Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Five

Five Great Home Learning Tools
(Or, Why We Don't Spend a Ton on Curriculum)

(Note: I didn't say "homeschooling," because I believe home can be a great source of learning whether or not you're conducting your formal education there.)

1. This globe. Yes, it's on the pricey side unless you get a rockbottom deal like I did at Amazon a few months ago, but when your five year old can tell you exactly where Libya is, and your three year old can find not only Russia but also MALI, both on the globe and on the world map, you know your dollars are well spent. I mean, seriously, people. I'm not sure I knew exactly where Mali was, and I'm thirty two. At least, I didn't know until my husband and I became wicked competitive over the GeoQuiz feature on this globe.

2. Magazine subscriptions: National Geographic (great for making collages!), Ranger Rick, Highlights. Who doesn't like to get mail? I also have my eye on a subscription to some of the Cricket magazines, like Spider and Ask.

3. Dice and cards. Nope, not running a gambling parlor here, but do you know how many math games you can play with these cheapies? Thinkfun makes a good game called ThinkFun Math Dice, but even a pair of plain dice can yield plenty of game possibilities. For suggestions, I recommend the great book Games for Math.

4. Jim Weiss CD's. I know, I know, I've mentioned these before. And I don't own stock in the company, seriously. It's just that ... well ... my children know and enjoy the stories of Robin Hood, Gulliver's Travels, the Three Musketeers, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sherlock Holmes, etc. etc. etc. as a result of Mr. Weiss's storytelling, which I think will make the classics all the less daunting to them when they're older.

5. Nature guides, like Stokes Butterfly Book. Great for identifying those caterpillars you find all over one particular garden plant, or the snail the young 'uns dig up, or the birds that steal your chickens' feed and build nests under the eaves. Makes Mom look pretty smart, too. And we like that.


Jenny said...

The math dice are awesome...I use ones like them all the time in my classroom. One of my favorites to make learning timestables easier...roll two of the 12 sided ones and you have to say the product of whichever 2 numbers you roll.

Now I need to go look up where Mali is...

Naomi said...

Wow, I didn't realize we're so close in age!

Vanessa said...

I like your Friday Five posts. I think it is time to buy a Jim Weiss c.d. Now that I got a minivan, it's time turn up my parenting a notch. A mini van doesn't seem complete without a story c.d.

I love those globes by the way!!!! Whenever I would walk into the Discovery store, I always found myself in front of those globes testing my geography skills. Sad to say, I don't remember where Mali is. I have always wanted to own one of those.

Can I come over and play math games with you all????

Libby Schleichert said...

Thanks for the Ranger Rick shout-out!
We who toil in the trenches at the magazine really appreciate Moms like you who give us this kind of support.

Let us know how we can improve!

Warmest regards to you and your family,
Libby Schleichert, Senior Editor
Ranger Rick Magazine
National Wildlife Federation
Reston, VA