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What do you use to teach your kids computer skills, etc?

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What do you use to teach your children computer skills, internet safety, etc.


I am in search of a free program(s) for my dd who will be 11 soon.


I guess this is my basic shopping list. 

She needs a good overview of what a computer is,

basic computer usage, (how to make a folder, how to move files)

internet safety,

word processing (she is already using Word by trial and error),

typing is being covered with Mavis Beacon so we don't need help there,

how to use Paint,

how to use Word,

and I am open to any other suggestions of topics she should study.




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I decided to use: http://www.jegsworks.com/lessons/lessonintro.htm  It is all online and she will be able to do this herself.  We are using this as an elective course for her.


I also will be using.http://www.gcflearnfree.org/word2010/1  Which will give her a good overview of Microsoft Word.


I think a few things will be over her head at this point, but it won't be bad for her to at least read through them and see what she retains.  There is a quiz after each unit and I'll let her open book the quizzes.  She flies through all her other subjects so I'm not worried about overwhelming her.  If we find it is too much work, I'll slow it down.


I figured everything out on my excel planner and broke it down into 34 weeks worth of lessons. 

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There aren't many things in which I'm in direct opposition to TWTM. But I do feel that having a curriculum or program for computing skills is unnecessary and possibly detrimental for today's kids.


Many of us either didn't use computers when we were little kids, or at least they were relatively new. Even the youngest members would have had parents and teachers who didn't grow up with computers. Hence lots of "Word Processing for Dummies" type texts, lessons with step by step instructions for MS Excel etc. In contrast, for our kids, using a computer isn't much more of a mystery than using a pencil or ruler. It's a bit more complex, sure, but it can still be easily picked up in the course of everyday use. Seriously - my 5yo knows how to get onto YouTube and search for a song she wants to hear (don't worry, she's not allowed to do this without me watching). I've never told her this; she just watched everyone else and picked it up. My 10yo is special needs and behind for his age, but he regularly teaches me to do new things on my laptop and smartphone. As Regentrude said, all you need to do is give your kid access to what they need to learn, and let them have at it. It's actually better for them to develop what my IT professional hubby calls "a hacker mentality", meaning that they figure it out by using it, because that way they end up with general IT literacy instead of just learning the program covered in the course (which will be superseded by newer versions or different programs before they've finished school anyway).


There are two things that are, IMHO,  super important to teach:

Critical thinking and how to evaluate sources (you're teaching that anyway, right?) so your kid doesn't end up being one of those who hands in undergrad research papers full of references to Wikipedia.

And of course Online Safety, AKA the nasty things that could happen if you give out your personal details online and all that. You're dead right about needing to teach that. In fact, teach it over and over again instead of using time to show her how to move folders around the desktop, because honestly, she will figure that out herself.

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