Chromebook in a Flipped Homeschool

As I do research for this blog, I see the concept of the flipped classroom everywhere. Since many homeschoolers are out of touch with the public education scene, we have no idea what this means. So in this post I want to explore,

What is a Flipped Classroom?

At its most basic, a flipped classroom is one where the instruction happens outside the classroom and students do their “homework” in the classroom. Since most homeschools utilize the world at large as their classroom, how is this supposed to work? Obviously, you will not be using an actual classroom. However, we can still take this concept and apply it to our homeschool. Chromebook is the perfect tool for making this happen.

Flipped Homeschool
What Would This Look Like?

Here is an example of how this might look in the homeschool setting. Using their Chromebook, you have your student do their assigned instructive activities from their online homeschooling programs, say  Time4Learning.com. Once that is done, you sit down with your student and discuss what they learned. You might even have them complete a worksheet which is often included with the lesson activities. You have just employed the model of the flipped classroom.

What Ages Can This Benefit?

This pattern of teaching can be used with both younger students as well as teens. I would suggest that you sit with the younger student as they complete the instruction activities. Also, their instruction, discussion, and homework times will be shorter to accommodate their shorter attention span.

As their attention span lengthens and your students are able to be more independent, you would spend less time instructing them, allowing the Chromebook to do that job, and more time discussing with them what they learned.

What are the Advantages to This Teaching Model?

This teaching model allows you to be sure that your students have understood the concepts before you move on. They will be less frustrated with the homework they are assigned because you have made certain that they understand the instruction they received.

As your student completes the instruction, they can write down any questions they have. You can then answer those questions during your discussion time with them.

Many of us are already using this model in some form. Now you know what to call it!

Top Sites and Apps for teaching Phonics on a Chromebook

We have spent a good deal of time discussing the use of Chromebooks to homeschool older students. But what about those who are just learning to read? Of course, we want these young learners to get a solid foundation on which to base a lifetime of learning. For this reason, one of my favorite phonics sites is Spelling City.

Not Just Fun and Games

At first glance, one might think that Spelling City is all game-based learning. However, with a few mouse-clicks you’ll soon discover articles meant to inform the educator and enable them to understand the way their students learn. There is also the ability to print handwriting worksheets based on the spelling lists you create. There are also plenty of fun games to facilitate the learning.

A Few Apps for You

We have a love affair with apps in our modern technology saturated world. So it’s not surprising that there are chromebook apps for even the youngest of tech users.

  • The Hungry Slug is a matching game that provides practice for early reading.
  • Kid Phonics is a game based app intended to teach kids beginning sounds on up to learning to read.
  • Max Phonics Games is listed under puzzle & brain. This app uses games to give kids phonics and reading practice.
  • The Montessori Method is used in  AbiTalk Phonics Vowels to teach phonics and spelling.
Learning Games for Kids

Included are a number of phonics games, songs, videos and even printables. This site alone could keep your child occupied and learning for hours.

Vocabulary.co.il a sister site to Learning Games for Kids also has a wonderful variety of educational games geared specifically to all that relates to learning to read and build vocabulary. There is an extensive list of articles for vocabulary building resources on the right side of the site. This can serve as a go-to resource for anyone teaching reading and vocabulary.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that with Chromebook for kids even our youngest students can build a great foundation.

Top Chromebook Apps for Homeschooling Science

How Do I Teach Science on a Chromebook?

You may be wondering, how to use Chromebook to teach science? Well, that’s an easy one to answer! Educational apps! You can use them to supplement your regular online homeschooling program and do labs separately. Science Journal is a great app that can help keep track of observations and data collection. If your kids, like mine, who are reluctant to write all that information on the traditional charts, this app will help make the process fun.

For the Older Students

Most high school students take biology at some point. Biodigital Human can make this a more interesting study. It is a 3D platform of the human body. It has 1000s of interactive models to enhance your student’s learning.

Working on that Chemistry credit? Struggling to learn the periodic table? Useful Periodic Table can come to the rescue! This app has an elements quiz built in to help learn all those confusing elements.

Level Up in Math & Science is useful for students who need to brush up on their science and math understanding, perhaps in preparation for ACT or SAT testing.

Does your student simply need some extra homework help? Amazing Science by Eduvee could become their go-to resource. This app covers topics in the sciences of chemistry, biology, and physics.

Elementary Age Scientists

Elementary Age Scientists will appreciate the Kids Measurement Science app which teaches them to measure length, weight, time, and money.

Science Games for Kids – Microscope is a game app that provides a fun way for kids to learn how microscopes work. Science Games – Light the Bulb is another game app. This one teaches kids about how electricity works.

What About the Little Ones?

There are some wonderful apps to get your little ones excited about science as well. Sorting for Early Science helps younger students learn to classify objects by living or nonliving, plant or animal, fruit or vegetable and so on. Pairing for Early Science is a similar app where children learn to match items with the appropriate label. Both of these apps are intended to build early science skills.

Everyone Can Have Fun With Science

Planetarium is an app that allows you to explore the night sky. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? You might even find yourself wanting to take over your student’s Chromebook so you can enjoy some of these apps yourself!

Unschooling with Chromebooks

Unschooling with Chromebooks

Child-led learning is taking the world by storm. Even in the world of public education, buzzwords like “maker spaces,” “individualized education,” and “self-directed learning” are everywhere. Thanks to non-traditional thinkers like John Holt, homeschoolers have long been aware that sometimes learning only “sticks” when students learn as a result of their innate curiosities.

Technology-based learning is a natural way for this student-directed trend to take hold. So,

How Unschoolers Can Use Chromebooks

Today’s students are digital natives. When students want to know something, they “google” it. Computers are basically curiosity fulfillment in bits and bytes.

Chromebooks, designed specifically as internet-focused laptops, are ideal for seeking answers to questions, researching topics thoroughly, and quenching that need-to-know! Built without the distractions and complexity of traditional computers, a Chromebook can be an unschooler’s ultimate tool in their toolbox.

Find Out Which Chromebook Is Right For Your HomeschoolRecordkeeping for Unschoolers on a Chromebook

Unschoolers usually aren’t tied to a formal curriculum, which means they need a more creative way of tracking what they are learning. The Google Drive Chromebook App can be an absolute lifesaver for recordkeeping because it requires no paper, is completely customizable, and 100% free to use.

You might decide to create a separate spreadsheet for each student with categories for math, science, language arts, and more. Then, whatever your child is currently learning about can be added into the appropriate category. Or maybe you prefer to simply keep a blog-style document for each student that you update daily or weekly with their ongoing activities. For high school homeschoolers, you can even create a transcript using Google Drive that is able to be shared with potential colleges.

Top Chrome Apps for Unschooling

If your self-directed learner hasn’t already discovered these awesome Chrome applications, now is the time to introduce him or her to them:

  • Spelling City makes learning spelling
  • Dinosearch is a child-friendly search engine based on Google, but which blocks out any sites unsafe for younger kids
  • Planetarium is like getting your very own interactive telescope that lets you know what you’re viewing as you view it
  • Pixton is a tool that lets students write their own graphic cartoons where the only limits are one’s imagination
  • Fraction Wall is a fun and interactive way to visualize fractions, decimals, and percents

 

Online Curriculum Using a Chromebook

Okay, so you’ve been convinced that Chromebooks are a magnificent tool for homeschooling. Now you are wondering just what curricula works best with a Chromebook. I’m so glad you asked! Online homeschooling programs are a particularly good fit for this tech. There are a few to choose from, but a couple of my favorites are Time4Learning and Spelling City.

Time4Learning Homeschool Curriculum for Chromebooks

The reasons I love Time4Learning are many. This program is quite adaptable to each student’s needs. Student’s can move at their own pace, or the pace their parents set for them. There are lots of fun videos and graphics for the younger ones and video lectures for the older students. One of the features I like best about this program is the automated reporting. This curriculum keeps track of how long my students spent on each lesson and the grade they made if it is a graded activity. I can then print these reports or save them in PDF format which could be stored in my Google Drive for easy future access.

Homeschool Spelling Curriculum for Chromebooks

Spelling City is more than just a spelling curriculum. This site is wonderful for vocabulary building as well. There are tons of games in the free version to help your student master their weekly spelling lists. However, you don’t want to miss out on the many features included only in the Premium version. These features include vocabulary practice, extra games, printable handwriting sheets, and automated tracking of your student’s data. Can you tell that I dislike record keeping?

Either one of these curricula will have you well on your way to maximizing the potential of your Chromebook for homeschool.