Puzzles and Your Preschooler

I was often a little bit puzzled by my preschooler, but that’s not what this is about. No, I’m talking puzzles. Little wooden or cardboard doodads that your preschooler plays with, that’s what I’m talking about. Puzzles and building toys like Legos are important for your child’s spatial development, and recognizing the shapes of objects in space is an important pre-reading skill. My preschooler was never all that keen on puzzles. She is not a particularly spatially-oriented child. Yet we did play with puzzles a little, and at five years old she has now discovered that she enjoys playing them … Continue reading

Fatherhood and Computers (A Brief Introduction)

I’m a citizen of the internet and as such I frequently come across interesting things online. I share these things with people who would also find them interesting. Most often my students are the people who would find my internet perusals valuable and they are subjected to the best of what I find. Oftentimes, since I’m currently teaching a film class, this involves innovative videos created by random individuals that I can use to demonstrate a particular concept in an entertaining way. My other hobby (addiction) is technology blogs. I’ve recently become a user and advocate of open source software. … Continue reading

Computer use and Rules

One big advantage that homeschoolers of today have is the computer. The many ways the computer can be used to homeschool are endless. You don’t need a computer to homeschool, but the use of one can make life so much easier. While I allow my child to play on the computer by himself whenever he wants, there are some guidelines that he must follow in order to continue to be allowed to play on the computer. When he wants to play on the internet though, that’s a whole new set of rules. The use of a computer to homeschool is … Continue reading

Do Computers Make Kids Dumb?

Yes, they do, at least according to a couple of researchers. The authors of the study are Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Woessmann of Munich University, and they conducted their tests way back in 2005. In the computing world, two years can be a very long time, but although the study is older, I think it is still pretty interesting. The study measured the performance of 100,000 pupils in 31 countries around the world and used the PISA, an international test geared for industrialized countries, to measure such things as analytical ability and general literacy. Students tested were all 15 years … Continue reading

Teaching Children Ergonomics

In some previous articles, I have discussed the controversy over teaching computer skills to young children. Most schools now have computer laborites and offer computer classes to children beginning in kindergarten. One concern brought up by technology hesitates, is the children’s health. One school in Redmond, Washington has decided that learning the basic keystrokes and mouse functions are not the only important concepts when it comes to technology. The school also teaches ergonomics. Ergonomics is a Greek word that relates work to the person. The concept of ergonomics is to help the user or worker learn to be comfortable and … Continue reading

Thoughts to Ponder Before Teaching Your Child Computer Skills

There has been some controversy about children and the use of computers. While some believe that it is important to teach young children how to use a computer, others feel that computer skills should not be taught until children are older. There are some things that you should consider before teaching your child how to use a computer. Not all children are ready for sit down activities that require longer attention spans. Before you get started, think about some of the following: How ready is your child to use a computer? Is your child interested when you are using the … Continue reading

How Early Should We Teach Computer Skills?

Today’s world is full of technology. Many stores absolutely cannot function if the power is off. Customers at Wal-Mart cannot even open the door without electricity. The future is likely full of more computers and technology to come. At school, I have a computer center. I rarely have to instruct students on how to operate the computer. They usually figure out the games well before I do. Children are learning about technology at very early ages. The Wall Street Journal predicts that almost all preschools are equipped with computers for student use. Ten years ago the number was only about … Continue reading

Literacy Series: A Changing Definition, A Greater Need for Comprehension

Just what exactly is the definition of literacy? Traditionally, it has been considered to be the ability to read, write, and use language. However, as time has passed, that definition has changed to encompass a more well-rounded understanding of language, to communicate and to comprehend. UNESCO said: “Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society.” … Continue reading

How a Good Teacher Inspires Literacy

I recently had the chance to show my mother all the joy and wonder that can be discovered on Amazon.com. Without a doubt one of my favorite Internet sites, I was surprised to find that Mom didn’t know much about it. “I’ve been trying to find a book,” she said. Apparently this search had been going on for some time with no success. We sat down at the computer and after tapping a few keys, we found it — “The Wheel on the School” by DeJong. “My fifth grade teacher read this to us in class,” Mom reminisced. “I’ve always … Continue reading

Calendar of Strange Holidays and Other Events for Scrapbooking In January

Imagine the strange and jazzy layouts you can make celebrating some of these wild, wacky and unusual holidays. These have been collected and compiled from various sources over the years of my teaching and we celebrated many of them in the classroom. Celebrate them with your children and family and create fun and wacky layouts! The Month of January Eye Care Month National Hobby Month National Soup Month National Thank You Month Oatmeal Month National Staying Healthy Month March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month Whale Watching Month National Egg Month First Week Silent Record Week Braille Literacy Week Universal … Continue reading