Search & Win

Where has all the Creativity Gone?

According to Newsweek Magazine, creativity in America is declining.  It is a huge problem.  And the reason:  Rote memorization and standardized curriculum.  Children no longer know how to think for themselves.  They are taught that thinking out of the box means you get the answer wrong.

We are finding that to be true with our new student, Huntz.  While he is clearly a very bright boy, he gets bored very easily.  He wants to be told what to do.  And it bothers him to not be "doing school".  It will take a while until he feels comfortable and safe enough for him to figure what he wants to do.  His imagination has been effectively drummed out of him.

Jor Man, on the other hand, asked me this morning to help him with some research.  He has a theory about the Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses actually being the descendants of Noah and the flood.  This is the heart of creative intelligence - taking two things that had previously not been connected, and finding some way that they go together.  Jor Man theorizes that Cronos, and his three sons, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades were in actuality Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth.

We have been reading Genesis:  Finding Our Roots as a family each morning.  What a wonderful book!  From this we have learned much more about Noah and his family.  In addition, Jor Man has been reading D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths on his own.

Jor Man wanted to know if I would help him with finding maps of Ancient Greece and of the world.  No problem.  This is the sort of thesis that doctoral theses are written about.  And he is (according the world) in fifth grade.

Do you suppose I ought to tell him that he should stop "doing school" because it is Christmas?

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Playing games beats going to school

I'm just giddy!

New research shows that playing board, card and computer games for an hour and fifteen minutes, twice a week for eight weeks, raised IQ scores by an average of 13 points.

The kicker is, that, on average, a child's IQ is raised 12 points for a year of going to school.

Playing games twice a week is better for your IQ than going to school for a whole year!

The raise in IQ was in direct  correlation to the areas that the games were focused on. That's so cool.

"The games chosen were card games like SET, the traffic-jam puzzle Rush Hour, and Qwirkle, a cross between Dominos and Scrabble. For the Nintendo DS, they chose Picross and Big Brain Academy. There were also two games for the computer one called Azada, another called Chocolate Fix."  

We play SET, Rush Hour, Big Brain Academy and Chocolate Fix at our house.  I will have to check out the others.

Now, get off the computer and go play some games with your kids.  :)

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Free Homeschooling

Homeschooling doesn't have to cost anything.  Really.

(Although, I do recommend that every homeschool family have an HSLDA membership.  It's important to protect yourself, and your membership helps keep homeschooling legal in all 50 states.)

I absolutely adore curriculum.  It's really fun to look at and play with and plan for.  But in reality,  sometimes the kids like it.  But more often than not, we spend a whole lot of money on something that looks great, only to find that, after a day or two,  the kids are no longer keen on it, and the haranguing begins.

Cause if I've spent a lot of money on some curriculum I thought was going to be wonderful - well, then we must use it, right?

On the other hand, if I get my stuff for free, then I don't much care whether the kids love it or never want to play with it again.  I have the freedom to let them enjoy it or not.

Please be aware:  While I have personally looked at all of these websites - it is not possible for me to have looked at all of the games/links as there are literally thousands.  Please, please, never let your child access the internet without your supervision.  Computers with internet access should be in a common area, where you - the parent - will be aware of what your kids are being exposed to.  I know of several Christian, homeschooling families who trusted their kids to know what not to look at - and their kids were inadvertently exposed to, and subsequently addicted to porn.  Be careful!!

Here are some free curriculum sites (in no particular order):


Starfall:  Early primary phonics, math, silly learning games.  My kids love it.

Learning Games for Kids:  Like the name says, lots of games in all areas.  Let them choose and you sit back and watch them learn.  :)

Gamequarium:  More games for elementary school age.

Game Classroom:  Kindergarten through sixth grade games in all areas.  These games are developed to match state standards.  (Is that a good thing? - LOL!)

Arcademic Skill Builders:  More K-5 games in all areas.

ABCya!:  Lots more great games.  I like playing the one where you fit the United States in the map, one state at a time.  My high score is 320 on hard.

Fun Brain:  Reading and Math games for grade school age.

Sheppard Software:  Hundreds of educational games, activities, quizzes, articles and more!

Funschool:  Worksheets, online games, craft videos - it's got it all.  But I detest the commercials.

PBS Kids:  Games, coloring sheets, and worksheets associated with all the PBS shows.  Mostly fluff and commercialism, but some good stuff.


National Geographic Kids:  Lots of interesting things to do and see.  Plus some learning games.  Warning- definitely a site that believes in evolution and that the world is billions of years old.  If you, like me, believe in young earth and that God created humans - then you will want to be sure your kids understand that this site does not support that.

Answers in Genesis kids' section:  Fun videos, worksheets, coloring pages, crafts, etc.  Love it!

Usborne Quicklinks:  Links to educational websites galore!


A+ Math:  Math games, worksheets, flashcards.

Timez Attack!:  Teaches all the multiplication facts, 2 x 2 through 12 x 12.  Fun!!

Manga High:  Lots of math games for upper elementary and middle school students.

Cool Math:  Higher level math games, primarily for older kids (and adults).  

Sum Dog:  Math games that cover 100 numeracy topics at 10 levels.

The Math Worksheet Site:  Make up worksheets and charts based on what your kids are currently studying.


Learn2Type:  Like it says, free online typing tutor.


Spelling City:  Spelling and vocabulary for all levels.  Use their suggested lists or make your own list and convert it to word searches, games, and tests.  


Book Adventure:  This Sylvan sponsored site offers both reading suggestions for all ages, and quizzes to check for comprehension.  If your child is an independent reader, you can set up rewards for him/her to get when then read a certain number of books and score well on the tests.  Nice!!

Ambleside Online:  Book lists (some are free online and some you get at the library) and guidelines for the popular Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.  Great place to get inspired.  


Seterra:  Fun online geography practice.  Better than just a quiz - actually helps you learn the major citys,  countries, etc.

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, represented as a pyramid, most basic needs at bottom
I've been thinking a lot lately about Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  If you've ever taken any early childhood development or psychology classes, you'll remember this simple concept:  Basic needs must be met before higher needs.

Maslow theorized that physiological needs, like food, warmth, and sleep needed to be met first, and then security, and so on.

I don't know that I agree 100% with this, but it is worth thinking about, nevertheless.

The red section, safety, stands out to me.  I think this is primarily because I was bullied in school as a child.  If school is not a safe place to be, if a child needs to look out for him or herself, and cannot relax and feel safe, how can they learn?  The same can be said of home life.  If a child feels belittled, picked on, unwanted or unloved, how can they learn?

When Big Dad and I discussed becoming parents, one of the things that was most important to us was this:  That the children would know that they are wanted, loved, okay with us, and that we are glad to see them.  Please understand, this does not mean that we do not correct or discipline.  Rather, we do it from a place of love - wanting the best for them.  We are careful to build them up in love at all other times.

One of the ways this happens at our home is around sleep.  When the kids are going to bed, Big Dad spends time with them reading stories, praying and talking with them.  This is also my time to be by myself and relax.

In the mornings, we reverse it.  The kids all join me in bed for snuggles.  Big Dad is up and enjoying a quiet morning downstairs, while the kids and I are snuggling and chatting.  It is a wonderful time to connect.

We make sure to tell the kids individually that we love them, that we are glad for them.  We spend special times with each during the week, doing something they would like to do.  We value their opinions and their ideas.  All these things make for that sense of belonging and love.  And we zealously protect them from harm.  They feel safe and loved.

What do you do in your family to promote safety and love?

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We Have a New Student!!

Our family met a nine-year-old boy at Vacation Bible School this summer, and we think he's something special.  We've all been praying for him, and befriending him.  And two weeks ago, he was baptized at our church.

Knowing that his family life is challenging, and he has some special needs, we have been praying for things in his life to get better.  Imagine our surprise when we were told that he was being taking out of school (he was being bullied) and will be homeschooled from now on!!  Go God!

We have often wanted to adopt a boy Jor Man's age.  And while this is not adoption, it certainly is wonderful to have another boy around for Jor Man to play with.  I need to think of a "blog name" for him, and get permission to post pictures.

Yesterday was our first day with him homeschooling at our house.  We love having him be a part of our "school". We rearranged some of the chores, and he will be helping with the chickens, and making lunch.  (Campster, who was previously making lunch will now focus on desserts.)  We also did the List with him, and were excited to know that while he does not want to do anything with textbooks anymore, he is very interested in learning at Ulysses S. Grant (an ancestor of his) and the World Wars.  Today we will go to the library and get some books and videos on these subjects for him.

We all recognize that it will take the Love of God to help us through this transition.  And we are excited to see what God will do next.

Please do keep us all in your prayers as we figure this out.

Wish you were here!

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