May 2012

Book covers in the eBook era

As with all things digital, there is a trade-off!

Writer, publisher, and designer Craig Mod has a thoughtful essay about the situation regarding book covers on the Kindle (and other digital book platforms) and some thoughts about the future of book cover design. 
I suspect anyone who has used a Kindle for very long has noticed some awkwardness with regards to book covers. It took me a while - several books - to realize that my Kindle wasn't even showing them to me. Instead, when you click to read a book from the main menu, it shunts you right to page 1. This skips not only the cover but often a lot of preface material, table of contents, testimonials, and so forth.

Teacher Express Dollar Deals

A friend just alerted me to Scholastic's Teacher Express Dollar Deals. Scholastic is a well known company that has been in commission for over 90 years. Most of us associate Scholastic with the numerous book fairs they have. What is important is that the books the company promotes are ones that encourage and promote learning.

If you are a homeschooling mom like myself, you take advantage of all the freebies and cheap deals that come along. Learning doesn't have to be expensive if you keep your eyes and ears open for a good deal. Fortunately, Scholastic has a great deal for teachers that includes homeschooling parents. It is called Teacher Express Dollar Deals.

Homeschooling does not have to be expensive!

But I sure can see why you would think so.

I would really like to dispel the myth that homeschooling is expensive. I’ve already written a lot about the other most common myths about homeschooling, but this is one of the biggest ones that seems to turn parents off. I understand why you think it’s so expensive. I know many homeschoolers who spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on curriculum. I know because they’re constantly trying to sell them to other homeschoolers when they are finished with them. These books are excessive and often not even what the parents wanted in the first place. Plus, you can check many of them out from the library!

Let me tell you right now: you can homeschool for free. Free.

Teaching Textbooks

The first time I heard about Teaching Textbooks, I wanted to know more. One mother was considering them, but made a comment about how they are behind a grade from other textbooks. I ended up putting the research on this curriculum off until about a week ago.

I was chatting with another homeschool mother who has children in high school grades, and a few who have already graduated from high school. I asked her what she used with her high school kids for math. My daughter is entering 8th grade, and I have her textbook for that, but I was at a loss as to what I wanted to do for high school. Turns out she uses Teaching Textbooks.

Free Children's Bible Studies

As a homeschool mom who chooses to follow curriculum from a Christian perspective, I was very excited to discover Bible Study Planet. This website offers parents and children free Bible studies. You can use these Bible studies independently, or as a supplement with the Bible curriculum you are already using.

The first thing you need to do is choose a lesson from either the Old Testament or the New Testament. You can go in the order that they appear, or you can select the lesson that matches what you are already learning. You'll need access to a printer as these lessons can't be filled out online. If you don't have a printer, your local library should have one that you can use.

Civil War Unit Study

Since my daughter finished her history curriculum ahead of schedule, I decided to do a unit study with her. I choose the Civil War because I find it fascinating. I loved watching the movie Gettysburg in theaters. I may even add that movie to the end of the study.

What I love about homeschool unit studies is the availability of resources. The Internet if full of free activities, information, crafts and even quizzes. I like our unit studies to be more about learning. I don't give quizzes or tests with unit studies, although we do print out the quizzes and answer the questions. We just don't add the pressure of testing, which is a big part of the curriculum sets we use. This is just a time for fun and learning.

Easy Grammar Plus

I had remarked to a teacher friend of mine how I haven't yet found a grammar curriculum that I am completely satisfied with. She said she felt the same. The closest I have come is with the A Beka's Grammar program, but even that wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

A few days ago my youngest daughter's therapy tutor, she has Angelman Syndrome, brought me her old homeschool grammar curriculum. Her mother was done homeschooling all of her kids and thought I could use it. That night I sat down to go through both the student manual and the teacher manual and found it to be exactly what I have been longing for! The curriculum is called Easy Grammar Plus.

Tom Paine

Writer Of Revolution

I've just started reading the collected works of Tom Paine, firebrand writer of both the American and French Revolutions, and ultimately betrayed by both. Paine wrote these stirring words to help motivate Washington's troops at Valley Forge:


“These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”