Teaching in a Digital World with Homeschool Software

Are you wondering if you should consider adding homeschool software to your family's home learning environment? If so, you're not alone. Many homeschooling parents are considering what place technologydriven learning should have in their children's education. Below are several important questions homeschoolers are asking from coast to coast:

• Should educational games and homeschool software have a place in our children's educational experience, or should we cling to more traditional "tried and true" methods of instruction?

• As parents, how can we utilize today's technology to our children's academic advantage?

• Finally, can we afford not to avail ourselves of this vital learning tool as we educate our children?

A Changing World

We live in a world rich in technology. Our lives are saturated with the use of computers, digital cameras, video games, cell phones, MP3s, GPS, and PDAs. Emails, text messages, instant messages, wikis, blogs, podcasts, and social media have all become an integral part of our 21st century existence. While this new and ever-increasing dependence on technology may be overwhelming for some, the youngest generation of Americans were born and raised in a digital world, so they have embraced these changes with ease.

As "digital natives," our children are fluent in the culture and language of technology. Accepting that the digital world has changed how children learn is the first step toward embracing educational change. It doesn't mean we should throw out all of our old resources and methodology, but we should be willing to explore new methods. Though many parents are resistant to the use of technology in the home-based classroom, for many children, computer-based learning has become an extremely effective method of instruction. The existence of a broad range of computer-based educational programs and specialized homeschool software has provided parents with more curriculum options than ever.

New Options, New Advantages

While traditional learning methods typically appeal to a single sensory learning style, computer-based education utilizes a multi-sensory approach to learning, greatly increasing its potential effectiveness for auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. With its ability to successfully reach a higher number of students, the potential impact that the use of educational software brings to the homeschool experience cannot be overstated. For children of all ages, computer games teach and reinforce concepts and skills essential to academic success. Of course, educational software can provide reinforcement in basic core content such as language arts, math, history, and science in a captivating, game-like environment, but computer games also aid in the development of essential learning strategies, such as critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and collaboration, concentration and memory, cause and effect relationships, and hand-eye coordination.

Beyond Playing Games

Educational technology is so much more than playing games! An increasing number of homeschoolers have stepped outside the box and are relying on technology and electronic media as the focal point of their core curriculum. Specialized homeschool software that delivers a complete computer-based education for children of all ages offers many advantages to parents and students alike. Multi-sensory instruction broadens the scope of success for a greater number of students, even those with a variety of learning disabilities. The colorful, engaging delivery of content also increases student interest and attentiveness, resulting in potentially higher levels of achievement. Homeschool software also offers automatic grading of student work that facilitates more focused learning, as students benefit from learning from their mistakes as soon as they make them. In addition, a learning environment that can be customized according to specific academic needs enables students to reap huge rewards. Computer-based homeschool curriculum can also offer busy homeschool parents many time-saving administrative advantages, such as automated lesson planning, grading, and recordkeeping.

Prepared for Life

Finally, we need to ask ourselves this important question: Can we afford to miss out on this opportunity to prepare our children for their future? In addition to the obvious objective of teaching core curricular content, using homeschool software to provide an education rich in technology produces an increased level of comfort interacting with today's digital world. When parents resist the inclusion of technology in their children's education, they take the risk of diminishing their children's readiness for the future by rooting them firmly in the comfort of the past.

The richness of our educational past is easily enhanced through the use of technology and homeschool software. In an ever-changing world, we parents must willingly leave our comfort zones, and when we do, even we will become more fluent in the language and culture of technology!