These are some of my current favourites:
1. Paper-plate skip counting wheels. I first saw the idea in the Miquon First Grade Diary when Ponytails was in the first grade...so these paper plates are six or seven years old, but still going strong. Very simple--each number has its own plate, with a series of numerals markered around the rim. The 2 plate goes 2, 4, 6, 8, 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 0. The 3 plate goes 3, 6, 9, 2, 5, 8, 1, 4, 7, 0. (That's the most complicated one.) The 4 plate goes 4, 8, 2, 6, 0, then again. The 5 plate just has 5's and 0's on it. And so on. Do you see how it works? You count around the plate, and each number you say will have the same final digit as the next numeral on the plate.
2. "Topical" Bible sword drills. My kids particularly like the Animals version. (Warning: some of the words don't match up if you use newer Bible translations.)
3. Beaver Ed's card quiz games, sold at Dollarama. We have the Nature and the Dinosaurs games, and think they're as good as the more expensive versions.
4. This study guide to Tom Sawyer. We don't use a lot of literature study guides, but this one has some helpful ideas.
5. Leslie Laurio's updated Ourselves. (The Common Room family also likes this.)
6. Homemade handwriting sheets. I am using our Barchowsky disk, but you can find other sites to make your own. Who needs workbooks?
7. Index cards--good for all kinds of things. Ponytails and Mr. Fixit are using them along with Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, to keep track of all the elements Ponytails has learned. (They also made Atomic Cookies--see a similar photo at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.)
8. Books from the local supermarket's dollar bin--you just never know what's going to show up there. Recently we've found Magic Treehouse notepads, The Courage of Helen Keller, Madeleine L'Engle's The 24 Days Before Christmas, a Mitford book, and several other Scholastic and Troll biographies.
9. The weekly how-to posts at The Common Room.
10. Julie Gilbert's Planned Spontaneity e-book. A different kind of homeschool planner! (The home page is here.)
11. A bonus for reading to the end: an Indian site with lots of free, uploaded books. Many of them are also available here (click on "English" books). There are some wonderful ideas here for natural history and for teaching with limited resources. One of my favourites on the site: "LOW-COST, NO-COST TEACHING AIDS" by Mary Ann Dasgupta...the books by Arvind Gupta are also very interesting.
Disclaimer: I don't know how the copyright laws work between India and the rest of the world, and there are definitely some books here that I would wonder about their being allowed to be uploaded, but perhaps the laws are different outside of North America. Use at your own discretion.
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