Streaming and Learning

Not all that long ago, the only time I ever thought about using the TV (in any way) in my homeschooling, would have been if we needed a sick day for mom. And mom would have to have been really sick to default to that, lol.

But, how does that Bob Dylan song go? Times they are a changin’.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 12.51.00 PM

Streaming video services have been on the rise. Why wouldn’t they be? They are cheaper than cable and you basically have everything on demand; you’re not looking through a guide waiting for something to air at a certain time or on a certain channel. Just as with so many aspects of technology, streaming video services are becoming valuable to homeschooling families, and not just for the latest season of The Flash! ;)

Do your kiddos have an interest in bees? There’s a documentary for that. Are they interested in cooking? There’s a TV show for that. Maybe as family, you guys are interested in learning about other world cultures? Yep, you can find films for that.

Here are a few links that have been recommended by other homeschoolers, covering many ages/grade levels:

**DISCLAIMER — only you as a parent can judge what’s appropriate for your kiddos. Goes without saying, but please understand that these suggestions come from many homeschooling families, each with different ideals and belief systems. :)

Netflix

Amazon Prime Video

YouTube

Do you have favorites that you’ve discovered? Add them in the comments below and we’ll update our list to include them!

 

 

Preventing Summer Brain Drain

Whether you homeschool or not, summer brain drain seems to be a real issue. Kiddos learn and learn and learn all school year long, then when they take an extended break, end up seeming to forget so much of what they absorbed throughout the year.

What are some things that you can do to help prevent that brain drain?

Play online learning games. This is especially fun for those elementary aged children who love being on the computer. There are paid sites AND free sites out there with tons of games. One of my family’s favorite free sites is Learning Games for Kids. SO. Many. Games. :D

If your children are older, keep their minds active by practicing spelling and vocabulary word building skills. Vocabulary Spelling City can help with that, for all grades, K-12!

Go outside and explore. Seems basic enough but many people forget just how much they can learn from simply walking around their neighborhood or town. Nature, science, history…it could all be right there near you.

If you’re looking for something more formal than game play, as maybe a summer school program or a summer learning program that’s an alternative to traditional summer school, take a peek at how Time4Learning can help you during the summer months.

T4L-SummerLearningMeme-2015-1

What about you and your family? What tips and tricks do you have for keeping young brains sharp during the summer break?

Printable Resources and Worksheets

 

A list of free printable resources and worksheets perfect for homeschool or as a school supplement.

Wait. What? Isn’t this the “Electronic Age” blog?

Don’t go anywhere…you’re in the right place! Normally we do focus on all things connected. But what do you do when you need/want to disconnect for a little while?

Whether you want stuff to have on hand if the power/internet goes out, or you want to hang out outside and away from home, or you just want to pull your kiddos and their eyeballs away from a screen for a bit, printable worksheets can come in really handy. So here are some of my favorite printables and printable resources:

Handwriting worksheets – I like to create our handwriting worksheets over at SpellingCity.com. Why? Two (or three if you count vocabulary practice as well as spelling practice) birds with one stone. I just grab some of their weekly spelling lists and viola! Done. ;)

Lapbooking printables – You can find TONS of lapbook resources out there…everything from the super detailed, all the way to the super simple. One cute such “simple” is this free lapbook pocket printable from Time4Writing.

Sample printable worksheets – Don’t really need a lot, or not sure what you need? You can find free and sample worksheets all over the web. Even paid curriculum programs like Time4Learning offer sample worksheets that you can print for free!

Game play – Not all FUN game play has to be done online (shock!). Some of our favorite (and free…there’s that word again!) game websites offer printable versions of some of their games. A word search from Vocabulary Fun or math crossword puzzle from Learning Games for Kids are just a couple examples.

What about things that you may need to print, that aren’t really worksheets at all? Things like templates, certificates, etc? Ask and you shall receive. :D

Printable Homeschool Transcript Templates
Printable Homeschool Diploma Templates
Printable Graduation Planner
Printable Homeschool Report Card Template
Printable Community Service Log

So those are some of my favorites. Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite printables and printable resources (free or paid) in the comments below!

Sharing Our Successes…

This time of year is always the time when we as parents/teachers/homeschoolers reflect on the school year that we just wrapped up, or will wrap up over the summer. Instead of stewing over what might have gone wrong (we all have those things, don’t feel bad), let’s share and celebrate each other’s successes.

Homeschool Celebrations

I’ll start. ;)

We finished our first year of high school homeschool this year! I was a nervous wreck before we started, and had been worrying about high school for years. As it turned out, it really went just as smoothly as every other year. There were some initial struggles with how much time we spent on school (prior years we were more relaxed and took a more interest led approach), but when my son talked to other kids who were in high school in public school, and was told about just how much time they spent doing homework AFTER school…well, those struggles were quickly overcome.

Now, let’s hear from you! After you’ve shared in the comments below, take a look at some of these incredible homeschool success stories:

http://www.pinterest.com/lhshs/in-the-news/

 

Online Summer Learning

Brain drain. It happens all the time. Kids everywhere experience it. Young minds feel so fresh and full when the school year wraps up, only to feel slow and groggy and not as full when the next school year rolls around in a few months.

imagesSo what can you do to help prevent the summer brain drain in your kiddos?

Here are some excellent online resources that you have at your avail. These online resources can be a nice break from traditional workbook/textbook learning environments, and work well for homeschoolers and public/private schoolers alike!

Time4Learning – T4L is a fun, multimedia program for grades K-8 that has lessons and activities for language arts, math, science and social studies. It can be used for summer learning, but can also be used all year long as a core curriculum, or as a supplemental resource.

VocabularySpellingCity – VSC is an award winning program who’s mission is efficient game-based study of literacy skills. Their summer program is perfect for all grades, K-12!

Time4Writing – Writing, whether it be creatively or essay writing for the SAT (and everything in between), can be one of the hardest areas for students fighting brain drain. With T4W’s flexible course schedule, summer writing practice has never been easier.

These are just a few, of many, online resources out there. Share with us…what are your YOUR favorite resources and activities for fun summer learning?

Technology and Learning to Read

There are so many things out there now in today’s technology to help our kids in their learning to read.  Between preschool games online to even foreign language games.  With the biggest gift giving season here.  I am getting all kinds of emails and sales ads for learning to read toys that are portable.

 
 

Here are a few of the top toys I have seen this season.

  
 

LeapFrog Leapster 2 Learning Game System – Green 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
  
 
 
 
 
 

LeapFrog TAG Reading System – Green
 
 
 
 
 

LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet (Pink) 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

Vtech – InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
But then if you want to have something you child can use and you can too there is always the Kindle.

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi

 
 
 
 
 
 

If you want your kids to do their Time4Learning.com curriculum out in public then you can always get the Nook Color ebook reader.  Just down load the adobe flash player and your child can do school on the go on it.

Barnes & Noble NOOK Color eBook

Fall Line Up

It is that time of year back to school time, no matter if you are homeschooling or going to a brick and mortar school.

 

Another thing that starts back up at this time of year are “New” episodes to some of the prime time TV shows.

 

With all these new shows and return shows starting back up w/ new episodes.  Have you looked to see what is age appropriate for your child/teen? Did you know that each show has a rating system to help you the parent to know what is age appropriate?

 

 

 

These ratings will show up in the corner of the screen each time a show begins.  This will help you to know if the show is age appropriate for your child/teen. To understand these ratings better check out The TV Parental Guidelines web site.  But remember just because a show has a rating of TV Y7 does not mean that it is okay for your 8 year old. This is just a guideline.  You the parent is should have the final say on what is age appropriate for your child/teen.

 

Contractions, why?

When you read a book to a preschooler do you ever pay attention to the wording in the book?  This past weekend I read a book to my children and was so surprised at the use of contractions.  Yes, I said contractions.  The definition of a contraction is

 

“A contraction is a shortened form of one or two words, one of which is usually a verb. In a contraction, an apostrophe almost always takes the place of the missing letter(s), for example “don’t” is the contraction for “do not”.  ”

 

In a world where there is so many texting lingo.  I figured that our children’s books should have very clear language.  Not that contractions are complicated, because they are not.  My only concern is that our children are learning language and reading skills at an early age.  To me contractions will confuse young children.

 

As children grow older they will be able to learn about spelling contractions in school and maybe with contraction games.  But again that will not be till they are in school.  Why is there such a rush for our preschoolers to grow up?

Keeping Your Kids Brain Awake During Summer

How do you keep your kids brain’s awake during summer?  I mean really if you stop school in June and do not pick up ANY educational items till August/September how would you EVER expect to keep your kids brain awake.  In today’s world it is so easy to add simple ways to keep your kids brain awake and alert.

 

One way would be have your child read over the summer.  Most public schools offer a reading list.  If you homeschool, you are welcome to check out that reading list also.  I know in our area the Barns n Nobel have these books set a side. So they are easy to find in their book store.

 

Another way is to play games on line.  I bet your kids would have a ball playing oxymoron games or what about US State games. There are all kinds of on line games out there to help.

 

One last way to help your kids brain stay awake during summer is to have then journal daily.  Encourage them to journal daily about what they are doing each day during the summer.  Encourage them to be aware of their punctuation and spelling.    You could even have them journal on the computer in a word doc.  This would give them typing practice too.

These are just a few ideas on how to keep your kids brain awake during summer vacation.  Do you have any ideas? Please share if you do.

Summer Reading

Summer is coming only a few weeks till most kids are done with school.  We at our house school year round.  But for the average kid they are out for the summer.  When I think of summer I think of pool fun, playing outside, beach and summer reading.  Yes, I said summer reading.  There is just something about finding a good book and a shady place to read.

 

I love that there is a website that has links to books by homeschoolers . This website has list of books by homeschoolers, interviews with the authors, reviews and so much more.  You can even request books and homeschool book reviews.  What makes this a well rounded site is that covers even picture books not just chapter books.  That makes it even easier for a mom like me who has a preschooler and a middle schooler who is looking for good books for all of my children to read.