Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and about 30 of her friends for the 2012 Virtual Curriculum Fair. I loved this idea when I first read about it on Susan's blog -- an honest look at curriculum and what works and doesn't in your homeschool. There will be a new topic each Monday in January. Today is Nuts and Bolts: Pulling it All Together. Read on to see how we are using our new iPad for homeschooling and then enjoy the links at the bottom from around the fair (added Monday night).
I am not going to lie, I am a gadget girl. If you want to make me squee, don't bring jewelry or flowers, but I would love a new laptop, gadget, or app. That's why I had such a hard time convincing Matt and my mom that if we got an Apple iPad 2 for Christmas that it would benefit the kids' education. They really thought I just wanted it for myself (truth be told I still use my iPod Touch and MacBook much more than the iPad). I knew, though, that we could use the iPad to make a difference in our learning. I had carefully researched it. In fact, I came up with five ways that an iPad would enhance our learning.
1. The iPad can be used in direct instruction. One way we use the iPad is to bring it to the table for math and language arts time. There I sit with the kids and work with them on concepts using the iPad. We use Sound Literacy
(wait for this one to go on sale for 50% off) with our phonics based reading and spelling program in place of post-it notes or letter magnets. We also use Notability,
which allows us to import and write on PDF documents. John and I can sit and work together on his beginning phonics workbook without the expense of printing the document. He gets to choose the weight and color of his pencil and use his finger to circle his answers. We have plans to add a pen stylus soon to give practice in correct grip as he works in his book.
3. The iPad is a great family exploration tool. Okay, this is my favorite use of the iPad. We sit together and explore cool apps, videos, books, HD photos, and play games on a variety of subjects. We can watch, listen, point, touch, discuss and explore all sorts of topics. Some fun learning happens this way. We have apps about art, science, geography, music and so much more. Then there is a wealth of free content available online at places like YouTube and Wikipedia. From interactive books about Van Gogh to videos of Chinese New Year celebrations to photos and videos of instruments from around the world, there is so much to share and discuss.
4. The iPad is an eReader. You can download free Kindle and Nook apps and it comes with iBooks already installed. Multiple readers give you the opportunity to take advantage of free and discounted eBooks from the various sellers for kids and adults. iBooks is also a good PDF reader and there are many homeschool books and products available in PDF form. In addition there are leveled readers for kids in the app store. We have downloaded a number of free samples and Olivia likes them so much I have planned to purchase a few.
5. The iPad can be used for research and planning. It's a great little web device for Mom to sit on the couch next to Dad while he watches the game and still read curriculum reviews or blogs. I use Scholaric to plan out language arts, math, and handwriting. It is web-based and can be accessed from the iPad as well as my computer. There are also a number of lesson planning apps in the app store. Evernote is also a tool I use to take and sync notes between all three of my devices. I keep lists of resources and books in there. I especially use it to categorize links to webpages that do not have photos and can't be pinned onto Pinterest.
So is the iPad necessary for homeschooling? Of course not, but it sure does make it a lot more interesting and exciting at times. We are extremely blessed to have ours, and I feel like it is a tool that adds great value to our education.
Check out the other entries in the fair this week:
Homeschooling Schedule by Julie @ HighHill Homeschool
Curriculum Fair: Week 5: The Nuts & Bolts: Pulling it all
Together by Leah @ The Courtney Six Homeschool
Schedule's Working! by Eunora @ All Things NoriLynn
How do I do it all? by Debbie @ Debbie's Digest
Curriculum Fair--- Wrap-up Angie @ Petra School
Curriculum Fair: 5 Ways to Use an iPad in Your Homeschool by Pam @
Peek Into Our School Day by Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool
Day in the Life... by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
and Life: How we get it done by Jen @ Forever, For Always, No
at My House by Jessica @ Modest Mama
a Grip on Things by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Home School a part of LIFE by Cindy @ For One Another
Where's That Pencil Again? by Beth @ Ozark Ramblings
About Homeschooling I Really Didn't See Coming by Letha @
Kids, and a Frazzled Homeschool Mama leads to Controlled Chaos! by
Laura O from AK @ Day by Day in Our World
Virtual Curriculum Fair – Nuts and Bolts by Kristen @ Sunrise to
on Top of Everything by Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning