I'd like your opinion...
My name is Ashley and Iâ€™ve been homeschooled my entire life. My mother and I are huge supporters of homeschooling, and my experiences have led me to embark on a project that aims to make finding online resources easier for homeschooling families. When I was younger, I loved the fun activities and games my mom would use as supplements to my curriculum, and I'm sure a lot of other kids love them too. The problem is that it's hard to find these things with a simple Google search, and even then you're never sure what you're going to get until you spend ten minutes checking through each site. My goal is to simplify this process.
I plan to create a website that will feature the best educational websitesâ€”from virtual tours to learning games to teaching ideas. It wonâ€™t be a vague, unhelpful list of links. Instead, Iâ€™ll give you â€˜microtours,â€™ explaining the fun things that each site offers, complete with pictures and screenshots. That way, you can more easily find what your kids will be interested in, and youâ€™ll have a clear idea of what youâ€™re going to get before you visit the site. There will also be a commenting feature for each microtour, so you can share your opinions and ideas with other homeschoolers.
I want to take the homework out of homeschoolingâ€”doing the research for you so you can spend more time on what really matters: teaching your kids.
Iâ€™m posting this to see if this would make it easier for you to see what the internet has to offer to supplement your kidsâ€™ education. Iâ€™m very interesting in hearing your thoughts, suggestions, and questions. Iâ€™m doing this for people like you and I want this to be as helpful as possible.
Below you can find a sample microtour Iâ€™ve written.
National Gallery of Art Microtour
Entrance to the Gallery. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, boasts a great website with activities and features to delight any art-lover. Letâ€™s take a look at some of its featuresâ€”click the links to go directly to the different parts of the site.
The Educational Resources section is handy for homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike. Among other things, you can find volunteer and internship opportunities for local teens, and learn what the gallery offers for local homeschoolers.
From there, you can head to the kidsâ€™ section. NGA Kids is a vibrant and interactive offshoot of the site and seems ideal for the younger elementary set. Kids can explore nine works of art through simple point-and-click activities, learning about art styles and painting methods along the way. For example, the study of Tissotâ€™s Hide and Seek introduces kids to the concepts of light and texture and wraps up with an activity planâ€”create a mixed-media portrait of a room using textured household items like sandpaper and aluminum foil.
James Jacques Joseph Tissot, Hide and Seek, c. 1877, National Gallery of Art, Chester Dale Fund
The site also features dozens of interactive games and tools to turn kids of all ages into little Picassos. Sea-Saws incorporates animated elements, while Brushter is great for abstract art. Kids can play around with photography, explore a colorful Dutch dollhouse, or create a Rosseau-inspired jungle scene. Scroll down the NGA Kids main page to see them allâ€”each one is followed by a quick description, file size, and age-range recommendations.
Exhibitions in the West Building. Image from Wikimedia Commons.
For older kids (late elementary through high school), the site offers dozens of virtual toursâ€”scroll down to see the full selection. The sculpture collection tour, for example, takes you to an interactive map of the museumâ€™s sculpture galleries, and allows you to pick a room and explore its collection, learning about each piece as you go. The accompanying text is even printable!
Screenshot of the sculpture collection tour.
Meanwhile, clicking on topics such as American Painting takes you to a broad overview of eras and styles, followed by dozens of online tours and in-depth studies on various topics. (I found the study on Winslow Homer particularly interesting.) There are tours and studies for all sorts of topics. They all feature text and images like the one below, and are very navigable and user-friendly.
Screenshot of the Winslow Homer study.
Another fantastic resource is the siteâ€™s free collection of videos, podcasts, and recorded lecturesâ€”great for auditory or visual learners. The list of resources goes on seemingly forever and includes musical performances. Each listing is followed by a brief description that can help pinpoint the perfect downloads to keep an artsy kid quiet and entertained for an hour or two. You can also subscribe on iTunes or with an RSS feed to keep up with new releases.
All in all, this site is an interactive and exciting stop for art-loving kids of all ages. Itâ€™s visually interesting, easy to navigate, and contains hundreds of hours of content and entertainment. Have fun!
Just so you know, the text in bold are meant to be links. I'm not entirely sure how to embed those, but they'll point to the pages in question, so clicking on 'sculpture tour' will take you directly to the sculpture tour. Thanks for you time!