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Easy Science Experiments for Kids – On Sale Now!

Looking to inspire young minds when it comes to science?

Adopt the Ms. Frizzle frame of mind.

Educents Blog (6)

 

Learning about bacteria is fun, but has your family ever GROWN bacteria? Let the “professionals” show you how AMAZING it can be!

In the World of Germs kit, Magic School Bus scientists grow bacteria and fungi, test antibiotics, make a fungus bubble, grow mold, wake up fungi, cultivate bacteria in yogurt, and use yeast to inflate a balloon!

Get an exciting new Magic School Bus Science Kit delivered to your doorstep every month for a YEAR! These science experiments for kids include making clouds in a bottle, making rain, the greenhouse effect, making a thermometer, making a tornado, creating your own weather chart, and more!

Educents has the award-winning Science Kit subscription for 50% off (+ free shipping within the US)!

 

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8 Early Elementary Writing Freebies

Imani Freebie - WritingMake sure your child’s writing practice is a fun activity with meaningful themes and useful strategies. The resources included in this list of free writing activities encourages elementary kids to have fun while writing. Download one or ALL elementary writing freebies today and use for your next writing lesson!

  1. 100 Random Acts of Kindness Freebie – Students brainstorm and record 100 random acts of kindness. Could be an individual or buddy activity. Then they have a resource with tons of ways they could show kindness to others!
  2. Sight Word Practice Worksheets – These fun, interactive worksheets are a great resource for kindergarten, first grade, classroom or homeschool. Add them to your morning work, literacy centers, independent seat work, guided activities and homework!
  3. Opinion Writing: Favorite Playground Activity FREEBIE – This activity uses a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader why their favorite playground activity is the best.
  4. Ending Mark Interactive Notebook Activities – Practice ending punctuation with these interactive notebook pages! Students will practice sorting sentences, naming punctuation marks and writing the correct punctuation!
  5. Plant A Garden: Plant Parts and Needs – This PK-2 freebie is a great way to practice or assess knowledge of plant parts and plant needs with both cut and paste options and a writing component.
  6. Writing Personal Narratives: An Independent Writing Project – Your students will be able to go through the writing process of writing a personal narrative. This resources takes them through planning, drafting, editing, revising, and publishing. It has step by step instructions for you to use with your independent learners.
  7. Penguin Writing Freebie ~ Read and write about 6 species of penguins – The pages are written in an easy-to-read format making it easier for young students to study these birds and write reports. They can read the information page, record key facts on the graphic organizer and then use this information to write a research paper.
  8. Be a Proofreading Detective – An Editing Activity FREEBIE – This activity will engage your writers by using detective theme and a magnifying glass to help them proofread writing pieces looking for errors in capitalization and punctuation.

What is your child’s favorite activity to practice writing?
intromarket_website

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Back to School: How to Say Goodbye Without Tears

As a stay-at-home mom, my son and I spent the first three years of his life side-by-side. To say I was worried about his transition to preschool is an understatement. My son is quite a sensitive soul and saying goodbye is often difficult for him. Some days he hugs me fifteen times before I can leave the house and continuously waves goodbye through open windows and screen doors until my car is far from view.Say Goodbye - Educents Blog

In an effort to ease my son’s anxieties (and my own), I spent a month preparing for the first day of school. I learned a lot from that first experience, but after a long summer together, I’m worried that another difficult transition might be in store this year.

How to Avoid Goodbye Tears in 7 Steps

1. Read books that focus on separation anxiety. My son enjoyed Llama Llama Misses Mama, I Love You All Day Long and The Kissing Hand. Relate these stories to your own child. Explain how your child will spend his day at school, the types of activities she may participate in and any concerns he may have about leaving mom and dad. Focus on the positive aspects and experiences of school as well as the negative emotions she may experience when saying goodbye to parents. If your child is old enough, try to get him to talk about the book and how the characters feel.

Father Hug

2. Create a goodbye ritual that you practice and repeat every time you say goodbye, not just when you drop the child off at school. Squeeze your child’s hand, put your hand up to his or her cheeks, pull their hand up to your cheek or hug a specific number of times. Find a goodbye ritual that works best for you!

3. Talk about your return and focus on when you will see your child again. Think of this as a bridge to the next time you will see them. I told my son I would be first in line at the door when class let out. Talk about the hugs you’ll give when you are reunited and what you might do when the school day is over. If you have the time plan a few extra activities for the first few days like a trip to the play ground, a special snack after school or a family bike ride. Give your child something to look forward to when you see each other again.

4. Keep the lines of communication open with your child. In a calm, quiet, safe environment, ask your child about his feelings. Do this before the first day or after the first day is over, not while you are in the middle of drop off. Ask your child if they might feel sad when you drop him off in the morning. Then wait for your child to react to this question. Be sure to provide reassurance by letting your child know you recognize his feelings. Tell him you know he is sad. Then focus on the fact that you love him and always plan to see him again.

Also see: Back to School Math Tips, Tips and Tricks for Parents During Back to SchoolBack to School Blowout Sale

5. To ease your child’s separation anxiety provide him with something physical to take to school. This could be a favorite stuffed animal, a blanket or a photograph of your family. The child can carry it throughout the day or leave it in a cubby and reach out for comfort from it when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Lunch Box Note

6. If your child will eat a snack or lunch at school, pack a special note in his lunch box. This will remind your child of your connection as the school day continues. While many children feel better moments after their parents leave, others will have trouble adjusting throughout the day. This special note will help your child feel a connection while you are separated.

7. When the first day is over, place extra emphasis on any positive aspects of the day. Did your child like his lunch, snack or the book he read at circle time? Help your child find something to look forward to the next time he returns to school.

Many of these techniques helped my son transition to school last year. I hope they continue to help him this year too.

About the All-Star Blogger

piggy_400x400

One Frugal Girl is the mother of two precious boys. She writes an anonymous blog about personal finance titled One Frugal Girl.

 

Are you ready for back to school? Educents has everything you need to get prepare for back to school on a budget! Check out the Educents Back to School Blowout Sale!

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Tips to Engage in Learning During Your Travels

Taking a road trip as a family can be loads of fun! Yes, you will have the pit stops for bathroom breaks, children fighting over tablets, forced uncomfortable sleep positions, highway construction, and plenty of other bothersome road trip occurrences. But what’s a family trip without those things?

Having a great traveling experience with the kiddos only takes a little planning.

Roadtrip Lesson - Educents Blog

 

Ask these questions prior to leaving:

  • What’s the purpose of the trip?
  • What can we do that is age appropriate for my children?
  • Is this an educational trip, leisure, or both?

Make a Plan

My family and I recently went on a road trip to Indiana, the state just west of us. We visited a few local attractions. While making the plans for our trip, I looked at the calendar and exhibit list for each attraction we planned to visit. I asked myself, “What most excites my toddlers? Which topics do I need assistance in teaching?” My daughters have recently taken an interest in outer space, particularly the moon. Whether we are in our backyard, driving in the car, or looking out of their bedroom window, they look for the location of the moon. Since we planned on visiting the children’s museum, visiting the planetarium in that museum was a must!

Our hotel’s swimming pool was located on a floor that overlooked the city. I badly wanted there to be tons of visible stars in the night sky to help reinforce the concepts that were introduced to us at the museum, but we were out of luck.

indianapolis_night_sky

Choose Your Tools

Thanks to Educents, I knew that we would soon return home and could continue discussing outer space, reinforcing what my daughters saw at the planetarium. I was able to find a useful downloadable packet on astronomy. This Spectacular Space Complete Teaching Unit offers astronomy-related lessons, experiments and activities for students of several levels. I was able to use a couple of the exercises to create a 30-minute lesson. The packet is so thorough, I will be able to use for a while.

Here are the exercises I used as learning tools:

Student Mini-Book

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The mini-book provided one sentence on each page that discussed, at an elementary level, astronomy. It also included a writing prompt at the end of the book to encourage my toddlers to think about what we learned.

Vocabulary Cards

educents_space_vocab_cards

The main concept my daughters enjoyed learning was gravity. They remembered from the planetarium show that gravity made characters “float.” I asked them to demonstrate what they remembered, and they had no problem having fun with that!

educents_no_gravity

Tips to Engage in Learning During Your Travels

  • Think about lessons you have recently taught or topics in which your children have taken an interest. Narrow them down to one or two topics.
  • Read books on the topic or allow the kids to do independent reading while en route to your destination.
  • Bring those topics to life by finding attractions that are on the way to or in the same area as your vacation destination that are focused on or have cool exhibits related to the topic. Plan a visit!
  • A great way to teach a child or student is allowing them to experience the topic. Explore all the hands-on activities the attraction offers.
  • Ask your child questions about the topic before, during and after the visit.
  • See if an employee of the attraction or locals can offer any fun facts.
  • There is always an opportunity to learn. Educational moments can be created anywhere! Be creative!

Don’t forget to check out the Spectacular Space Complete Teaching Set! Or, visit Educents for more affordable resources about space.

About the All-Star Blogger

Copy of Teri_Watters_Bio_PicTeri Watters is a married stay-at-home mom who regularly blogs at MommyWifeLife.com. She believes in keeping family at the center and is enjoying her new role as a homeschooling momma. Her ideal perfect day ends with her feet up, a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn and a tall glass of ice water with lemon.

 

 

Shop Discounted Goods for Parents on Educents

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10 Tips to Motivate a Homeschooled High Schooler

Motivating a high school student is tough. Motivating a homeschooled student is also tough! Here are 10 tips to consider when trying to get your homeschooled high school motivated!

High School Homeschool - Educents Blog

10 Tips to Motivate a Homeschooled High Schooler:

1. Give your teen more control over his or her schedule. Giving your teen independence can break down barrier for both of you. For example, one of our teens is not a morning person and gets up at 9:30, has a slow breakfast followed by an hour of free time in his room, and then gets to work. Getting him up at 8:00 a.m. was a nightmare and resulted in many unproductive hours. On the other hand, his brother likes to get up early, power through his work for the day, then have his free time.

2. Find out what your teen thinks. It may be an obvious thing to do, but it’s something we often forget. Talk with your teen. Go for a walk together or treat him to a lunch out, just with you. Ask why he is struggling: is it something in particular or just a general thing? Find out what his goals are and develop a plan to address these points together.

3. Emphasize your teen’s strengths and learning style. Create a learning environment that fosters kinesthetic, visual, or environmental skills. Or, if your child prefers, foster an environment that embraces linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence instead.

4. Break work down into smaller blocks. Nobody likes to be overwhelmed by a giant pile of assignments. Set out what needs to be done for the day, or even for the hour, and give your teen the chance experience a sense of achievement by getting everything done!

5. Be positive! If your teen is struggling, give extra praise, extra support and extra rewards. Watch her succeed.

6. Get out from behind that desk! Dance. Go camping. Go on a hike or bike ride. We all need a change of scenery from time to time, so choose something your teen enjoys and surprise him or her with it when it’s most needed!

If your teen is getting bored of working inside - take lessons outside! You can read outside in a sunny spot, pack a picnic and a book, or take writing activities to the patio.

If your teen is getting bored of working inside – take lessons outside! You can read outside in a sunny spot, pack a picnic and a book, or take writing activities to the patio.

7. Work outside of school. Get together with your teen and look for employment or volunteer opportunities. Important lessons and life skills are learned this way. It will give your teen the opportunity to mix with new people who may be able to motivate in new ways.

8. Help your teen discover his future. Arrange for your teen to talk with people in a variety of occupations. Something may spark his interest and he’ll also have the opportunity to develop a relationship with a great mentor.

9. Harness your teen’s interests. Instead of selecting specific subjects, use your teen’s interests as a basis for her learning. One of our sons loves everything about soccer, so we incorporate soccer into geography, social & cultural lessons, history, math & statistics, marketing, advertising, psychology, and practically almost anything!

10. Know your local education regulations. Where we live, there are many ‘out of school’ activities that qualify for high school graduation credits. Our middle son has earned credit for the summer camp he attended earning his Survival Instructor’s qualification. He has also earned credit through wilderness first aid courses and community service with the Air Cadets. He is a much more motivated student knowing his ‘desk work’ is only part of his curriculum.

Discover more homeschool resources for high schoolers:
  • Homeschool Planning FormsLife of Fred High School Math Books – Fred’s mathematical journey continues through high school in six titles during which he learns why you can’t divide by zero, about venn diagrams, Cramer’s rule, and more!
  • Printable Homeschool Planning Forms – Beautiful and functional evergreen homeschool planning forms. Use year after year, print as many as you need for your family.
  • Incentives For High Schoolers – These reward incentives save a lot of time correcting bad behavior, and students are able to focus more on learning.

 

About the All-Star Blogger

pattiPatti is a homeschooling mom of 5 doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos. She writes about family life, homeschooling, autism and a whole lot more on Red Headed Patti. Her greatest ambition is to drink a whole cup of tea, without interruption, while it is still hot. Want to read more from Patti? Check out 9 Tips for Homeschooling a Child with Autism

Also read: How to Homeschool Multiple Children, The Pros and Cons of Homeschoolers, and How to Do Homeschool History the Exciting Way
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Free Camp Google for Kids

Google is hosting its Camp Google for Kids for free, designed for kids aged 7 to 10. This online, 4-week educational experience includes Ocean Week, Space Week, Nature Week, and Music Week.

Camp Google is a free summer camp that gets kids learning through fun, interactive science activities and adventures. Led by experts, the activities have been designed to encourage kids to ask questions, setting them on a lifelong journey of exploration and discovery.

Click here to learn more.

Looking for other fun summer activities? These are some of our favorites:

Volcano Making Kit  Human Body  4 Nature Science Kits         Little Labs Intro to Engineering  Crystals, Rocks and Minerals Science Kit  Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel  Magic School Bus Science Club Kit  Minecraft Learn to Code

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Adorable 11-Year-Old Reviews Violin Starter Set for Kids

Kole's Review of Violin

Our friends from Free Homeschooling 101 recently ordered the Violin Starter Set for Kids. Kole, age 11, and his mom shared a video review with all of their friends.

Kole has a point – what is the difference between a fiddle and a violin? Do you know?? Leave your answer in the comments!!

Check out the Violin Starter Set for Kids – now only $99!

Perfect for beginners, this set contains everything you need to play the violin. What’s more, it includes a great teacher, the award-winning eMedia My Violin interactive Win/Mac CD-ROM. Available in three sizes so kids as young as 5 can learn to play!

Click here to see the original post on Free Homeschool 101’s Facebook page.

Big thanks to Kole for his wonderful review!!

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Summer Reading 40-Book Challenge!

Track your summer reading goals!

This summer, keep students reading to avoid the “Summer Slide,” which is learning loss that can happen if students are not engaging their minds for 3 months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, an average student loses about 2 months of grade level equivalency over the summer. However, you can combat the Summer Slide by encouraging your children to read. Here are 3 engagement strategies to get your students excited about summer reading!

1) A variety of texts. Instead of reading the same types of books all summer, your child could be reading a graphic novel one week and a biography about a “cool” scientist the next week. That’s some great variety! Offering a variety of texts also gives kids choices. Children prefer to make their own decisions instead of being told what to read. Choosing their own texts makes reading more exciting!

2) A challenge. Children love being competitive and a challenge can help students to be engaged in reading and want to read more. Just like children’s favorite sports and video games, a reading challenge will give your students something to work towards. This could be a summer reading program at a local library or even a family challenge.

3) Reading together. When you are reading together as a family, it is a lot easier for children to create habits than if they are simply reading on their own. Reading together can be encouraged in several ways.  You can read a book aloud with your children. This works especially well for younger children. If you have children at similar reading levels or an only child, you could choose one book that everyone in the family reads and have discussions about that book as a family. If your children are at a variety of reading levels, you could set aside a time each day that everyone spends reading. While everyone may be reading their own material, you are still reading together!

If you’re looking for a fun way to engage your family in summer reading, check out the Summer Reading 40 Book Challenge. This product, which can be found in my Educents storefront, addresses each of these 3 ways to promote summer reading for your family. 

Square Cover Summer

Here’s the challenge: children will need to read 40 books by the end of summer. These 40 books consist of:

  • 5 Realistic Fiction Books
  • 5 Informational Texts
  • 5 Fantasy Books
  • 3 Historical Fiction Books
  • 3 Mystery Books
  • 3 Autobiographies/Biographies
  • 2 Science Fiction Books
  • 2 Graphic Novels
  • 10 Your Choice (Any Book!)

This may sound like a lofty goal, and that’s because it is! A challenge isn’t meant to be easy. However, even if your child does not quite reach the 40 books, that is okay. The important part of the challenge is to get students reading often and selecting a variety of texts. You can modify this as needed for your child’s personal needs. This can be a fun challenge to do together as a family. This is a challenge you could even try to do with your kids- imagine that!

40 Book Tracker Image

The product includes the 40 Book Challenge Tracker, Reading Log, and 40 Book Tracker Bookmarks. Each of these come in 5 vibrant colors! That means each child can have their own color!

Reading Log Image

Students can mark off their books read and days read using stickers, check marks, or whatever you desire.

Bookmark Image

Students can also use the 40 Book Challenge bookmarks as they read and they can cross out a flip flop each time they finish a book.

Poster Image

It also includes a motivational poster you can print out to remind your students they are trying to read 40 books over the summer. You can put it somewhere where they will see it regularly!

This product addresses all 3 of the engagement strategies discussed above. It requires students to read a variety of texts of their choice. It has a challenge and structure that will get students motivated to keep reading. And last, but certainly not least, it keeps your family reading and learning together!

However you decide to get your family reading this summer, keep these three engagement principles in mind. By using these suggestions, you will help your children to not only avoid the “Summer Slide,” but to learn to love reading! So between the fun summer outings, be sure to make some time for your entire family to snuggle up with some good books!

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What’s in a Wallet?

 

fb-ad-intro-2Have you ever received a request from a teacher or school to help raise funds for a classroom project? Do you know how much time is spent creating that request?  From writing an extensive classroom profile to providing research and rationale for a project, it’s like another full-time job!  Let’s face it, teachers shouldn’t also have to be grant writers. That’s where the Teacher WalletTM by Educents comes in!

Launching Fall 2015, Teacher WalletTM enables teachers to invite friends, family, parents, and their community to fund their classrooms.  With direct deposit of funds, teachers can shop in the Educents marketplace, make their own decisions about purchases, and checkout with money deposited in their Teacher WalletTM.  Additional benefits include:educentscart

  • Customized link to share with funders
  • Personalized Teacher WalletTM funding page
  • Automatic thank you messages
  • Option to provide detailed purchase reports for funders
  • 5% credit back per purchase

Here’s a random trivia question…

spending_smallWHAT IS $1000 MORE THAN THE AVERAGE US EMPLOYEE EXPENDITURE?  It’s the dollar amount that public school teachers spend on classroom supplies and instructional materials with their own personal funds.

Teachers often have to wait over 3 months to receive reimbursement for funds and in the words of one of our local   elementary school teachers, “$200 is a lot for me to go without for one month, much less three!” And from what we have learned, $700 per year is the average dollar amount that public school teachers spend per year, not $200.  Interested in these types of statistics and similar information?  You can read more in this article from THE Journal.

Now that Educents has helped educators save over $20 million, it’s time to give teachers control over their classroom funds.  The ease of Teacher WalletTM helps teachers and community members to work together, creating well-resourced and inspired classrooms while maximizing savings.

During the month of July, teachers can sign up for Teacher WalletTM and start the 2015 school year with a $10 pre-funded account.  And, when a Teacher WalletTM request arrives in your email box, you can be sure that the teacher you’re supporting only spent the equivalent of a few mouse clicks worth of time creating that request. Teachers can spend more time teaching with the resources they need and the Teacher WalletTM team at Educents takes care of the rest!

signupforteacherwallet_button

 

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How to Make Geography Lessons Stick

How to make geography lessons stick - Educents blog

How do you teach geography? Do you spend hours creating a map, labeling, cutting and pasting? It’s so fun imagining all the ways this Mona MELisa reusable US Map can be used in the classroom or at home. All the states, capitols, and geographic information is ready for you to stick on to the map!

Here are a few geography activities to try:

  1. Playing “Name That State” with family and friends during the holidays. What better way to get the whole family together than a game for kids of all ages. Work in teams or alone to identify states and challenge seasoned family members in lightening fast rounds.
  2. Need a little direction? Use the compass to have children in the class describe where states are in relation to each other. Let your kiddos take turns directing each other around the country by using the directions on the compass. They’ll have an awesome time walking their fingers from east from west in search of the correct state– but be sure to watch out for the oceans! 
  3. Guess and reveal state capitals by peeling away the brightly colored shapes. Remembering capitals can be tricky, but the easy to peel states with state capitals hidden underneath offer up a great way to ditch the flashcards and take the learning to the walls!
  4. Keep track of where you’ve been (or where you’re going). I love this one! Use the state names to label the states where all of the students in your class have been.

What a cool tool for your geography lessons! Don’t miss out on all this time-saving geography tool, so be sure to check out the discounted Peel, Play & Learn sets on the Educents site.

Mona Melissa Peel & Play Geography Set


Looking for more ways to save on geography resources? Check out more geography deals.