Online Learning Sites Our Family Uses

Online Learning Sites Our Family Uses

When people hear that we do most of our learning online, they are curious about which resources we use.  These are the websites that we have liked best. Khan Academy Mango Languages Dreambox Learning Starfall Typing.com Math Aids Handwriting Practice Online Unit Studies Skrafty Creative Live Coursera Udemy DIY.org Code.org We watch lots of shows and movies to learn about things.  These are our favorite streaming sites. VidAngel Netflix Amazon Prime Video   How about you, my friend? What online resources do you use for your homeschooling?  

How Our Digital Homeschool Evolved

How Our Digital Homeschool Evolved

I recently discovered this video by BestReviews trending on social media, and it caught my attention.   This  “Evolution of the Desk” got me thinking about the evolution of our homeschool room and resources over the past 12 years. I considered all the materials I had when we started homeschooling my now 17-year-old. We had a whole bookshelf dedicated to curriculum, workbooks and activity idea books. Two shelves were reserved for the 100+ books that we’d have checked out at the library at a time. We dedicated half of our family room as the “school area”. Now that we’ve embraced digital learning tools, many of our homeschool supplies and material have been substituted with webtools. These are the things that have been replaced (for the most part) with technology….. Our space dedicated to educational materials is now just one shelf for laptops and a few inches of shelf  space for workbooks and textbooks. We’ve eliminated a lot of “school clutter” leaving more space for tools to explore interests and talents. My five daughters do their learning where they are most comfortable. And, we all appreciate the minimalism of digital learning. [Related Post: … [Read on, my friend]

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Social Media as a Learning Tool

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Social Media as a Learning Tool

Have you ever considered social media sites as learning tools? Is social media a part of your homeschool lesson plans?  You probably haven’t considered this because we are the first generation of digital immigrants raising digital natives. So it isn’t very natural for us to consider the multiple uses of online tools. But, it is second nature to our kids. And they learn differently than we did when we were their age. [Related Post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)] I am one of those who believes that social media isn’t all that bad…if it is used properly.  Consider this….most people focus on the “social” aspect of social media.  It’s a way to connect and interact with others, and there is much debate on whether it leads to healthy and “real” social interaction. But have you given much thought about the “media” part of it? “Media” means “the means of mass communication”.  Traditionally, the media classification was reserved for newspapers, magazine, radio and television.  A larger organization was sharing information with the masses. With social media, all of us can be “the media” and communicate with the masses.  We … [Read on, my friend]

Digital Homeschool Project: Virtual Art Gallery

Digital Homeschool Project: Virtual Art Gallery

I’m always on the lookout for nifty webtools for home learning projects. Our kids are digital natives and have different learning needs than we did at their age. Navigating online and using digital tools is second nature. We need to guide them towards productive tech use and assign some digital projects as part of their home education. [Related post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)] I discovered Emaze, a phenomenal tool for creating presentations. It’s Powerpoint on steroids and a “must have” for your techie homeschool’s webtoolbox. How would your kids like to create a virtual art gallery using Emaze? They can use this project to share their own artwork or to demonstrate what they’ve learned about famous artists and artwork.   Check out this Emaze template that homeschoolers use in the Famous Artists Online Unit Study. For each lesson, students learn about the lives and styles of artists from different art movements. They also create artwork of their own inspired by each artist. Then they create an art exhibit for each artist like this. Click the arrows to “walk” through an exhibit about Vincent Van Gogh. Want an art gallery … [Read on, my friend]

What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

Let’s talk about social media. For us parents, it’s a hot topic. We wonder, “Should I let my kids engage in social media? When? Is it safe? What if they see something they shouldn’t? What if they get addicted? What rules do I need to set?” The uncertainties go on and on. That’s because we are the first generation of digital moms who need to figure this out. We can’t ignore it. Social media and online relating are here to stay. If we do our job properly, our kids will one day leave our care and make decisions on their own. And, most likely, one of those decisions will be “I will use social media”. So, my momma friend, you’ve got a responsibility now. It is up to you to teach your children healthy social media habits while they are in your care. Just like you need to let them experience money so that they grow up to be fiscally responsible, you need to let them experience social media so that they grow up to be digitally responsible. [Related Post: 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Famiy] Now (ready … [Read on, my friend]

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Online Images in Student Projects

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Online Images in Student Projects

Let’s face it, my homeschoolin’ momma friend. Our kids learn differently than we did at their age. They have access to all the information they need in their back pockets. They can run circles around us when it comes to navigating apps and computer programs. And they are bold about trying new learning webtools. [Related post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need] And here we are, digital immigrants, with the duty to guide our digital natives toward healthy media habits and productive tech usage. We need to teach them how to use technology appropriately and responsibly.  Now, you wouldn’t want your child to walk into an art gallery and steal a picture off the wall, would  you? I’m pretty confident that you would want them to follow the law and be an upstanding citizen. But, have you taught them not to steal digital images? Do you know the rules and standards for using online images, video and music?  One aspect of digital responsibility is knowing how to use technology and digital media in an ethical way. Your children need to understand that stealing another person’s work is a crime. … [Read on, my friend]

A Homeschool Mom’s “Must Have” Webtools for Teaching Writing

A Homeschool Mom’s “Must Have” Webtools for Teaching Writing

This week I read a post at My Learning Table with ‘7 Tips for Teaching Teen Writers’.  As a former English teacher and current facilitator for a homeschool teen literature group, Anne shared her discovery that ”many homeschool moms don’t even know where to begin teaching writing to their teens.” In her post, she identified two types of writers and ‘7 Tips for Teaching Teen Writers‘ through the writing process of Prewriting, drafting, editing, revising, proofreading and publishing. You may remember the good ol’ writing process from your days as a student.  However, you may not realize that the “how to” of each step of the writing process has changed with the development of technology. So, you, my homeschoolin’ momma friend, need to change the way to teach writing to your children. You see, you’re a digital immigrant and your children are digital natives. They’ve been born into this digital world and it’s all second-nature to them. They learn differently than past generations. [Related post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need) ] Your children need to use webtools for their home education. Using these 4 digital tools makes the … [Read on, my friend]

What I Discovered on My Teen Daughter’s Pinterest

What I Discovered on My Teen Daughter’s Pinterest

Recent conversation with my 14-year-old… Me: “What are you working on, Sweetie?” Her: “Oh, I’m just on Pinterest.” Me: “Really? What are you doing?” Her: “Just getting ideas” Doubts that hit my brain…. “Again? She’s always on Pinterest.” “Should I let her be on so much?” “Is she being productive?” “Is this helping her grow?”   (These is the same “in-my-head” conversations I had when she was younger and always had her nose in a book.) We’ve been teaching our 5 daughters to develop healthy tech habits. [Read 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family] So, I needed to trust her. I bit my tongue, walked away and prayed, asking God to work in Julia if she was developing unhealthy habits. I reminded myself of the guiding Bible verse of our girls’ home education.  (Isaiah 54:13. “All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace”).  Then I realized I hadn’t checked up on Julia’s boards recently. We have taught our girls to stay safe online, and I haven’t had any reason not to trust her.  And since I do more searching than “roaming” on Pinterest, … [Read on, my friend]

25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects (Free Download)

25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects (Free Download)

“25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects” is a must-have list for digital learners. Discover cloud-based applications for creating graphics, video, infographics, timelines, maps and more. Discover tools like…. Emaze – browser-based presentation software with pre-designed templates and helpful tutorials Quizlet – website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes. Tinkercad – simple, online 3D design and 3d printing tool Timetoast – application for creating timelines complete with expanding windows, pictures, text descriptions, and hyperlinks. Powtoon – webtool for creating engaging professional “look and feel” animated presentations …and so many more.  Download your copy of “25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects” To discover more digital learning tools and resources, follow me on Pinterest.  Visit Techie Homeschool Mom’s profile on Pinterest.

5 Ways to Create a Timeline Online

5 Ways to Create a Timeline Online

Timelines….a common discussion topic in the homeschool community. So many popular homeschool methods and curriculums encourage timeline creation, so most likely it is part of your home learning. I was going to let you know all the wonderful things about using timelines, but realized some other bloggers have said it better than I can. Check out Why You Should Make Time for Timelines @ The Unlikely Homeschool or Why Timelines Matter When Teaching History @ Our Journey Westward. I am a history lover, organization freak and visual learner, so I pretty much geek out over timelines. To add history to our unit studies, our family has used multiple methods over the years to create timelines. We’ve done the a drown-yourself-in-paper timeline notebook, the large hide-it-under-the-bed posterboard and the take-over-a-wall-in-your-home timeline methods. Now that I’m embracing the whole digital learning thing, I’ve recognized that I need some online timeline creation tools to offer my girls. As 21st century learners, they need to apply what they learn. They need to create something to process the information they learn, putting the knowledge into action. [Read more about the needs of digital learners] I found these 5 timeline creation … [Read on, my friend]