This is the third part of my 3-part column series that I wrote for The Barrow Journal about homeschooling a preschooler. In it I focus on our online learning. Click here to read the full column, and scroll down to find all the links I mention in the column plus more!
www.starfall.com — great for teaching kids their ABCs and phonics –> and Free!
www.time4learning.com — a full, online curriculum for Pre-K through 8th grade; includes reports (except for Pre-K portion) –> $20 per month (But they are having an April special for $4.99, so you can check it out for cheap, if you want!)
www.khanacademy.org — I didn’t mention this in my column because we have not used it yet, and I think my son needs to get a little older before we do. But it looks awesome, and it’s FREE! It’s great for math and science.
A few other sites that I have found, which look great, but I haven’t used them much.
www.janbrett.com — (My sister, the first grade teacher, tipped me off to this one as well as starfall.com.)
We also use applications or “apps” on my iPod Touch. You have to download iTunes to access these. (http://www.apple.com/itunes/) iTunes is free to download, and it works on a PC too.
These apps were all under $2 to use.
“Letter Tracer” by Niftybrick Software
“First Words: Vehicles” and similar apps by Learning Touch
“TeachMe: Kindergarten” by 24x7digital LLC
“Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Wheels on the Bus” and similar apps by Duck Duck Moose
Last but not least, my son and I LOVE YouTube. I only gave it a paragraph in my column, but I wanted to go on and on about it. Sure, YouTube has a lot of junk on it, but you can also find many gems. In the past, we have used it to look up different kinds of music and musicians because my son likes music, especially classical. (“Play something with no words, Mommy.”) Mostly we use it to look up videos of animals, especially ocean animals. In fact, every time we make a paper animal as I mentioned in my earlier post/column, we always look it up on YouTube to see a video of the real animal in action.
If you are interested, here are a few of my son’s favorite videos on YouTube. I have bookmarked them and taught him how to retrieve them, so once in a while, he watches them by himself. (By teaching him to use the bookmarks, he goes down the list, and I don’t have to worry too much about him clicking on something I don’t want him to watch. But I do check on him often, if I let him sit and watch by himself, just in case.)
Hermit Crab Shell Change — This hermit crab is a pet for a Kindergarten class in Florida, and in this video, you can watch it get a new home.
Lobster Migration — Narrated by David Attenborough. A BBC production. For some reason, I think this is my son’s favorite. Go figure!
Swimming with a Manta Ray — Such beautiful creatures. Another BBC production.
Army of Sea Urchins — Part of BBC’s Planet Earth. (We are planning to watch that whole series sometime.) This is a cool video because you can watch the sea urchins and starfish move in fast motion.
Shark vs. Octopus — by National Geographic. Not for the faint of heart.
Stingray — by National Geographic.
Of course, you can watch lots of videos for kids at National Geographic for Kids!
These links are only a drop in the ocean of what is available to our kids today. As long as children have a good balance of play time, outdoor time, and other activities, I strongly believe that it’s okay to let kids use computers, television and gadgets to learn, and I believe they enhance learning and the imagination too! When our kids are adults, the world will be even more technologically sophisticated than it is today! If a parent is able, why not let them start using these devices?
More Preschool Posts:
- Homeschooling a Preschooler with a Baby in the House, Part 1 (refers to The Efforts of Homeschooling a Preschooler at the Barrow Journal)
- Homeschooling a Preschooler, Part 2 (refers to Teaching Preschoolers at Home at the Barrow Journal) – Activities we did for homeschooling preschool
- Column I refer to in this post: Internet as a Teaching Tool at the Barrow Journal, but you’ll find all the links on the blog post.)
- How I taught my son his ABCs, 123s, and a little bit of my philosophy too
- Setting Our Homeschool Priorities for Two Boys, ages 5 and 2 (For follow-up posts, look under “Kindergarten.”)