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We’re pretty conservative as far as our kids and technology go. As of yet, our kids don’t text or have Facebook accounts. We do have a family “kid phone” that a child who is going to be out-and-about can take with them, so that we can reach or they us. However, I have set my 12 and 14 year olds up with Gmail accounts. While close family members have their email addresses, the account is used mainly for school.
I like using email for school for a variety of reasons.
- If we’re studying a specific topic, rather than bookmarking a bunch of links to try and remember to share once we’re in the midst of a study, I can simply forward them to the kids to check out. Photos, videos, concerts, etc. are widely available on the web and are great study enrichments.
- I can send a link to a website with instructions to find specific information, study and write a couple paragraphs on a specific topic, or whatever.
- I can email a photo and ask the kids to “make five observations”, “make a prediction”, etc. This blog post gives some good ideas for using pictures in school. National Geographic’s Photo of the Day is a great resource. Paste the photo in an email, ask your child what he/she thinks is happening, then give the link for them to see how close they were to being correct.
- I make up my own worksheets and email them to the kids in an attached Word Document. That way they can type right into the document and print it out when finished. That way I’m not stuck trying to determine how much space to allow for the answers. The Corrie Ten Boom response sheet mentioned in an earlier post, is an example of a worksheet that I emailed to my daughter with instructions to, “please write a paragraph sharing your thoughts on this quote.”
- Emailing allows me to share specific information with the kids without printing out page after page.
- Sometimes I just send fun items like this link to what a song would sound like to someone who doesn’t speak English.
Another tool tool that I’ve found to be extremely useful in lesson planning is Boomerang Gmail. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails for a specific day. That way, I can have information sent one day, a worksheet the next and a video clip on yet another day.
As I was planning a recent study of Germany, I found a video clip I wanted Paige to watch, but I wanted her to have some background, first. Therefore, I set Boomerang to send this email on Thursday of the week we began our study. That way she had a few days to get a basic overview.
Watch the video clip, East Looks West. Write a paragraph or two detailing some of the difficulties Germany has faced in transitioning from communism to capitalism. http://www.learner.org/powerofplace/page4.html?pop=yes&pid=1929#
You can even schedule reminders to be sent to the kids (our yourself)!
I hope this gives you some ideas for using email in your homeschooling. Do you have some ways that you use email in your schooling? I’d love to hear.
Email and Boomerang work for me! To see more WFMW tips visit We Are That Family.