Guest Blogger: Homeschooling In the Digital Age
Angie Knutson is the creator of an insanely popular blog “My Four Monkeys” a product review site for moms and dads. Angie has (you guessed it) four kids which she home-schools. Her blog chronicles the life of a home school while offering up tips and suggestions for other like minded parents. She also offers tons of product reviews which often lead to pretty cool and valuable discounts or give-aways. In this week’s guest blogger post, she details how important the internet has become to her ability to teach her kids, and takes us inside a world we don’t really know much about…the world of homeschooling.
Homeschooling is no walk in the park. But using the resources available to you will make the process easier and more fulfilling. One of those resources that is a must with homeschooling is the internet. There are so many helps, tips and tricks right at your fingertips. The internet and blogging in particular have helped me in so many ways, including providing support, encouragement, educational material, supplies and homeschooling tools, as well as creating a place to brag on our progress and ask for help or ideas when we need it.
We’ve been homeschooling for six years, starting with preschool, and I now have a fifth grader, a first grader, and a kindergartener. Our homeschooling days can be chaotic at times and when I’m at my wits end, I turn to the one place where I know I can find encouragement, support, and help….. our online homeschooling community. There are several different online homeschooling groups or communities. Some consist of homeschoolers who live in the same area, others are groups of homeschoolers that utilize the same curriculum, and still others are groups that have a certain common bond like homeschooling grandparents. There’s something for everyone and many homeschooling parents belong to more than just one online homeschooling community. Groups such as these are invaluable because homeschooling is a “learn as you go” process, and there is always a group of homeschoolers that has experience and wisdom to pass along to those just starting out. Whether it’s sharing tips on the best inexpensive field trip options in your area, offering up slightly used books and learning games, or creating a list of the pros and cons of a particular curriculum, the online homeschooling communities are a much needed support for homeschoolers.
Often when we’re trying out a particular curriculum, I will find that a particular part or subject in the curriculum is not working well with one of my children. All children learn differently and some curriculum may present the information in a way that works well for one child, but not another. This is where the homeschooling websites and blogs come into play. Homeschoolers are very good about posting online reviews of their curriculum choices. If we’ve tried something and it worked fantastically, or if it was not user friendly, you can guarantee we’ve posted about it somewhere. Doing a simple search for a particular homeschooling curriculum or tool that you are considering buying can bring up several different websites or blogs where a review has been posted. Many homeschoolers who have a blog will post the review directly on their blog as well as the website they purchased it from. Almost all homeschooling websites that sell curriculum have reviews posted on their sites as well. This is very helpful when trying to determine what curriculum will be best not only for you but for your child.
These are just a few of the ways that the internet and online world can be extremely helpful to homeschoolers. There is also a vast network of free homeschooling resources such as lesson plans and printable worksheets. Finding these resources are as easy as a simple online search and most homeschoolers are great at offering their help if you have any questions. I probably would still be homeschooling with or without this large support network online, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be near as joyful in my teaching. Having this online community of encouragement and resources has been vital to the success of our family’s homeschooling endeavors
Check out Angie’s Blog at http://www.myfourmonkeys.com