Category Archives: Computer

Schoolhouse Review ~ Time4Learning (Kindergarten) #hsreviews

Time4Learning

We had the opportunity to review the Kindergarten program of Time4Learning. This is an online learning program for PreK through High School designed for afterschool, homeschool, summer use and/or enrichment for special needs. It covers (depending on the grade) letter and number recognition, learning to read, counting, math, language arts, science and social studies. They offer three levels: lower, upper and High School. We used the lower level for this review.

This program offers Lesson Plans, Activity Scheduler, Quizzes, Reviews and even printable pdf files of classroom helps. There is A LOT of things available in this program!

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When you first login, you are taken to the main page. From there you can pick A,B,C or 1,2,3 or Science. Once you click one of those, you are taken to another screen where you can choose which place you would like to go. [You can always look at the top of the screen to find out where you are. As shown below, these are the “Math” choices.]

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Overall, as appropriate for this age, the program goes fairly slowly and each area only takes a few minutes to complete. To “round things out” there are Quizzes available to confirm what has been learned.

Here are some different screen shots as we were working through the program…just to give you an idea of what things look like. It is a very colorful program which helps to keep the students attention.

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Some things we really liked: The reports for this program are pretty neat. Although not overly important for Kindergarten, I could see where they would be extremely important for higher grade levels. This is definitely an overall plus for this program. The many things offered: Lesson Plans, Activity Scheduler, Quizzes, Reviews and even printable pdf files of classroom helps. Along with the fact that you can change what grade level your student/s work.

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A few things that didn’t really work for us…you do A LOT of clicking to get to where you want to go! There are times when necessary items are not read aloud for an age that does not yet read. And finally, it is very repetitive within each subject area – something my 5 year old does NOT like…he needs things to “stay hoppin'” to hold his interest for any length of time. (Although the lessons themselves are short…if it is doing the same thing the next time you login to do it…he’s not going to be interested for long.)

They do offer a “parent forum” which I did not utilize…but I did want to make sure to mention that they do offer that added resource.

Click HERE for a one-minute tour. Click HERE to see a personalized demo. Or HERE for basic navigation videos.

How much does Time4Learning cost? $19.95/month for the first PreK – 8th grade student and $14.95/month for each additional PreK to 8th Grade. [They do have a 14-day money back guarantee.] For us, this would also be a deterrent, we just cannot afford this much per month per child.

As an additional note, they do offer High School as well so checking out this link to read more Time4Learning reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew may be extremely beneficial for you and your family.

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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Schoolhouse Review ~ Reading Kingdom (Kindergarten) #hsreviews

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Have you heard of Reading Kingdom? It is an online program geared for children ages 4 – 10 which helps them learn to read and write to a third grade level. In our review, we worked on the Kindergarten level.

The first thing you do is have your child take a “skill survey” which will figure out where the program will put your child. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do NOT help your child during this part. If you do, the program will put them in the wrong area for where they are in the learning process.

Once our level was chosen we were taken to the program to work on the assignments. The program picks where you start and where you go. At no point can you, as the parent/teacher, change that. [However, you can contact them to have THEM change something.] Each lesson is about 5 minutes in length and my 5-1/2 year old son normally did two at a time.

Each word starts with the student being asked to type the word. This is how the system finds out what they know (or don’t know in our case). [Note: you can set it up to have the student “type” on the monitor or using the actual keyboard, I chose the monitor as it was too difficult / time consuming (as time matters in this!) for him to try and look down and find the letters.]

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Once it saw that my son didn’t know how to spell the word, it showed him the word and had him pick it many times with one or two other words. It did this with both as singular and plural.

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Once they finish that, they are asked to type it again, many times.

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Then it has them pick which one is the correct word with one to three letters missing. Once the correct one is chosen, they are asked to type the missing letters.

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The below picture is the same as above, just a different screen shot. Just showing the different colorful screens they use. Definitely part of the fun of this program!

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Directly from RK:

Length of time to complete: Typically one new word or one new book is offered in a session. As children become more proficient, they are taught two new words per session. Assuming 4 to 5 sessions a week, each level takes approximately 10-15 weeks to complete. A child does not have to do all the levels. Based on the Skills Survey, he or she enters at the level that is appropriate to the skills he or she already possesses. In addition, prior to teaching a word, the program determines if a child already knows that word, and if so, the program skips that word and moves on to the next word.

I REALLY liked the below part a lot. Once they are done with the above and it seems they know they word quite well, they are given several sentences to find the word – IN ORDER. I really appreciated this for helping me to work with my son on reading left to right.

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Once all the words for a particular level have been completed, the student gets to read a very short book.

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Again, the below screen shot was done specifically to show you some of the humor that is used. Can you see that the one boy is doing “bunny fingers” to the head of the boy in front of him? Just cute funny things for the kids to laugh at.

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So as not to feel left out…here is a screen shot of the report the parent can look at to see where the student is in the program. (Sorry this pic is so small!) The legend is at the bottom and the status for each area is along the right.

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More taken directly from Reading Kingdom:

The reading and writing formats of the Reading Kingdom program are divided into 5 levels with 6 books at each level (for a total of 30 books). Prior to reading a book a child is taught all the words of that book using 4 different teaching formats. In this way, once a child reaches a book, they can already read and understand the meaning of all the words in that book. As the levels progress, the words and books become more complex and a format that reinforces reading comprehension is added as well.

Goal: This portion of the program teaches the skills of reading, writing and comprehension, starting with short, simple words and phrases and moving on to increasingly complex language.

Many words are taught with multiple variants. For instance, a word like “park” will be taught along with “parks,” “parking,” and “parked.” Consequently, the total number of words taught in the program is considerably higher than the number of new words alone.

Each word is taught through a series of 4 fun and game-like formats that take about 15-20 minutes to complete. The word teaching formats have been scientifically designed to teach all the components in reading and writing including word recognition, spelling, comprehension and sentence construction.
Level 1 starts with simple words and phrases such as “a kid” and “Here are some toys”.

Overall we liked this program (even though I did find it frustrating that we could never move forward faster nor skip parts). I did see improvement in my son’s attention as well as his learning letters and words. We have enjoyed this program and plan to continue using it!

Click to read more Reading Kingdom reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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Schoolhouse Review ~ Dig-It Games #hsreviews

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We were given the opportunity to review Dig-It Games Mayan Mysteries Online Game through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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This game is the journey of a team trying to figure out a mystery. It is based in ancient Maya. Your job…figure out the mystery and get to the mythical city of Ich’aak.

The story part is done comic style. There is A LOT of reading involved in this game – however you can choose to have it read to you or you can turn off the voices and read it yourself.

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This game is recommended for those 11 and older…it is not a game for younger kids as you really do have to THINK about what you are reading and hearing. There are several things you get to do on your “journey”…things like…

(From their site:)

  • Visit Maya sites
  • Uncover and analyze artifacts
  • Decode glyphs
  • Explore the mysterious Maya calendar
  • Learn the intriguing Maya math system
  • Solve puzzles and gather clues to track the confounding Ladrone

There are many pages like this that are FULL of information. Again you can have them read to you or you can turn off the sound and read them yourself.

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Once you’ve listened to or read the pages (normally one or two), you get to play a game. Here is one of the “games” ~ this one was finding artifacts in different rooms.

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There are also learning “games” that are maps where you listen to the information shared then have to complete different things (naming areas, shading areas, etc.) before you can move on and “travel” to those areas.

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Once you correctly fill in the map (above) and can travel you are taken to a place where you can “talk” to different people.

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The ones with the “!” above their heads are the ones you can talk to or still need to talk to.

You also need to answer multiple choice questions in order to move forward in the game…so paying attention to what you are hearing and doing is of utmost importance.

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We did enjoy this game however I would like to make sure you understand this is a THINKING game…you will not be able to just come in and relax and play. Plan to learn something while you are here. 🙂  This would be an excellent learning tool for those studying this time period in history.

You can try this out for FREE by clicking HERE.

Click to read more Dig-It reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

 

 

 

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Parental Controls

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Parental controls are a pretty hot topic this day in age. There are SO MANY dangers out there for our children. The internet is an AWESOME tool, but it can also be a weapon of the enemy. There are several things a family can do to minimize some of the threats – like putting the computer in the main room of the house, which we have done. However, that doesn’t stop the bad pictures, etc. that can pop up from searches, etc. So, that is when one needs to look to parental controls for technology. This is something I *FINALLY* got around to doing.

There are many options for parental controls – some free, some not. So, I asked around (as I often do with things I am not familiar with). From that, I had some good pay options offered: Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes.

However, I chose to try a couple of FREE options that even MORE people recommended. There were TWO offered, and suggested to be used together. So, last week I downloaded them both and have been messing with the settings trying to get them “just right” for our family.

One of the things I wanted was control over ALL WiFi items in our home, not just computers. Additionally, I wasn’t interested in different options for different people – I just want one option for everyone. NONE of us need to see particular things.

OpenDNS was the first one that was recommended and K9 Web Protection was the second. Like I said, they are suggested to be used together. That way if something gets through the first one, it is stopped by the second one. Making  changes to what is allowed and what isn’t allowed is EXTREMELY easy (password protected so only the Admin can make changes) and happen within just a few minutes (or less). Quite honestly, I am STILL trying to get them set up so I can still do what I need to do for blogging and reviews while still protecting the family but I feel much better than I did before we had anything in place.

Both have “generic settings” of low, medium and high as well as a “custom” option where you can pick specifically by category or topic. Additionally, picking particular websites to allow or block is offered. They both do make it VERY easy, which is nice! Both also offer logs so you can view what has been done. Nice!

Here is a picture of OpenDNS custom options:

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If you are looking for parental controls (which I suggest for EVERYONE with internet access) – I would HIGHLY suggest these two. They have worked VERY well for our family so far.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

THL Review ~ Reading Eggs

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Reading Eggs- Learn to Read Online with Phonics in 5 Weeks from ages 3-13.

This is my first review for The Homeschool Lounge and it was done on a wonderful online program for younger kids called Reading Eggs. Reading Eggs is geared for kids ages 4 – 7 and involves 120 big lessons. They also have Reading Eggs Worlds for kids ages 6 – 8 who already know the reading basics.

Want to know what Reading Eggs is exactly? Here is some information taken from their website:

Learn skills: Children complete animated online lessons where they learn essential reading skills. The variety of fun activities within each lesson provides the repetition needed for these skills to become part of the child’s long term memory.

Read books: Children gain confidence by reading books online that only contain words they have already learnt in the program. For further reinforcement, they can also read the real books at home if they have the Reading Eggs book packs.

Earn rewards: Children earn golden eggs as rewards for work completed. They can use these eggs to buy reward games.

Quiz: After 10 lessons, children complete a Mastery Quiz. This provides you with a report of what your child is learning. Children can repeat the online lessons as many times as they like. Young children enjoy repetition and it has great benefits too, as it helps them to learn.

The cost of the program = 1 year: $75, 6 months: $49.95, monthly $9.95.

Our thoughts:

WE LOVED IT!

Here are some screen shots of some of what we experienced:

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I have worked with training dogs for many years and I saw many similarities with higher level dog training, and this reading program. Mostly – repetition in many different areas...looking at and choosing the same letters but in different scenarios. My ds4 LOVES this program and learned a lot in the little bit of time we’ve had to utilize it.

They offer a 14-Day *FREE* trial…to try it out, click HERE.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by The Homeschool Lounge Review Team. I received a 5 week membership to Reading Eggs to facilitate this review. All opinions stated are my own.

Exciting News!

So, have you heard the exciting news? I’m sure you have heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. And I’m sure you knew you can get it FREE digitally now, right? They also have aps for Apple and Android! WOOT! (They are still working on Kindle but Lord willing it will be soon to come!)

Well, guess what? THERE’S MORE! Hard to believe, I know. Previously they had Teacher’s Toolbox…well, that has been revamped and improved and is now SchoolhouseTeacher.com.

PhotobucketAnd…they aren’t done yet! Can you believe it?!?! SchoolhouseTeachers.com does have a small fee associated with it but

Ultimate Membership ~ $5.95 / month (FIRST MONTH ONLY $1, for a limited time)

  • Members-only access to lesson material from all of our expert teachers—Geography, History, Home Ec, Literature, Music/Singing, Technology, Writing and many more subjects in months to come
  • The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine monthly via email
  • All The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine digital back issues
  • 12 E-Books from the TOS E-Book Schoolhouse Store (one per month) during the first 12 months of membership
  • All five 2012-13 Schoolhouse Daily e-Planners
  • All TOS webinar Expo-to-Go recorded sessions ($60 value), including recordings of all future and ongoing Expos during length of membership*
  • After 12 months of uninterrupted membership, you’ll receive a $25 gift certificate to the Totally TOS section of The Schoolhouse Store!

Premium Membership ~ $4.95 / month (FIRST MONTH ONLY $1, for a limited time)

  • Members-only access to lesson material from all of our expert teachers
  • The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine via email
  • All The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine digital back issues
  • 7 E-Books from the TOS E-Book Schoolhouse Store during the first 12 months of membership
  • All TOS webinar Expo-to-Go recorded sessions, including recordings of all future and ongoing Expos during length of membership
  • After 12 months of uninterrupted membership, you’ll receive a $10 gift certificate to the Totally TOS section of The Schoolhouse Store.

Standard Membership ~ $3.95 / month (FIRST MONTH ONLY $1, for a limited time)

  • Members-only access to lesson material from all of our expert teachers
  • The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine via email
  • All The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine digital back issues
  • 3 E-Books from the TOS E-Book Schoolhouse Store during the first 12 months of membership
  • After 12 months of uninterrupted membership, you’ll receive a $5 gift certificate to the Totally TOS section of The Schoolhouse Store.

What do you think? Need more information?

You can click HERE to find out more about the teachers (I think you’ll be impressed with the names you see!).

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There is also a monthly menu, with recipes, each month.
There are daily items for: history, writing and home ec.
There is a monthly theme with articles, suggestions and links.

Got more questions? Check out the FAQ page.

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Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Let's Stay In Touch! (GFC ending!)

As I’m sure you are aware, Google Friend Connect will be ending March 1st for non-blogger blogs – and I would hate to lose touch with you! I pray you enjoy my posts and get encouragement from reading my blog and I look forward to keeping in contact!

Please choose to follow via Google +, Facebook, Twitter and / or Linky Followers (all can easily be found over to the left in the sidebars).

Have a wonderfully blessed day!