Many times you will get an idea or hear of something that you think would be fun and helpful in your homeschooling, but you don't know where to find it. The first step is to learn how to do a simple internet search.
My favorite search engine is www.google.com, so I will use it as my example.
Say I want to find out how to make the tornado in a bottle science activity with my children. I know I can get hold of the two liter bottles easily, but just how do you make the thing work? What else do you need??
Take the name of the thing, or the clearest description you can come up with (In this case, tornado in a bottle), and type it into the box (be sure to check your spelling), then hit "Google Search".
In only a few seconds, I came up with about 16,200 results!!
Now, there is no way that I want to go through even one percent of that number of links, but I don't have to - the search engine has already sorted them according to the frequency of my search term(s) on the site - meaning that the most likely ones will show up early in the list, and I will likely find what I want within the first couple of pages of results. (don't take this to mean that you won't find good ones on page 28 of the list too, if you choose to look that far)
In fact, within the first ten matches, I quickly found four that suited my needs - gave me clear instructions, ways to make them without buying the commercial connecter and clear explanation of the scientific principles involved.
Now, your searches won't always give you such great results. You may just need to reword your search terms. When I used tornado experiment, I got different results, and using bottled tornado, I got over 2 thousand matches.
If you think your search terms are pretty clear, but you still aren't getting the results you expected, try putting it inside quotation marks. Then the engine searches for that specific wording, not just for sites that contain all the terms.
The first results in my bottled tornado search were mostly about being prepared for a real tornado by having bottled water on hand - not really what I was looking for. I noticed, however, that down the page a little the actual search terms appeared together in just the order I had used them, so I knew that my search would be more successful if I put the terms in quotes. That search, for "bottled tornado" yielded only a few matches, and not all were pertinent, but a couple were useful.
It is amazing how different your results will be on different search engines. The original search terms tornado in a bottle, got 7,297 results on www.altavista.com/, 15,284 on www.lycos.com/, 11,100 matches on hotbot.lycos.com/ and there are loads of other search engines as well.
When you have done your homework by trying a few different ways of wording your search terms on two or more engines, and still not gotten satisfaction, it's time to go ask you friends at any of the homeschool support discussion forums available. Frequently, there is someone who has been through the same thing, and sometimes you can find someone who has done the very thing you want info on.
My friend, Peter Storz, adds that some items are more difficult to search for. A biography of King James I, for instance - he hadn't realized there would be so *many* sites extolling the virtues of the KJV Bible! Peter says, "I had to search on "Stuart Kings". For that matter, try finding a non-elementary-school-student-written bio of Christopher Columbus. But with a little practice in word-crafting your search subjects, you'll be able to find almost anything on the WWW." - He's right!
Be sure to visit the Links listed in the green box at the left on this page, and Sassafrass Grove's MAIN HOMESCHOOLING PAGE for much more information, many more links and lots of support for your home schooling adventure.
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