Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Computers Help People Help People -- BFS#110

Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Please try to learn our memory verse this week. We will be sharing a new verse every week and hope that you will store them in your hearts and find a special joy in His words.

Intro: Computers Help People Help People (Marketing credit: IBM)
There are many ways computers help us. It is a wonderful way to stay in touch with family far away, “meet” other christian women around the globe, and it can be such a blessing with homeschooling.

Assignment: Share some of your favorite homeschooling sites. The only “rule” for this assignment is that you have to list at least one “free” site. Many homeschooling families have made the choice to live on very little income to do what they believe is best for their children and I want everyone to be able to benefit from this assignment. If you have other sites that are “paid” sites, feel free to include these also as it might be something someone would really appreciate. If you feel led, share your curriculum choices with us. I always love to learn what is out there that I don’t already know about. Please make sure to include links to the sites you share.

The only difficulty in this assignment for me is limiting the post to a reasonable size! ;^)

Over the years, I've used many, many different internet sites for curriculum, information, testing and supplies. Some of these sites I used for only a season. Enchanted Learning, for example, is a great site for outline drawings, easy craft ideas, and other ideas for elementary grades.

Once upon a time, Enchanted Learning was a free site; it is no longer. When they decided to make it a membership site, I decided to look elsewhere. I'm just a cheapskate, I guess. I think the main reason I decided to not pay the membership, though, was that I had already used it for my older kids and had many things printed out. I didn't see the point of paying for a membership when my kids were nearly past the age when that site would be useful. If I still had 4 preschoolers and ran a daycare, I would pay the fee and be glad I had the resource.

The Math Fact Cafe is my source for free math worksheets. Generate math fact tests, flashcards, drill work, etc. This site has both ready-made worksheets and a build-your-own page generator. I used to have a fact sheet emailed to my inbox everyday to print out for the kids. With my internet as it is, I just printed out a dozen or so different drills and use them as masters to copy.

The Riggs Institute is a school in Portland, Oregon, which teaches teachers to teach reading. Say that 5 times fast! Do you know how many spelling rules come into play in English? No? Click the link to find out. The Writing Road to Reading is the program we used to teach reading to all 6 of our kids. When Sarah was about 5, I discovered the Riggs Institute and their updated teaching of the old phonics. I never looked back! This program is not free, by any means, but all the info on their site is. Also, the teachers at this institute are SOOO helpful! When we lived in the States, I called the school with questions and they were always ready and eager to help. That was free!

We've been using English from the Roots Up for a little more than a year now. It takes us a while to get through textbooks. I'm such a tangent-taker. Know Your Roots is a great site to help with vocabulary and word roots.

Making word puzzles is one of my favorites ways to reinforce spelling words. Check out the Puzzle Maker.

Our kids are required by Oregon to be tested every other year. We used to have them tested with other homeschooled kids by a woman in our area who was a teacher. She used the CAT tests and while I did like the convenience of those tests, they were a little spendy -- especially if you have 6 kids to test! Last fall I discovered that the Texas Education Agency has standardized tests free to print out (of course, you need to buy a ream of paper to print them, but...). This is a great way to teach your kids how to read the story, answer the question, fill in the circle. Standardized testing is a wonderful way to measure how well your kids test, but that's another issue for another post! ;^)

I find myself referring to Ken Ham's website Answers in Genesis frequently during our Mystery of History class. He has great information and resources on many topics -- not just dinosaurs!!! We were able to read part of the Gilgamesh Epic there. Very interesting! They have really cute cartoons to put on your blog, too. Those are here.

Last year Sarah did a daily grammar review instead of an actual grammar text. The quizzes at Interactive Quizzes are, well, interactive. No wasted paper. Just a quick grammar review and you're on to better things.

Word Reference is an online dictionary of many languages. Sarah is studying French from a Spanish-speaking teacher, so she needed not only an English/French dictionary but also Spanish/French and sometimes Spanish/English. Having all three at her fingertips is a very nice thing.

Like I said, my only challenge is keeping this post somewhat short! Hope you are able to find something useful in that collection.

The internet, and computers in general have some serious issues. I am often frustrated by how much time I spend in front of the computer screen. We try to keep it education or communication related, but still the 'puter is on more than I would like. Sigh. I'll focus on the positive: the internet can be a fantastic resource...especially for those of us who have no access to television, radio or libraries. It's a blessing as long as we use it wisely, right???

"Study to show yourself approved. A workman who needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15

Procura con diligencia presentarte a Dios aprobado, como obrero que no tiene qué avergonzarse, que maneja con precisión la palabra de verdad.

Click here to get around to it!

1 comment:

Vania (JAD's Mama) said...

I love the sites you listed. Especially the standardized test site. I have been looking to see if I could find one but hadn't had success! :)

I love Answers in Genesis for my dc science as well. :)