Homeschooling is a journey. We have homeschooled for five years now and along the way made discoveries that pave our path. Certain curriculum, certain schedules, certain processes….all these have brought us to the place we are now. Constantly on the look out for ways to improve our boys’ education, I’m not afraid to make changes that would increase their learning potential and the effectiveness of our day.
One thing that stands without a doubt as a most effective, convenient, and frugal educational tool is use of the internet and technology. Many times we are able to enhance our studies at the computer. The wealth of information available far exceeds what one book might provide. Our basic studies are dictated by the book’s outline,but more in-depth and relative information is gained through use of the internet.
That said, our worst enemy is also technology. As soon as they rise in the morning, the first place our boys want to gravitate to is the computer, or the Wii, or the DS, or even the Kindle. To start school each morning, I often have to pry them off of the laptop. Sometimes, they try to wake up early and sneak to be the first to get it. I’ve even resorted to asking Dad to hide his laptop so that they won’t know where it is! (and I’ve hidden the Wii controllers too!)
This goes on for a while but then we seem to go back to the lackadaisical ways of leaving it all out and accessible again.
It’s a constant battle to patrol and protect. Safety and protection remains a top priority when it comes to children using the computer so we have to stay diligent in overseeing the sites they visit and the things they see.
Having these things available makes it hard to start our school day and also makes it less likely they will want to play with their toys or outside.
Having these things available, however, brings our lessons to life, adds excitement and activities, and provides resources to supplement and challenge both of them.
“It’s as easy as restricted use”, you say?
“Give them so many minutes of use a day”, you say?
I wish it were that easy! At their age, and because we are always here around the technology, they seem to be able to boot it up and get a game going faster than I can notice! Sometimes, while I am taking a moment to put in a load of laundry or take a shower, they summon the Wii forces before I can get back into the room. Once the controllers are in their hand, it can get U.G.L.Y. just to get them off and refocused! If only I could rig something that would electrically zap their hand if they touch it when they shouldn’t! 😉
We will likely never take drastic steps to remove it all, but acknowledge a growing need to achieve a balance with the technological resources in our household. More time outside and more time building Legos rather than them even wanting to be playing video games. Is there such a thing in America today?!
Technology…it’s our best friend and our worst enemy.