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School is in full swing and assignments are rolling in. Whether the project is due tomorrow or you've got plenty of time we've got you covered.

We'd like to introduce you to two of our premium resources that will help you and your student when doing research for papers and projects. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_world-book-logo.jpgThe first is one you've probably heard of, The World Book Encyclopedia. The online version provides the same level of coverage you will find in print plus lots more. You will find three different encyclopedias: Early World of Learning for preschool learners, Kids for early elementary students and Student for everyone else. There are also some extras! Timelines that introduce important dates/people in a wide range of studies and Discover which separates subjects into topics for a more browsable experience. They even have a Spanish version, Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazogs

No matter which option you choose, there will be great information. Maps, illustrations, videos and more! Let The World Book Encyclopedia be one of the first places you visit when starting a report or project.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_eLibrary_icon.gifThe second resource you will want to investigate is eLibrary. It offers a wide range of materials that will help with any research project. Full-text newspapers and magazines from around the world, transcripts from television and radio programs, reference books, maps, pictures and even audio/video recordings. It even has a Topics section where a wide-ranging set of resources has been grouped by specific topics. This is just the beginning of what you can find at eLibrary! It's practically one-stop-shopping for research papers. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_NoveList.gifTake advantage of expert reading suggestions for your child using NoveList K-8 Plus. Pick a perfect book in a snap! Divided by ages, 0-8, 9-12, and Teens, find customized title, author, and series suggestions.  Look for wide categories such as adventure, humor, historical fiction, realistic fiction, mysteries, "read alikes," "best of the year," award winners, and more.   Also, easily browse non-fiction suggestions.

Parents and teachers LOVE focusing searches according to grade level and/or lexile reading level and even the number of pages in a book! Using its "grab and go lists" and "picture book extenders," entertaining lesson plans are easily had.

This trusted time saver also boasts links to Goodreads - see a book's popularity ranging from 1-5 stars.  Linked to our library catalog - discover immediately where your suggested item is available for checkout.  Try this fabulous resource yourself.  And, guess what, there's a grown-ups' version as well.  We can't let the kids have all the fun!  

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Growing-Up-Social-Raising-Relational-Kids-in-a-Screen-Driven-World.jpgIt is said that Bill Gates only allowed his daughters on the internet 45 minutes a day, and, this included gaming time.  He also waited until they were 13 to have a cell phone.  It is hard to know how much or how little screen time is appropriate for your child and family as a whole. 

According to Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, it is not unusual for the average child (ages 8-18) to spend 7 hours a day looking at a screen, be it a computer, TV, or cell phone. Alas, it is all too easy to allow a screen to become a temporary electronic babysitter.

Tips to instill moderation according to authors Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane include:

  • Plan in advance how much time daily is appropriate

  • Plan how much time to allot to individual screen activities - 30 minutes online (this would be games and texting), 1.5 hours of television - decide together

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While under your wing, your children play and explore with your smartphone and computer. In a wink of an eye, these children will become young adults and they will be using devices with less adult oversight. Will they be ready? Introduce your children to the Kids Online series of books by David J. Jakubiak:

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Early family conversations about online activities beforehand will create a strong foundation for parent and teen communication as time goes on.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_welcome.jpgSo much to brag about here in Virginia! Check out this great book series Virginia, My State.  Every elementary student must master our state's geography and history. Broken up by region, these books are marvelous sources for school projects, especially if you have a fourth grader - and - are perfect for clueing all ages in on nearby destinations. 

Piedmont (Bennett, Doraine) - meaning "land at the foot of the mountains;" discover Thomas Jefferson's Monticello; learn about other leaders including James Madison, James Monroe, Robert E. Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, Maggie Walker, and L. Douglas Wilder; learn about "portage," and transporting goods to boats below waterfalls and rapids; the capital, Richmond, known for manufactuing and shipping; Richmond's General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the U.S.; the Port of Richmond, the most Western port on the North Atlantic coast; and, learn about Secretariat and thoroughbred racing.  

Coastal Plain (Bennett, Doraine) - climb Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first one built by the U.S. in 1792; learn about the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, the Northern Neck, and the Middle Penninsula; learn about Hampton Roads, one of the largest natural harbors in the world; read about the Great Dismal Swamp which helped hide runaway slaves; learn about the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the world's largest; learn about a variety of Native American tribes.

Blue Ridge Mountains (Bennett, Doraine) - the chemicals released by pine trees and other plants give the sky in this area a hazy blue color, hence the name "Blue Ridge;" the granite rocks in Old Rag Mountain are some of the oldest in the world; Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia - more than one mile high; the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world; people come from all over to enjoy bluegrass music and fiddler competitions in Galax; apples grow well here; learn about Smith Mountain Lake, a man-made lake; read about Booker T. Washington, born in this area.

Valley and Ridge (Bennett, Doraine) - do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites in the Shenandoah Valley's Luray Caverns and have your heard of its stalacpipe organ? view Natural Bridge, purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for less than what would be $2.00 today; discover Hot Springs in Bath County; did you know that Rockingham County is one of the largest turkey producers in the country?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_index5.jpgSpend ten minutes a day with your youngster using the methods in Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day (Ledson). You may find that, with dedication, you will have an emerging reader.

Step by step instruction is given. First, introducing 32 letters and sounds is the starting point. These specific sounds will be the building blocks to learn the first 100 words. From here, the first 200 sentences will be mastered. Finally passages are included that will be your child's first book.  You and your budding reader will laugh heartily at these "Helpful Andrew" stories.

Instruction also takes on second graders who are still guessing at words and would benefit from remedial help. Games to motivate these hard working students are sprinkled throughout.  

The author reminds us, 50% of a child's intellect has been fixed by age 4, and, 80% is fixed by age 8. The skill of reading is a 'nutrient' essential for development.

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Online Help from Teachers

Need homework help? Look to Literati's online Homework Help. Chat online with certified teachers and receive brief, personalized help.

English teachers can help with diagramming sentences, creating outlines for reports, proofreading, and assisting budding authors with compositions, including those writing in English as a Second Language. Math teachers can coach elementary to grade 12 students in a variety of topics including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and basic statistics. Teachers and students can even share a whiteboard screen to collaborate. Students can upload files for Literati teachers to review and comment upon.

This service is available Monday through Thursday, 3:00pm-9:00pm, and, Saturday, 9:00am-3:00pm. In addition to teacher guidance, you can link to hundreds of up to date and authoritative resources all in one location. 

Give it a try! From the menu bar above, select Online Services --> Research Databases -->Reference then select Literati (or follow this link).  Select "Homework Help" on the right.  You'll only need to type in your first name, your grade, and whether you need help in math, reading, or writing.  Click on "Find Me a Teacher" and professional help will be minutes away.

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Homegrown Readers

As parents we dream of the day that our children can read independently - a triumph for all involved.  Take a gander at A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Sutton, Roger). Look within for surefire title recommendations guaranteed to captivate your youngest still-in-your-arms listener; your sound-each-word out budding reader; and, your "I can do it all by myself" chapter book readers. Even fiction, non-fiction, and bios for hard to please tweens and teens are included. Heck it even includes books for boys only, and, books for girls only. This book holds that rare and powerful magic - the ability to unite the perfect book for whatever age child is under your roof.           

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Upcoming Conferences in Our Area

VAHomeschoolers 2014 Conference & Resource Fair will be held March 21-24 at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center. 

Home Educators of Virginia will hold its 31st annual convention June 5-7 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Browsing our shelves? 

Go to call number 371.042 for homeschooling materials.

Valuable websites:

Searching for a group in your area?  Look to Homeschool in Richmond.   

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