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Imagine yourself in my shoes: two tired preteens, teetering on the edge of disengagement with our daily course work. We’ve already done our math and writing, and we still need to do science and a few other peripheral subjects but our attention is waning quickly. What’s a homeschool mom to do to recapture their attention (besides the threats, treats, or giving in)?

My 100% effective solution is GOOGLE EARTH. Google earth is interactive enough to interest them, easy enough to navigate without me sitting there, and educational. We have spent the afternoon in Paris, toured the old Roman ruins, zoomed over the pyramids, checked out Plymouth Rock and practiced the route to familiar places nearby. Google earth is great because it grabs the kids’ attention and extends into a longer activity than I planned. But I can also walk away from the computer knowing that they will continue to search all parts of the globe for as long as I will let them.

Google earth has allowed us to:

  • find where longitude and latitude intersect at zero degree
  • began discussions about mapping and topography
  • learn about the ways google actually collects the maps
  • explore space and find parts of the planet that are examples of certain rocks or formations we are studying in earth science

Have you stared down inside a volcano? Or zoomed around the Grand Canyon?

One time, we hosted a co-op party to learn and teach our friends about Paris. It was a fun day filled with baguettes, cream puffs, fancy pink lemonade, making Paris crafts, and exploring Paris via google earth. I connected my laptop to our TV so all of our friends could see the screen. It was super fun.

One final part of google earth is the 360 degree view we have access to at our local university—we can actually stand inside the globe and zoom around ourselves. I find this technology great!

Have you found ways to use software, such as google earth, in your classroom? Do you find it to be a positive addition to you school days?

Looking for other online resources to liven up your homeschool?

United Digital Learning (UDL) offers a number of online curriculum options to supplement or replace your current curriculum.  Affordable monthly subscription.

Check out UDL today!

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.


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