Freebook Sifter – A Resource for Free eBooks

Oh, I know what I’m doing today when I catch some free time! I’m camping out at Freebook Sifter.

Freebook Sifter is a compilation site of, you guessed it, free ebooks. It has the books sifted into categories and subcategories, including breaking the Children’s eBooks category into age groups and other relevant subjects.

Another advantage is users have rated the ebooks as well. Be aware though that not all books listed are for young eyes!

Check out Freebook Sifter and see what interesting reads you can find. And don’t forget I have a list of ‘reputable ebooks sites’ too.

Freebook Sifter – A Resource for Free eBooks.

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TED-Ed | James Watson on how he discovered DNA

If you haven’t discovered TED-Ed you should really go now!

Here they’ve developed a site that uses the famous TED Talk videos and transforms them into lessons. The lessons include the video, a quiz and ways to dig deeper into the subject. If you don’t care for the lessons they’ve provide you can ‘flip’ it into your own words and references.

Check out this one on James Watson, one of the scientists that discovered DNA. Charlotte Mason would love this first-hand account!

James Watson

TED-Ed | James Watson on how he discovered DNA

Did you know YouTube has a Teacher channel w/tips? #homeschool #edtech

 

 

Teachers Channel – YouTube.

 

 

How to keep files handy across all your gadgets #homeschool

There’s one question I’m often asked most often by fellow homeschool moms….how are you able to use your stuff on all your different gadgets?

First off, instead of saving all my documents, videos, etc to my hard drive, I save it to DropBox. DropBox is a great place on the web which you can access from all your devices, including your computer, your smartphone, and your tablet. You can choose to keep your files private or you can create shared folders so you can share docs and other things with whomever you want. You can sign-up for free and receive 2Gb of storage space. If you refer friends you’ll receive 250Mb more for each friend. I’ve also found my DropBox stored files to be super handy when I’m using a shared computer – I can access my files through a web browser.

For music if you have an Android smart phone I’d use MusicWithMe for storing and sharing my music.  With this app you can sync wirelessly with your iTunes account. You can create playlists and even share them with your friends. You can share your music on Facebook, Twitter or email. See and share music your friends or fellow homeschools like. This would be great for a curriculum that studies particular musical pieces – like AmblesideOnline.

For my bookmarks on my browser I use Google Bookmark on my Google Toolbar. Again I can access my bookmarks from a web browser anywhere, on any device. If you’re using Firefox you can install the Google Toolbar and have your bookmarks fully integrated. While I wish it was the same for Chrome, it is not integrated.

That’s just a couple ways to keep your important stuff handy and useable. Thankfully the more fun devices there are on the market, there will always be more ways to keep connected.

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!

Long car rides ahead? Need audio books? #homeschool

Long car rides ahead? Need audio books?

Today we’re welcoming a guest post from Greta Kvinnsland!

For those long rides in the car this summer or for those who need to listen
instead of use print media, try Librivox Recordings at www.Librivox.org.

Librivox is the result of something called The Gutenberg Project where there are currently over 4000 books available in digital print or audio, for free download.

Kids today might think that older titles aren’t interesting but there are so
many classics here that really are great stories and they have titles for all ages.

You can download a zip file of the entire audio book to your computer and then to
any MP3 player, or burn to CD. The files are available in several formats (I use MP3)
or they’ve also done something quite high tech – you can subscribe to books
as daily podcasts via iTunes and they come to you a few chapters at a time
and they download via iTunes every day on podcast. Search for Librivox inside the iTunes store.

In addition, if you have an Apple product you can download a free audio
reader from the iTunes Store and then get the books – search on Librivox.
On the iPad you can go through a catalog and it downloads the books directly
to your iPad and the reader reads the audio book to you – probably the same for
other Apple products.

The readers are a mix of synthetic voices, and real people reading and I’ve
found some voices I like better than others. With 4000 titles to choose from if I don’t like it I move on. Sometimes I get a British person reading who pronounces words differently and my child doesn’t understand. Some books like Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens novels, Anne of Green Gables, the Bible, have multiple versions and readers to choose from.

There are language courses and books available in, I think, 17 languages
from Latvian to Latin and Hebrew.

If you have a regular computer, then you can download to your computer and use the speakers to listen, or for about $65 you can get a bluetooth headset on Amazon to be wireless or for the same $65 or less you can get any number of MP3 players. Sorry if I’m talking down to anyone but I find that a lot of us parents haven’t had the time to figure out all these options.

Thanks Greta for sharing info on Librivox. It’s a very valuable resource for us homeschooling moms.

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!

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