Category Archives: Online Learning

NASA is Accepting Applications for the 2011-12 Inspire Program

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NASA will be accepting applications for students in 9th-12th grade (for the 2011-12 school year) for their INSPIRE online learning program. INSPIRE stands for Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience. Here is a blurb from their site:

The Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience, or INSPIRE, is a multitier year-round program designed for students in ninth to 12th grade who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

The centerpiece of INSPIRE is the Online Learning Community, or OLC. The OLC provides a place for INSPIRE students to interact with their peers, NASA experts and education specialists. Through grade-level-appropriate educational activities, chats and discussion boards, students and their families are exposed to the many careers and opportunities NASA has to offer. In addition, the OLC provides the parents/guardians of participating students with resources designed to help them champion their child’s education and career goals.

The deadline to apply is June 30th, 2011.

Labels: Astronomy, Online Learning, Science
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Internet Fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers

MP900202028[1] Back in January, I posted 27 Ways to Use the Internet to Keep Your Toddler or Preschooler Busy. Since then, I’ve learned about several other fun and educational sites aimed at the younger crowd. So I thought I’d post an updated list.

  • Aven’s Corner offers preschoolers fun, educational games and activities.
  • Baby Gamer has collected links to games and activities for infants and toddlers and categorized them (i.e. A,B,C’s, Animals, Plants, Drawing, etc.).
  • Baby Smash is a free program that you can install on your PC. It not only locks the keys so that your baby can pound on your keyboard without damaging any of your files or applications, it also draws letters, numbers, and shapes while playing sounds. My daughter really enjoys this program and will play with it for 5 -10 minutes while I read to my son (which is a long time for her). Baby Smash is a copy/homage of AlphaBaby, which is for Macs.
  • BBC’s CBeebies site is sort of the equivalent of the U.S.’s PBS site, it has games and activities that correspond to the UK’s preschool television shows (also BBC Schools Ages 4-11 site has a multitude of learning activities, some of which, are aimed at preschoolers)
  • Birmingham Grid for Learning’s early Years Foundation Stage site has a variety of fun things for young learners
  • Boowa and Kwala has lots of games, activities, songs, printables and more.
  • Brain Connection has interactive activities and games that teach memory attention and sound discrimination skills.
  • Chateau Meddybemps provides lots of fun and educational games and activities for preschoolers.
  • Count Us In Games offers games designed to teach basic math concepts. The games can be downloaded to your PC also.
  • Crayola Creativity Central  is a collection of Crayola-themed games, coloring pages and other activities for preschoolers.
  • Crickweb has some preschool games and activities
  • Duplo Fun Zone – is a fun place for Duplo-themed games and movies for young children (I do want to warn you that the “movies” are just glorified commercials).
  • Fisher Price’s website has games, activities, and coloring pages for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  • Funschool Kaboose’s preschool page offers games and coloring pages.
  • Fun with Spot is an adorable site with Spot the Dog-themed games, activities, coloring pages, and stories.
  • Goodnight Stories has some stories that your child can hear being read while she turns the pages of her own book (Make Way for the Ducklings, Guess How Much I Love You, etc.).
  • HiT Entertainment is the “home of popular children’s entertainment properties, such as Bob the Builder, Barney, Thomas and Friends, Pingu, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina, and more.” The site has games, videos, and activities that are based on their shows.
  • Jan Brett’s website offers games, activities, and printables based on her numerous award-winning books.
  • KneeBouncers is a website with games for toddlers. Toddlers do not have to hit specific keys to play the games, instead, any key will cause an interaction, such as a police car to sound it’s siren, a shape to appear, a balloon to be counted, etc.
  • Lil’ Fingers has online storybooks, printables, and games for toddlers. In addition, check out their You Tube Zoo, which offers 100 kid-friendly You Tube videos about animals, categorized by animal type.
  • Kent ICT – This site has literacy, math, and other miscellaneous games and activities, some of which, are appropriate for preschoolers
  • Literactive is a free phonics site with lots of pre-reading fun.
  • Literacy Center – This site can be viewed in English, German, French, or Spanish. It offers games that teach letters, shapes, numbers, and more.
  • Nick Jr. has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
  • PBS Kids has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
  • Playhouse Disney has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
  • Sesame Street’s website is a place where your preschoolers can watch Sesame Street videos, play games, and more.
  • Seussville is the place for Dr. Seuss-themed games and activities.
  • Sheppard Software has educational games for preschoolers.
  • Starfall is a site devoted to teaching phonics with games, videos, stories, and more. Their “A, B, C’s” category has age-appropriate options for preschoolers.
  • Storyplace has online stories and activities, as well as printables, for preschoolers.
  • Storyline Online is a site with videos of famous people, such as Al Gore, James Earl Jones, Tia and Tamara Mowry, Elijah Wood, and more, reading children’s books out loud. Book titles include A Bad Case of Stripes, Stellaluna, Brave Irene, Somebody Loves You, Mr Hatch, etc. The site also gives related activities that you can do offline with your child.
  • Toy Theater has lots of games and activities for young children

  • Labels: Online Learning, Toddlers
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    World Water Monitoring Day Offers Tons of Learning Opportunities for Homeschoolers

     image September 18, 2010 is World Water Monitoring Day. Here is a description from the official site:

    World Water Monitoring Day™ (WWMD) is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

    An easy-to-use test kit enables everyone from children to adults to sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are shared with participating communities around the globe through the WWMD Web site.

    The test kits are free and in addition to helping with WWMD, collecting and analyzing a water sample is an excellent science lesson unto itself. This year, with the BP oil spill, the lesson is especially crucial. In addition, partly due to the oil spill, there are many, many educational resources for teaching about water quality available. Some of the many resources that might interest you are:

    • 4-H’s National Youth Science Day is October 6, 2010 and is focusing on water quality this year. You can purchase science experiment kits from them for $22.
    • Maps help put the BP oil spill into better perspective. This map and this map let you compare the size of the oil spill to where you live (this is very eye opening – it is about the size of half the state of Washington, where I live).
    • The EPA has lots of resources for kids about water and pollution, as well as a page of teaching resources
    • The National Wildlife Federation has a page devoted to the spill that summarizes the events in age-appropriate language and detail. In addition, they have a mini-newsletter for kids that covers the spill. They also have an easy science activity that helps to illustrate the effects if the spill. (Here and here and here are other similar experiments that are aimed at somewhat different age groups.)
    • The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has many lesson plans, as well as videos, podcasts, and other educational resources.
    • The National Marine Educators Association has many lesson plans
    • NOAA has a page for students and educators with various experiments for students
    • National Environmental Education Week has many lessons and activities for teaching about water.
    • The National Park Service has several activities about water for kids.
    • Estuaries.gov has many lesson plans for educators, as well as videos, podcasts, a virtual field trip, and more.
    • The USDA Forest Service has lots of information, worksheets, videos, photos, etc. about fish
    • The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest has a lesson plan that uses art to teach about fish
    • The USGS has a Water Science for Schools page
    • The Audubon Society has a program for kids to raise money, called Pennies for the Planet. This year, funds raised will go to various coastal projects. There are also some pages to color and a free kit that you can request here.
    • Black Tides is a site that discusses oil spills with a graphical interface, it is more appropriate for middle – highschoolers.
    • Here is a history of oil spills. While, here is a history of the more famous oil spills.
    • Energy Kids discusses oil, where it comes from, how we use it, etc.
    • CNN has a detailed timeline of the spill

    Labels: Freebies, Online Learning, Science
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    Free Online Spelling and Vocabulary Programs for Homeschoolers

    Spelling and vocabulary review really lend themselves to online review. A computer is wonderfully patient about practicing spelling and vocabulary words with children, no matter how many times it takes (or how few).

    • BigIQkids has spelling and vocabulary programs – you need to register if you want the programs to remember your custom lists, but membership is free.
    • FreeRice not only tests your vocabulary, they donate 10 grains of rice to the World Hunger Program for each word you get right. The vocabulary is fairly advanced, you may find that it is more appropriate for high school students.
    • KidsSpell – uses games to practice spelling words and will save customized lists. Membership is not necessary, but you must save the URL for your list
    • Spelling Bee the Game is a fun way for kids to practice spelling, it will not save your custom lists
    • Spelling City uses your list of spelling words to create puzzles, games, and quizzes
    • Vocabulary.co.il has a variety of vocabulary games and exercises for grades K-12
    Labels: Freebies, Language Arts, Online Learning, Spelling and Vocabulary
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    Free Online Typing Programs

    I’ve found that my kids learn quite a lot of keyboarding skills just by using the computer a lot, but I do want to be sure that they are not at a disadvantage by not being able to keyboard at the same speed as their peers (perhaps I am more self-conscious because I never took typing???). Originally, I invested in some expensive typing programs, but I actually found that my kids preferred the free ones that we found online. Here are few free online typing programs that we have enjoyed using:

    • BBC’s Dance Mat Typing is a cute program that seems most appropriate for younger kids (5th grade and younger???) . It doesn’t go into too much depth, but will teach the fundamentals.
    • FreeTypingGames.net has some cute games that will fine tune skills
    • The Keyboard Playground offer free games that can help to refine skills
    • Tux4Kids offers free downloadable educational software. Tux Typing has been our favorite typing program. It is a fun and teaches fairly advanced typing skills.

    Do you know of any other programs that are good?

    Labels: Freebies, Handwriting and Typing, Online Learning
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    Online and Distance Learning Options for Homeschoolers

    I’m sorry that I have been AWOL, but we’ve had visitors, illnesses, and injuries around here and I’ve been struggling to catch up with everything.

    Today I wanted to list all of the online/distance education options for homeschoolers that I know of. These programs are not free, which is why I will only devote one post to all of them and not discuss them in detail. My kids actually despise online/distance learning, so I really cannot comment much on these programs, but am only listing programs that have been recommended by other homeschoolers. To the best of my knowledge, all of these programs are available to students throughout the U.S. (in most cases, throughout the world). I also have tried to note any program that is affiliated with a religion. Still, be sure to do your research before paying any money.

    It seems like I hear about another online/distance education program everyday, so I’m sure that I missed some. If you know of any that I missed, please e-mail me or note it in the comments and I’ll update this list.

    Labels: Curriculum, Online Learning
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    Educational Videos Online

    One of the many great things about the internet is the number of educational videos online. Sometimes, it is so helpful to be able to use these videos to clarify things for ourselves or provide outside instruction to our children. Sometimes, I find that I just don’t seem to be able to teach my kids something, but when they listen to someone else explain it, it clicks for them (even though I swear that I explained it the exact same way!). Also, educational videos are helpful for kids with learning disabilities, who may prefer to be able to work independently, but have trouble reading books.  Some great sites for getting free educational videos are (as always, you should preview these videos for appropriateness before showing them to your children):

    Labels: Online Learning
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

    27 Ways to Use the Internet to Help Keep Your Toddler or Preschooler Occupied While You Are Homeschooling

    One of the biggest challenges many homeschoolers face is keeping toddlers and preschoolers occupied while trying to homeschool an older child. Later this week, I will post about things you can do that don’t use the computer, but today I wanted to give you some internet resources that you can use with toddlers and preschoolers:

    • agKidZone – if you thought Strawberry Shortcake, the Care Bears, and Holly Hobbie were things of the past, think again. This site offers themed games, activities, and printables
    • Aven’s Corner offers preschoolers fun, educational games and activities.
    • Baby Gamer has collected links to games and activities for infants and toddlers and categorized them (i.e. A,B,C’s, Animals, Plants, Drawing, etc.).
    • Baby Smash is a free program that you can install on your PC. It not only locks the keys so that your baby can pound on your keyboard without damaging any of your files or applications, it also draws letters, numbers, and shapes while playing sounds. My daughter really enjoys this program and will play with it for 5 -10 minutes while I read to my son (which is a long time for her). Baby Smash is a copy/homage of AlphaBaby, which is for Macs.
    • BBC’s CBeebies site is sort of the equivalent of the U.S.’s PBS site, it has games and activities that correspond to the UK’s preschool television shows
    • Chateau Meddybemps provides lots of fun and educational games and activities for preschoolers.
    • Count Us In Games offers games designed to teach basic math concepts. The games can be downloaded to your PC also.
    • Crayola Creativity Central  is a collection of Crayola-themed games, coloring pages and other activities for preschoolers.
    • Duplo Fun Zone – is a fun place for Duplo-themed games and movies for young children (I do want to warn you that the “movies” are just glorified commercials).
    • Fisher Price’s website has games, activities, and coloring pages for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
    • Funschool Kaboose’s preschool page offers games and coloring pages.
    • Fun with Spot is an adorable site with Spot the Dog-themed games, activities, coloring pages, and stories.
    • Goodnight Stories has some stories that your child can hear being read while she turns the pages of her own book (Make Way for the Ducklings, Guess How Much I Love You, etc.).
    • HiT Entertainment is the “home of popular children’s entertainment properties, such as Bob the Builder, Barney, Thomas and Friends, Pingu, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina, and more.” The site has games, videos, and activities that are based on their shows.
    • IKnowThat.com is a site with educational games and “movies” for preschoolers.
    • Jan Brett’s website offers games, activities, and printables based on her numerous award-winning books.
    • KneeBouncers is a website with games for toddlers. Toddlers do not have to hit specific keys to play the games, instead, any key will cause an interaction, such as a police car to sound it’s siren, a shape to appear, a balloon to be counted, etc.
    • Literactive is a free phonics site with lots of pre-reading fun.
    • Nick Jr. has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
    • PBS Kids has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
    • Playhouse Disney has games, activities, and videos based on their many popular preschool television series.
    • Sesame Street’s website is a place where your preschoolers can watch Sesame Street videos, play games, and more.
    • Seussville is the place for Dr. Seuss-themed games and activities.
    • Sheppard Software has educational games for preschoolers.
    • Starfall is a site devoted to teaching phonics with games, videos, stories, and more. Their “A, B, C’s” category has age-appropriate options for preschoolers.
    • Storyplace has online stories and activities, as well as printables, for preschoolers.
    • Storyline Online is a site with videos of famous people, such as Al Gore, James Earl Jones, Tia and Tamara Mowry, Elijah Wood, and more, reading children’s books out loud. Book titles include A Bad Case of Stripes, Stellaluna, Brave Irene, Somebody Loves You, Mr Hatch, etc. The site also gives related activities that you can do offline with your child.
    Do you know of any other good sites that I missed?
    Maureen
    Labels: Online Learning, Toddlers
    Posted by Maureen Sklaroff