Friday, November 15, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Nov/Dec Issue Review

     Wow! We have been having a very busy week this week, it's always amazing to me how active and busy we are even though we have been home all week! Lots of activity and industry going on in these four walls! I've been asked by The Schoolhouse Review Crew to share with you my review of the free publication put out by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.
 
 


     Their current issue, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (November/December), is currently available at www.TOSMagazine.com and www.TOSApps.com. If you haven't checked out this great magazine for homeschool families yet, go click on one of those links and check it out (have I mentioned my favorite word enough yet? It's FREE!)
     I admit that I have been one of the reluctant ones when it comes to switching from actual books and magazines to digital versions (my husband would tell you I whined about it) I think it may stem from me being a very visual learner, I like to flip back and forth, highlight and use post-it notes and yes, sometimes I even like to flip to the last chapter of a book and find out what's going to happen! But here's what I can tell you about The Old Schoolhouse's online magazine, It's very visually friendly! They have a great tab section on the left-hand side that has "in this issue", "search" and "help" features. I particularly appreciate the "in this issue" tab that lets you easily click back and forth between articles. It was also very easy to zoom in and out to read the smaller type. And on the top of the screen there is a pull-down menu to let you quickly skip to a different page. I couldn't read the words when the page fit the screen, but it was easy to zoom in and read the articles. A few features of a digital copy of a magazine that are actually better than the hard copy (Did I just say that? Shh! Don't tell my husband!) are: 1.) You can click on links right from the magazine and it will take you to the website! I am always seeing curriculum or ideas I am going to want to research later, so I love being able to click the link and add it to my favorites folder right away! 2.) This magazine is 180 pages long!! No paper magazine could afford to add that much content so you are getting more with the digital version! Still not convinced? Don't worry, you can still buy the paper version of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine here.
    This magazine comes with lots of articles on a variety of subjects. Some encouraging, some educating, many sharing Biblical wisdom with you about homeschooling. I particularly enjoyed "Learning to Love Silence and Solitude" by Sheila Campbell which encouraged you to teach your children about the benefits of taking some quiet time for reflection. The introvert in me loves to spend time in silence, I hope my children learn to appreciate it as well! 
     I also was excited to read, "Using the Library to Create Your Own Curriculum" by Mary Hood, Ph.D. (this was a multi-part article with the current topics being Science and Social Studies). The library is where a large part of our homeschooling curriculum derives from, so I was interested to read some strategies to help make this continue to function well in our home. I was contemplating at the beginning of this school year that I needed to find more tools for Social Studies and Science, since our focus has largely been learning to read and honing our beginner math skills. I appreciated Mary saying, "For Social Studies, it is acceptable to pick topics that are of interest without regard to any particular sequence." We have gone from studying ancient Egypt, and similar cultures last year, to starting on the Revolutionary War this year. (largely due to the interests of my older sons). Sometimes, you need another more experienced homeschool mom to say, "Don't worry that idea CAN work long term." especially when you are still a pretty new homeschooling mom like me!
     There are also some great articles that will give you something to learn about with your children. I enjoyed, "Happy Birthday, Verdi and Wagner!" by Karen Haid, which gives a great overview of these two operatic composers and some of their similarities and differences. It's a great read for some study on music appreciation and history (especially if you pair it with listening to them here!) 
One thing that I would have enjoyed being able to do was to directly link an article to a social media site to share something that spoke strongly to me. This was not able to be done directly, but I did find that there is an email feature that will share a direct link to an article, and if you send the email to yourself you can use the link to share via social media.
If you need encouragement, inspiration or some practical education ideas as a homeschooling mom (or dad!), definitely check out the Old Schoolhouse Magazine online!