Sunday, June 28, 2015

Teach Your Kids Electronics with EEME (Review)



If you are looking for a way to incorporate electronics into your homeschool for your 7-12 year old, then I have a treat for you!

EEME is a company that makes hands-on projects and FREE online lessons to teach kids electronics. This program is created to foster their curiosity for how things work and prep them for the STEM opps of tomorrow. 


Each project kit is paired with online curricula to not only show your family how to assemble the kit, but more importantly, teach them how it works.



The heart of EEME is their monthly subscription program. For a low monthly cost, you receive an electronics project kit in the mail. A new kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project. The breadboard, baseplate and battery pack are re-used each month, for each project. This requires the kids to break down last month's project in order to build the new project. They designed the experience this way because by breaking down last month's project, it gives the kids the opportunity to revisit what was learned and built. Also, it helps to keep the plans affordable.


There are 2 plans - Basic and Pro. Pro plans include an enclosure cover every month while Basic plans do not. The educational experience for both plans are equivalent





  PROJECT GENIUS LIGHT
                                                                     

Project Genius Light is the first project in EEME's monthly project subscription. With the Genius Light project, you will assemble a simple LED circuit system that lights up when it is dark and dims when it is light.

The project kit is shipped with all the materials needed to build the Genius Light (a breadboard, resistors, circuits, LEDs, battery).

First, we received the kit with the items listed above. It was shipped quickly and promptly. The kit does not have written instructions included because the directions and lessons are completely online. This threw me off at first but once we got started with the online lesson, it was clear and easy to follow. 

The kits are designed for children ages 7-12 and I am confident that if left alone with the video lessons and kit (and minimal supervision since it is dealing with electricity,) that my third grader would be able to complete the project relatively independently. I honestly think that his passion for Lego's has prepared him to follow instructions carefully. He also is a fan of the old school version of the game, Battleship. We have played this game often over the past few years to help him gain confidence in understanding grids and graphs. I am convinced that children really do learn from "play" and that it helps to prepare them for real life. Now that he is older, he is seeing through experiences like this electronics kit that there is an actual, practical use for his skills gained. Reading the breadboard is similar to the game battleship so, not only did he catch on quickly but he enjoyed the project too!

My younger son enjoyed the project just as much as his older brother although guidance was needed. He picked up on the terms and questions asked throughout the lesson quickly and seemed to absorb the material like a sponge. He already was familiar with some of the concepts taught such as the negative and positive charge on a battery so once that got his attention he was readily able to learn the new material presented. 

We also let our daughter who is a rising kindergartner join in on the lessons. Her attention was not kept for very long but she enjoyed it when we allowed her to participate in the hands-on activities!


Before we made the actual dimming light, they were taught the basics of how the LED light worked. The lesson had several short videos, only a few minutes long with simple questions afterwards for the students to both dictate to the parent and enter in on the computer.




Here, they learned how and why the LED light was able to light up. Once they learned the basics they were able to get on with the final project, the Genius Light!



They followed the instructions carefully and were able to successfully make a working light that dims!




At first I thought this project might be too advanced for their first electronics project, but they ended up catching on quickly. The video lesson is key though in helping them to not only learn how to put the kit together but in understand the why's in how it works. This project is estimated to take between 1.5 -2.5 hours. It took us closer to 1.5 hours to complete. My kids, the boys especially thoroughly enjoyed this project. It allowed them to use previous skills gained to learn something new and it allowed them to create something practical and useful. Children are always asking why and how things work and this project provided them with the insight and know how to learn more about the world around them. Electricity can be both amazing and dangerous and I appreciate how this lesson made that clear to the students. It is not something to be played around with but the children were able to learn how to put the parts together properly in a useful and responsible way. This lesson helped teach them responsibility and helped them gain confidence that they will need in the real world.

If you don't want to sign up for the monthly subscription, EEME has a Six Project Set that you can order instead!



This set has over 80 components and wires to build 6 projects from night light circuits to alarm circuits to countdown circuits. At the end of the 6 projects, you will have learned about all the fundamentals of electronics; LEDs, resistors, capacitors, transistors, voltage, current, and much much more.


The Six Project Set is similar to subscribing to the Basic Plan for 6 months but it is better suited for families who rather get all the projects at once and not have to deal with subscriptions and monthly charges.


Disclaimer: Thanks to EEME for providing me with the above kit for the purpose of this review.
 All opinions stated here are my own. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

HEAV Virginia Homeschool Convention






HEAV Virginia Homeschool Convention

June 11-13, 2015

Richmond, Virginia

Homeschooling…or considering it? Don’t miss the 32nd Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention for three days of encouragement, support, and resources!
 
Attend three, FREE how-to-begin workshops on Thursday, June 11, and afterward, tour the Exhibit Hall (340+ booths last year) as our special guest! First-time parents of just preschoolers and non-homeschooling grandparents can attend the ENTIRE convention for free.




 The convention offers inspiring keynotes by Ken Ham, Buddy Davis and Voddie Baucham, plus lots of incredible workshops with speakers Steve and Megan Scheibner, Todd Wilson, Kim Kautzer, and many others; a Used Curriculum Sale; an expanded music competition; college fair, hands-on demos in the Exhibit Hall; a Children’s Program; and much more!


If you are planning on going, come on by and visit me at the  

WriteShop Booth 
# 1210



Come say hello, I'd love to meet you! 

~ Heather

View more details at www.heav.org/convention

Saturday, June 6, 2015

End of the Year Homeschool Assessment



Whether you are coming to the end of your homeschool year or you school year round, assessing where your children stand acedemically is likely on your mind!

This year, we are schooling through mid-summer when the baby is due. Summer vacation will officially begin the day the baby is born! Fortunately, we have gotten through the grunt work of the year and will be done with the basics and essentials a few weeks before my due date just in case this one chooses to arrive a tad early!

Even though we have a couple months of work left to complete in order to be officially done, I wanted to see where my oldest son stood in his academics. Every state is different as far as what is required for yearly testing. Some states are extremely strict on homeschoolers while others are quite lax. Here in Virginia there are two options, one that requires yearly testing and one that doesn't. Even though I chose the latter doesn't mean I don't assess my kids, I just am not required by law to submit my scores to the state. 

The first year that my oldest was in first grade and the age that I had to let the school board know that I intended to homeschool, I was sure to have my son tested just for my own personal records. I took him to a local private school and had him tested there, for a fee of course. I did it primarily to make sure he was on par and to see what we needed to work on in our homeschool. Because of the price, and the fact that he passed with flying colors, we chose not to test him the following year.

Now that a few years have passed though, I do want to know where he stands academically. Since it is not required for me to submit standardized tests, I don't want to spend a large amount of money but I still want to know where he is at!

I was extremely excited to find Kidtest.com! Kidtest offers battery tests for children who have completed grades three through nine.

Kidtest Benchmarked  Third Grade Battery ($12.95) that my son took contains eight subjects:

Math Computation
Math Application
Reading 
Study Skills 
Language 
Spelling 
Social Studies 
Science

The drawing factor for me is that these are all completed online! That means there are no tests to order, no sending back to be graded and no hassle. 

All you do is create a free account at Kidtest.com. Then, you simply order the test(s) that fits your need. Once it appears in your account your child is ready to get started!  

In the test that my son took, there were only 30 questions per section and took between 15-25 minutes to complete each section. I divided the testing time up so that he would only take 2 sections at a time and then have a break. He finished the whole test over a period of two days. I didn't want to stress him out and have him do it all in one day, but it easily could be done that way if your child is a good test taker!

After the test is completed, you will receive a printable report for your records.



You will be able to view a chart that shows you how well your child did in each subject. Then, for each subject you will be shown the topics that your child got wrong so you can see what he needs to work on!


You also will see a chart to see where your child falls in relation to other students in his same grade level, below average, average or above average.


 I mentioned earlier that we still have two more months to go to finish his third grade year, so many of the areas that he was weak in were simply topics we haven't covered yet. For example, dictionary skills we covered two weeks after we took this test so he was confused on this part for the test. Overall, this test helped me to see if he knew the material that we did cover this year or if he needs review. It also helped him to feel confident taking the test and knowing that he is actually learning! And lastly, the test is great to see if there are any gaps in our curriculum. It helped me to see if there were things that we didn't cover that we should have. I'm glad to have found this site and I look forward to using it again!

In addition to the tests, this site overs free flashcards to help your student practice math skills, foreign language or history!




Disclaimer: Thank you to Kidtest.com for providing me with the above product in exchange for this review! All opinions stated here are my own.