Kids’ Computer Research 101

My children love to use the computer for spelling and other online educational activities, but it is also an extremely valuable tool for their homeschool research assignments.

Image representing Wikipedia as depicted in Cr...

This week I taught my middle school children how to ~

Copy images off the internet

We used Wikipedia and MS Word.

First I taught them how to find the internet website and bookmark it

  1. Type in the website address and wait for the page to open fully
  2. Click the star on the end of the address bar twice till a drop-down menu appears “Edit this bookmark”
  3. Click “Folders
  4. Click “Choose” & scroll down for an existing bookmark or “Create” and type in the name of the subject folder, then click “Done” and you have your bookmark.
  5. Now that website is in the “bookmarks files” and you simply open a new tab by clicking on the + square.
  6. Click “Bookmarks” on the top menu bar, scroll down the folders, click the subject and find the bookmark.  The website will open on the new blank tab page.
  7. I keep Wikipedia at the top of the list so it is easy to find
  8. For a quicker bookmarking method, you can click “Control + D” to access the “Edit this bookmark” menu.  You’ll be surprised how quickly kids love to use shortcuts and hot-keys!

Now open a new Microsoft Word Page

  1. Click the “W” icon on the task bar
  2. or double-click the icon on the desktop
  3. or click “Start” and click the icon or program there.
  4. It is easier if you right-click the program icon and “pin to start menu” or “send to desktop” so that it is easily available.

Insert a table in Word – I find that it is easier to organize pictures copied off the internet in a table.  The pictures stay neat and spaced in an orderly way. It is easy to add more rows, re-size all the pictures to match the layout, and text is easy to align. I even use a table with a single column for larger images.

  1. Click the page and type in a heading for the project. Press “Enter” to go to the next line on the page.
  2. Click “Insert“on the top menu bar of MS Word
  3. Find the “Table” icon and click it
  4. Scroll down and across the little rows of blocks to highlight how many blocks wide and  blocks down,  usually 2 across and say 6 down, press “enter“.
  5. A little, squished table is at the top of the new page.
  6. Stretch the table to fill the page by hovering over the bottom right-hand corner of the table till the tiny grey & white block appears.  Hover over this square carefully and the cursor will become a diagonal arrow.  Keeping the cursor steady, click and drag the bottom square of the table to the bottom of the page.  (Not too much or the table will stretch over 2 pages.)
  7. Click in the first block and you are ready to insert pictures or type in text.

Copy a picture from Wikipedia & paste it on the table

  1. Go back to the Wikipedia tab in your internet browser
  2. Find the search bar up on the top right of the page.  Type in the name or subject. Click the magnifying symbol.
  3. Wait till the new page opens.
  4. Right-click over the image you want and select “Copy Image” from the pop-up menu.
  5. Go to back to your Word table and click in the block where you want to paste your image.
  6. Press “Control & V” to paste the picture.
  7. Click on the picture and small white boxes will appear around the corners and sides.  Click and drag the corner to shrink or stretch the picture.
  8. Go back to Wikipedia and click and drag the cursor over the title of the page/ the heading under the image.  Once the correct words are highlighted, click “Control + C” to copy the text.
  9. Go back to the Word page with the picture you just inserted and press “Enter” to move your cursor below the image.  Press “Control + V” and paste the text under the picture.
  10. This next step is very important – Reference back to the website – Go back to Wikipedia and right-click the image and select “Copy Link Location
  11. Now go back to Word and click in a block at the bottom of your table and create a place for all your references and Press “Control + V” and paste the image’s link location.
  12. If you want to hyperlink the link location to the picture you have  just inserted on Word then press “Enter” to move your cursor below the image and text.  Press “Control + V” and paste the image’s link location.  Now press “F8″ and “Home” to highlight the link you have just pasted.  Press “Control + K” and it and menu will pop up.  The link will automatically be in the bottom bar – just click “OK” and the menu will close and the link will now appear underlined and in blue. Always recognize and give reference to the original source.
  13. SAVE! SAVE!  Saveyour work each time you add a new image!
    • Press “Control + S” to save.
    • A menu box drops down.
    • You need to create a file name.  Use simple words that clearly describe the file.
    • Select your folder or create a new folder.  (I create a folder for each child with their own name and with sub-folders for different subjects or topics of interest.)
    • Press “Save
    • The next time you save your work on this page you only need to press “Control + S” and the program will automatically save everything in the same folder you first created or selected.
  14. Finally change any fonts, text or picture alignments and save. (I’ll share more details in another tutorial)
  15. Print the page once you are happy with the layout and size of the images and text.

My 9-year-old managed to find all the animals mentioned in the chapter of her South African History literature book.  She made this wonderful chart almost entirely on her own!

My 12-year-old has been assigned a weekly timeline activity.  She must find at least 3 images/ clip-art for her timeline as well as bibliographic information where relevant in her studies in that week.

She collected all her research on a table and cut up the blocks to paste in her timeline / Book of Centuries.

It is fairly easy to collect pictures, images or short pieces of text off the internet, but much more skill is required to find relevant information and rewrite it in their own words for more advanced assignments.

In another tutorial I’ll share how I encourage them to clip images, text, tables, charts, screen clips and even videos to One Note and create their own research notes.

What simple tips do you have for copying pictures off the internet?  How do you teach your children to work with MS Word?  Please share your ideas with us here on the comments.


Art Appreciation – Pierneef painting

Art Appreciation Lesson

Charlotte Mason recommends that children study an artist and several of  his works over a periodof weeks so that they can recognize his paintings and appreciate his style or subject.  After detailed observation they should  narrate all they remember seeing in the  painting they studied and this encourages detailed study!

We studied a famous South African artist Jacob Hendrick Pierneef and googled images of his works.  Each child selected their favourite painting I printed for them.  We measured and drew a grid on the printed work and sketched the painting.  We used acrylic paints to paint our pictures.  Here are our versions of Pierneef:

At work painting

painting by dd 14-years old

painting by dd 10-years old

painting by dd 7-years old

My eldest dd (14-years-old) is completing her Footprints Into The 21st Century (South African Literature-Based History Curriculum) and her last section requires the study of famous South African sports and arts personalities.  She selected Pierneef and wrote this essay:

South African Artist: Jacob Hendrik Pierneef

J.H. Pierneef is considered one of South Africa’s most talented and original artists. He enjoyed painting South Africa’s highveld landscapes and had a technique that was very stylized and graphic. His style was different from all other South African artists in his day, and his works greatly attracted attention.

Jacob Hendrik Pierneef was born in Pretoria in 1886 and he came from a Dutch background. He started studying art in high-school in South Africa, but due to the 2nd Boer War, his family moved back to the Netherlands.

When he returned to South Africa, he met and learned much about graphic techniques from other great South African artists. In 1913, Pierneef held his first solo exhibition and his artwork was very well received. The viewers were all exceedingly impressed by his dramatic talent. From then on he became very well known and his works proved to be successes.

In 1918 Jacob Pierneef started a new a career and became an art lecturer and started to teach drawing in the Heidelberg Collage of Education. When he began to teach art, Pierneef discovered that most of the South Africa’s landscape artwork was drawn in the British style, an unrealistic and romanticized vision of South Africa. He then decided to draw attention to the uniqueness of South Africa’s highveld. He created a style that was dramatic, structural and graphic and was distinctively recognized as a South African style. He believed strongly in the cause of Afrikaner art and culture.

(She then chose and printed 4 of paintings she most enjoyed.)

When children use Charlotte Mason’s approach, they almost “own” the painting they reproduce!  I have even heard them say, “There’s my picture of the … (Milkmaid by Vermeer)!” when they see the painting in a book or movie or magazine.

Has this form of Art Appreciation been a success for your children?

More Sonlight Notebook Pages!

Free Sonlight World History Notebook Pages to download

American War of Independence This 3 page download includes a notebook page and biography pages on Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

British India A notebooking page on British in India.

Explorers & Empire Builders A 6 page download with a biography page each for David Livingstone, Captain James Cook, Rene’ Caillie’, Robert Peary and Roald Amundsen.

For the more Sonlight notebooking pages please visit my Free Pages ~ ENJOY!

United Nations Notebooking & Minibook Page

Here is a notebook and minibook combo page on United Nations. Enjoy!

Check out other free Sonlight Notebooking pages here

Footprints Into The 21st Century

A rich collection of South African Literature

A rich collection of South African Literature

Footprints Into The 21st Century is a wonderful literature-based South African high school curriculum featuring an exceptional collection of living books for 12-16-year-old students.  It spans South African History from the South African War, World War 1 to the first democratic elections of 1994 and the emergence of a new democratic South Africa.

Image result for nelson mandela quotesThe curriculum covers eight historical periods and includes detailed outlines for the literature studies, faith-building reading, natural sciences studies and life skills activities. Footprints into the 21st Century features iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela, as well as other political  religious leaders, sports heroes, and famous South African artists and musicians.

This curriculum provides detailed guidelines, outlines and schedules and my 14 and 15-year-old daughters each completed almost all the reading and most assignments independently.  Most the assignments suggested followed a Charlotte Mason approach, with a variety of narration, research or presentation options.

We stretched this one year curriculum over 18 months, which gave us time to delve deeply and make the most of the experience.  You would need to buy a suitable Maths and 2nd language program to provide a complete highschool curriculum.

When I read the books and outlines, I remembered living in South Africa during the 1980’s apartheid era as a teenager and I was  emotionally moved by the content. However, my daughters viewed much of this as ‘mere’ history and I found that the content was suitable for a younger reader, yet challenging and thought-provoking.  Books like Faith Like Potatoes and The Seed Sower inspired our faith!

I am delighted that  we could study the rich heritage, history, culture, natural sciences, politics and geography of South Africa.  I highly recommend Footprints Into The 21st Century.

Blessings, Nadene

Sonlight Vikings Hands-on Ideas!

Vikings! Wonderful activities and websites to visit!

This theme provided lots of adventure and excitement when we went online and did some of these activities!  Isn’t homeschooling wonderful when we can offer opportunities for our children to become excited about learning and discovering?

Try these other activities in these themes: China Hands On and Roman Hands On

Vikings Make Viking model Chief hall

Tell saga of brave journey to unknown

Identify places on map where Vikings conquered

Paper dolls of Viking clothing

Viking beliefs –

Viking Timeline–

Viking Life–

Viking Trading – – a lovely online game Thorkel and a trading expedition

Write your name in Viking runes –

The Norman Conquest –

Walk through Time BBC Education History age 7-9 – excellent online game identifying objects from eras

Sonlight Roman hand-on-ideas and websites

Here are some activities and websites to visit when doing Ancient Rome!

As I shared before – use every opportunity to make the subject come alive by creating, painting, modelling, making, dramatizing, cooking, eating, decorating, watching, listening and DOING the learning!

Check out my China hands-on list here: China hands-on

Roman Empire Dress in Roman toga

Make mosaic

Have Roman meal lying and eating on mattresses

Make Roman coin with Roman numerals on them`

Pompeii photo tour

Romans In Scotland – interactive- BBC Education See You See Me

BBC Gladiator –Gladiator game – dress a gladiator to kill & see if you win or lose!

Daily life in Pompeii –BBC History – photo gallery

Glossary of Roman words – BBC Romans Glossary

Romans leisure – BBC Romans Leisure

Roman Army – BBC Roman Army

An Arena for gladiatorial games – photos and info

History coloring pages –

Make a mosaic online! Beautiful intricate designs. Print out the results.

Spiegelonline – Google computer-generated images of Ancient Rome

Roman games played in this time –

Roman numeral online matching game – excellent!

Sonlight Ancient China hands-on-ideas

Ancient China hands-on activities and websites

Here are some wonderful websites and activities we used when we studied Ancient China.  We made a fan-shaped project folder and pasted all our narrations in it. Enjoy!  Check out my Roman Hands-on and Viking Hands-on ideas.

Ancient China Map the Great Wall of China

Draw and label life-cycle of silk worm

Grow and feed silk worms?

Make Chinese fan book (Great lapbook theme!)

Make own paper

Paint using an ink stone

Varnish a wooden box

Make and serve jasmine tea

Make and eat Chinese noodles

Learn Chinese characters for names

Chinese inventions

Learn and recite Confucius quotes

Look at Ancient Chinese clothing –

Chinese fans designs –

Great Wall of China – interactive map work –

Learn Chinese characters – interactive game-

Video of Foot binding on YouTube This shows an old woman unwrap her bound feet. Quite awesome! Chinese music and singing accompanies the video! (As always, due to associated videos ads, parental guidance required)

Famous Musicians Notebook and Minibook page

Here is a wonderful free download featuring these famous classical composers:

  • Handel
  • Bach
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven

Notebook page with minibooks

This download includes a biography page for each composer with lines for biography notes and space for interesting facts or illustrations about each composer.

The minibooks include a petal minibook which can be used for each composer.Annotation 2020-02-14 122948

And a hotdog minibook for musical word definitions:

Famous Musician Hotdog minibook

You can download this file free ~ Famous Musicians Notebook with Minibook pages

Enjoy!  Blessing, Nadene