Jun 3, 2014 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Elementary Science Curriculum Review

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Kelly Burgess aka KGB

The “Mommy Bloggers” who are part of networks are frankly, a mixed bag.  Some moms just join these services for freebies and their “review” is nothing more than a slight rephrasing of the company’s marketing materials.  Some reviewers, on the other hand, really try out the products and share incredibly detailed and insightful reviews of their family’s experience with the product.

An example of a really great one is the review by Kelly Burgess (aka KGB) of the TOS Crew (The Old Schoolhouse Review) of her experience with Science4Us. Her Science4Us Review details her experiences with one of the modules, the one on magnets.

  Kelly starts by describing the Science4Us generally and then moves to her own experience (and I quote):


Holden is in Kindergarten, so this material is right on target for him.  Haylee is in 4th grade, so we used this material as a good review for her.  Actually, I’ve noticed some gaps in her science knowledge in the past, like when questions about simple machines came up on her standardized testing one year, and I realized we had not explored that in depth before.  So with that in mind, I thought this program would actually be great for filling in some of those gaps in past concepts for her in a fun and engaging way, and we were not disappointed!

She then explains her experience with the teacher login which prepped her for the unit.  She took the kids both through the online materials and then she did the suggested hands-on activities which is particularly fun with magnets.  She explains her students’ experiences for each of the days in the two week module in terms of what they were doing and learning.

Her insights are interesting both for how to understand what Science4Us offers but also, how she  pays attention to her children’s educational experience and learning.

So, for reference, here’s Kelly’s online review and here are some demos of Science4Us.

May 20, 2014 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Community for Homeschool Students

I’m real interested in the creation by Time4Learning of a community for their home school high school students. The students still need their parents OK to participate. Other than that, it’s very much a Facebook-like student community.  Here’s some info from Time4Learning about their Time4friends:

Time4Friends – A Social Network
for High School Students

Social media has become a very large part of our lives– especially for our kids. And as today’s youth become young adults, they need a place where they can express their ideas and plans for the future within a safe, secure community of peers. In response, Time4Learning has created Time4Friends- a “Facebook-like” social network of current Time4Learning high school students, where they can communicate, share, and “hang out” with other students that are using the program.

Another item that I noiced was that VocabualrySpellingCity has added section on word roots and academic vocabulary.  Here’s some background on academic vocabulary. Students need to understand the teacher’s explanations, discuss what they are learning, read academic texts, and write about their learning. To do so, students must develop academic vocabulary, the language that is used by teachers and students when acquiring new learning and skills. Some examples of academic vocabulary words are: analyze, contract, factor, structure, and minor.

Word roots are of course one of the keys to English vocabulary.  In many areas, particularly  scientific vocabulary, the word roots are the key to understanding and building vocabulary.

May 7, 2014 - home school websites    No Comments

The Philosophy Behind Radical Unschooling – A Live Google Hangout with Dayna Martin

Unschooling with Dayna Martin

Unschooling with Dayna Martin

Sorry fo the last minute notice but it’ll be available on SecularHomeschool.com in their archives. Dayna is a big deal, big thinker.  I think Kerry has done a great job hooking up with her and getting her for an evening.  

Radical Homeschooling is intriguing, divisive, scary, hard blah blah blah…but is it the best or amongst the best forms of educaton? Is it only for an elite few or is it the solution to some very common educational and parenting problems?  Come find out. Sign up on SecularHomeschool’s G+ Page:   https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cmftb5agq6v26dtfkrinp1fvj34