Saturday, March 17, 2012

Busy, Busy!

This past week has been busy, busy, busy, thus the reason there was no post on Sunday. We've been busy shopping for a car, finally deciding on and buying a car (2002 Ford Windstar...LOVE IT!), purchasing homeschooling equipment (more on that later), and Hubs has been temporarily moved to second shift beginning this past week, so things have been a bit chaotic. We've still be homeschooing, it's just been pretty informal and a lot has been "in the field" leaerning for the children. Watching us car shop was a great learning experience to them and I'm happy Goober got to take part in that experience because this was his first week schooling at home. In addition to our on-site learning, we also had a trip to the circus this week, which the children loved and, naturally, I hated. The circus is an evil place, I think. It turns even the best kids into "gimme" kids who want everything in sight. Ugh. They did get to see some pretty cool stuff and learn about self-control, I suppose.

So far, the Time4Learning curriculum is going very well, but I won't delve completely into that stuff just yet but will save it for my later review. I do, however, want to talk about the new "gear" we got. We decided to do our homeschooling "plugged in", meaning we plan on utilizing technology to the fullest. We are eco-friendly and hate to be wasteful, not to mention I don't need any more clutter in my house, and homeschooling brings in a lot of clutter, so we feel like using technology to the fullest is our best bet.  We started researching our technology options and narrowed it down to using laptops or iPads, with each kiddo having their own device to use. In the end, we decided to go with iPads. The main reasons were the versatility, total portability, and battery life of the iPad. The iPad is so much more than a computer, so they can use them for so many things. Laptops are small and portable, certainly, but iPads are smaller and more portable and their battery life is about 9 hours, which is spectacular! Their work can even be done in the car, which is an option not available with using a laptop. Plus, the iPad has options for homeschooling that laptops don't. Like textbooks from iTunes U, educational apps, and the ability to practice handwriting using a stylus and special apps for that. We really feel the possibilities are endless with the iPad.

With the help of the internet and helpful people at a local store, we have purchased four refurbished/used iPad 2's. Hubs will mainly use his for fun, I'll use mine for fun, homeschooling, and some other side jobs I have, and the kids' will be for school, educational fun, and mindless fun as well. Also, Goober will start fostering his love of math and technology by learning coding with the iPad and Bub is going to be using his for bringing out his creative side. So far I am thrilled with the iPads! I never dreamed of the possibilities we'd have when we bought them and I am so excited that we will be almost completely paper-free in our schooling. I've found out that I can scan and convert any worksheets I come across (mainly from borrowed books) to PDF's and they can be handwritten on their iPads and submitted back to me electronically. I've even found a journaling app, which we do a lot of, that the kids can make e-journals where they can hand write, type, draw, insert pictures, and more. They store all their journals on virtual bookshelves and can keep writing on and on. They can practice any subject on the iPad as well, via fun paid and free apps, to solidify what they're learning. I am so excited, and so are they! This will be so much fun!

Special thanks to my hard-working Hubs for making this possible for us. My income is meager now that I'm a homeschooling mama and without him, we couldn't have bought these.

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