Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Technology and Social Media in Our Homeschools

Welcome to our Homeschool Holiday Open House!

This week we are discussing a few homeschooling specifics.
On Monday, several ladies shared how they schedule and manage their days.
Then, yesterday, a few of us discussed how we organize our homes.

Around the table today,
Marla, Aurie, and I are discussing technology and social media. 
How do you use technology and social media for your homeschool? 
What are the benefits?  And, how do you find balance?

"I use technology extensively for homeschool planning and preparation.  I create my own curriculum (I make some of my own activities and also use activities created by others).  In order to create my activities, I use Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, so I spend hours on my computer making activities.  I use the internet to find other activities to supplement what I create.  I have found that there are a variety of websites and blogs with fantastic ideas and free printables for preschoolers and have also found great ideas on Pinterest.

In our homeschool, we do not use technology much yet.  Since Abigail is only 3, she is still young for most computer activities (and I prefer hands-on learning to computer learning).  She does, however, use the Starfall app on the ipad as a part of our letter-of-the-day lesson and plays a math game on the ipad a few times a week.  During our weekly animal units, we watch 1-2 minute clips of the animals we are studying in the wild (generally on the National Geographic website).  Additionally, I use my Spoitfy account to access songs that are related to our current lessons (for example, during our unit on the continents, we listened to 3 songs about the continents every day).

As a homeschooling mom, I also love the internet as a means of connecting with other homeschooling moms.  Being a homeschooler can be isolating when everyone you know sends their children to school, so being able to interact with other moms via Facebook and blogs is wonderful.  It is amazing how the internet can make the world seem so much smaller and you can share activities and ideas with moms all over the world!"

"In the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, I swore off technology.  We used nothing related to technology. 

Over the years, we have slowly added technological elements to our homeschool.  Each addition has been planned and purposeful.  Using a computer based program, our children begin learning Latin in the third grade.  Next year, our oldest son, will begin French with another computer based program. 

Another fun application for technology has ironically been during our nature walks.  When we find something we cannot identify (because we don't know or don't have the right reference books along) we take a digital photograph of the item.  Later, we upload the picture and search through books or the internet to identify or classify the unknown item.  This has been perfect for large scale items and for those times when we have visited parks with rules about removing flora and fauna.

Because we live in a technologically based society, we have begun to systematically introduce our children to computers in general.  We have an old computer in the school room that is not connected to the internet.  On it, the children learn keyboard skills, how to navigate through computer programs, photo uploading and editing, etc.  Slowly, as they age, we will add internet usage and social media.

For me, as a homeschool mom, I use technology for various planning related activities.  The internet is a great place to research curriculum, resources, and potential field trips and ideas for our homeschool.  

Our local library is networked throughout the county with all the public libraries.  By visiting their website, I can request a library book, CD, or resource from any of the networked libraries.  This has resulted in a tremendous amount of options for books. 

Also, connecting with other moms through technology has been extremely beneficial.  Whether we are planning a play group or organizing a class for co-op, technology has definitely been a time saver and convenient way to communicate with other busy moms.  Social media like blogs have also been a source of encouragement for me as well.  Though I don't have too much time to peruse the vast array of blogs, I do enjoy and benefit greatly from those I read and the communities I participate in."  

"As a new homeschooling mom, I am always looking for advice and support.  Having access to twitter, facebook and email makes it easy to find help and encouragement right when I need it!  I've also found some amazing free resources online {and who doesn't like free!} which allow me to see what methods will work for Sophie and what might not be best for her right now.  Sophie doesn't use the computer much at all right now, but she's learning to. She is more hands on, so I think computer based learning will be something that might be nice in the future, but not for her right now. 
I balance social media by limiting the amount of time I am online.  I have 2 hours each morning before the girls are up/dressed/school, and then I hop on again during naptime/quiettime.  I also do most of my blog reading at night after the girls are in bed.  Also, I stay away from social media on Sundays - everyone needs to be unplugged just a little bit!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Feel free to join our discussion as we would love to hear
your opinions and suggestions on using technology
and social media in your homeschools.
By leaving a comment, you are entered in today's giveaway.

Today's giveaway:

a second copy of
Educating the WholeHearted Child -- Third Edition
Educating the WholeHearted Child
by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

~courtesy Aurie~
This giveaway is open to all residents of the USA
and ends Saturday, December 31 at 11:59 PM EST,
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post.
Winner will be announced on Monday, January 2, 2012.

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