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
- 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!)
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
- 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
- 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.
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!