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.

Chromebooks for Homeschooling High School

While every homeschooler can benefit from using a Chromebook, high school students can gain extra advantages from using them. The teen years can be a very busy time even for homeschooled teens. Often they are ensconced in extracurricular activities which pull them from home on a regular basis. With a Chromebook, they could easily continue schooling on the go.

Most teens can homeschool independently, and a Chromebook can add just another dimension to that, especially when you factor in the apps for education that are so widely available.

One of my favorite apps and one that every student should be using is, Quizlet. This app is completely free and lets you study anything using six different study modes. Your student could use this app on their phone as well as their Chromebook.

Another essential for high school learning is the Vocabulary Spelling City Android app. If your student is college bound, it is essential that they build and maintain an expansive vocabulary.

GeoGebra is an interactive math software for learning all kinds of math. It works with Google Drive which makes it another great app for Chromebook users.

Make history come alive for your teen with TimeMaps: World History Atlas. This app has hundreds of maps that can be zoomed to different levels of detail and narrative.

This is just a small sampling of what is available to a high school student equipped with a Chromebook computer. It’s simply mind boggling the number of education apps available.

Organizing Your Homeschool Day on a Chromebook

While Chromebooks are wonderful for students, they are awesome for parents, as well. Since everything is synced in the cloud, any organization you do on your Chromebook is accessible on your tablet and phone as well. That is a huge deal for on-the-go homeschool parents, because saving the time of your daughter’s recital to your computer-based calendar means you may or may not remember the correct time if you don’t have access to that specific computer at the moment. A Chromebook puts an end to scheduling snafus like that.

Organizing Your Schedule

For keeping track of appointments, co-op classes, and homeschool p.e., there is simply no better tool than Google Calendar. My favorite features are:

  • the ability to send multiple reminders to yourself by email, computer pop-up, and phone notificationsGoogle Agenda View
  • being able to invite others to your events (want to make sure your son doesn’t schedule something for the same time as his dentist appointment? invite him to the dental appointment event and it will automatically add itself to his calendar when he accepts)
  • being able to view your day in “agenda” mode so you can see everything you have planned for the day at a glance
Organizing Your Lessons

Google Drive absolutely transformed the way our family homeschools. For one thing, we’ve likely saved a full year of college tuition thanks to cloud storage vs all that printer ink. Paperless storage is a modern miracle, I tell you! Some of the main ways we use Google Drive for homeschooling are:Homeschool Lesson Planner Template

  • Keeping daily lesson plans for each child (there are even free homeschool lesson plan templates for this, so you don’t have to create your own from scratch!)
  • Having students complete their writing assignments in Drive, and sharing them with a parent’s Drive account so you can immediately view and/or grade them
  • Keeping high school homeschool transcripts updated
  • Organizing research (links, book titles, magazine articles) for upcoming learning units and activities

Pick your homeschool chromebook

Top Chromebooks for Homeschoolers

As homeschoolers, we are trying to make every dollar count. Often, we’re a one-income family, or sometimes combining two part-time incomes, but either way, when we make a purchase, we want it to be the right one.

For that reason, if you are looking at a Chromebook for your homeschooler, we want to help provide you with information that will help you decide which computer is right for your family.

Chromebooks $200 or less

ASUS C201
As one of the least expensive Chromebooks on the market, this is an 11.6 inch model weighing less than 2 pounds which makes it ultra portable for on-the-go homeschooling. The C201 comes with 100 GB of Google Drive storage space, which means all your files and pictures can easily be stored in the cloud. It has a full-size keyboard so typing is a breeze. It comes with an integrated webcam for online courses or just chatting. This computer receives a 4.6 out of 5 star rating at Amazon.

ACER CB3-111-C8UB
This is also an 11.6 inch entry level Chromebook with built-in virus protection. With super-fast load time, this will get your favorite homeschool websites up and running in no time. It connects to wifi seamlessly, so it can become part of your home wireless network or can allow you to school anywhere there is an open connection. The CB3 features anti-glare coating allowing you to use the unit without distractions in well-lit areas. It weighs just 2.7 pounds and is less than 1 inch thick to make it perfectly portable. This computer receives a 4.6 out of 5 star rating at Amazon.

Chromebooks between $200 and $300

TOSHIBA CB35-B3330
Featuring a dual-core processor, the CB35-B3330 is ready to tackle multiple internet tasks at once, but still maintains up to 7 hours of battery life per charge. This Chromebook is great for educational games with an oversized touchpad and full sized keyboard. The screen on this model is 13.3 inches which makes it ideal for watching educational video, and contains 2GB of memory which provides room enough to store files for a whole family. This computer receives a 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

LENOVO IDEAPAD N20P

One of the newest trends in Chromebooks is to offer them in a touchscreen version. That is what makes the Lenovo N20P unique in this category. It can serve as either a laptop or can convert into “stand mode”, depending on which way you fold the screen. Although only 11.6 inches screen width, the standalone option makes this model perfect for viewing movies or YouTube videos. But if you use a lot of touch-based applications, this is another reason to consider the Lenovo N20P. This computer receives a 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Chromebooks over $300

ACER 15 CB5-571-C09S
The obvious next upgrade is to increase the screen size. At 15 inches, the Acer 15 will feel much more like a traditional laptop. This is the biggest screen available for a Chromebook. This model also offers 2 upward facing speakers, giving audio quality high priority. It also features the largest touchpad of any available Chromebook, which may appeal to users with larger hands or who just need more wiggle room when they tap, pinch, swipe, and scroll. This computer receives a 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Why Chromebooks for Homeschoolers?

Why Chromebooks for Homeschoolers

Would you laugh if you heard someone say that every homeschooling family should own at least one Chromebook? Then prepare to giggle, because that’s exactly what I’m about to tell you. As one of the least expensive personal computers on the market, a Chromebook just makes sense for both homeschooling parents and students.

Here’s why.

Chromebooks Simplify Homeschooling

As someone who has homeschooled for 15 years now, I realize that one of the single most important goals I can create for myself is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Nothing will derail your motivation to home educate faster than trying to keep track of twenty different curricula, three different filing cabinets, and resources that are stored in twelve different areas of your home.

A Chromebook lets you manage it all in “the cloud” with free built in organizational tools like Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Photos. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I needed to print something and figure out where to store it. Google takes care of all that for me so I can focus on things I’d rather be doing.

Chromebooks Can Go Where You Go

If you are just beginning your homeschool journey, then you might want to sit down for this news: Homeschoolers are rarely at home.  With the growth of homeschooling has come the increase in educational and networking opportunities in local communities. Playgroups, co-ops, field trips, and local classes often fill many hours in a homeschooler’s week.

For that reason, homeschoolers may want to take at least part of their schooling along with them. Lightweight and mobile Chromebooks allow homeschoolers to connect to any available wi-fi or mobile network connection to finish up an online lesson or watch an educational video on drives, while waiting for siblings, or during a break at the park.

Chromebooks are Fun

With the ease of a tablet but the processing power of a computer, Chromebooks are the ideal choice for homeschoolers who prefer to blend fun and learning. Unlike iPads and Galaxy tablets, you don’t have to “hope” that your favorite online games, lessons, and videos will work on your device. Chromebooks are true computers that allow your kids to access any website – – even those with no dedicated mobile app.

Plus, you’ll find a ton of learning activities you may not have even been aware of in the Chrome store, like Vocabulary Spelling City, Storybird, PBS Kids Play, and much, much more. And if you choose a touchscreen Chromebook, your kids will feel like they are a part of the action in all of their favorite games.

Chrome Extensions Every Homeschooler Needs

chrome extensions every homeschooler needs

I got my first Chromebook this past weekend. Since I am a homeschool mom who loves to write and loves tech, it made sense to start a blog about how homeschoolers can get the most out of their Chromebooks. This first post will center on  some Chrome Extensions that every homeschooler should have in their arsenal.

  • Grammarly is an excellent extension that analyzes your text as you type. It notifies you not only of contextual misspellings but also checks your grammar and offers an alternative. This is a great way for kids to learn grammar even as they write.
  • Evernote Web Clipper Most of us are familiar with Evernote and how it works. This extension clips articles and pages from the internet to save in Evernote. If your student does a lot of online research, this could be a very useful tool.Find Out Which Chromebook Is Right For Your Homeschool
  • HomeworkSimplified Many homeschool moms are busy wrangling toddlers, assisting younger children with school work and just trying to keep their sanity. This extension installed to your older student’s computers will allow them to have more independence in completing tough homework assignments.
  • Dictionary and Thesaurus It should be obvious how this extension would be helpful to anyone, not just students. You can highlight a word in any website and then right click to get a dropdown with the Dictionary Lookup option included.
  • Kindle Books What homeschool mom doesn’t love books? And what homeschool mom doesn’t love freebies? This extension allows you to search for Kindle books right from your browser. This can be a boon for those students catching up on their reading for language arts classes.
  • SpeakIt! For those reluctant readers, this extension allows the web page to be read to them.

I hope that you find these extensions helpful in your daily homeschooling life. Please feel free to comment and let me know of any extensions you have found helpful for use with your Chromebook and homeschooling.