Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Reviews of Learning Products

We are trying to get a collection of comparisons or at least candid reviews of the following products. Please be balanced in providing information on your experience with the product or service, what you had hoped to get from it, and what you actually got...

Education Products & Tutoring Service for Home Use

Clever Island?
Hooked On Phonics ?

Kumon jr?

Homeschool Curriculua?
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review of Time4Learning
Blog/Personal Website Reviews http://www.ikeepbookmarks.com/OnlineKidsEducation
www.home-schooling-resources.net has great reviews of learning products

One interesting list of elementary education articles.

Learning Styles -->

Phonics- Reading Skills -->

Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review -->

Teaching Resources - Lara Holt -->

Todays Learners - Learning in Todays World -->

Math Resources & Reviews -->

Inspire Brilliance -->

HomeSchool Blog - Nancy Wagner -->

Reading Comprehension - Improve -->

Vocabularly - To Build Reading Skills -->

Your Cross - Parenting & Education Help -->

CarolHurst - Believe in Children as Readers -->

Notes From A Homeschooling Mom - A Hermitt -->

Lets Homeschool -->

Dyslexia - Todays Learners -->

Family Media Guide - Safe Media Reviews -->

PreReading Skills - Phonemic Awareness -->

Computing Technology for Math Excellence -->

CarolHurst - Parents Reading -->

Learning Games for Kids -->

Reading Skills Pyramid -->

Articles on Learning, Parenting, & Fun -->

Parenting in an Electronic Age -->

Reading Fluency -->

Successful Child -->

Elementary learning Online -->

Developer Dispatch CleverMedia Games - pr 6 -->

Food For Hope - Learning Online -->

Elementary learning Online -->

Ed Mouse - the educational mouse -->

Florida Homeless Charity -->

TimeFourLearning - online reading writing math educational program -->

Elementary learning Online -->

TimeForLearning - Learning Language Arts -->

Daryll Cobranchi - PR 5 -->

Clever Moms -->

Carol Hurst Children Lit Site - PR7 -->

NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network - PR 4 -->

AZ Homeschool Online -->

WireSpring Mgt - PR6 -->

Homeschool Education -->

Online Homeschool education - AZ Homeschool -->

Midnight Beach Homeschooling - PR 5 -->

Midnight Beach Homeschooling - PR 5 -->

Three Hearts from Home - Review -->

Forum - Best Education Software from Home? -->

Clever Dads -->

CarolHurst - Emerging Readers -->

Help your Child Learn to Read - homeschool.uk -->

Internet Safety - Homeschool UK -->

Online preschool learning - Preschool Games Online Free Resource of Learning & Educational -->

Homeschool Curriculum Review - Christine Rissew -->

Jefferson Homeschooling -->

Homeschool Education Technology - PR5 -->

TOS review of Elementary System

A New School Year

The fall approaches and parents must think how best to help their children succeed this year. While some children breeze thru their academic programs without support, most children at some time require some help to build a strong foundation and to keep up. This note reviews the choices for the younger children (up to grades six):

Tutoring programs such as Kumon, Sylvan, SCORE, or Huntington have become very popular with parents. Kumon has extended their offering down to preschool with Jr. Kumon. These tend to be expensive (hudnreds of dollars / month) and have a relatively rigid approach to education. Kumon jr, for instance, takes the approach that systematic practice of activities that increase in difficulty in miniscule steps assures the students of mastering each skill. Most of the elarning is doen at home supervisied by their paretns with a once or twise weekly to the centers to get new flash cards and worksheets.

Many parents go beyond helping with homework to providing their own educational program for kids in school or a complete homeschool program. For most parents, schedule and multiple children and family dynamics makes this a difficult effort to maintain.

Private tutors are a very hit or miss alternative. Because it depends on the individual and their match with the student, it is hard to generalize. Usually teachers can recommend good tutors who will match up with a child.

Online learning - This alternative has moved from games and research to interactive learning exercises with individualized programs with assessments and lessons. The Online Compass Learning Odyssey is available as part of the Teaching Games from Time4Learning for use at home.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Standards - Contradictory Trends in Public Education

There are two apparently contradictory educational trends dominating public education in the last half decade.

One educational trend is that schools are recognizing that children have different learning issues. The number of children being recognized as "exceptional learners" is steadily increasing. Nationwide, 38% of the children in public school are categorized as exceptional learners and the schools are required to provide them with Individualized Education Plans.

A contrasting educational trend is towards rigid standardization of expectations. The NCLB (No Child Left Behind) mandate is to rigidly define standards of performance. The increasing impact of these high-stakes standardized tests as a measure of acceptable student and school performance is focusing everyone on the baseline testable benchmarks. The dire consequences of failing grades to everyone (students not being promoted, teachers & schools & Principals being publicly watched and professionally penalized) moves this educational trend to an intensely personal immediate issue in many places..

These educational trends appear contradictory but they are not. NCLB insists that all children must learn the same basic materials. But how they learn is now being recognized as not a simple one-size-fits-all formula.

So, how to reconcile the need to have individualized instruction while driving towards high standards of performance. Obviously, everyone would like more individualized instruction from the teacher and smaller class sizes. However, this is not likely since budgets are limited and new funds are needed just to hold onto the best teachers, to shrink school size (a clear requirement to scale back the multithousand overly institutional high schools) and extending education to the PreK year. I believe that it's technology which will come to our rescue in reconciling these educational trends.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Education - Technology to the Rescue

Technology to the Rescue (Of course, technology is one of many changes. Others include better paid and trained teachers, reduce school administration expenses at the district and state level, improve school management, higher involvement of parents with some changes in lifestyles at home for kids to succeed etc etc)

The computer for education is uniquely powerful as a private and supportive way for children to practice their lessons and further their learning.

Many children, especially those wrestling with learning skills different from the mainstream, become very self-conscious about their intelligence and learning ability. A large number of these children expend a lot of time and energy hiding their needs from their peers, teachers, and even parents. It is often necessary for them to need to spend longer periods of time understanding instructions or explanations, to need more time to think about and to work on exercises, or to need more practice time to master basic skills, or to have material presented to them verbally and visually. One example of a new advanced online educational teaching games that can fulfill these needs. Take a look.

Another category of exceptional students are the gifted ones. Oddly, the statistics of success for the academically gifted in public schools are not good. Again, technology offers a way for them to advance and be challenged in a private way that avoids the public issues which become so difficult for gifted children.

This is a new area for me so I'd be interested in feedback with your thoughts and experiences. I hope that the online computer learning system can fulfil these needs. I'm working with some families of special needs children to assess the usefulness of the computer education to them.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Educational Forums, Discussions, & Blogs

We are trying to cooperate with other similiarly minded discussion groups. If you would like to be listed here, please contact us including where in your group you have a recipocal mention.