Do you long to include typing in your homeschool but struggle with which program may be the best fit? We were fortunate to review The Typing Coach Online Typing Course from The Typing Coach recently and I have to say, I think we have finally found the right program.
My daughter is 12 and has been typing for a while. We have used some other free programs to teach the basics and she had a cursory introduction to keyboarding; however, her proficiency, accuracy, and proper positioning were not where I wanted them to be.
I taught myself to type (on an electric typewriter — what?) when I was her age after my father purchased a college typing book for me while we were at the state science fair and said: “maybe you should learn this this summer.” And I did. So I knew it was time to get her doing it right before bad habits developed. I think this program is doing what I was looking for.
The Typing Coach is Different.
Unlike other programs we have used, The Typing Coach is working to mastery, which is how we work in all aspects of our homeschool. So from the beginning, I was impressed with The Typing Coach because it is centered on proper posture, correct hand positioning, typing accuracy, and mastery over speed.
Though obviously speed is something that is considered in a typing program, I think accuracy is more important in the beginning and then, with practice, speed will come.
The Typing Coach is Unique.
The program is unique in that it realizes that learning to type while looking at the computer screen is not really helpful in learning to type because, typically, you will be looking at your notes or something else you want to type from when you are typing a paper or report. Therefore, you must be able to not only NOT look at your hands but not depend upon looking at the accuracy of your typing on the screen. The program encourages you to turn off your screen and type from the paper as you practice.
As soon as the coach mentioned this I had an “ah-ha” moment and realized that I had not thought about her learning to type while watching other programs pop up letters onto the computer screen in front of her and how that might affect her learning. So I was really excited to see her typing from her student guide sitting next to her computer and not looking at the screen or her fingers as she typed.
The main menu is in the program is easy to navigate. Each section has a drop down that includes the lessons or additional information and instructions.
The Typing Coach come with a printable student guide called The Typing Coach Audio Course. This walks the student through the lessons, working on mastery of each level before moving on. I love that the practice and final type tests use historical documents like the Declaration of Independence and The Bill of Rights for the student to type. I thought this was a great bonus! As you can see from the Table of Contents of the course, the student works through each of the key positionings, adding to each as he or she moves on through the course.
The course also includes a printable evaluation guide calls The Type Coach Learning Checks. In this guide, the student enters the testing center that is accessed through the typing program and uses this learning checks to see where they are in accuracy and speed. Accuracy is emphasized!
The student’s type to music being played on the audio clip that goes along with it. The main lessons the instructor is saying what they should type in the beginning before they begin typing from the guide. It was very reminiscent of my high school typing class with the instructor saying what we needed to type from the front of the room.
My daughter works on the lessons about 3-4 days per week and really saw significant improvement in both her accuracy and her speed. I watched her improve her posture while typing and stop looking at her hands. It was very satisfying to see her progress.
Once the student takes a test in the testing center, the parent can set up the program to email the results directly to an email, which I really liked because I could track how she was doing. The email would explain what she took and how she did in speed and accuracy. The speed is figured differently than other programs but it is explained well in the learning videos that go with the program that explains how the course works and what is expected.
Once the student has gotten through all the lessons there is a “serious practice” section which is where the speed should improve. In the end, there is a final evaluation and then a little audio clip with a note from the instructor congratulating the student for completing the course. There is also a course evaluation.
Another great feature is that these is an option for “slower paced lessons” that are recommended for children that are beginning the lessons at an earlier age or have special needs. Though we did not use this option, I think it is an excellent option to include in the program and loved to see it available.
Overall, we really liked the program and would highly recommend it to any family hoping to teach good keyboarding skills, which I feel are necessary for all students to effectively function in today’s society.