monument

Taking a trip

We have pulled our son from school 4 months ago due to bullying which school did nothing about. We were reading about homeschooling for several months before finally deciding to give it a go, we were sure it will be better for him.
And we were right. Days, weeks and months passed. We bonded, learned a lot together, he even got interested in sports so we signed him up for basketball.

The best part about having him home schooled is that we can take him to off season vacations. He doesn’t only read things without understanding as in school and just writes them down on a test. He experiences them, and by seeing how things work in practice he gets even more interested about learning.

Just lust week we took a trip to Washington and he was learning right under the monument about George Washington and kept asking so many questions about the man. He wanted to know exactly what an ordinary person like Washington dido in his life to be commemorated in such way.
Its one thing seeing pictures and its whole other thing to experience them. Sadly one of such important things is missing from education in schools. We are very happy to be able to spend so much time with our son and learn with him.

Written by Carl & Sarah,
parents who home school their son James with the assistance of an online tutor.

elearning

eLearning Technologies

In our last discussion we were talking about which elearning technologies we were using. I have decided to mention here three most talked about and describe how they can assist you.

The most spoken of program was Moodle. Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments. It is a free program that is easy to use and available in over 95 languages. It can be used on any device and assist all homeschooling parents with its flexibility.

Then there is Turnitin. A tool every educator should have in this day and age. This program compares your kids work for originality by checking, online grading and peer reviewing his work. Its the best tool there is to make sure your kids aren’t cheating their way through the assignments you provide them with.

Buying Kindle to save money. You can get many free educational books from and eReader and sometimes can find bundles of over educational books for only 30 dollars. The best thing about this is that even if you go to a vacation your kid can have access to all kind of books over just a small and cheap device.

Learn Online For Free By Watching Netflix

How to watch Netflix overseas

With the popularity of e-learning on the rise, we do our best to explore every possible method of learning from different types of media. No two students are the same, so we have learned to value all possible resources that may help a learner fully comprehend and absorb new material. Particularly in the case of home schooled students, online visual material such as movie and video streaming can be especially useful.

In a traditional school setting, students have always loved when the teacher brings in a video as the learning material for the day! So, why not use the same approach with your home schooled student? Online streaming sites like Netflix can offer hundreds of options for educational material covering a huge range of topics. Additionally, home educators all around the world can even learn to watch Netflix overseas using this site, so any student in any country can reap the benefits of watching educational movies online.

What types of material might you want to present to a home schooled child? Well, just pick a subject and there’s most likely a high quality learning experience waiting in the Netflix library.

For example, National Geographic offers hours of material available on Netflix, from cultural exposés to histories of ancient civilizations to amazing footage from outer space. Planning a geography lesson for the day? Check out BBC Earth‘s critically acclaimed Blue Planet series, which features some of the most breathtaking nature videos ever captured.

Home schooled children will happily spend a fun filled afternoon of learning with Scholastic’s ever popular Magic School Bus series, while older children and even teenagers always love the mad scientist antics of Bill Nye the Science Guy. And learners of all ages, including adults and educators, can relate to the awe of deep space and the universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey series.

Here at eLearning Forum, we believe that students of any age and any stage can find something new and interesting to learn, so why not try online video streaming to find relevant, high quality educational material? If your home schooled student is a young child, don’t forget that you can also set content maturity restrictions to help make sure they don’t end up watching material that’s inappropriate for their age.

We’d love to hear from any educators that have seen positive results with this approach or with similar learning methods, so please feel free to contact us if you have a success story to share!

beard oil

Beards-A Learning Opportunity

The other day during our weekly discussions a fellow home school parent was telling us about how she uses her children’s interests to guide their weekly lesson plans.

Her children were asking about different types of facial hair and why their daddy has a beard so she came up with a lesson plan for a whole day that involves beards.  She had her twelve year old write a short story about how to take care of beards while the two younger children matched upper case letter faces to the corresponding lowercase letters’ beard.

Her twelve year old came up with some interesting beard facts that she asked me to share on the blog.  There is an average of 30,000 hairs (from history.com) in an average man’s beard.  Men should use beard oil (if you are unfamiliar with beard oil check out Beardbrand) as a conditioner to keep beards soft and manageable.

After English time kids all did a beard math game that she created.  She asked them a variety of math questions and for each one they got they were able to add an extra hair to their own personal beard.  In order to do this she cut out line in brown construction paper and used two way tape.  She said they looked adorable with their little beards.

For craft time they used shaving cream and different colors of food coloring to make different crafts. The website I’ve linked has several great ideas for shaving cream crafts.  You can even dye Easter eggs using the saving cream and dye method.

They then used the internet to look up the different layers in a single strand of hair and how hair is formed.  They got out their microscope and checked out each of their hair under magnification.  They took notes of the similarities and the differences.

She let the discussion naturally lead itself and it landed on different types of animal hair.  They then collected hair from the dog and cat and they got a feather from their bird’s cage and studied that in the microscope as well.

They ended up putting shaving cream on their faces and fake shaving it off.  That was the end of the lesson for that day but she turned it into a whole weeks plan by including the scales of reptiles, and the bark on trees.

I hope that this post inspires you to let your children lead the lessons based on their interests.  If a child is interested in a particular topic it is so easy to plan a whole day or a whole week on that certain topic. With enough creativity you can make it relate to all areas of their academic studies.

online teacher

Earn Money While Teaching Online

Here at eLearningForum.com, we are extremely enthusiastic about the opportunities the internet presents us for learning online. There are some of us though, whose passion runs both ways! If you are like me and you love imparting knowledge as well as receiving it, you should be happy to know that there are opportunities for us to earn online too.

Many full time educators currently have a difficult time living a comfortable lifestyle without working a part time job, or working in other fields during the summer. This post may help you find an option that allows you to make additional income while still doing what you love!

Unfortunately, none of these options are “get rich quick” opportunities and still require hard work and dedication. The good thing is, most of them can be developed into real businesses that often have a great potential for growth, unlike a traditional teaching job where you are pretty much pigeon-holed into a fixed salary.

 

1. Online Tutoring
The first and simplest item on our list is tutoring. When people think of tutoring the first thing that comes to mind is often face-to-face interaction. These days, with the advent of Skype, Google Hangouts and other video collaboration software, it’s never been easier to tutor kids (or adults) online.

If you are a teacher by profession then you are already equipped with the training and experience necessary to succeed in online tutoring. If you are already good with your students in the classroom, there is absolutely no reason you can’t try it online. If you’re an expert in your field, but have no formal training or experience in instruction, then it might be a challenge depending on your personality, but it’s still viable.

At the end of the day, people will always pay for good teachers and they value expertise. There are a number of websites that allow you to sign up and start tutoring right away. The most popular ones right now are Tutor.com and InstaEDU.com. Each site has their own system and regulations.

There are tutors making anywhere from 20-100 bucks an hour in their spare time. Some even more! This can be a great opportunity.

 

2. Sell Your Content
Teachers Pay Teachers is a site that has been around for a quite a while now. Their founder, Paul Edelman says, “Teachers work hard and deserve extra compensation for all those hours spent lesson planning. Newer teachers and those looking for ideas can save time and leap ahead in competency by learning from veterans. We strongly believe that the ensuing exchange lifts all boats and leads to the better sharing of best practices. In the end everyone wins, especially our students.”

Sounds great, right. The site is really foolproof, very straightforward and simple. Teachers can easy upload their content for other teachers to browse and choose from. You set the price of your content (it can be free, too). You can also browse other teacher’s free and paid content and opt to purchase or download their resources.

It has the nifty option of sorting by Subject, Grade Level, Type of Content (Lesson Plans, Exams etc) and their price. It was reported by TechCrunch that a teacher there grossed over a million dollars in sales! Lots of other teachers have also hit in the 5 figures.
A big hit on TPT are powerpoint presentations. If you are creative and know your way around powerpoint and you can create attractive, well thought out presentations, you can make good money on there.

Lots of people also have success creating themed lessons based on popular Movies/shows to help drive points home easier when dealing with kids and teens. It’s an excellent source for passive income generation for teachers.

 

3. Create A Course on Udemy
According to Udemy, their goal is to “disrupt and democratize the world of education by enabling anyone to teach and learn online. Just as blogging democratized the publishing industry, Udemy seeks to dramatically change education by empowering millions of experts to teach & share what they know.”

Udemy is a great opportunity for teachers who don’t mind creating long and detailed courses. Many of the courses there are free but you can offer paid ones. For example, courses like “Microsoft Excel 2010 Beginner/Intermediate Course” has almost 12,000 students and sells for $99. Not too shabby. The course has about 17 chapters and 129 lectures which also includes video demonstrations.

There are a number of categories on Udemy and you are bound to find something in your field.

 

4. Start Your Own Website or Blog

When many people think of starting their own website or blog they assume it’s a daunting task. But really, it’s very easy these days to create a blog, website or a simple Youtube Channel and start sharing knowledge with the world. By using free solutions such as WordPress.com, Blogger and Youtube, it is free to get started. Advertise your blog locally at schools or with your own students if you’re a teacher by profession. That’s the quickest way to build your audience and start getting traffic. You can then monetize these blogs with ads or by selling an eBook, which we talk about more below.
If you’d like to go the more professional route you can invest in a self-hosted blog and create your own brand. This can also be beneficial in the future if you choose to sell your brand. For example, KhanAcademy started with just one guy filming math tutorials and uploading them on Youtube, it is hugely successful now and is one of the largest resources for academic tutorials. There are also sites like Freakonomics, that started as a simple blog teaching people about economics that eventually sold for millions of dollars. If you already own a blog, you can learn more about how to sell with a website broker here.

 

5. Write an eBook
These days, it’s never been easier to write and release eBooks. It’s extremely easy to write a book on your computer, convert it to a PDF and sell it via your website, your Facebook, Youtube channel, twitter etc. You can also set up an Amazon Kindle publishing account with ease.

Kindle eBooks typically sell for between 99 cents and 10 dollars. Some people might not think they have what it takes to be a writer. But publishing a eBook is something anyone can do, whether you’re a trained writer or not. As long as you are knowledgeable and experienced in your field, you should have no problem articulating yourself.

When writing your ebook, remember to take it step by step and remember to structure it properly. That’s the most important thing. This will keep ideas and content flowing in a logical format and prevent confusion.

Many people suggest offering a free ebook before you start charging for them just to build up your reputation and establish that you really do know what you’re talking about, but at the end of the day it’s up to you. As was mentioned above, a blog is a great complement to an eBook that will help you to achieve just that.

If you are thinking about publishing your own educational eBook, then check out these sites which can help you when getting started.

Academic publishing: The essential checklist for eBook authors
How to Publish on Kindle Platform

 

6. Create an App
If you are reading this post then there is a very strong chance that you know what an App is. Apps are a huge deal these days, especially with the younger generations. Apps are a great way to connect with students. They’ll have you in the palm of their hands 24/7. Back in the day, creating apps used to be an arduous task only reserved for experienced developers and programmers. These days, however, many people are leaning how to create and launch successful apps without having to invest in years of training in coding.
At first, to the uninitiated, it might seem like a pretty daunting task. Yes, there is a small learning curve required, but it’s well worth it. We are often a lot smarter than we give ourselves credit for! As long you come up with a good idea for your app and are prepared to invest some time and effort up front, it is certainly an achievable goal.
With platforms such as the the Apple Appstore, Google Play, Amazon and Android Apps, the potential is huge. The market is definitely there for apps and products made by real teachers with a passion for education. Check out this article by Edudemic on how to make an educational app. There are many ways to monetize apps. You can choose to charge upfront for your apps, or you can offer a free app with ads. You can also do both by offering a free and a premium version of your app.
If you’re considering building an app, I recommend you check out this article which is all about app building tools for teachers.

cooking

Online Cooking Classes

In our last discussion we were talking about many different kind of online classes and how we could create one. It is very true that in this day and age a lot can be learned from the internet but it often includes too much time gathering the required information, and sometimes even costs quite a bit of money.
After a lengthy discussion we have decided to start working on Online Cooking eLearning, free website where we plan to post all recipes and detailed guides on how to prepare them. As this is a pretty big project I have created a category especially for it.

We can begin gathering the recipes we want to do straight away and talk further details on our next meetup.

Everyone who cares about themselves and their loved ones enjoys cooking something delicious, but cooking can be quite complicated and requires a lot of experience. Together we can provide many guides, recipes, tips and general information to public.
The biggest question remains if we are going to include making cooking videos to make it easier for readers to follow our recipes. Sometimes pictures and detailed descriptions aren’t enough so it would be great to have that.

savingmoney

Saving Money

In our last discussion we were talking about how to save money on homeschooling and general eLearning. These are some of the ideas we have found most helpful.

One of the easiest ways is to search online for free homeschooling materials such as games, printable worksheets, and flashcards.

Another way is attending a home school curriculum fair. Its a great way to find new resources, look through materials that interest you, and save money on purchases. It’s also a great way to receive discounts, and save money on shipping.

You can also look for used books and supplies at thrift stores, used book stores, garage sales, and online providers.
Go to a library and find out which resources are available at your local library, and which can be obtained through inter library loan.

Don’t forget to set a budget of how much you want to spend on materials before going to shop and make sure to stick to it.

Over time there will be many things you will need to be able to provide your child with everything it needs, just make sure to not confuse needs with things you simply want because they could slightly improve your results. If you are tight with your budget its important to always prioritize and search for cost effective ways to get the items you need.

mental

Mental Effects

In our last discussion we were talking about the mental effects homeschooling might have on the mind of a child.

We were discussing about the initial shock when passing from school system to homeschooling. The kids no more have to prepare themselves to travel to school every morning, no need to carry huge bags around. There is no more peer pressure, competition, boredom, and bullies. There is no way to avoid doing their studies as the parents are always on top of things. All in all is a big change.
Suddenly the children have to spend much more time with their parents and which creates a closer family bonds.
They feel emotional, physical and educational freedom. Learning at their own pace, organizing their time, learning what about things they want to know.

One of the parents who was homeschooling their children from start said how his kids were intrigued by television shows or books that show happy, smiling kids in the school environment. But after a brief period in school system, the reality of school and the hours spent on homework, negative peer pressure and bullying caused a change of heart, and they returned to their former homeschool lifestyle. They appear to be truly grateful to be able to learn in freedom.

At the end we have concluded that home schooled kids really are happier and that the small amount of negative things mainly effects parents, such as financial and time restraints.