Integrating Technology Into Classical Education

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Integrating Technology into Classical Education

 

A classical education, such as I have written about in the past on Simply Homeschool Living, is a good ideal but I have found it is not practical for my family. My children are fascinated with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and electronics. Mouthy now spends half of each day programming! So I had to revamp my idea of what our homeschool was. The goal is to teach each child what s/he needs to know, in the way s/he learns best. Although at times scarily similar (finishing each other’s sentences!) Mouthy and Curly learn very differently. Often, the most effective method involves technology. Many homeschool books and blogs I’ve read discourage electronics, forbidding television and allowing limited computer use. I question this outlook. Our children will be set loose into a wired society. Although I agree media should be screened and limited in some respect, I can only encourage computer use in education. This is the way our kids will be working and living. They have to be prepared. At the same time, I believe a classical education is a necessity. Critical thinking skills, the ability to express one’s self clearly in writing, and an understanding of interconnections between history and today are highly valued in the market.

Here are some of the ways we integrate computing and technology into our classical education:

  • Minecraft: For the co-op Knowledge Fair, my daughter elected to create a “Digestion Themepark”. She is creating it in MineCraft, integrating computing and programming with anatomy.
  • DuoLingo: My daughter and I use the free DuoLingo app for language (she is learning French, I am practicing Spanish). My son watches Latin DVDs to hear pronunciation and conjugations.
  • KhanAcademy and YouTube: Some subjects are easier to understand with pictures. Khan covers math, science, and technology. YouTube has far too much available to let kids go on their own, but I can often find history and Bible movies. (Prescreen!)
  • Amazon Prime: In addition to a huge selection of lectures and videos, Amazon offers eBooks at little or no cost. There are over 10,000 free classical tomes for instant download.
  • Coding: Mouthy (my 13 year old son) loves coding. He has a Java programming course from homeschoolprogramming.com, and he also uses a free platform called GameMaker Studios. I feel too many people do not understand how the electronic devices we depend on work!
  • MS Office: For my dyslexic daughter especially, typing allows her to process her thoughts quickly. (Dragon Naturally Speaking helps both of us, her with spelling and me with my hands).  We use PowerPoint presentations for book reports and other projects.
  • Television: We use a DVR to record programs that will aid in our homeschool. Our favorites are Big History, Through the Wormhole, and specials on History and H2. Some programs provide teacher’s or study guides, such as Lifetime’s The Gabby Douglas Story.

Although we want to be apart from the “world” (Colossians 3:1), that doesn’t mean we have to reject the things of the world out of hand. Through planning and monitoring, we can create a new classical education that encompasses the best of what the world has to offer.

 

Kathy LaPan is a homeschooling mom of two in Northern NY. She has an MBA in finance and teaches through SchoolHouseTeachers.com. Check out her blog at Simply Homeschool Living.