Started a new link category in the sidebar today, which may be useful to readers here, and is particularly useful to me: my list of homeschooling links that I actually use.  Basically, I put my most-needed bookmarks on my blogs, and that way I am not dependent on any particular computer to get where I want to go.  Handy, eh?  Everyone should have a blog for just that purpose.

As always, there’s a touch of cross-over between the two blogs. Every time I think I have a handle on what belongs here and what belongs there, I get things muddied again.  One of these years I’ll get it sorted.  But for now, if it made it to the homeschooling links section, it is because I want everything I need for school in one place.  Will build as more truly useful sites come to my attention, but for today we have:

Two spots on the Math-U-See website.  We use Math-U-See and are happy with it, but I am not the sort of curriculum chauvinist who swears my program is the only one or the best one.  One of these years I’ll write a review about what I like, and what reservations others may have.  In the meantime, anyone can use the online drill page.  Check off which math facts you want to practice, and a little quiz pops up.  If you get the answer right, you move to a new question.  If you get it wrong, a pop-up window tells you so (and provides the correct answer), and then you move on.

A little trickier for users of other programs (or no program at all) is the worksheet generator.  Worksheets are organized by book (Hint: Alpha is the first book – pre-k, kindergarten or first-grade level, depending on your child), and then you choose which chapters within the book you wish to drill. The concepts are listed in the drop-down menu, so non-MUS-users can figure out how to get the desired worksheet, but it may take a little effort to get the hang of the system.  Handy: you can choose to print an answer key (convenient) or not (save paper if not required).   Also you can choose how many problems per page, according to what your child needs.  I have had sucess using the zoom/enlarge feature on my browser (Firefox) to print the pages with larger-print for my handwriting-challenged student.

I mentioned we’ve been using the Oxford Latin Course for studying Latin this year.  So far I am happy with it, though we need to make more progress before I can give a credible review.  We chose it because we can borrow it from our local public library.   Even better: there’s the free Internet Workbook, courtesy of Robert W. Cape, Jr. at Austin College. (Send this man a thank you note.)   Very handy.  Makes up for the weaknesses in the book, and obviously put together by someone who understands the reality of the semi-motivated student.  Let’s just say that hangman and word searches are much more fun than flash cards, and work as well or better.

The internet workbook is designed specifically for use with the Oxford Latin Course text.  If you are using some other program, there are a few generic links on the main page, so worth a few minutes to look if you like.  But for the most part the materials are specific to the grammar, vocabulary and history being taught by the the OLC.

Finally, had to put up a link to my workhorse of a planning tool, the World Book’s Typical Course of Study outline.  It was either that or keep having to re-google it every year.  I’m always losing the bookmark in some kind of computer overhaul in between school years.  I don’t guess there are a lot of readers who will use this as much as I do.  If you use a pre-planned program from someone else (Mother of Divine Grace, Kolbe, Seton, CHC, etc.), or assemble pre-packaged programs from various providers on a subject-by-subject basis, this site will be more a curiosity than anything.  If you are the consumate unschooler, probably better just to stay away.  But as a person who does do my own planning, and who has for a goal to stay more or less apace with the public schools, this is a useful little outline.  Just enough information to give us a the skeleton of a scope and sequence, but in a concise, very usuable format.  It is not the only curriculum-planning tool I use, but it is the one I go back to year after year, and have found it quite handy.

That’s all for now.  As with all my link categories, recommendations are welcome.  Think I’m gonna put together another category for curriculum providers one of these months.   Standard disclaimer about my highly unpredictable blog-maintenance habits.

Oh and hey, next Wednesday is Christmas Eve! Woohoo.  I guess Castle News will be kind of like your own little Christmas newsletter from us.  Since, er, it’s the only one being published this year.  Have a great week, and if you aren’t back before then, Merry Christmas.

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