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November 14, 2014

Holiday Fun – Our Gift to You




Want some handy holiday information/printables/science experiments/crafts and more, covering the holidays of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve?

We have them!

FUN educational materials for the holidays you celebrate—and for those you might want to learn about. Of course, there’s a lot of extra winter fun sprinkled in!

It’s our holiday gift to you. And it’s our thank you for coming to during the year—making us one of your go-to homeschooling sites.

We appreciate you SO much!

Click Here for Holiday Fun!


Click Here for our NEW Holiday eMagazine


Click Here for our Annual Gift Guide


November 13, 2014

Lesson Planet Product Review

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , — dailynews @ 4:00 am



Find the right lesson plan fast—save time and discover inspiring curriculum.

What a great resource! Lesson Planet scours the web to find top quality pre-K—12th grade lesson plans, videos, presentations, activities, apps, worksheets, and more. Then their staff rates and reviews every single resource, and categorizes every resource so you can find exactly what you need. Lesson Planet categorizes by grade, and subject matter (Health, Language Arts, Languages, Math, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Special Education, Visual and Performing Arts), and also by CC or state standards—as homeschoolers, you can ignore the CC categories if you’d like.

When you want to find a compelling lesson and/or get some new ideas, you can just log in to the website, search for exactly what you need, choose by rating if you’d like–and find the information you need very quickly. And it’s easy to save your selected search results—which is another nice feature.

There are over 400,000+ teacher-reviewed curriculum resources! Plus, a forum. Plus professional development videos. So much inspiration in one place!

Lesson Planet offers a free 10-day trial, so you can check it out and see if it’s something you can use in your homeschooling.

Just one question–What will you do with all the time you save?

And have you seen’s  Holiday eMagazine?  Two of the articles are from!

November 12, 2014

Holiday Education = Holiday Fun

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , , — dailynews @ 11:05 pm


Mini-slider-issue-8’s newest e-magazine offers articles about the holidays you celebrate, as well as the holidays you might want to teach your children about. These include Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. We’ve even added a little information about the Winter Solstice – as winter fun (think candles, warm fires, snowmen, sleigh rides, etc.) are an integral part of the holiday season.

Specifically, our holiday articles include:

Thanksgiving Lessons and Activities
Googling for Thanksgiving Fun
The Holidays – Unique Opportunities for Family Education
The Many Holidays of December
Special Needs Kids and the Holidays
Presents for Your Homeschool
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights
25 Christmas Activities for Kids
Catch the Christmas Season with a Color Wheel
Christmas Music Lesson Plans
You’ve Probably Heard of it. What is Kwanzaa?
New Year’s Even Countdown Bags’s 2014 Gift Guide

And guess what? In addition to this holiday resource,’s Holiday Fun Event will start on Friday. During the event, we’ll be offering general holiday information, educational holiday activities, holiday printables, recipes, winter science experiments, and so much more – even free trials, subscriptions, etc. It’s our holiday gift to you.

November 11, 2014 – Free Resource

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 12:21 pm



BibleFluency-1 offers a fun and creative way to learn the Bible—and it’s free of charge (but you can give a donation if you are so inclined).

The fluency program employs high-quality music, flashcards, workbooks, small group activities, and more to teach students the overarching story of the Bible. It does so by studying the Bible’s 400 most important events, characters, and themes. You can browse the site, listen to the songs, skim the study worksheets, and try out the flashcards. Then when you are ready to start learning, you can download whatever you need. Easy peasy. Convenient. And again, free of charge.

If you are using this material as part of your home schooling curriculum, the site recommends that you wait until your child is in middle school to start – and then take the course at the same time yourself—better yet, make it a family course! The two classes together (Old Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks and New Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks) can fulfill a home education requirement for one year of Bible education. The parent/teacher just needs to follow the teaching curriculum found under the tab “lead a class”.

If you have the funds available, the website recommends that you purchase the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit from Weaver Book Company to make the learning experience more enriching (it’s just $50—so you do receive a lot for your money). The items can be used over and over again—for each child in your family, or as a yearly update. As a package, they’re certainly attractive.

This program will help your student grasp the overall story of the Bible and how separate events, stories, and people contribute to the overall, grand story. After your child finishes the program, s/he should be able to recall that the story of Abraham is in Genesis, the “suffering servant” is described by Isaiah, the parable of the Good Samaritan is recorded in Luke—not Matthew, Mark, or John—and “faith apart from works is dead” is in the letter of James.

Do you want your child to be Bible literate? To really know the Bible—rather than learn by rote, which is really, memory without meaning? This is a fun and creative (and maybe free), way to achieve that goal

November 10, 2014

TheO™ SmartBall

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , , , — dailynews @ 4:00 am

Movement and Enhanced Learning and TheO™ SmartBall


Teachers, whether in a formal classroom or in homeschooling, all encounter the same question – how best to help the student learn.

For decades the typical way of classroom teaching has been to require students to maintain a quiet decorum during the teaching segments.  Students must remain seated, and only during the rare intervals of recess are the students allowed to move.

New studies on the brain and the body and how they relate to learning are beginning to look at this ages-old method of teaching in a new way.  It turns out that movement enhances the cognitive processes of the brain.

Some research is revealing that movement actually helps create new brain cells.

When applying a “movement for enhanced learning” concept, also known as “brain-based learning,” in a classroom of elementary-aged children, a teacher’s first concern might very well be, “But how can I maintain order and get any teaching done with a group of energetic kids running around?”

One solution is the revolutionary TheO™ SmartBall.


The developers of this “toy for learning” understand that teachers are looking for ways to enhance learning in the classroom with physical activity and engagement for the students. And that teachers, as well as parents, are also looking for ways to allow children to use technology, which they love, but in a physically active way.

Brain-based learning says that active kids learn more and retain more of what they learn. With TheO™ SmartBall, kids learn while they play.

Focusing on ages PreK-5th grade, TheO™ SmartBall is a soft foam ball that uses revolutionary technology and your smart phone to entertain kids. It combines physical activity, learning and fun into one dynamic experience.

Physical activity helps a child’s brain retain information easier, which gives kids a learning advantage in school by getting their body and their brain working together. Keeping kids moving while thinking improves focus, memory and coordination.

At the same time, kids look forward to learning with interactive games. The apps that work with TheO™ SmartBall offer a variety of games that get students engaged mentally.

Other apps keep kids just staring at a screen, but TheO™ SmartBall is entertaining and educational. Kids have fun while reinforcing their learning fundamentals.

Current apps for TheO™ SmartBall use the unique features of smart devices to bring a new level of learning as well as play. The SmartBall comes with twelve fun and free apps.

In addition, a wide variety of custom mobile app games are in development. They all take advantage of the unique features of smart devices such as acceleration/direction/motion-sensing, sound effects, music, and voice.

The SmartBall also has Bluetooth capabilities allowing it to link with additional accessories, such as Bluetooth enabled speakers.

For more information on the concept of movement enhancing learning, see Eric Jensen, author of the book Brain-Based Learning.


Author Bio – Physical Apps, LLC, a NH-based entertainment and technology company, creators of TheO™ SmartBall –  an entirely new way to experience mobile games, activities and learning.

And did you see?  TheO™ SmartBall made our 2014 Gift Guide!

November 7, 2014’s Annual Gift Guide

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 4:00 am



Have you started thinking about holiday gifts?  Are you stumped, as to what to get certain people in your life?’s Annual Gift Guide can help!  The Guide has gift suggestions for newborns to adults–with a few pet presents thrown in as well.  Really, there’s something for every member of your family!’s Annual Gift Guide-available now!

November 6, 2014’s Top Educational Gifts for 2014

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: — dailynews @ 10:10 am


Mini-slider-gift-guide’s Top Educational Gifts for 2014 has just published.

The included toys have been chosen by staff, and by our many Product Testers. Thank you everyone for all of your input! When recommendations came with an explanation, we included the explanation as well—as we realize the more information you have, the better!

We’ve organized the toys by age group. But as you can imagine, sometimes gifts don’t fall neatly into one category. A toy for 6-9 year olds, might be in the 3-8 year old category—but not in the 8-12 category—as we didn’t want to duplicate our listings. So, depending on the ages of your children, you may want to look at the toys below and above your kids’ age ranges, as well as the ones that are a perfect fit. But what fun that will be!

As you might know, every year we include one sock monkey toy. Last year, it was a nesting toy, and the year before that, it was a jack-in-the-box—this year?

Educational…age appropriate…and fun—our Gift Guide for 2014!  Click here for’s 2014 Gift Guide!

World School

World School: To Pack and Go… or Not

 world school


This is a guest blog post written by Mary Katzke – Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, & Traveler


Now that school is back in session, do you ever catch yourself wondering what it might be like to take your child out of school and travel the world?  This was a lifelong dream for me and one day, after a life-changing family tragedy,  I finally found the inspiration and courage to take the bold steps of selling our home, putting our lifelong possessions into storage, learning to homeschool, and taking off. Our adventure started with a one-way ticket from Alaska to Ireland.  Our intention was to continue traveling east until we made it back home in one school year’s time.

And we did it.

My son, Corin, was ten at the time and about to enter fifth grade. He was doing well in school and I was fairly confident I could keep him on track as opposed to later when his school work was more difficult, not to mention the inevitable teen/parent challenges! This turned out to be the perfect time to do this on so many levels. While he had friends at home, it was much easier to leave them behind than it would be now that he is almost 15. On the edge of puberty but not there yet, we could comfortably share a room. Most ticket prices including museums, some airfares and cruise ship fares go up at age 12.  Yet he was old enough to find his way back to a hotel if need be, or stay behind alone while I went out for sunrise photo pursuits.

We started our planning six months before we left by making a list of the places we wanted to see. He wanted Ireland, Venice and the Great Wall of China. I wanted to see Vietnam, Africa and China. We did switch from fifth grade curriculum to sixth grade due to the focus on world geography in sixth grade and this worked just fine. I will say homeschooling was much more challenging than public schools and he received a very good education on this trip, both academically and globally.  Perhaps I am a bit old school, but I was frustrated at how loosely grammar and spelling are managed in public school and this was his first real attention to commas, participles, dependent clauses and more. World art history was backed with seeing the actual paintings and sculptures in his books. Chemistry class proved to be impossible with all the bottles and cubes of inexplicable content at borders!

Another valuable activity we did was to write in advance to schools in our pathway offering to share an iPad presentation on Alaska in exchange for being a guest student for a day.  We were successful in six countries: Scotland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Mauritius, Thailand and China. International schools were particularly cooperative. This also allowed Corin to have some peer interaction, and sample lots of different kinds of lunches.  He experienced classes like Thai dancing and waffle making in Iceland that he would never have had the opportunity for if not for being a guest student in so many different countries.


Many people express concerns that their child may fall behind if taken out of school, but I want to reassure you that we found that 90 minutes per day of concentrated effort was all we needed to do in order to keep up. This was proven by the SBA (Standard Base Assessment) testing required by our public school district when he completely aced the exams! It probably goes without saying that there is so much more to see of the real world than what is right outside our door. I think the change to interact with adults on a daily basis also improved his social skills and confidence in noticeable ways.

So when we came back and he re-entered public schools that fall, he came home with a tinge of pout in his face.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “I got second place in the geography bee.  Second to the other kid who spent last year going around the world.”

And there you have it.  I can honestly say this was the most inspiring, impressive, life-changing and satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life and I truly hope those considering such an adventure will take the risk and go for it.


Mary Katzke, Filmmaker, Photographer, Writer, Traveler and Single Mother of Corin Katzke.

Please visit our website at and feel free to order our film about our year of “world schooling”.


Buncee, Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , , — dailynews @ 4:00 am


Buncee – Your New Favorite Creative Education App, Perfect for Thanksgiving!

This is a guest post from


Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Then you’re going to want to download our new iPad app, Buncee for Education!

This free app is an ideal mobile tool for creative education, online or offline, at home or on the go. Mirroring much of’s web creation functionalities, the app’s slide-based digital canvas lets you and your children design creative projects by combining themed backgrounds, fun stickers, frames, photos, text, and even audio recordings.

Every adult and student adds their own spark to their buncee creations, and with so much media at your fingertips, the possibilities for creation are endless. With our app, educators and their students can create digital stories, presentations, event invites and dozens of other fun, creative projects!

Here are just a few ways Buncee for Education can help add a bit of fun to your education this Thanksgiving:

Get your children excited to learn about Thanksgiving by hosting an educational field trip with friends!

buncee 1


Get those creative juices flowing with cognitive weekend activities! Have your children and students create a buncee about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions.



Ask the kids to take their friends on a Thanksgiving adventure. Challenge the students to visually illustrate a Thanksgiving tale on buncee and to narrate it with their own audio recordings. Better yet, have them leverage the app’s creative tools to author, illustrate and narrate their own digital stories.



Scrapbook the evening’s festivities with personal photos, recordings, memories, and more!



There are so many quick, fun, and easy ways that our free iPad app can help engage your kids this fall. And when you find yourself beaming with pride over your childrens’ creations, or you want to collaborate with other homeschoolers, you can easily share these buncees via email, social media, or even publish them on When you log into your web account, all your iPad creations will be stored right alongside the buncees you created on the web. Now that’s creation and presentation simplified!

With our web and mobile digital canvas, we aim to provide the best tool for you and your students to strengthen creative skills, communication skills, learn, and have fun. Along with our iPad app, we also just launched a one month free trial of our bunceeEDU Premium plan on The sky’s the limit when creating with buncee, so we hope you’ll download our free app, sign up for our free web trial and get started today!

For updates on the latest buncee news about all our web and mobile products, and our iOS apps Buncee Pro, buncee bits, and Buncee for Education, signup for our newsletter, read our blog, or follow us on social.



November 5, 2014 – Healthy Education

Filed under: Daily News,Educational Adventures — Tags: , , — dailynews @ 4:00 am




 Guest Blog Post Written by Nicole Cotroneo Jolly

When you look at the staple foods in your kitchen — maybe rice, flour, sugar, coffee (definitely, coffee!) — can you picture how any of these foods grow?

Most Americans can’t. In fact, I couldn’t. And that’s why I created “How Does it Grow?” — the first web series to tell the stories of our food from field to fork, one crop at a time. The web series is also the foundation for the first online hub for teaching agricultural literacy.

We’ve all become disconnected from our food. The convenience of supermarket shopping has enabled us to purchase our food without considering how it actually reached the grocery bins, or even how our shopping preferences influenced the way it was grown and harvested (because they do!). At the same time, the supermarket aisles have been squeezing out whole, natural produce in favor of processed and packaged foods whose ingredients we no longer recognize.

Teaching our children the principles of healthy eating has never seemed more important — but nagging them to eat their vegetables is a drag. That’s where the power of video storytelling comes in. Each episode of “How Does it Grow?” is designed to capture the imagination of its viewer — child and adult alike — and to help them fall in love with fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains.

Each episode, which is less than five minutes long, takes the viewer to a farm where the featured crop is grown. We share some basic nutritional information, and then give some historical and cultural context — for instance, did you know that since ancient times garlic was considered a source of great strength: Greek Olympians ate it before competing, and Roman soldiers ate it before battle.

Then, we follow the crop from seedling to harvest, highlighting the farming practices unique to each food. For instance, did you know that farmers have to do something special — and labor intensive to keep your cauliflower white?

At the end of each episode, we give an easy and delicious tip on how to incorporate the featured food into your diet.

The series has been designed to inspire talking points that go beyond each video and dip into other fields of study, from science to economics to civil studies. Our video about cauliflower may inspire discussions about the role that insects play beyond pollination, or the issue of food waste in America. Our mushroom video may lead to a biology lesson on organisms— what’s the difference between fungus vs bacteria, plant vs animal?

In time, we will be creating worksheets and exercises as companion curricula to each video as well as a children’s book with the A-Zs of how food grows (apples, bananas, etc).

The “How Does it Grow?” series is available on, and on the popular social video platforms, YouTube and Vimeo. As a nonprofit food education initiative, the episodes are free, and can be embedded anywhere so that you can share it on Facebook or even your own website.

New episodes are released regularly. To keep up, you’re welcome to sign up to receive automatic email alerts each time a new video comes out.



Nicole Cotroneo Jolly is a journalist, video producer and founder of How Does it Grow?, a nonprofit food education initiative rooted in agricultural literacy. Connect with Nicole and the HowGrow team at and on Twitter at @howgrow.






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