My kid accidentally sent out a raw version of this I had barley started on so sorry about that if you got it but…. This will be my first official blog post….Hopeful it doesn’t completely suck right? LOL!
Using apps as educational aids…. A topic that doesn’t seem to have a gray area, it seems parents either love it or hate it. I’ll admit I was a parent that hated the idea for a long time. When we decided to homeschool we had concerns about how to keep our child engaged, what materials to use, etc. My husbands solution was to use apps, at least for some of it, but I wouldn’t hear of it, I didn’t even want to discuss it. I can definitely be stubborn, but spoiler alert, I caved eventually. We had let her play games here and there, puzzles for babies mostly but never for very long and we didn’t start that until she was at least using full sentences and taking a real interest in the stuff. Again not something I was thrilled about but we try very hard to compromise when it comes to our children and it was something my husband wanted to do for her. I still wasn’t fully on bored with incorporating apps into our curriculum.
I blame my upbringing for my immediate hesitation. If your childhood was anything like mine and my friends your parents didn’t lean on or really agree with the use of the gadgets and tech as educational aids. My mother never bothered to learn anything about any of it, still to this day she can’t even navigate the Google play store. My father loved it, but not because he saw the educational applications and amazing helpful advancements it could bring, but because his video game graphics were improving, he didn’t even bother to include his children in that excitement let alone try to help us learn how to use it. As long as he understood he was good. My grandmother (who really raised me) was basically annoyed by all of it until I hit about highschool level, and even then she didn’t understand why the school had implicated a typing class because to her this stuff wasn’t important to learn. It was a nothing more than a fad in her opinion and she wasn’t having it. I know it’s because of her words in my head about how she lived just fine without all of this “crap” that my first instinct was to shut down the idea of apps. My first thought was the same as hers, “I survived my childhood without this crap.” While that’s true, it doesn’t mean it should continue to be that way.
I, like many of you, come from a generation of limited to no tech in the house. Playing outside not on a phone, game system, or tablet. If I wanted/needed info it was found in a book or by asking the nearest adult and assuming they knew everything because there was no Gooogle to correct them. Naturally since that’s how I was raised, I held tight to that way of thinking. Old habits die hard, can’t teach an old dog new ticks, all that…. But my husband is all about moving forward and everything tech, he can’t get enough of the stuff. After trying and failing to get my youngest to pay attention to a lesson we had been on for weeks, my husband once again brought up the apps. At this point I was so frustrated I finally sat down and listen to what he had to say…..
“Technology isn’t stopping. It’s growing at a rapid rate. Think back to when we were kids and what we had, then look at what’s available now to our children. Think about how short of a time that really was for things to change so much.” And he was right, I don’t like saying that lol, but he was right. We must consider Moore’s law. “The doubling of computer possessing speed every 18 months, is just one manifestation of the greater trend that all technological change occurs at an exponential rate.” So many of our parents didn’t condone the use of the tech we had available and a lot us fell behind on it. So many jobs have been lost because so many people couldn’t keep up with the change of introducing new OS and programs and while I agree that’s not fair, it’s unfortunately not changing. Most of our children are way ahead of us on this stuff now, typing class in school is a thing of the past, it’s no longer needed. Kids are typing at lightning speed almost imminently after being introduced to a keyboard. So many of their future carers will depend on them knowing how to use the latest OS, programs, gadgets, etc. all the crap a lot of us are annoyed by and want nothing to do with. “Why not give the kids a head start?” My husband said “Let them explore apps and tech while safely being monitored at home.” And again he was right. It doesn’t have to be the mind numbing crap like watching other kids play video games when you have 500 games they could play themselves, but maybe let them play the educational apps. I finally had to ask myself…. “Is it so bad to allow them to use the tech if it really will help further their education and give them a possible jump on their future?” After all that’s why we started schooling much sooner than pretty much anyone we know, we wanted our children to have a jump start, an advantage so to speak. So why was I so hesitant to take advantage of something that could further our goal?
I finally broke down, I researched a ton of apps, found a few I liked and started my youngest on them. In under a week she not only grasped what we had been struggling with but moved herself ahead without being asked. She was learning so well and so fast I could barley keep up with her, but isn’t that a good thing? Don’t we want our children to be better than us? I know I do. My youngest is still learning at a rapid pace, doing 2nd grade math at age 4, and I started my middle child on an app recently as well because he was falling behind in public school, it has greatly helped him also. I really wish I had done this sooner and regret not doing it for my oldest. I recently discovered she can navigate her was through any social media but has no idea how to do a basic link share, (something my youngest was able to teach herself to do because of the apps) and shes about to graduate and go off to college. We are working on a life skills list I’ll talk about later, but tech catch up is on it!
We might not like it but this crap is the future. Being a freaking YouTuber is a real job now. You can make money talking crap and putting on dumb skits for all the world to see, or sitting on your a$$ playing video games while other kids sit on their a$$ watching you play a game they freaking own and could be playing themselves. Google how much money PewDiePie made in one year, it’s insane. If you don’t know who he is…. He’s a YouTuber that plays video games and yells stupid things at the TV while he plays. I find the kid annoying as hell and pointless, but my son and husband watch him. His net-worth is around $30 million. My grandmother wouldn’t believe this crap if I told her, I couldn’t believe it. It’s a weird f#@%ing world people, but it’s the only one we have and we have to learn to deal with it. This is our new reality, and sheltering our children from it will only hold them back. It’s not just YouTube, everything is “going digital” so to speak. I pay all my bills and I order 90% of my household things online now. You can now order delivery from almost every single fast food company right from an app on your phone or place the order so it’s ready and waiting when you go to pick it up. This is the new way of the world and it’s not slowing down. We might not all like it but we gotta admit it’s happening. I’m not saying give your kids electronics and let them run wild but maybe don’t be so quick to shoot the idea down, and don’t judge those of us that use the tech and apps and everything else, because there’s a very real chance our kids will be the ones running the world soon…. Lord help us all right?
I hope to hell my kids aren’t future YouTubers, honestly I really do, but either way I want them to have the skills to do that or anything else they choose, and because I stopped limiting their learning resources I think they will have a better chance for more opportunities later in life. I don’t want to be the reason they get to college and are behind everyone else on a PC, or passed over for jobs because they can’t type or have no idea how to work whatever new gadget and OS is available then. As parents and teachers isn’t it our duty to make sure our children are fully prepared for the world we are going to send them in to? Like it or not, apps, tech, gadgets, PC’s , all of it is a big part of that world and will only keep advancing why not let our children advance with it. I promise you they won’t go blind if you give them a little screen time here and there and they might surprise you with what they take away from the experience.
We use apps regularly now, both fun and educational. (The fun ones have to be earned.) Typically we don’t fully rely on the apps but we actually just did a week of app only work as kind of a reward for the kids doing so well recently. I can see us doing a week like that again at some point, it did go very well, everyone learned a lot, and we were very pleased with the end of week results! I do have to admit the apps have been such a great help! I really wish I wasn’t so far behind when I started adding it to the curriculum, it took a lot for me to get where I am now with it all, and I still struggle at time with a lot of tech style things. I don’t want that for my children, and in today’s world they really can’t afford to be as behind as I was. I’m thankful my husband stayed up to date with everything. I’m especially glad I was more up to speed on everything when the quarantine hit and we really started to rely more on apps and the internet to get the things we need rather than going out.
Like it or not, I think it’s time we all admit the world is forever changing and technology is only going to keep growing. We have to start growing with it, if not for ourselves, then for our children.
Find app recommendations and more on the new site and in the group, links below. Stay tuned for new work pack uploads soon and check the site for new uploads recently! Have a great day and enjoy!