Newsletter - Fuel the Fire Issue #91 - April 2017
Free homeschooling ideas newsletter from Issue 91

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

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Thanks for joining me today, and enjoy this issue!

In this Issue

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

April Already!

Wow, really? April already? Is it just me or is time speeding up?

Maybe it is just that we had a really busy March. Lots of climbing and orienteering - and planning new stuff for the website :)

But today, I have been sitting in the Spring sunshine and collecting together a bunch of ideas you can use this month. 


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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.

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Fuel the Fire in April

Fantasy Map Making

I got an email from Lisa asking how her son could make fantasy maps. Apparently he is a big Rick Riordan fan and wants to make maps of mythical lands of his own invention.

This is something my daughter does a lot - she writes fantasy novels and uses them in her writing.

Fantasy Map Making - Homeschooling-Ideas

I found a list of map making software here which includes some free versions.

My daughter uses this one which is not free, but has a free trial. My son uses it too, for designing worlds for his computer game development.

My thanks to Lisa for a great question. She says that this link is good for getting started thinking about how to draw the map.

And don't forget - if you want to print it onto aged paper, I have some instructions on how to do that here.

Encourage Writing with Books

Would you like your children to write more?

There are some wonderful books that will help your encourage your children to write :)

Take a look at these wonderful book ideas and get your children writing!

Books to encourage kids to write from homeschooling-ideas

100th Day

Monday, April the 10th in the 100th day of the year! 

Why not celebrate with my 100th day activities.

I have got ideas for activities you can try on this page

There is a mix of things, so there should be something for everyone.

A Pile of Printables

I like to take a stack of fun printables with us when we go on a road trip.  

Even though they are older now, I still like to have something with me. They are great to bring out when the children are beginning to get bored, or impatient! 

I know everyone has phones and ipods these days - but there is something satisfying about a paper based puzzle. And they make a nice change.

I have collected together our favorites here.

Free Homeschool Printables

Children and Chess

My two have started playing chess again!

That got me interested in chess websites and I found this great one Kids Chess site.

Lots of games to play for practice. The only area you don't have access to is the videos (which is a shame).

Now, if only I could get them to play quietly!!

Raise a Frog

We have now got Frog Spawn in our pond in the UK. So if you fancy raising frogs with the children, now may be a good time to go looking for frog spawn.

Look for frog spawn in reeds or near the bank of slow flowing rivers or ponds. Frogs lay spawn in clumps, toads in a string, and singly laid spawn belong to newts. Note that some newts are protected in the UK and you are not allowed to move their spawn - we usually leave the singles alone!

It is usually difficult to separate frog spawn - we usually bring home a big clump with lots of extra water and a little piece of nearby plants. We put them in a large aquarium with lots of stones piled in one corner so they don't drown as they turn into frogs. When the spawn has hatched, we take most of the tadpoles back to the river, and keep a few to develop.

Tadpoles will eat pieces of bread, boiled lettuce and pondweed - or each other if they get hungry! We usually release them once they start hopping around!!

Watching tadpoles develop into frogs tells children so much more about life cycles than a book ever could.

You know you're a homeschooler when....

National Poetry Month

Did you know that April was national poetry month? I thought it would be fun to find a poem idea for you.

Poet Austin Kleon starts his poems with a newspaper.

Austin takes a newspaper and blacks out a lot of the words - leaving some words to form his poem. You can see some of his poems, and share your own here.

I hope you enjoy this unusual idea and give it a try. To help you get started I have added a page with three ways to use found poetry.

Reading Poems Aloud

And while we are on the subject, did you  know that there are books designed for reading poetry aloud by more than one person. We have the first one, Big Talk, which is designed for four voices. Really fun to do but you need confident readers (or kids with good memories!).


You know I always like to bring you geography project ideas and this one is a fun activity to do.

After a discussion about how 'spied on' we are these days, the children got interested in what webscams were local to us.

Could we actually be seen in a webcam by someone we knew?

We found a camera at the coast not too far away (this one) and off we went. 

With my husband primed at the office, and mobile phone in hand, we set ourselves up in front of it and waited. Result!! Daddy could see us! 

If we had had a more up to date phone at the time then I guess we could have even set it up so we could see ourselves! 

Why not try it yourself?

Google 'webcam' and your local area to find out where they might be situated. But do check it is switched on and working before you travel to the site :)

Make a Town Guilde

As we seem to have a geography theme going this month :) I know I have posted this before, but it makes such a great geography project.

Make a guide book about your town, city or village. Details here.

Games to Play

  • Nevermore 1 is a gentle adventure game. Use your arrow keys to move, and your space bar to jump. (Note: Nevermore3 did have some slight swearing in it, but we didn't spot any in this earlier game).
  • Puzzle Loop. Clever logic game - Worth reading the instructions before you begin!
  • Open Doors I thought this was quite hard but it gets you thinking!

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

Be sure to look out for the next issue on 6th May 2017. 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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