about the book
The most dangerous experiment
we can conduct with our children
is to keep schooling the same

at a time when every other
aspect of our society

is dramatically changing.
-- Chris Dede, written statement
to the PCAST panel, 1997
homeschool approaches
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The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Computer-based Instruction

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

According to the 2003 census, more than half of all US households own a computer.  In some states,
ownership is higher than 70%.  It's no wonder that computer-based learning has become a popular
choice for many homeschooling families.  Whether using CD-Rom encyclopedias, word processing and
other office tools, educational software, interactive CD-Rom worktexts, virtual academies, online video
lectures, online textbooks, or online tutorials... computer-based learning plays a role in many
homeschooling households.  

Computer-based learning, sometimes called "e-learning", can be used in combination with most other
homeschooling methods.  It is especially helpful to those who are "pulling together" their own
curriculum, such as
Eclectic and Self-Directed homeschoolers.  Resourceful homeschool parents
can find free online alternatives that rival most of the packaged homeschool curricula.  And, with 98.9%
of US public libraries offering free access to computers and the Internet (according to LibraryJournal.
com, August 15, 2005) almost all homeschooling families have some access to Internet resources.

Computer-based learning can be a good choice for families when children need to work independently
and for older children who are studying higher-level materials.  It is also a good choice for children with
a visual learning style, for
Game Based Learning, for Audio/Visual Learning, and for those who
simply prefer a multi-media, high-tech,  fast-paced learning environment.   In addition, working on the
computer can be helpful in homeschooling children with
special needs, such as  learning disabilities,  
vision impairment, communication impairment, and auditory processing disorders.  

Here is a website,
MaMaMedia.com that helps parents learn how to share computer adventures with
their children.  Developed in conjunction with the MIT Media Lab,  MaMaMedia has fun activities and
games that parents can play with their children, and short webquests that will introduce them to Internet
surfing.  Click on "For Grown ups" at the bottom of the page, then click on "21st Century Learning" for
tips on introducing your children to computers.

Here are some homeschool curricula, both free and for purchase, that rely on computer-based
instruction, and other resources for online learning.  If your child enjoys learning on the computer, you
may find other interesting resources listed within each school subject area of the
Homeschooling by
Subject section (especially in Audio/Visual and Independent Research selections for each subject).  
Also check the
Distance Learning and School-at-Home sections for more online options.

Before you allow your students to conduct any unsupervised Internet research -- please read
this article!

"Caution:  The Internet is not Rated G"

Curriculum Options and Other Resources:

Switched on School House - (3 - 12) a CD-Rom version of the Alpha Omega Christain curriculum
used in some private schools, 90% of school work is done on the computer thru interactive worktexts l

Robinson Curriculum - K - 12 curriculum, all on CD-ROM,  includes math, science, and reading,
does not include history, geography, or foreign language

Time4Learning -- (preK - 8) completely online, standards-aligned curriculum sold as a monthly
subscription.  Includes interactive, self-paced lessons, activities, printable worksheets, learning games,
and assessments. Children may work at different levels in different subjects, text narration optional.  
Many families with special needs students find this flexibility helpful.  The focus is on language arts and
math with social studies and science provided as "bonus" items.  

Global Village School for Peace and Diversity Studies -- (K - 12) a progressive, customizable
homeschool program using online worktexts and text-based curriculum, students may work at their own
pace, accredited diplomas available, "...Our courses integrate peace, justice, and diversity studies with
the core subjects..."

Islamic Virtual School - free online activities and downloads for learning Arabic and Islamic practices

3D Learn Interactive Academy - an accredited private school offering  a standards-alligned "multi-
sensory 3-D curriculum" for grades 7-12, high tech interactive online environment - a virtual reality
learning framework - that requires an estimated 4 - 5 hours online each day, plus additional at-home
hands-on activities, offers full or  part-time enrollment, boasts a 14:1 student to teacher ratio, issues
accredited high school diplomas

Fogware - standards-based (used in schools) software on CD_ROM, virtual textbook with interactive
exercises and worksheets, tests.  Complete curriculum for elementary, middle school, and high school

Brain Pop - thousands of educational animated cartoon segments on topics in all subject areas,
humorous and fast-paced, subscription-based, free trial available  

Mediasite.com - a search tool that helps you find free online expert presentations and lectures

Discovery Learning Connections - over 30,000 educational video segments (search by topic) and
"brain games", subscription-based, with a free 2 week free trial

Explore Learning - a collection of short math and science leaning modules called "Gizmos" available
thru subscription, free trial available

MediaSite.com - this website has a search tool that locates educational video segments and lets you
view them online for free

IPL The Internet Public Library -- a free collection of links in a variety of subject areas, this is a page
dedicated to kids resources, they also have links arranged by subject area, and links to free online

National Repository of Online Courses -- a library of free, high-quality online courses for students
and faculty in higher education, high school and Advanced Placement, includes math, science, and
social studies

Connexions by Rice University  -  contains educational materials in all subjects for all levels, from
children to college students to professional.  Information is organized in small modules that stand alone
or can be  easily connected into larger courses.  Connexions is an innovative environment for
collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web.  All
content is free.  
Annenberg Media - (K - adult) educational videos can be viewed free online using "Video on
Demand" , or purchased thru their website

MIT Open Courseware - free online course materials for actual MIT classes (no credit given)

Colleges and Universities that Offer Free Courses Online (Oct 29, 2007) -- a nice compilation
from Education-Portal.com
United Streaming - a subscription-based "Video on Demand" supplier of over 30,000 educational
videos, used in schools, discounted homeschool yearly subscriptions available

Thinkwell - college level CD-Rom courses in science, math, and social studies are presented in 10-
minute segments of video lectures,  samples of each class available for preview on the website,
courses are purchased individually
Bright Minds Critical Thinking Books and CD-Roms- workbooks full of puzzles, brain teasers and
critical thinking activities, and educational software

Kid'sClick.com - reviews and sales of kids educational software, by subject  
Creation Engine - academic discounts on software for schools and students

Edventures Online - combines online tutorials with hands-on project-based learning for
interdisciplinary problem solving and critical thinking, online subscription required

Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons -- free online courses in all subject areas, K - adult

HowStuffWorks.com - explanations of how various objects, and processes,and concepts work  
TechTrekers WebQuests - K-12 - hundreds of free ideas for research-based learning using the

TutorVista -- inexpensive tutoring services out of an Asian call center, straight monthly fee,  read a
CNN.com article about this service

There are also many
free and subscription online courses, modules and curriculum -- you will find
them within each school subject in the
Homeschooling by Subject section of the Diner.

Related Resources:

Nintenducation – A New Take On Edutainment by AJ Glasser, 12:30 PM on Wed Apr 22 2009,
12,425 views --even schools are seeing the benefits of computer-based education ;-)
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