We love to use technology in our classroom. How about you? I mean how do you get by without some technology these days? There are so many options. Yes, we limit electronics time that is not directly related to school and learning but, otherwise, I think that one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling in these times is that it makes learning so much easier and complete by using technology. Though we do not homeschool solely online, which is a viable option for some families, we choose to stick to primarily books and paper but for some subjects and things we need to do, or a particular time or situation, we choose to utilize technology to help us along.
Here are some of the ways that we enhance our homeschool with technology.
One of the biggest ways that we consistently utilize technology is our language lessons. Since we study multiple languages in our homeschool, and have absolutely NO ONE that is bilingual, technology is the backbone to our language studies. We have utilized many different programs to try out what is the best for our learners and, we utilize many different resources depending upon the age of the learner, but technology is the sole way of learning languages in our school. (You can see my post about this here.)
We love to enhance our studies with videos. We utilize Discovery Streaming and Netflix as well as library videos to further our learning with videos. For instance, we almost ALWAYS view a Magic School Bus episode that coincides with the science we are studying. You can find subject pair-ups with Magic School Bus online, which is what we do to pair up our science sentence in Classical Conversations with Magic School Bus. This is usually a lunchtime viewing in our household.
We also use Wild Kratts and Sesame Street for our youngest, Animated Hero Classics to learn more about someone we are reading about or studying, and Learn of History videos about times in American History that we are learning about. These are just some of the videos we utilize. We have found that when we are studying something complex the video helps bring the subject alive for our preschooler.
We love audio books (you can read about them and some free online resources here). This is a technology I love. We use audio books on CD in the car for trips. The kids love this. We also load our daughter’s iPod with audiobooks and music that is appropriate for her age. She loves to listen to audiobooks while she folds her laundry, cleans her room, or works on crafts. And both kids get to listen to audio books before bed (after our regular read-aloud story time and prayers). They will even turn them on if they wake up early and know it isn’t time to get up in the morning. I love audiobooks too. I love to use them in the car on trips. Audiobooks are a great addition to our household.
Kindle Tablet and Tablets
We use the Kindle Tablet with Kindle Free Time to limit game time but we also use them for educational games, on the road learning and e-reader applications. We have loaded appropriate books into their user on the Kindle and this is a great way to give them something different during reading time as well as give us a full library on the road. This has come in handy when staying in hotels. We have great books with us all the time. We also utilize a LeapPad tablet for our littles to give them age appropriate game time to keep learning going no matter where we are. Other ways we use the Kindle or tablet:
- We have used it to enhance presentations with video or pictures to show during presentation time to our Classical Conversations community.
- We have used it to view videos about certain subjects.
- We use it to review Classical Conversation memory work on their application or from their website while away from home or on the road.
- We use it to keep learning going while waiting in the doctor’s office waiting room or car ride to other functions.
- We have used it to view interactive books that the whole family enjoys.
- We use it to have a video in the kitchen or the craft area to learn a new craft or skill or recipe.
Having a portable tablet is an excellent addition to the classroom. We are so happy that we were able to add this to our homeschool so we can utilize it in so many ways.
We have a Wii – it’s an older one and works great for us. We chose the Wii because it required movement to utilize. It was not solely a sit-on-the-couch-and-move-your-thumbs game console. So how do we use this technology in our homeschool? We use it for family game time sometimes and we use it for physical movement and activity all year, especially in the winter months. The Wii provides us the opportunity to dance and move when we can’t get outside and run. We use it as reward time for completing other learning; we use it as a time to get up and move when we need it. We have mostly fitness and activity games – Wii Fit Plus, Just Dance for Kids, Zumba, stuff like that. We love to get the Wii out after some serious school time and get our wiggles out, get some time to be active when we can’t run out and ride bikes or run around the sidewalks or go to the park (which has been frequent this winter). Therefore, we feel blessed with this wonderful technology to allow us to get physical even inside our small spaces.
And, of course, the computer is used for viewing learning websites and doing some subjects, for instance foreign language. We also utilize a few preschool websites with our son and he loves them. We have used other sites to learn sewing and practice spelling and drill math. There are many websites out there to help homeschoolers with subjects they need some additional help on or want to include in their school day but don’t have the strongest background in. That’s something I really love about the technology that we have available to use today – that we can still expose our kids to a variety of subjects even if we haven’t been exposed to them.
Read about how the rest of the TOS Crew uses technology in their homeschool here.
Now I would love to hear from you. Do you use technology in your classroom?
How do you use it and what is your favorite use of technology?