Why Homeschool Moms Need
to Embrace Technology
Kids these days seem to come out of the womb using technology. Three-year-olds know how to swipe their way to their favorite apps on their parents’ tablets and smartphones. Many of them own their own kid-friendly tablets. It’s a far cry from when we were kids. Most of us grew up with landlines and payphones, not cell phones that were small enough to fit in your back pocket. Many of us didn’t have home computers (and certainly not a computer for individual family members) and the internet wasn’t as widely used as it is now. In fact, we had to wait to go to the library or the computer lab at school to get online. And we certainly didn’t have our own personal electronic device, unless you count Gameboys and Walkmans.
For kids, technology is part of their daily lives. Schools hand out personal laptops to all students so that they can keep up with lectures in school AND complete homework assignments at home. Distance learning is becoming more and more popular. The digital work landscape is vastly different now than it was even 5 years ago. By the time our younger children are ready to enter the workforce, it will probably be unrecognizable. And guess what? Our kids have to be able to compete.
There is a huge gap between digital immigrants and digital natives when it comes to how comfortable we are with tech. And our generation is still figuring out this whole tech thing.
As much as parents may fight it, the reality is that technology is here to stay. Rather than doing what every generation does, which is to cling to “the good old days”, we should embrace the facts that:
- Change is more than “a’coming”. Change is here. And we have to be ready and willing to adapt or we (and our children) will be left behind. Now is the time to adjust your attitude about tech so you can keep up with your 21st-century kids.
- Traditional doesn’t always mean superior. Just because something is what you are used to doesn’t mean that anything new is bad or wrong. Sure, some aspects of technology can be less than ideal. However, you don’t throw the whole car away just because one part of it is malfunctioning. You fix the part that is messed up and keep on driving.
How Technologically Challenged Moms Can Get Comfortable
If you’re still uncomfortable with technology (or question whether it is valuable for homeschoolers), here are some fun, educational things that you can do to get more comfortable using tech in your homeschool.
Use Pinterest for Fun DIY Projects
Pinterest is what I like to think of as a virtual pin board. It’s a great platform for not only keeping track of fun ideas, but to curate ideas as well. When you create an account, you are able to create as many “boards” as you want. You can have boards dedicated to homeschooling in general. You can also have boards dedicated to ideas for things to do with each child, the separate topics that you want to teach, curriculum ideas, tips for teaching different grade levels, fun arts and crafts activities, tips for organizing your homeschool, field trip ideas, cool educational resources, books you think your kids will love, and so much more. As you browse the internet, you can “pin” ideas to any of these boards so that you can come back to them later.
But what’s amazing about Pinterest is that it is also a search engine. That means that just by typing in a keyword like “science projects with water” or “fun field trips in Washington State”, you can find a ton of ideas that you may have never come across otherwise. In this way, you can really create a homeschool experience for your children that surpasses all of your original goals.
You can even get your kids in on the action! Your kids can have fun searching for arts and crafts projects to try out. If you’re not yet ready for them to have their own profiles, what you can do is assign each of them their own secret boards and allow them to pin ideas they want to try out to their individual boards. This is a great way for them to find some offline projects to do as well as for possible family activities.
Use YouTube to Learn a New Skill
If Pinterest is the go-to place to find cool DIY ideas, then Youtube is the go-to for a DIY education. You can learn about a wide variety of skills – from applying the perfect cat eye to learning how to imitate different accents. And everything in between. From obscure skills to highly sought-after ones, Youtube is a great place to go for a bit of free education. Browse Youtube using their search feature to find videos on topics that you want to cover in your homeschool. For example, you can do a search for things like science experiments, learning about the human body, what a tornado looks like, how to build a miniature windmill, and so much more!
There are countless content creators out there (many of them experts or serious hobbyists in their niches) who spend time every day creating content with the express purpose to educate and entertain. You might be surprised by the gems you uncover when you do a bit of digging. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, family, and your fellow homeschoolers (feel free to join the Techin’ Your Homeschool Facebook group) for Youtube channels that they think are great for kids.
If you’re concerned about your kids’ safety on YouTube, check out these “YouTube Parental Controls that Help Keep Your Kids Safe”.
Host a Family Digital Scavenger Hunt
Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Part of the beauty of the internet and all of these mobile devices is that we have a world of information at our fingertips Teach your kids how to take advantage of that by periodically asking them to use their devices, the internet, or various apps to find something specific. It can be something obscure, a fun fact, a cool resource, or anything else that you can think of. You can be straightforward or more cryptic- depending on your child and your creativity levels. Not only can this be a fun, ongoing activity, it is also a great way to help your child hone their creative thinking and research skills.
Start a Blog to Teach Others About a Passion
I suppose it’s no surprise that I am a huge proponent of blogging. I think it is a fabulous way to build a community around a topic you feel passionately about. If you do it right, having a blog can feel like being the president of a fun club – filled with people who have similar interests as you.
As a blogger, I find I’ve had to embrace the wonders of technology even more than before. And you know what? I don’t regret it.
Embracing technology has enabled me to create a stream of income that I doubt would have existed for me without technology. It has opened me up to so many wonderful (and wonderfully unique) opportunities that, again, probably would not have existed were it not for technology. I’ve also gained a wide variety of skills that make my life easier or more enjoyable. Not to mention it has widened my network by an amount that I probably haven’t fully grasped yet. In short, blogging can be a great way to embrace the power and wonder of technology.
If you would like to learn more about starting a blog, I highly recommend the Blogging Basics Bootcamp course. It is a self-paced, 9 week course that takes you through all stages of starting a blog. From developing an idea, to designing your blog, to writing content, to promoting your blog posts, to developing a social media strategy, to starting an email list, to making money from your blog….you’ll learn it all!
Tell me, where do you fall on the techie homeschool mom spectrum? Are you tech-competent, tech-curious or tech-clueless? What changes would you like to make to become more comfortable with using technology for homeschooling?
Beth Napoli shares wisdom gained from 14+ years homeschooling her 5 daughters at Techie Homeschool Mom. She inspires and equips homeschooling moms to meet the needs of 21st century learners and incorporate more technology into home education. Beth’s not a computer expert; she just geeks out over cool web tools and online learning resources and loves to share what she finds with other homeschool moms.
Beth is also the creator of Online Unit Studies, tech-driven internet-based thematic learning experiences and the hostess of the Techin’ Your Homeschool Facebook group. Connect with Beth on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.