Funnix Reading Program FREE! #homeschool

If you haven’t tried Funnix Reading Program you can now, for free, until mid-February. It’s currently only available for your Mac or PC.

Head over and grab it while you can!




McGuffey Readers and Spelling book – free on Amazon for Kindle #homeschool

A fellow homeschooler was kind enough to post on an email list that Amazon has the Kindle versions of the McGuffey Readers and the McGuffey Spelling book for free.

Remember that you can find a Kindle reader app for your devices and computers here!

My dirty little secret… #homeschool #charlottemason

Okay, it’s out. I have a dirty little secret. I love technology AND I’m a Charlotte Mason homeschooler.

I know, I know. Some people may think that you can’t pitch your tent in both camps. How can you be a follower of an educational philosophy from the turn of the last century that embodies the essence of delicious living books while advocating the use of, dare I say it…screens…??!?!

Well, any modern day follower of Miss Mason knows that it’s the perfect philosophy for technophiles for a number of reasons. The most obvious being the proliferation of ebooks.

If there’s one thing that stands out amongst Charlotte Mason types, it’s our love of quality books. Good, well-written, ‘living’ books where the author embraces the passion of their chosen subject and passes it along to the reader. Thankfully, an extraordinary number of quality books are now available as ebooks for free or fairly inexpensively. Check out my previous post where I list reputable free ebook sites. You can’t beat the ability to store and read thousands of books on devices as small as an iPod Touch or a Kindle or an iPad and have them accessible when you need them instead of sitting, hidden behind another book, somewhere on a shelf.

Charlotte Mason also advocated short, focused lessons. And nothing draws a child’s attention like a ‘gadget’. Technology can help a distracted child focus those precious minutes on learning while still satisfying their curiosity. I’ve found that it takes twice as long to drill math facts by ‘hand’ (flashcards) than if I had my child drill with a website. And well-designed sites and apps also chart progress and other interesting stats. Check out Math-u-See’s drill page for distraction-free practice.

Foremost, Miss Mason’s philosophy encompasses education as being an ‘environment’, a ‘discipline’, a ‘life’. I think that by providing your children with an environment that incorporates technology instead of fearing it, the precedent is set for your child’s success in the future.

Do you have a teen wanting to develop smartphone apps? #homeschool #edtech

I saw this reference in Mashable today:

“In late 2010, Apple approved 14-year-old Robert Nay’s app, Bubble Ball, for publishing on the App Store, where it quickly racked up 2 million users and, for a short while, even wrested the ever-popular Angry Birds from its perch at the top of the download charts. It’s a staggering achievement for a young teen with no formal programming experience -– never mind education. No skills. Nada. Zip.
Nay used an application called Corona that essentially allows users to build smartphone apps using a graphical interface, eliminating the need of any coding skills. He’s a pioneering user of the next generation of platform dependencies — innovations upon which further innovations can be built.”

If you have a teen that’s interested in smartphone app development Corona is  worth checking out. The development  environment is free. When you’re ready to distribute your games and apps on the App Store or Android Market then you’ll need to purchase an subscription.

Let me know how it goes!

Borrow Kindle ebooks from your library? coming soon! #homeschool

Amazon announced today that they will make Kindle books available for borrowing through libraries later this year.

It looks like they will be working with Overdrive Media and the ebooks will work with all versions on the Kindle and Kindle apps (yay!!).

One of the nice features is that with Amazon’s WhisperNet technology users will be able to make notations and bookmarks that will remain with the borrowed ebook should a user check out the book again. How handy will that be for schooling multiple children? You’ll be able to keep notes, reading schedule, etc for subsequent children without having to think about storage.

One think to keep in mind is that there will be limited copies of ebooks available for check-out. For popular titles still expected long waiting lists.

Technology News: E-Readers: Amazon Kindles Enthusiasm of Library Crowd.

Drag and drop programming gets kids started early – Hack a Day

Forget about reading the actual post, it’s the comments on this one that’s the most interesting.

A number of people have weighed in on their opinions on better programming tools for kids. And whether kids really need to learn programming at a young age – do they need more screen-time? Shouldn’t they be outside playing with their friends?

Check it out and I’d love to hear what you think!

Drag and drop programming gets kids started early – Hack a Day.

Timez Attack – Multiplication Video Game

Timez Attack – Multiplication Video Game

Right now I have 2 children both of whom are struggling to memorize their multiplication tables. Don’t worry though, they both understand the true meaning of multiplying and can skip count in their sleep, it’s just the instant recall of what is 8 x 8 that they need.

While I’ve tried plain old cardboard flashcards there just hasn’t been a lot of ‘engagement’ – it’s hard to get excited about flashcards. Thankfully someone from our homeschool group recommended the Big Brainz ‘Timez Attack’ application. At the time, it was an application that was downloaded – currently they also offer an online web-based version. The best thing is they offer an amazing FREE version.

We’ve been using the online version with great success. It offers a real ‘video game world’ experience, unlike math apps. While it may seem appealing initially to just boys they also offer a castle/girl world that my daughter been enjoying and progressing nicely.

They also offer paid versions which provide other worlds and experiences. Disclosure: the link above is an affiliate link.

I really highly recommend this wonderful app – the kids love it and consistently ask to use it, every day. Can’t ask for more than that!

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