Virtual School Resources: May 2012   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunsational Summer Blog Event!!!!

Have you heard about the Sunsational Summer Giveaway Event? So many blogging moms to meet! So much fun! Soooo many prizes!! 

I can't wait! It starts on June 7th and runs all the way to the first day of summer! Visit Taking Time for Mommy for more details or click on the button for Sunsational Summer Giveaway! Go on, you know you want to do it! See you there!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flipped Learning

Have you heard about flipped learning? This is an amazing article, by a teacher, about how it is changing the way teachers teach. Yes, I am still going to homeschool my children, but that doesn't mean I am not concerned about the troubles I see in education. There are parents who don't have the luxury of being able to stay at home with their kids. For those parents, and the children of those parents, it excites me to see the changes taking place in our public school classrooms.

I'd love to hear what you think.
Have a great holiday weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Enter to win a Literature Lapbook from Knowledge Box Central!

Beginning today, you can enter to win a Knowledge Box Central Literature Lapbook! All you have to do is enter on the Rafflecopter below, telling me what book your child will read first to use with this great literature tool. All the planning has been done for you! Just pick up a few supplies at your local Walmart or office supply store, print, and begin! One entry per person, one winner only! Contest Friday, May 18th and Saturday, May 19th. Winner will be notified by Monday, May 20th. Good Luck! For more rockin' contests, visit Contestgirl!

Our winner was Melissa Sack! Congratulations, Melissa! Enjoy your lapbook!

You can visit Melissa at Sack Family Adventures!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teach Literature Analysis the Fun & Easy Way!

When our children begin middle school, they no longer want to do a lot of what has worked in the past for their schooling. Fun, one-page book reports are for the younger set. Now that they have learned to read well, time must be spent on analysis. What is the plot? Is there a conflict? These questions might typically make a middle schooler want to run and hide, but they can be explored with creativity with the Literature Analysis/Book Report Lapbook for grades 4-12 from Knowledge Box Central.

Do your children love to read? Mine do! My 12-year-old daughter goes through books like there’s no tomorrow, but I sometimes worry that she misses a lot of what she’s reading as she doesn’t always take the time to pause & reflect. As she will be in 8th grade next year, book reports are B-O-R-I-N-G! Not so with this lapbook! These books make it easy for her to design a really cool project with all the elements of a book report, and more. I’ll also use the lapbook as part of my daughter’s art curriculum, as she'll add drawings throughout the project.

My favorite aspect of this particular lapbook is the Alternate Endings page. Perhaps it’s because we are always talking about this in our reading, but it is so creative to try to think of other paths the book could have taken. The character died? What if he had lived? What if he had become President? What if you were his daughter?! Remember, this book can be used over and over, too. As your child gets older, there are projects that will challenge even high-schoolers.

Creativity is key to keeping our kids interested in literature. If you need a little help getting those creative juices flowing, the Knowledge Box Central Literature Book Report Lapbook might be just the ticket.

I'll be giving away ONE Knowledge Box Central Literature Analysis Lapbook to a lucky visitor later this week! Be sure to visit again so you can enter!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Check out my guest post today!

Check out my guest post today on Carousel and Rocking Horses Blog!
Virtual Schooling: Could it be for you?

Three Maryland Counties Researching Virtual Schools

As I'm from Maryland, this is exciting news for me! I have a lot of friends who are homeschooling in Maryland, and the fact that the state is finally seeing the benefit of online ed is, well, about time.

In an article today in the Capital Gazette, a student from Northeast Senior High in Pasadena scored as high as possible on the A.P. computer science exam. David McCauley, a senior, took the class online, through Maryland Virtual School. According to the article by Caitlin Johnston, about 600 students across the state took classes online. Hopefully, the success of students like McCauley will convince the state that students do well taking cyber classes, often even better than they do in a traditional brick and mortar school setting. Currently, publicly schooled students can supplement their education with online classes, but with new legislation, that will probably change as at least three school systems are investigating the online option.

According to the report, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, the number of students who are now taking at least one class online has surpassed 6 million. Do your kids like being online? Why not give them the opportunity to learn in a manner that excites them? Students can learn at their own pace, and oftentimes that is much faster then the school system allows. In addition, they are preparing for the future. Whether we want to believe it or not, teachers do have to "teach to the middle." In addition to having many students with different learning abilities in their classrooms, they also have to deal with bullying, disrespect, and a host of other issues. I think they all deserve a raise.

Maryland has been taking their time diving in to a virtual program as they want to keep their standards high, which is commendable. There are many different programs available, and they are not all the same. My hope is that they do find a program that works well for their students who would like to pursue a virtual education.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why would I want my kids to learn virtually?

A lot of parents are asking this question. For some students, a physical school building with traditional learning works well. Or, maybe it works okay, but both parents work, so online learning isn't an option.

But for some kids, virtual schooling is an answer to prayer. Some kids just don't learn well in a traditional setting. Some are intimidated about asking questions (did you read about the Confusometer?) 

In an article in the Daily Press, May 10th, here's what one student had to say about learning online: "After getting expelled from junior high and struggling through three other programs, 15-yearold Salvador Ramirez said he’s feeling “more accomplished” as he catches up with his peers through the VVHS online classes. To me I think I learn more because I can keep going back and if I forget something all I have to do is go back and replay it, and in regular school you would have to go after school to get extra help so you can re-learn it,” Ramirez said.

Exactly. The concept of flipped learning, where teachers spend time with students in class, instead of lecturing in class and sending struggling students home to deal with homework they don't understand, will undoubtedly improve the situation for many. But for others, who not only struggle with academics, but also with fitting in (heard the word "bullying" lately?), these students will hopefully discover online education. 

Would Ramirez have added to the high school drop out rate if he hadn't found VVHS? Wouldn't it be great if the drop-out rate tanked, and students who were struggling didn't give up, but excelled as they schooled virtually?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the future of online ed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Schooling, virtually

I am so excited to be a guest on A Little Crunchy today! Kimberly, who authors the site, is so open and honest about her life as a military wife, mom, homeschool family, and life in general, and I'm grateful that she has invited me to share about online schooling with her audience! Kimberly, you rock! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Oh, Confusometer. Where were you when I was in college? Where were you when I was in high school, for that matter? 

Who hasn't had a moment where they didn't want to raise their hand in front of 30 other students to say (gasp) they didn't understand! Thanks to Liam Kaufman, a Toronto based computer developer and creator of the Confusometer, those of us who have been intimidated about asking for clarification from a teacher may have a way around it. The Confusometer is part of an app called Understoodit, and it allows students to anonymously let professors know whether or not they understand the material being presented by pressing a "understood" or "confused" button. 

The app is available to several Canadian Universities, including the University of Toronto. Educator's can go the Understoodit website to enter their email address and apply for a beta version of the app. Available for Smart Phones, tablets, and laptops, the Confusometer will hopefully be released by the end of summer to the public. If I were a teacher in a large classroom, I would be putting my name on the list now.

If you are one of the lucky teachers able to beta test Understoodit's Confusometer, I would love to have you review it here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Win a Kindle!

I found a great blog at A Little Crunchy, and I'm so excited to be guest blogging there soon! You don't have to wait for that to visit! In fact, they are giving away a Kindle to one lucky winner! Go here to enter today! You only have until May 15th. What are you waiting for? Go!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shakespeare, anyone?

You may have heard your child complain about having to read Shakespeare. Frankly, the unusual word arrangement is difficult for many students, and for ESL students, it can be next to impossible. Fortunately, several companies are making it easier for students to study the poetry and prose of Shakespeare, virtually.

Four large virtual schools have signed on to MindConnex Learning, which provides Shakespeare in Bits Live!, a highly interactive tool that actually aims to make the Bard enjoyable. Four plays are currently available; Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet. Julius Caesar will be the next play available. with features like a translation tool, making the language modern day, more students will come to know and love Shakespeare.

Receiving three industry awards so far this year, including the Readers Choice Award for best K-12 ed tech product, it's no wonder they currently have 40,000 users.

Educators, including homeschoolers, can get two weeks of Shakespeare in Bits Live! for free by emailing or completing the online form

Though the educator's version is not available to
homeschooled students, a PC version is available for
$14.99 per play.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FLVS expands offerings

Check out my article on today! More good news for those of us fortunate enough to live in Florida!
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