Tuesday, March 17, 2020

FREE Websites for Home Learning



There are so many FREE educational websites out there for children. But sometimes it can be difficult to find ones that provide good content, and that are free with no strings or trials attached. Or ones that are free for parents, not just teachers. Today I'm sharing a list of my favorite, gimmick free, parent friendly websites that you can trust. They are all available for home use. No trials, no limitations on use, and they're all FREE! Click on each laptop to visit each one. 



I love Xtramath. This is a math fact fluency website that allows students to practice their math facts each day. You can set it up for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or mixed. It's very easy to use and I love how it progresses with my students, repeating the math facts that they get wrong until they master them.


99 Math is a new fave! It's a fun, engaging, and competitive math fluency game for students in grades 1st - 8th grade. What makes 99 Math so fun for students is that they play against other students and can even play against students across the globe in online tournaments. There are now 23 countries on the site. Students love competition and it encourages faster advancement! 


This is a great site that my students love! It is an online library with popular book titles that are read to the students by popular role-models.



Freckle, formally known as Front Row is a K-12 standards-based site that targets Math, ELA, Science, and Social Studies. This site offers so much that I cannot believe it is free! Don't be confused when you go to sign up. It looks like it's for teachers only, but you can also sign up as a parent too. Choose teacher and then parent from the "role" drop down menu and then in the bottom right hand corner select "I don't have a class."


Khan Academy is another wonderful standards-based site for K-8 where students can learn at their own pace and parents and teachers can personalize assignments. Reports are also available for free to monitor student progress. 


Sheppard Software is another site my students enjoy and is very appealing for children. They have hundreds of educational games and activities for every subject area.  


Starfall is a fun site and a great tool for children working at a KG to 3rd grade level. It features lots of basic skill activities, phonics, holiday themed activities, and lots of songs. Some activities do require a paid version, but there's an abundance of activities for free! 


Another favorite is ABCYa! ABCYa is geared for K-6 and provides a wealth of educational games in ELA and Math, as well as holiday games and strategy games that are very engaging for students.


A collection of free, easy to read books on a variety of topics. Books can be speech enabled and set up to use on touch screens, Intellikeys with overlays, or switch devices.


Learning Games for Kids is a very enticing, kid-friendly website loaded with educational games and activities for reading, phonics, spelling, math, typing, and more! 


Reading Bear is a fun and engaging site for students just learning basic phonics sounds and learning how to read. It is easy to navigate and very student-friendly. 


This is a cute site that offers games, videos, books, and songs that primarily focus on teaching children life lessons, and how to feel good about themselves. It is a great site for building character and classroom community.


Math Playground is a great and easy to navigate site for providing children in grades 1-6 math skills practice in a fun way. It is very inviting and engaging for students and another one that my students love!


This site is a lot like Sheppard Software. Kids love it! It offers tons of games, activities, coloring pages, puzzles, and themed activities for every holiday!


Fun Brain is a popular site and is geared for students in PK-8. This site offers educational videos and games in reading and math, digital books to read, and a playground students can just have fun in. You might also like Fun Brain Jr for younger children. 


This is a fabulous site and allows young adventurers to explore the world and learn how it works. They can watch videos and read all about the earth, planets, plants, animals, and more.

I hope these websites will ease your home learning. Don't forget you can click on each laptop above to be taken directly to each site. 

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Sunday, March 15, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!

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Sunday, March 1, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, February 16, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
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Sunday, February 2, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!

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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Unstructured Play is Important



Guest Post by: Andy Earle

If you’re not already familiar with the concept of unstructured play, this article may prove a valuable resource in increasing your child’s cognitive and physical capabilities. First of all, unstructured play is essentially just playing without strict rules and guidelines. The point of unstructured play, or free play, is for your child to have fun by creating their own goals and reveling in the act itself rather than be focused on completing one particular task. Here is a further look at unstructured play, along with some of its potential benefits.


Structured vs. Unstructured Play


Most games and activities we typically think of fall into the category of structured play. Board games, organized sports, and games like hide-and-seek, tag, and Simon says all follow specific rules and aim for one goal that allows a person to win. In unstructured play, there is no single goal or rules to guide what is and isn’t allowed. Playing make believe, climbing trees, and running around outside are all examples of unstructured play.

If you’re having trouble distinguishing the two, think of your child using a model airplane kit. If they follow each direction step-by-step, they are engaging in structured play. They are moving towards a specific goal by following instructions. However, if they ignore the rules and use the pieces to create something different, they are engaging in unstructured play. Unstructured play, as shown in this example, involves more creative and problem solving skills than regular, rule-based play.


Unstructured Play: The Positives


Here is a more in-depth look at the benefits of unstructured play. Unstructured play often takes place outside, giving your child the chance to interact with nature and the outside world in new and beneficial ways. Activities like running around, climbing, and doing various exercises like cartwheels and somersaults builds strength in your child’s muscles and can even expend energy more efficiently than some organized sports, like baseball and softball. Apart from developing their muscles and physical coordination, engaging in unstructured play outside will encourage curiosity within your child. They will begin to look at the world around them in new and dynamic ways, and force themselves to find new ways to answer questions and overcome obstacles they create. Without rules, they will be more intrinsically motivated in their play, and take absorb the lessons they learn more readily.

Mental Development



If your child is engaging in free play frequently then they are likely developing seriously important cognitive skills. Without rules telling them how to think and what to do, your child will be forced to look at problems from new perspectives. They will also have opportunities to be more creative in how they approach challenges, learning to think outside the box and take risks.

Your child will also learn to be more flexible in their thinking. Learning only to rely on rules and expectations can leave your child unprepared for life’s more unexpected moments. Unstructured play encourages improvisational thinking and the ability to adjust to new circumstances, which are both crucial things for your child to learn early on as they can impact teenage development.


Independence


The ultimate benefit of unstructured play is the sense of freedom it develops in your child. Continuously following rules, orders, and restrictions is not a good way for your child to develop a personality that they value and take pride in. In fact, this constant control can even lead to serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety if not addressed. The freedom to create that comes with free play will help your child discover their passions and strengths, as well as give them an outlet for showcasing them.

In conclusion, unstructured play is an invaluable resource for your child to explore and develop their full range of skills, passions, and strengths. Not only does it provide a constructive outlet for your child’s energy, but it actively develops vital characteristics of a healthy child—both physically and mentally. 

I strongly encourage you to let your child engage in unstructured play as often as possible in order to raise a child filled with creativity, leadership, and curiosity.

Author Bio: Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, January 5, 2020

SPEDtacular Sunday Freebies Link Up

Hello there! If you came looking for freebies, you've come to the right place!! New freebies are added every Sunday! And forever freebies can always be found from past link ups under "my files" on the right sidebar. 

Feel free to link up your own freebies too! Just follow the rules. 

Link Up Rules
1. All resources must be FREE! It can be free for the day, but please delete your link once you mark it back to paid.
2. You may link up 1-3 freebies.
3. Your freebie can link to your blog or store.
4. Freebie doesn't have to be "specifically" designed for special education, but should be practical for special education.
5. Share this image on your social media so more people can discover your freebies!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter