I have listed below 7 benefits of homeschooling with netbooks.
The desktop computer that my children had been using for schoolwork recently died. Instead of replacing the computer, we decided to get a pair of Netbooks, one for each of the older kids.
I expected the Netbooks to replace the computer, but they've done so much more than that. I'm beginning to wonder why we didn't get Netbooks for homeschooling long before now.
1. The kids are learning more about computers. Since the computers belong to each of my kids, they have both taken an intense interest in learning about them. Taking advantage of this interest, my husband required both children to look through the owner's manual for the computers before they messed around with them. After they read the manuals, they quickly learned their way around the system, changing preferences as desired, and customizing their Netbooks to match their personalities.
Of course, since the computers are PCs, the kids have also had to learn about computer viruses and how to avoid them. This is, unfortunately, a much-needed skill.
2. They are writing more — a whole lot more. Since the computers are portable, both kids have been writing a lot more than previously. They're on their computers a lot, but 95% of that time they spend writing on their stories.
My son has been churning out over 3,000 words a day on his Netbook! This would never have happened with our old desktop computer. He had already fallen in love with writing prior to getting the Netbook, but he wasn't writing on a regular basis. Getting the Netbook made writing so much easier for him; it has been a huge boost to his writing habit.
3. Schoolwork on the computer can be done in the car. Jerah uses the computer-based math program Teaching Textbooks, and she's been known to do her lesson in the car on the way to our various out-of-the-house activities. Talk about convenient. Next year we will be adding two other courses that are computer-based, so the Netbooks will come in especially handy then.
4. We have internet access on the couch. We do a lot of our schoolwork on the couch, so when we're reading science or history, and we run across something that we want more information about, the kids look it up on their Netbooks right there instead of us having to trudge to the other room to look it up on my desktop. The convenience is so nice.
For internet protection, we use K9 Web Protection. It allows us to set limits on the sites the kids can view as well as completely turn off access at certain times (such as after bedtime). We're also able to view the kids' browsing history.
5. They are learning responsibility. If the kids break their computers due to negligence, we won't replace them. As such, they are each learning to be more careful. They're having to think ahead about what might happen if they put their computers down in a certain place. So far we've had no major catastrophes.
6. Jaden is learning a little programming. He has a certain computer game he loves to play, and he has customized a mod for it on his own. He had to do some internet research to figure out how to do it, but he was successful.
7. There's no more arguing about whose turn it is on the computer. They can each do their schoolwork when they want to, without having to wait for the other person to get off.
I can't tell you how pleased I am with the Netbooks. Even thought they're not Macs (which would have been my preference), they have exceeded my expectations. Homeschooling has been made so much easier since having them.
The benefits of homeschooling with netbooks have made a tremendous difference in our childre and their homework.
NOTE: The actual Netbook model we purchased was the Asus Eee PC 1001P-M, with Windows 7 installed (better for virus protection). They were very reasonably priced. Buying two of them, along with an external DVD drive and two cases, was cheaper than replacing our desktop computer.
Sounds like a great idea. I was reading where most netbooks don't have a cd/dvd…does this one? Mine have a few history games they like to play and our laptops are getting old and outdated…this would be a great option to move to! Thanks!
@Charlene, Actually, I mistyped in my post. I said we purchased an external harddrive. We actually purchased an external DVD drive because the Netbooks do not come with DVD drives. It only cost $59 and it's small enough to put in the computer case along with the Netbook. Definitely worth the money, especially since the Netbooks only cost $279.
I'm inspired! I saw netbooks in Target and, since I am technologically inept, I had no idea how wonderfully well they would be for homeschooling. Thanks for the informative post.
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Jennifer S says
Joy – could you tell me what the difference is between a regular laptop and a netbook? This is a GREAT idea for my kids since our desktop is actually a laptop with a dead screen hooked up to a monitor and external mouse.
Nice post. I have been contemplating this very thing. We have one laptop that is used by 3 (sometimes 4) people and it is a stretch! It is officially 'my' laptop but all can use it. However, and this may sound great but it's not so as I will tell in a second, it is a large screen laptop. It is easy to transport (it weighs surprisingly little) but the width of it makes it a bit awkward at times. Also our internet connection is currently in the kitchen, which is small…not enough room for more than two people! If someone needs the computer for school (or otherwise) other people have to vacate the area.
I almost bought one netbook a few months ago…now I see that I should have!! Maybe the next great sale I will buy two! 🙂
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Amber @ Classic Housewife says
I know what you mean! We got a laptop for my oldest to do school on at the beginning of this school year. The majority of her curriculum this year is computer based. And we also have a lot of educational cd roms for the younger two. I love that when we travel to my mom's house, which we do every 2 or 3 months, we can take it with us if we need to. I like that she can get her school done in any room of the house. And we've used the internet access thing, too, when we got the curiosity to look up more on a topic that she was learning in one of her lessons. We got it on sale, but I still feel like we're spoiling her. ;0) However, learning to work on computers is an important thing to learn, too!
Laura O says
If Jayden is enjoying programming, he might like creating his own games. Our family reviewed an online tutorial product this past fall (http://daybydayinourworld.blogspot.com/2009/12/tos-crew-review-tektoma.html) that uses software you can get for free online. The tutorials were nice for getting them started using the free edition of Game Maker. Now my guys want to upgrade to the paid copy of the software to have more flexibility.
I'm hoping to get a laptop for the boys to share next year, but doubt we'll get one for each of them to use. I just know that as they get older the demand for computer time seems to go up.
Now I'm off to check out that K9 web protection. I need something to keep my addicted 6 year old from cruising the web playing RPG games when someone forgets to log off the computer after use.
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Thank you so much for posting about this. We never would have considered doing this for our older children had you not planted the seed. After much thought, discussion and research we decided to let our oldest two buy netbooks for themselves. We even decided to buy the same one that you did. We hadn't heard of Asus before, but found that their products get great reviews. Mom and Dad did chip in and buy bags for them. I'm so glad they decided to spend their money on something useful instead of wasting it on toys that they lose interest in quickly and then clutter up the house.
I just found your website and I love it…especially the easier ways to do multiplication and division. Yeehaw!
I too, use Teaching Textbooks math and am interested in purchasing netbooks. I have been looking around at different brands for a couple of months, and am clueless–so clueless that we haven't been using our TT math program (TT told me if you switch computers, all of the info is lost and the kids will have to start over…so I'm waiting to start this year's TT math till we purchase our netbooks).
What netbook brands do you have, where did u buy them, and what/where with the external DVD drives, too? Thanks!
@Cindy, We purchased Asus netbooks with Windows 7 installed from Microcenter. For the DVD drive, we purchased an LG Portable DVD drive, also from Microcenter.
Amy Schmidgall says
Thank you so much for your aticle about the netbooks. We have 5 children and homeschool We just found out that one of our sons has a learning disability and that he has a higher than average need for visual learning so I am considering getting a netbook for him and because I have 3 all in the same grade I would have to buy 3 at a time. Your article was very helpful and I appreciate you sharing! Blessing to you and your family.