Screen time is an integral part of our homeschool day. We don’t have time limits on using the computer or tablet. Rather, my son’s computer and tablet help enhance his learning. Technology in the homeschool can be a necessary tool for learning and assessment.
And it’s no wonder! We live in a world surrounded by technology, so this generation is growing up with the technological innovations as the “norm.” In our homeschool, technology certainly is the norm.
Technology for Learning
My fourth grade son does all of his math work on the computer, using a CD-ROM based program. In the past he has used the computer for a Spanish CD-ROM based course. We used a spelling program on the tablet and digital task cards (I feel I can never justify printing task cards!). We frequently read our digital textbooks or listen to them via the tablet or my phone. My preschool-aged daughter loves to play alphabet games on the tablet and computer. These games help her learn the letters. Now she also recognizes the sounds of the letters.
In addition to full curricula that are offered via the internet or CD-ROM or DVD, we use a computer to practice typing and to type up reports. My son always had difficulty with handwriting practice. When we finally began typing practice, it was clear that typing made writing time less difficult. Raisin loves typing practice and is much more willing to write reports or stories when he can type it.
When my son was learning to read, the flexibility of a digital book was important. Easily, we can enlarge text and even click on a word to hear how it sounds. While I’ve never quite warmed to ebooks, reading on a tablet is often my son’s preference. As I said, it’s the norm for his generation!
Technology for Assessment
Raisin also uses technology to create his final reports and polished work.
One of his favorite methods to show what he has learned is by creating a stop motion video. First, he finds the information he wants to share. Then he plans the scenes and the order in which they will appear. When he has a basic plan, then he can start photographing the scenes. After the 400+ frames have been photographed, Raisin can easily merge them into a video and provide narration.
Another technological assessment my son enjoys is making a video of any kind. Using movie making technology, he merges photographs and self-made graphics. I’ve found that as he creates graphics in a drawing program, the things he has learned are better solidified in his mind. He won’t forget if he’s spent that much time creating!
In a homemade project we’ve made this year, Raisin has been creating graphs and charts to show data that he’s reviewed. Using Excel has been delightful for him. Although I do not (for the most part) teach him how to use the program, he’s taken advantage of the “help” feature to figure it out.
Finally, Raisin also loves to make games to show the things he has learned using the Scratch computer program. For example, he made a game where a rocket went to the moon to show what he learned about the first moon landing!
More Ideas for Technology in the Homeschool
Here are examples of how you can incorporate technology right in to the assignments you give your homeschooled child.
- Create a PowerPoint presentation.
- Write a paragraph using Microsoft Word or on a blog.
- Design a brochures in a publishing program.
- Draw or create graphics using a painting program.
- Create a stop motion videos.
- Design a computer game.
- Create a board game.
- Create or answer digital task cards.
- Design and print a poster.
- Watch documentaries or create a video.
- Skype with distant family.
- Research and find answers to questions.
- Join online classes for subjects that are difficult to teach individually.
Contrary to what some may be thinking, we do not spend all day on the computer and tablets. These digital devices are tools. I supervise my kids’ computer time. We use a tablet or computer for a specific purpose and then we stop! I should also note that parental guidance and supervision is essential, as well as child controls on web browsing for a safe computer experience.
Incorporating technology into our homeschool day helps my son learn skills that he will need for the future. Knowing how to create slide shows, videos, and graphs is a skill to help in the future employment fields. Further, Raisin has another head start, because he has learned to figure things out or seek out the help function when he does not know how to do a task. Problem solving is a crucial skill for any person to develop.
All of this said, all children are different. Now my second child will be a kindergartener. Although she too will use the computer for some learning assessment, I have recognized that she is a different personality! Ebooks and computer curriculum will become a part of her life as well. But, the extent in which she embraces technology as a learning tool is yet to be seen.
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