COMPUTERS AND HOMESCHOOLING
By Tammy Kihlstadius
When was the last time your children begged you to do drills in their workbooks? We have 5 children, 3 are currently being homeschooled and they beg me to do drills in phonics, spelling, math and reading… on the computer! We feel the computer is the greatest educational tool in history since the printing press!
Twelve Reasons Why You Should Use a Computer in Your Homeschool
- Motivates unmotivated learners. If you change your children’s attitude from “Do I have to?” into “May I?!,” there will be a 180 degree change from “teacher drudgery” into “learning fun.” It can also give motivated students the tools and capacity to achieve their fullest potential. Our children see the computer as a reward and opportunity, not just one more workbook or curriculum that must be finished before they can do what they want to do. Usually what they want to do is get on the computer and use educational software!
- Learning styles. You can introduce concepts in new ways that appeal to all learning styles. A computer naturally supplies an audio, visual, and hands-on interface that can teach to every type of learner. A computer is a very powerful learning tool.
- Computer skills. Computer skills are essential to getting many jobs these days. Within five years, we feel all students will be required to show mastery of basic computer skills.
- Gives little ones a headstart. Age-old cry: “What do I do with the little ones while I teach the older ones?” Well, here’s your answer! Get them started on a quality phonics program or an early counting game! My four year old daughter is content to play learning games on the computer for an hour at a time- unassisted! Sometimes her three year old brother joins her.
- Specialized tutoring. You can teach subjects you wouldn’t or couldn’t teach otherwise:
- Algebra, physics, chemistry
- Music, piano lessons
- Foreign & classical languages
- Art, animation and drawing
- MANY OTHER SUBJECTS!
- Test results. With a computer you can drill on knowledge, math facts, phonics, etc. Most programs have editing features that allow you to customize for different ability levels and they have record-keeping to keep a tally of right and wrong answers.
- Less Mess Counting and sorting games don’t have to be picked up! My kids play puzzles and games on the computer and I don’t have to nag them to pick up their mess.
- Encourages creativity. My 8 year old daughter has made her own letters, pictures and illustrated booklets. She also enjoys writing out Bible verses and illustrating them. Prior to introducing the computer into our homeschool, my daughter had great difficulty with writing assignments. Now it is an activity of choice. A computer encourages such creativity by giving them a tool that eliminates the tedium of such projects and enhances the learning and enjoyment.
- Looks good… …to school officials, neigbors and relatives who may question your ability and desire to give your child a quality education. If they see you’ve invested in a computer and quality education software, their opinion (for what it’s worth…) of you must escalate.
- Increases cooperative activity. Studies have shown “the addition of computers and appropriate software to their [classroom] enviornment has had positive social consequenses, including an increase in cooperative activity.” Kids are interacting with each other as well as the computer! My older children enjoy solving problems and tackling computer projects together.
- Encourages investigation… …into other areas of interest. For example, [a encyclopedia] on computer offers a wealth of information at a fraction of the cost of a traditional set of encyclopedias. CD ROM multimedia encyclopedias are the hottest new thing. A CD ROM drive is a new data storage device capable of holding 600 megabytes or about 300,000 pages of information. Several educational programs present mysteries and the student must research different sources to solve the puzzle.
- Learning disabilities. A computer could be the tool for your learning disabled child. It allows flexability in choosing teaching methods and may be more effective. There are excellent writing programs that allow children with special needs to think and write far more fluently than might otherwise be possible!
***Tammy Kihlstadius and husband Dan homeschool in Minnesota, when they’re not reviewing software for Mary Pride’s Practical Homeschooling magazine. Their home business provides computer systems to the homeschooling community. Reach them at (800) 827-7420.***