind hearted aardvark and his family. Books like "Arthur's Mystery Babysitter" and "D.W.'s Perfect Present" are not only funny, but they are also wholesome reading for the younger crew. Another humorous classic is the Curious George series. The mischievous behavior of this cute monkey takes the readers on a wild adventure! "The Complete Adventures of Curious George" is a book to read over and over again. "Merry Christmas, Curious George!" is a holiday themed delight.

Older elementary and middle school homeschoolers will enjoy an exciting and interesting book during their winter break. An alternative to the latest vampire craze is a wonderful series by John Flanagan. "The Ranger's Apprentice" follows the adventures of a boy named Will, who must use stealth and courage to protect his kingdom. The series begins with "The Ruins of Gorlan" and continues through to the sixth book in the series, "The Siege of Macindaw". This fantasy series is a thrilling adventure! Young ladies will enjoy the American Girls series of stories. "Kirsten" and "Samantha" are wonderful young women to read about, and their stories come in nifty book sets. Long time classics by Beverly Cleary are always in style, especially with the release of the new Ramona movie to premier in Spring 2010.

Middle and High School homeschoolers would love to find books under the Christmas tree too! The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan is an exciting book for Mythology lovers. This series is set to be a movie, premiering in February 2010. There is a hardcover treasury set of the series of books thus far (1-5) that would make an amazing gift. Lois Duncan writes incredible mysteries that young women will enjoy. Books like "Killing Mr. Griffin" and "Locked in Time" are truly books your teenage homeschooler won't want to put down! "Jacob I Have Loved" is an award winning book that transends time. The author, Katherine Patterson deals with sibling rivalry and other teen topics in a respectable way. Finally, the Anne of Green Gables is a kindhearted series of books that are must reads for any teen girl. "Anne" is a character made to stand the test of time!


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Finding the perfect gift for a homeschool student can be both a challenge and a joy. Many homeschoolers tend to appreciate enriching toys and games, along with books and other educational material. Use this holiday season as an opportunity to invest in gifts for the homeschooler in your life that are not only thought provoking, but are also gifts to learn from.

For the Science minded homeschooler look into science sets, or impromptu experiment kits. A wonderful resource for children ages 8-14 is a Snap Circuits Kit. Enabling your child to build over 300 items, including a doorbell and a burglar alarm this is a gift that will be a source for continued learning and fun. Scientific Explorer offers a Tasty Science Chemisty Kit for children ages 6-11. If your homeschooler is a budding chef and scientist this is the kit for them! There is another food themed kit titled Ice Cream Science from Scientific Explorer as well. Add a little note to the gift that ensures you can taste the final products too!

A live butterfly garden is appealing for most all children, ages 4-14. This is a project to span time and lessons about metamorphosis. Insect Lore makes a nice kit for a lovely butterfly garden, and Fascinations also offers a fairly comprehensive kit. Called World Alive, the kit by Fascinations also offers your child the opportunity to observe first hand how the butterfly develops. Add a small notebook and butterfly pen to this gift and invite your homeschooler to record observations and share them with you along the way.

A telescope is a tried and true favorite for Astronomy loving homeschoolers. There are many reasonably priced offerings from Celestron's FirstScope to the Vega 360 from Educational Insights. Add an Everything Kids Astronomy Book for even more funa and learning! This awesome book has facts, puzzles and games that the whole family will love.

For future Meteorologists the Weather Gone Wild Hunt dvds by Nova are exciting and accurate. These make for an adventurous movie and popcorn night during the holiday break, and the whole family can partake in the fun. The Kids Book of Weather Forecasting is another great gift idea, especially for any child interested in a career in the Meteorology field. DK Eyewitness also has a fascinating book titled Weather. This is factual and encompassing. Your homeschooler will find this to be a valuable resource for future research as well.

For the adventurous homeschooler look into getting an erupting volcano model! Learning Resources makes an easy to use model, that children will find super cool. For Star Wars fans their is a Mustafar Volcano Lab to intrigue your child. This offers Science and pop culture all in one! For budding scientists wanting some more razzle dazzle, the Children's Volcano Science Kit erupts, bubbles and fizzes. Be sure to encourage your child to learn from this educational play. Don't forget to create a hypothesis and test it out. Record your results and be sure to let the person who gave you the gift know how it went. Taking photos can be a good idea too, as they can be used for dual purpose- portfolio scrapbooking and family mementos.



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