Newsletter - Fuel the Fire Issue #81 - May 2016
Free homeschooling ideas newsletter from Issue 81

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Welcome to the eighty-first issue of Fuel the Fire.

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Thanks for joining me today, and enjoy this issue!

In this Issue

Merry May
The Three R's - Resources, Read-Alouds and Recommendations.
Fuel the Fire Ideas.

Merry May

Well the year is moving on and I hope you are enjoying your homeschooling so far this year.

We are busy gearing my daughter up for exams over the next month. It has been an amazingly smooth transition given how autonomous we have been until now. 

Otherwise, the weather is warming up here a little, and I am looking forward to longer sunnier days!

I have got quite a mix of stuff in the newsletter this month, so I hope you find something interesting you can try.

Resources, Read-Alouds, and Recommendations

In this section of my newsletter, I want to bring you great recommendations that I think you will enjoy in your homeschooling.

Mother's Day Gift

Need a last minute Mother's Day gift?

Why not download one of my DIY handprint prints - add your own kids handprints for a personal and meaningful gift. Available for Moms, Grandmas, Aunts and all :) At my Etsy store.

Fuel the Fire in May

Tangrams and Pentominoes

We have been playing with Tangrams and Pentominoes this month. A fun way of doing some sneaky math!

Here are some free printables to help you out.

Pentominoes daily challenge - homeschooling activities


Have you seen this Ted Talk by 13 year old Logan LaPlante?

It is about how he 'hacks' his schooling. 

I thought this was a very inspiring video. Worth watching!

Raising Butterflies

It is the time of year, in the UK at least, when caterpillars are starting to appear.

Raising butterflies is something we have done almost every year since the children were small. 

Raising butterflies for homeschool science

It is a wonderful way to introduce children to life cycles and metamorphosis. A fascinating way to do a bit of homeschooling science!

Reasons to Homeschool

Check out More Reasons to Homeschool

Math Books!

Math books doesn't have to be all about textbooks and worksheets! There are some wonderful books available that share math concepts and ideas.

I have amassed quite a few :) So I thought I would share them with you here.

Science by Email

If you have been enjoying CSIRO Science by Email, (Archives here) you will be pleased to hear that there is a now a Maths and Stats by Email newsletter.

Maths and Stats by Email

The newsletter comes every two weeks direct to your email.

The math it discusses can be pretty challenging, but the hands-on activity seems very do-able. If you would like to check it out before you sign up (for free!) then the archives are available here.

Rock Painting

Would you like an activity that spans Art, History, Geography, Science and Nature? 

Try rock painting!

Rock Painting Activities -

This rock painting page shows you not just how to paint rocks - but how to build an entire project around the activity. Look at the geology of your area and around the world. And explore the history of rock painting through the ages.

Fun for everyone.


Phylo is a kids trading card game that has been designed to teach biodiversity. 

Phylo - kids trading game

You can print free decks and there are downloads available that explain the rules for different age groups. Use the buttons at the top of the page. 

Find out more here.

Pencil Pictures

I spotted these great drawings/photos this month that I thought might inspire you.

Ben Heine Drawings

Photo with permission of Ben Heine

This is one of a series of pictures by Ben Heine - you can see more of them here (nb: one of the pictures has some slight nudity), including an interview with Ben underneath this photo.

Why not have a go yourself? If you taped thin drawing paper (so you can see through it) to a section of a printed picture, I think this would be fun to try for all ages.

Use the internet to find pictures you like, or tear them out of magazines. Send me the results - I would love to see them!

Art Downloads

Although I haven't done it for a while, I used to regularly print off 'art' and pin it to the wall - in the same way I do with educational posters.

It was a low key way of strewing. Sometimes the children asked about it - sometimes they didn't! Usually at some point they would take a look at the picture and I felt it was valuable just for that.

If you fancy trying this, then it is worth looking at the art section of the Ambleside Online curriculum. They suggest one artist a term - and give links for printing off some of the artists paintings.  

I recently thought about starting this again, but wondered about using modern artists. Then I found Feed Your Soul - a site that lets you download free artwork.

The artists are mostly young (and not well known yet!). The piece here is by Asja BoroŇ°, an artist and illustrator from Croatia. 

I thought their art might spark some interesting conversationsMy children at least seem very opinionated about what they consider art, and what they don't!

It looks as if the site hasn't posted anything new for a while, but there are still plenty there to download.

I hope the art will inspire your children (or you) in some way. 

Games to Play

More games for you to play.

  • Anatomy Arcade. Suggested by my friend V. this is a great game for learning about anatomy.
  • Stackopolis. Stack the blocks to match the artists impression.
  • Daily Set Puzzle. This is a daily problem to find 6 'sets'. You may need to scroll down a little to see the actual game. There is a learn to play button if you need help.
  • And for the younger ones - Wacky measurement. Not an online game - print off the wacky ruler and do some measuring.

Thanks so much for joining me for this issue of "Fuel the Fire".

Be sure to look out for the next issue on 6th June 2016. If you can't wait, then you can find a more regular injection of ideas on:

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  • If you have any comments or suggestions to help me improve this newsletter, I would love to hear from you!

    best wishes, Julie
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