Homeschoolers and Technology

I don’t often combine work with my Topsy-Techie blog, but I am today, so bear with me…

I’m working on an article about how homeschoolers use technology.  My hypothesis is that homeschoolers are possibly way ahead of the curve of integrating technology into their school work (in comparison with the average public school classroom).  So I  am asking for input on how you use technology in your day to day teaching and learning.  I’m particularly interested in hearing about:

**whether you think homeschoolers are ahead or behind the curve in relation to public schools

**how much you use technology in your homeschool, and your main use for it

**any creative ways you use technology in your teaching and learning

**how your kids feel about technology, and whether they are self-motivated to learn more about it

I would also really appreciate it if all you who homeschool would take a short, 10 question poll about how you use technology.  It’s relatively painless, I swear!  Click here to access the poll.  I look forward to your comments and/or poll results…

Thanks for taking the time to give me your input!

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9 Responses

  1. It was interesting, the poll that it. Like all polls, I felt like I wanted to say but . . .

    So here’s my but. A lot of my answers were, maybe, different because of the fact that James is 6. I would say for 6 he is fairly ahead of the curve and I do limit his use.

    I would say he’s way ahead of most 1st graders and where they are in terms of computer usage for learning and for understanding how a computer works as a tool. In addition to the “normal” learning games, he is a regular digital photographer and understands about dowloading the pictures etc. He uses e-mail occasionally (mostly I type for him and send it to his friend’s moms because they don’t have e-mail addresses). He loves having his writing posted on blog. He’s a comment junkie.

    One thing he enjoys doing is just “clicking around” on his computer, which is something I encourage, because I figure he’ll probably learn more that way. Sort of like, ‘here’s your legos, go play.’

  2. I had the same, “But…” feeling as hjdong (like I do with all polls).

    Our official homeschooling use of technology is a single online math course (Thinkwell) as opposed to a K12 or other full-scale or monitored curriculum. I’m presently previewing HS coursework from iTunesU for Padawan Learner to use in the next few years. I’m also auditing an Astronomy course via iTunesU, simply for my own pleasure and understanding. Am I a homeschooler, too, then?

    PW knows the basics of some computer programs, such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook, because he’s wanted to use them to do something else and hasn’t even touched others, such as Excel, because he hasn’t had the need yet. I guess you’d call him a technology unschooler, learning as he goes. He’s just started to play around with his blog on WordPress and rarely moves without his iPod Nano safely in his pocket.

    We don’t allow unlimited access to computer games because we are convinced that significant time away from the computer is essential to a balanced life, we don’t have any gaming consoles (e.g., Wii) and he has to get our permission to give out his email address or to sign up with games websites (e.g., Runescape), but he does have a Nintendo DS and we’re confident in his (demonstrated) ability to pick decent games to play online.

    As he grows, his use and freedom to use technology grows as well.

  3. I think my children are ahead of most public school children because both my husband and I are true techies. He builds computers and I used to design software. We are also gadget lovers so the children know how to use digital cameras, dvd players, laptops and smartphones. The children just pick up what they see us doing.

    When I look for curriculum, my first choice is a software or online option. This just comes natural to me. Even with handwriting, I use a program to create my practice sheets. I like to use child safe browsers for my kids to keep them from going places they shouldn’t.

    I don’t really know if its that my children enjoy technology as much as it is all they know. I like that it comes naturally to them.

  4. I also agree with what has been said above about the poll. When my children were in PS we already had so much technology lying around the house that what school offered was just a supplement. They took some typing classes but now that they are HS’d they don’t really have any interest in doing typing programs. Our two sons have started learning to do graphics and I have taught them to use Audacity, etc. Yesterday, I talked a bit about voice recognition on my blog. My daughter was so excited to get to try to make the computer type what she said!

    • I am so psyched to read everyone’s responses! It is so cool to learn how you all are using technology in your respective homeschools! And thanks to each of you who have taken the poll. I’ve got over 70 responses to it now!! This is going to be a fun article to write! I’ll post a link on the blog when it is finished…

  5. hi ~ I am so sorry to use your blog comments to leave this message…

    I’ve been trying to get in touch with your but my emails get sent back as undeliverable.

    It’s good news I’m trying to get to you: You were one of the winners of the jeans on my blog!

    I need you to email me your name/address and size as soon as you can!

    Thanks and Merry Christmas!!

    Blessings,
    Karla

  6. I took the poll too. I usually don’t do polls, so we’ll consider this a personal favor, LOL.

    We don’t use online curriculum, but we do use a lot of learning tools online, vocabulary building software, dictionary.com, of course email and I-tunes. Also Baby Boy knows how to use Word and make Excel worksheets and PowerPoint presentations and stuff like that. Do people still make PowerPoint presentations?

    Anyway, my dad is some sort of computer god, so he and Baby Boy tinker around with computers a bit on the back end (as in the end that doesn’t have the keyboard on it) but you’d have to ask him what the heck he’s doing . . . because I don’t have a clue. 😉

  7. I tend to think that many homeschoolers are ahead of the curve. I work with/for MY Access Home Edition, a web-based writing instruction and evaluation program and find that my homeschool customers are very savvy when it comes to know what they expect out of, and what they want out of their use of technology in their curriculum. They have all been very knowledgeable and anxious to give feedback on how to improve our program.

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