Little Strummers

Little Strummers: A Guitar Course for Children Ages 6 – 10 (PDF ebook)

Today’s resource is this excellent beginner’s guide for young guitarists, by homeschool mom & part-time guitar teacher, Tara Tarbet. Tara created this starter guide to use with her own young guitar students, and has generously allowed us to share it with you here. (If you like this, please post a comment to let Tara know her work is appreciated!)

We’ve looked at guitar tutorials for some time, hoping to find something that is geared specifically for young children just starting out, and to tell you the truth, this is still the best resource we’ve seen yet. Simple tips and teaching suggestions, followed by a songbook of 20+ simple and familiar children’s songs (with even more tips at the bottom of each song). No drawn out instruction that is over the heads of little ones — just get in there and start playing. Great fun!

To download today’s resource, RIGHT CLICK HERE then “save as” to your computer! (Mac users: Press “Control” then click the link and you can then download to your computer)

BONUS! Little Strummers THANKSGIVING SONGS SUPPLEMENT

Tara has also put together a neat little collection of Thanksgiving Songs for kids ages 6 – 10 to play on the guitar. These are beginner songs perfect for young musicians. Have your kids learn one or two over the next few weeks and play them for the whole family this Thanksgiving Day!

To download the Thanksgiving Songs ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE then “save as” to your computer!

Stories Pictures Tell

Stories Pictures Tell (Book One) by Flora L. Carpenter

Our friends at Living Books Curriculum have provided today’s freebie – a unique guide to using examples of classic artwork in your homeschool.

While it is fairly easy to find information about an artist, often very little is available about their pictures. The simple step-by-step lessons in this guide lead children to think critically about the picture they are viewing and consider what the artist was conveying, and what the story behind the picture might be. This is a wonderful resource for art appreciation.

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

You Can Read!

1plus1plus1equals1.com is a terrific homeschooling resource blog and site, offering dozens of downloadable resources for younger students. Today we are featuring their neat sight-reading program, You Can Read!

From the website:

You Can Read! is a simple sight word program I developed with younger readers in mind.  Children learn to read at different ages and some show the reading readiness signs at much younger ages than others.  These children are ready to learn words and reading skills, they just aren’t ready for complex worksheets and activities often available to children who are a bit older when they are learning.  I created this program for children who are showing reading readiness signs at a younger age, approximately ages 3-5.  Older children can use these printables and activities also, they were just created with a younger reader in mind!

Note: The printable sets may be freely downloaded from the following pages, or you can download them all in one bundle for a fee:

Printable PDF sets 1-5 are available HERE

Printable PDF sets 6 – 10 are available HERE

You can also check out the many other resources available at 1plus1plus1equals1.com by clicking items of interest on the right hand side green sidebar on the site.

Favorite Kiddy Songs for Fall (and Punky Pumpkin too!)

Well, today we’re off for a return visit to the countryside where a delightful stack of fun, classic children’s records from yesteryear awaits us.

First up, join in on a jolly version of the classic children’s song, “Oats, Peas, Beans” by Roger White, as we quickly follow Mr. Farmer through his very busy day.

Next, we stop by the house of “The Little Crooked Man” (of the Mother Goose rhyme) with his crooked cat and crooked mouse, and then visit “The Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe” in a fine record by Roy Hallee.

Next, we travel with Uncle Don Down On The Farm where we meet all the animals in a fun musical adventure from long ago Sonora Records.

And last but not least, we join Uncle Lumpy as he tells about one of our favorite characters, Little Orley in a couple of fun musical adventures… as he is first unexpectedly serenaded by a little mouse and his friends in the Barnyard… and then puts on his own great barnyard concert you’ve just got to hear to believe.

All of the above = loads of fun for kids of all ages. Enjoy your visit down on the farm!

Here are your download links. You can click these to stream online, or RIGHT CLICK these and “save” to your computer:

Oats Peas Beans & Barley
(.6 megs, 3 minutes)

There Was a Crooked Man /There Was An Old Woman
(1.3 megs, 6 minutes)

Uncle Don Down on the Farm
(2.3 megs, 12 minutes)

The Barn Dance
(3 megs, 3 minutes)

Orley’s Big Concert
(7.4 megs, 8 minutes)

And finally…

THE PUNKY PUMPKIN SONG! (MP3 audio)

Here’s one more little treat from us to you… one of our favorite fall songs… and certainly the catchiest song about a pumpkin ever! This song does mention Halloween in passing, so if that bothers you, don’t download it. But if you just want a fun, old fashioned pumpkin song, check it out and your kids will soon be singing along!

To download this MP3 song, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. To just play it online, click the link.

Let us know if you enjoy your musical visit to the countryside!

A Beatrix Potter Treasury

Today we feature a wonderful treasure chest of books, audios, videos and lessons about the stories of Beatrix Potter. Her classic artwork and stories are utterly delightful and should be known by every child. What better stories than these to share with your littles?

CLICK HERE to read almost all Beatrix Potter’s original picture books online or download them in kindle and mobi format at Project Gutenberg.

CLICK HERE to listen to almost all Beatrix Potter’s books online or to download them in mp3 format or to iTunes. There are three massive collections on this Librivox page, and you’ll just have to pick and choose which narrators you enjoy best. You can follow along the readings using the picture books from the Project Gutenberg link above.

CLICK HERE to go to a youtube page which offers up a couple dozen Beatrix Potter stories and related videos, including all the episodes of “The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends”. (As always with youtube, parental oversight is recommended.)

Resources from PeterRabbit.com:  CLICK HERE to go to the download page — and don’t miss the 39 page PDF of Beatrix Potter Teaching Resources!

Mad-Lib Stories for Children

In the tradition of Mad-Libs, here’s a great site that will give you hours and hours of family fun.

In this classic phrasal template word game, one player prompts others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story, before reading the often comical or nonsensical story aloud. There are over 2000 user-created children’s stories on Word Blanks, including favorite nursery rhymes, children’s stories, theme songs and original stories.

Most of these are perfectly fine for all ages, but a very few can get a little “kid gross”, so you may wish to preview the stories before playing them.

CLICK HERE to go to the site!

Build an Endless Cube with Legos®

If you have a stash of LEGOs in your home, here’s a terrific little project that kids of all ages will be absolutely fascinated by, courtesy of Frugal Fun for Boys & Girls:

Grab the LEGO® bucket, because this is such a fun building project! Make an endless cube, also called an infinity cube, out of LEGO® bricks. This cube transforms shape over and over without an end. It’s such a neat toy to build, and it’s fun to play with!

CLICK HERE to go to the instructions, parts list and video!

Projects, Experiments & Hands-On Fun

TheHappyHousewife.com has a great collection of almost 100 hands-on projects, crafts and experiments especially for homeschoolers, on all sorts of interesting topics, including:

Turkey Feather Science
Testing for Starch
Milk Fireworks
The Physics of the Trapeze
Fun Ways to Improve Writing Skills
Buoyancy Experiments
…and dozens more.

CLICK HERE Take a look and browse through the collection yourself!

Parker Phonics

Author and educator Stephen Parker has written three books on teaching your child to read using his “Synthetic Phonics” system, and has made all three freely available on his website in PDF ebook format. Here’s what he has to say about his background and the techniques he uses to teach children to read:

I’m a life-long teacher of mathematics, computer science, and reading. After teaching my own 3 children to read by their third birthdays, I became interested in reading instruction in general. What I discovered in many schools baffled me: a method called Whole Language (since discredited) and now, in its place, Balanced Literacy.

There is no “balance” in Balanced Literacy. Essentially, it’s Whole Language with some ineffective phonics added in after the child starts “reading” based on memorized sight words. Balanced Literacy will not alter the scandalous fact that 2 out of 3 of our children never become proficient readers. 

A word can become meaningless when people start using it to indicate anything they want. This has happened to the word “phonics” in some educational circles where one hears talk of “analytic” phonics, “analogy” phonics, “embedded” phonics, and “onset-and-rime” phonics. 

None of the above are methods for teaching reading. They all rely heavily upon memorization of sight words and on guessing strategies. Genuine phonics, that is to say, synthetic phonics, is the only type of phonics that functions as a stand-alone method for teaching both reading and spelling.

Synthetic phonics uses neither sight words nor guessing strategies. It is employed right at the start of reading instruction – and the child is not expected to memorize any whole words. Instead, the child is taught, explicitly, to correlate individual sounds with individual letters. 

As soon as 5 – 8 such letter/sound correspondences are mastered, the child can begin authentic reading, that is, taking an unknown word and blending the sounds of its individual letters into a recognizable pronunciation – a process called decoding. 

It’s the only way to teach reading in a manner that respects the reasoning ability of the child. Children, like adults, need to understand what they’re being asked to do, especially if the task requires significant effort over an extended period of time. 

CLICK HERE to go to the download page!