October 4, 2003

Mozilla makes homeschooling easy... I just finished up next week's E lesson plan for the kids. I focus on one letter a week for my son and of course Rhia gets to play along and learn more as well. I do this in addition to or mostly in conjunction with Rhia's more formal work and it is this part that I love. We really do just play with the letter all week and I think much more sinks into their minds this way. They also feel like we are just playing and then see learning as fun and are very excited for it.

My planning consists of running through my web resources, reserving books at the library online (as I go through my resources) and then just pointing out everything that starts with that letter through the whole week and use all our resources that we have here. In a typical week we will keep a word list, read many books related to the letter in some way (name, subject, character, etc), point out the letter everywhere we see it, seek out things that start with the letter, keep a letter soundbox, learn songs related to the letter in some way, do a craft or two and a science project and something physical (exercise, acting, music, etc), and when I am very organized (or spontaneous) we will do a field trip.

Anyway I wanted to share that I love Mozilla. Yes Mozilla is a web browser and I LOVE it! Serona introduced me to it and I was hesitant to change at first because I did not want to have to move all my bookmarks (they are that well used and important to me). Once he showed me he could move them for me I tried it a little at first and now I use it almost exclusively.

There are many advantages to the Mozilla browser (in addition to being an open source non Microsoft product) but the best for me is the multiple tabs function. For those of you unfamiliar with Mozilla I will briefly explain. You can have multiple sites open at a time, in tab format (much like having multiple documents open) and you can easily add or remove tabs. The best part is you can save these tabs as a single bookmark.

In my case I have one "bookmark" that is a set of tabs with all my homeschool resources. I open that bookmark in one window and open another window and begin to file tabs for my lesson plan (letter, subject, theme, week, etc) and then save it. For instance tonight I opened my homeschool boomark and two other Mozilla instances. In one I created a bookmark for the letter E with about 15 resources (printing pages, fact sheets, songs, book lists, lesson plans, games, pictures, etc) and another for the Creation story with about 7 resources. Now I only need to open two links on Monday morning and I will have my whole weeks plan all in one place and easy to print out and hop from page to page. Better yet is that I am starting a file that I can use with my next child (assuming the links still work) or a resource to share with friends. It is tough to explain this in words - it is much easier if you see it. Just try it yourself - it's free.

Anyway if you use online resources for homeschooling I encourage you to use this browser. I really believe you will be happier and I find it easy to use. It also has the "Blog this" function if you use that, a google search engine built in, and a pop-up ad blocker! To download it, go here.

Just my .02,

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