It is believed that there are over 60,000 children in the UK currently receiving home education. A parent’s reasons include believing that a child can get a better education at home, religious reasons, a poor learning environment, behavioral issues with the child and family reasons among many others.
It has been criticized by some that children do not do well in standardized testing and academic qualities and sheltering away from society. If you do decide to home school your children we have put together some great tips on how to put together a technology hub to ensure that children are performing to the best of their abilities as being at home, sometimes or regularly without supervision can make the child procrastinate.
One of the biggest issues in homeschooling is the environment the child is in. One of my personal issues during my education was being self-taught whilst my parents were out at work allowed me to easily procrastinate, go out, watch TV and not perform to the best of my abilities. (I will also say I was a teenager at this time and was old enough to be at home alone!)
A separate room with the layout for education is key.
A small room where the desk and computer are the key focus with little distractions, it isn’t easy or possible sometimes but keeping your back to the window and keeping a quiet simple environment is key to success.
First of all I recommend Windows home and student edition on your computer – but to also have a completely separate user account. this will give you clarity on your desktop. I also recommend installing a software program like Mcgruff Safeguard or Freeshield. This will help you filter the web’s potential dangers and also monitor online activity, check browser history, and basically just help the child to keep focused on their work and the websites they go on.
Teenagers are too quick to jump on Facebook or other social media sites interrupting their structured educational life. Of course, you can have a PC that is in your view when your child uses it but if it’s in a more social setting like a living room this can have other procrastinating effects.
Great Software Tips
There are some great pieces of software for home schooling. If you are at work, you can use a tool called TeamViewer on your breaks to discuss and review your child’s work, particularly if your child does not have a home-schooled teacher and just a minder or is a home alone teen like I was.
Sadly great software like this didn’t exist during my home schooling years, we didn’t even have more than 28k modem and we where one of the privileged few that did!
Free Software For Homeschooling
- yEd is a great piece of free software that allows you to build diagrams, flowcharts and mind maps – fantastic as a research and ideas tool and very easy to use.
- Openoffice.org is a great alternative to Microsoft Office, mainly because it’s all free and allows you to save, edit and write documents.
- Google Earth is a fantastic learning tool for geography and research as well as historical imaging, working out the size and measurements of any feature on Earth – the possibilities are endless.
- SyncToy if you’re using a laptop and Windows (see above), SyncToy will make sure that the thousand word essay your child has written will not be lost if the battery or your laptop suddenly dies.
- Also check around with some “software discounts for students” companies and Google searches – you may be able to get price reductions for Microsoft/Adobe programs.
As education evolves along with technology, your child will be using more and more of their computer to do their work and achieve their goals. When considering a computer, here’s my brief opinion for homechoolers: a laptop or PC is much more suitable than trying to use a tablet. The key thing is comfort and simplicity. Using an ergonomic keyboard and a comfortable chair is an important part of keeping a student engaged and actively learning.
So a laptop or desktop with a solid chair is a more powerful solution for those looking to bring high quality education – infused with technology – into their home.