Free Homeschool Resources, Printables, and More!

Welcome to my blog! This is a collection of my own home schooling curriculum, lesson plans and worksheets used in our home school that I have created. Please feel free to download and use, but please do not direct link to the files. Please link directly to this page ... and find more at

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Free Printable Download - One Year Vocabulary Book for Homeschool Middle School!

I am most please to have just completed and uploaded a complete one-year (school year!) grab-n-go Vocabulary Book 1 for middle school homeschoolers.  You can download your free copy now at:

Your student will learn a new vocabulary word each day, that they can research online or with a dictionary, and complete a worksheet about that word, including synonyms, part of speech, root, etc... After 4 days, a cumulative review is given for the week. After every 20 lessons, a larger cumulative review is offered, and a final 5 page review can be studied for and completed at the end of the year.

This is a great and effective vocabulary course to add into your English plans! This is the new one for this year, but if I have enough interest, I'll put up last year's course as well. My son enjoyed his "Word of the Day" each morning, and had an amazing retention by the end of the year for the final review! It took only about 10-15 minutes each morning, but the results beat another course we did previously by miles, and in fact, he specifically asked to do the same style this year, hence the new Vocabulary Book 1 available on my website!  So feel free to download, and if you would like to share, please link back to

Here are some samples pics from Vocabulary Book 1, including a sample of the word of the day and the corresponding printable worksheet:

 Hope you enjoy!
- Professor Bananas

Monday, July 23, 2018

3 Best Websites for Teaching Punctuation

Punctuation ... yes, not the most exciting topic, but one that is necessary for proper writing.  If you're kid is anything like mine, there may seem to be a perpetual battle against certain punctuation marks.  It's almost as if they just get in the way of the thought stream, and should not be bothered with!
If you are looking for some more motivating resources besides bland paper worksheets, these three websites might just be the ticket to turn your home school writer into a punctuation master!

1. Punctuation Rules!

First, let me say that I found the Curriculum Pathways website by shear accident one day, and they have many things that are worth looking at. However, their Punctuation Rules! online app (it can also be gotten from the App Store or Chrome Web Store) is an amazing little gem for really getting kids to think about proper punctuation and where it is appropriate to use such things as colons, dashes, hyphens, and so forth.  Interesting lessons are followed with an interactive quiz, and I highly recommend checking it out! 

2. Grammar Galaxy - Paintball Planet

This game is a fun "shooter" type from Discovery Education where you have to fire your paintball laser gun to not only add in punctuation, but capital letters as well. It definitely appeals to boys, but I can imagine girls would have just as much fun.  One thing I found helpful is that the game can become boring if you are not actually "playing" it, thereby leading the child to really engage in the learning aspect, which is a big plus.

 3. Proofreader

Not just for punctuation, the Quill Proofreader really helps your student see errors in text, and correct them.  I like the fact that it tells the student how many errors there are, and as they make corrections, it tallies them. Granted, all the corrections may not be correct, but the feedback of knowing your not looking for an infinitesimal amount is helpful!  The website is free to sign up with, and full of awesome resources!

Hope those can help point you in a punctuation progressive direction!

-Professor Bananas

Friday, July 20, 2018

Best STEM Tips for Homeschooling - Engineering

Everywhere these days it is STEM this, STEM that, but what are some ways to incorporate that into your own home school curriculum? And, if you are a little shaky on the subject, what would be the best way to approach it? How do you know you are teaching it in the right way?  If you are like me, you may have asked these very questions.  It is important in our home school experience to have a heavy focus on tech, science, and math. My son loves all things computer and robotics oriented, and I want to help him get as close to his dreams of being an engineer or software designer as possible.

Luckily, there are some AMAZING resources available for free, thanks to the Museum of Science in Boston.  I discovered their two programs, Engineering Adventures  and Engineering Everywhere, last year when my son started 6th grade.  Now, the Engineering Everywhere curriculum is focused more for grades 3-5, but we went through all of the Adventures in 6th grade, and we had an absolute blast!  So don't be afraid to start it a little later, you are guaranteed to have fun and learn a ton of information.

Each of the curriculums are downloadable at the Engineering is Elementary website. They are broken up into segments, each focusing on a specific field of engineering, such as structural, aeronautic, or chemical. The adventures start with 2 preparatory lessons that get your student thinking about engineering, and then have about 6 lessons each that culminate in a showcase of the student projects.

Designed originally for afterschool STEM education, they are easily adapted to function in a home school environment. Each downloadable segment contains an educators guide, student workbook, and additional audio or video files if necessary.  A handy list of required materials is in the educators guide, and you can scale it back to fit the number of kids you teach.  All the materials I have found to be easily available locally, or inexpensive to order from websites such as Amazon or AliExpress.

I think one of the funnest adventures last year was the one on Avalanche Engineering in the Engineering Adventures series. My son came up with an amazing system to block avalanches from his "town", and it really inspired him to think outside the box, even more than he already does! We can hardly wait to use Engineering Everywhere in our 7th grade curriculum!

But don't take my word for it, head over to  Engineering is Elementary and download one or two of the adventures yourself, and you will be able to incorporate an interesting, rich learning experience into your next school year in no time at all!
-Professor Bananas

Thursday, July 19, 2018

6 Amazing Videos for Home School Middle School Writing Lessons

I don't know about you, but my son would much rather play video games and watch videos than write a composition.  I will say, that as he ages (is eleven to twelve really aging?) he has been getting better and more open to writing, but the fact remains, most text books on writing simply seem to bore him, and do little to inspire.  If your middle school home schooler is anything like mine, you might find these 6 videos on writing not only capture their attention, but being in video format, really make the points come alive to your home schooled child in a way that reading about in a text book just doesn't seem to quite do. Let's look at them ...

1. Plot Mountain! The Plot Diagram Song by Scratch Garden

This is a great video to start with.  The catchy song and animated graphics really visually show your child the essence of the five elements of a good plot - an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  The mentions of characterization and setting are good, too. Did I mention the fun animation? My son loves animation to a fault, and watching the charming characters and settings changes really made a light bulb go off in his head.

2. Writing Tips: 6 Ways to Start a Sentence

Another problem encountered is "Where do I start?" This is a great quick tip animated video giving reluctant writers some new ideas and ways to start their sentences, so it is not always the same structure. My son again found it very catchy!

3. How to make your writing suspenseful - Victoria Smith

This is a great TEDEd video (How can you go wrong with TEDEd?) on suspenseful writing.  Again, a delightful animation captures the young writers attention besides a dull, boring lecture.  After watching this, my son, not a mystery/suspense fan by any means, wrote a pretty good mystery narrative for his writing assignment. 

4. Primary English Creative Writing

 This is another animated video which really gets the point across about using your five senses in your writing.  After struggling for two years with trying to get the point across, my son watched this video and told me all about using the senses ... why didn't I find it earlier?!? I could have saved myself many lectures!

5. How to write descriptively - Nalo Hopkinson

Another TEDEd video,  and another great one to inspire your writer to include description in their narrative or other writing.  Again, beautifully animated and captivating!

And finally ....

6. Grog and Sheep's Writing Tips for Kids

Although this is by no means a professional video, my son loved Grog and Sheep. They have a few tips that,  just because zombies and sheep appeal to any middle school boy, they will pay attention to. A good one to surprise your reluctant writer with as a cap to the more serious (yet fun!) videos above!

Hope these can be of help to you out there with less than enthusiastic writers!
-Professor Bananas

Friday, November 28, 2014

Multiplication Tables Game inspired by Minecraft

My son is a Minecraft devotee, so I came up with a game we can play to help learn and practice his multiplication tables.  And being as it was inspired by Minecraft, there is no gritting of teeth during practice, but instead an enthusiastic  "yay!" when it comes time to play.  So, if you have a Mincrafter in your house, you might find the game I call "The Math Table" a useful game to practice those tables!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Third Grade Chemistry Lesson Plan

 Plan is for: 63 lessons, 4 reviews, 4 tests, 1 field trip.

  • written lesson instructions, including links to experiments.
  • experiments materials sheet
  • 4 tests.
  • lab sheets for each Lesson lab (about 1/2 the lessons)

Books that we used:

Richard Spilsbury's
Atoms & Molecules
Mixtures & Solutions
Elements & Compounds
Chemical Reactions

The Periodic Table

Usborne Science encyclopedia

Feel free to download and use for personal homeschool use. Can adjust for different grade levels, or books, possibly could even use with just the links. Please link back to this site if you want to add to your blog .. thanks!

Download 3rd Grade Chemistry Lesson Plan