We’ve compiled a list of the “Cool Websites” published in the weekly HEAV Update and sorted them by category for your browsing convenience. We’ve even included a few categories specifically for homeschooling parents.
Please review all websites for suitability before passing along the address to your student(s). HEAV has no influence on the content of websites other than our own.
Art Bible Study Biblical Archaeology Christianity Economics English
Geography Health History Literature Logic Mathematics Music
Preschool Reading/Phonics Science Testing United States of America
For the Parents For the Family For the Teacher Thrifty
Sock Monkeys Updated
Do you have fond memories of this childhood toy or just a desire to make a trendy new version of it? See several examples of these updated monkeys at the first link; get the directions at the second.
Dan Frenette, an art teacher, has made three YouTube videos detailing how to make books. If you wish, you can subscribe and share them with friends or on Facebook.
Last Minute Gift – “Art Magnets” – All Ages
Use whatever arts and crafts materials you have at home and make them as simple or fancy as you wish! Just create a picture to place inside a recycled bottle top, decorate the outside rim, and affix a magnet.
This site is a holiday gold mine! From Christmas craft ideas to holiday party games, jokes, trivia, gift ideas and more, this webpage has it all!
This creative piece of shelving made mostly of plywood was customized for a specific use and space, but it may well be possible for someone with some woodworking experience to adapt the design for homeschool, dorm, or student-apartment use. It could be a great father-son (or daughter!) project.
Cross-stitch for Kids
Get the basics and how to explain them in this piece on teaching cross-stitching to kids.
Melted Bead Projects to Create with Children
Use the “peg beads” meltable beads for many projects; three are suggested here that are not the flat template type project. Search the Internet for more. They have more uses than you can imagine!
“In Praise of Coloring Books”
The author of this brief blog post suggests a few things to do with coloring books besides just occupy children as you wait for your meal to arrive in a restaurant. Very often, such reading will also jump-start your own ideas! She suggests some favorite sources for buying coloring books.
Celebrating the beauty of God’s creation around the world through a photography contest. The daily picture on this site could serve as inspiration for writing, photography, art, science study, or just for taking a moment to relax and enjoy the view. For more information and to submit photos, see the website’s page and select “Enter.”
Google Doodles Unveils Revamped Website
The folks at Google Doodles have unveiled their new website premiering their “resolutions” at the first link. See the second link to review past doodles and gain inspiration for your own graphic-arts endeavors.
Ladder Bookshelves, Loft Bed, and Desk
A woodcrafter has put together a neat bedroom set especially good for boys, though the creative moms out there could undoubtedly spiff it up for a girl. The shelves and desk make it all particularly suitable for homeschoolers. The builder says it only cost him $150 for the lumber.
Here are clear and simple instructions for a scratch-off art project that kids of many ages enjoy. It uses basic, inexpensive art supplies and household objects helping keep costs down, too! As a vase of flowers is suggested as one of the better subjects to draw with this technique, it could be especially good for Mother’s Day art and cards.
16 Psalms to Help Ease Worry
In times of difficulty and uncertainty, we can forget to “cast our cares upon Him.” Here are some verses from Psalms especially chosen to help us deal with worries. They would make excellent copy work or memory verses regardless of our situations!
S.O.A.P. Bible Study Method
The Scripture, Observe, Apply, and Pray–or SOAP–Bible study method can be applied to any passage. Even elementary-age students can begin to learn and use it. Print and post this simple graphic in a handy place to remind your family to apply it.
Bible Reading Plans–Again
Did you select a Bible reading plan for the year? It’s definitely not too late. Just double-up each day until you catch up or jump in where you are–but do it!
George Mueller made it a practice to read the Bible through four times a year. If you are still searching for a plan (check the last few issues of the Update for more), Back to the Bible offers several choices of Bible reading plans, plus studies, challenges, and quizzes to make things interesting. They also have their famous classic devotionals. Subscribe free of charge to any of their newsletters (second link) to receive many of these items in daily e-mails. You can also listen to their daily radio show via the website.
Scripture Memory Plan
Prepare for a new year with a serious Scripture memory plan. One is available free of charge at Fighter Verses (as in 1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of the faith…”). Do an Internet search for other suggestions of Bible verses to memorize, along with methods for memorization.
Free Printables from Heart of Wisdom
Get free printable Bible verse memory cards, spelling list pages, copywork, chore charts, and much more.
Voddie Baucham Sermons
See Voddie Baucham’s 4-minute video, “Jesus Loves the Church and So Should You” at the first link. Pastor Baucham, keynote speaker at a recent HEAV convention, and his wife homeschool their children. Check the second link for his website; hear more of his stirring sermons at the third link.
Free Bible Coloring Pages
Do you need some simple drawings that illustrate biblical events? Print these free coloring sheets that illustrate Old and New Testament happenings.
Christian Resources: The Gospel According to Luke
The Gospel According to Luke, by the JESUS Film Project, was the original work from which the well-known “Jesus Film” was edited. The JESUS Film has been translated into more than 1,140 languages in its run of more than 30 years to date. View the Book of Luke free online, chapter by chapter, at the Blue Letter Bible website.
Christian Resources: Bible Quizzing and Memory Game
Select the level of expertise and verse on which you wish to be tested (you may study first). Be ready to move quickly–it’s timed!
The NET Bible Study Site
This site has a variety of Bible study tools from simple ones, like a daily passage, to parallel translations, articles, commentary, Greek and Hebrew references, and much more. Explore a little and see if you can use this to delve deeper into God’s Word. The second link is to the “classic,” older site version.
Discoveries 4 Children – Children’s Bible Programs
While geared for children from 4 to 10 years of age, other children may still benefit from the video, coloring page, and worksheet. If you like them, you may sign up (free) for more.
New Research: How American Adults Read the Bible
These interesting facts and easy-to-read graphs show that, unfortunately, owning several Bibles is more common that actually reading them.
Simple Steps for Scripture Memory
Living Waters Ministry’s School of Biblical Evangelism offers a very simple index card system to aid Scripture memory beginners. Though it only takes one short page, it’s written in complete detail with examples so that children from about fourth grade and up could probably follow it unaided.
Biblesinger.com offers a series of free resources as well as ones for purchase. Categories include hymns with lyrics, Bible passages, crosswords and other worksheets, and more.
Scripture Memory for Children
God’s Word is the ultimate way to “cleanse a young man’s heart.” Here are suggested verses and free printable memory cards to help in that task. You cannot always be with your child–but He can!
Art, Geography, and Bible: The Last Supper
This e-lesson in pdf form gives all the preparatory instructions for the teacher, the supply list (common items), stick-figure drawings you can easily replicate, Bible verses to use during the lesson, and review questions. There is even a suggested memory verse and pages made for photocopying. The lesson is designed for multi-level teaching.
Grace Gems Daily Devotions
This “gem” of a website will send you a short daily e-mail devotion if you like. You can read or listen to as much or as little as you wish of the shorter selections from Puritan authors and pastors. Read longer passages free on the website or buy the books if you’re interested in the entire works. Some website features include quotes, sermons, commentaries, and collections of written works divided by author and topic, or prayers. There’s much more!
Daily Devotion – All Ages
Get a free e-mailed or Facebook daily devotion from “Learn the Bible.” Each one features a short Bible passage or verse with teaching points for young children as well as older students or adults. Prayer suggestions help round out the brief devotional time.
Easter Unit Study – Updated
The Teaching Home has updated their previous unit study on Easter with over 70 new links! Check it out on their website and sign up for their free newsletter so you don’t miss anything!
Temple Mount Video and More
Tour the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with Dr. David Reagan on the show “Christ in Prophecy!” This video is part of a four-part series, “Mountains of Jerusalem.” You can see it on their YouTube channel, Christ in Prophecy (second link below). You may not agree with all his conclusions regarding prophecy, but it is hard to argue with the archaeology and sites you’ll see.
Archaeologists Uncover a First Temple Seal
While relics of the Second Temple are not too unusual, this find from the First Temple is an exciting discovery.
This portion of the Christian Answers website is a great starting point for any study of how archaeology consistently demonstrates the reliability of the Bible. It is divided into sections that answer general questions, those dealing with the period before the Nation of Israel came about in Bible times, and questions regarding the Old and New Testament periods.
Associates for Biblical Research
The Bible has been proven accurate over and over by archaeological finds. Here is a website devoted to the subject! Also, they provide a Biblical perspective for each discovery.
Presidential Prayer Team
Inauguration Day reminds us of the need–indeed, the biblical commandment–to pray for our leaders. This non-partisan website and free daily e-mail offers guided prayer ideas and suggests a particular set of leaders from all branches of government for prayer each week. See the banners on the home page to get an idea of all the areas covered–there are a lot!
Free Book of Virtues Curriculum
A homeschool mom prepared a huge set of workbook studies to go along with William J. Bennet’sThe Book of Virtues. She offers it free of charge as a download.
Family Activities for Winter Break
See issue number 264 of the Teaching Home Magazine for a variety of enriching and educational activity suggestions your family can enjoy over the Christmas and New Year break.
The Teaching Home – Christmas Peace
Issue number 354 of the Teaching Home features ways to foster family peace and take that peace-making skill out into the world.
Names of God Tree
One family describes their little tree decorated with tinsel and simple tags printed with the names of God as found throughout the Bible. Make your tags as simple or as creative as you wish. Click on the links in the blog to see a listing of the names–or do your own research!
Free Jesse Tree Advent Family Devotional
Ann Voskamp of the Holy Experience blog has shared her Jesse Tree devotional with 25 days of short, family friendly devotions to her e-mail subscribers (sign up free of charge). Each day, find Bible verses with reflections on them, a full-color ornament to cut out for your Jesse Tree, and an “action point” to put more of Christ’s love into practice.
Presidential Prayer Team
This non-partisan website and free daily e-mail offers guided prayer ideas and suggests a particular set of leaders from all parts of the government for prayer each week. See the banners on the home page to get an idea of all the areas covered–it’s a lot!
Free Instilling Biblical Character E-book
This e-book goes perfectly with the encouragement article in the Update this week. Christian education in the home is incomplete without purposefully forming the biblical character of your children. Follow the easy steps to download your free copy.
Scripture Prayers Before–and After–the Election
The election is less than a week away. Get suggestions of how you can pray for God’s continued grace and guidance.
See a list of suggested Scriptures to pray for grandchildren along with prayers for grandparents.
Sermons on the Underground Church by Richard Wurmbrand
After years of imprisonment by the communist authorities in Romania, and living in a country that was far from free even when he was out of prison, Richard Wurmbrand has spoken expertly on the subject of the persecuted church. Brother Wurmbrand and his wife were eventually ransomed by Christians in the West and settled in the United States where they established Voice of the Martyrs (second link). He urged western Christians to prepare now for the possibility–indeed the probability–that they too would one day live under severe oppression. These four sermons are a place to start. His messages apply to us now in many ways, giving us pointers on our devotional lives.
11 Simple Theological Terms We All Need to Know
Dr. Christopher Cone of Tyndale Theological Seminary has written this article with the layman in mind. He gives brief, easy-to-understand definitions and related Scriptures for bibliology, theology proper, Christology, and eight more key terms. The article is suitable for use with high school and above.
Christian Resources: Hymn Studies
Enrich your Christian life and strengthen your faith with these hymn studies full of details about the writers and the circumstances around which these priceless treasures were written. Read each one on the blog or sign up for the Yahoo group to have them delivered to your inbox. One Bible curriculum with which your editor is familiar suggests a hymn to memorize each week with a schedule of singing the first verse on Monday, verses one and two on Tuesday, and so on. Stretch it into two weeks to really cement all the verses in your minds.
Gospel for Asia Free Resources and Prayer Page
The Gospel for Asia website free resource page includes PDF and audio versions of books about the exciting missions work being done in South Asia. There are even a few songs. You’ll be asked to register for the site, but it’s free. Then consider using the variety of prayer teachings for yourself, your family, small group studies, or a church presentation. You may sign up for prayer request e-mails. Note: You will wish to preview items before using them with young people; some items contain graphic descriptions of persecution.
Foster Care Prayer Vigils - Anywhere – Ends May 27
May 20 through 27, 2012. You are encouraged to register your vigil time on the website and can indicate whether or not it is open to the public. Time for planning public events is obviously very limited, but your small group study or family can set aside time to pray for children not in permanent homes worldwide. See the website for more information.
Bible Fathers Trivia Quiz
Take on a challenge and learn.
Free Rice: Feed the Poor and Learn While Playing Games
For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice go to a program that feeds the poor. Categories have expanded to now include Humanities (famous paintings and literature); geography (flags of the world, identify countries on the map, world capitals, world landmarks); English (vocabulary and grammar); math (multiplication and basic math/pre-algebra); chemistry (basic and complete symbols); foreign language (German, Spanish, French, and Italian); science (human anatomy); and test prep (SAT).
92 Ways to Share Your Faith
Although this list refers to sharing the Gospel of John, the ideas translate well to tract distribution. The website also has a great, free devotional–e-mailed daily–if you wish. Check out the second link; free membership is required.
Family Worship Resolution
January 29, 2012 was Family Worship Sunday, capping Family Worship Month (January). The associated website says, “Family Worship Month is a humble call to the church and to the heads of households to spend time with those you love reading the Bible, praying, and/or singing.” Read the story about the importance of family worship in the home at the first link and the suggested resolution at the second link. Many parts of the resolution are sure to resonate with you and strengthen your commitment to discipleship in your family.
If you enjoy reading the works of Puritans such as John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, and John Owen, you will be pleased to learn that many of their works, and the works of many other Puritan authors, are available free of charge in digital format. Hundreds of sermons, treatises, books, and other works can be downloaded directly to your computer and many are also formatted for e-reader devices such as the Kindle.
The One-Minute Apologist seeks to provide quick, credible answers to apologetic questions for people with a hunger to defend their Christian faith. The organization also has a YouTube channel.
The site says, “The One-Minute Apologist sets out to answer tough questions about Christianity, Bible Difficulties, Faith, Religion, Jesus, God, Atheism, Cults, Doctrine, Theology, Ethics, Science, Philosophy, World Religions, and more.”
Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage Series
Voice of the Martyrs recently came out with their new Kids of Courage series suitable for vacation Bible schools or Sunday schools (ages 5 to 13). Their regular newsletters–past and current–are now online. The program gives children an awareness of the persecuted church “without going into the gory details.” Children will learn about forgiveness and faithfulness through real stories about Christians who were persecuted for their faith.
Change Collegian Network
Change Collegian Network is a national campus Christian ministry with conferences, local chapters, free Internet resources, and much, much more. According to the website, it has grown “from a ministry focused on equipping college students to evangelize and defend the faith, into a holistic campus ministry, incorporating Bible study, praise, worship, and group prayer.” The group can help you organize your own chapter if there isn’t one already near you; a chapter just began at Old Dominion University with only four students!
Jesus Film Project and Behind the Easter Story
Watch the entire “Jesus” Film (two hours) or the shorter “The Story of Jesus for Children,”– both free online. Your family may also enjoy “Behind the Easter Story,” a walk through Jerusalem and environs via a limestone model and actual on-scene footage from the Holy Land. This production is presented in two 26-minute segments.
Economics and Government: Stossel in the Classroom
Stossel in the Classroom now has a free 2013 DVD available to order or to stream from the website. The ad says the DVD includes 10 new segments on a range of topics with English and Spanish subtitles, and a teacher guide (in English and Spanish) with lesson plans, graphic organizers, activity suggestions, viewing guides, and vocabulary. Some 2012 DVDs are still available, as are streaming segments from previous years. Although his main topics tend to be economics and government, they touch on a huge list of side issues and subject areas.
Economic Thinking has developed seminars, workshops, guest talks, and books demonstrating the role of economic freedom, property rights, and the rule of law in enabling progress and prosperity in America and around the world. They recently developed an economic curriculum, “Economics in a Box.” Economic Thinking brings the leading scholars’ market-oriented ideas to students, parents, and teachers.
“Economics is Fun” Video Clips
Even if you didn’t think you liked econ, you WILL find yourself at least somewhat amused by this series from the Adam Smith Institute. The clips are very short (one- to three-minutes mostly), so there are no long boring lectures. Thus, you have an introduction that is super easy to stop, digest, and discuss with students (high schoolers or motivated younger students). The British accent, bow ties (or casual shirts), cutesy little props all help make this–as the title suggests–fun!
Economics in “The Homeschool Classroom” from von Mises Audio and Lectures
Find such titles as, “A Libertarian Gallop Through American History” and “350 Years of Economic Theory in 50 Minutes.” While you may not agree with all the conclusions, the lectures at the first link will give you a glimpse into Libertarian views and be fascinating discussion prompts. Enter “homeschool” in the search box (top right) at the second link for a much more extensive set of results for searching topics applicable to homeschooling on the website.
Handwriting Day – January 23 – Penmanship Tools Online
With the rising use of texting, e-mail, and word processing software (such as Microsoft Word), students get less and less practice in the fine art of penmanship. Donna Young has many forms of handwriting tools from letter animations to printables for both manuscript and cursive to aid in developing proper letter formation. Why not celebrate Handwriting Day with a special note to a loved one or shut-in?
Free Automatic Bibliography and Citation Maker
Although students should know the basics without this handy gadget, it does make a good checker after they have done it on their own. It will come in very handy when you need to know how to correctly cite a rather obscure source such as a court case, online video, or digital file.
World Wide Words
Your editor is a logophile and has enjoyed this site’s free, weekly newsletter for years. The site’s British owner describes the site this way:
“The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or change their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least some part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, the background to words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.
Latin Phrase List
Find a very handy list of almost all the common Latin phrases likely to be used in literature in the Wikipedia compilation. Browse randomly (how about one a day?) or look up as needed in the alphabetical listing.
The “Long ‘S’”
Have you encountered old print texts (18th-century primary source material, for example) and wondered about the letter “s” that looks a lot like our modern “f”? Here is a brief explanation. An Internet search will turn up much more information if you are interested.
Voice of the Martyrs offers an opportunity to write letters to, or on behalf of, our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world; speak to your own church or others about the needs of the persecuted; and focus on prayer for the persecuted church. See the website for all the details.
What Makes a Book Good
Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, of Trivium Pursuit, suggest ways to determine if a book is suitable for children.
A free online spellchecker. Copy and paste a piece of text, click “spell check” and all the spelling errors will be highlighted. A pull down menu is used to give you suggestions with the most likely choices. It is amazingly accurate.
Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)
Purdue University has a website with over 200 free English resources useful to students and teachers from about seventh grade on up. Taking a quick look at the site will give you an idea of what’s there and if it will be of use.
Preparation for Playwriting Contest in April
Preparatory notes are already up on the NaNoWriMo website prior to their playwriting contest called “Script Frenzy,” which is in April. Your students may want to take a look in case they are more interested in writing plays or movie scripts than novels.
Preschool through Ninth Grade
See a variety of spelling games; some may be played online, and others require paper or a Scrabble board–lots of free ideas! There are also worksheets, word lists by grade, and lessons from preschool through ninth grade.
What is notebooking? Check the first link to read more. If you subscribe to the free newsletter at NotebookingPages.com, you’ll have access to many free sample pages to try out notebooking. There are more sites listed and an Internet search will turn up others.
OurDictionary.com Teacher and Student Resources
There is an extensive list of links to aid teachers, parents, and students.
New Curriculum from World Magazine Publishers – Sample Lesson
“Write with WORLD” is the two-year middle school writing curriculum developed by education and media professionals.” The developers say, “Learn about this groundbreaking curriculum that uses fascinating current events, insights from over 20 media pros, and a compelling Christian worldview to motivate and teach students effectively.” You can test drive it via this sample lesson.
“Affluent” or “effluent”? “Effect” or “affect”? Confusing Words addresses those questions, as well as similar questions about the 3,210 words that are most troublesome to writers. Use the Confusing Words search engine to find the word in question, along with its definition, and to see it used in a sentence.
Are your students ready for challenge? Select from the 63 graded dictations (read with a mild British accent–it’s easy to adapt with a little practice). Make sure your students know that a “full stop” in British usage is a period in U.S. grammar terms. It is also printed on the page. Listen to a complete read-through, then click on the spot indicated when ready to write. After a demonstration of an elementary level, children will get the hang of how it works. High schoolers may benefit from reading some of the books used in the upper level dictations such as 1984,Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre, and other well-known works of English literature. Parents will wish to choose passages that are suitable for their family.
WordCount (TM) presents the 86,800 most frequently used words in the English language. According to the site, “Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.”
A one-stop site for information on many of the writing contests open to homeschoolers. The site was created by a homeschooled girl at the age of 11. She crafted a chart to show such summarized information as due dates, ages, prizes, and topics. She has even added an e-mail reminder feature to let you know of approaching deadlines. There are also curriculum reviews and literature recommendations.
Type Phonetic Symbols for English
The website says, “This page allows you to easily type phonetic transcriptions of English words in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). You can edit your text in the box and then copy it to your document, e-mail message, etc.”
Christmas in Australia Unit Study
A Montessori teacher has assembled a list of links to help you explore Christmas “down under”–quite a change of pace. Sample Aussie edible treats, learn how they celebrate (it’s summer there, you know), and examine some maps of Australia. Do as much or as little as you’d like, and enjoy the time with your family!
Geography Awareness Week
The third week in November is designated “Geography Awareness Week” in the U.S. Although much of the observance is secular (evolution, globalism) and may not be suitable for children to use directly, parents can glean from resources on the Internet and make a special emphasis on geography. See how many places you can look up or find on the globe from news stories each day. The Joshua Project linked here is one way to look at the geographic and cultural features of an “Unreached People Group” each day–and pray for them. They can e-mail the item daily, free of charge. Many other Christian ministries and missions groups have similar prayer focus calendars, e-mail, or pamphlets.
Israeli Culture for Kids
This brief, one-page summary of Israeli culture is a starting point to introduce younger children to another country’s food, clothes, customs, and more. It is a brief overview with generalizations and is incomplete, but for young ones, it may suffice–and spark an interest in further exploration and study!
National Geography Bee
It’s never too early to prepare or just to have fun “playing” it at home! (Shhh…don’t tell the kids they’re learning.)
Geography: 50 States
This website is an awesome reference for a state study, trip planning or review, and more. Look up state nicknames, mottoes, birds, flowers, trees–even current events.
The National Library of Scotland
An online digital library of many Scottish-related resources, including maps, a timeline of key events in Scottish history, stories from World War I, The Murthly Hours (a book of prayer from 1280), and so much more.
Toaster Fires and Four Family Fire Safety Tips
Learn from one mom’s experience about toaster fires and see her simple family fire safety tips.
Online First Aid and Online CPR Certification
This website offers certificates in both CPR and first aid after completion of online courses. Fees are modest if you wish a certificate, but the courses themselves are free. If you need certification, please ensure the institution with which you are dealing accepts online certificates; however, the education could help anyone become competent in this critical area.
Five Things You Need to Know about West Nile Virus
Learn what West Nile is, the symptoms, how to prevent it, how it’s treated, and the areas where it is prevalent.
Clubhouse Jr.‘s Olympic Fitness Challenge
To win a prize for participation, one had to begin around June 1 and mail accumulated points by August 31, but it should be easy enough to substitute any small “prizes” of your own for your family for dates you determine. Enjoy fitness ideas such as bowling, fishing, croquet–even walking the dog.
Nutrition and Health: Caffeine Chart
Have you ever wondered how much caffeine is in your favorite drink? Here is a detailed breakdown–mostly about coffees, teas, and sodas. Many people (ordinary lay people who simply enjoy the drinks and medical types) have concerns about caffeine. This chart, as well as other information widely available on the Internet, can be a real eye-opener for you and your students who are studying health and nutrition.
The Case of the Contaminated, Reusable Grocery Bag
The infamous norovirus that has ruined so many cruises, struck a teen soccer team and some parents after one player became sick and contaminated a bag holding snacks, etc. Read the story that illustrates the imperative need to wash or wipe down reusable grocery bags regularly. The second link provides information on how to keep reusable grocery bags safe.
20-Minute Daily Exercise Plan
“A 20-Minute Daily Exercise Plan for People Too Busy to Work Out” proposes a six-day-a-week exercise plan for basic fitness. It rotates upper body, lower body, and core exercises, and includes explanatory videos.
First Aid: A Graduation Requirement?
Some parents have gone so far as to require the Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout requirements (whether or not their child is in Scouts–or a boy), thinking these are simply valuable life skills in which our young people are rapidly losing competence as we move toward an urban existence. If a child is not in Scouting, some substitutions may be needed (being consistently active in groups other than Scouting, for example). You may need to find assistance to fulfill some requirements.
Lifeguard training is part of the Boy Scout requirement! Junior lifeguards can train during the years from 11 to 14. Senior lifeguards begin at 15. At LEAST know how to recognize a swimmer in distress (It may not look as you would expect.), and do a rescue from poolside, without going into the water.
In-person classes are almost always better because you get to practice CPR on dummies and get direct feedback from trained instructors. Find Red Cross classes on this page, listed by zip code. The more training/equipment one is qualified to use, the better!
Although your kids may “know it all” when it comes to child care with wall-to-wall, 24/7/365 siblings, an official card for care-giving and babysitting (ages 11 to 15) can’t hurt.
Look for plenty of extra information in the sidebars of all the pages. Check with your local hospital; they may know of other groups.
Get Kids in Action
Get Kids In Action, a partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Gatorade Company, aims to increase physical activity among children to reduce and prevent obesity. The website has one section for parents and another for kids. The kids’ section is heavy on Flash animation but looks to be interesting. The adults’ section includes resources to help your child maintain or reach a healthy weight; inspirational material on helping your child find healthy, fun activities; basic nutritional information that is relevant to kids; and straight talk on the myths and facts surrounding childhood obesity.
BBC’s Interactive Body
The BBC has a nice interactive website where you try to fit parts of the human body where they properly belong. It includes five different games about organs, muscles, senses, the nervous system, and the skeletal system. Also on the page is the “puberty demo.” Discover the changes that take place during puberty and understand the science behind them.