As a homeschool mom, today’s guest, Catherine Ross, has to juggle lots of activities–and do it by herself. I’m always in awe of those parents who choose this route. In the fullness of time, they are modeling the best traits that education can teach–problem-solving, critical-thinking, and tenacity, and perspective-taking.
Here are Catherine’s ideas on squeezing the most out of every activity her children participate it:
As moms of very young kids, we certainly appreciate the luxury of being able to make a phone call or read a book without a dozen interruptions every other minute. I homeschool my little ones, and I have come to realize that my kids’ online time can actually be productive. Here are five handy distractions – a.k.a. online activities – to keep your kids busy and constructively engaged.
Photo by Tim & Selena Middleton
Yes, when I’m teaching my kids addition, or even evaporation, I let my kids play online. I find that online games actually help me teach certain concepts more effectively. Online gaming has often been blamed for fostering addiction and violent behavior in kids and teens. However, several reliable studies have shown that when used appropriately, gaming has several proven benefits, and can actually help kids acquire a wide range of skills!
It may come as a surprise for some, but online games can play an important role in improving kids’ social and emotional skills, critical thinking skills as well as computer and technological skills. And believe it or not, online learning games can even help your child achieve better grades! Probably because they’re so much fun, kids forget they’re also learning some invaluable skills and lessons in the process.
Photo by Luis Vidal (Lois)
My homeschooling curriculum does tend to revolve around common concepts and topics taught in classrooms. But, I also do make it a point to include other areas that I think will stand my little ones in good stead later in life. Learning fast and error-free typing is an important skill your child needs to learn. There are several typing websites that help kids master and practice the basics of touch typing, and all for free! Instead of wasting time on Facebook, your child could improve his hand-eye coordination,typing speed and fine motor skills with many interesting typing activities. He could also play any of the fun typing games available online – these combine entertainment with learning and transform what’s honestly a boring activity to a highly enjoyable one.
Luckily for me, my youngest one loves to read. There are several online reading zones and libraries where your reluctant reader can become better acquainted with the magic of words. Many of these websites allow children to read, hear and see stories of their choice. These multimedia reading communities offer a large variety of stories to cater to different reading levels and tastes and are therefore far more popular than traditional brick-and-mortar libraries. Many also offer supplementary activities such as puzzles, word games, crosswords and lesson plans to turn passive readers into more involved ones.
Photo by fabricecaduc
I love spending my weekends doing something creative with the kids. If your child is the ‘crafty’ type, the internet is a treasure trove of craft ideas and projects for different skill levels. You’ll find art and craft ideas for a variety of subjects – book-making, puppetry, pottery, doll-making, holiday and seasonal crafts, glass and ceramics – among others.The selection of art projects, decoration tips and ideas and DIY projects is mind-boggling. You’ll even find craft project ideas where the entire family can join in and have fun!
So the next time your little ones are asking for some online time, go ahead and encourage them to try one or more of these fun activities. They’ll not only be entertained but will also gain some useful skills in the process!
Catherine Ross is a full-time stay-at-home-mum who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. An erstwhile elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can grasp seemingly difficult concepts easily. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.