The use of technology in your homeschool can often be a tricky subject. Some opt not to get involved with screens at all, while others use them freely – and both approaches come with their own unique sets of challenges! For families that permit some technology usage, finding creative ways to strike the right balance between online and offline activities is important. Allowing screen time but keeping things balanced is essential for preserving good sleep habits and maintaining healthy relationships within the home.
For our family, homeschooling with technology works well for us. We use various online resources and apps to supplement our curriculum and help our kids stay engaged in their learning. We also have boundaries around screen time, ensuring plenty of time for play and creative endeavors.
In this blog post, I’ll share some tips for integrating technology into your homeschool, some of our favorite technology resources, and how we make them work for us. I hope you find this helpful!
Table of Contents
Define your family’s needs and goals for homeschooling
As you think about using technology in your homeschool, it’s essential to consider your family’s needs and goals. What is your homeschool mission? What kind of learning environment do you want to create?
Screen time is only one small part of the equation. There are so many other factors to consider! But if you take the time to contemplate your goals, you’ll be able to make decisions about using technology that aligns with your overall vision for homeschooling.
Do your research on the different types of technology available
Technology is pervasive in almost every aspect of our lives, so why not use it to supplement teaching your children at home? It can feel daunting to figure out how different types of tech can be incorporated into the sometimes tricky landscape of homeschooling.
Whether you’re exploring using laptops, tablets, gaming systems, or coding classes, many options can help make learning more enjoyable and engaging! It’s essential to do research first—talk to other parents already using technology with their homeschool curriculum and evaluate which tools are best for your family and routine.
Decide which pieces of technology will work best for your family
When using technology in your homeschool, it is essential to think carefully about what will work best for your family.
There are a lot of different opinions on using technology in the homeschool community, which can make the decision hard. But assess what tools would help each member of your family achieve their goals and take some time to research the safety goes.
You’ll be able to decide which pieces of technology will bring you results and provide an enjoyable learning experience.
Create a plan for using technology in your homeschool routine
Navigating technology in homeschooling can be complex for families, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Creating a plan for using technology can help set clear boundaries on screen time and set an example for healthy habits.
Involving everyone in the family in developing this plan helps ensure that everyone is on the same page about how technology will be used.
Going over guidelines and expectations related to tech use will arm your kids with the tools they need to stay positive and productive when engaging with technology. Knowing these set boundaries will set your homeschool up for success.
Be flexible – things may not always go as planned, but that’s okay!
Many homeschool families are using technology as part of their day more and more. It’s important to remember that no matter what kind of plan you have, sometimes things don’t always go your way. But that doesn’t need to be a problem – instead, use it as an opportunity to think outside the box and be flexible!
If using technology scares you or seems like something that doesn’t fit into your lesson, you can do plenty of activities or projects without having to access screens at home. Whether incorporating tech into your routine or avoiding it, being prepared to take different paths is vital in having a relaxed homeschool.
Have fun and enjoy learning with technology!
Technology isn’t something to be feared when it comes to homeschooling. Using technology can add to your overall learning enjoyment and fun in teaching!
It’s possible to bring an engaging technology component into your homeschool, allowing you to diversify the educational activities you provide for your kids.
Our lives are already incredibly connected, and using tech can help bridge any gap between what’s at home and out in the world—it’ll become another educational tool. Teaching with technology is not only manageable but also enjoyable, so don’t be scared to give it a try!
Technology tools that we love
- Minecraft – My kids like to use this to create words and numbers out of blocks, design buildings from historical eras, and more.
- Hooked on Phonics – My kids’ main reading app was this, but we recently switched to Duo ABC since they enjoy it more.
- Duolingo ABC – My kids love using this app to help them learn to read, and I love that it’s FREE!
- Duolingo – We use Duolingo to learn Japanese in addition to our TalkBox.Mom subscription.
- Outschool – My son has taken several classes over the years, and his favorite is a survival class with a marine.
- Synthesis – Synthesis is a game-based, team-thinking problem-solving program created by the founder of Ad Astra School at SpaceX. He meets his cohort to play online once a week and can join pick-up games on Saturdays.
- Night Zookeeper – An online language arts program focused on creative writing, grammar, and spelling for ages 6-12. This program helped my son find his voice and his love of writing.
- Beast Academy – An advanced comic-based math program for kids ages 6-13. This program has a very different scope and sequence to most math programs out there and would not be suitable for those that don’t have a strong base in math facts.
- Minecraft – My son has used Minecraft to recreate various buildings from his historical studies.
- YouTube – Yes, I let my kids have their own YouTube channel, which my oldest son is in charge of. They create silly videos with their shark puppets, stop motion, animation, homeschool projects, and more. My oldest son has also been using YouTube to learn how to train puppies, care for chickens, ride a skateboard, and whatever else he’s interested in knowing more about.
- Online Research – I’ve been teaching my oldest son how to research online using specific keywords and evaluate and dissect websites with a critical eye. You have to go over this with your kids every year, which is a very important skill to learn.
- Google Drive – We use Google Drive for various assignments. I like that I can easily edit and comment on my son’s work from anywhere.
- Google Classroom – We used this for daily planning and project management, and I still recommend it to our homeschool friends. You can link it to Google Drive and do quite a bit with the tool. We may return to it if ClickUp doesn’t work out for my kids.
- ClickUp – We now currently use ClickUp to manage homeschool projects and assignments, mainly because it’s the project management system I use for myself, and I wanted to streamline the whole process.
- Picture This – We use this for plant identification and to help us care for our plants.
- Seek – This app helps us identify wildlife, plants, and fungi on our hikes (if we have service!)
- Sky Guide – I love using this app for stargazing.
- Merlin Bird ID – We use this app to identify birds on our walks and hikes.
- eBird – Once we’ve ID’ed the birds, we then use eBird to count them and submit our results for scientific research.
- Audible – We love listening to audiobooks in the car and at night when I’m too tired to read aloud to my kids.
- Spotify – We listen to podcasts or play soothing background music while studying or creating art.
- Curiosity Stream & Disney+ – These two streaming services are great for documentaries.
- Grammarly – We use it to help us edit our writing, which is an awesome tool. I’m using it right now to help edit my grammar as I write!
- Jasper.ai and ChatGPT – I know some people are sketchy about AI, but it’s pretty prevalent in our daily online lives whether we realize it or not. I’ve taught my son how to use Jasper and ChatGPT to help him outline his stories, write interesting titles, and more. It’s also fun to use for freewriting by having the AI write a sentence or paragraph, and then my son has to finish writing independently. I’m sure there are other creative ways we can use AI to assist us, and it’ll be interesting to see what other homeschool parents come up with.
As you can see, it is possible to utilize technology in your homeschooling routine with some planning and forethought. There are so many excellent tools out there that can help children learn and engage in new ways.
Of course, the most important thing to remember is that you feel comfortable having technology be part of the learning setting. Work with your family’s existing philosophy about technology and decide what will work for you and your children. This is a personal decision, so don’t be afraid to try something outside the norm if that resonates with your family’s mission.
Have fun exploring the world of homeschool edtech!
To kick off a further conversation on this topic, let me know: What are your favorite apps, tech tools, etc., that you use in your homeschool?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and Holistic Homeschool Mindset Coach. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.