Our Homeschool Adventure Blog

Chronicling our adventures as a small homeschool family with mom and dad both as teachers

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

How Technology is Changing How We Homeschool: Revisted

Back at the end of October I wrote about how we were starting to use some technology tools in our homeschool plan.  I thought I would revisit this topic and give you an update.

First, before I get into that though, I wanted to share some exciting news with you.  Starting in February, I will be a contributing writer over at the site So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.  I’m so excited to be joining this great group as we travel our homeschool journey together and to have the opportunity to write about homeschooling an only child.  I’ll be sure to let you know when my first post is up over there, but head on over now to check out all the awesome stuff that’s already there!

Now, back to an update on our use of technology in NDEW’s homeschool experience.

First, we still LOVE his Kindle.  Like love it so much that he uses it at least a little every day.  It was so worth the money we spent on it.  Some of our favorite school apps right now are:

  • (Still) 5th grade learning games
  • (Still) Stack the States
  • (Still) Rhythm Cat
  • Jog Nog
  • Grammar Up
  • Arithmemouse
  • All the (free!) classic myths and legends books from around the world (I know it’s not an app, but we still use these a lot!)
  • Notebooks

I have to say a little more about Notebooks:  With this app you create virtual notebooks and can then write information in them.  You can make as many notebooks as you like, for as many subjects as you like.  You can write in each notebook as well as attach things like pictures and drawings.  Here’s the really cool part to me.  You can export the content of each notebook as a pdf (including attached drawings and pictures) and then save it or print it out.  NDEW has five notebooks currently.  They are Khan Science, Khan History, Myths and Legends, Electronics, and Weather.  After he works in one of these subjects he does a brief entry in his notebook describing what he did and what he learned-like a learning journal.  Then, at the end of the year, we’re going to keep the pdf of each as a part of our records for the year.  It’s a great little tool!

Back in October I also mentioned that we were beginning to use Asana as a record keeping and planning tool.  This is working out so well.  Every Sunday night I go into Asana and enter NDEW’s tasks for the upcoming week.  The tasks are organized by “project”.  For us, a project might be a subject or a source of material that NDEW uses.  Some of our projects include (not a full list):

  • Khan Academy Math, Science and History
  • Literature
  • Other Reading
  • Kindle Extras (like the apps I mentioned above)
  • Non-Kindle Extras (like music and karate practice, doing the Wii Fit, even, sometimes cleaning his bathroom!)
  • Other Science
  • Grammar
  • E-Learning for Kids (more about this in a minute)

I set all the due dates in Asana to the Friday of the week and then, each morning NDEW and hubby go online to Asana and select which of the tasks NDEW will do for the day.  At the end of the day, they go in and check of the completed tasks and I get an email showing me what he checked off for the day.  Getting this email helps so much with the “What did you do for school today?” question when I get home.  Even homeschool kids like to give the “some stuff” or “not much” type answers!  Now, I get home and I can say, “So I see you read __________ myth today.  Tell me what happened in the story?”  or “I saw you finished that project today.  Awesome job!  Show it to me!”  As I said before, I use Asana at work but I am SO glad we started using it for homeschooling too!  It’s made planning a lot easier for me!

Lastly, I wanted to share about an online e-learning source we’ve started using.  The website is E-Learning For Kids.  Their content is divided by subject matter and grade level and it’s very well done.  NDEW really enjoys it and it provides great review of concepts for him.  He works on it three times a week.  Best of all it’s FREE!  Yes, that’s right, free.  I seriously kept looking all over the site for some kind of hidden cost, and I haven’t found one yet.  They do ask for donations, but it’s definitely not required.  If you have a kid in preschool-middle school and are at all interested in some online learning content, go over and check it out.

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I would love to hear of any online or technology resources you use in your homeschooling plan, in a classroom, or with your kids.  What are your favorite resources?  Please share!

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What a year!

What a year!

Yes, yes…I know.  I’m a little late to the “Year in Review” thing, but before checking in on what we’re up to now, I didn’t want to dismiss what a crazy, awesome year 2013 was for our family.  Sure, there were things that were challenges or struggles, but overall, as we have looked back through 2013, we are overwhelmed by the ways our family has been blessed.  2013 did not look how any of us thought it would, but what an incredible year it was!  Some highlights for our family this year, in no particular order:

  • Starting our family’s homeschooling journey.
  • NDEW participating in the enrichment classes offered by our local homeschool association, meeting some new friends, and finding new interests in music, art, and karate.
  • Our family traveling to Orlando for an amazing conference for my job, a trip which included getting to spend time with some friends and family we don’t see often, getting to serve together, and getting to participate in some incredible worship experiences (Can you picture over 2500 people, representing over 100 nations, worshiping together in one room in 5 different languages?  It was AWESOME!)
  • NDEW receiving 100s of postcards from friends and family (and some strangers!) from all over the US and learning some great US geography along the way.
  • My sister and brother-in-law’s wedding!  Yay Mr. and Mrs. Johel!!! (AKA T-Tye and Tim!)
  • The incredible kindness and love shown to us by friends and family as I recovered from pretty extensive sinus surgery (and how much better I feel after said sinus surgery!)
  • Meeting Dr. Ronald Franklin, finally getting some long-sought answers for NDEW, and learning about his prosopagnosia.
  • Hubby and I having the opportunity to serve at two One Day with God camps through Forgiven Ministries at Avery Mitchell Correctional and Northeast Correctional and being able to serve Christmas dinner with folks from multiple local congregations at Avery Mitchell.
  • NDEW becoming involved with Beanstalk Community Theatre, being a part of his first production, The One and Only Santa Claus, and finding a new passion for acting.
  • Hubby’s surprise 40th birthday party and the opportunity it gave us to spend time with some of our very best friends and our family.
  • NDEW getting baptized!
  • NDEW’s 11th birthday fishing-themed party, during which the girls out-fished the boys.

As you think back through your 2013 I hope you feel all the blessings in your life, even those blessings hidden in the struggles.  Our family wishes you the most wonderful New Year you can imagine, and then even more!  We worship and serve a Heavenly Father that’s all about “even more”!

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Happy New Year!!

(PS  Check out my next post with an update on some of our newest technology favorites! Oh, and enjoy some pictures from our 2013!)

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