To Homeschool Successfully, You Need Technology
To homeschool successfully, you need technology!
There are so many ways technology can help us homeschool, learn, keep up with friends and family members, and even have fun. How? There are quite a few ways technology can be a positive and even necessary thing for homeschoolers. You may use technology to learn more about the world and to virtually go places you may never be able to otherwise go. You can use technology for planning travel. You may choose to use it to learn more about the environment and plants and animals. You may choose to use an online curriculum or to supplement with some online classes.
There are two more articles in this series. We hope you enjoy them and find them helpful! To find out how books can help you homeschool successfully, click this link. And to find out how hands-on activities can help you homeschool successfully, click this link.
Even if we don’t use online curriculum, most of us use technology to look up supplemental information for our homeschools on a regular basis.
Those who use online curriculum rely on technology on a daily basis in order to get school work done. Even those who don’t use online curriculum may supplement our children’s classes with an online class here and there.
There are some great reasons to use online curriculum. You may want to consider these things as you make your decision about which curriculum you’ll use in your homeschool.
- Using online curriculum makes it easier to travel with your family. Yes, of course you can use traditional books and workbooks and still travel! (In fact, one of my children preferred using traditional curriculum over online. One of the benefits of homeschooling is having the ability to make that choice for each student!) But it is generally much easier to grab everything and hit the road when your “school” is contained in a computer rather than having to bring along stacks of books.
- Online curriculum may give your child the ability (if you use live online classes) to interact with students from all over the United States and the world! My son took some live online classes when he was in high school, and he had students from several other countries in class with him. It was fun for the students to compare who had to get up early to attend class and who had to stay up late to attend. They also had time now and then to chat about what life was like in each country, etc. My son definitely learned more than just history in that online class!
- Using online curriculum is highly motivational for many students. Lots of students enjoy using the computer to play games, interact with friends, and even to take online classes! If your child is motivated by online classes, I suggest taking advantage of that interest and making the most of it!
- Online curriculum allows our children to become more accountable for themselves. My son loved the independence that online classes allowed him to have. During elementary school and most of middle school, he did more traditional classes, but for high school, he wanted to take some online classes. He truly enjoyed the independence that taking online classes gave him, and I truly enjoyed giving that responsibility to another teacher! To be honest, I felt like it was good for him to get used to taking a few classes from a different teacher (other than me) too since I wanted him to be ready for the strict due dates and high standards his work would have to meet for college.
If you decide not to use online curriculum, you may decide to supplement with one or two online classes that you don’t love teaching for one reason or another.
My daughter, who is a senior in our homeschool this year, uses mostly textbooks and independent learning, but she takes an online science class. Science isn’t something I enjoy teaching, so she takes the online science class so she can have a teacher who loves what she teaches and who’s good at teaching science. Trish’s son uses an online math curriculum because it allows him to take higher level math classes that Trish doesn’t feel comfortable teaching. We feel like these classes are great for our children since they provide a fun change from their regular independent work while giving us the ability to outsource classes we don’t feel good about teaching.
Even those who don’t use any online classes at all often enjoy looking up (or find it necessary to look up) information online to clarify something we’re learning, add necessary details, find additional work for practicing a skill that needs fine tuning, or even to look up fun arts and crafts, printable games, charts or graphs, or other information to go along with lessons you’re doing in your homeschool. (We share lots of “how to homeschool” information and encouragement right here on Hip Homeschool Moms, but you’ll also find printables, games, activities, arts and crafts, and more on our sister site, Only Passionate Curiosity!)
Technology allows us access to information about places in the world we may never otherwise be able to visit.
We want our children to be curious about other people, cultures, events, cities, states, and countries. After all, there’s no better way to learn about another person, group, culture, or place than by actually meeting people or going there! Realistically, though, we can’t all go to every single place we’d like to go in one lifetime. (It would be nice if we could, though!)
So, knowing that we’ll never be able to visit every single person or place we’re curious about, what can we do? We can use technology to virtually visit the people and places we want to learn more about!
There are lots (and lots!) of photos, videos, literature, art, monuments, statues, and landmarks that are available online to help us learn more about ourselves, people in other places, and people in other cultures. For example, are you interested in learning more about how hot air ballooning became popular or how the huge Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque got started? No problem! You can find lots of information online on these topics. Or maybe you want to learn more about hydroponic gardening and how and where it’s being done. You can find information about that too. Want to learn more about another culture or group of people? Would you like to read literature written by a diverse group of authors? Learn a variety of styles of art? Find out how people live and work in other countries? You can do all of those things using technology!
No, it’s not exactly the same as visiting those areas and learning in a hands-0n way, but it’s certainly the second-best way of learning and experiencing more than you would otherwise be able to learn and experience!
There are many ways to use your smart phone to learn more as you travel or as you plan.
Sometimes when we travel, we have the entire trip mapped out and have all the details planned before we ever leave the house. My husband loves to plan trips and spends hours and hours planning them before our vacation even comes close to beginning! I, however, prefer to fly by the seat of my pants. (Which drives him crazy! But opposites attract, right?!) Whether you plan in advance or last minute, you can use smart phone apps and online searches to look up information about destinations, tours, events, and festivals that will happen in the near (or distant) future.
To be honest, it’s particularly nice to be able to take my technology with me and look up information as we’re traveling since I’m a last-minute planner. I love being able to look up information about local things that are going on in whatever area we’re visiting. Like my husband, I do see the value in planning ahead, but it’s also fun to do spontaneous things and to find local events that allow us to feel like we’re really getting to know the area we’re visiting.
There are apps that allow us to identify plants and animals while we’re out hiking at national parks, in our own yards, and wherever else we may be!
Did you know there are apps available that allow you to photograph plants and animals in order to identify and learn more about them? It’s so much fun to use these apps to learn more about the plants and animals that live in your own area, but it’s also lots of fun to use them when you’re traveling. (Be sure to take pictures from different angles if you can do so safely. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a picture from a certain angle in order to make identification easier.)
Yes, it’s a good idea to use books and printed nature guides when and if you can! But sometimes it’s just not practical to carry a nature guide with you when you’re hiking or rafting or participating in other outdoor events. But almost all of us carry our smart phones with us wherever we go, so apps are perfect for these occasions!
Technology allows us to stay in touch with people who are important to us.
Many of us have older parents or other relatives we want to stay in touch with while we travel. It’s important to us to be able to check on those we care for and make sure they’re doing well even when we’re not there. Others may have adult children or grandchildren we want to talk to while we’re traveling. And those who have older children and teens know that they definitely want to be able to talk to their friends even while we’re on vacation! And they want to be able to share their fun experiences through social media too. (To be honest, many adults enjoy sharing pictures and photos on social media just as much as children and teens do! It’s a fun and positive way to use social media in a world that doesn’t always feel fun and positive.)
Technology allows us to work or homeschool from home or from the road.
Another positive thing about using technology while we travel is that it gives us the ability to continue doing our work while we’re on the road. Whether you work from home or just need to get the regular monthly bills paid while you’re traveling, you can do that!
And it gives our children the ability to continue doing school work while they travel with us. There’s no need to miss math tutoring sessions, online classes, or ACT practice sessions when you’re on the road! My daughter even used her connectivity to attend youth group classes at our church while we were on vacation.
What about those who have slow internet or who are traveling and don’t have internet connectivity?
I’m thankful that I live in an area with good internet connectivity! That makes it easy for me to use technology for working from home, for my children’s homeschool needs, and even just for fun. The other owner of Hip Homeschool Moms, Trish, lives in a more rural area, though, so her internet service isn’t great. In fact, it’s often hard for her to use the internet for work while her children are using it for school.
And what about those who travel? For the last 6 years, Trish and I have taken homeschooling families on educational family field trips. We call them Homeschool Road Trips. (If you’re reading this during the time of Covid, you should know that we’ve had to put our trips on hold until things settle down. But we’ll be back with more Homeschool Road Trips as soon as we can!) We’ve also traveled around the country speaking and exhibiting at homeschool conferences in quite a few states for the past couple of years. While we were traveling, we often experienced problems getting work done, and our children weren’t even able to try to get school work done. We just didn’t have a good enough connection for that. (Not that our kids were super sad about it…haha!)
And if you do a lot of camping or travel to national parks, you’ll find that most of them don’t offer internet connectivity at all. Yes, it’s true that we all need a chance to enjoy some down time and just do great in-real-life activities with our families! We love that aspect of not having internet. But the truth is that most of us are accustomed to having internet and actually need it in order to do what needs to get done whether we’re at home or on the road.
There is an option available for you!
What can you do if your family needs to stay connected while you’re traveling? We’ve researched lots of mobile hotspot options and found one we love! In fact, Trish had the opportunity to try out Inseego’s MiFi® mobile hotspot in exchange for her honest review, and she loves it! Keep reading to find out more and to learn how you can enter for a chance to win. Three grand prize winners will each receive the device AND a year of service for free! Seven runners up will each receive a device without service.
Why do we love Inseego?
U.S. government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security use the Inseego MiFi hotspot because of its endpoint security. That means it’s nearly impossible to hack and it keeps all of your information secure.
Availability and Speed
A MiFi hotspot gives you your own separate internet connection. What does this mean? You won’t have to compete for space if you’re at a desination with limited wi-fi. This means your connection will be faster. And if you’re someplace that doesn’t offer an internet connection at all (or if you’re literally on the road traveling from one place to another and you need a connection), you can use your own hotspot!
This also means you can do things like attend online meetings, stream movies, play video games, share photos and videos, check email, and even keep in touch with folks on social media any time you want! And these MiFi hotspots provide 4G or 4G/5G connectivity – the fastest on the market.
The Inseego MiFi mobile hotspot allows up to 15 people to connect at the same time. If we’re at the campground and some friends need to connect too, we’ve got room!
Where can you get one?
The MiFi hotspot is available through Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T.
Want a chance to win your own Inseego MiFi hotspot and one year of service? (NOTE: This giveaway is closed.)
Love you guys! Thanks for the great giveaway!
I use technology in my homeschool for finding additional information to supplement textbooks and other materials. It would be great for virtual field trips these days.
Lots of great ideas! Thanks for the Giveaway. Much needed in current times.
I need this! Thanks for doing such an awesome giveaway!
Hoping to use this is the upcoming year of so many great online offerings!
Lots of great information! Thank you. In the middle of making the transition to homeschooling and it seems overwhelming at first lol.
Thanks for the chance to win the mifi
You always have amazing give aways- but I think this one is the best yet!
This would be amazing to have!! So helpful!
I couldn’t think of a more timely giveaway! With practically the whole world going virtual we need this now more than ever. Thank you for the opportunity!
This would be great! We use technology for EVERYTHING but living in the woods makes service iffy.
Thank you for this article! We love using technology to supplement our homeschool
Thanks for the giveaway!
Thank you for hosting this great giveaway! One of these would definitely come in handy!
We use technology every day to home school. When we can’t get a decent connection at home, we will drive to town and go to our library.
Thank you for sharing this option…i had never heard of it. Would love the opportunity to try it out!
We use technology as a big part of our homeschool. We do many online classes including Teaching Textbooks and Hillsdale College. Thank you for the opportunity of have our technology be more reliable this school year!
Thank you for this! We use technology in our homeschool all the time! A class, a documentary, verification of a fact…As my kids have gotten older, technology has been used more in our homeschool.
Would love to have a chance to win because we need it so badly. Thanks for giveaway!
Good info here – it’s great that there are so many technology options available to enhance the homeschool experience. We are doing online learning for the first time this year with our 7th grader.
Good info here – it’s great that there are so many technology options available to enhance the homeschool experience. We are doing online learning for the first time this year with our 7th grader. Thanks for hosting a giveaway!
So glad to hear about this option!
We are moving to a farm without internet access. This would be a huge blessing to our family.
Wonderful artcle. Technology is such a powerful tool. Thank you!
This sounds like a great product. It would be great to have increased wifi connection access, especially when many family members need it for schooling.
What a great giveaway!
We take outschool classes, watch crash course and other supplemental videos on YouTube, and do extra math practice when needed!
I use a ton of online resources for school including quite a few things from schoolhouse teachers.
This is a great giveaway. Technology is important these days.
This would be a lifesaver with 3 on zoom at one time!
With a husband working from home and 3 kids using various technology (chrome books, tablets, phones) for schooling this would be a necessary addition to our house. The kids use various websites for learning but also playing.
Such a great article!
This is an exciting giveaway to me because this is on my family’s school wish list!
We use technology a fair amount. My son is profoundly dyslexic so audio books for our text books is a huge benefit. Thank you for the giveaway.
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
What a cool opportunity! Love your blog!
This is great information and thanks for the chance to win.
Thank you for the great article!
Thank you for all the good info! I love using technology to help in all areas of my life!
As a homeschooling parent that lives Fulltime in an RV we struggle with internet.
With all that is going on we will be using more technology based learning in our homeschool.
I really need a great wifi in my home. My cable goes in and out with my cable provider. Cannot afford service appointment. This would be “PERFECT ” for both of my girls.
Thank you for all the great articles. This is a wonderful giveaway!
We would use it to research things, to be able to print out printables and worksheets and so that he can use ABC Mouse when we’re on the go.
Besides our homeschool curriculum we normally do, I use technology to find educational printables and educational shows for my boys.
We try to use technology as a supplement – only for when it is needed to look something up or watch specific videos. Try not to rely on it as the primary mode of instruction.
Thanks for the chance to win this! Awesome giveaway!
I’d use it for online schooling in the outdoors! A nice way to take a break. A friend took their kids out on a boat – with laptops – so in between some online learning, they could do some fishing! I’d love that kind of freedom!
This would make life so much easier!
We use technology at home to help our 2 high school boys with homework. The level they are at in some of the subjects makes it very difficult for me to lend guidance, especially with Calculus!
Great ideas! I plan on using technology to go on virtual field trips this year.
I use the old fashioned book method of teaching but before and after a test they use the computer for fact checking .
This is awesome. This device allows 5 more devices than our current hotspot.
We use lots of technology to make sure we cover all the learning styles in our house.
excellent adjunct for homeschooling. specialized lists, blogs and sites are very helpful. there are books available for download, sometimes out of print at some sites
Brand new to homeschooling this year and you have helped me so much already! AMAZING info and support! You rock!
Thank you, Heather!!!
This would be so amazing for us! Thank you for this giveaway.
What a great contest!
to keep up with the “distance learning” + all the other resources online
Thank you for all of the great information and for the giveaway opportunity! ❤️❤️❤️
Thanks for sharing information about this product. In the past, there have been multiple times where our family needed internet service while traveling to therapy / doctor appointments.
I use technology in homeschooling to obtain information from multiple sources to make sure my subject information is accurate.
Lots of researching
I would use this, so we can travel and still be able to connect to the Internet.
We use technology for school
I need this when I am camping. Great prize!!
great contest, thanks much!!
Most technology usage is done to supplement the curriculum or to use for specific research that is essential to complete a complex assignment. I think it is very important for kids to learn the value they gain from using technology for research, while at the same time teaching them that technology is a tool to be used when needed, and not a crutch to rely upon for everything. My biggest fear with an over-reliance on technology, to always provide you with an answer, is that it diminishes their ability to retain the information. A prime example of this is how few people can recite the phone number of close friends because they typically just press a single button to make that call. At some point that reliance becomes a hindrance to your development.
We use technology is almost everything we do. Computers and the internet as our number 1 tools.
to bettter display related lesson plans
Technology is a necessity for our homeschool, and even more so in these current times. Thank you for the giveaway!
I’ve got two kids in school. What an awesome giveaway. Thank you!
Thanks for the giveaway. This would be great to use for our long distance homeschool sessions with my grandson in another city.
This is such helpful information, especially with the need for virtual learning alternatives during the pandemic.
Thanks for the great insights you provide!
Great article. I like to use technology for what it does best. So I use it to a) supplement what I don’t teach well, b) show/do things I could never show/do at home, c) and assess objectively in constructive ways. In particular on that last item, I rarely see other parents trying to get some objective measures of how their kids are doing or how to teach effectively to their individual kids (e.g. a personalized education plan, basically). This is where diagnostic assessments for starters, and formative assessments regularly, come in really handy. Not only do they give me a great idea of how my kids need their education tailored to them, but they help me track how my kids are improving over time and whether they are keeping up with their peers.
I have 5 grand kids doing virtual schooling, so it’s 90% online using technology
these are great Ideas for home schoolers and I have great friends who home school their children thanks
We use it for research.
I am new to homeschooling this year and very greatful for technology!
I am learning how true this is! New homeschool/online school mommy of 5, who was trying to avoid it, but now realize how very helpful it is! Keeping a balance, and teaching them to moderate usage themselves will be important skills for them to develop in this digital age.
Help find school stuff, lessons, tests and my kids would have internet to do the school work that they need to do on the internet, I need reliable internet, my son is in college but he cant stay home hes in the dorms because we don’t have reliable internet he choose to do all his classes on line, to be safe😷
Use of technology in homeschooling is of the utmost importance. Researching and so much more is needed these days!
My kids use laptops and the wifi for school
When it comes to homeschooling, there is a time and place for technology. The internet and virtual classrooms are great resources, but children cannot learn with technology alone. … Using technology for research, interacting with other home school families, and occasional assignments or projects is fine. I think technology needs to be used in a responsible manner, and with technology comes great responsibility especially when it comes to homeschooling.
Thank you for this amazing opportunity.
Good luck to everyone and be safe in everything you do 🙂
I think we won!!! Will I receive a notification or something? I have not seen anything as of yet.
Hi Michelle! Emails have been sent out! 🙂