by Phyllis Wheeler, the Computer Lady from MotherboardBooks.com
- Put the computer in the same room where you are.
- Use a login password that only the adults know.
- Let younger kids use your email account.
- Use a good filter.
Fun collaboration: A little-known fact about the Internet is that students can use it to work together on projects, and they like doing this. Public schools have found that when kids collaborate in researching and writing a common online document, kids get interested in learning.
For instance, your kids could write a report about current events or snails or whatever and create an illustrated report with friends who live somewhere else. I've written a book about this, How Flat Is Your Homeschool World? It will tell you what the tools are. Best thing: the tools are free.
Learn by doing: Computers can help you address another lesser-known need in your homeschool. I'm sure you know that young children love to learn by doing. Kids love to act and explore, not just memorize. This is the teaching of educator Charlotte Mason, and many homeschooling families have picked up on it.
But can kids explore on the computer in a way that sharpens their minds? Yes! Through Logo, a computer language created just for kids as young as 8 at MIT.
Seymour Papert, Logo's creator, said it's one thing for a child to play a computer game. But "it's another thing altogether for a child to build his or her own game. In building his own game, the child hypothesizes, explores, experiments, evaluates, and draws conclusions. In short, he learns."
And for older kids: Reasoning challenges in programming can sharpen the brain for middle and high schoolers. And if there are creative elements, computer training becomes part of a great education for any student, not just the technically inclined. And my curriculums from MotherboardBooks.com have plenty of exercises to get creative juices flowing!
Phyllis Wheeler of MotherboardBooks.com wrote the award-winning computer enrichment curriculum, Computer Science Pure and Simple, beloved by thousands of homeschoolers. A writer and an engineer, she believes in creative exercises alongside logic challenges, exercising both halves of our brains.