The changing image of homeschooling is increasingly framed by modern technology. Electronic curricula and the growing availability of online and virtual school make homeschooling an attractive alternative for families of every size and type. The historic social stigma towards homeschooling is disappearing. The usual right wing/left wing or conservative/new agers division has all but disappeared. Innovative technologies are making homeschooling an even more logical choice for students who want to bypass traditional brick and mortar educational models.
DIGITAL EDUCATION UPDATED
Digital educational models and approaches are improving at an exponential rate. High speed online access to a large majority of American families has become the norm rather than the pre-pandemic exception.
Based on positive lessons learned about virtual education during the COVID-19 chaos, thousands of families have elected to continue home education over the past two years. Still, many students will return to the classroom, bringing with them new homeschool-based methodologies that have proven effective and have been successfully tested. As in a home school atmosphere, teachers will now focus on individually paced, computer-based lesson planning and will become “facilitators” or “coaches,” guiding students toward new technical resources and opportunities for study in areas of personal interest.
In addition, homeschool curriculum providers are investing large sums of money in developing materials and educational approaches based on a massive increase in available new technologies. In the past, the technology-driven effort in modern education was directed towards forcing technology to serve old teaching models and standards. The new approach is coming from companies focused on better technology driven instructional models and more effectively moving students in directions best suited to their individual educational needs.
Innovative technologies are driving huge changes in education. Schools, both home-based and traditional, are being rapidly re-designed to rely on a solid technical infrastructure rather than on methodologies that have not changed substantially in more than fifty years.
SOCIAL NETWORKING AND PODCASTS
SOCIAL NETWORKING: Keeping your kids connected socially is one of the most discussed topics around homeschooling. There are tons of ways to do this, but technology has added even more avenues for connection. Here are five easy ways to use social networking to become more “socialized” using online technology:
- Search online for homeschooling groups and resources
- Check out Facebook for homeschool support groups and online homeschool groups
- Check the library’s website for homeschool classes and activities
- Connect virtually with other homeschool kids
- Sign up for online homeschool courses and activities
HOMESCHOOL PODCASTS/BLOGS: There are many education and homeschool related podcasts available online. Just run a quick Google search and you’ll find lots of resources! Here’s a short list of a few great homeschool-related podcasts:
- https://ultimateradioshow.com/ Homeschool Radio Network – This is a podcast hosted by a variety of homeschooling people focused on homeschool families. Some shows are funny. Some shows are more serious in nature. All are practical or educational. Owned and operated by Media Angels Inc.
- https://blog.feedspot.com/homeschool_podcasts/ Blog Feedspot/Homeschool Podcasts – 20 best homeschool podcasts gathered from thousands of podcasts and ranked by traffic and social media followers, domain authority and “freshness.”
- https://blog.feedspot.com/homeschool_blogs/?_src=categorypage – 100 best homeschool blogs
- https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/homeschool-together-podcast/id1526685583 – This blogspot is hosted by a working mom and stay-at-home dad. Focused on early learners and gameschooling. A family podcast.
- https://www.home-farm.org/secular-homeschooling-podcasts-17/ – These podcasts are listed because they have excellent audio quality and can be found on most podcast apps.
The gameschooling idea has been around for some time. What’s new about this educational model is how it’s done. Originally, the idea was to engage kids through the use of board games and outdoor games. While those approaches continue to be valid, online gameschooling is now widely available and is the perfect way to get your students engaged in contextual online learning.
Rather than using online gaming just for fun, include these games as an essential part of your homeschool curriculum. “The best games cover a multitude of different skills, so it’s a bit challenging to neatly place games into any one category.” https://homeschooliowa.org/gameschooling/
Here are some great sites with excellent gameschooling ideas:
Technology is embedded in almost everything related to our everyday lives. Making a telephone call requires a certain level of technical know-how. Daily life is full of technical interactions that wouldn’t have been imagined even twenty years ago. Today’s children grow up interacting with technology on a daily basis.
The importance of teaching technology to homeschoolers cannot be overemphasized. Children must be able to thrive in a world driven by strategic technology solutions to almost everything we do. “In the modern workforce, companies will expect students to be well versed in all sorts of software. Some examples include Microsoft Office, Zoom, Google Drive, email suites, and more. These programs are used almost universally in workplaces and colleges; therefore, having a good understanding them is important.”
If you know how to use these programs, it’s essential that you help your children reach a proficiency level that will enable them to function in the world. If you do not have essential computer and software skills, take a community college class, look for free online tutorials to educate yourself, or hire a tutor with advanced IT skills.
The world is powered by computers, tablets, and smart phones. Electronic solutions to everyday tasks and problems will increase in the future. Your homeschool student must be prepared for career fields like coding, automating, and programming in order to move into high-paying career opportunities. Many career fields require the ability to code as a pre-requisite.
It has become essential that some level of technology instruction be included in all homeschool curricula. Students can complete such courses on their own or as part of a group of learners. An online search will turn up numerous programs offering computer science skill instruction for K to 12 students.
One such instructional course is offered by The National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). NCWIT offers computer science instructional solutions for students ages K to 12 at https://ncwit.org/k-12/.
“Computing and computational thinking are increasingly important 21st-century skills. Adult influencers are the key to letting all students know they can belong in computing.”
Technology is the most powerful change in K to 12 education in the past fifty years. New technologies will continue to drive not only what children learn, but how they learn and how they demonstrate what they have learned in a larger business and social setting. Technology has provided students with more choices related to their education and teachers have become facilitators and coaches in addition to their traditional teaching role. In the past two years, remote learning has challenged students, teachers and homeschool parents to work and thrive in a new learning environment. It has become essential that new technologies and technology instruction be embedded in every day homeschool curricula.
GLOBAL STUDENT NETWORK
Global Student Network offers a complete line of online homeschool curriculum to suit any learning style or any grade level. Learn more at www.GlobalStudentNetwork.com