App Review – Science Glossary – The Wired Homeschool

A companion to Visionlearning’s website, Science Glossaryprovides the user with a glossary of scientific terms.  The definitions link to related terms and free science learning modules geared towards high school and undergraduate students.

Note that this is not a complete list of scientific terms.  Since it’s a companion app to science modules for high school and undergraduate students some terms may not appear in the glossary that you may expect to be included.

This app has been panned in the app store by reviewers but I think when you use it along with the material on the website you’ll see the value in it.

Science Glossary is great to use alongside the material found on the Visionlearning website.  Again, it’s not extensive but is great to have with you when using any of the modules found online.

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later, Science Glossaryis free.


Behavioral Effects of Extended Computer Use – WHS 25

Do your children get antsy when they haven’t used the computer all day? Perhaps they have a sense of entitlement because they completed their chores and schoolwork so they feel they can now use the computer, play video games, or watch TV.

In today’s world it’s almost impossible to avoid computer use. At some point or another your children will need to learn to use a computer. Once you open that door just a crack it feels like a floodgate has been opened and now all your child wants to do is use the computer.

I found in my family this is the case and combating this attitude can get quite difficult. Each child is different and their affinity for the computer or video games is different.

While I’m no expert I’ve observed the following behavior in my children (I have 7 children ranging in age from 3 to 16) that emerges:

  • Limited, routine use can still lead to a sense of entitlement
  • Children don’t perceive use of electronics as a privilege
  • Using the computer or video games as a reward can back-fire
  • Computers and other media (like DVDs) should be used as supplement rather than primary curricula

Again, this is all from my personal observations and I’m by no means an expert. You may want to have a look as some of these websites for more information:

Young children’s video/computer game use: relations with school performance and behavior.
The Impact of Video Games on Children
Using Computer Technology to Improve Computer Achievement

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App Review – On This Day… – The Wired Homeschool

This particular app has the longest name yet: On this day… historical events and birthdays for any day of the year. Don’t let that scare you away from it, though.

If you or your children into history or you’re looking for a way to introduce history into your lesson plans on a daily basis, this app is exactly what you’re looking for.

On this day… is beautifully designed and provides brief notes about historical events that occurred ”on this day”.  Did you know that on January 17th in 1377 that Pope Gregory XI moved the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon?

If you want to dig a little deeper, just click the hyperlinks in the summary and you’re taken to a Wikipedia article about a topic.

I’ll admit that I’m not too big on history.  This little app gives me a way to briefly see what happened in the palm of my hand.

On this day… features

– Display Events, Birth and Death dates
– Quickly select a specific calendar date
– Shake your device to reload the current day
– Open entries in the Articles Wikipedia App or Safari

Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 4.0 or later.  On this dayis free!


Avoiding Repetitive Stress Injury in Children – WHS24

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a parent with regard to technology (especially computers) is how soon to let your child start using a specific product. Is it possible to start too soon? Is it possible to start too late? Many geeks think it’s never too early to get started. I subscribe to a different philosophy, however. I think it’s never too late.

Children learn quickly. Their minds are like sponges. They’re also more susceptible to being drawn into the use of computers, video game consoles and gadgets in an unhealthy way. For these reasons, I think the earliest a child should start using any such devices regularly is 5 years old.

I’ll admit, I want my children to start using computers at an early age because I want to see them excel. I want them to have “mad computer skills” but I don’t want them to form unhealthy habits with their computer use.

Monitoring computer use has its benefits but moderation is the best way to prevent any injury to their precious brains and bodies. Many adults (including myself) suffer from some form of RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) due to improper ergonomics or overuse of computers. This is something that can occur in children as well. This isn’t something that just parents of technically savvy children need to be concerned with; it can happen with children who are musicians too.

I see 3 major causes that can lead to RSI in children:

  • Using equipment designed for adults
  • Improper use of equipment
  • Overuse of equipment

Each of these causes can be mitigated if not eliminated by doing a few simple things like getting keyboards and mice that are designed for children, showing your children how to properly use a computer (posture, hand placement, etc.), and limiting the amount of time they use computers or gaming consoles.

I am in no way an expert when it comes to diagnosing or treating Repetitive Stress Injury so please take my advice as an expression of concern and not professional counsel. If you think your child (or yourself) suffers from RSI consult your family physician and seek their advice.

Symptoms of RSI include:

  • Pain in your back, neck, shoulders, wrists, and hands
  • Tremors
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

Again, consult your family physician if your children complain about pain. The best treatment for RSI is prevention so be safe and limit usage.

For more information about RSI please consult the following links:

Repetitive Stress Injury Warning Signs
Computers Can Be a Real Pain
RSI in Teens (centered around sports but still great info)
Wikipedia’s article on Repetitive Stress Injury

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The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit

Music for the podcast by Kevin Macleod.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. In some cases, I may have been given a free sample of a product to review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement


App Review – Khan Academy – The Wired Homeschool

If you want all the great videos from Khan Academy available at your fingertips then you’ll want to download the Khan Academy app for your iOS device.

In addition to making the thousands of videos from Khan Academy portable, this app adds social features which will allow the user to interact with Facebook friends, ask questions on the discussion forum, and see how others rated a particular lecture.  You can even takes notes on a lecture and review them which watching the video again.

[The Khan Academy app] uses the VIRT2GO mobile video platform created by Irynsoft. VIRT2GO offers a new way to view educational content on your mobile phone. It makes learning a social experience allowing users to update and keep tabs on their Facebook friends, to post to a forum, and to leave ratings and reviews of individual videos.

Khan Academy: A Classroom in Your Pocket is free and compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later.  Download Khan Academy for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.


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