Now Available! The 50 States Notebooking Unit

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Notebooking can be a valuable tool for your homeschool program. But just what is notebooking exactly? Essentially, notebooking is the process of gathering written notes, facts, answers images, and other educational items in a single location—usually a notebook, though you might use a binder or a folder instead.

The purpose of gathering these things together is two-fold. One is to reinforce learned information, making it easier for your child to retain and recall facts, and another is to keep a record of the knowledge your child has absorbed. Both are important purposes, and homeschooled children (as well as their parents) often feel a sense of accomplishment when looking back at their notebook pages and seeing all they’ve explored.

Above all, notebooking is fun. For many, it feels like building a collection, except you and your child are collecting knowledge rather than coins or bottle caps!

Our “Learning the United States of America” notebooking pages can easily fit with your current curriculum, providing a fun, easy way for your child to record the facts he or she has learned. However, you do not need a separate curriculum to use these notebook pages. They can also act as a standalone, complete unit study, and you and your child can use Internet research and/or the library to gather the facts to record on each notebook page. No matter how you choose to use our notebook pages, they are sure to become an integral part of your homeschool program.

There are two versions available, full color or coloring book style. Get your by clicking the appropriate button below!

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Christmas Around the World Unit Study

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This Christmas Around the World Unit Study is a fun way to incorporate learning and your child’s natural curiosity into the holiday season.

Theme units are one of the most flexible and versatile home school tools; they can be used to supplement your current curriculum or you can complete a series of units over the year and cover the majority of school subjects. They are fun, hands-on and completely customizable too!

Unit studies allow you to cover a range of subjects based on a single theme, such as a particular holiday, boats, reptiles or anything else of interest to your child.

Included in this unit are links to learn about Christmas traditions from around the world. To help reinforce the learning, your child can create a notebook and journal his or her experiences. We’ve included a passport cover and airline tickets for your child to cut, color and paste (or tape) on the cover or first few pages of his or her notebook.

We’ve also included themed, lined notebooking pages (there’s two versions for each country; one with room for a picture and one with more room to write). You can print and use these pages for your child’s notebook, or use plain notebook paper, if you want to save on printer ink costs.

Created specifically with homeschoolers in mind, this unit study can be completed independently or with different ages learning together.

Christmas Around the World Unit Study

Click the arrows in the widget below to get a preview of what’s inside.

This Christmas Around the World Unit Study is only $2 but only for a very short time. Get it now before it goes up to the full price of $5!!!!

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10 Homeschool Science Experiments for December

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With so many holidays in December, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of getting things done! It’s also a great time to encourage curiosity in children by exploring the science behind some of our favorite things!

10 Holiday Science Experiments

These 10 holiday science experiments are sure to bring the joy of exploration and discovery into your lesson plans. These holiday science experiments cover the most popular December holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year!

Jumping Tinsel Christmas Static Electricity Science Experiment

Ok, don’t hate me for this one. Just thinking about tinsel makes me pull out my vacuum cleaner too, but you’re going to be cleaning it up one way or another. You might as well put it to good use and teach the kids about static electricity.


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Free Thanksgiving Unit Study Guide

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This free Thanksgiving Unit Study guide contains some of the best resources for putting together your own theme unit to use in your homeschool. Ok, not just “some.” There’s actually nearly 100 resources … and they are all FREE!

Free Thanksgiving Unit Study Guide

In this guide you will find ideas and resources covering a range of topics including:

  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Fine Motor & Cognitive Thinking Skills
  • Crafts & Hands-On Activities
  • Recipes
  • Complete Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Each of these resources are completely free!

To create your unit, simply browse through each of the categories, select as many (or as few) as you want to use and decide what order you will use each resource. You may want to complete one item from each category each day, or one item a day.

Grab your Free Thanksgiving Unit Study Guide below. That’s it!  No strings, no catch!


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Let’s Learn About Canada Theme Unit for Homeschoolers

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If you’ve been following Modern Homeschool Family for any length of time, you know that we just love theme units! If you’re a new reader, be sure to search for “theme unit” in that handy search box above for a treasure trove ideas!

Today, we’re proud to announce a new theme unit for our readers!

Let’s Learn About Canada Theme Unit for Homeschoolers

The “Let’s Learn About Canada” Theme Unit is 63 pages long and takes students through learning about Canada through reading, internet activity, hands-on activity, worksheets and more.

This is an exciting and powerful learning tool foryour child. We’ve included a variety of materials so you can customize this unit towards the reading and ability level of your child. For older students, be sure to have them explore the links included for additional reading!

This theme unit for homeschoolers will be priced competitively at $5 for an instant-access download but for a short period of time, we’re offering for only $2! Less than a cup of coffee for a 63-page theme unit!

Just click any of the images below to get instant-access to the “Let’s Learn About Canada Theme Unit for Homeschoolers”:






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Fun Activities for Teaching Children to Tell Time

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“What time is it?” It’s a question you will hear many times a week. In life, time is of the essence, and so it’s important to know how to tell time. So, since it’s very important, now the question is, “How can I teach my child to tell time?”

There are a couple of things to consider before beginning to teach your child time concepts. Firstly, are they old enough? Children can start learning this concept at a very early age, but the best time seems to be between three and six years of age, your preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders. Also, should you use a digital or analog (hands) clock? The answer is both, since the child will encounter both throughout their lives. But you’d be best served to start with analog to get the visual concept home, especially for those children just learning to read.

Obviously, the first step in teaching time is the first step in teaching anything to a child: Make it fun! The message won’t sink in by just telling them, ìThis long hand is for minutes, and that shorter hand is for hours,î or, ìLook, the clock says 6:45.î You might as well be saying it in Ancient Greek.

So, you reach them through fun, but how? A few suggestions:

4 Fun Activities for Teaching Children to Tell Time

Make a Clock

Children love to create with their hands. You can harness this to teach time by helping them make their own clock. Cut a circle of cardboard for the base, then on a piece of construction paper, have the child trace the circle on to the paper, glue it to the cardboard, then number it like a clock. Make the two hands out of two different sizes and colors to reinforce the difference between hour hand and minute hand. Using a brass brad, attach the hands through the middle of the clock and fan the arms out on the bottom to hold it in place.

Teach Through Song

Find a song that talks about time, such as oldies classic “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. Have the child repeat to you what happens at each hour in the song. Or, help the child create a song of their own. Not only will it help them remember the concept strongly (children, like all of us, have a great memory for songs and lyrics), it will give them yet another bond with you, something even more valuable.

Create a Schedule

There’s certain things that your child does at certain times throughout the day, like bedtime, schooltime, when a favorite television show is on, mealtimes, and so on. Here is a perfect opportunity to teach time. Use our free printable daily homeschool planner for kids to plot out a schedule. Throughout the day, look at the nearest clock to you and tell them, “Look, it’s 3:30,” (if it’s an analog clock) “The big hand is at three, the little hand is at six, and that means it’s 3:30, it’s time for Pokemon Go!” When it’s dinner time, again, point out the time. Do this consistently to keep the memory fresh in their minds.

Take a Trip

Do you live near a church that rings the bells on the hour? Or know someone with an old grandfather clock or one with electronic chimes? Go see it. The sound will stay in their memories, especially if its a beautfiul sound from a piece of art like a bell tower or grandfather clock. And if there’s not one near you? You’re sitting in front of the answer now, as there’s countless ways to see and hear clocks, like Big Ben in London, over the Internet.

And your imagination can provide many more. There’s hundreds of ways to do it, and they’re all fun to do. They’ll teach your child time, and that quality time is important, too!


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Free Sea Turtles Lesson Plan

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This is a homemade Sea Turtles picture book project, designed with homeschoolers in mind. It’s fun, relaxing, and is a great way to assist children in learning about one of our planet’s most fascinating endangered species.

Free Sea Turtles Lesson Plan

Materials Needed

• Plenty of standard-size notepaper or plain white paper
• 2 sheets standard-size card stock
• Internet access
• Reference books
• Pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, etc.

Time Needed

Approximately one full school day for younger students. One half-day for older students. This project can be spaced out according to your child’s attention span and your family’s homeschooling needs.

Getting Started

You will need plenty of room and a clean surface to spread papers on, preferably with visual aids within easy reach and viewing. To start, have your child write down the common names of the turtles (Advanced students of 13+ years might also like to write the Latin classifying names), leaving plenty of room for drawings of the turtles, diagrams, and interesting facts he wishes to add the more he learns. Ideally, each turtle should have a page to itself.


Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
The leatherback turtle is the largest non-extinct marine turtle known. It is called the leatherback because unlike other turtles its top shell, or carapace, is flexible and leather-like rather than hard.

Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
The hawksbill turtle is so named because the hooked shape of its upper jaw, or mandible, resembles that of a hawk’s beak. The hawksbill prefers warm waters and is often found around coral reefs.

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
The green turtle is not usually green on the outside, although it can range in color from tortoiseshell to olive-brown. It is called a “green” turtle because its fat is green. The green sea turtle is more rounded in shape than its fellow sea turtles.

Black Turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizi)
The black turtle is quite dark if not black as its name suggests. The shape of its carapace is more angled, with the sides sharply sloping down to the edge. However, it only has a slight keel (a ridge down the center of the carapace that aids balance).

Flatback Turtle (Natator depressa)
Almost always found near North or Northeast Australia, the flatback turtle resembles the green turtle except for the flattened shape of its carapace. It is gray to brown in color.

Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta)
The loggerhead turtle has a large beak and a broad head. It is tan to light brown in color, but can appear greenish because its carapace is often covered with barnacles. Because its beak is so large, the loggerhead is able to eat mollusks, echinoderms and crustaceans.

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
The Kemp’s Ridley turtle’s carapace is heart-shaped and greenish gray. The Kemp’s Ridley turtle is rare, breeding in the Gulf of Mexico drifting to colder areas of the Atlantic Ocean as far north as Northwestern Europe. The Kemp’s Ridley is small, growing to about 2 feet in length.

Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)
The Olive Ridley Turtle is similar to the Kemp’s Ridley turtle except that it is olive colored rather than grayish green. It nests in Central America and on the coastline of East India.


For some students, drawing the sea turtles is the best part of the lesson. Other students prefer to get straight to the studying and diagramming. Using the student’s drawings or printouts, and referring to your books and the Internet, have your child draw an arrow to each part of the turtle’s anatomy, labeling the parts as so:

carapace: the turtle’s top shell
plastron: the turtle’s bottom shell
flipper: the turtle’s “arms” used for swimming and digging
scutes: bony plates that make up the turtle’s shell
bridge: the part of the shell that holds the carapace and plastron together
prefrontal scales: scales on the turtle’s head, between its eyes
keel: a ridge down the center of the carapace, aiding balance
tail: the turtle’s tail

Older students might like to label the following parts:

Specific Scutes of the Carapace: nuchal, neural/vertebral/central, marginal, pygal, supracaudal
Specific Scutes of the Plastron: epiplastron, entoplastron, hyoplastron, hypoplastron
post orbital scales: scales located around the turtle’s eyes
inframarginal scutes: the scales of the bridge


The student should now provide lines upon which she can answer some questions about each turtle species. Here are some examples of questions you might ask, depending on your child’s grade level. (You might need an additional sheet of paper for this part of the lesson if the turtle drawing is large.)

1. How big does this turtle get?
Parent: Sea turtles vary in size from relatively small (2-3 feet, 100 pounds for the Ridley) to very large (6.5 feet, 1400 pounds for the leatherback).

2. Where does the species lay her eggs?
Parent: Sea turtles lay their eggs on sandy beaches and then return to the ocean, leaving the young behind to hatch on their own. Have your child identify where each species breeds.

3. What does this sea turtle eat when young? What does this sea turtle eat when mature?
Parent: Some sea turtles are carnivorous (meat-eating) when young, and later go on to eat only plant life. Some continue as carnivores. See if your child can find out what each species eats at each phase of its life.

4. Where does this turtle migrate?
Parent: Using the Internet and reference books as a guide, see if your child can locate migratory patterns for each species. Older students might like to include maps as part of their research.

5. How many are left?
Parent: All sea turtles are endangered species and are thus protected under the Endangered Species Act. See if your child can get an estimate of how many sea turtles are left of each species.


When your child has finished the pages of his/her book, put the pages in order and number them. Add a piece of card stock for the front cover and one for the back. Punch holes with a paper hole puncher and bind the book by feeding floss or string through the holes and tying them off. Have your child illustrate the cover and sign his/her work. The book can be untied and new pages added if your child wishes.

Internet Resources for Learning About Sea Turtles

Ducksters: Easy to read general information and facts about sea turtles

National Geographic Kids: Information about the green sea turtle

Smithsonian Ocean: Facts and pictures about seven different sea turtles

Sea Turtle World: In depth information about seven different sea turtles

Sea Turtle Conservatory: Sea turtle identificaiton key

Echanted Learning: Loggerhead sea turtle printable

Save the Turtles: Sea turtle vocabulary

First Palette: Sea turtle coloring pages 10 printable activity and worksheets about sea turtles


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How to Teach Perfect Writing

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With the rapid expansion of the Internet, it is clear that the quality of English writing—both American and British—has taken a dive for the worst. “Netspeak” is obtrusively taking over most electronic communications, making good writing practices increasingly scarce. With such a strong influence the Internet has over the world today, it is no wonder it’s a struggle to help our children make good writing a habit. Even the most intelligent and successful business leaders seem small and insignificant when they distribute e-mails full of spelling errors and non-capitalized sentences. It’s more vital than ever to teach our children to write well before they are released into a relentless and competitive world.

The best way to learn to write is to practice. People learn best by making mistakes and correcting them for themselves. The following method of teaching writing enforces that very concept. It will work for established writers who need to polish their skills, and it will work for the struggling student too. Whether you are working with just one child at home or in a co-op class, you can teach anyone to be a better writer with a little patience and a lot of persistence.

With this writing technique, you will act as an editor. You will give out the assignment, give your child the freedom to write in his or her own style, edit the work, and return the work to your budding writer for revisions. You will edit the revisions, return the work, and await another revision. This will go on, back and forth, until the writing is flawless. Be consistent and unyielding in your editing process, and soon you will have a perfect writer (or a class full of perfect writers) on your hands.

How to Teach Perfect Writing Skills

Step One: Assign the Writing Task

Have your child write something at least a page long—a story, a biography, a TV review, or a book report. For more advanced writers, assign a research paper or longer story. For children who hate to write, don’t pressure them into writing something massive, just whatever comes to mind. If it’s only two paragraphs, that’s still a good start. Depending on your child’s skill, this may be the only assignment he or she gets for the entire school year. But it will last the entire school year. Explain that they will revise their writing assignments over and over until they are perfect, even if it takes all year. They need to understand this ongoing process or they might feel like each edit is a rejection.

Step Two: Assign a Deadline for the First Draft

For the first draft, one week should be enough. Be warned, if you have a child that hates writing, he might hand in nothing or just a sentence. Do not be discouraged by this. Chances are, the child is self-conscious about his or her writing and is reluctant to show you. If this happens, start asking questions until you find something he or she is interested in. That will be the topic you will assign. If they are still reluctant, have them start with one paragraph. Accept that paragraph as the first draft with the intention of building it up.

Step Three: Mark It Up

Edit your child’s paper meticulously, using red pen or, if the paper was submitted electronically, the word processor’s markup feature. For every markup, however, you must include an explanation. If the error lies with subject/verb agreement, for example, explain what that means or refer the student to a page in his or her grammar book. Mark every missing punctuation and cross out unnecessary capital letters.

Step Four: Be the Editor

In addition to simply proofreading a paper, offer suggestions to your writer. Ask your child to write more details about a specific subject. Request more adjectives or less repetition of the same words. Ask questions in your editing to prompt the student to clarify. Return the paper to the student to revise.

Step Five: Set Another Deadline

In this step, have your child work on his or her revisions while you are available, in case they have any questions. You don’t need to hover and watch them work. In fact, this might make your child more nervous. Just be close by.

Step Six: Editing with Praise

In this next edit, be sure to note how well the writing is coming along. Comments like “Did that really happen?” or “That’s funny!” will go a long way to boost your child’s confidence. Make more suggestions to improve the readability of the piece.

Step Seven: Don’t Give Up

After three revisions, you might be tempted to say, “This is good enough.” But remember that you are not looking for “good enough.” You are looking for perfect. You might get some eye rolls or complaints, but you are doing the best thing in the world for them. Don’t give up now. Mark it up, send it back, set another deadline.

Step Eight: Get Picky

Your child has done everything you’ve asked. It is time to nitpick, to find the most common and almost unnoticeable errors. Find errors that adults or even businesses commonly make. Make sure the paper has a good introduction and a satisfying conclusion. Make sure the title is catchy and the student’s name and headings are exactly as instructed. What about content? Is the story interesting enough?

Step Nine: Have the Student Read Aloud

When you think all the revisions are complete, have your child read his or her paper out loud in front of you. You can even record the reading so your child can watch it later. Make notes where the student stammers or hesitates. This might indicate a section where the sentence flow is poor. Your critique of their readings will mark the final edit of the piece.

Step Ten: Finalize and Congratulate

After your child has read his paper aloud, have him make last minute revisions based on your critique and hand in the final copy. By this time, every paper, whether it is one page or twenty, should be nearly professional in quality. Congratulate each your student, and congratulate yourself.

This hands on method of teaching students to write will stay with them throughout each of their lives. Each time they read a business letter or log onto the Internet, they will subconsciously mimic you in picking out mistakes.

Writing is a skill that takes practice. But that practice sometimes needs a little guidance. If you guide your students through one single writing assignment and stay with them from beginning to end, you will be giving them the gift of a lifetime.


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Now Available: From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Theme Unit

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When homeschooling multiple grade levels, theme units can be a real life saver. Even if you’re not homeschooling more than one child at a time, theme units are a really fun to use! Rather than students learning subjects individually, they learn about math, science, art, history and, of course, language arts, based on a particular topic or theme.

Theme units formed the basis of much of our homeschool curriculum, even in high school! I purchased some of them, but for the most part, I made my own. My favorite type of unit study (or theme unit) is based on literature. It’s such a delight to watch children learn a variety of different subjects while enjoying a great book.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was certainly one of our favorite books and one of our favorite unit studies. There’s just so much to explore in this book!

For those of you not familiar with it, here’s the description from Amazon:

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.
Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

Can’t you just imagine the possibilities?!?!?

This is such a delightful book and packed full of extended learning opportunities. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to let you know that we here at Modern Homeschool Family have published our very first full-length literature unit study based on this book!

This unit study covers practical math, mapping skills, history, language and, of course, art! It’s hands-on and easily used with multiple ages!

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s inside:

Basil E Franweiler Theme Unit_Page_02

Basil E Franweiler Theme Unit_Page_05


Basil E Franweiler Theme Unit_Page_13

This 16-page unit study based on the classic story, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is sure to liven up your curriculum!

Since this is our first published unit study, I’m offering it to you, our faithful readers and homeschool friends for just a fraction of what you’d normally pay. If you want to get this unit study, just click the link below! If you like it, please let me know and we’ll create more for you to enjoy!

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Black History Month Ideas for Homeschoolers

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Black History Month is celebrated every February across the United States. Modern Black history typically begins with the 1800s and continues through to the present day. There are many different ways you can incorporate learning about Black History in your homeschool lesson plans. The story of the African-American population can best be understood through the events, icons and places that have helped to shape their culture.

This month-long celebration of African-American history is a great way to explore cultural diversity and provide opportunities for your children to exercise their creativity.

Here are several ideas for celebrating Black History Month for homeschoolers.

Pivotal Moments Timeline

With your children, draw a time line of important dates in Black history, like the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the beginning of Black History Month in 1970. Key events like the Washington, D.C., march of 1963, and the subsequent “I Have A Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are also pivotal moments. Encourage your children to decorate the timeline with original artwork of their own.

Difference Makers

Another approach to Black history month is to feature key individuals in Black history. Have your children make a poster called “Difference Makers” and give short biographies on these legendary figures. Certain advancements in Black history were made by the sacrifices and accomplishments of brave individuals like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln.

Your children can can also create superhero biographies to highlight inventions and products created by prominent African-Americans. The scientist Benjamin Banneker is credited with America’s first clock, Henry Brown built the first fire safe and George Washington Carver is the creator of more than 300 peanut products. Have your children use a combination of images and texts to make a superhero style biography page for these individuals and their contributions.

Toward the end of the month, your students can design their own Black History Month superhero team and make comic book pages to describe their exploits.

Historical Sites

Black History Month can be further studied by exploring the places and locations which hold significance to the African American plight for equality and freedom. To highlight these focal points in history, make three-dimensional models of these buildings that catch the eye and invite further exploration. For example, the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York has hosted performances from some of the greatest African-American singers such as Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Have your students research the unique structure and architecture of the Apollo Theater. Then, make cut-out versions of the theater. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have any of these places within driving distance, be sure to take a field trip!

African-American history is complex, nuanced and punctuated with hardships that can prove challenging to even the best educators. The goal of Black History Month is to create a lasting impression about the contributions of African-Americans to society. It’s not just for February! Encourage your children to embrace Black History month through their creativity and imagination.

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