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Welcome to the #TechieHomeschool IRL blog series. In this post, my guest Natalie suggests six simple, do-able ways you can add more digital learning into your family's home education.
Are you a bit resistant to combining the fast-paced world of technology with your child's education? Maybe you're concerned about the communication and creativity skills kids are lacking today. Yet, your students can succeed with these 6 simple tech tools for your home education.
It's our job as parents to monitor all activity with our kids, whether it's during homeschooling, extracurricular activities, or church. That's why homeschooling is so unique and successful. You define the rules — you are the principal of your homeschool. The Principal decides how to have a healthy balance of education, play, and faith.
The good news is, with technology, we can combine all three of these elements to further enhance our lives. Here are 6 simple tech tools to add to your homeschool teaching toolkit. These tools are easy to implement, enjoyable to use, and encourages a love of learning.
E-books play an important role in our homeschool. There are several reasons why we use the e-book format as our Charlotte Mason book collection. We have used Kindle Fires and iPads as our tablets but there are so many choices to choose from. You can get an Amazon Kindle Fire for $50!
- Large storage capability for books on your virtual bookshelf
- More than one user can read the same book at the same time
- Audio can be purchased with text highlighting for struggling readers to follow along.
- Cheaper or free versions than physical
- Easier to find older books compared to physical
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Email is a wonderful system to use as a storage area for communicating documents (ie. lesson plans, pdfs), assignments, and links to valuable websites and online courses. Both my children have email accounts that are linked to my account. I downloaded an email app on their tablets and send them any assignments available online. I note it on their weekly checklist so they know its location. Here are the benefits:
- Permanent storage area for school assignments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
- Easy access to links for online courses, web-based books, and Youtube videos.
- Improve typing and grammar skills when sending back assignments or responding to questions
- Learn how to communicate in an online forum
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Approximately 25% of our schoolwork is enhanced by using e-courses/videos. We've used many resources online, whether it's an online class or Youtube Video. After researching their respective topics online, I will send them the appropriate links via email. This helps enrich their learning experience. Here are the advantages we enjoy:
- Creates visual stimulation
- Allows struggling students to re-watch the same subject several times
- Use of short video clips allows more efficient processing and memory recall
- Visual and auditory capabilities allow your student to process information naturally
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Anyone with a Google account has immediate access to their own personal email, drive (storage area), and Docs/Sheets. Docs and Sheets are simply web-based programs where you can create letters, forms as documents and organized data in spreadsheets. Your homeschooled students can use it to write/type letters, plays/scripts, create graphs by entering data using spreadsheets and even add activities in their own calendar. The benefits are huge and here's some of them:
- Enhances their typing and organization skills
- Strengthens their writing and spelling abilities
- Builds their creativity skill sets in writing plays/scripts
- Saves paper
If you have a smartphone, you already have this teaching tool in your toolkit. However, did you ever think about using it for practicing oral speeches or narrations? Part of the Charlotte Mason method is narration. My kids use video recording to record themselves when narrating a book. They can watch their “performance” later to improve their oratory skills. Plus, I can review it anytime at my convenience! Here's a list of how video recording is helpful for teaching kids:
- Encourages kids to organize their thoughts orally before speaking
- Recording can be reviewed to teach improvement on any verbal stalls, such as “um” or “like”
- Teaches self-control through body language and communication.
I am a HUGE fan of SIRI! I used to be an Android user until a few years ago after getting frustrated with the fast bleeding of battery life. So, I switched and haven't looked back since. I use AI (Artificial Intelligence) as much as I can. You can retrieve Siri simply by holding down the Home button. Click HERE for a nice list of Siri commands. For Android phones, “Ok Google” should activate Google Assistant. Go HERE for a full list of Google Assistant commands.
Plus, it reduces my time looking for apps on my phone and I can get directions to anywhere within a second or two. But, I digress. Here are some great ways to use Siri or Hey Google! in an educational manner:
- Answer questions from your students quickly
- Students can use it for curiosity questions or an assignment
- Open an App painlessly on your phone (or if you have an iPad!)
- Ask how to spell words when writing papers
Well, there you have it! These are my ‘go to' tech tools for your home education. These simple teaching technologies will make your life as a mom and teacher SO much easier. Trust me. They're super easy to use (especially with Siri or Google Assistant!), fun to implement, and you'll notice your kids won't feel forced to learn. Before you know it, they'll be communicating with you all of the creative ways on how they can further use these awesome tech tools!
Tell me – what are your go-to tech tools for home education?
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- How to Sync Devices for Homeschooling
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