Online Olympic Resources for Homeschoolers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Online Olympic Resources for Homeschoolers

 

282:  Online Olympic Resources for Homeschoolers

Here are several online Olympic resources that will help you extend the excitement of the games into educational opportunities for your children. From interactive apps and science videos to music lessons and virtual museum tours, we’ve got a variety of tools to make the most of the Olympic season in your homeschooling journey.

Key Resources Discussed:

  1. Official Olympics App – Free, provides schedules and update
  2. 15-minute Music Lesson on Olympic Music (from Music in Our Homeschool)
    • Free printable download available that goes along with the lesson
  3. Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering and Sports
    • Nine educational videos on various Olympic topics
  4. Fan School
    • Free Olympics prediction game
    • Opportunity for kids to write articles
  5. Olympic Bingo Board
    • Available from FundaFunda Academy for $0.99
  6. FundaFunda Academy’s Mini Unit Study on Olympic History and Culture
    • Web-based, $5, covers both summer and winter Olympics
  7. Literary Adventures for Kids – Online Book Club
    • “The Boys in the Boat” – Middle school and high school versions available
  8. Olympic Museum Online Resources
    • Virtual 360 tours of the Olympic Museum
    • Various PDFs and educational materials available

Additional Tips:

  • Use videos on EdPuzzle for ad-free video watching with embedded questions
  • This blog post has some more ideas and a giveaway for the mini unit study

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

 

Is Writing Proficiency still important in the AI era?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Writing Proficiency in an AI Era

Episode 281: Is Writing Proficiency Still Important in the AI Era?

Guest Jennie Miller, English Teacher at FundaFunda Academy, shares her thoughts on the relevance of writing proficiency in the AI era.

Jennie’s Classes:

  • Freshman English: An introductory high school English class focused on learning how to write academically and analyze classic and contemporary literature
  • American Literature: A look at 400 years of American history through the lens of prominent writers and thinkers
  • British Literature: A survey of works and ideas starting in Anglo-Saxon England through the Postmodern Era
  • Senior English: An independent English course that focuses on high stakes themes, reflective writing, and the overall impact of storytelling

Key Discussion Points:

  1. The Importance of Writing Skills:
    • Writing proficiency is still essential despite advancements in AI.
    • Writing fosters critical thinking and deeper understanding of complex issues.
    • Learning to write helps students articulate thoughts and opinions effectively.
  2. Concerns About AI in Writing:
    • AI can produce factually incorrect information.
    • Over-reliance on AI can hinder the development of critical thinking and essay structure skills.
    • Mastery of writing involves understanding MLA format and following detailed instructions.
  3. The Value of Traditional Writing Education:
    • Organic learning and the struggle of writing are crucial for intellectual growth.
    • Writing helps students learn to express themselves and develop a personal voice.
    • Personal experiences and stories in writing are irreplaceable by AI.
  4. Real-Life Applications:
    • Writing skills are essential for professional communication, such as emails and reports.
    • Critical thinking and the ability to articulate thoughts verbally are enhanced through writing practice.
  5. Teaching Strategies:
    • Encourage students to write independently and resist the temptation to use AI for assignments.
    • Parents should discuss the importance of writing with their children and monitor their work.
    • Teachers need to be aware of students’ writing styles to detect discrepancies indicating AI use.

Conclusion:

  • Writing proficiency remains critical in the AI era for developing critical thinking and effective communication skills.
  • Parents and educators should emphasize the importance of learning to write independently

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

Board games that promote STEM skills

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

280: Board games that promote STEM skills

Board Games That Promote STEM Skills

Guest Haley Story shares board games that promote STEM skills – and she has many ideas for all ages.

Why board games?

  • A fun family time
  • Great for summer
  • Also some solo games for screen-free time

The kinds of board games she discusses 

  • All of these games involve meaningful decisions—no Candy Land!
  • No party games or word games
  • Not only teaches children about cause and effect of their decisions—makes the games tolerable (and usually fun) for adults
  • STEM focus.  All of these games involve making decisions based on:
    • Math to optimize score
    • Probability
    • Logical reasoning
    • Computational skills and reasoning
    • Spatial reasoning

How to learn rules (parents learn first!)

  • If you (or your spouse) don’t love reading rules… Try Youtube!
  • Also, many of the more complicated games have online versions and some people prefer learning that way

Games that reinforce math facts for young kids

  • Uno
  • Connect 4
  • Darts (there are  great kid-friendly magnetic versions)
  • Rummy Cube –slightly older kids (Caleb started around 5…kids have to learn to rearrange numbers/sets in their head to make the best moves…logic and some pattern recognition (mathematical sets) and some probability )
  • Five Crowns Junior
  • Blokus
  • Katamino 
  • Wedgits building tower with cards
  • Pyramid stacking toy

Games for slightly older kids that teach mathematical logic and computational skill

These are all solo challenges, but kids tend to enjoy them, and the games come with a deck of challenge cards that begin easy and increase in difficulty

  • Laser Maze
  • Gravity Maze
  • Rush Hour
  • And others by ThinkFun–REALLY good for computational skills and logic

Similar reasoning, but multi-player

For middle school/older:

Fast games:

  • Point Salad
  • Century, Golem edition: longer game.  But to calculate your optimal deals and trades, need to scale the math of the point values for each gemstone–some are better deals than others!  Lots of optimization
  • For Sale and Incan Gold
  • Silver and Gold

Longer Games:

  • Settlers of Cata
  • Splendor
  • Space Cowboy
  • Azule
  • Gizmos: A super-fun game, though longer and more involved.  Computational thinking skills: stacking your cards to trigger multiple events and optimizing each turn
  • Potion Explosion: another longer, involved game that teaches some computational thinking and optimization skills.  A bit of spatial logic as well picking marbles from the track.  A super fun game to play with your kids: recommend for upper elementary and older.
  • Cribbage (lots of adding to 15/31, and counting/probability in odds of getting cards that will add to 15).
  • Acquire–great for introducing stock market and risks and rewards of investing, aslo with a small spatial component as companies have to be formed on a Cartesian grid.
  • Modern Art–a favorite!  You are the owner of a modern art gallery and must make money selling paintings.  But modern art’s worth is solely based on its current popularity and past performance.  Besides the super fun theme, to do well at this game players need to calculate their expected return for each card they sell, but based on the probability of what other players will do.  A brilliant game that combines bidding and math.  Downside: it’s a bit long to play, and probably will not appeal to kids who can’t sit still and strategize for at least an hour New edition.  Old edition on Ebay
  • Lost Cities and Battle Line: 2-player. Both are great for similar reasons: The scores are directly based on addition and multiplication of the cards you are able to PLAY, but players need to understand the probability of their gaining advantageous cards in time to play them.  Also need to be able to do enough mental math to decide which moves will turn out to be the largest net benefit for you in the end

Hopefully you have discovered some board games that teach STEM skills to introduce in your homeschool!


Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

277: Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

Finding and Using Online Classes for Homeschooling Effectively

In this episode we look at  the importance of finding and using online classes as part of homeschooling effectively.

Choosing the Right Online Class:

  1. Determine your goals and what’s best for your children.
  2. Consider your children’s learning styles and your budget.
  3. Decide on the level of flexibility needed (live classes vs. asynchronous classes).
  4. Accommodate any learning disabilities your children may have.
  5. Decide whether the class will be the sole learning source or a supplement.
  6. Ask for recommendations from friends, homeschool groups, and online forums.
  7. Read reviews and watch class demos to narrow down your choices.
  8. Get input from your high school-aged children.

Using Online Classes Effectively:

  1. Remember that you are the homeschool parent in charge of your children’s education.
  2. Monitor your children’s progress and ensure they complete assignments on time.
  3. Provide technical assistance and help with scheduling, especially for younger children.
  4. Communicate with teachers about any learning disabilities or family issues.
  5. Teach high schoolers how to communicate with teachers directly.
  6. Monitor grades and address any issues promptly.
  7. Discuss the appropriate use of AI in classes with your children.

Previous episodes mentioned

Episode 220 – How to use the internet to find the right curriculum for your child 

Episode 194 – The role of parents in online classes


Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

 

 

Replay with Update: Online Stock Market Resources

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Online Stock Market Resources

 

This is a replay of episode 95 – you can find the original show notes here.

The Stock Market Contest run by show sponsor FundaFunda Academy is happening this summer – June 1 to July 31 for grades 4 – 12. You can register here.

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

276:  Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

Making Math Fun: Building a Thriving Homeschool Math Club

 

My guest, Haley Story, has built a thriving homeschool math club  and taught children that math can be fun. Haley was on episode 243 where she talked to us about Math Contests

These are the questions Haley answers in this episode:

1. Why did you start a math club
2. How did you get the word out
3. What do you do during math club? What resources do you use?
4 How many attend and how do you cope with the different ability levels.
5. How do you make it fun

Resources used in the Math Club

Board games that are NOT “math games” but that do a great job of teaching math 

Be sure to listen to the episode to hear exactly how Haley started the math club and runs it!

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe.

Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

Top Tech Tools for Homeschool High Schoolers with Meryl van der Merwe

If you are looking for something to enhance the homeschool experience for high school students, there is a range of tools and resources available. From technology and career preparation to organization and community service, these tools can help students thrive academically and beyond. Here, we want to dive right into the top tech tools with our friend, Meryl van der Merwe, fellow podcaster at Homeschooling With Technology as well as owner of Funda Funda Academy. So, let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of homeschooling with technology!

BTW- Meryl has shared her wisdom with Homeschool Highschool Podcast several times. If you have missed them, check these episodes:

About Meryl van der Merwe

Originally from South Africa, Meryl moved to the United States 20 years ago and decided to homeschool her children due to their advanced academic abilities. 

Meryl’s passion for teaching led her to start teaching online and eventually establish Funda Funda Academy, where she and a team of teachers offer a wide range of online classes. 

On top of Funda Funda Academy, Meryl ventured into podcasting and connected with Vicki, our very own 7Sisters Homeschooler, through the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast network, their shared podcasting network.

Merrill’s amazing podcast is called Homeschooling with Technology. If you are looking for resources on the best technology for homeschooling, this is the podcast you don’t want to miss. 

Tech tools are especially helpful for producing polished writing projects. (Photo purchased from Shutterstock.com)

Favorite Top Tech Tools for Homeschool

Let’s talk about some of the best technology for homeschooling you can use that happens to be Meryl’s favorite top tech tools that she encourages you to check out. 

Grammarly

First up is Grammarly. Grammarly is a free app that helps with grammar and spelling. It’s like having a personal editor that highlights any mistakes you make. Good grammar is important for high school writing requirements.

It is incredibly helpful, especially when writing essays or any other written work. Trust me, your teens will thank you for introducing them to Grammarly.

Vocabulary.com

Next on the list is Vocabulary.com. This is another free tool that is fantastic for building vocabulary. It is essential for understanding what you read and improving your writing skills. 

Plus, having a strong vocabulary is crucial for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. And here is a little secret: even though many colleges are going test-optional, scholarships still require test scores. 

It’s important to help your children develop a robust vocabulary and thanks to Vocabulary.com, it becomes a fun and engaging process!

Google Apps

You are probably familiar with the Google apps, but let’s emphasize their importance. Many college students use these apps for group work and collaboration. 

It’s essential for your children to be familiar with Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Forms. They are free and incredibly useful for organizing and working together on projects.

Canva

Another tool beloved by Meryl is Canva. It’s like the one tool to rule them all when it comes to graphic design! 

Canva started as a simple tool for creating graphics, but it has grown into a powerful platform with features for photo editing, video creation, and even comic strip design. It is free and user-friendly, making it perfect for creating portfolios, marketing materials, and more. 

Not only that, but it also has thousands upon thousands of templates, including but not limited to, business cards, presentations, videos, worksheets, printable activities, planners and schedules, and much more. 

It also includes a print-on-demand feature for, say, creating and ordering invitations, business cards, flyers, or even prints on a t-shirt!

ChatGPT and AI Tools

AI may be somewhat intimidating for some but it really is here to stay. Instead of fearing it, try to embrace it and its many capabilities.

One AI tool is ChatGPT. It can be used for brainstorming ideas, improving essays, and even generating content. 

Even so, it’s important to teach your children to use AI responsibly and not rely on it entirely. AI is a tool, not a replacement for critical thinking and creativity.

Online Services

The first online service opportunity is Zooniverse.org, where kids can participate in citizen science projects. This allows them to contribute to real scientific research while learning about various topics. 

The second online service opportunity is a platform within the Library of Congress site called By The People, which allows volunteers to transcribe historical documents. It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to learn about history and gain valuable experience while also making a difference.

Top Tech Tools With Meryl van der Merwe

These are just a few highlights, and there are countless other tools and resources out there. Children should be encouraged to use these tools responsibly and with a discerning eye, always keeping in mind that their contributions and actions can have a real impact. 

Technology can truly enhance your homeschooling experience and prepare your children for the future. Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things. You’re not alone on this journey. We’re here to support and guide you every step of the way. 

Connect With Meryl van der Merwe

If you want more in-depth information on the top tech tools for homeschooling, be sure to listen to the Homeschooling with Technology podcast

You can also visit her website, Funda Funda Academy, or join her Homeschooling College Bound Teens Facebook group.

Thank you to Seth Tillman for editing this podcast and to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!

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Engaging Online Art History Resources

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Engaging Online Art History Resources273: Engaging online art history resources

In today’s episode, guest Holly Egan who teaches the Art History class for teens at show sponsor FundaFunda Academy, shares her favorite online art history resources.

Main supplemental websites for her art history class:

Smart History -Has over 800 contributors from all over the world

https://smarthistory.org/

National Geographic – great art history section with engaging articles

Art History School –  artist biographies explored by Paul Priestly

Artthropology.com– a collection of art history videos an art history teacher has put up on her site from various sources

Khan Academytheir art history videos

 

Art Museum Websites 

MoMA  

The Met 

The Whitney  

 

YouTube Channels for Videos:

National Galleries Scotland & Royal Academy of Arts – videos on movements, artists, exhibitions

The Magnificent Paintbrush – excellent, short artist bios from an elementary art teacher

Tate YouTube Channel

The National Gallery YouTube Channel 

Favorite art channel on this list is The Art Assignment. It’s a PBS Digital Studios channel uploads videos focus on contemporary art. Host Sarah Urist Green interviews the artists from around the world and the artists give an assignment to the audience.

Holly’s Art History Class

Art History 2024

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Magic Student AI Tools

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

271: Magic Student AI Tools

This episode covers the Magic Student AI tools  from Magic School, following last week’s episode ( (Episode 270 – Magic School AI)) on the teacher tools.

Magic School Features to Explore

  • New Google Chrome extension to easily access the tools
  • New YouTube channel explaining how the different products work
  • Can  create a classroom to control which tools students have access to

Magic Student AI Tools Discussed

  • Chatbot for students called Raina (not found very helpful)
  • Writing feedback tool (fantastic for getting feedback on student writing at different grade levels)
  • Research assistant (disappointing results)
  • Create a skit tool (fun for generating skits based on provided characters/scenarios)
  • Step-by-step tool (provides step-by-step instructions for any topic/task)
  • Literary devices tool (gives examples of literary devices based on a provided scenario)
  • Joke creator (jokes not very good)
  • Study bot (helps guide students in what to study for a test)
  • Study habits tips
  • YouTube video summarizer
  • SAT reading practice test
  • Chatbot builder (create a custom chatbot on a specific topic)
  • Character chatbot (roleplay as a literary character)
  • College/career counselor
  • Rap battle (super fun to have historical figures rap battle each other)
  • Book suggestions tool
  • Coding assistant
  • Debate partner (odd/not very useful)
  • Email writer (generated overly long emails)
  • Make Relevant (explains why a topic is relevant to real life)
  • Real World Connections (connects topics to the real world)

Here are the lyrics for the Rap Battle I generated

Round 1: Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter, here, dropping beats, not bombs,
From the peanut farm to the White House with calm.
Habitat for Humanity, building homes for the poor,
Eradicating diseases, who could ask for more?

Negotiating peace, like it’s my prime mission,
Camp David Accords, now that’s a vision.
Energy crisis and inflation, I faced it head-on,
A Nobel Peace Prize, yeah, I won one.

Round 2: Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, the greatest, no dispute in the ring,
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, I bring.
Champion of the world, not just once, but thrice,
Against injustice and war, I didn’t think twice.

Rumble in the Jungle, Thrilla in Manila,
My fists do the talk, couldn’t be any realer.
Fighting for Civil Rights, stood against the norm,
Converting to Islam, sparking a reform.

Round 3: Jimmy Carter

Building hope and fighting disease, that’s my creed,
With diplomacy and compassion, I lead.
Solar panels on the White House, I was the first,
For renewable energy, I have an unquenchable thirst.

From Iran hostages to energy laws,
I dealt with it all, never paused.
A farmer, a governor, then a prez,
Always serving the people, yes, that’s my jazz.

Round 4: Muhammad Ali

I dodged the draft, said no to the war,
My fight was here, with poverty and more.
An Olympic gold medal, I threw it in the river,
For a country that practiced racial sliver.

I talked the talk and walked the walk,
For civil rights, I was the rock.
Philanthropic efforts, long after the ring,
Ali, the People’s Champ, forever the king.

End of Battle

Two giants from history with very different battles,
One fought with words, the other with rattles.
Carter and Ali, both champions of peace,
Their legacy and lessons will never cease.

So who wins this battle, it’s hard to say,
They fought in the ring and the world in their own way.
Let’s celebrate these heroes, from sports to the senate,
Their courage and conviction, limitless, infinite.

 

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode

Magic School AI

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

270: Magic School AI

In  this episode we explore a new resource called Magic School AI, which can be used by homeschoolers to help their children retain and understand concepts, and provide engaging ideas for lessons.

In this episode we look at the tools for teachers (ie would be used by the homeschool parent). Next week we will look at the tools for students

Here are the Magic School AI tools mentioned

    • Text Rewriter: Rewrites text in different styles (humorous, matter-of-fact, ironic, etc.)
    • Question Generators: Creates questions based on YouTube videos or text input
    • Rubric Generator: Generates rubrics for writing assessments
    • Student Work Feedback: Provides feedback on student work based on grade level
    • Text Summarizer and Text Leveler: Summarizes and adapts text to different grade levels
    • Song Generator: Creates songs on any topic and tune
    • Text Proofreader: Checks grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity
    • Unit Plan Generator: Generates unit plans
    • Math Story Word Problems: Creates word problems on specific topics
    • Jeopardy Review Game: Generates Jeopardy-style review games with answer keys
    • Vocabulary List Generator: Generates vocabulary lists for specific topics
    • YouTube Video Summarizer: Summarizes YouTube videos
    • Real-World Connections: Suggests project ideas for real-world applications
    • Science Lab: Provides experiments and instructions using readily available materials
    • Data Table Analysis: Generates data tables and analysis questions
    • SAT Reading Questions and Practice Tests
    • AI-resistant Assignments: Creates assignments that are more resistant to AI-assisted cheating
    • Choice Boards: Generates lists of project ideas for students to choose fro

Here is the song about Simple Machines that Magic School AI generated

Simple Machines Wonderland

(Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” by Julie Andrews)

Pulleys and levers and inclined planes too,
Wedges and screws and wheels turning through,
Gears that are meshing and helping things lift,
These are the simple machines – what a gift!

Like a seesaw that goes up and down,
Or a wheelbarrow moving dirt through the town,
A flag pole so tall with a pulley on top,
Simple machines make our work never stop.

From a doorknob turning, to a key in a lock,
All these examples are part of our stock,
Ramps for the wheelchair or for loading a truck,
Simple machines are amazing, oh what luck!

So remember these tools that make work a breeze,
In our simple machines wonderland, if you please,
They help us each day to make tasks less tough,
Simple machines – we can’t thank them enough!

Sign up for the FundaFunda Academy newsletter to access free unit studies

 

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group, especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology into your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode