Tech for Homeschoolers

In the interest of full disclosure, this post contains a mild rant about the lack of tech focus in most home school classrooms.

Now, I will grant you that most of our kids are more tech-savvy than we are, but there are certain skills they will need that are sorely lacking in most home school curriculum plans.

Admittedly my daughter is only entering 2nd grade but I’m already thinking about this. Most of you know that I am a moderate techie that dreams of being an uber-geek when I grow up. 🙂

photo by miguelb Photo by miguelb

I also intend for Steph to have a good tech footing on which to stand. To that end I have been researching state curriculum standards for getting her up to speed on all things techie.

For those of you with children in public or private schools, do you find these statements to be true?

  • book reports must be typed and in some cases emailed to the teacher
  • by 3rd grade, most kids are making presentations with PowerPoint {yup … poster board is old school folks}. They should also be able to use a spreadsheet to perform arithmetic calculations and sort data.
  • by 2nd grade, students should be able to use bookmarks to navigate to teacher-selected sites,  draw and manipulate a picture using a graphics program, locate a spreadsheet cell by its row and column address and adjust sizes of columns and rows
  • in Kindergarten they should be able to, among other things, use a Word Processor to type first/last name, simple sentences. They should also be able to change size and color of text and font. They should be familiar with the basic function keys and tell what they do (capital, shift, spacebar, enter, backspace/delete), correctly identify by name parts of the computer and demonstrate how to properly turn on and off the computer (monitor, CPU, and any peripheral devices)

This is just the tip of the iceberg and most of these standards were pulled from a 2005-2006 State Standard Curriculum document. So, I imagine they have changed considerably since then.

To my knowledge most home school curriculums that I’ve reviewed don’t even address technology and most parents that I know of don’t either. Our kids may be holding their own and even excelling against their public school counterparts scholastically, but technology is vital to their success in the job market, college, and beyond. So, I believe we need to seek out solutions that enable our kids to be just as tech-savvy as those educated in mainstream schools.

cc_input_rdax_65As if to further reinforce my semi-rant, while typing this I received my weekly  printable list from Kaboose and, lo and behold, one of the focuses this week is coloring pages about computers. Check out this one for Input/Output Devices. COLORING PAGES!!! FOR KIDS!!! Can your kids identify input/output devices as such for their computer?

In the interest of keeping this post from becoming a book, I’ll conclude the rant here!

So, what are the solutions?

Besides continuing to introduce more opportunities to interact with technology, there are some formal programs out there written for home school students.

Here’s one plan of action:

  1. Attempt to assess the state standards for your area and then approximate them as closely as possible at home. A simple Google search can produce a state standard document for most states.
  2. Be sure to have computer time for the kids – I’m not talking about just gaming – that includes instruction in basic computer care, terminology, and familiarization with basic programs such as Microsoft Office.
  3. If you’re not tech-savvy, get together with a friend that is and compile your own “curriculum” based on your child’s needs. Be sure to cover basic typing other items mentioned above.
  4. Assign tasks (such as book reports and presentations) that should be completed the computer – utilizing both the internet and programs such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  5. Have your child start a blog. Most blogging platforms are free and you can easily lock them down so that only certain people can view the contents. This promotes writing/journaling skills, and they can even customize it via minimal computer coding skills.
  6. Take a look at companies like ABCYa! (online free computer exercises for K-5) to help fill in the gaps and sharpen skills.

For the really hardcore {or folks with kids who are} you might explore companies like Homeschool Programming Inc. They offer “real computer programming courses” that cover things like C, C# and Visual Basic. The courses range from Computer Programming to programming for Gaming.

So … if your son or daughter has mentioned they might like to make computer games for a living, you might look into these courses as an elective they can take to further explore that option.

(In case you are wondering, they have options written for Elementary students and Middle/High School Students.)

OK … your turn.

What are you doing to promote tech-savvy solutions in your home schoool environment?

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2 thoughts on “Tech for Homeschoolers

    • cbroxton says:

      Glad you liked the article. Would love to hear what is working for you as well. I always love hearing about what is successful for others.

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