Sunday, August 29, 2010

Technology in Homeschooling . . .

This week's Blog Cruise topic is using technology in homeschooling.  I have to admit, I can't imagine how much harder it would have been to homeschool before we had all this technology at our fingertips.

 I mentioned last week that one way we save money in homeschooling is to download all the free resources available at various sites. We also "google" things often when the girls ask questions, or if they request a unit study on something that I don't have any free resources for (yet), I'll go hunting online for free lesson plans and unit studies, or the resources to make my own.

This spring I went to a seminar at our state homeschool convention about learning styles, and discovered that A2 is an auditory learner. That means that she learns best by hearing things, rather than reading them for herself (I'm the exact opposite, I would MUCH rather read things for myself & have a horrible time paying attention when I have to listen to lectures, etc), it also means that all the "background noise" of our house is very distracting for her when she's trying to work on copywork or other "independent work". One of the suggestions made for dealing with that "background noise" was to let them listen to an mp3 player of  soothing instrumental music to drown out the other noises. So, after attending that seminar,  we got inexpensive mp3 players for both big girls (while A1 isn't as predominantly auditory as A2, she's still more auditory than I am, and if nothing else, I figured perhaps listening to the music would curb her tendency to TALK when she's supposed to be working.  So we use the mp3 players. In addition to using it with classical music while they do their independent work, I also put short story and "nature nugget" mp3 files on their mp3 players, and if we are working on memorizing a long section of scripture and I can find it in song form, I'll put that song on their mp3 players, as well as playing it during school time & such.

I also use my own mp3 player to download longer stories (purchased or free) & also homeschool seminars that also apply to students, and we listen to those in the car.

If we're reading an e-book "chapter book", I'll often save it to my smartphone as well. When we're home, I'll read it on my computer, but that way if we're out and have some "down time" I have the "book" with us, and can read to them on my phone. Similarly, when we aren't reading a specific e-book (we typically read "real" books for bedtime stories and other read aloud time), I try to have one on my phone that we could start if we have some time to fill.

I also have a sudoku game on my phone, I play it when I get a chance, but I will also hand it to one of the girls if they are bored.  I'm actually toying with the idea of having hubby hunt down older, inexpensive I Touches for the 2 big girls. I think that would be a way to for them to have mp3 player, e-book reader, and games like suduko available when they are "bored" when we are out.

We do have netbooks for each of the girls also, but they honestly don't use them that often. As they get older, I think they'll be able to use them more for "school stuff", as they're able to read enough to do their own research. In the next year or two I want them to learn typing, so they'll learn that on their laptops as well. They also play educational games on their computers sometimes.

And those are a few of the ways that we use technology in our homeschool.


Vickie said...

I keep thinking that the kids listening to MP3's while working will be more distracting then help. I have a couple that won't sit still when music is on or can't help but sing along.....maybe not??? I'll have to pray ore on that one.

God's Blessings

Sweetpeas said...

I think it would definitely depend on the music, I hunted through a bunch of Mozart cds and found a couple of the most "boring" (for lack of a better word, soothing, not "get up and dance")tracks I could find & those are what we use for studytime.