Why You Shouldn’t Print Digital Homeschool Curriculum

Why You Shouldn’t Print Digital Homeschool Curriculum

I’m on a mission…a mission to inspire homeschoolers to add more digital learning to their education. We homeschoolin’ mommas don’t have the advantage of a tech director like many schools have.  So, here we are, digital immigrants, trying to meeting the learning needs of our digital natives. [Related Post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)] One simple way for adding more tech to your homeschool is to start using curriculum in digital format (aka ebooks).  I know…you love the look,  feel and smell of “real” books, and you couldn’t imagine replacing your books with eBooks. And I’m not saying that you need to do that. What I’m suggesting is taking this baby step to be deliberately digital with your home learning.   Now, I’ve noticed that some homeschoolers download curriculum and print it  out.  But that pretty much cancels out all these advantages of digital resources. Digital materials take up less space and don’t contribute to your home’s clutter They are usually less expensive They are more portable You can download immediately after rental or purchase, so you’re saving time Using digital resources and ebooks helps your kids view … [Read on, my friend]

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]

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]

How to Choose a ‘Just Right’ Unit Study

How to Choose a ‘Just Right’ Unit Study

“Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” was my daughter’s go-to story when she was little. You know, the one she asked me to read over and over (and over and over and over) again. My little blondie even had a “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” 3rd birthday party.  How cute is that?!?! I remember her cute little voice quoting Goldilocks …”Too soft. Too hard. Just right.” “Too hot, Too cold. Just right”…over and over (and over and over and over) again. Choosing a unit study can feel like a Goldilocks experience. “Too long. Too short. Too dry. Too fluffy. Too rigid. Too flexible. Too much planning. Too many supplies.” It’s hard to find the “Just right” unit study for your family. Unit Studies have always been a part of our home education. I had learned about and embraced the concept of “thematic units” and “integrated learning” when I was pursuing my Secondary Education degree. So, using unit studies to educate my own children made sense. [Related post: How We Homeschool – Our Daily Routine]   For over 12 years, our family has reaped the benefits of unit studies. Interest-led topics keep my … [Read on, my friend]

How I Answer When Asked “Why Do You Homeschool?”

How I Answer When Asked “Why Do You Homeschool?”

“Why do you homeschool?” That is a question homeschooling families can’t avoid. Early in our homeschool journey, I would flounder when asked and throw out a random answer.   “So that we can be the greatest influence in our kids’ lives.” “To strengthen our family” “Because I know my child best.” “So our kids can learn freely about God.” We had decided to homeschool even before our oldest daughter was born. We felt it was best for our family. I had taught school for a few years and knew that I didn’t want our children to attend school. There were lots of reasons in my heart for homeschooling, but I couldn’t verbalize them clearly when people asked.   I realized that I needed a concise answer when people asked, “Why do you homeschool?” I didn’t necessarily need it for the benefit of the person asking. I needed a firm answer to gain confidence about our decision to educate our children at home.  Mike & I needed to clearly define our purpose. I had read a book explaining how to write a mission statement for homeschooling. So, we committed to developing a … [Read on, my friend]

5 Benefits of a Paperless Homeschool

5 Benefits of a Paperless Homeschool

“Mommmmmmm the printer’s not working!” For some reason, that holler grates on my nerves. That is one of the wails I dislike more than anything, probably because I struggle with finding a solution. I see the documents in the queue, but it takes deleting the documents, shutting down the computer, and reprinting to correct it. I have a theory  though. I think the little minions inside the printer forget what they are supposed to be doing because ….we hardly ever use the printer anymore. We only print monthly chore charts and schedules to post on the fridge and an occasional math worksheet. You see, we have pretty much become a paperless homeschooling family. It’s not like we went all environmental and became paperless intentionally. It’s just that we added more interest-led hands-on activities and digital learning to our home education, and naturally paper consumption decreased. I just sort of realized it one day, and then considered the benefits of using less paper.  Paperless homeschooling creates less waste. We can feel good about doing our part to save the planet. Less trees are being killed and less landfills are being filled. Paperless home learning takes … [Read on, my friend]

25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects (Free Printable)

25 Free Webtools for Creating Homeschool Projects (Free Printable)

“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.

Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics? 3 Questions to Ask

Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics? 3 Questions to Ask

Here we are, all home on a Sunday afternoon, most of us cozied up on the couch….and there are six screens glowing. Daddy’s researching products for a client, I’m writing a blog post, two girls are playing Minecraft together, two girls are watching YouTube and one girl is jamming to some tunes while she washes the dishes. Some people look at our family and think “They are on electronics all the time. They should be doing something more productive.” And, honestly, I think that myself sometimes and start doubting our unlimited tech time policy. But, my children are digital natives, and using electronic devices is a way of life for our family. We need to keep a balance between “plugged in” and “unplugged” time, helping the girls to develop healthy tech habits. One of the 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Time for Your Family is to identify useful and productive tech time. If you recognize what is good, you can easily identify the bad.  If you can define worthwhile screen time, you can educate  your kids about productive tech usage. You can guide them toward healthy media habits that will stick with them for … [Read on, my friend]

A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World

A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World

“They’re always sitting in front of a screen. That’s all they want to do. I’m tired of nagging them to get off. Things are so different than when I was a kid. I wish they would just play or read a book or do something unplugged.” Sound familiar? Those are the words in my head. And the conversation I have had with many of my friends. And the complaint I read about online. It’s a big issue for us moms, trying to figure out how to guide our kiddos’ media consumption and electronics usage. And to balance the good of technology with the bad. Living in a tech-driven world is not all evil, so why do we struggle so much with our kids being “plugged in all the time”?   Well, I have a theory. It’s not anything backed by scientific research or piles of data. It’s just a little thought from my brain…and my heart. My momma friend, I have concluded that the source of our frustration with our kids’ tech usage is, simply, our ignorance. I’m not saying we are “ignorant” in a negative and derogatory way. It’s just … [Read on, my friend]

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]