The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Social Media as a Learning Tool

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Social Media as a Learning Tool

Have you ever considered social media sites as learning tools? Is social media a part of your homeschool lesson plans?  You probably haven’t considered this because we are the first generation of digital immigrants raising digital natives. So it isn’t very natural for us to consider the multiple uses of online tools. But, it is second nature to our kids. And they learn differently than we did when we were their age. [Related Post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)] I am one of those who believes that social media isn’t all that bad…if it is used properly.  Consider this….most people focus on the “social” aspect of social media.  It’s a way to connect and interact with others, and there is much debate on whether it leads to healthy and “real” social interaction. But have you given much thought about the “media” part of it? “Media” means “the means of mass communication”.  Traditionally, the media classification was reserved for newspapers, magazine, radio and television.  A larger organization was sharing information with the masses. With social media, all of us can be “the media” and communicate with the masses.  We … [Read on, my friend]

Why I Stopped Managing My Kids’ Screen Time

Why I Stopped Managing My Kids’ Screen Time

Let’s face it, moms. We (or at least most of us) don’t know the best way to handle our kids’ screen time. We are the first generation of moms raising digital natives. Our kids have the wide world web in their back pockets and can navigate on the computer and mobile devices like it’s nobody’s business. All this while we’re standing back, silently rationalizing whether they should spend so much time in front of a screen. [Related Post: A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World] I’ve been through the gamut trying to come up with win-win tech rules for my family. Once upon a time, I micromanaged the use, complete with log sheets so that we were sure everyone got their allotted time on the computer. Then, I tried limiting computer time to just a few hours each day. I’ve had charts with different time limits for different activities.  And frankly, my friend, all those methods were a mommy-management nightmare. I wasn’t consistent about checking who was using the computer when. But, since they wanted to be sure they got their turn, my kids did a thorough job of … [Read on, my friend]

What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

Let’s talk about social media. For us parents, it’s a hot topic. We wonder, “Should I let my kids engage in social media? When? Is it safe? What if they see something they shouldn’t? What if they get addicted? What rules do I need to set?” The uncertainties go on and on. That’s because we are the first generation of digital moms who need to figure this out. We can’t ignore it. Social media and online relating are here to stay. If we do our job properly, our kids will one day leave our care and make decisions on their own. And, most likely, one of those decisions will be “I will use social media”. So, my momma friend, you’ve got a responsibility now. It is up to you to teach your children healthy social media habits while they are in your care. Just like you need to let them experience money so that they grow up to be fiscally responsible, you need to let them experience social media so that they grow up to be digitally responsible. [Related Post: 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Famiy] Now (ready … [Read on, my friend]

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Online Images in Student Projects

The Homeschool Mom’s Guide: Using Online Images in Student Projects

Let’s face it, my homeschoolin’ momma friend. Our kids learn differently than we did at their age. They have access to all the information they need in their back pockets. They can run circles around us when it comes to navigating apps and computer programs. And they are bold about trying new learning webtools. [Related post: What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need] And here we are, digital immigrants, with the duty to guide our digital natives toward healthy media habits and productive tech usage. We need to teach them how to use technology appropriately and responsibly.  Now, you wouldn’t want your child to walk into an art gallery and steal a picture off the wall, would  you? I’m pretty confident that you would want them to follow the law and be an upstanding citizen. But, have you taught them not to steal digital images? Do you know the rules and standards for using online images, video and music?  One aspect of digital responsibility is knowing how to use technology and digital media in an ethical way. Your children need to understand that stealing another person’s work is a crime. … [Read on, my friend]

What I Discovered on My Teen Daughter’s Pinterest

What I Discovered on My Teen Daughter’s Pinterest

Recent conversation with my 14-year-old… Me: “What are you working on, Sweetie?” Her: “Oh, I’m just on Pinterest.” Me: “Really? What are you doing?” Her: “Just getting ideas” Doubts that hit my brain…. “Again? She’s always on Pinterest.” “Should I let her be on so much?” “Is she being productive?” “Is this helping her grow?”   (These is the same “in-my-head” conversations I had when she was younger and always had her nose in a book.) We’ve been teaching our 5 daughters to develop healthy tech habits. [Read 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family] So, I needed to trust her. I bit my tongue, walked away and prayed, asking God to work in Julia if she was developing unhealthy habits. I reminded myself of the guiding Bible verse of our girls’ home education.  (Isaiah 54:13. “All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace”).  Then I realized I hadn’t checked up on Julia’s boards recently. We have taught our girls to stay safe online, and I haven’t had any reason not to trust her.  And since I do more searching than “roaming” on Pinterest, … [Read on, my friend]

Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics? 3 Questions to Ask

Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics? 3 Questions to Ask

Here we are, all home on a Sunday afternoon, most of us cozied up on the couch….and there are six screens glowing. Daddy’s researching products for a client, I’m writing a blog post, two girls are playing Minecraft together, two girls are watching YouTube and one girl is jamming to some tunes while she washes the dishes. Some people look at our family and think “They are on electronics all the time. They should be doing something more productive.” And, honestly, I think that myself sometimes and start doubting our unlimited tech time policy. But, my children are digital natives, and using electronic devices is a way of life for our family. We need to keep a balance between “plugged in” and “unplugged” time, helping the girls to develop healthy tech habits. One of the 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Time for Your Family is to identify useful and productive tech time. If you recognize what is good, you can easily identify the bad.  If you can define worthwhile screen time, you can educate  your kids about productive tech usage. You can guide them toward healthy media habits that will stick with them for … [Read on, my friend]

5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family

5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Family

I am “that mom” You know, the one who wouldn’t feed her kids junk food when they were little.  I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to put something in your body, it should be worth it. It should be full of nutrients that will sustain you and help you grow. I did this in hopes that when my girls grew up, they would make good food choices (because they certainly aren’t going to be eating only at my table forever). I was also diligent about teaching them to make good reading choices when they were young. As a former English teacher, I was comfortable discussing the attributes of a good read. I exposed them to rich literature and guided them toward good book choices. I wanted them to use their reading time wisely so they would grow in knowledge and their understanding of the world through the books. So, with all my experience guiding my children toward healthy eating and reading habits, why has it been such a struggle to guide my kids towards healthy media habits? You can read the extended answer to this question in A … [Read on, my friend]

A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World

A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World

“They’re always sitting in front of a screen. That’s all they want to do. I’m tired of nagging them to get off. Things are so different than when I was a kid. I wish they would just play or read a book or do something unplugged.” Sound familiar? Those are the words in my head. And the conversation I have had with many of my friends. And the complaint I read about online. It’s a big issue for us moms, trying to figure out how to guide our kiddos’ media consumption and electronics usage. And to balance the good of technology with the bad. Living in a tech-driven world is not all evil, so why do we struggle so much with our kids being “plugged in all the time”?   Well, I have a theory. It’s not anything backed by scientific research or piles of data. It’s just a little thought from my brain…and my heart. My momma friend, I have concluded that the source of our frustration with our kids’ tech usage is, simply, our ignorance. I’m not saying we are “ignorant” in a negative and derogatory way. It’s just … [Read on, my friend]

What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)

What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)

Have you ever seen the “Kids React to Technology” Youtube video series? A narrator gives kids a rotary phone or a walkman or an old computer, and the kids need to figure out what it is and how to use it. I relate to these videos so much more than my girls do.They just sit there wondering “what’s so funny?”…since they don’t know what the items are either. (I’ll show you an episode at the end of this post. But promise you won’t watch  until after you read this, or else you will get sucked into YouTube land and I’ll never see you again. I know you too well, my homeschooling mama friend.) But, even without watching the Youtube, I’m sure you’ll agree that technology has come a long way in our lifetime. And it changes fast…too fast for us adults to keep up with sometimes.  But, guess what? Our kids are more immune to the technology changes because they don’t know any different.   What homeschoolers nowadays don’t know is life without the Internet. They don’t know rotary phones. They don’t know cassette tapes. They don’t know 20-volume encyclopedias.They … [Read on, my friend]

How We Homeschool: Our Daily Routine

How We Homeschool: Our Daily Routine

Do you ever look at other homeschool families and wonder “How do they do it”? What does the day-to-day learning routine look like in their home? Does their routine really work for them, or are they still trying to find their groove just like me? I’ve wondered these things sometimes, not to compare, but to get ideas. I am always looking for ways to serve my girls better and to find the homeschooling schedule that works best with their personalities and learning style.  You see, I struggle with being consistent. I need to find a rhythm that works really well for the current season of our life. And adjust that routine when needed. And give myself the freedom to call a “productive playday” when we get a kink in our routine. But, I have found a routine that has been working well for us for a while now. So, my  friend, this is what our daily homeschooling routine looks like now…for this season of our life. I try to follow this routine four days a week, year round (giving us flexibility to take a break when “life happens”). We work off a … [Read on, my friend]