Category Archives: Computer

Free Apps for iPad

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With the new iPad Air coming out we were finally able to afford an iPad 2…always nice when “the old stuff” goes on sale because the new stuff is available! (Tax refund helps too! *grin*) So…of course we needed to find some apps to put on it. I thought I would share our findings with you too! [The majority of them are geared toward our younger son (6) but some are for everyone to enjoy!] These are all FREE apps.

Note: We have NOT used some of these yet so use your own digression!

Science:
Mineral ID
Exoplanet
Star Chart
Peterson Backyard Birds

ABC’s and Spelling:
First Words Sampler
ABC Pocket Phonics
Alphabet Race
Little Writer
Spelling Bug
Word Tree

Math:
Counting Money
Splash Math (I have linked to 1st Grade but there are MANY grades available)
Addition & Subtraction for Kids
Math Bug
What Time is it Mr Wolf

Geography:
Stack the States

Bible:
Noah’s Ark

Other / Misc:
Chalk Pad
Tangram Mania
Sound Brush

Games:
Clash of Clans
Lego Chima Online
Speedorz
Brainify
My Death Star
The Yoda Chronicles

This is only the beginning of our search so I will post more as we find more.

Also, my friend Wendy over at Life at Rossmont has a list you might want to check out as well!

Homeschool for Free 

You can also head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew to find more Free Homeschool Resources!

Here’s praying we ALL have fun learning!

Schoolhouse Review ~ Science4Us.com #hsreviews

Science4Us Review 

We had the opportunity to review Science4Us.com Online Subscription (created by the same folks as VocabularySpellingCity!!) which is an online Science program geared toward grades Kindergarten through 2nd (but those in 3rd – 5th could use it as a review of previous things learned) and runs $7.95 per month per child. This program covers Physical Science (matter, energy, force & motion), Inquiry (science tools), Life Science (plants, animals, habitats, and more) and Earth/Space (history, materials, features, weather, exploring the universe and earth in space). I used this program with my Kindergartner.

There are two “sides” to this program…one for the student and one for the teacher. We will start with the student side.

This is what they see when they first login:

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The FIRST thing the students should do is watch the video in the upper left corner…it will show them how to navigate through the system.

After that they can see “My Assignments” directly in the middle (these are / can be assigned by the teacher). They can click on that, or they can choose one of the “Books of Science” in the upper right. They also can find out more information about where they have been and general terms by clicking something in the “My Tools” box on the left. As they complete the assignments given by the teacher, the “My Assignments” box changes too. So this is a very simple way for them to login and simply click the first item in that box to get started. Or if you aren’t particular where they work, they can click one of the books and get started.

It is suggested by Science4Us.com that they start with the top three circles in the lower right box with each topic: Engage, Explore, Explain – and they should be done in that order. From there they can do any of the activities they would like (also found in that same box). Each topic has an “Evaluation” they can take when they are done with that module.

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Above is a picture of what is being done in the “Engage” part for Science Tools. You can tell you are in “Engage” by the upper right box. As you can see, the pages are very colorful. The “notebook” is a place where the students can have a lot of fun and show some of their creativity. Often times they get to draw their own things using the available tools!

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Above is an example of “Explore”. We had a lot of fun with this one! It was showing motion…and the difference between curves, uphill and downhill. (The screens get more and more difficult as the student completes the one prior.)

Below is another example of “Explore”…it is really neat all the different activities this program has! Here the students drag the name to the correct place.

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And another explore example…this one was REALLY cool…you could move the picture around to see all different sides and planets. Then when you clicked on a planet it told you more about it. It was really neat!

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Here is an example of an “Explain” activity; you can see the different areas discussed by looking at the very bottom starting at the left.

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Below is one of our favorite activities…SillyBulls…the student gets to put the words in correct syllable order. One of the things I *GREATLY* appreciated about this program is that EVERY.THING “talks” to the child…it is understood that Kindergartner’s cannot read. Nothing frustrates me more than a program written for this age that doesn’t “talk” to them! So…I LOVED that about this program!

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And ANOTHER bonus to this program…it works on other things besides just Science!

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When it comes time to do the evaluations, the students get to see immediate results of how they did.

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As you can see this is a pretty amazing program with A LOT of different activities to help the students learn.

A couple of things we would have like to see handled differently are the fact that if you stopped an activity in the middle for some reason…you had to start all over at the beginning again (which for some of the “explain” activities can be quite a bit of time) and we would have liked to be able to know how long a video would be playing.

Overall, VERY IMPRESSED!

Now for the “teacher area”. This area is kind of basic although it does allow you to “drill down” pretty specifically on a particular student and what they have completed, it doesn’t really offer a very good “general overview” of how the students are doing. I think the most impressive parts of “this side” is that there is A LOT of information provided for the teacher and that you can plan out the activities for the students in any order you prefer (by student). [I only reviewed this with one student so I cannot comment on how it works for handling more than one.]

This is what the assignment area looks like on the teacher side. It shows near the top middle right how long this session is expected to take (most are in the area of 30 minutes). There is “Professional Development” in the lower left which provides information for this module that would be important for the teacher to know…this can be viewed as a pdf or as a video. There is also “Teacher Support” (middle right) which gives a guide to how to teach this module for a particular grade level. Here is where some additional fun, hands-on / off the computer, learning games can be found.

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Here is an example of one of the screens you can see for a student:
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You can also look at the students notebook entries…and MAKE COMMENTS!
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Overall we REALLY enjoyed this program and found it to be an extremely fun way to learn about science (as well as other things like alphabetizing)!

[As a side note that I always look for with Science related items especially – this is not a Biblical program therefore it shows millions of years. Personally we see this in so many things that we have found a way around it that we just don’t point it out (if it is visual) or make a quick noise to cover “millions of years” being said. But, I did want to share this information with you so you would be aware.]

Read more Science4Us.com reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

Crew Disclaimer

Schoolhouse Review ~ KinderBach #hsreviews

Kinderbach ReviewWe had the opportunity to review KinderBach which is an online piano lessons program offering lessons to children ages 3 – 7 (although it can be used for slightly above and below that as well). We were provided the “Online Piano Lessons with Teacher Corner” for this review. The only MUSTS for this is the use of a piano or keyboard (3 to 4 octaves or 36 to 48 full sized keys) and a computer or item to view videos (iPad, tablet, Kindle, Nook).

Do you think learning piano is just about music? THINK AGAIN! Here are some other things learning music helps with:

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The owner has it set up to where the students learn through a boy named Frisco and some animals friends he has. Along with a train station. So kids are easily entertained and their attention is kept through things that will be of interest to them. It isn’t just a “boring piano”…it is “Dody’s house” and “the train station”.

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They offer two separate programs: one for the classroom and one for the home. The home program is done simply by clicking the “next” button in the videos whereas the classroom program (aka Teacher Corner) offers A TON of information so the teacher has minimal work to do.

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I also found this information helpful in letting me know what “the point” was for the lessons…as someone who is not musically inclined, sometimes it is hard for me to know exactly. Here is an example:

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This program is VERY WELL DONE. I am not easily impressed and I am very impressed with this! The videos are engaging, the teacher is EXCELLENT at keeping their attention, the lessons are quick and easy and not too complicated (for anyone).

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When you first login you are taken to a page that allows you to pick which level you would like to go to:

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Once you pick which level you are taken to the next screen which allows you to pick where you want to start:

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Originally I was a little frustrated that the program didn’t save where we were so we would automatically pick it up at the same spot next time (as I am using this with only one child). Then I realized it is set up this way so that those with multiple students can easily go where they need to. Amazing – great thinking!

There are “maps” provided for each level so you can print them off and keep track of where each student is in the program – another AMAZING tool!

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Once you are taken to where you would like to start, you click the play button and away you go! Most often there is a page that needs to be printed with each lesson. Here is an example of the worksheets (they are exactly the same online and what you print – except what you print is black and white and what is on the screen is in color):

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Here is how they are taught to do three notes in a row (and then also “stair step up”), neat isn’t it?

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So…are you curious as to what will they learn?

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I’m sure you are extremely impressed by now and cannot wait to try it out with your student/s! If you want to try KinderBach out with your child…you can do that HERE with a FREE two-week trial!

Curious about the price? The home lessons are only $130 per YEAR. (Or $95.88 if you order by 2/28/14!). Think that is expensive? Think of the cost of most private lessons which are normally about $25 per THIRTY MINUTES! So, what I’m saying is…this isn’t a bad price! (Also, you can pay by the month if that works out better for you.) Prefer to use DVDs? You can do that too! Look HERE.

And, of course, other says to connect with KinderBach:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/kinderbach
Facebook for Teachers:  www.facebook.com/classroomkinderbach
Twitter: @KinderBach
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/KinderBach/
YouTube: KinderBach Preschool Piano

Please head over and read more KinderBach reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

Review ~ Youth Digital, Mod Design 1

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We had the AMAZING opportunity to review Youth Digital‘s Mod Design 1 class. This is an ONLINE class geared toward students between 8 and 14 (Grades 3 – 8) which offers learning code (Java) to do mod designing in Minecraft. Your first question might be “What is a mod?” A mod is a modification is adding what you want to Minecraft.

With that, this program offers twelve modules covering the following…

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…as you can see it covers A LOT!

The first thing you need to do for the class is download and connect all the separate pieces…which is actually VERY easy to do. Then, the student logs in and works away! The guy in the videos (Justin) does a GREAT job of keeping the kids attention…he moves around a lot and talks fast and is really funny!

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As the student works through each module they are told to pause, go work on their assignment and then come back. Everything about this program is VERY WELL thought out and put together!

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There is testing at the end of each module so as to confirm your child is actually learning (and not just having fun!).

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After each module they have a review. You get points for each question you answer which goes to a “points store” that goes toward a code that can be added to the mod. For instance, the first one you get is a lightening sword so once you put it in and you go in to Minecraft and hit a mob, a lighting strike comes down. (FUN STUFF!!!)

Here is a screen print of my son and his sword in the “programming stage”:

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And then here is is sword in Minecraft:

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Although my son is above the “suggested age range” this class has been WONDERFUL for him to see how computer programs are put together and how you can change things. And he LOVED it!

The portal is easy to get around and find what you need. There are screens that open that tell the students where they are in their learning as well as places to see what scores they got.

I asked my son his thoughts and this is what he shared:

  • They are easy step by step instructions.
  • Because they are videos you can go back and watch it again, if needed.
  • Justin makes it more enjoyable by adding jokes.

The customer service within the class is amazing! You simply shoot them an email and they respond quickly back (normally within a couple hours).

From Youth Digital:

In the process of creating their own Mod, students learn the most important concepts of object-oriented programming. They learn how to instantiate new objects, call methods, define parameters, and run loops all in the service of adding new features and functionality to their final project.

Would we recommend this class to others? YES! As a matter of fact we already have! I have shared about this program all over different forums I am in as well as all over Facebook. Now…the one downfall (in my opinion) is the price…it is a bit on the pricey side. HOWEVER…at the time of this posting you can get it through Homeschool Buyers Co-Op (which is FREE to be a member) for 40% off (through 2/17)! I HIGHLY SUGGEST you check it out!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Upcoming Review ~ Youth Digital {Mod Design 1}

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We are SO PUMPED to tell you about a review we are working on! Youth Digital has a “Mod Design 1” online course that…

** teaches kids 8 – 14 [but it isn’t limited to just these ages – my son is 17!] Java in order to make their own Minecraft mods. **

We are only in the beginning stages of doing this review / using this course but wanted to give a shout out that more will be coming! So far we are VERY IMPRESSED!

Stay tuned for more…

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Schoolhouse Review ~ VocabularySpellingCity #hsreviews

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We received a VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership in exchange for this review. This program is for K – 12 and we used it for both our PreK / K’r and our High Schooler (11th Grade). I think it is amazingly wonderful that you can use the same program for BOTH of these ages / grades!

I was extremely excited to get this review as I loved the online part as well as the many options it offered in both online regular learning and game learning options. Additionally, something that is always of great importance to our minimal income family…COST = REASONABLE! Only $29.95 per YEAR for a family (up to 5 students). LOVE! (There are also options for classrooms and schools…)

We worked on SAT words with J (high school) and Dolch Sight Words with P (PreK / K).

Here is a view of the “teacher screen”. As you can see, this is where you can add your students and that there are “Help” videos available.

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I *LOVED* the fact that you can print off handwriting sheets for your Pre-K / K words!

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This was neat, but was too advanced for my youngest:

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It takes a little while to understand how this program can work for your family. I would have liked if there would have been a bit better explanation as to how to start and what the options were. As it turns out, I fumbled around for quite awhile with it. With that said, there are some REALLY neat, fun things this program has to offer!

Student Assignments can be set up so when the student signs in they are directed which “way” to go. The student screen looks like this, with the assignment area at the top:

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The student can see their progress:

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Here is an example of the flashcards. It reads it to the student.

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The program offers (straight from their site):

  • An award-winning game-based learning tool for vocabulary, spelling, writing and language arts
  • A K-12 educational service used worldwide by schools and families
  • 50,000 words and 60,000 sentences read by a real person
  • Access via mobile app for your tablet and smart phone,or online via computer and interactive whiteboard
  • Correlation to educational standards
  • School and district-level reports

As you can see, the screens are very colorful adding a lot of fun to the program, especially for the younger ages.

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The students learn their word through online methods (mostly games – YAY!)

Letterfall was a favorite of ours: LetterFall. The mouse is to catch the next letter in the word (found in the lower left).

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As well as Hang Mouse (similar to Hang Man but with a cat and mouse):

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Here is where the student can work on alphabetizing. The words start out on the left and they move them to the right putting them in correct order. If they mistakenly move something, they simply click it on the right and it moves back to the left. Excellent, useful tool!

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Then it offers vocabulary testing:

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Here is what the report looks like:

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You can do A LOT *FREE* on this site. Here is a quick glance at the differences between free and paid:

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Once you figure out how to use the program (a lot of videos are provided to guide you, found under “Videos – FAQ”), this is an AMAZING TOOL I believe all students can benefit from.

Read more VocabularySpellingCity reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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Schoolhouse Review ~ PeopleKeys (Student Strengths Report) #hsreviews

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We had the opportunity to do an online Student Strengths Report through a company called PeopleKeys. PeopleKeys is a company that provides different types of tests (assessments) to help employers determine best qualified employees as well as ways to help their current employees continue to grow.

They also offer many different student assessments…which is what we had the opportunity to participate in. We chose the “Student Strengths Report” because it often seems as though our oldest son isn’t sure of his strengths…we thought this might help him get a non-judgmental view of his personality.

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The “test” is taken online and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete – and from this a 34-page “Student Strengths Report” is generated. This report shares information on personality styles, learning styles and cognitive thinking styles. It provides detailed information on each style as well as how the student rated in each area of each style. It is a VERY comprehensive report.

The personality styles are: Drive, Influencing, Steadiness and Compliance.

The learning styles are: auditory, visual and kinesthetic.

The cognitive styles are: literal, intuitive, theoretical and experiential.

The questions answered in the online test help the program figure out which of these are your main traits of each style and from that it shares some of the best ways for you to learn, to communicate, to resolve conflict.

Each area (personality, learning and cognitive) is provided with very detailed information about that style.

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An very easy to look at and understand – quick view – chart is available for immediate understanding of where the student falls in each trait of each style.

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Then a “general overview” is provided for more “quick viewing” of each trait of each style.

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Each style is also discussed in a manner that the student can see how knowing OTHER PEOPLE’S styles and traits can help THEM learn better in school and while communicating with them.

The price for a single purchase of this report is $20. WELL WORTH IT in my opinion. You can also get a reduction in price for purchasing larger amounts at one time (see link for specifics).

Honestly, as I was looking over this report I also learned more about my personality type as well as my husbands…some of our difficulties in communicating became much more clear after doing this review. Another bonus, in my opinion!

Check out this link to read more PeopleKeys reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew to see how this may be extremely beneficial for you and your family.

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

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