Hello and welcome back to the family fudge! Today I’m going to be sharing how we handle technology in our home and our school. I’m going to share some of my favorite websites and products we use and ALSO some of the guidelines we’ve set our in our home to help keep our kids safe while they’re online.
If you’re new here, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. My name is Jennifer and I am a home school mom of 4. And just as a quick back ground, I have a 3rd grader a kindergartner and a preschooler and a one year old. Currently, we are what I like to call “hybrid home schoolers” so my kids attend a public school one day a week and on the rest of the days they’re at home with me. They also attend gymnastics, co-ops, and other enrichment classes and Sunday school, so they are quite social.
In our home school we use a mixture of traditional textbooks and online school. When it comes to technology in our home, I embrace it! We live in such a technology centered world now and I want my kids to know how to use technology it BUT I also believe it is important to keep a healthy balance between screen time AND real life hands-on learning.
When I was in school the only time we used computers in was to play things like The Oregon trail! Nowadays, there are LOTs of online schools, websites and apps available for kids. But today I’m only sharing ones that we’ve personally used and liked. And then I’ll share with you some of our safety guidelines.
The first site that we LOVE and have used for years is ABCmouse.com. I’m going to guess that you’ve probably hears of them, they have quite an aggressive marketing strategy.
ABCmouse.com is an early learning program. Kids think they’re just playing games because all of the activities are animated and engaging, but really they’re following a full age-appropriate curriculum. There are different levels from preschool to 2nd grade
There’s a lot to like about ABCmouse.com, but here are my top 3
1. The learning path. Each child has grade level appropriate learning path that they can follow. The lessons build on each other in a sequence. So it’s really easy to let them use it independently. Which is great for when I’m trying to work one on one with another child
2. One price for the year (and you get 4 accounts)
3. Parental controls – you can set up certain lessons OR block certain activities out (tickets & shopping)
ABCmouse.com also has an app for use on the go!
Starfall offers activities for kids in preschool through second grade and kids focusing on English language development and math. Starfall.com reading basics site is free to use, but a paid membership with additional content is also available
Unlike ABCmouse.com, there is not learning path for the basic membership, but it was only about $30 for the entire year and all the kids can use it, but there are no individual accounts.
Really fun and animated.
Curriculum for Homeschooling. Time4Learning is a great homeschool education partner because it offers each child their own learning path, with animated lessons, interactive activities, unit assessments, and integrated printable worksheets for reinforcement.
Like ABCmouse, with animated interactive lessons, but more advanced. Unlike ABCmouse, time4learning now had quizzes, chapter tests, everything you’d expect in higher grades.
Pros and Cons
Can be a complete curriculum- us we needed to supplement, classic novels, art.
Con- Expensive $19.99 per month pre-k through 8th grade – $30 per month 9th – 12th per student
So that can get expensive with multiple kids in addition to the cost of your supplement materials.
Pro- portability. Online, so you can take it anywhere you have internet access.
Pro- Full lesson plans for the entire school year. It tells you how many days a week you need to work on ite and what to do each day to finish on time.
Pro- Tracks attendance, scores, and how long they’ve worked and all the reports are easily printed off if you need to turn them in.
Pro- They have lots of printout worksheets in addition to online work.
Easypeasy online homeschool – There are two decisions you need to make to get started with this curriculum. One, choose your child’s level. You can select a premade level, ie. First, Second, Third, or you can mix and match and have your child do a different levels for math, reading and language arts. Its similar to time4learning- Its planned out for you, online, and FREE
These are the computers we use:
Ruggedized Designed for rugged use with reinforced rubber guards, easy grip handles, and a spill resistant keyboard
Amazon $230- investment
Important Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online:
1 All devices should be used in a public place.
We never allow our kids to use them in their rooms. Our computers are in public locations, too. This is one simple way to keep an eye on them and make sure the things they are doing online are appropriate. It also helps keep track of the length of time they are using it.
2. Age appropriate websites, apps and shows.
There are ratings on apps so you will know whether they are appropriate. Television shows have ratings, also. Common Sense Media is a great resource for knowing what is appropriate! I visit that site a lot.
3. Scheduled Times and Limits
Set certain times they are allowed to use the devices. My kids are not allowed to use them during meal times, not curriculum related only after chores and school work is finished.
4.Supervised User Accounts
The Chromebook allows for supervised user account on each computer-they can’t access websites that aren’t pre-approved
5. hacker/privacy lens covers-
Webcam Covers by soomz.io protect the camera of your laptop, tablet, smartphone or other technical devices from hacker attacks and can be opened or closed with just one simple finger movement. The adhesive slider can be easily applied and removed from the required device without trace.
6. online safety
Cyber 5 lesson – ABCya.com Cyber-Five is a short animation which introduces children to five helpful rules to be safer on the internet.
Things like not sharing passwords, Not sharing full name address, what they should do about pop-up ads, and getting permission to download things. They also talk about how to deal with cyber bullys.