Friday, July 30, 2010

SOTW & Nettflix


I decided to make a list of movies compatible with Story of the World. So far, I've only made lists for Volumes 1 through 3. This isn't a list of every movie/documentary out there. Instead, I tried to focus on options that are available to Watch Instantly (as I'm TERRIBLE about remembering to put movies on my queue in time for us to watch them when we're studying a particular topic). Unfortunately, most of what I have listed are not available in the Watch Instantly format.

On the chart, I've listed the title of the movie/documentary; the corresponding SOTW book and chapter; a code to denote whether it is a documentary or, if not, then a MPAA rating; and whether the movie is available on Watch Instantly.

I hope this list is of use or value to someone!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

iPad Apps for Homeschoolers

I've been searching online for an article like this and, having been disappointed with what I've found thus far, decided to write my own.

[Disclaimer: I am not putting educational apps here; that's a post for another day. I am merely attempting to detail some apps I use (or in theory could use) to make homeschooling a bit easier.]

[Another disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or offers from any developer of these apps; I just think they're useful and thought I would share!]

Cost: FREE (with subscription to Netflix)
We LOVE Netflix! And I love it even more now that it's conveniently located by app on my iPad. I can't begin to count the number of documentaries and movies we've watched to supplement subjects we've covered! Netflix is definitely a must-have app!

Atomic Web Browser
Cost: FREE for lite version; $1.99 for full version
Safari is okay, but this is a superior iPad web browser. One important difference between this browser and Safari is that in a window with multiple columns, you can actually see all of the columns with AWB. (There are a couple of legal research sites I use where this is of particular importance for me.) With the lite version, one can have 4 (I think) web tabs open, but the full version allows more. The full version also allows you to open the browser to the last page or session you had open or to a home page you specify. Think of AWB as the Firefox of iPad browsers. [And at $1.99, the full version is worth buying!] By the way, I had to contact the developer to ask a technical question about the app. I got a response in about 10 minutes and my question was answered!
Cost: FREE
This app helps you keep your finances in check. The iPad version only lets you know your account balances and your budget info. You have to manage your information on the website. On the website, you can load up your bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc. You can also set up budgets and will automatically categorize your spending - although, you may need to do some manual tweeking. The only drawback I've found so far is that I have to manually update my account balances. And don't worry, it is secure - you can read all about the security on the website. Okay, this may not be DIRECTLY related to homeschooling - but if you set up a homeschooling budget, it may curb the need to buy EVERY bit of curriculum out there!

iDo - Notepad
Cost: FREE
Okay, I haven't used this extensively, yet ... However, I can see some practical uses especially with making To Do lists - since the app provides you with the ability to prioritize. The app also has a calendar function.

My Library
Cost: $4.99
This is one of my absolute favorites. I have it on my iPad just as a reference - where I REALLY use it is on my iPhone. My Library gives you the ability to scan the ISBN numbers on your books (okay, you may have to get an additional app, Red Laser [I believe] to have the scanning ability, but it is SO worth it). Once the number is recognized, you'll have the title, author, and genre - many books also have a picture of the cover and a brief description of the book. I love having this app - I've catalogued most of the homeschooling books I have in our school room. It's saved me from making a couple of duplicate purchases!

Craft Finder
Cost: FREE
Sponsored by Disney's Family Fun magazine, you can search for crafts to do with the kids (searching can be performed by age group, time you have for the craft, and/or occasion for the craft).

Cost: FREE
I prefer the layout of this to the Wikipedia app. This app provides access to Wikipedia complete with the same information you would find at Wikipedia, they layout is just a bit easier to read, the information on each entry easier to sort through, and the searching a bit more user friendly.

Cost: FREE
Allows you to view your Google docs or create new documents in text document, spreadsheet, sound, or paint format. Fabulous... and free!

So, this hasn't by any stretch of the imagination been an exhaustive list (or even an exhaustive review), but I hope it gives you a bit of an idea of the tools available for use for the iPad homeschooler!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Day at Home

The kids and I stayed at home today. The first day I haven't gone somewhere in at least 2 weeks. It was nice - and we got so much accomplished!

For starters, we got quite a bit of school done (yes, we go year-round at our house - we only school 4 days per week during the "school year" so, I have to go all year long). I also did A LOT of laundry today - WOOT!

Baby food was a priority for the day as well... making it, that is. Until Chaucer, I never made baby food (outside of mashing up some bananas, that is). I decided this time I wanted to try my hand at the fine art of pureeing. [For all my hard work stocking food for this child, he is resistant to eating. I put a bite in, he holds his mouth open... for several minutes, until it drools out of his mouth. But that's another story for another blog post.] I made acorn squash, sweet potatoes, and pears. (Pretty good for a self-professing vegetable hater like myself!)

I also made... COOKIES. HUGE chocolate chip cookies. [Thanks, Michele, for the cookbook, the baking emulsion, and filling me in on the joys of King Arthur flour!] How huge? Each cookie consists of 1/4 cup cookie dough.

And, by the way, they're delicious!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baby Stuff - Gear and Wear

Wow! It's been a while since I've blogged! I've been meaning to pop online and write a blog on this topic for a while. The reason for my delay? I had to put pictures on my computer, but before I could do that, I had to archive the old stuff. And now that those tasks are done...

I have tried all sorts of carriers and slings, but I decided I wanted to try something new this go-around. I researched and researched, and found myself with my heart set on getting a mei-tai carrier. A mei-tai carrier (pronounced "may tie" I believe) was, traditionally, a Chinese carrier made of a square of cloth with straps coming off each corner. The modern version features padded straps and reversible sides (for two fashionable views). The baby can be worn on the front, side, or back, and is AWESOME for wearing a breastfeeding baby! If you're interested in how the mei-tai carrier works, there are many "how to" videos on YouTube.

There are some great makers of mei-tai carriers out there, but I settled on Dittany Baby. Dittany Baby stocks a number of baby items - from sling carriers to nursing covers! I found a beautiful mei-tai carrier in the fabric pattern Enchanted.

The baby and I LOVE this carrier. It's very easy on the back and shoulders - I've worn him for hours without pain. The trick is to wear the shoulder straps on the balls of your shoulders. Because there are no buckles or plastic attachments, this type of carrier is tied on. Naturally, knots adjust and become tighter with weight and time, so some adjustment (in the form of retying) may be necessary. However, it's very easy to retie.

While I was perusing the Dittany Baby site, I also found Skid Pants. Maybe you've heard of Baby Legs? Essentially Skid Pants are the same thing... leggings for babies and children. For babies, simply put the baby in a onesie then slide each legging on a leg. Too cute!

Thanks, Dittany Baby, for beautiful, quality baby items!