Technology has become a behemoth in the world today. From cell phones, to laptops, to tablets, the internet is accessible anywhere and at any time. While parents have to carefully navigate the online world with their children, there are a lot of uses for technology in homeschool. Our blog carnival this week focuses on this topic. We use various websites and programs to add some depth and fun to our learning. I find the internet helpful for finding out about topics I don’t know a lot about, and for making some concepts more exciting. These are a few of our go-to websites for school.
At the top of many homeschoolers lists is the free website, Khan Academy. Loaded with videos on topics like upper level math (my least favorite subject!), it has been redesigned to include an interactive using program that is tailored to your level and tracks your progress! You could really use Khan as your entire math curriculum if you wanted to.
Funbrain disguises learning with games. My youngest son likes to go to this website just to play, and I love the fact that he is learning at the same time. Math and reading are the main focuses on this site, with games like tic-tac-toe, math baseball, interactive books, and Mad Libs (remember those 😉 ). This is by no means a full curriculum, but its a lot of fun and is a great website for practicing skills.
Both me and my boys enjoy playing logic games on Lumosity . Full of logic games, we consider this “brain training”. You have to set up an account and are allowed so many free games each day, but it’s enough for us.
We used Starfall a lot when my kids were younger. It’s a great website for pre-readers, with games that practice phonics, phonemic awareness, and other early reading skills. The best part is that the kids enjoy the games, so even for reluctant readers (like my youngest) it is not a hassle to get them to play and learn.
Another favorite from my boys younger days (although I still catch them on it every now and then) the PBS Kids site features all of their favorite PBS characters and a plethora of learning games. My kids particularly enjoyed playing the Cyberspace game and anything related to Clifford. (They still watch that show on Netflix, even though they are in high school and junior high.)
This is a site I recently discovered, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Do you have a child that wonders about everything? If you do, Wonderopolis is for them. Each day, a new question is presented (such as “Are all inventors scientists?”) Kids read some text that give info about the question and then explore the topic further through vocabulary, quizzes, and games.
For the science or nature lover, the National Geographic and National Geographic Kids websites are filled with pictures, stories, videos, games and all kinds of information on just about any topic. This is one of my favorite resources for unit studies.
Art lovers should definitely check out the NGA Kids website. Interactive activities introduce them to art and art history and kids can create their own art in the style of abstracts, still lifes, and period art.
I don’t know if you caught it, but my son caught an episode of Master Chef Junior and decided cooking was his thing! Spattula is a great resource for culinary-minded kids. It has tons of videos on everything from basic techniques (like making the perfect hard boiled egg) to more complicated recipes. My youngest loves to watch the videos and then ask me to help him recreate them in our own kitchen. I love cooking with my kids, and this site has given us some great new dishes.
The best thing about using technology for your homeschool is that so much of it is free. We are on a tight budget, so I really can’t use a lot of stuff that requires a monthly subscription. These websites help make learning fun at no cost to me. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate technology into your homeschool, from using iPads (if you have them, which we don’t) for assignments, to downloading free books that are available in the public domain. I like to use technology as a supplement to our regular curriculum, and incorporating learning websites is the best way I’ve found to do so.
If you know of any great free learning sites that I missed, please let me know in the comments. To see what other crew members had to say on this topic, check out the rest of the Blog Carnival here (link goes live 2/26/14):