Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

Touchpress’s Chemistry Apps – currently 75%-80% off for a limited time July 26, 2015

Filed under: High School,Homeschooling Apps,Middle School — lifeatwarpspeed @ 12:40 am
Tags: , , ,

The Elements: A Visual Exploration on the App Store on iTunes.

This deal is not to be missed!

This Chemistry app is on sale today for a steal at $2.99. (Normally $13.99) It is a visually stunning and great supplement to anyone studying chemistry. This is far better than a run of the mill periodic table poster and really bring chemistry to life. This app was named one of the year’s top apps by the Apple Store.

My son just loves this app as he has mad love for all things related to chemistry right now. We were lucky enough to score a free one last year. After having it, this is a great deal. It really bring the periodic table to life with amazing, breathtaking images of various elements. The companion Molecules app is currently $2.99 and the Elements in Action is $0.99. The Elements Flashcards app is free. All of these are really fantastic supplement for studying chemistry.

“Elements is based on the internationally best-selling hard cover edition of The Elements by Theodore Gray, Popular Science Magazine’s Gray Matter columnist. ”

Highly recommended for anyone studying chemistry.



Educational Tech Picks March 6, 2015

This is the October 2014 column that I wrote for my co-op’s newsletter. I realized that I should share these gems with all of you as well! So, I will be posting up my other past columns when I have some more time. I just love finding interesting and sometimes unusual educational resources online that can be leveraged for homeschooling. Keep in mind that these are not necessarily Christian resources and as always please preview and decide for yourself if a particular resource is appropriate for you and your family to use. These resources may be of interest to families that supplement on the weekends, after school, or summer vacation.

ABC Jesus Love Me: Free                                                                                             Grades: Toddler to Pre-K
If you have littles in the house that are chomping at the bit to do “school” just like their older siblings and have no time to pull something together, then (AJLM) is my solution for you! AJLM is a great free biblically based, play based curriculum designed to take you from ages 2 to 5. Each year has a 36 week plan covering literature, music, character, Scripture, pre-math, pre-reading, and age-appropriate concepts and skills. This is a well-laid out curriculum with an intentional progression leading you to being ready for formal schooling at school age.

I really appreciate the way the AJLM lays out each week beginning with the supplies that you need to have on hand. Then you are given a good overview of learning objectives for the week. This is followed by a list of all the different activities and links to all the printable resources. If you scroll all the way to the bottom you will find a schedule grid with everything scheduled over 4 days.

I must say that you should not to feel compelled to use everything which might be challenging for those who are compulsive box checkers. Depending on your situation, this might feel overwhelming to you. Feel free to pick and choose what is most important to you or even slow this down and work over a whole year rather than 36 weeks schedule.

Magic School Bus Science Lesson Plans: Free                                                                                       Grades: K-3

Homeschoolbelle has made her Magic School Bus DVD series lesson plans for the primary grades. She has pulled together a schedule that takes you through each episode with suggested books to read, a project or experiment that you can do, related Brain Pop videos, and writing assignments  from about the topic. This is such a fun way to do make science interesting and accessible for younger children.

VocabularySpellingCity: Free. ($29.99 for premium access for full features. ).

Spelling City is available as an app for Apple, Droid, and Kindle users. It is also available online as well. This is a pretty fun way to practice and test spelling words though various games and activities. The premium membership does give you many more features that expand this to be a good vocabulary resource as well. The annual family premium access is for up to five students.

There are literally thousands of user created spelling lists in their database. Their spelling list search function is rather underwhelming though and not that effective to narrowing down what you are looking for. The trick though is that you either have to know the user’s account name or the list name. I have been able to find lists for most common homeschool spelling curricula (SWR, on Spelling City with a little key word searching of the Spelling City forums (forum, spelling city, ). Sometimes, when my hands are busy with making lunch or dinner, I will run the practice test and have my son write out his spelling on paper the SWR way…cursive with all the markings. It does free up some time as I can have him work on spelling and vocabulary while we are en route somewhere on our iPad. We really enjoy using it.

I was able to organize a way for our co-op to take advantage of the special pricing by having parents share access to a teacher account. If you can get enough people together and organize it, it is a great deal at about $2 per student for 12 months.

The Online Engineering Academy: ($400-$550)                                                                       Grade: High School
I just love this concept that meets a real felt need for high school students that are interested in engineering. This is something that is very challenging to provide to students without going with a college level course which usually requires calculus as a prerequisite. This is a great resource for families seeking to provide their high school students a good bridge and solid foundation for future collegiate level study in engineering.

The Excellence in Engineering Education Initiative Foundation in partnership with Auburn University has made this elective credit, four-year engineering curriculum available as an online course. These courses are taught by an engineer that is also a high school teacher and has teaching assistants who are graduate engineering students who worked through this curriculum as high school students.

The pacing and design of these on-demand courses reflects math skills that follow a traditional college preparatory progression of math that culminates with Calculus in their senior year. So, students, on a progression ending with pre-Calculus, should consider starting this series a year behind so that they are able to work successfully through the course. 



Free Minecraft Lessons – limited time offer July 28, 2014


Free Minecraft Lessons.

Do you have a Minecraft-mad kid in your family? Wouldn’t you like to see if you can leverage that interest into something useful like programming? Homeschool Programming is offering a series of free lessons for Beginning Minecraft Mods. There are over 100 pages of instructions on how modify Minecraft code to add new items, recipes, and MOBs.

Homeschool Programming offers a series of products that teach kids and teens how to code. This is a wonderful way to bring this sort of STEM education into your child’s life for any parent even if you don’t homeschool. You can try out their product before deciding to buy anything. Click through above link to subscribe your email to get the free Minecraft lessons. Don’t forget to verify your subscription when you get your confirmation email.

Recommended for 4th grade and up.


ETA: Got a message from them. Our website and email systems are currently down due to a DNS issue within the hosting company. We apologize for the outage, but are waiting on resolution from the company that manages those servers. This is a widespread outage that impacts many websites. You can call our office at 888-606-7263 if needed.


Solar Walk™ – Planets of the Solar System App – free for a limited time June 29, 2014

Filed under: Apps,High School,Homeschooling,Middle School,Upper Elementary — lifeatwarpspeed @ 3:07 pm
Tags: , , ,


Solar Walk™ – Planets of the Solar System on the App Store on iTunes.

This is award winning app is currently free to download. It is normally $2.99. It is a beautiful app with stunning graphics. It is an amazing 3D model of our solar system. There are lots of interactive features to explore and mini-movies to learn more about different planets and features of our solar system.

One of the best features of Solar Walk is that is sync’d with the time zone you are in. It will show to the proper position and orientation of Earth and the other planets relative to the sun.

Don’t miss out on this fabulous app which is a great addition to anyone studying astronomy especially homeschoolers.



Walking with Dinosaurs: Inside their World – free for a limited time. May 25, 2014


Walking with Dinosaurs: Inside their World on the App Store on iTunes.

This award-winning app has been completely revamped the BBC Worldwide and BBC Earth with the original developer to bring you this amazing interactive dinosaur encyclopedia. The encyclopedia is professionally narrated by Stephen Fry, British comedian and actor. There are 280 3-D renderings of dinosaurs to explore and hours of narrated content. This app is normally $4.99 and is being offered for free download for a limited time.

Hurry and grab this before it disappears! It is perfect for anyone dinosaur enthusiast of any age.



COMPASS Math Prep Flashcards Exambusters App – currently free! April 25, 2014

Filed under: Apps,High School,Homeschooling Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:43 pm
Tags: , , ,


COMPASS Math Prep Flashcards Exambusters on the App Store on iTunes.

This ACT COMPASS math exam prep app is currently free right now! Normally, $4.99. This exam is used by many colleges to assess math placement and to identify correct placement level. It can be used to assess and work on specific knowledge areas that your student needs extra practice or remediation in. This app covers arithmetic, algebra, geometry and algebra 2. There are 2,000 practice exam problems available.

Recommended for ages 14 and up.




Good Literature is What Everyone Needs to “Feed” Their Child’s Soul April 17, 2014

If you don’t know me IRL, you might not know that I am a homeschooling mom of 5yo boy. I am also a bibliophile. There are shelves and shelves of books in my house. I have multiple library cards from systems across the state. I often get cards where I vacation frequently so that I can avoid toting a stack of books with me in my luggage. Used bookstores are a dangerous place for me to step foot in. I seriously have a love for books.

Within the homeschooling community (and even outside), many families emphasize literature and lots of it. I am of the school of thought that there is a lot of what I call junky children’s literature that occupies the shelves of the library. Fun, entertaining books that don’t always have much redeeming value. We read some of them just like everyone else, but we try to pick the better stuff. Don’t get me started on what I think about Junie B. Jones. I get it though. I get that people just want kids to read anything. I don’t think it is that hard to find entertaining books to interest children, so I won’t be writing about that in this post.

So, what if you want to provide good literature to feed your child’s soul? Stories that have stood the test of time. Stories that inspire the imagination of girls and boys. Stories that instill timeless values. Stories teach about courage, loyalty, honor, sacrifice, generosity, love, kindness, character, honesty, trustworthiness, family and duty. I am probably forgetting something here, but you get my point. Those are the sorts of stories I remember spending hours reading when I read through the entire children’s section at my local library.

So, instead of making my own lists of great English literature which would take ages. I pulled from existing online literature lists:  Sonlight which is very well known in the homschooling community for their literature-rich curriculum, Ambleside Online which is a free Charlotte Mason (living books) curriculum, Great Books Academy reading list (focuses on classics of Western literature), and 1,000 Good Books which was compiled by a group of Christian classical homeschooling moms.

There is a fabulous list of Sonlight books that are grouped by 4 year history cycle and grouped by grammar, logic and rhetoric stages here: I did not include this list in the spreadsheet because I wanted to respect the restrictions on sharing the list.

If you are a fan of classic literature for kids, Veritas Press has a book recommendation tool that you can find here:

It used to be that we would call a well-read person educated. That is something that I think is largely lost in our culture. I think when we fill up our minds with mindless media and junky literature, we do so at the expense of the things that are really good for our heart, mind, and soul.

So, I am sharing a google doc with you to make it easy for homeschoolers to find good books to read with your children or for you to have around for your children to read. If you don’t homeschool, then you might find this list as a place to pick out a book or two to read at night with your children. Maybe make it a goal to do a book every month or two. I would ask that you share this blog entry rather than the direct link to the doc so that I have an idea of how many are clicking through. There’s a convenient link below for your use that you can bookmark.

Happy reading!


Edited and updated on 2/21/15:

I have added four more lists. One is a list of beloved library classics for kids sorted by grade level. The second is a list of books to read aloud to the preschoolers, toddlers and babies which also includes a selected list of picture books that correspond to a specific letter sound which works well as reinforcement for those teaching children to read. I felt that there are many parents with non-school aged children that were looking for better choices for their search for what to read next.

The third list is a compilation of the literature selections from Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing for Ease curriculum. I agree wholeheartedly with her argument that good writing springs from reading copious amounts of great prose. I have no idea how we expect students to produce good writing if all they read is the prose that is typically found in junky children’s literature.

The fourth list is going to be a work in progress as I have only completed the K and 1st grade courses. I really have enjoyed and valued the literature selections of the original language arts courses which I continue to have access to as a private user of K12. I don’t like the changes I have seen with the CC-aligned K12 and will be sticking to the older courses and those literature selections. This list contains many selections that do not appear on any other lists and should not be overlooked.

ETA 4/23/16:

I discovered this mom’s blog where she has created lists for various interests and genres. You are sure to something that suits the tastes of your reader here:

Click though here to the list on my google drive:


The Elements: A Visual Exploration app – free today only! December 20, 2013

Filed under: Apps,High School,Homeschooling Apps,Kids,Middle School,Upper Elementary — lifeatwarpspeed @ 1:08 pm
Tags: , ,

The Elements: A Visual Exploration on the App Store on iTunes.

No time for a review of this one day only deal to get this award winning app. This Chemistry app has gone free today. (Normally $13.99) It is a visually stunning and great supplement to anyone studying chemistry. This is far better than a run of the mill periodic table poster and really bring chemistry to life. This app was named one of the year’s top apps by the Apple Stor

“Elements is based on the internationally best-selling hard cover edition of The Elements by Theodore Gray, Popular Science Magazine’s Gray Matter columnist. ”

Highly recommended for anyone studying chemistry.


Freebie deal ended at 12 EST.


%d bloggers like this: