To effectively homeschool their kids, most parents set up a dedicated learning area in their home and make sure there are plenty of basic school supplies and workbooks. While these are important for academic success, you should also consider adding several technological devices to bring your home classroom into the 21st century. The following are four of the best technological devices for homeschooling your kids:
When it comes to necessary tech for homeschooling, a tablet is at the top of the list. Unlike cumbersome desktop computers that are tethered to the wall, tablets, like the iPad Mini, can be taken everywhere, which makes mobile learning more accessible. For example, if you take a field trip to the zoo, bring along the iPad and use it to research the animals you see. Tablets are easy for kids to use, and even the youngest preschooler can carry and use the portable device.
Once you have an iPad, load it with apps that you and your child can use to supplement his or her learning. For reading apps, make use of recommends the “Kindle” app for e-books and “Timed Reading Practice” to improve reading speed. As for math, the site suggests using “Math Brownie Points” because it rewards commitment and learning rather than being just another worksheet app. In addition, the “DragonBox” app teaches algebra in a fun and engaging way to kids as young as five, and “Stack the States” is a terrific way to teach geography.
A Laptop or Desktop Computer
While you can equip your child’s iPad with a keyboard, they tend to be smaller than what is found on standard computers. To be successful in today’s electronic business world, kids need to learn computer skills, such as typing and how to send emails. Your homeschool classroom should have a laptop or desktop computer that your child can use to compose emails and research papers. To make learning to type more fun, check out “Free Typing Game” or “Type to Learn,” which has games and challenges to improve your child’s typing proficiency.
A Scanner, Copier and Printer
As a homeschooling parent, you will use an all-in-one scanner, copier and printer as much as your pupils. For example, to preserve expensive workbooks and use them for all your kids, make copies of worksheets as you go. When your child needs the computer to research a topic for a paper, he or she can print out pertinent information. When you need to send over test results to your state homeschool organization, scan your child’s exams and papers, so it’s easy to email them. One word of advice: While you might be tempted to buy the most budget-friendly model, cheaper printers go through a lot of ink, which becomes expensive. Instead, splurge on something a bit nicer to save money in the long run. PC Magazine has a review of the best inkjet printers if you need some help.
If you plan on using flash cards, puzzles, calendar pages or other printed lessons, a laminator is a must-have item. Many warehouse stores sell laminators for reasonable prices, or you can find them on Amazon for less than $40. Kids have a way of spilling, tearing and damaging workbooks and paper, so a laminator will pay for itself over time. And once something has been laminated, you can use dry erase markers on the page and then erase it when you are done, which is great for lessons that need to be repeated.
What is your must have technological device for homeschooling kids?