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.)

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.


Homeschooled kids don't know how to learn like past generations did. Read to discover what they need.

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 don’t know a world where knowledge isn’t just a click away.  And because they haven't been educated pre-Information Age, our kids don't know how to learn like past generations did.

And guess what..that is OK.  In fact, it is better for them. Today’s learners are better educated than previous generations.  I don’t mean that they have more knowledge and maturity. I mean that they are smarter about HOW they learn.

It is crucial that we understand the needs of digital learners, so that we can educate our kids in a way that truly benefits them. But, what are the needs of today's digital learners?

Digital learners need a learning guide, not an instructor.

Instead of feeding information to our children, we need to let them discover it themselves. They know where to find the information, but they need guidance in how to process the information. They need to learn how to consider the large amounts of information available to them and discern truth from untruth.

Digital learners need a challenge.

They learn best by solving problems, using trial and error as they grow in knowledge. Rote learning and memorization doesn’t cut it anymore.Today’s learners want to know that what they learn is relevant and will benefit them in the future.

Digital learners need opportunities to take responsibility for their own education.

Since they know how and where to find information, today’s learners demonstrate more responsibility for their education.  They no longer wait for someone to tell them how to do something. Instead, they take initiative to seek out knowledge, learning on their own.

Digital learners need to apply what they learn.

21st century learners are both  “consumer” and “creator”. They want to do something with the information they take in, whether it be creating a playlist, editing a photo or producing a video. They put their knowledge into action and share their creations with the world.

Digital learners need integrated learning opportunities.

Today’s learners can’t help but notice that knowledge is inherently integrated. Integrated means “combining or coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole” (Dictionary.com) Topics of study cannot be organized into subjects like education of the past. Digital learners expect and respond best to integrated, not segmented, education.

Tell me, how are you meeting the needs of your digital learners? Are you guiding them with integrated learning opportunities, presenting them with challenges and allowing them to apply what they have learned? Let’s chat about it. Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.


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25 thoughts on “What Homeschoolers Don’t Know (& what they need)”

    • I hear you, Dawnita. I strive towards making sure my kiddos’ screentime is productive time. We need to guide them towards healthy media habits while they are young.

  1. Thanks for linking up with us on the Hip Homeschool Hop! We hope you’ll keep coming back! These truly are some great tips for those of us who have children who use technology in our homeschools. When I began homeschooling 18 years ago, I never would have dreamed how much homeschooling would change over such a short number of years. I’m including this post as one of my favorites from last week’s hop. 🙂 That means a link to this post will be found near the top of the next Hop post (which goes live tomorrow, 1/19/16). If you’d like to share it on your social media, you can do that using this shortlink: http://wp.me/p1swZe-9Xp. The link will go live when the Hop post goes live in the morning.

  2. You are so right! This whole post d spot on, and you said it beautiful. Learning needs to be integrated – put in context so that they can relate it to their life.

    It’s the digital age!

    Thanks so much for this great reminder!

    • No problem, Lisa! Integrated learning is a bit of a soapbox for me. I really want my girls’ education to reflect the way they will learn their whole lives.

  3. I don’t give my children very many chances for digital learning, but I do think I need to because if they were in public school they most likely would be being taught this. Thanks for the eye-opening info. I will have to think about how I can include this in my homeschool.

    • I’m glad that I could open your eyes. We have an advantage as homeschoolers. Our kids can pursue learning (digital or not) that interests them. My daughter is an artist, so she is able to spend more time developing her skill than if she was sitting in school all day. She prefers to draw on paper, but has also explored digital drawing. She has even taken a course about digital comic book coloring.

      My post “Are Your Kids Wasting Time on Electronics” may encourage you more. Look around my blog for more information about digital learning. My

  4. Actually I would LOVE to “go paperless” in our homeschool. My 12 y/o is very “techie” and would LOVE to learn online. I’m still at the stage of trying to figure out HOW to homeschool her!! We homeschooled for a week and we are taking this week off for Thanksgiving then we will get back to it next week. Trouble is I start work next week (single parent…got to make a living!!) so rather than have alot of planning and paperwork I would LOVE to be able to have her be online. I was actually hoping to enroll her in Monarch (Alpha Omega online homeschool) after the 1st of the year. But I didn’t want her to be NOT learning in the meantime. But so far it feels like we aren’t getting very far the only thing we seem to have gotten right so far is Math. I moved her up to PreAlgebra and at that moved her about halfway through the course!! We would go through lesson by lesson and she knew and understood the concepts so we just kept moving until we got to a place where she wasn’t comfortable with what she knew and began there. I am beginning to wonder if I should just move her into Algebra and forget PreAlgebra!! Language Arts is a struggle…she thinks it’s pointless I don’t. But I’m not sure WHAT or HOW to teach it to make things better!! Science we aren’t sure of…in public school before I pulled her out she was doing anatomy so that’s where we are starting. In public school she got NO Art, Music or Computer so I added those since she loves all 3!! She is a hunt and peck typist so a typing program was a MUST!! History is Texas History…I have SO much information and I am just not sure HOW to present it/organize it so that it isn’t so much rote memorization. I was kind of thinking along the lines of her writing essays. That would incorporate her Language Arts into it as well. Give her a list of points to cover and then have her write a report. She is also taking Spanish I. PE is hit or miss but once I am working we plan to join a gym (I need to work out too!!) so that will get covered at least 3 evenings a week!! I guess overall I am feeling a bit overwhelmed!! When I homeschooled my kids almost 20 years ago there wasn’t so much to choose from and very little online!! Now there is SO MUCH and so many ways to do it and I want her to WANT to learn & to ENJOY learning like she did when she was little! At the same time I want to be assured that she IS learning and retaining and is learning what she will NEED to be successful in life. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! (Loni is 12 –almost 13– and is in the 7th grade….she LOVES Math, enjoys History, HATES Language Arts, tolerates Spanish and Science…she loves being on the computer and in her free time surfs YouTube videos and listens to music online)

    • Have you considered taking a break from structured learning and letting her develop her interests? We have a real relaxed, purpose-focused learning environment. In the mornings, the girls take only courses for math, spelling and writing (those foundational things), then the rest of the day we do unit studies and/or work on specific interests. We usually don’t segment out subjects, but will alternate unit studies that are science heavy, then social studies heavy. Maybe your daughter would enjoy going through the Christmas Around the World Online Unit Study in December.

      In regards to pursing specific interest. For example, my 15-year-old spends much of her day writing and drawing. My 13-year-old cares for her animals and researches all she can about animals, plus crafts and film videos. I take the role of “guide”, finding resources for my daughters to learn from. It doesn’t look like traditional learning, but trust me…they are learning tons! And are excited about what they are learning. I hope this helps.

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