Thursday, March 6, 2014

V is for Virtual Schooling

Technology, it's all around us. How  Do we use it? do we use it just a little bit, just so we can barely know it? Or do we jump in, and use it as much as we can? How much is too much?

 Well that last question is really up to each family, and what they choose for their lifestyle. We actually are family that is really plugged in. The kids actively use their tablets for fun and education. We encourage all the kids to learn how to use the Internet, under supervision of course.

 Here are some of the ways that we virtual school:
1.   Internet scavenger hunts.... and scavenger hunts are fun tool that I set up for the older boys. I give them a list of questions and in the beginning learning stages, I also include the links to find the answers. The whole goal being that they learn how to use Internet search engines such as Google. They also learn how to use such sites as National Geographic for kids, fact, and even Wikipedia. Since the boys do have trouble with the fine motor skill of writing I generally email their listed them in their personal emails, which are only used for educational purposes. I let them know on their daily task list if there is a scavenger hunt in their email. They noted going to check their email and then they simply reply back to me and type in their answers. This makes it so that they can not only work on their  research skills, but also on their typing skills.

2.   Emails..... three of our four kids do you have email accounts, but they're not used for personal emails. Lydia does have  a couple virtual friends that she can email, but we do watch their email accounts to make sure that they are not getting strange things or even sending out strange messages themselves. This all actually started when I came up with the idea of emailing Joey's assignments to him when he started using parts of All In One (Easy Peasy).  This was a way where he could track his assignments, and not get completely stressed and frustrated by trying to write out all of the questions and the reading. He still is learning proper grammar when typing, but he gets less frustrated and is willing to write a little more by typing. When I mentioned this to his psychiatrist, he said he had never thought of doing that and thought it was a great idea. Afterwards so well for Joey, that is when we opened accounts for Brayden and also for Lydia.

3.   YouTube...... we have a great library system in our area, but sometimes I remember last  minute to include a small video about a topic where learning.  So it's usually YouTube to my rescue. By using YouTube I can search through thousands of links on various topics that cover science, history, literature, health, and just fun little character shows. Of course a screen stuff before I show the kids just to make sure that everything's okay, but I do have to say YouTube is one of my favorite go to sources. Where else am I going to learn about Christopher Columbus, brushing my teeth, knitting a hat, weaving a rainbow loom bracelet, and the periodic table all without leaving my house. And as just an example of one day searching, that doesn't include the kids just looking for silly videos. We have even used YouTube to look up dance videos, geography videos, and  tourist videos for when we do our world studies.

4.   Educational game sites..... there are literally thousands of educational game states that you can visit. Most of them are free, but not all of them. Some have eight on of pop-ups that you have to weed through, while others are generally safe from the pop-ups. We have our favorites and I'm sure you have your favorites. Some of the current favorites of the girls right now are not free sites. One that they like to visit is that The game section there was recommended by our reading therapist, To help with you with some of her blending sounds. And since there was a preschool And kindergarten level, Caty started playing too and she really likes it.   Another favorite is Essential Skills Advantage, again not a free one but reasonably priced at only 4.95 a month. This program helps them with reading skills and comprehension skills. And another absolute favorite right now is animal The girls love playing with her friends in a virtual world that is all about animals. This is definitely the game that I can use to say "hey let's finish her reading and are writing and you can earn some game time." I usually don't get much fighting then.

5.  Minecraft classes...... we also use our computers to  take educational classes using the game Minecraft. The kids really like being able to build projects based on their weekly lessons. We've been doing this a year now and all the kids really enjoy it. I like that we can get through a history lesson, and they are actually retaining what they're learning. We even opened up our own Minecraft school, Homeschool with Minecraft.

6.  iPads and Tablets...... we also use our tablets and iPads regularly. The kids even use my Kindle fire. We have lots of educational apps for math, grammar, science, history, therapy, and reading. Joey has recently discovered using his tablet to listen to audiobooks as well as using his reading app. He still reads paper books, and I alternate paper book assignments and tablet reading assignments so that he is you see both. But on the days when anxiety levels are high or we are traveling for field trips, I'm very grateful for portable educational apps to help them practice and sometimes even learned new things.

 The just a few of the ways that we use technology in our classroom. At first I wanted to resist using technology as much as we do, but then I just gave up. I still make sure my kids can read and write cursive, because I think that's very important. But at the same  time, I finally realized that the world we are living in is just going to keep increasing the amount of technology. So instead of falling behind, I encourage the kids to stay on top of the technology. Because unless the world becomes like that show Revolution, technology is just going to keep becoming more and more ingrained in our lives. So at least the kids will understand, and know how to use it.

 How do you use technology in your classroom or home?

 Linking up with other homeschool moms at Blogging through the alphabet.

1 comment:

  1. We use so much technology in our homeschool also. I'm not sure what we would do without it!