Choosing the Best eBook Subscription for Your Family

Choosing the Best eBook Subscription for Your Family

One of the best ways to start techin’ your homeschool is to include eBooks. Now, I’m not particularly fond of reading eBooks myself. I’m a digital immigrant who tends to stick with what works. But, my kids (and yours) are digital natives. Technology is and always will be a big part of their lives. We need to guide our kids toward using tech in healthy and productive ways. and one way is getting comfortable with them reading eBooks instead of printed books. [CLICK HERE to read “Why Your Kids Should Read eBooks] And the advantages of eBooks are appealing to me as a homeschooling mom…. They take up less space They are usually less expensive than print books They can (usually) be accessed instantly We don’t need to leave the house to get them They don’t get lost There are two options for getting eBooks…you buy ’em or you borrow ’em. We prefer to borrow. With seven family members who like different genres and styles, it would get spendy to buy the eBooks everyone wants to read. But, which eBook subscription service is best for families (or your family in … [Read on, my friend]

Techie Gift Ideas for Homeschoolers

Techie Gift Ideas for Homeschoolers

I’ll admit it. I’m a little sneaky when it comes to gift giving. If you’ve been hanging out with me for long, you know that I’m all about efficiency and function. And when I give a gift, I want it to be something that will be useful, especially for homeschooling.   So, to go along with my goal of inspiring you to add more technology to home education, I’ve got some techie gift ideas that can double as learning experiences for your family. Watch this series of “Techin’ Your Homeschool” replays on Periscope to get some fresh gift ideas. Just click each image below to see the videos.   CLICK HERE to learn more about VidAngel’s gift options. CLICK HERE to discover “100 Online Courses for Delight-Directed Homeschooling” CLICK HERE to shop for Chromebooks (our preferred techie homeschool device). CLICK HERE to get a Minecraft account. CLICK HERE to check out Skrafty, the homeschool server I mention in the scope. CLICK HERE to check out the Kinect on Amazon. CLICK HERE to learn more about Echo I’d love to hear your techie gift ideas. Leave me a comment and let me gifts … [Read on, my friend]

Our Christmas Around the World Tradition: France

Our Christmas Around the World Tradition: France

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t feel like homeschooling between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. There’s so much to do…making gifts, baking, participating in church events. So I pull the “learning from life” card.  But then I feel that homeschool mom guilt of feeling like I’m not doing enough. You now the feeling, right?A few years ago, I found a solution. I realized that learning about Christmas in other cultures would be a great way to keep the learning going. I’d been creating unit studies for my five daughters for years, so why not create a Christmas Around the World Unit Study? I knew that in true unit study fashion, I would be able to integrate all school subjects and come up with a unit that would work for multiple ages. Now studying Christmas Around the World is a family tradition. Being the techie homeschool mom I am, I scour the internet for resources.  We read web articles and watch videos to learn about each country, then explore with Google Maps. We discover the unique Christmas traditions of each culture. And create a craft or other hands-on activity, like a Swedish heart basket, … [Read on, my friend]

100 Online Courses for Delight-Directed Homeschooling

100 Online Courses for Delight-Directed Homeschooling

One of the greatest joys of homeschooling is the freedom to design a child’s education around their interests and talents.  I love that I can direct my children towards their God-given purposes.  I know, without a doubt, that God has designed each of my children for a purpose, instilling interests, talents and giftings in them that they will use to change the world. [RELATED POST: How I Answer When Asked “Why Do You Homeschool”] God has also instilled a natural curiosity and desire to learn in all of us. And, since they have always been homeschooled,  my daughters’ curiosities haven’t been stifled. They have the freedom to learn whatever interests them. And can learn in ways that fit individual learning styles and aren’t limited to “grade-level” instruction. Yes, as homeschoolers, we can even let our kids take classes that are developed for adults. And actually start learning skills that can apply to future careers. Shocking, isn’t it?!? (note my sarcasm). We discovered online courses when my oldest daughter wanted to take voice lessons. We wanted her to prove her interest before investing time and money in private in-person instruction. She started … [Read on, my friend]

Techie Homeschool Project: Illustrated Quote Graphic

Techie Homeschool Project: Illustrated Quote Graphic

You see them all over social media…a beautiful photos with inspiring quotes. It brighten your day, get you thinking and encourage you to keep on going. Illustrated quote graphics are a great project to add to any homeschool study. No matter what you are studying, you can find a memorable quote. It might be wisdom from a notable person or a quote from a favorite story. When your children create their own illustrated quote graphics, they’re activating deep thinking. They’re evaluating memorable words of others, then discovering the perfect picture to go with those words.  Plus, they are developing a techie skill and maybe igniting an interest in graphic design. When selecting a photo for your project, be sure to follow the rules for using online images. (Learn more about that HERE) Or take your own pictures or use original artwork. There are plenty of apps that will create your quote graphic instantly, but I encourage my daughters to create their own with a graphic design program like PicMoney or Canva. They’re able to personalize their image and use lots of problem-solving and reasoning in the process. This tutorial for creating an Illustrated … [Read on, my friend]

6 Reasons Homeschoolers Shouldn’t Buy Gifts

6 Reasons Homeschoolers Shouldn’t Buy Gifts

I’m a firm believer that real-life experiences are the best opportunities for learning. I believe that I need to grab hold of relevant and natural home education experiences for our children. I know that God has designed my kids to be curious and talented and capable of learning through just living life.  And that is part of the reason my children learn at home. [Related post: How I Answer When Asked “Why Do You Homeschool”] Some of the best learning experiences for my children have been when they create something.  And, in our home, Christmas time (or birthday time) ’tis the season for gift making. There’s nothing like a good homemade gift, right? You receive something unique, special and sentimental….often times useful and tailored to you. But have you considered all the “real-life education” that takes place when your homeschool goes all-DIY for gift giving? Why should we encourage our kids to buy gifts when they can learn so much from making gifts? When your children create gifts, they… Learn and/or expand their talents.  Sometimes it may be a new talent or a new twist on a talent they’ve already developed. Develop their problem-solving skills. Things … [Read on, my friend]

50 Online Courses for DIY Gifts

50 Online Courses for DIY Gifts

At holiday time, we encourage our children to make gifts for others. They learn a new skill and develop character traits such as problem-solving, perseverance, frugality and consideration of others. They’re DIY gift giving has even led to income-producing opportunities when others have seen their handcrafted products. As a techie homeschool mom, I direct my kids to the great wide web for DIY gift ideas. And Pinterest and YouTube can be a maker’s best friend….or biggest frustration. You can spend hours finding the perfect idea, only to find the instructions are unclear. Or you can spend hours NOT finding the perfect idea because you are so overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I’ve learned that having your homeschoolers take an online course to learn a craft is the way to go. Your kids are getting complete instruction by someone who knows what they are talking about (unlike the tween sitting in her bedroom on YouTube). And they are gaining experience with online courses, something they will most likely encounter in our techie future. [Related Post: Are You Homeschooling for the 21st Century?] Check out these 50 online courses for DIY gift … [Read on, my friend]

Techie Homeschool Project: Filtered Photo Collage

Techie Homeschool Project: Filtered Photo Collage

In this day and age, it’s so easy to just click a few buttons to alter a photo. Whether you’re editing right inside a social media app or using an outside photo app, you can get just the right effect. But if you have a child just slightly interested in digital photography, it’s important for them to know the “how” behind those filters. What are exposure and saturation? What does “sharpening” do? What is the foundation of photo editing? And which looks do you like best?   In this project from the Techie Homeschool Photography Club, homeschoolers use PicMonkey to experiment with photo editing features and create a Filtered Photo Collage. Not only will your child be learning the basics of digital photography, but they’ll expressing themselves artistically as they decide which looks they like best.     To start, CLICK HERE to register/login at PicMonkey.  I recommend the 7 day free trial so you have access to all the features PicMonkey has to offer. If you don’t like the PicMonkey membership, just cancel after you complete your project. Now, choose a photo you’ve taken to use for your project. Your Filtered Photo Collage … [Read on, my friend]

Saying “Goodbye” to Netflix

Saying “Goodbye” to Netflix

Last week, I broke up with Netflix after 10 years. I remember the geeky joy I felt when we first found each other. I didn’t need to load up my (then) toddlers and babies to go rent a movie…Netflix would just send me one and I could return it whenever I wanted. And quickly, our relationship went to a whole new level and, they started streaming the movies directly to my TV. STREAMING …what a concept!   But, things change and people change and my devotion to Netflix has waned. It hasn’t been wooing me with a great movie selection. And so many titles don’t fit with our needs and values. I don’t feel as “understood” so, frankly, my eyes have wandered. When Netflix and I got together, they were the only video streaming service out there. It was a great alternative to cable, something I did not want in my home. So, last Friday, the Napoli family said “goodbye” to Netflix.    My kids were shocked…there were a few outbursts and even some tears shed by our resident drama queen. But that all subsided when they actually let me … [Read on, my friend]