Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homeschool Snips and Tips-- 2/9/11

My tip for this weekly link-up is: Computer time!!

Every kid has something they struggle with. For my Katie, it's math, hands down. She is having a heck of a time memorizing her math facts. It's really holding up her math. Drill is fine, and good, and we do drill routinely... but drill gets really old.

My Danny is scary-smart about computers. Really, he's like evil-genius smart when it comes to technology. When he was mad at us, he made his way into my DOS system on my laptop, and would've probably crashed me somehow, if Patrick hadn't stopped him. We're teaching him to use his powers for good instead of evil.

Sean is quite obviously a visual learner. The kid can remember just about anything... if he can see it. If you're telling him, it's in one ear and out the other.

What do all three of those have in common?? They all use computers to help them learn!!

My kids have their own computer. We just got it, rather cheaply. It's an HP laptop, and we paid about $380 for it at Best Buy. (Seriously, if you're going to get your kids a computer, do you want a top of the line, all the bells and whistles one?? Probably not, because, as responsible as they may be... they're still just kids.) When we got it home, they weren't allowed on it for about a day and a half. Why? Because Mommy was "customizing" it. ((insert evil laughter here))

I put on a trial version of Safe Eyes, for one. Like I said, I have an evil genius who has also learned to upload videos of himself to Youtube and sign into and buy downloads from Amazon. Yeah, we need security. I'm not sure about Safe Eyes yet. I think I just really don't know how to use it. I've got to explore more. It would be great to hear what you all use, too!

After I did that, I downloaded any software I wanted. We're not using Teaching Textbooks anymore, it didn't work well for us. But, I wanted some math on there, and Katie needs something to help her learn her facts. We decided on Math Rider for that. We also downloaded Mavis Beacon Typing onto their computer. Now they don't have to take my computer as soon as I'm into something to finish school!!

I didn't add Sean's stuff onto the kids' computer, because I have to be sitting right there doing it with him, anyway. He is using Funnix to learn to read. I wasn't planning on teaching him how for at least another year, but Funnix was free to download in January, so we got it, and he wanted to try it right away. That was the end of that, and he's truckin' along now!

The next thing I did with the kids' computer was to bookmark the things I wanted them on, and block the things I don't. They're not allowed on Amazon, YouTube, or Facebook, for example. They are allowed on a bunch of educational sites, and Katie has a membership to Always Ice Cream (a safe, educational games site for girls... if you check it out, please use the friendship code "SunC99Amazing". Katie gets more $coops to spend if you do!). In my next post, I'll be listing a big list of educational websites for you to try. I also bookmarked the Tapestry of Grace Loom, so that they can try the sites out there.

I bookmarked the ones I wanted the kids on, and explained the rules. One of our rules is that the kids are ONLY allowed on the sites that I have bookmarked. If you use computers for learning, make SURE your kids know, understand, and FOLLOW internet safety rules. Also, we never, EVER allow our children to have the computer or a smartphone while they're alone. They are only allowed to use them in a common area (such as the living room), never in a bedroom or other private place. Do I think they're looking up bad things now? Of course not, they're young. But... they won't be young and innocent forever, and it's best now to develop good accountability habits, rather than wait for something to happen.

I know a lot of people don't like to use computers with their schooling. For us, it's a wonderful tool. As the Maxwells on say (and I'm paraphrasing...), the internet is not going anywhere. It's best to teach our kids well, and teach them early, how to use it as a tool, and use it responsibly.

Besides which... now they're not bugging me to use mine! ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! We haven't started much computer use yet here. It kind of scares me. But I know the time will be coming soon!!