Top Tech for Homeschoolers
The term “techie” these days has hundreds of definitions. Today’s homeschoolers have every form of gizmo gadget to attempt to make their homeschool day easier, more fun, more secure, better equipped for the job market… you name it; companies claim it! It can be hard to wade through the mountain of information and products. Like many families in Washington, the Dad in our homeschool family is a full on techie for his job. His passion naturally seeps into our kid’s hearts and minds. I decided to not try to define “techie” because each computer science field comes with its own favorite gadgets. Instead, I opted to think of the top 6 things our family uses daily that are unique to this modern era.
- For security online: Qustodio. [https://www.qustodio.com] This app provides powerful monitoring tools and parental controls for things like screen time, adult content and games. It’s the easiest to use and the most secure of the monitoring apps on the market. You can control your student’s usage from your own phone- i.e. turn YouTube on their phone off from your phone, tell social media to turn off during certain times of day as well as decide on how long your student can be on any device among many features.
- For physical security at home: August Lock. [https://august.com/] By now every one knows of Ring Doorbells. Ring provides extra security for older homeshoolers who stay at home while Mom is out running errands. The August Lock is a great companion to the Ring Doorbell/Video Camera. This device goes on the deadbolt on your front door (it covers the deadbolt completely). This allows the door to be locked and unlocked electronically and remotely. If your student gets locked out of the house, you can unlock the door from your smartphone. You also receive notifications every time the door is unlocked or locked. You can program August Lock to unlock the door automatically when your phone is within a customizable geo-fence. It will automatically lock the door if you choose to set it that way. Between my keyless car and my keyless entry to my house I do feel like the Jettson Family at times! Ha!
- For Learning the foundations of Computer Science without even using a computer: CS Unplugged. [https://csunplugged.org/en/] This curricula is a FREE workbook written by men who are passionate about kids learning CS. Kids as young as 6 can play games that will teach them binary, computer networking, and many other foundational tools of computers: all without using a computer. As Ben says emphatically, “Everyone should know binary!” ha!
- For getting creative: Prusa 3D Printer. [https://shop.prusa3d.com/] 3D printing enables kids to dream up objects, design functional items, or create fixes for household problems (ie vacuum cleaner piece broke so we 3D printed a piece to fix it). 3D printing is quickly becoming a major part of daily life. TinkerCad.com is the kid friendly design program where even children as young as 8 years old can design and create. 3D printing is a great use of math, geometry, physics, and art.. If your student wants to be online, why not have them create instead of consume (like many video games are).
- For learning geography: Seterra App. This gaming application gives students the opportunity to learn geography around the world. It also has flag memorization games.
- For fun and engaging YouTube Videos on tech and science talks that might spark an interest in your student: The Royal Institution. [https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRoyalInstitution ] This is not a Christian based site, but is produced by professors of the Royal Institute. We have watched fascinating talks and demonstrations that are on the bleeding edge of science and technology!