Computers Help People Help People(Marketing credit: IBM)

by Darla on November 22, 2008

in Writing

Memory Verse: Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what
is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it
may benefit those who listen.

There are many ways computers help us. It is a wonderful way to stay in touch with family far away, “meet” other christian women around the globe, and it can be such a blessing with homeschooling.

Assignment: Share some of your favorite homeschooling sites. The only “rule” for this assignment is that you have to list at least one “free” site.

Perhaps three years ago I wouldn’t have appreciated this statement as much as I do at this point in my life.  Moving around the world has opened my eyes to the resource that laid at my finger tips.  So my post today will be about some of the things that have been a tremendous help to us.

1.  Communication with family.

During an emergency call home on our pre-employment trip we spent 29 minutes on the phone.  Our bill came to $130.  YIKES.  Obviously we needed to find a cheaper way to make our long distance phone calls.

This is VoIP – Voice over internet phone.  It acts like a regular telephone – telemarketing calls and everything.  The advantage is that our phone number didn’t change from when we lived in the states and there are no international charges.

Cons:  Occasionally the line has noise/echos.
http://www.vonage.com/index.php?ic=1

With Skype you can make free calls over the internet to other people on Skype for as long as you like, to wherever you like. It is free to download.
www.skype.com

This is a new service and is great tool for video chats.  It does require that you have a computer as does the previous application.  The bonus is there isn’t a monthly service charge for this service.

Con:  Occasionally our service provider blocks this service.

2.  Postal Delivery

As far as snail mail there are options such as Aramex or USAbox.  Neither of these services are free and actually cost quite a bit.  They are two of the choices for having your mail delivered if your company does not provide a mail forwarding service.  There are advantages and disadvantes to both services.  It depends on what you want to accomplish.

We haven’t chosen one yet but we are close.  I like some of the features of USA Box but it takes more work to set up initially.  In the long run I believe it will be worth the inconvenience.

Our company does offer a mail forwarding service and so many pounds of materials a month for no extra fee.  They will send us a bill or hold our boxes until we have the available free pounds.  The downside is that they restrict some of the items going through and they open everything.

3.  Favorite Homeschool websites.

There is a wealth of information out there and sites as well.  So I’m going to list the ones that I use the most.

www.rainbowresources.com
This company will ship directly to Qatar.  If we make a bulk shipment then they will sea freight our materials to us with a significant savings on shipping.  It can take up to 3 months but it is worth it when I consider the savings on shipping.

www.simplycharlottemason.com
This company lays out a simple curriculum plan for those following the Charlotte Mason Method.  Reviews of the books are available and some curriculum that they write.

www.amblesideonline.com
This is a conglomerate of mom’s following the Charlotte Mason method that put together schedules for K-11th.  I believe they are working on 12th grade.  Most of the materials are available online.  It is a great option for low budget homeschool families.  The schedules are a bit intense.  The materials are great.  It takes getting used to reading materials that aren’t twaddle.  Well worth the effort in my opinion.

Yahoo groups.  I’ve made good use of the support living so far away from active homeschooling groups.  I usually join one or two groups based on the curriculum or methods of learning that we are following.  They are invaluable for reviews of books or help during times of struggling.  Currently, I regularly participate in

TJED Muse
Doha Home Educators
LDS Scripture Study
Artist Study CM
All American History
Ambleside Online Year 3

Homeschool Blogger has been an invaluable resource for inspiration.  I subscribe to a number of different blogs.  Most of those I subscribed to were members of a previous Yahoo Group that we shared.

Some of my favorites are…

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/Jimmie/
Jimmy is the homeschool mom of one following a Charlotte Mason approach.  Her site is filled with great ideas for lapbooks and cultural interest they are an expat family living in China.

http://harmonyartmom.blogspot.com/
Barb is following the Charlotte Mason approach with particular emphasis on art lessons and nature study.  The nature study is on a different blog but you can find links there.  I enjoy the beautiful pictures of flowers and find myself inspired to figure out our local flora and fauna.

There are quite a few more that I follow via my google reader.  These are my favorites.

Harmony Art Mom recently posted about using StudentNewsDaily.com We were looking for a current events source that was more positive and less censored than our daily paper.

4.  Library?

The cost of shipping charges now have an added fuel surcharge, I’m running out of physical space to store books, I’ve pared down our current selections as much as possible and we are trying to pay off our debt.  I’m sure some of this sounds familiar.

We are very fortunate to have a fabulous

For our family there is an initial cost involved with this method.  We are purchasing ebook readers for a majority of our books next year will be ebooks.  It is a trend I can’t fight with and when you consider that they can carry so many titles in a small space how could we argue with that.  It won’t be all our materials but mostly literature and reading.

I’m not sure what else to add except pictures. 🙂  They are coming soon!

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