How to Become Fluent in a Foreign Language with Duolingo – WHS 227


I stumbled across a video on YouTube a few weeks ago by Evan Edinger wherein he talked about how he learned German using Duolingo.

If you’re not familiar with Duolingo, it’s a website and app that helps you learn to speak a foreign language through gamification. It’s also free. It uses a very novel approach that I’ve previously discussed on the podcast.

I though I’d pull out some of the points in his video and share them with you if you’re thinking about using Duolingo to teach your kids a foreign language. Continue Reading →

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5 Mind-Expanding Astronomy Themed Science Project Ideas [Guest Post]

Astronaut Orbiting Earth - Astronomy Themed Science ProjectMost homeschooling parents are no strangers to the need to instill their children with a thorough education in STEM subjects. One of the most exciting aspects of studying science throughout school can be hands-on projects that bring abstract concepts to life.

I personally remember creating a model of the solar system that depicted the relative sizes of the planets, and it is one of my fondest educational memories. Not only did I have the chance to be creative and get my hands dirty with colors, but the project brought the reality of our solar system’s planets to life.

It taught me how small my home planet is, which grew into a larger love of astronomy and a more-involved appreciation of the fragility of our system and universe.

The unknown reaches of the universe are complex and relatively incomprehensible, but these abstract places and ideas fill people with wonder, and the study of astronomy forces us to confront our universe’s mysteries.

Experimentation is an excellent way for children to engage astronomical concepts and realities with concrete visualizations. Fortunately, in this era, we are gifted with a multitude of digital resources that can accompany hands-on projects in order to solidify underlying education objectives.

Ours is a universe of motion, so we should take advantage of our electronic ability to visually represent difficult concepts.

Below are five simple, engaging twists on classic astronomy-themed science projects for homeschooled children of all ages. Each project has a suggested approximate age level, but these are not absolute as they are subject to your child’s unique interest, learning objectives, and ability. Continue Reading →

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5 Steps to Protect Your Facebook Privacy – WHS 225

Faded Facebook Icon


Facebook has been in the news quite a bit lately because of privacy concerns.

A third-party (Cambridge Analytica) used data it collected from Facebook to profile users. That information was used to serve ads and articles to people via the social media network and influence their behavior online.

Many people have deleted their Facebook accounts (not an easy task) as a result of this revelation and others couldn’t care less. If you want to delete your account, keep in mind that it takes 90 days of inactivity for it to be “permanently” deleted.

In this podcast, we’ll take a look at what happened (briefly) and explore all of our options so that we can make an informed decision about whether or not to leave Facebook. Continue Reading →

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Tech Innovations That Help Autistic Kids in Homeschooling [Guest Post]

Word AUTISM with kids shoes on wooden background - Tech Innovations That Help Autistic Kids in HomeschoolingFor children on the autism spectrum, sometimes traditional schooling just doesn’t work. With homeschooling, a more personalized approach to learning can go a long way. However, to really reap the benefits of homeschooling, it has to be done right.

Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to you when you are homeschooling your child. This ranges from detailed pre-planned lessons, professionals that can give you advice on teaching, and various technologies. Technology, especially, has evolved greatly with a portion of it dedicated to helping those with autism. In this article, we will take a look at some of this technology that you can incorporate in homeschooling your child to make learning easier for them.

Visual Scene Displays

According to the organization Autism Speaks, around 25% of children that place on the autism spectrum struggle with verbal skills to the point of being non-verbal. So, as part of their homeschooling, they have to work on their verbal skills so that they can effectively communicate.

Visual scene displays are apps that are interactive and allow autistic children to communicate in interesting ways. There are a couple different types of these apps.

Speech with Milo is one such app. This allows the user to create interactive storybooks to develop their storytelling skills. Each app in this series focuses on a different aspect of communication and storytelling. For example, one version may focus on verbs while another focuses on adjectives. This app was created by a speech-language pathologist, Poorani Doonan.

Another example of a visual scene display app is SceneSpeak. This app creates an interactive display out of an image. When certain hotspots are hit on screen, a text-to-speech voice reacts. One of the best things about this app is that you can program in your own images and stories rather than having them pre-programmed for you.

WebMoti

When you are homeschooling a child, you aren’t always acting as their teacher. There are plenty of situations in which a child might be taking online courses, for example.

Autistic children often have trouble sitting still and focusing on their work. One main part of this is that they are susceptible to sensory overload. Lots of talking, loud noises, and other aspects of a traditional classroom environment can be overwhelming to an autistic child.

However, WebMoti has developed technology to help autistic children maintain their learning and control their sensory environment. This system is dependent on two major components – visual and auditory.

The visual aspect depends on a device that WebMoti calls the Webchair. It acts like a monitor that sits with one in front of the child and one in the classroom. This way, even from home, a student can tune into lessons and reap the benefits of a controlled environment.

The second aspect is the auditory aspect. When their whole classroom is talking, an autistic child can easily get overloaded. With this technology, though, the child can tune in directly to a teacher’s microphone and turn down the background sound in the classroom.

Conclusion

Every day new technology is changing our lives in ways we never imagined. For children with autism, new technologies can improve communication, assist in the development of social skills, and improve the ability to learn. As we move forward, we are bound to see more innovations that will make learning and living for autistic children and even autistic adults a little bit easier.

Annabelle Short is dedicated to helping families and children with special needs. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is a mother and she loves making crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11).

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on this site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Wired Homeschool.
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