So I know that technology can be really scary, especially these days. It’s so easy for our kids to get sucked into the black hole of screens. It’s easy for US to get sucked in! It also can be dangerous.
But technology and school are entwined. That’s just the way it is now, especially after all the shutdowns last year. Online schooling has definitely risen in popularity.
What is a parent to do?
Well, first let me relieve your fears. Yes, you can use technology for school while remaining safe AND teaching your kids the value of balance.
There are so many wonderful programs you can utilize for school. Minecraft comes to mind. My son even today still uses Minecraft. He builds whole worlds in it and spends hours on his projects.
Guess what? This is not wasted time. He is going to translate that passion and that skill to 3D modeling both for my husband’s architectural business and our art publishing business.
And plus, Minecraft can be used for academics. There are teachers who do this! Math, language arts, science. I’ve done it in our homeschooling, like having my son create the Egyptian pyramids in Minecraft!
Then there’s apps for iPads, iPhones, and Androids. One very handy app to us has been a spelling app. Now he uses the Khan Academy app a lot for school. He even plays this incredible game that teaches him all about pirates, history, and ships! Yes, games are educational.
A Kindle is another great learning tool. That’s how my son got over his fear of reading. I gave him a Kindle and he just took off. Now he is an avid reader. Not of books but of researching on the Internet. The other day he was researching about mechanical flushes for our Silverado truck. That’s just one example of what he finds out by mostly reading forums.
And that’s another great aspect of technology—there’s an endless amount of research that you can do on it. It’s amazing what my son’s learned about so many subjects on his own. He has done over two years of high school just doing that!
Of course we want our kids to be safe. I would highly recommend a program that eliminates inappropriate, dangerous sites while on the Internet like Covenant Eyes. Also, I would not let children have a computer in their rooms. You might want to turn off the Internet at night.
Just remember that you need to teach your kids to INTERNALLY put these safeguards around them, to make good choices. They won’t always be in your household and so they will HAVE to make these decisions for themselves.
Now you will also definitely not want them to be glued to a screen all the time. Encourage your children to get outside. In fact, make it a requirement:
“Feel free to be on the computer playing as much as you want after you get this, this, and this done.”
And that should include school. Now, if they need to be on a computer, of course let them do that. But doing specific assignments.
Plan times in the family away from technology. Have your children involved in activities that are NOT technology based. For us, that means we go hiking and camping. We also do Live Action Role Playing. I started a club in my area for that SPECIFICALLY because I wanted my son to have a reason to not be on the computer so much.
Technology is here to stay. It is neutral. What we DO with it is what makes it good or bad. So incorporate it wisely and you will have Out of the Box Homeschooling!