Whether by choice or by necessity, millions of children across the United States are homeschooling this fall. That’s by no means an easy decision, especially for working parents who are tasked with juggling their children’s education and their own professional responsibilities. The good news, however, is that today’s smart home technologies are making a formidable task significantly less daunting. Best of all, you don’t need a tech degree from MIT or the bank account of a Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos to use them!
A World of Knowledge
One of the most significant advantages of incorporating smart technology into your homeschooling routine is that the learning curve is pretty simple. In fact, you’re probably going to be able to get the greatest benefit out of the technology you already have in your home and use daily.
For example, voice assistants such as those built into your Amazon Echo or Google Home device can be used to get essential information immediately on-demand. They’re even being equipped with teaching assist technologies to help parents and students who are learning from home. All you or your little scholar has to do is ask a question!
Likewise, instant messaging and chat apps that you’ve probably already downloaded to your PC and mobile devices can be used to connect in real-time with teachers and tutors. Social media platforms can also be used to network with other students working with the same content. These provide the collaboration and socialization that many homeschool students miss out on, promoting both their content engagement and their social enrichment.
Even as your children are reaching out to engage in the great, global classroom, of course, it’s imperative to ensure your children are using their screen time safely and responsibly. You can easily install tracking apps that will allow you to monitor what your children are doing online, who they’re connecting with, and what sites they’re visiting. These tools also enable you to set limits on when your children use their devices and how much time they’re spending plugged in. You can even block your children’s access to certain sites, using not only site blockers but also keyword blockers.
Automating the Home Schoolhouse
One of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is setting a schedule–and getting your kids (and yourself) to stick to it. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. There are many apps for that.
For instance, you can use automation technologies to program everything from your lights to your thermostat to help set the scene for the school day ahead. You can program your lights, for instance, to switch on at the start of the day, to turn up to signal the start of study time, and even to flash to indicate when it’s time to change subjects.
And if you need more specific reminders throughout the day, you can also program your voice assistant devices or mobile apps to provide custom alerts tailored to each student in your home.
Setting the Scene
One of the most important things that you can do when you’re creating a tech-enhanced home school really has nothing to do with smart technology at all. To thrive in the homeschool environment, your students will need a workspace that helps them focus and be productive.
So as you trick out your tech, don’t forget to trick out the space where the tech is going to be used. Ensure that your children’s workspaces are clean and well-organized. Have a comfortable chair and good lighting.
Above all, don’t just limit your child’s physical learning space to just one corner of the bedroom or kitchen. Get creative. Build various activity stations dedicated to different learning projects, and equip each space with the technology your child might need to do the job.
And remember that nature is one of the most inspiring classrooms ever made. So set up a picnic table, a hammock, or a chaise lounge, have your scholar grab their mobile device, and do some learning in the great outdoors.
No one ever said homeschooling would be easy. But it can be incredibly worthwhile, particularly with the advent of today’s smart technology. Now, more than ever, your scholar can access a whole world of learning. Best of all, with today’s technology, you’re never alone in supporting your child’s education. From on-demand answers to digital teaching assistants to home automation, the tools in your homeschooling toolbox are more abundant and more powerful than ever before. And that can make learning from home a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. If you want your child to develop a lifelong love of learning, there’s perhaps no better strategy than that.