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’.

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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!

 

 

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?

Cyberbullying

My husband, kids and I just watched a movie called “Cyberbully”. Fashionista (who is 12) had been wanting to watch it for a while, having seen the thumbnail for it on our Netflix account. I had seen that it was rated TV14 so I had told her NOT to watch it. That was a month or two ago. Well, a few days ago, Fashionista informed me that she had decided to watch it. I promptly ‘decided’ to ground her for disobeying.

 

After discussing this with MyHero, we decided that perhaps we should all watch it as a family so that we could discuss it. I highly recommend that parents of teens and preteens do this. Especially if their kids are on the internet a lot and what kid isn’t these days??

 

If you take my advice, let me warn you, there is a good reason this movie is rated TV14. There are no graphic pictures, but the language being used may be offensive to some families. That being said, there was much fodder for discussion in this movie.

 

One example is how someone can become a cyberbully without ever intending to. Near the end they also discuss positive ways of dealing with becoming a victim to cyberbullying.

  • Print out the conversation in which the bullying occurred.
  • Block the sender
  • Talk to a parent or teacher.
  • For more info on ways to deal with cyberbullying you can go to:  STOMPOutBullying.Org or call 855-790-HELP.

 

It would be great to discuss these options with your kids.

 

I realize that I keep saying discuss these things with your kids. That is another very important point. Make sure your kids know that you are on their side. Whether it’s cyberbullying or your son’s excitement to show you that peach fuzz while asking you to teach him how to shave, let them know that you are there for them.

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

Follow up to NaNoWriMo

A few weeks ago I told you I had a NaNoWriMo post . This was where I told you about the National Novel Writers Month challenge that was issued in November. I have asked other parents about this and wanted to follow up on how their kids had done.

 

Some parents said “My child did not finish, Nov 30 came and they stopped writing.”
 
Some parents said “Oh! I love it, my son is determined to keep going until he is finished.”
 
Some parents have said “My child finished and the novel is great and can’t wait for his creative writing tutor to read it.”
 
But my favorite so far was when I asked a student how she was doing at the beginning of December. She said “I am still editing but can’t wait for it to be done! I have put in so many hours and want to read the whole thing.” When I responded. “If she needed extra readers I wold be glad.” She then said in a surprised come back, “Really, cool?!?”
 
What a confidence builder this whole program has become. Oh, I had a parent of a younger student state that in doing this project they learned that their child needs to work on their spelling, you know the basic spelling.  So she is going to use popular word list from spellingcity.com. What a great idea!

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, ever heard of if? It is new to me, I kept seeing this on fb. I kept seeing homeschool kids that I am friends with on fb saying they wrote 1000 words today. That totally confused me. So I decided to do some research.

 

NaNoWriMo means “National Novel Writing Month”  It goes from Nov 1st to Nov 30th.

 

You set goals and word counts. The website has Pep Talks, Web Badges and more.

This is a great way for homeschool authors to get their start in writing. Also a great way to teach writing. I wish I had looked into this before the END of Nov. Maybe we will try this next year.

How is Homeschooling going?

How is our homeschool year going, you ask? Well we seem to be in a groove with my son, not so much with my daughter.  My son is liking his schedule of getting up doing his online science program and his online social studies program.  He gets both of those programs done before I ever get up and get moving.  Once that is done together we move on to Bible, Math and Writing together.  He then does daily reading to end his school day.

He follows a lesson plan notebook that I have written out for him.  This can take a lot of my time, and sometimes I think that an umbrella school to tell me what to assign would be better, but then I am reminded of the old saying “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” Even though it takes more of my time it works for my son and he is the one that matters.

Our system looks like this..

As he fills in the date on the item he finished if there is a score he fills that in too. If for some reason, dentist appointment, that he misses something he can go back and see what is left open with out a date and then do it and fill in the date he did it on along with the score if there is one.

Print, Cursive or Type?

We teach our children to print their letters so they can write words.  But do we teach them to write cursive so they can create a signature or do we skip the cursive and teach our children to type?

 

I remember in school we used to have to write EVERYTHING in cursive when we reached the 4th grade curriculum. If we printed we would get marked down a grade level.  But today in the world of computers do your children actually write period.  Do they know how to write their name in cursive? Do your children know how to read cursive if they need to?

I have tried to make sure my oldest can can at least read cursive. I have been using cursive handwriting worksheets to practice writing out his spelling words. At the same time he is seeing how to read these words in cursive.

 

 

I have also been working on teaching my son how to spell his name in cursive.  Believe it or not that is VERY important for our children.  If you have not done that yet. You really need to teach your child to write their name in cursive. Even if they do know write any other words in cursive they need to be able to write their name as a signature.  Printing their names for important documents as adults will not pass as acceptable.

 

So do your children know cursive? Do they know how to sign their name in cursive?

The fly was about to fly into the window.

Got to love those multiple meaning words like I used in the title.  These can sometimes be hard to teach.  Specially when your child has a hard time with spelling and reading to begin with.  We have been explaining to our son the importance of spelling. I love how spelling city.com has this great set of games to help my son out with these. Spellingcity.com explains those words like this…

Within these two main groups, multiple meaning words can have differences:

  • different capitalization — “You may see a rainbow in May.”
  • different punctuation — “I sent my résumé hoping to find a job and resume working.”
  • different parts of speech — “I like to run” (verb) vs. “I like to go for a run” (noun)
  • different tense — “I would like to read the book you just read.”
  • different degrees (literal or figurative) — “The general ranks above the corporal” vs. “The plane flies above the rooftops.”
We have been using the games on spellingcity.com to help my son improve on the use of these words.