When Tech Goes Bad

If you’ll indulge me for a bit, I’d like to vent about what happens when tech fails us? I’m sure we can all think of examples of this. Maybe your laptop crashed, or the web page you are trying to get to refuses to load.

I’ve been dealing with a little bit different situation. I use an elliptical machine to work out on 5 days out of the week. It’s a great thing to have in a homeschool. Not only does it help me to stay in shape so I can hopefully keep up with my kids, but they can climb on and workout as well. It’s a great machine, when it’s working properly!

Ours has not been working like it should. It has some pretty advanced technology for a mid priced exercise machine. There is a pre-programmed SD card that you can plug in to have a “trainer” talk you through a workout. It automatically adjusts the resistance and pace for you as you are doing the program. I believe this SD card is what is causing the computer in the machine to wig out on us. It is extremely frustrating to be all geared up for a good workout and then have the tech in the machine you are using refuse to cooperate.

How do you deal with it when tech goes bad for you? Do you look for a low tech alternative? Or do you decide that it is not worth the effort?

Going Tech With Lesson Plans??

Do you use lesson plans in your homeschool? I know that when I don’t, which is all too often, my kids take advantage to do as little as they think they can get away with.  When I do manage to get lesson plans made up, I’m completely OCD about it. I print out a plan for each kid which means lots of paper floating around our home. My kids are notorious for losing their lesson plans, whether purposely or not. My husband gets frustrated with all the paper cluttering the place.

When I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for how to create a lesson plan on Google Docs, I thought it was pure genius! Now why didn’t I think of that?? No more lost lesson plans! No more papers to aggravate my hubby! Well, there will probably still be a certain amount of those. I can even include links to the specific sites where my kids do certain assignments like www.spellingcity.com.

Yep! This homeschool is going Tech with our lesson plans!

Interview With the Wired Homeschool Dad

I’m very pleased to present another guest interview. This time we are chatting with John from the Wired Homeschool. After reading this, please take a few mins to go check out his site. You’ll find all kinds of cool techie stuff for your homeschool!

Please tell us a bit about The Wired Homeschool.

The Wired Homeschool is a blog and podcast for homeschooling parents who want to learn more about using technology in their home schools. Each week there is a podcast that covers topics that will help parents utilize technology to assist them in their day-to-day homeschooling. Throughout the week I blog about topic that are directly or tangentially related to homeschooling.

 

Why Podcast?

Many homeschooling parents drive a lot and reading while driving just isn’t safe. My podcast allows parents to learn about technology while keeping their hands on the wheel. Since it’s family-friendly they don’t need to worry about letting the kids hear something that’s objectionable.

 

What is your favorite thing about being a homeschool dad?

I’d have to say taking a day off from work to go on a field trip. I love going places with my kids and talking about all the things we learned while having fun at an interesting place.

 

If you don’t mind sharing, what are the ages of your kids?

I have seven kids. Four boys – 17, 9, 7, & 4. Three girls – 12, 10, & 6

 

How do you see your kids benefiting from technology?

Primarily it allows them to learn and apply concepts at their own pace. We can individualize their education much easier using technology. In addition, it allows them to explore topics of interest which isn’t always possible with conventional means.

 

What would you say to encourage other homeschool parents to embrace the technology that is available for educators?

Don’t feel like you have to embrace it all. If you’re not comfortable with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter then don’t use them. If you don’t want your children using a computer until they can write, go ahead and wait. Do what’s best for your family but don’t completely avoid it.

 

How do you see technology changing the future of education?

I think technology will do two things for education in the future:

1. Make a variety of subjects more accessible to more people.

2. Lower the cost of education.

 

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I just want to re-iterate that what you decide for your family is best. I don’t even use all of the technology mentioned in my podcast or on the blog. I’m just trying to curate ideas and share them with the homeschooling community. Some families use a lot of tech while others are more traditional but I think all use some technology. I want to help parents use whatever technology they have to benefit their children and themselves.


Going Tech with Astronomy

My youngest son, RoboBoy, has Aspergers as do I. One of the characteristics of we Aspies is that we tend to obsess over one or two interests. One of RoboBoy’s passions is astronomy. He absolutely LOVES anything to do with space, planets, black holes and the like. So when I read online that we can see Mars in the night sky during the month of April, I had to take him out in the front yard for a look!

 

Our friend and neighbor had shown us, about a week ago, Jupiter and Venus with a crescent moon below. She then introduced us to Earth Sky where you can see what is going on in the sky on any given night.

 

I recently found The Wired Homeschool online. Look for a guest interview from John in weeks to come! In one of his recent posts he talked about astronomy. He revealed the big news that Saturn will be visible in the night sky this month as well! John even has a review for an app to assist in our “backyard” astronomy forays called, Planets. This app is designed for iPad and iPhones.

 

Under his homeschool resources tab, there is a review of Classical Astronomy. A site that presents all kinds of information about just exactly what we are seeing when we look up at the stars. They have a free monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to.

 

Of course there is always the NASA website to peruse. There is a wealth of information on there!

 

I think we may end up having to invest in a telescope for our family. A trip to our local planetarium is probably in our near future as well.