For many parents, screen time is a touchy subject. After all, we’ve all seen the terrible effects too much tablet time can have on our kids. However, it is important to recognize that these devices can also prove very useful as educational tools. The trick is using the tool properly, a practice that is difficult to master and even more difficult to maintain. That said, if you can find a tablet groove that works for you family, you will find yourself with an amazing window to the world that can seriously enhance your child’s education.
So how can you use a tablet to your advantage? Well, here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks.
Skip the Browsing
The internet, Netflix, and app stores all have one thing in common; endless possibilities. For kids, this often means hours of mindless browsing. It also means your young students could potentially come across some things they may not be ready to see.
The best way to avoid this is to do the searching yourself. Ask other homeschooling parents, run Google searches, and keep your child’s interests in mind. Find the kinds of apps you’d like your kids to use and download them. Find cool Youtube channels and sit and watch with your child. Seek out Netflix movies and documentaries that tie into your curriculum and offer that option specifically. The key here is to be involved in your child’s online world and provide resources you know they will enjoy and benefit from.
Sometimes kids want to have some say in what they use their devices for. This is perfectly understandable, and there is no reason why they can’t have some choices. In these cases, you may want to provide a list of acceptable apps, websites, and videos. This give your child the freedom of choice, but still gives you some control over what they are seeing and doing during their screen time.
Some of the best moments for homeschooling parents come when a lightbulb goes off in their child’s head. The best way to get those moments is to present connections for your student.
For instance, if you recently watched a documentary about Ireland, you might also read a book or two about Ireland, go to an Irish dance or music class or event, and make Irish soda bread. You could use screen time to enhance this experience by listening to Irish music, learning to say some things in Gaelic, or looking at photos of Ireland.
These kinds of connections will help your student understand how their newfound knowledge fits into the bigger picture. It will also help make their experiences memorable and instill in them a love of learning. You can definitely use the tablet to your advantage when trying to introduce these kinds of connections, making it a fabulous educational tool in this respect.
If you find that the tablet seems to be taking over your home, if might be time to offer your children some alternative ways of entertaining themselves, observing the world, and gathering information. The goal is to remove the tablet from your child’s hands and replace it with other types of tools.
However, instead of physically removing the tablet, try simply making it known that other learning opportunities are available. This might mean offering a trip to the library, setting up a craft at the table, inviting the child to work in the garden, or suggesting a tea party in the dining room. You might be surprised just how easy it is to pull your child away from the screen and engage them in other things, leaving the tablet for another learning experience on another day.
Need an amazing alternative to screentime to offer your child on a regular basis? Why not sign up for one of the amazing classes at The Loop? With so many creative activities to choose from, you are sure to find one that your child will love. Who knows? You may even be able to tie their tablet time experiences to what they learn in class, making the whole situation a perfect fit.