Learning History through Video Games

Learning History Through Video Games #historygames #homeschooling #podcast

Episode 56:Learning History through Video Games with Charlene Hess

Charlene Hess of Hess Un-Academy joins me in this episode as we talk about learning history through video games. Be sure to visit her Facebook page.

When my children were young we all enjoyed playing Orgeon Trail together. Oregon Trail is seen as the first educational computer game to gain widespread appeal because it was also fun. As they got older the played other video games based in history like Knights and Merchants, Caesar 3, Rome: Total War and Battlefield 1942.

One of the games they played a lot was Civilization. It is a strategy game where you play as different civilizations and try to conquer the world. Be sure to listen to the episode to hear the story of what my one son learned when he played as the Egyptian civilization.

Another game my boys played – and Charlene’s whole family plays, is Age of Empires. Charlene explains how they play it and what benefits they get from playing. You can buy the game on the Steam website.

Charlene has created worksheets that you can use with your children to research each civilization before they play as that civilization.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy has a full year Honors US History online class that uses games where appropriate, as well as 2 World War 2 web-based unit studies that incorporate games and fun interactive websites to enhance learning – World War 2 Year by Year and Who’s Who in World War 2.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Learning History Through Video Games

How much screentime for your children?

How Much Screen Time for Your Children

Episode 55: How much screentime for your children?

My previous episode on Homeschooling Digital Natives gives context to this episode so if you haven’t listened to it yet, you might it helpful as you consider the question, “How much screentime for your children?”

I suggest you look for balance and to help you, here are some things I think you should consider:

1. Too much time on computer screens isn’t good for any of us. This is particularly true at night as it affects sleep. See this article by Beth Napoli aka Techie Homeschool Mom.

2. Too much time spent sitting and doing things online means children aren’t spending that time being active.

3. Tech addiction is a real problem for some children

4. The current generation is the most anxious generation that we know about. This is not only due to tech use, but social media, in particular, can have negative effects on mental health.

5. On the flip side, online gaming can be social time if friends and family are playing together.

6. Children need to learn tech skills to operate in the world.

7. Technology is how your teens will connect with their peers and make plans to do things offline. It is always a way to connect with family members who don’t live in the same area.

8. Technology opens up a huge world for your children. It helps them understand others better as they can learn about people all over the world. They can also find resources to teach them anything they want to learn.

What are your options on how to limit screen time?

Here are some ideas:

  • Put limits on devices
  • Have specific times children can be online, or times they must be offline.
  • Allow them online only after they have finished schoolwork and chores
  • Allow unlimited computer time but only if they are being productive online. This is an idea I read about from Beth Napoli. Read her whole blog post and see what you think.

Whatever you decide to do, talk to your kids about it and explain your reasoning.

I would also suggest you make sure your children are involved in enough activities like 4-H, scouts, sports and community service that they don’t have too much time to be in front of a screen.

Listen to the whole episode as I further develop the ideas I mention above.

Subscribe to the podcast as we will be covering more topics like this in the near future. And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

Visit our sponsor FundaFunda Academy and take a look at their web-based unit studies.

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How Much Screen Time for Your Children #homeschoolpodcast #screentime #homeschooltechnology

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Homeschooling Digital Natives

Episode 54: Homeschooling Digital Natives

Most of you are digital immigrants homeschooling digital natives.

In 2001 Mark Prensky coined the terms “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. ‘Digital Native’ is used to describe someone born in the digital era. ‘Digital Immigrant’ is used to describe someone born before the digital era.

This comic created by Adam Ellis shows how digital immigrants can have a skewed view of digital natives.

As digital immigrants, we tend to divide our activities between “online” and “offline” whereas for digital natives the online world is just part of their reality – not something separate.

How does this affect you as a homeschool parent?

1. Literacy must now include Digital Literacy

You need to cover topics like fake news, digital communication skills, digital footprints, online research, copyright, and plagiarism with your children.

2. Tools you teach your children to operate must include digital tools

It’s not enough that your children know how to use a knife, a pair of scissors, the vacuum cleaner, and the microwave. Now they need to know how to create digital graphics, share a document with others, produce videos and make websites.

Listening to this podcast (check out past episodes too) will help you learn how to teach your children many of these skills. In addition, take a look at our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy‘s Computer Applications class which teaches 7th – 12th graders both digital literacy and how to use many digital tools.

3. Teaching Reading, Writing and Math, is not enough

You need to add coding as a basic literacy skill as it will be necessary to understand it, if not use it, in most jobs in the future. Some of our previous episodes cover this topic:

4. Safety must now include online safety

We all know we need to teach our children how to be safe as they move about our physical neighborhoods. But we must also make sure to address online “stranger danger”, how to create strong passwords, and how to identify phishing scams.

5. Mental and Emotional Health as relates to online interactions must be addressed

This means teaching your children not to be a cyberbully and how to deal with cyberbullies. It also means teaching our children not just about alcohol and drug addiction but also about tech addiction. And it means you and your spouse need to think through how much screentime your children should be allowed.

Subscribe to the podcast as we will be covering most of these topics in future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Homeschooling Digital Natives $homeschoolpodcast #homeschooling #homeschooltech

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy

Episode 53: Why homeschool moms need to be tech-savvy with Felice Gerwitz

It’s our one year birthday!! Before we talk about “Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy” let’s talk about birthday gifts!

If you find this podcast useful, the best gift you can give us is a rating and review on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. OR you can share about the podcast on your Facebook page, a Facebook group you are in or an online forum.

If you do any of these things, email me a screenshot of the review (meryl@mediaangels.com) and tell me which of FundaFunda Academy‘s web-based unit studies you would like free! Our gift to you!

Felice Gerwitz and her husband Jeff have raised and homeschooled five kids. She is a self-taught techie.
Starting a publishing company in 1994 with no knowledge but an arsenal of word documents and
publishing tools on her computer seven of her books have been noted in Cathy Duffy’s 100 and 101 Top
Homeschool Picks. She started the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network in 2013 and the Ultimate
Christian Podcast Network in 2017. Her podcast is Vintage Homeschool Moms.

How has the internet changed homeschooling over the years?

1. Homeschool journey began in 1986 and ended in 2018 and as you can imagine technology has
changed incredibly in this time!
2. The biggest difference has been in the Internet and cell phone use! We used books not online
resources until the end of my homeschool journey. People were afraid to buy things online
because they didn’t trust that their information was safe. Can you imagine that today? Social
media was just beginning – just to give you a perspective, I began homeschooling in 1986 –and
FB began in 2004!! And – I didn’t even join right away because I am a private person and wasn’t
sure I wanted my “life” out there.

Techie advice for parents in a technological world

1. Stay one step ahead of your kids – there are many tutorials on YouTube – there is no reason
you can’t learn
2. Set up a password on your kids’ phones when they are younger to limit internet searches.
3. Set up an iTunes account for your family so you can see all apps and purchases

How to keep from getting overwhelmed

1. Do it in the minutes you have now – don’t put things off.
2. Set up deadlines – or goals, daily – weekly, that helps.

My favorite techie tools

1. LastPass.com – we keep all of our online passwords protected.
2. Google Suite – all online tools, I used Google Docs when homeschooling so that my kids could
submit papers – I could edit them, and they could see my edits or comments.
3. Use Google Calendar – have the app on your phone as well as your laptop. Then print a hard copy of “A month at a glance”. You can even set up different calendars for specific things, like meetings/ events

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Why Homeschool Moms Need to be Tech-Savvy #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolingwithtechnology #wiredhomeschooling

Using Technology to Eat Healthy

technology to eat healthy

Episode 52: Using Technology to Eat Healthy with Debbie Hanyon

In this episode, Debbie Hanyon from Homeschooling Dietitian Mom, joins us to share how she uses technology to eat healthy. Debbie is a homeschool mom and she has a number of resources on her website other homeschool moms will find helpful. Take a special look at her Meal Planning for Kids Curriculum.

Debbie’s favorite apps and websites for healthy eating are:

  1. My Fitness Pal
  2. Spark People calorie tracker
  3. Is My Food Safe app only available for Apple products. This app helps you determine how long to keep food before you toss it, what internal temperature different meats need to reach when cooked and other useful things.
  4. Eat Right website by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
  5. Choose My Plate
  6. Food & Nutrition Magazine App which is available on Android and iPhone and is put out by AND.

Listen to the episode to hear the specific aspects of each of these apps and websites that Debbie likes so you can determine which ones will help your family eat more healthy.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy has an online health class that includes a number of modules on healthy eating and uses at least one of these resources Debbie recommends..

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Technology to eat healthy - Apps and websites for healthy eating #healthyeating #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolfamily

Free Website Creation Tools

Free Website Creation Tools

Episode 51: Free Website Creation Tools

Why is it a good idea to teach students to create websites?

  1. Useful skill
  2. Can be used for community service- 4-H group, Lego League Team, homeschool support group
  3. If they start a business they will need one
  4. Digital portfolios
  5. As a way to share what they are learning instead of producing a written report

Here are 5 free website creation tools I have used:

1. Weebly

Weebly has unlimited bandwidth even on the free plan, you can add a PayPal button and it is easy to use. The free version does, however, only allow a limited number of pages, and as with most of these free tools, has ads on the page.

2. Strikingly

I love Strikingly because it is really fast to create a website using it and the websites are very modern looking.

3. Google sites

Google sites is completely free and has no ads. It has very limited style options and you can’t sell anything on your website. It does integrate completely with all Google drive apps.

4.Wix

Wix has the most limited bandwidth of the free sites. Personally, I don’t like using it, but many do so I wanted to include it here.

5.WordPress.com

WordPress.com is easy to use but ads will show in random places. You also can’t have any affiliate links on it. It is nice to use for a blog.

Show sponsor FundaFunda Academy teaches website creation using some of these tools in their Computer Applications class but using the help on each website or looking for Youtube tutorials is another way to get started.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Free Website Creation Tools

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Episode 50: How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Here are 3 different resources students can use to create online choose-your-own-adventure games.

1. Text Adventures

Text Adventures actually has 3 different options to create choose-your-own-adventure games. There is the option to download software, but I have always used the online version.

Initially, you are asked to select between Quest and Squiffy. Select Quest (Squiffy is a little more complicated and only text).

Then you can start creating a Quest game. Now select ‘Gamebook’ in the drop-down option rather than text adventure. The latter allows you to create rooms with objects that can be manipulated. If your children enjoy the easier option, they could progress to this one. And this video explains how to get started.

But I suggest they start with a Gamebook type. In this version, they create choices for whoever is playing and the player simply clicks on their choice to continue down a specific path. This version allows them to add in graphics, audio, and video.

In my online US History class students research a Native American tribe pre-1492 and then turn their research into a game which the other students can play. Here are some you and your children and try.

Cherokee Tribe Game
Igloos and Ice-Fishing
A Day with the Seneca Indians
Shoshone Adventure

2. Google Slides

Hyperlink Google Slides to other Google Slides to create a choose-your-own-adventure. See the show notes for the episode I did on Google slides for a video explaining how to do it.

3. Twine

For a real challenge, students can use Twine which allows them to create more complex text adventures and even incorporate some coding if they choose to.

Visit show sponsor FundaFunda Academy for teaching resources you can use in your home or in co-op classes.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games #wiredhomeschool #homeschoolpodcast #homeschooltech

PHET Science Simulations

Phet science simulations

Episode 49: PHET Science Simulations with Kristin Moon

Today’s interview is with Kristin Moon from Kristin Moon Science and the topic is PHET Science Simulations. You can also follow her on Facebook.

Why use simulations

Simulations allow students to have a concrete idea of concepts that are difficult to explain.

What are PHET simulations

They are free simulations on the topics of math, physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science that are useful for students of all grade levels. They are created by the University of Colorado in Boulder and you can find them here.

Favorite simulations

  • Build an Atom
  • Balancing Chemical Equations
  • Reactants, Products, and Leftovers
  • Molecule Shapes

Other good simulations

  • Equality Explorer (it helps kids “see” how algebra works)
  • Balloons and Static Electricity (kids can “see” how static charge builds)
  • Gene Expression Essentials (students direct the formation of three different proteins from three different genes)
  • Circuit Builder

Visit show sponsor FundaFunda Academy for their online Ecoloy, Biology and Earth Science classes. They also are introducing web-based unit studies for 4th – 8th graders on anatomy.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Phet science simulations #onlinescience #sciencesimulations #sciencefun

Web-based Unit Studies

Web-based unit studies

Episode 48: Web-based Unit Studies

Web-based unit studies are NOT simply pdfs instead of physical books, but rather interactive and accessed through an online classroom.

What are web-based unit studies?

  • mini online self-paced classes
  • make use of online resources eg videos, interactive websites, online games, audio, infographics
  • have online projects where the students use digital tools to show what they have learned

Why include web-based unit studies in your homeschool?

  • unique nature of the resources which can bring subjects alive
  • engaging
  • kids learn techie skills
  • prepares students for online classes at high school and college<

How can you make your own web-based unit studies?

1. You can set everything up on Trello or Google Docs and get your kids to check off assignments as they complete them.

2. Pick a topic (eg.baseball) and search for resources using phrases like “baseball for kids”, “online baseball game”, “baseball infographic”, “baseball interactive”.

3. Search on Youtube and Vimeo for videos. Also, look at Edpuzzle as they have videos with embedded quizzes.

4. Search for “digital breakout baseball”. Learn more about digital breakouts on this episode.

5. Create online games using something like Classtools.

Visit this blog post to see a short video of the “inside” of a web-based unit study.

Use coupon code HWT50 – for 50% off any one full-priced web-based unit study from FundaFunda Academy.

And look at the online unit studies offered by Beth Napoli at Techie Homeschool Mom.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Web-based Unit Studies #unitstudy #onlinehomeschool #podcast


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!


Fanschool games – bringing the fun of fantasy sports to education

Fanschool

Episode 47: Fanschool – bringing the fun of fantasy sports to education with Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson first created Fanschool games when he was a teacher and he played it with his classes. A few years ago he put it online – and now your family can enjoy playing too.

Fanschool Games

You can find the 2 Fanschool games – Fanpolitics and Fangeopolitics – on their website. It is free to use for up to 35 people so perfect for a family to play against each other or to use in a co-op class.

These games require students to do research so they know which states or countries to select in the draft. These become their teams and they earn points based on how often their “players” are mentioned in major news sources.

In addition, Fanschool has special games students can play in Election and Olympics years.

These games are used by our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy, in their online World Geography class (for high school) and their online Government class. In these classes, students play against others from all over the USA to earn bragging rights and Extra Credit.

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Fanschool #onlinegames #geographygames #geographyfun


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor -Overcomer Movie

Life changes overnight for coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team’s state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant in town suddenly shuts down and hundreds of families begin moving away, John must come to grips with the challenges facing his family and his team. Urged by the school’s principal to fill-in and coach a sport he doesn’t know or like, John is frustrated and questioning his worth… until he crosses paths with a student struggling with her own journey.
Filled with a powerful mix of faith, a twist of humor, and a ton of heart, the Kendrick Brothers return to theaters with OVERCOMER, their newest feature following FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF, COURAGEOUS, and the #1 box-office hit, WAR ROOM. The inspiring family film stars Alex Kendrick, Priscilla Shirer, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and introduces Aryn Wright-Thompson.

Opening nationwide on August 23, OVERCOMER dares to leave you filled with hope, inspired to dream, and asks the question: what do you allow to define you?

Click here to learn more!