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Posts Tagged ‘Free Software’

Two days lost to sickness and one to taking care of family matters and by the start of the second week of school we are already playing catch up.

We got Mom and Dad settled in their new digs this weekend. It was a hard weekend with way to much going on and Dad was exhausted. He walked as much on Saturday (moving day) as he normally walks in a week and then on Sunday, he wanted to go for a walk at the new place and they got lost in the hallways. It isn’t that hard if it is your first day there. In the end, Dad was so tired that he fell several times and on the last fall he bumped his head. It was a minor bump but the rules where they live say he needed to go to the ER and get checked out. That was a 8 hour nightmare. Next time we will find a 24 hour urgent care facility. He also broke his little finger so now he has a splint on one hand. It makes it harder for him to hold on to his walker. I will need to go down a bit more often than I had planned. That means changing they way I do and schedule homework so that the boys will be able to do some work on those trips.

We did manage to get in several hours yesterday and a whole day today and if I am honest, the only real problem is that MY schedule is off. This kids are doing fine and work hard. The first of the year is designed around review and reinforcement before we hit the harder stuff so the fact of the matter us that they are blowing through pretty fast right now. I just have to get over the fact that MY schedule is changed and the kids don’t know the difference. This whole home school thing as all about me isn’t it? Sigh!

On another subject …

Last October my wife walked out of her job to start her own investment firm. We had been talking and praying about it for a long time and even though the stock market was in a free fall, we knew that God’s timing was perfect. Well it was and things are going well but that is not exactly what I wanted to talk about.

Starting the business meant that we had to budget much differently than we had in the past. As a result, I began to look at open source software to meet my computing needs. I was amazed at the abundance of very high quality, free software that is available. I wrote about some of it in the spring but I have since found a lot more. I will write more about my favorites with respect to homeschooling in my next post. Stay tuned! I found some real gems.

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Ok, so I have been at it again. I know it is starting to look like I have an Internet addiction but I am really filling out my list of resources before I start homeschooling later this year. Really it isn’t a problem.. I can quite any time. Honestly I can … I promise!

Let’s change the subject a bit. Let me show you what I found and maybe you’ll see that this internet thing of mine is really for the best. Today is the first of several installments that are mainly educational resources. Each installment I will try and add a link that just might make the rest of your life easier.

Lexipedia is an interactive online english lexicon. Type in the word of your choice and get a graphical representation and definition of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, fuzzynyms, synonyms, and antonyms. There really isn’t anyway to explain the graphical representation other than to say it is unique and functional. So what are fuzzynymz? They are all the other words that related to the selected word but don’t fall into one of the other categories.

WOW Library   Put words together and you get books. This website will send you a weekly list of all the new books that arrive at you local library. You have to sign up for an account but it is free and seems to be ad free as well. You enter your zipcode and then select from a list of the libraries in and around your zipcode. Then you wait. Unfortunately I did not see a way to get in immediate list. The lists are generated weekly and emailed to subscribers. It would be nice to be able to get a list immediately now that we are in the age of “instant gratification takes to long.” Maybe in the next upgrade?

LibirVox   Since we are already talking about books, how about free audio books from the public domain. This site provides over 2000 audio books free to download in a couple of formats. Many are classics such as Shakespeare and Aesop’s Fables and the price is right. New books are added all the time so be sure to check back often. “Hey kids, close up your Nintendo DS’s and lets listen to Macbeth till we get the hotel.”

Flash Card Flash   There are plethora of good flash card sites on the internet. This site allows you to search the top 6 all from one interface. Actually you get results from many more than the top 6 because many of the top 6 tap into other sites as well. On one search I ran I counted 12 different sites listed in the first 30 results. This could very well be your one stop resource for flash cards.

Grocist is not just another grocery list. Add a bar scanner and you can almost eliminate the typing. When you empty a package, just scan the bar code and it is added to your shopping list. What? You don’t have a bar code scanner? You probably don’t but they can be purchased new on ebay for as little as $20. (NOTE: Many bar code scanners are cordless and battery operated. The scanner is all that you need in the kitchen if you want to keep your new laptop away from the various spills and splashes.) This program and a $20 bar code scanner can save you a lot of time. I think that this is could be about the best $20 spent on efficiency I have seen in a while. YMMV

I have many more items in my list and I will share them with you in the next few days.

Please share this post. Thanks!

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