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Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads: Why You Should Limit Technology Use for Your Kids

Even Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPads: Why You Should Limit Technology Use for Your Kids

There’s no denying we live in a digital age. With a click of a button, we can access any bit of information ever known to humanity. With another click, we can end up wasting an hour of our day watching cats play piano. What I’m trying to say is that the prevalence of technology today is a double-edged sword.

While it’s easy enough for adults to become consumed by their iPads and smartphones, the real danger is raising children who are downright addicted to electronic screens. Even Steve Jobs, who invented all the best gadgets currently in your home, didn’t allow his children to use the iPad.

Others in the tech industry follow that same idea, sending their children to schools that strictly forbid the use of technology, instead encouraging face-to-face interaction and creative problem solving.

Though it might seem hypocritical for parents who utilize technology on a daily basis at their jobs to put a limit on their children’s use of the same technology, it’s hard to argue with the fact that using technology too much results in:

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1. A lack of creativity

When a young child plugs into the World Wide Web, everything is done for him. He can watch a cartoon, play a game, or get answers to his homework questions. If children are taught they can simply go to Google and get an answer to a question, they’ll more than likely stop trying to figure things out on their own. Especially if getting done quicker means they can go back to watching cartoons even sooner.

While it’s important to teach children how to use the Internet as a learning tool, it shouldn’t be the only method they use to solve problems. If they learn to rely too much on technology for answers, they’ll be completely lost when the technology is unavailable to them.

2. A lack of curiosity and passion

Along with a lack of curiosity, children who rely too much on technology will lose their passion for learning.

Remember before the Internet, when you wanted to know something, you actually had to spend a decent amount of time looking it up? You had to go to the library, find the right section, then the right book, then the right page…it took time! But when you finally got your answer, the entire experience left you feeling fulfilled. And that knowledge became part of your long-term memory.

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Now, if you need to know something, you can look it up immediately; and you’ll most likely forget it by the end of the day. Children need to understand that learning is a process. If we don’t limit their access to technology, they’ll never truly love to learn.

3. A lack of patience

Since information, communication, and entertainment are now available at the push of a button, we’re becoming less and less patient when we have to spend time waiting. I know I’m guilty of closing a webpage because it didn’t load within ten seconds. But I’m not the same way with most other aspects of life, because I know certain things take time (like cooking a good meal, or driving to the beach).

However, our children are growing up in a world filled with instant gratification. If they get too used to things being automated and happening “on demand,” they’ll have a hard time adjusting to the real world as they grow into young adults.

On the other hand, if parents limit their children’s use of technology and place ground rules around when and where they can use their iPad or laptop, they’ll learn much more than they would given free reign of the electronics in the household.

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4. Lack of exercise

It doesn’t take much to prove that sitting in front of a screen all day results in a sedentary lifestyle. And it will eventually become a vicious cycle that will be incredibly hard to break the older your child gets.

Children need to exercise every day. If parents don’t limit their children’s technology usage, they’ll spend all day sitting around the house, making up excuse after excuse as to why they can’t go outside and run around for a bit. Unfortunately, a lack of exercise at a young age could lead to exacerbated health problems as they grow.

5. Decreased test scores

The London School of Economics conducted a study of 130,000 school children, and found that test scores increase when schools put a limit on technology. Across the board, scores rose 6.4% when phones were banned in high schools.

Underachieving students actually faced a 14% increase in scores when their phones were disallowed in school. One of the main contributing factors to such a drastic increase is that students were no longer distracted on a minute-by-minute basis by their phone vibrating with constant Facebook updates and incoming text messages.

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Again, while electronics can serve a purpose in the classroom as a learning tool, if used incorrectly, they can be a huge disruption to the learning process.

6. Lack of human connection

Another study was recently conducted by researchers at UCLA  which focused on the use of technology and its effects on children’s ability to socialize face-to-face. Two groups of children were studied: one was a group of sixth grade students who were enrolled in a week-long educational camp which did not have any access to electronic devices, and the other group of sixth graders were kids who were left to their own devices, as it were.

After the week had ended, each group was shown pictures of people’s faces as they exhibited different emotions. The children who attended the technology-free camp performed significantly better at identifying the correct emotion shown. They were much more adept at picking out facial and non-verbal cues than their cohort who had spent the week using technology as they pleased.

If we want our children to understand the importance of communicating with each other in a personable manner, we need to begin by limiting their access to technology.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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