Life at Warp Speed

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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. 



Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read App – free today only! May 6, 2014


Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition on the App Store on iTunes.

No time to write a review today for this fabulous today only freebie! Hooked on Phonics is making the classroom edition of their app absolutely free today. Normally $49.99! This is a steal!

Hurry and grab this quick before it disappears!



Animal Math Games for Kids App – currently free! April 25, 2014

Filed under: Early Elementary,Homeschooling Apps,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:56 pm
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Animal Math Games for Kids on the App Store on iTunes.

Eggroll Games has made their Animal Math Games App free for download right now. (Normally, $2.99). This app offers 100 fun games to practice early math skills for preK and K students. This app covers number recognition, counting, skip counting, comparison, shapes and addition and subtraction within 5.

Recommended for 4 to 6.



Little Bit’s Math Apps – on sale for $0.99 for a limited time! April 21, 2014

Filed under: Apps,Early Elementary,Homeschooling,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:54 pm
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Bugs and Numbers for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Bugs and Buttons for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Bugs and Bubbles for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Bugs and Buttons 2 on the App Store on iTunes.

Seriously, do not miss out on this deal! Little Bit Studio has put their their award winning Bugs series of early math apps for the iPhone and iPad on sale for $0.99 (Normally, $2.99). This series of apps is stunning in its graphics and design. It is just visually so appealing. Don’t be alarmed by the bug theme, both girls and boys will enjoy these apps.

You will love the adaptive play which increases the difficulty level based on mastery of skills. There are 18 engaging games to play (translate “learning”), and achievement stickers are used to encourage and reward learning. I love that there are multiple user profiles which is wonderful when you have more than one child in the family. There are also 11 different language settings for you to use which includes both traditional and simplified Chinese.

What parent doesn’t groan when they contemplate drilling math skills? These apps covers basic counting to early fractions, currency, time, simple addition and subtraction, comparison, measurement, patterns, sequencing, sorting and problem solving. With these apps, math becomes a perfect blend of study and play. Just like Mary Poppins says, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”  If you loved the apps by Duck Duck Goose, you will love these apps by Little Bit Studio.

Recommended for ages 3 to 7.



Nighty Night! bedtime story app gone free for a limited time! April 17, 2014

Filed under: Apps,Baby/Toddler,Book Apps,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:45 pm
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Nighty Night! HD – The bedtime story app for children on the App Store on iTunes. (iPad)

Nighty Night! HD – The bedtime story app for children on the App Store on iTunes. (iPhone)

This is a very cute, award winning bedtime story app for young children is currently free for download. This is normally $2.99. This app does support multiple languages as well.

Recommended for ages 1 to 4.



Oxford Owl – hundreds of free e-books! (no iPad needed) June 17, 2013

Free children’s ebooks for ages 3-11 | Oxford Owl.

Help your child’s maths | Oxford Owl.

I don’t want non-iPad owners out there to feel a bit left out. Even though you can snag all these cool deals with your iTunes account, it would be nice to have something that you could access right now. So, here is a great pair of websites from our friends from across the pond.

The reading website has over 250 FREE e-books, tons of activities and games, and resources to help you with your child’s reading skills. Everything is separated by age range/reading ability which makes it very easy to find what you are looking for. The books range from age 3 up to 11. The math(s) website is geared towards ages 3 to 5 and 5 to 7 with activities and resources to help you develop your child’s math skills. This site is not nearly as robust as the reading website.

Keep in mind, these are British websites, so the pronunciation, phonetic rules, and spelling adhere to Queen’s English.

Recommended for children in pre-K to 5th grade for reading and pre-K to 2nd for math.



Learn ABC; It’s Munch Time app – free today! June 15, 2013

Filed under: Asian American Issues,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 4:53 pm
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Learn ABC; It’s Munch Time for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

If you are in the market for an ABC app that is both cute, fun to play and teaches young children how to trace their letters, then grab this app that has gone free today. Normally, this app is $1.99. They have made some nice improvements to the app by adding more animation to the food characters and additional touch capabilities.

The app includes upper and lowercase letters for practice. M and I first came across this app over two years ago and had a lot of fun playing and learning with it. As an Asian American mom, I personally appreciate that the developer is Asian, so there are many food characters that are common in the Asian diet which is really nice if you are looking to something that affirms that for your children. All in all, this is solid app. If you miss this deal, there is a free version that you can try out.

Recommended for toddler to pre-K. This is a very user-friendly app for young accelerated learners.




Montessori Numbers app – free for a limited time! May 8, 2013

Filed under: Apps,Homeschooling Apps,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 6:45 pm
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Montessori Numbers – Math Activities for Kids for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

This is the first time this app has ever been offered for free. (Normally, $2.99) This is a top rated, award winning app that introduce young children to numbers and build number sense. I bought this app a long time ago when it was on sale. It is a pretty great introductory app that build on early math skills and can be used for a pretty long time as the quantities activity is really useful for teaching place value and grouping skills. This is especially useful when you just don’t feel like pulling out the linking cubes or cuisenaire rods.

Highly recommended for ages 3 to 7.



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