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Welcome to the #TechieHomeschool IRL blog series. In this post, my guest Ashley shares about the process she's taken to embrace technology and use it more for her elementary homeschool lessons.
Ashley is a secular homeschooling mom of three kids. She shares fun things to do with your kids, delicious recipes to feed your family on busy days, and tips for making your homeschool journey as painless as possible. You can find her at Forgetful Momma. Or StarBucks.
I took a little time to come around to the idea of using technology in our homeschool; I was nervous about having it “take over” our days and our lives. It took time for me to see just how great having technology in our elementary homeschool could be. While I don't want other homeschool parents to be as nervous as I was initially, I think it helps you keep a balance between too much and just enough if you are thinking about it or even worried lightly.
Over the past two years, we've been integrating technology into our weekly lessons plans taking small steps. We have of course talked about internet safety and what websites are safe for the kids to be on. My elementary aged children are still young enough that I strictly supervise their online activities and when they are allowed computer time.
Integrating technology can be quite simple…as simple as choosing to use audio books instead of reading out loud. For us this has been great for travel; even just going grocery shopping is more interesting when listening to an audiobook. And it has the bonus of no one walking out of the room in mid-sentence. We loved listening to the Harry Potter series and Mr. Popper's Penguins last summer during our road trip.
Our favorite online program for just getting online and using the computer program has been Reading Eggs. We've been using it for years now, and all three of my children love it and the opportunity to use the computer. I love it because they are learning in a fun way, even my four-year-old. It was the first program that each of them used on a computer and safe since it was created with children in mind.
I don't always seek out ways to include technology because I do still want to limit it through our elementary homeschool years a bit, but one way that it does sneak in a bit is in our Ubsorne books. They include internet links for more information, videos, and more. This allows us to use technology with our read aloud or not as we see fit. It's about finding the balance that works for your homeschool.
Planning Lessons Digitally
With the option of using schedules and planners online, our learning has become more mobile. We now have the ability to access our lessons from the road when traveling during the school year or from the library if we have decided to do school away from home for the day, both of which happen quite often for us.
Technology has made lesson planning a breeze and given homeschooling parents the ability to save time and energy when teaching multiple children and/or grades. I like using Google Sheets right now for saving all that work for another year, using it with younger siblings with only a few changes being made instead of recreating it.
Learning HOW to Learn Online
One thing I want my kids to know when they are finished school is how to continue learning and to be able to find the answers to their questions. That's where a visual search engine for kids, Kiddle, comes in. I have it set up as the homepage of my children's laptop so they can search for the answer to their questions, such as “What are fingernails made of?”.
Creating with Technology
I like to create slideshows for teaching new concepts or subjects for my kids. Do you remember making them when you were in school? They have the benefit of being used repeatedly for younger siblings to use and learn from as well later on. Or have your child create one for a project presentation, I have this planned for next year and I know my kids are going to enjoy it as creative as they are. If you don't have PowerPoint you can use Google Slides for free.
There are so many different ways to homeschool with technology you just need to figure out, most likely as you go along, how much technology to integrate into your elementary homeschool lesson plans. The answer is going to be different for everyone, possibly even for each of your children at different stages of their education.
Tell me – How do you use technology for teaching your elementary-aged kiddos?
Must-Have Tech for Homeschooling
- The Ultimate List of Online Courses for Homeschooling
- Teaching Kids How To Stay Safe on the Internet
- Techie Homeschool Workshop: Teaching Your Kids to Search Safely Online
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