From the May 16, 2014, issue of THM
I remember the day I told my mom I was going to homeschool her grandchildren. Now, to set this up properly, let me tell you that I was an only child so these were her grandchildren–and it was 1986, long before homeschooling was an accepted form of education. To say she went ballistic would be an understatement–and that is her recollection. And one of her main objections, beyond the obvious question of socialization, was, “How will they ever learn computers?!”
This was long before “cloud” and “text” indicated hip new techno applications, back when public schools had Macintosh computers and businesses had IBMs. Books were printed on paper, libraries were the best place to find information, and Encyclopedia Britannica was where you looked things up. It was not uncommon for music to be played on records, though, I have to admit cassette tapes had taken the market by storm.
Can you imagine? For us, embracing “new technology” meant buying a computer with a word processor; buying a car with a tape player; and, if we really wanted to go high-tech, studying geography with Geo-Safari.
But here’s the deal. Homeschool kids take to technology like ducks to water. They learn this stuff so fast it makes our heads spin … It provides one of those precious opportunities for the shoe to find the other foot, as we become the student and they become the teacher!
You know, looking back, I realize that the only real difficulty we ever had with technology was in deciding how to set appropriate time limits (we ended up allowing one hour per day in front of a screen, whether computer or television). It still is obvious that kids need lots of time for imaginative play by themselves and with others, outdoor adventures like climbing trees and planting gardens, reading great books alone and aloud, and laughing hysterically at each other’s jokes–lots more time than most kids in our culture get today.
So, dear friends, I encourage you to follow this recipe for enjoying technology in your home: take the best of the past and the best of the present, add a lot of parental love, flavored with prayers for wisdom and discernment … and set your timer!