Monday 24 February 2014

Home education and technology: a love-hate relationship

Technology and, in particular, the internet, is an important part of our home education.

We use on-line teaching programmes both for the younger children and for Middle Son's home education. This brings many benefits:

  • the children can learn languages that I can't begin to teach
  • they can access specialists where I only have basic knowledge
  • one child can be working on something while I can devote my attention to another child
  • the children become familiar with media that they will need in the future
  • practice can be provided in a fun way.
  • there is something available for the children when I have to manage hospital appointments or talk to district nurses.
The programmes that we use most are
  • Reading Eggs for the younger two children. The children love this extra way of practicing reading. I don't think that it would be a sufficient programme on its own but is helpful for re-enforcement. 
  • IXL for maths practice.
  • KinderBach for music
  • Northstar Worldwide for Middle Son's German and History.
We are beginning to use a Kindle for my early reader. It is much easier to read large print and so easy to change the font size. This is something that we are likely to use more, in the future.

The other major use of the internet is for my research and planning. It is so helpful to be able to download a chapter of a new curriculum in order to assess this. I also make use of Pinterest in planning. (My Pinterest page is here.)

However, I do have some reservations.
  • It is easy for the children to finish their work and then change to a computer game or children's programme. Before, I realise the whole of their break has been spent in virtual reality rather than imaginative play. 
  • Educational programmes can encourage the children to become rather obsessed with computers and computer games. I am keen to try to keen the younger children from spending excessive time on computers rather than interacting with people and making their own occupations.
  • The programmes that we use, for the younger children, don't require much writing and no handwriting. I prefer to use them as an add-on rather than as the main source of teaching.
How do you use technology with your children? What safeguards do you put in to ensure balance?

For more posts on the topic of Technology in the Homeschool click on the graphic below (available from Wednesday 26th February).
Homeschool Technology

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