1. Funnix Beginning Reading. When Funnix offered a free download of their program in January, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it out with Esmé. I wasn’t too optimistic after realizing that Siegfried Engelmann was the senior author – he wrote Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which both Esmé and I really did not enjoy in our short test run.
I have been more than pleasantly surprised! After a little chomping at the bit in the 2nd and 3rd lessons – it was just taking TOO long to cover material she already knew – Esmé is now flying through them and ASKING to do them. It is such a gradual, gentle introduction to reading – with lots of repetition – that you hardly realize how much is being mastered until your kid exclaims, “I KNOW HOW TO READ!”
The computer-based lessons allow me to sit and assist without being the taskmaster. While they are not flashy – no computer games or movies – they have enough “fun” involved to keep Esmé’s attention, which was my biggest complaint about “that book” I mentioned earlier.
The free download is no longer available, but if you’re looking for a phonics-based gentle introduction to reading, I think the $25.00 price is very much worth it.
2. childcareland.com. I used this site a lot to introduce Esmé to worksheets. Simple, quick, and black-and-white for cheaper printing, the free daily learning sheets worked well for us. You can sign up for their email to get a link to their sheet each day.
3. OohMoon. I’m loving her “one illustration a day, free for one day, each day of the year” program. You've gotta be on the ball to download them while they're free, of course. I downloaded all her Noah’s Ark illustrations this last week. I haven’t figured out the printing and framing thing yet, but I’ve got some ideas…
4. Bob Books iPhone App. We’ve gone through the “real” Bob books (thanks to my sister’s generous hand-me-down), so this $1.99 app has been quite entertaining recently. I just wish it had more scenes!
5. Music Fun. I like the free music worksheets available here!
6. Science for Preschoolers. We love science, and I’ve been enjoying these online resources that work great for preschoolers:
- Sid the Science Kid
- Peep and the Big Wide World
- Magic School Bus (meant for olders, but Esmé likes it anyway)
I know these are givens, but I can’t imagine homeschool life without these areas of fabulous finds: the public library, secondhand stores, and the internet. My daughter asks a question like “What’s a mommy mouse called?” and I can whip out the answer, though I have not a clue. And I can quickly look up Appalachian Spring on YouTube when it pops to mind… Or look up a granola recipe, or a whole host of other things.
I guess I should mention public playgrounds, too. Another great source of free fun and learning – when the weather is absolutely gorgeous as it has been.
Back to all the other things I’m supposed to be doing… Remember - if anyone asks - I wasn't really here... :)