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View Full Version : Has anyone tried EPals?



jessica14
09-08-2012, 08:53 AM
I was wondering if anyone had tried Epals? I actually read about it the other day in a children's book about the first day of school in other countries. In the back they listed this. Its for classrooms and parents/homeschoolers all over the world. There are also collaborative projects that can be done with these other groups. I posted it on my local group and the one response was akin to "who knows if they are really kids." I would love to set something up with a class in another country or do one of the suggested collaborative projects. But I'm worried now about the response.

A little veering off my own topic, but it seems that, although I think these are great Moms and kids, everything I suggest as a project is just ignores. It think this would be a great way to work on culture, geography, writing skills, etc.

I've only been doing this a year and taught for many years. Something like this would be right up my alley. Do you think I should just plan it and see how it is received? Sorry for the meandering post!

Tee
09-08-2012, 09:38 AM
Have you seen this?

Worldwide Culture Swap (http://www.worldwidecultureswap.com/)

I want to do this but I have hesitated because you are basically putting your children's names and ages and address out there to a stranger. Most likely another culturally curious family but still . . . what if?

I decided to open a P.O. Box for this but haven't yet got around to it.

jessica14
09-08-2012, 11:42 AM
The epals I think, can be as private as you want. We are exchanging snail mail with the girl in Russia. The classroom students are linked to their schools. I guess there can be an issue, but I would hope not! Don't know if I'm getting paranoid or not now!

jessica14
09-08-2012, 11:45 AM
OK I just checked our Worldwide Culture Exchange. This I might be concerned with because of the exchange of actual packages in the mail, including food. I'm just assuming (and we should never assume) that this person is legitimately from Russia through ePals.

dbmamaz
09-08-2012, 12:09 PM
A little veering off my own topic, but it seems that, although I think these are great Moms and kids, everything I suggest as a project is just ignores. It think this would be a great way to work on culture, geography, writing skills, etc.
I'm not clear what you mean - do you mean that your kids ignore you, or that we, on this board, ignore your suggestions?

my kids wont do anything i suggest unless I force and schedule it, for the most part. and of course, on the board, we are all diverse and have such different approaches to homeschooling . . .

jessica14
09-09-2012, 12:40 PM
I'm not clear what you mean - do you mean that your kids ignore you, or that we, on this board, ignore your suggestions?

my kids wont do anything i suggest unless I force and schedule it, for the most part. and of course, on the board, we are all diverse and have such different approaches to homeschooling . . .

Oh no, not anyone here or my kids! I belong to a co-op where there are great people. It just seems to me that anyone but a small handful can suggest activities that actually go anywhere. I've made several suggestions and they are all kind of ignored. It's sort of like," Interesting, but maybe in the future.Hey let's do this instead!" They ask for suggestions and then still only go with the 3-5 people who always plan things.

I think a cultural exchange with other children somewhere in the world would be great for any age. The response was, "They could be predators." It was just disappointing and I wonder sometimes if I'm just too new to be fully accepted or because I was teaching a year ago they are kind of wary.

Cara, I love everyone here! I get great ideas and it is so beneficial to be with like minded homeschoolers! As in you all get that I'm so excited that I found a book with timelines of life on the earth dating back millions of years ago. Not sure I would do that with the group I'm in since it tends to be a mixed bag of creationist/evolution believers. Everyone here has been so helpful to me this past year!

CicilyMJ
10-12-2012, 06:01 PM
I'm very interested! I think it sounds great! I can't wait to sign up!

echomyst
11-03-2012, 07:16 PM
This is wonderful -- thanks! Our daughter's only 2.5 right now, but I'd love for her to be able to eventually communicate with kids around the world, especially in Chinese. ePals looks safe (sponsored & partnered up with Nat'l Geographic et al.!).

jessica14
11-06-2012, 03:39 PM
I have to say that I haven't checked back in awhile,but I haven't gotten any responses from people. Maybe I'll check in now.

crunchynerd
11-09-2012, 10:13 AM
I have to say that I haven't checked back in awhile,but I haven't gotten any responses from people. Maybe I'll check in now.

That situation in your co-op sounds pretty cliquish. I have BTDT, and in a group where that's going on, putting in more time being a skirmisher whose ideas are routinely ignored, never gets any better. Blah. My heart goes out to you. Whatever group I am in, I always try to draw out other people, and especially new people, and make sure they get to participate, and I wish there were more people doing that as well.

I too am interested in making sure my kids don't grow up as culturally deprived bumpkins (which is a challenge because we don't live out in the sticks, but we also don't live amidst a bustling world-class metropolis, either), so I have to have a plan, and my daughter is 8 and now wants to start emailing and chatting with other girls online...she is still learning spelling, and I told her she has to do written letters and penpals first, before she can learn typing and launch into online chatting, so I have a little lead time to figure out the details of her guarded online debut.

I will be interested in following you and any others tackling the online/mail correspondence and cultural exchange issue. I know I want to host foreign exchange students when my kids are not littles anymore, and I want each of my kids to travel abroad before they are fully grown, though with multiple food allergies, they will have to either have me with them, as younger kids, or if they go off alone or with a program for teens, they need to be able to prepare ALL their own food, from scratch, which can be really REALLY hard when you travel. Ugh.

ZombieHomeschoolers
12-21-2012, 06:05 PM
Can't believe no one has mentioned this: postcrossing.com -- It's one of the best sites, especially for homeschoolers. It works like this: You send a postcard to a random person in the world (it won't be mostly USA, it really will be all over). The system will generate you a random person to send to. You pick a postcard, write a quick note about yourself or something, and add a numerical code to the card. Send it to them. They receive it and register the code on the website. Once that code is registered your name will get put in the list and you will very soon receive a postcard from a random person in the world.

It is safer than most swap methods. There are a lot of adults on the site, but we've had kid profiles too. You can write that this is a kid's account but that mom monitors it. I put my son's interests but not exact age, and use his initials as his name rather than putting his full name out there.

We've been doing this for over a year and he has around 75 postcards from places like Russia, Alaska, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Germany and the Netherlands, plus many others. There's a map on the site that lets you see everywhere you've sent to and received from.

It's very educational for geography and social studies (just ask people to please tell them a bit about their country and they will, usually in broken english, how neat!). When you get a card you can find the country it came from on a globe, look up it's flag, etc. There's so much you can do around this site, and it's very active so you don't wait long to receive postcards once your first few sent ones start arriving. I send about 1 or 2 a month for my son so he has a semi-continuous stream coming in.

jessica14
12-22-2012, 07:57 PM
I like this idea. The other has not panned out at all. Maybe I will try this after the holidays.

Riceball_Mommy
12-22-2012, 09:16 PM
I really like that as well, I'll probably also look into that soon.

crunchynerd
12-22-2012, 09:35 PM
I would like to hear the rest of the sentence of "what if..." because I am left going, "what if, what?"
I know we live in an age of stalkers and mass-murderers (or at least, instant and sensational access to every horror story around the globe) but I would like my daughter to have a penpal, and it shocks me to see how difficult that appears to be, these days. It's like everyone is suspicious, fearing bogeymen around every tree. Granted, I am a fan of Lenore Skenazy and the Free-Range Children movement, and I tend to think people, especially in America, practice "worst first" thinking.

But aren't we more in danger, statistically, from just going to the grocery store in a car, than we are of someone using a penpal situation to hunt us down, cross international borders, and come take us unawares in our home?
I am so sad, that people are starting to wish each other a "safe Holiday". As if to say, try to be safe at Christmas, because you aren't, unless you try. And Christmas can be sneaky when cornered. So have a SAFE holiday!!!

I just want a plain old penpal opportunity for my daughter, no maximum security clearance level necessary. Especially not that, cuz I hear those people are pervs. LOL

Jennicat
02-05-2013, 12:28 AM
I agree with you completely!! Have you found a pen pal for your daughter? My daughter is seven and we are also looking for a pen pal.