Category: curriculum

SchoolhouseTeachers online learning

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I am really excited about a new online learning resource called SchoolhouseTeachers. It is a website chalked full of resources for all your homeschooling needs. It is basically an online curriculum that you can access on your computer or tablet. The brains behind Schoolhouse Teachers website are the same that produce the Old Schoolhouse magazine.

With so much information online, sometimes I end up wasting time looking for school ideas or worksheets for school lessons. With SchoolHouseTeachers you do not have to waste your time looking for homeschooling resources.  SchoolHouseTeachers has resources for all school levels even high school.

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There are a number of resources you can print out like copy work from SchoolHouseTeachers online copybook library.  You can follow along with daily lesson plans or you can search for the subject you are teaching.  Daily lessons are organized for quick and easy access in the Dailies Archive.  There are numerous articles about art, homemaking and housekeeping, and nature.  There are also a number of ebooks.

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On the iPad

I tried out the SchoolHouseTeachers web site on the iPad and everything seems to work just like on the computer.  There are no interactive features for students but SchoolHouseTeachers is an excellent resource for Teachers and parents.

Membership

One of the best features though is the fact that you can get a free year long subscription to Schoolhouseteachers.com if you are a member of Homeschool Leagal Defense.  If you are a member of HSLDA then scoll to the bottom of the page and click on the PerX member discounts to learn how you can get year long access to SchoolHouseTeachers.com.

Free digital Old Schoolhouse magazine

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Did you know that the Old Schoolhouse Magazine is now digital and it is free?

Occasionally we have had subscriptions in the past to the Old Schoolhouse magazine. I am also signed up for the email newsletter but somehow I missed the transition to digital.

Since the magazine is no longer in print (except as a yearly volume) The Old Schoolhouse stared a special online education portal. It is called SchoolhouseTeachers. Not only is the Old schoolhouse digital magazine free but you can try out Schoolhouse Teachers for a year free if you are a homeschool legal defense member!

The digital version of the Old Schoolhouse magazine is like typical magazine. You can scroll through different volumes. It looks like the archives go back quite a ways but I quit looking at 2010 issues. Navigation in the magazine app is not the most fluid experience but it works OK. There is also a search function that could help find a specific topic.

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How to turn around your childs education

I just came across this video that made me think twice about why and how I homeschool.  It is similar to a lot of the talks Sir Ken Robinson has over at Ted talks.  This talk is called  “Stop Stealing Dreams” by Seth Godin.

Why do you Homeschool?  Chances are that you homeschool in part to give your children a good education.  But did you know:

“Large scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars.”

“If we give kids the foundation to dream, they will figure out the grammar and the history the minute it helps them to reach their goals and make a difference.”

You can download Seth’s book for free at this link.

What do you think?  I don’t totally agree with everything Seth says, but I think has does have some good points.  So for now I will keep using google but I will also keep making my kids learn spelling words.

Kindle Fire FreeTime

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Amazon just added a feature that might interest parents with kindle fire. It’s called Kindle FreeTime. It’s an app provided by Amazon that allows kids access to videos and apps geared towards kids. It allows parents to set content control and daily screen time limits. You can restrict the amount of time games can be played without restricting reading time.

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Unfortunately for me FreeTime is NOT available for the first generation Kindle Fire! If you have the new Kindle fire or the Fire HD then the app should show up in your Apps library.
FreeTime unlimited
Along with the FreeTime app you can also subscribe to FreeTime unlimited service. This looks like a great option if you buy a lot of content. The FreeTime unlimited service allows you to use kids apps and watch kid videos without buying them. You do have to pay a monthly service fee though. The costs start at $2.99 for prime members. Without Prime a single profile subscription is $4.99 a month and a family plan is $9.99 a month.

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Bottom line:
If you have a newer Kindle Fire then FreeTime will help add more parental control for parents. If you use the Kindle fire for homeschooling then you may want to try FreeTime unlimited. You could use it for a month to evaluate apps before you buy. The best deal would be for amazon prime customers. I don’t think I could justify the cost especially for the family membership with multiple customers. Amazon has a free 1 month trial available until January 15th. So if you have a new Kindle Fire you can try it out and let me know what you think.

Kindle Fire

How to get rid of your math curriculum

Math is the subject parents love to teach right?  Wrong! Even though I have a minor in math, I can still get frustrated trying to explain what seems like simple concepts to my children.  The traditional math curriculum utilizes a number of worksheets to cover each new topic.  At our house many times there is a search for the math book before we can even get started.  We have tried several different math curriculum. The problem we encounter is the different learning styles of our different children.

My goal is not to have my child finish their X grade math book.  My goal is for my child to master the math concepts.  I know I never mastered some of the most basic math concepts so I vowed that my children would master math.  Since we started homeschooling I have tried to chose curriculum with that goal in mind.

Most curriculum is still based on the grade levels with lots of workbook activities.  With math, you usually need instructions at all levels.  Sometimes while trying to teach my kids, I would show one of my kids a Khan video.  My daughter was having problems recently so I decided to look at Khan academy once again.  Below is an example of one of the Khan videos.


Multiplication 5:  2-digit times a 2-digit number: Multiplying a 2-digit number times a 2-digit number

I was surprised that Khan academy has been updated to taking tutoring to the next level and paves the way for eliminating math curriculum.  Now at Khan academy you can track your childs progress along with watching all the tutorial videos. Students can also practice on the computer with thier progress being recorded.  You can create a mentor account at khanacademy.org.  You can then add each of your children under your account.  To do this you just log into your account and then add /createchild to the end of the web address and then press enter

www.khanacademy.org/createchild

The only problem I had was that my passwords I chose were too weak and therefore not accepted.  Finally I capitalized the first letter of my password and it was then accepted.  Once you have added your children you can then watch their progress as their mentor.

Creating accounts for your children on Khan academy now allows you to track the progress of your children.  There are some other advantages also to using Khan academy.

Advantages:

  1. I don’t get frustrated with explaining again and again.
  2. They can watch the videos as often as they like
  3. Self paced learning – learn for mastery.
  4. Record of individual progress.
To see more of Khan academy in action you can watch the Ted talk about Khan Academy.

Last but not least there is also an iPad/iphone app for Khan academy.

So have I gotten rid of my math curriculum?  Not yet but in the future hopefully I can track the progress of my children with Khan academy.  Who know maybe one day I can just say we use Khan academy for our curriculum.  What do you use for your math curriculum?  Do you use a tablet in place of worksheets?