Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschooling and Technology

I don't usually do homeschool posts on this blog. I'm hoping to do that more. And crafting posts too. We'll see how it goes.

I want to mention some sites/things we are doing/using for our homeschooling. What I'm mentioning are free and for some of them you can get expanded features for a little extra. I have not been given anything by these sites to use them. I like them and I find them useful so I'm sharing the knowledge. We use them for homeschooling, but they can also be used to suppliment a public school education. The grades we are working on are all elementary, so please keep that in mind.

Kid Zui is a great kid's browser. I love how I can set up accounts for each individual kid. I also get sent an email of what the kids were doing, what sites they were going to, how long they were on it. It gives me comfort to know that they are doing things that are safe. I can also allow sites to go through that KidZui won't automatically. Each kid has their own avatar that they can customize. We paid a little extra so that they can earn more points and open new options for avatars and backgrounds. Jayden's account is pink'd out and James currently has a space theme. They use this for their free computer time but also for their schoolwork. By getting the emails, I know if they were on the site they were supposed to be for doing their schoolwork.

Academic Skill Builders is another great site. Their main site has a lot of different games that introduce and reinforce basic skills. They also have a section of games that can be used with the wii. You just need to have your wii set up to go online and you can get there. The games for the wii are meant for kids with basic reading/math skills already in place. They also work on stuff meant for kids up through 4th/5th grade. There are 9 levels for each game, each level takes 1 minute. The math games are multiplication, addition, and subtraction. The language games work on grammer, verbs, and antonymns/synonyms/homonyms. By having James do the work on the wii, he's using a video game to do his work (makes it more appealing to him), I'm not needing to print out a bunch of worksheets (more appealing to me so I don't have to track the work down and I save printer ink and paper), and with it being interactive I am hoping he retains it better. I like with the wii games I can walk into the room and directly observe him doing the work and know immediately what he's doing and where he might need some help.

ABC Mouse is a site that I like for preschool and kindergarten skills. With the difficulties Jayden has with language and reading, this is a great site for her. I also set up an account for Izzy to work on some basic skills. You can try it out for a week for free, then it's $7.95 a month for three kid accounts. We did the free week trial and Jayden LOVED it. I liked that she could navigate the site with little reading skill required. The games reinforced the basic language/reading skills I am working on her with. There are math, music, and art activities as well. I love the readalong books. Jayden would pick a story and the words would light up as the story was read.

I use a lot of sites for printing papers. I'll do another post for a more in depth list of those. Some quick mentions are CurrClick and Enchanted Learning. Both sites have a lot of free downloads. With CurrClick it is a central site for a lot of different publishers. They offer free downloads and samples. You can also choose to pay for some stuff. The prices vary by publisher. With Enchanted Learning, you can choose to pay $20 a year to get unlimited downloads. By doing that you get a lot more available to download as well as downloading lessons/books all at once instead of page by page.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Remember that just because you homeschool (or know someone that does) doesn't mean you can't utilize technology to help you teach. Look through the sites. Try them out. Share them with others. Keep the learning going.

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