Category: tablet

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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Why you shouldn’t let your kids play on the iPad

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It finally happened – my iPad’s front glass got cracked. You would think I would have learned my lesson about letting kids play unsupervised with my iPad, since my wife’s phone got fried
by our two year old. I am surprised it did not happen sooner. I have let the kids use the iPad for the last two years so I guess I was getting complacent.

This is how it happened:
My older son was trying to get my five year old to come for dinner. He was trying to get my son to stop playing on the iPad. Somehow the iPad dropped on a paint can! That’s right a paint can that just happened to be in the living room.
Even though I don’t have any “games” installed on the iPad my five year old would play on the iPad every hour if he could. since the screen got cracked I decided to I put a password lock on the home screen so he can’t play on it without our permission.
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I was surprised the iPad still worked with the broken digitizer. It looks like just the glass was broken but unfortunately you have to replace the whole iPad digitizer assembly which is very difficult. Thankfully I paid extra to add the accidental insurance from Best Buy. I just dropped it off today to be repaired.
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This is now my second device
that has been damaged by little children. Now I am a firm believer in mobile device insurance.
What do you think about kids and mobile devices? How do you protect your tablet?

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.

You can’t rely on technology for homeschooling

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Technology is great. It can make our lives easier. Technology will magically teach your children right? Wrong!

When the iPad first came out I thought it would be the best thing for homeschooling. While the iPad is great for homeschooling it doesn’t magically reduce the work required for homeschooling. Sometimes it would be nice to sit my kids down with the iPad and learn all they need to know. It just doesn’t happen that way! Your kids actually need to interact with you the parent and teacher.
Oh yeah – the other reason you cant rely on technology – Technology can’t survive being thrown into an oven. Case in point my wife’s new iPhone pictured above. For some reason my two year old put the iPhone in the oven. Usually when he puts things in the oven, we find them before the oven gets turned on! For some reason, on this particular day, the iPhone got toasted by my two year old. Not only can technology go up in smoke it is also expensive to replace. So the moral of the story…don’t let your two year play with your iPhone! Don’t rely on technology to always be the best available tool. Sometimes the old fashion pencil and paper is all you really need.
What do you think? Has technology helped with your home school? Are your kids smarter?

App review: Britannica Kids

Britannica Kids App Review

There are several similar apps from Britannica that focus on history. I was able to buy the Egypt app and the Aztec App when it was on sale for $0.99. Here is my review of the Britannica Kids apps.

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The App has a navigation wheel at the bottom. You touch the arrow and the wheel pops up so you can select the different parts of the app.

There are several games based on pictures. There is a puzzle and there is a picture covered with sand that you can dust off to view the picture. You are supposed to guess the picture but I doubt my kids will do that. There is also a memory game and a magic square puzzle.

There are many pictures but I was a little disappointed that there were only two videos. I have used the pictures several time when we were studying Egypt. There are actual pictures of the modern landmarks and historical sites that you can see today. There are also several ancient pictures of art from that time period.

There are different articles that describe different aspects of life in the Egypt or Aztec culture. There is a list of the gods. You can click on a god and a description tells you more about that Egyptian or Aztec god.

There is a map that shows the location of some of the landmarks along with pictures. When you click on the location the picture is displayed.

The Britannica apps are nice and informative but I’m afraid in the highly interactive day we live in the app may not interest very many children. When my children are given the iPad I seldom see them pull up the Britannica apps. There are just too many other interesting educational apps that they want to “play”. Normally the app is $4.99 but if it goes on sale it would be a good reference tool for when you are teaching about the different subjects.
Update:
Apparently I was wrong about my kids using the Britannica app on their own. I just downloaded the Britannica Ancient Rome app and my ten year old son picked it up on his own. Maybe it’s the Roman soldier but my son really likes the Britannica Ancient Rome app.

Click on the pictures below for app screen shots.

How to pick apps for your homeschool?

How to pick apps for Homeschooling.

There are thousands of apps for the iPad and iPhone. It is easy to get app crazy with all the free or cheap apps. How do you know what app to buy? How do you know if an app is worth the cost? How do you sort through all the thousands of apps to find good apps for homeschooling? Here is what I recommend for finding and choosing good homeschool education apps:

  1. Search the iTunes Education category. Remember that if you are searching on the iPad it does not sort based on popularity. The iPad defaults to listing the newest app first.
  2. Read reviews on iTunes and on other web-pages listed below. The iTunes store will have reviews listed by those who have purchased the app. These will be people who purchased the app without a promo code. Many web site reviewers are given free promo codes to review the app. This is OK but sometimes it it good to know that they did not purchase the App.
Here is a list of recommended app review sites with helpful information.
Before you buy an expensive app I would recommend you also:
  1. Try the free or light version of the app. Many apps have a free version that has limited features that you can try out before you buy. Search the Apple store using the word light with the app title.
  2. Wait for the app to go on sale. Apps frequently go on sale. Several websites list apps for sale. If there is an app you like but you are hesitant to buy because of the price you can try waiting for the app to go on sale. Many apps go on sale around Christmas or around the company’s anniversary.
  3. Buy a couple of .99 apps to get a feel for the value of apps and how much you are willing to spend on an App that may not live up to your expectations.
  4. Look at the number of stars. Each app in the iTunes store usually has a rating. Some apps may not have enough reviews to have a rating. This is OK if the app had a recent update but the older version of the app had good rating. Some websites will sort the app list by its star rating and then by category.
  5. App finding apps:There are also apps you can download that filter out apps. You can try the app Kinder Town to search for good kids apps.
For more helpful advice on picking apps go to moms with apps site and view the article here. I’d love to hear from you about how you find and select good apps for your homeschool. How do you find good apps for homeschooling?

What iBook 2 means for homeschool curriculum

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iBook 2 is Apples latest contribution to the iPad and education. What does that mean for the homeschool community. One of the best things I see is that homeschool books can easily be ported to iBooks 2. {hint please homeschool publishers start making ibooks!}
Here are the highlights of iBooks 2
iBook 2

  • textbook for $14.99 or less
  • interactive Ebooks
  • Quizzes and review questions
  • automatic flash cards from highlights
  • 3D animations

iBooks Author app

  • Easy tool to create ebooks
  • It’s free
  • Publish right to the store
  • highlight text for glossary
  • HTML and Java script
  • import Keynote presentations

iTunes U

  • videos
  • assignments

One downside with iBook 2 is that the textbooks take a lot of memory – up to a couple of Gigs. Also it looks like the iBooks publisher app is only for Macs. Overall though there are tremendous possibilities for the homeschool.

Overall this update should provide an improvement in the use of the iPad for homeschooling. Maybe now I will not spend time looking for lost school books.