Yeah... I know. That's not a real word, but it is what I want to talk about today. How I try to fuse our education with technology for the benefit of my students (children). I am a believer in immersing children in technology as SOON as possible. In this day and age of computers, cell phones, PDAs, and laptops, I feel I would be doing my children a disservice by not educating them in technology. Here are just a few of the ways we have infused our children's lives with technology. You don't have to agree with them, but I get to share them because this is MY BLOG! :)
1. Blogging!!!! Our children don't journal. They blog. This was partly done out of a desire to give them more exposure to technology, but also partly because journal time had become like dipping my earlobe in boiling oil. They HATED journal time. They cried through journal time. They didn't want to write ANYTHING! It didn't matter if the subject was Power Rangers... It was like pulling teeth to get them to journal! Now my goal in journaling was NOT about handwriting (we have penmanship for that). It also wasn't really about sentence structure or grammar (we get PLENTY of that with a momma who's a grammar nazi.) I needed them to start flexing their creative muscles. I wanted them to start WRITING... creatively, descriptively, excitedly. So we started blogs, and so far so good... it is really working for us. [If you wanna read my children's blogs, you'll have to e-mail me... I have them set up with all sorts of safety precautions to keep creepers away.] I find that they are growing and developing in their ability to form sentences and they are starting to be able to put the crazy creative things they have in their brains into words through their blogs.
2. Curriculum on the puter... we do some of our subjects on the computer with interactive software/websites. In fact, we learn to read using an interactive online website (Click N Read). Click N Read has a video game like quality, and it REALLY gets my kids attention (except Elijah who wails and whines about having to do ANYTHING independently... AHHHHH!) It is GREAT for younger kids too. Hannah LOVES it and is learning to read by doing Click N Read this year. We also use a site called RAZ Kids, where the kids read books, earn tokens, and buy virtual prizes in a game room. In the past we have used, spelling city, and in the future, I plan to keep my eyes and ears open for more things to work into my curriculum. Because whenever they do these programs their lessons are two-fold: reading and computers... spelling and computers... I LOVE killing two birds with one stone :)
3. Controversial technology! I fear I may stir up a little controversy with this next heading, but I'm laying it ALL out there today! We use Facebook and texting and I see them as educational. Several years ago, we allowed Noah to get a Facebook account so he could play Scrabble with us. We were VERY careful about setting up appropriate blocks, and we carefully monitor his inbox and friend requests, but Scrabble is VERY educational and I need ANYTHING I can get to motivate Noah in the area of Language Arts (as that is NOT his favorite subject). Finally, texting... oh texting... so many parents feel it is the devil. I am not of that opinion. We have a cell phone for the kids, and they text with it FREQUENTLY. I have found this to have REALLY improved their spelling and their tech saaviness. In FACT, we are ALREADY to the point that when I am struggling with an electronic device, I have to say, "NOAH! Can you come help me figure out this _______?" I have found texting to be something they are INTERESTED in so I have chosen to use it and make it work for me.
Again, I hope it goes without saying that I monitor my kids CAREFULLY with regards to the Internet. I employ appropriate safeguards, and I am nosy, nosy, NOSY when it comes to EVERYTHING they are doing online or anything they are texting. But I guess this is part of the reason I homeschool in the first place... so I can make my children's education about THEM and their interests in order to help them EXCEL and be the best they can be.