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madteaparty

Internet use and the homeschooler. Your experience/wisdom?

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I’m more thinking philosophically here as my kids are both away. The advice given is to keep internet off/literally turned off during school time. I know some schools (not my local public) and certainly college classes police this by not permitting phones/laptops to be open, etc.  

But how do you prevent the leak of internet time into your homeschool, when at least for high schoolers, several classes are outsourced to an online provider? 

I guess the question here is technical and I’m hoping people can share technical advice. The more moral discussion of self-discipline, rules and consequences,  etc is less helpful 🙂 I think this is a unique homeschooling problem and I somehow do not see much spoken/written about it. 

 

Edited by madteaparty

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If you're asking if we turn the router off during school hours, the answer is no. I can't homeschool without facebook and Hive breaks LOL, let alone ask my kids to do school without Internet. And we don't outsource to online providers, they just need to be online for various research and to look up definitions and to google how to cite a source, etc. etc. If they fritter away their time by doing other stuff online when they are supposed to be doing school, there are natural consequences to that - namely that school takes longer to finish. But I'm not sure if that's what you're asking.

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3 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

I think this is a unique homeschooling problem and I somehow do not see much spoken/written about it. 

madteaparty:

I fear that the problem is not unique to homeschoolers, that it plagues all teens.

For students today, the temptations and distractions are staggering — and they're too young and naive to understand the perils.

Also, these distractions come at key formative period for our students' minds (see this article my wife and I wrote: The Development of Adolescent Minds). At this age, concentration and deep engagement with every subject in the curriculum are vital.

One thing we did with our students was restrict computer use to the kitchen table. While I think such measures help, I'm afraid the problem is here to stay. — When I think back on my own adolescence, I have no illusions: I would have been a total sucker for the distractions of the Internet and social media.

—Roy Speed

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As far as public schools — I think they have internet access on classroom computers but a lot of websites are blocked, or only a few websites are allowed.  

Are you thinking more about blocking websites like that?  I think sometimes it’s like — you have internet access but only for Khan Academy in the math classroom.  

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15 minutes ago, Lecka said:

As far as public schools — I think they have internet access on classroom computers but a lot of websites are blocked, or only a few websites are allowed.  

Are you thinking more about blocking websites like that?  I think sometimes it’s like — you have internet access but only for Khan Academy in the math classroom.  

Our public school is no longer restricting phones in the classroom from what I’m told. Anyway, I’m not super concerned with public schools, I was making the point that this is an issue that is uniquely challenging to homeschoolers: if I had a kid in a private or dual enrollment, I could just turn internet off when they do homework. But not practical when almost everything except for the reading for a given class is online. Even math has videos, etc.

i was curious how people were dealing: so far we have natural consequences of school work taking longer and computer being used at the kitchen table only. 

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We don't have a specific policy for internet use during school time in our home as we use the internet a lot for looking up things, watching video clips, etc. but my son's computer is setup with parental controls on a white list basis, meaning that only applications and websites I approve can be accessed. I could setup time limits and off limits hours if I wanted to but I haven't had the need to. This is a second hand Windows PC using the built in Windows parental controls. I'm sure Macs have something similar I just have more experience with Windows. It's a pain in the butt for me sometimes when I install something new or want to use a website that I haven't previously approved but it just takes a few minutes to go in and white list it.

We also keep our computer in a public area of the house, no phones, tablets or laptops in the bedrooms and start explaining from a young age that the internet is like having a drive through window in our house and that anyone can pretend to be anyone or anything on the internet and that stranger danger on the internet is just as real as stranger danger in any public setting and that's why we keep computers in the public areas of our home and not in bedrooms. It also helps that I don't care for online classes that require being logged in at a particular time and I have no problem taking away computer privileges, even for school work, and making them do the work by hand in the most boring way possible for breaking our family rules on computer use. ;-)

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7 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

We don't have a specific policy for internet use during school time in our home as we use the internet a lot for looking up things, watching video clips, etc. but my son's computer is setup with parental controls on a white list basis, meaning that only applications and websites I approve can be accessed. I could setup time limits and off limits hours if I wanted to but I haven't had the need to. This is a second hand Windows PC using the built in Windows parental controls. I'm sure Macs have something similar I just have more experience with Windows. It's a pain in the butt for me sometimes when I install something new or want to use a website that I haven't previously approved but it just takes a few minutes to go in and white list it.

Can you share a bit more on how you do this? I like the idea of a school laptop that’s internet dark except the 5 websites needed for school, but DH seems to think this would cause functionality issues with the websites we do need. I also think Derek Owens videos are linked on his website but hosted on YouTube, so that’s another wrinkle.

we have gaming computers and the like which only have that purpose so the idea of a school computer makes sense. We also don’t allow phones in bedrooms etc  

Edited by madteaparty
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I set up a block on youtube because I realized one of my kids was getting distracted by it. She knew it was a problem and thanked me for blocking it. I use Qustodio. I'm not sure how good it is (I'm sure someone who knew how to hack could get around it). Qustodio also lets me know about things like social networking sites that try to access the computer (which shows me that Facebook is tracking everyone everywhere even though none of us has a FB account.)

You might only let one computer in the house access YouTube. I found that blocking it on laptops dealt with about 90% of problems. If they can only watch youtube on the main computer in the school room, they aren't tempted to follow bizarre rabbit trails. 

Emily

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15 minutes ago, EmilyGF said:

I set up a block on youtube because I realized one of my kids was getting distracted by it. She knew it was a problem and thanked me for blocking it. I use Qustodio. I'm not sure how good it is (I'm sure someone who knew how to hack could get around it). Qustodio also lets me know about things like social networking sites that try to access the computer (which shows me that Facebook is tracking everyone everywhere even though none of us has a FB account.)

You might only let one computer in the house access YouTube. I found that blocking it on laptops dealt with about 90% of problems. If they can only watch youtube on the main computer in the school room, they aren't tempted to follow bizarre rabbit trails. 

Emily

But on qustodio you have to go in and specify blocked website by website. So I have to go in and do YouTube, twitch, discord, instagram, whatever? (We don’t have a problem with all these websites, I’m just using as example as others do). Is there a way on qustodio or any other method to do a “nothing except: x, y, z” website” rule? We will have a computer in the house that accesses YouTube bc DS has a channel I know and approve of 🙂 but just like we have gaming computers which are for nothing but gaming so it’s transparent what you’re doing if you’re on one (DH and DS play together ❤️) I also think I want a dedicated school computer. 

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Sigh

This is hard and a bit child specific.  We learned a lot from our firstborn.

The problem with the online classes is that if you do parental block it can block access to some of the videos needed for the class.  Honestly, the only way around that was for me to supervise all work in those classes (so all class time and then I would turn off parental controls a supervise at other times if needed.) It was tedious.  Actually, that child could only work on a computer that was facing me at any time.  I spent a lot of time on my couch.  Yes, I hated it and felt trapped and angry at the internet.

My second child is more trustworthy/less distractable/addicted in this area and we've worked out our systems.  I do less supervising. Next ds starts online classes this year so we'll see.

So--our systems:

No online work anywhere but living room/dining room.ever

We have a tether router and I can turn on and off each device in our home at will.  The kids do not have phones or data plans.  My dd with a kindle works over the internet, so that is turned off except during our hour of internet time (yes, really--other than school, they just get an hour--for the most part--see below).

We have Qostodio set up on all devices so I now don't supervise ds and dd at all times during "regular" work.  I do turn it off as needed for certain videos.

DD used to have a no social media time rule during the school day (mostly, for her, bc of a toxic friend situation)--for ds1 it was the distraction.  Now she is 16 and I allow her to "text" via groupme and skype and gmail during the school day as long as she does not "abuse" the priviledge and as long as she keeps handling her life/school work as well as she is.  (Pinterest, etc is only for the one hour I mentioned above.)

Ds2 is allowed to gmail text his friend, e-mail (and next school year group me) during the school day as long as he doesn't overuse.  I kick him off more than dd bc he's younger.

They get an hour of "free" internet time a day--usually at 5 and I usually make sure school work is done or there's a plan (to complete after dinner.)

I will relax all this at some point during senior year as the child is able to handle it.

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4 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

But on qustodio you have to go in and specify blocked website by website. So I have to go in and do YouTube, twitch, discord, instagram, whatever? (We don’t have a problem with all these websites, I’m just using as example as others do). Is there a way on qustodio or any other method to do a “nothing except: x, y, z” website” rule? We will have a computer in the house that accesses YouTube bc DS has a channel I know and approve of 🙂 but just like we have gaming computers which are for nothing but gaming so it’s transparent what you’re doing if you’re on one (DH and DS play together ❤️) I also think I want a dedicated school computer. 

My dh handles it, but I'm pretty sure that you can  handle it by approving each website (so all others are blocked).  Certain youtube videos do get blocked on ours (even ones that are fine) so I take qustodio off for a set amount of time and supervise if need be.

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40 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

Can you share a bit more on how you do this? I like the idea of a school laptop that’s internet dark except the 5 websites needed for school, but DH seems to think this would cause functionality issues with the websites we do need. I also think Derek Owens videos are linked on his website but hosted on YouTube, so that’s another wrinkle.

we have gaming computers and the like which only have that purpose so the idea of a school computer makes sense. We also don’t allow phones in bedrooms etc  

I'm working on putting something together because it occurred to me that I don't think I've seen a full tutorial. I used to be Windows certified about 10 years ago and even though I'm not certified anymore (because it costs too much) I still know a lot about the windows version I run on all my computers (Windows 7). I know some about Windows 10, enough that I know I don't want to run it on my computers lol but if you want to know how to do it on Windows 10, I might not be much help.

Your dh is not wrong, it can cause functionality issues to lock down access on a computer, but that is the whole point. If you want fine grain control of what a user has access to and what they can manipulate, you are going to spend a lot of time tweaking until it is setup and completely functional for that specific user. If you want a computer to always work no matter what the user does, the trade off is that you lose the fine grain control. If you want fine grain control, the trade off is that you are going to spend some time making sure everything works as expected.

Let me know if you are interested in how to setup white list parental controls on Windows 7. I'm sure there is someone much more experienced and qualified than me to walk you through it on Windows 10. I know it has Windows parental controls but I'm not familiar with how exactly they work on Windows 10. 

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If you can find all the videos you want accessible during school time, then you can make a playlist on ViewPure. I like it because you don't have that ever tempting list that may have videos that relate to your viewing outside of school work. When I put school videos on ViewPure playlist, I don't have to worry about the latest cartoon video that has nothing to do with the school work Youtube video we are watching popping up on the side and distracting my kids from what I want them to learn. It's just an easy tool to have in your tool belt.

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Yes, it can be a problem. I have tried everything I know to try. With only one or two online classes early on, parental controls either on the computer or via router worked okay, but there are always huge holes in these programs, and as high school went on and the number of different sorts of websites needed to be accessed expanded, it didn’t work for us at all anymore. Some live classrooms couldn’t be accessed at all with the blockers we used, so we finally turned them off. Many sites have embedded video so blocking YouTube or other video doesn’t work well. 

I know it is a problem with school kids, too. Kids can get around what the school allows, and they have their phones, and schools presumably have an IT department to keep up with things, not just one frazzled mom who has too many other things to do. But some high school kids also need the computer a fair amount for their homework. 

We have always had computers only in public viewing. That results in different distractions for doing work, though, as there are sometimes younger siblings talking and doing their own work nearby. Noise cancelling headphones when necessary have been helpful. 

The thing that has helped the most isn’t technical at all. It is being very busy and involved in a number of other things. With a job and other regular events to go to or other things dc want to do when school work is done,  there is much less time wasted.  There have always been extracurriculars, but there seems to be a sweet spot of friend time and outside responsibilities that makes internet surfing much less attractive. Reading books and home hobbies don’t seem to be enough, as even adults seem to do less of these in favor of online time. This presumes a motivated student who wants to do well and someone who probably isn’t actually addicted to anything online; otherwise it probably would not help.

I know it would be easier if we did not use online classes. I wish we didn’t, but for one of my children it needed to be either several outside classes each year or dual enrollment, and DE also usually involves quite a bit of online time; in fact many of the DE courses available to high schoolers are online, anyway. 

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I have found it more useful to have them keep the computer and the phones and so forth in different rooms. And then to enforce a one window open rule when working. And I know you said you didn't mean about willpower... but all of this stuff to me is just about fooling yourself or your kids into feeling its inaccessible so you can make your brains focus. Putting your phone in another room or closing all your Windows except for the one or making your playlist on a site where the videos are embedded without that sidebar... these things are useful. It's like the old Frog and Toad story... "But, Frog, we could just climb the ladder and untie the string and open the box and EAT THE COOKIES!" Except, at some point, it's enough to fool you into not doing it.

It's not perfect... but I don't want to mess around with blocking things because it's a hassle. And I don't care if they go do those things later, when schoolwork is done. I dislike any system where I have to manage things. I want things that run themselves. I've never seen anything that isn't all or nothing (like turn off the router, which is obviously not going to work for everyone in the house at once) or doesn't require you to keep fiddling with it. Oh, now Discord is a distraction, so let's turn it off, okay, but it's the weekend, let me go turn it on, oh, but now this other thing is a problem... Ugh. No thank you. I guess if my kids had major problems, I'd do what I needed to do, but in the absence of that? Nope.

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Thank you for asking this question because we are also finding we need to help the children here to focus. 

I also think anything that requires too much management (turn it on now, off later, on again....) is a task I am not well equipped to handle. So my idea is to just put away our regular computers during school time and get cheap Chromebooks for school time only. If I can block all sites on Chromebooks but just a few they use for live classes, I would be very, very happy. In our case I don’t need access to outside videos since mostly we just need access to live class and an ability to do word processing. If they end up needing to watch a video or two, I could supervise those on my personal computer. 

I really hope I can make it happen this year.

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@Farrar but how do you enforce the one window open rule? I mean we are back at @royspeed kitchen table, and even then you have to look closely to see what tabs are open and notifications aren’t coming in that someone commented on your video etc etc. I also don’t mind this stuff being done outside of schooltime, like I mentioned before DS is a gamer (not an issue during school day bc separate computers) and has a YouTube channel that takes up some time babysitting. And for live classes the kitchen table isn’t practical bc he doesn’t want me hovering when he’s speaking up, etc. 

@sweet2ndchance, I would love your tutorial. And if one is starting from scratch choosing a new “school” laptop, is there an easier/better one to start with? Someone mentioned upthread it’s easier done on Chromebooks but I don’t know...

Edited by madteaparty
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They have to enforce it. 🤷‍♀️ I do check in some. They’re not perfect... but I’m also aware that they’re unusually good at following rules.

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1 hour ago, freesia said:

My dh handles it, but I'm pretty sure that you can  handle it by approving each website (so all others are blocked).  Certain youtube videos do get blocked on ours (even ones that are fine) so I take qustodio off for a set amount of time and supervise if need be.

I think with qustodio you can specify how much time they can spend online, no? I haven’t downloaded it yet. I still think dedicated computer for schoolwork and some sort of qustodio ap for the other devices seems to be least painful scenario. 

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@madteaparty Thankfully it hasn't been an issue at all with my younger kids, but with 2 of my older kids it was.  When they were teenagers we simply kept all electronics in our kitchen/family areas with the screens facing out to where their siblings or I could easily see what they were viewing.  They didn't have cell phones and their ipods were not to be allowed to be connected to wifi.  

With our Aspie, even at 27, it is still an issue for him to self-regulate b/c he becomes so hyper focused.  He purchased a Circle cube to connect to our home wifi and it is controlled by my phone.  I set the hrs he wants to limit himself to.  It can also control/restrict website access and you can see what sites they have been accessing and for how long.

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2 hours ago, madteaparty said:

Our public school is no longer restricting phones in the classroom from what I’m told. Anyway, I’m not super concerned with public schools, I was making the point that this is an issue that is uniquely challenging to homeschoolers: if I had a kid in a private or dual enrollment, I could just turn internet off when they do homework. But not practical when almost everything except for the reading for a given class is online. Even math has videos, etc.

i was curious how people were dealing: so far we have natural consequences of school work taking longer and computer being used at the kitchen table only. 


I think your consequences ARE your solutions.  We find that (esp middle school) students are incapable of using their time wisely - as is their mother, when it comes to computers.  What works for me personally?  Computer in a public space with accountability?  What works for them?  The same.  We have two PCs in the dining room with headphones.  They grow accustomed from the beginning of NOT doing school in their rooms.  I do allow my 17yo to do some school in her room.  One of her dual enrolled CC courses was via live video last semester - it required quiet, focus, and a lack of littles running amuck. 

It is unique to homeschoolers (to my knowledge) because while public school now HEAVILY relies on tablets, the tablets are prevented from having non-educational apps on them and computer use is limited.  That's open to homeschoolers as well.  

I have Disney Circle but not hooked up yet.  My understanding is I'm able to exert an incredible amount of control over sites, use, and vary it according to device.  I'll see, but I see that as a solution.  

So your question becomes:  IF homeschooling VIA online options becomes more of a curse then a blessing, is opting to homeschool *in that fashion* a worthwhile pursuit?  Afterall, if I'm utilizing online courses to be more productive, effective, and thorough, is that truly what it offers me IF I find they waste their time, get sidetracked, don't do what they are supposed to?
This is our 19th year of homeschooling.  We didn't use the computer for much of anything for the first two and I'm not sure utilizing online courses is AT ALL beneficial comparatively.  We still heavily utilize texts, real books, real writing, and (after a stint of using far more outside courses) are coming full circle to focus more on mom-directed and lead teaching.  

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20 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:


I think your consequences ARE your solutions.  We find that (esp middle school) students are incapable of using their time wisely - as is their mother, when it comes to computers.  What works for me personally?  Computer in a public space with accountability?  What works for them?  The same.  We have two PCs in the dining room with headphones.  They grow accustomed from the beginning of NOT doing school in their rooms.  I do allow my 17yo to do some school in her room.  One of her dual enrolled CC courses was via live video last semester - it required quiet, focus, and a lack of littles running amuck. 

It is unique to homeschoolers (to my knowledge) because while public school now HEAVILY relies on tablets, the tablets are prevented from having non-educational apps on them and computer use is limited.  That's open to homeschoolers as well.  

I have Disney Circle but not hooked up yet.  My understanding is I'm able to exert an incredible amount of control over sites, use, and vary it according to device.  I'll see, but I see that as a solution.  

This is our 19th year of homeschooling.  We didn't use the computer for much of anything for the first two and I'm not sure utilizing online courses is AT ALL beneficial comparatively.  We still heavily utilize texts, real books, real writing, and (after a stint of using far more outside courses) are coming full circle to focus more on mom-directed and lead teaching.  

Sorry, this is not at all the question here for me and for many others. There’s no homeschooling high school without online classes. So that’s not what I’m asking. 

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47 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

I think with qustodio you can specify how much time they can spend online, no? I haven’t downloaded it yet. I still think dedicated computer for schoolwork and some sort of qustodio ap for the other devices seems to be least painful scenario. 

I don’t know tbh. I think so, but we use the tether to manage time online.( I set timers to help with this). Qostodio will tell you where they went and how much time you spent.  I’m pretty sure you can set access times, too.  We have all our computers (except adult ones)set to be inaccessible from 12-7.  That’s just through parental controls, I think.

Honestly, setting things up is a pain, but I hardly think about it now.   I spent a lot of emotional energy just working through the fact that I had to do it at all.

and, btw, the ds who had the hardest time with self-control has absolutely sailed through his freshman year and had no problem with internet/gaming distraction.  So I am firmly in the camp that, particularly for a child who struggles with computer distraction, the solution is to teach them limits and habits and allow their brain to mature without the temptation.  I’m feeling a bit strongly about this as I’ve seen the folks who didn’t restrict (hoping that would teach self-regulation) have kids who really struggled and nearly failed out of college.the habits are hard to break with such an addictive medium.

Now, I do know some kids don’t struggle at all—both my girls seem totally able to self-regulate their time online.  But for those that do struggle, controlling temptation during school hours do they can learn to focus is key.

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You could police it--no phones or things like 3ds during school time--only computer. We collected devices during school times when issues popped up (and occasionally my kids self-policed and brought distracting devices to my desk, LOL!) You could put the computer in a public location and designate a "class time" for internet use. I find public computers are much less likely to be "abused." We did no computers in bedrooms until they went to college and got laptops. I don't regret that decision at all.  

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I need my two older kids apart during school time because they are even bigger distraction to each other than a computer. That means at any given point only one of them is being supervised while another is doing independent work in a separate room. I like the idea of a public computer, but it only solves half the problem for me. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I need my two older kids apart during school time because they are even bigger distraction to each other than a computer. That means at any given point only one of them is being supervised while another is doing independent work in a separate room. I like the idea of a public computer, but it only solves half the problem for me. 

 

That and for some classes where they need to speak up or read something, or their foreign language sessions, those are not practical to be in the middle of the living space. 

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4 hours ago, madteaparty said:

 also think Derek Owens videos are linked on his website but hosted on YouTube, so that’s another wrinkle.

a few years ago derek owens gave me a thumb drive containing the physics lectures so we could work in an off-the-grid location.

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5 hours ago, madteaparty said:

 I also think Derek Owens videos are linked on his website but hosted on YouTube, so that’s another wrinkle.

FWIW, Derek Owens videos are hosted on his own site, not YouTube. I think there might be some sample videos on YouTube but that's it.

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4 hours ago, madteaparty said:

 

There are certain live classes where I have had to keep everyone quiet or take younger ones to the other room. Or maybe an outside break. I could still go in and out of the living area. For us it still worked better to have the computers stay in a public area.

One thing is that technical solutions only work well to help the teen who generally is agreeable to to have less online distraction available, even if they don’t appreciate it every single second. If the problem is that they fight even the idea of it, they may very well be able to find ways around whatever you could do.  Blocking at the router level with a router with good parental controls worked the best for blocking specific sites, like social media, and the Circle is great for limiting time and having set hours. It was still a pain for online schooling, though. 

Edited by Penelope
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1 hour ago, cave canem said:

a few years ago derek owens gave me a thumb drive containing the physics lectures so we could work in an off-the-grid location.

I haven't read the whole thread but I saw someone already mentioned this. DO gave me a thumb drive when I requested it so my DD could use a non-internet connected computer to watch the videos. I returned it when she was done with the class (but he didn't ask for me to). It didn't cost any extra at the time.

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4 hours ago, madteaparty said:

I would love your tutorial. And if one is starting from scratch choosing a new “school” laptop, is there an easier/better one to start with? Someone mentioned upthread it’s easier done on Chromebooks but I don’t know...

You can use any computer. The functionality for this is all built into Windows operating system and not hardware dependent. If it can run Windows 7 (which even if it is running Windows 10, it can run Windows 7 as long as none of the hardware is Windows 10 dependent. We have downgraded many computers for people who wanted a new computer but didn't want Windows 10), then you can set parental controls. So it doesn't have to be new but it can be new, clear as mud? lol

It does help for it to be a fresh install of Windows 7 but it is possible to do it on an existing copy of Windows. If you want to go the fresh install route, you just need to backup your files, like photos, documents, internet bookmark lists, etc.. Then make sure you have copies, whether they are downloads that you can put on an external hard drive or flashdrive while you reinstall Windows or a physical CD. Then you should be good to go to reinstall windows. Oh and if you aren't familiar with the process, make sure you have a phone or another computer you can use to watch video tutorials or read Microsoft tutorials on how to do it.

I will get that tutorial on parental controls done and post it either tonight or tomorrow morning. ;-)

 

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So here is the tutorial I wrote. I walked through it and tested it on my computer but please let me know if something doesn't work for you and I will try my best to figure out something for you. It is the exact same way I set up my son's computer when we got it. After I set it up initially, it took a little while to tweak and add programs that I didn't realize would need access but now I only need to add a program when we put something new on there for him.

I definitely still advocate that you need to watch your kids on the computer. My son still isn't allowed to just play on the computer with no supervision but he is much less likely to click on something and "break" the computer or end up somewhere I didn't want him to have access to with these controls on. He also can't accidentally print his 450 page autobiography typed in "faceroll" or his entire art gallery made in TuxPaint using up all my ink and paper since I can block his access to the printer. lol

I hope at least someone finds this helpful :-)

Setting Up a School Computer using Windows 7 Parental Controls- Copy2.pdf

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I haven't read through everything. I use Cold Turkey to block things for myself when I need to focus.

Dd hasn't had a laptop to herself yet, so it's been somewhat self-limiting, although we've definitely had some arm-wrestling over phone time. I tend to keep internet devices longer than advisable so they are not always easy to use (our iPad is 7 years old... you definitely get on it to do something specific and get off). She may get a laptop this fall for dual enrollment, and already knows it will be set for the entire first semester to be free of distractions. I told her it's like having required "study tables" at college. It codifies good habits that hopefully stick.

Otherwise, we do no screens in kid bedrooms, phones are plugged in downstairs at night and the router is off.

ETA: she is in some organizations that take up a lot of time answering emails and such, and that is tricky to get her to understand that she cannot spend an hour answering emails during prime school time first thing in the morning. It just makes the rest of the day go crummy.

Edited by MamaSprout

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12 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

You can use any computer. The functionality for this is all built into Windows operating system and not hardware dependent. If it can run Windows 7 (which even if it is running Windows 10, it can run Windows 7 as long as none of the hardware is Windows 10 dependent. We have downgraded many computers for people who wanted a new computer but didn't want Windows 10), then you can set parental controls. So it doesn't have to be new but it can be new, clear as mud? lol

It does help for it to be a fresh install of Windows 7 but it is possible to do it on an existing copy of Windows. If you want to go the fresh install route, you just need to backup your files, like photos, documents, internet bookmark lists, etc.. Then make sure you have copies, whether they are downloads that you can put on an external hard drive or flashdrive while you reinstall Windows or a physical CD. Then you should be good to go to reinstall windows. Oh and if you aren't familiar with the process, make sure you have a phone or another computer you can use to watch video tutorials or read Microsoft tutorials on how to do it.

I will get that tutorial on parental controls done and post it either tonight or tomorrow morning. 😉

 

Windows 7 looses all support in January, but we are (also?) getting our school-room desktop up to date and pulling it off of the Internet for a non-connected workstation. We do also use Derek Owens flash-drive videos. I haven't figured out off-line French that isn't me, though, and dual enrollment does require some connectivity.

Edited by MamaSprout

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Yup, I know about Microsoft no longer supporting Windows 7 in January. I have worked on computers that still run Windows XP without problem and still connected to the internet. Just because Microsoft doesn't support a certain operating system anymore doesn't mean it isn't still viable. Personally, I will keep using Windows 7 until they come out with a Windows OS that allows the same fine grain control and the ability to set everything exactly the way I want or if push comes to shove, I will switch to a distro of Linux that has the options I want. I just refuse to use Windows 8 or 10. Too much big brother and not enough super user control for my tastes but everyone has to make their own decision and use what they are most comfortable with. ;-)

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I wonder if you are addressing a particular problem, or trying to head them off? I'm often thinking through the quandary of not being aware of any issues at the moment, but what is lurking around the next bend??? Is there a point at which I don't have to worry about that? So far the answer I've gotten is "no."

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Have your dc read "Surviving the Applewhites"?   Really its not a tech solution so much as deciding to use your time purposefully.  My older kid as a high schooler had bored friends text him at all hours, basically wanting to be entertained.  He decided he didn't want to be the source of free entertainment, and had better things to do.  I credit the XC coach, who printed Steve Fontaine's quote on their tshirts one season..."To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift", as well as culture "Don't waste the gift", "Idle mind is a devil's workshop", etc.  Surfing is entertainment, no attraction just as when they make the switch from low quality fluff books/movies to literary.   We didn't cut the internet off, its there as another tool for free time, just as the garage and kitchen are.  Lots of info there.

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My teenagers are on board with having most of Internet blocked off during school hours. My older kid says it is just too tempting not to check a friend’s message and not to respond when it’s a click away, and not to wander off when class gets boring.... While they can have all the access they want after school hours, this entire family is exited to have a dead zone during study time. 

My friend’s PS daughter studies until 1 AM. My friend says if she could just stop texting and wasting time on Internet while doing homework, should could accomplish in 1 hour what currently takes her 3 hours. 

We didn’t have such temptation growing up, so helping kids navigate and manage it is a good thing in my book.

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On 7/13/2019 at 1:38 PM, madteaparty said:

Sorry, this is not at all the question here for me and for many others. There’s no homeschooling high school without online classes. So that’s not what I’m asking. 


I'm confused.  So, if Circle would prevent unwanted useage and unwanted sites (and I'm not sure precisely how it works yet  - it's new to us) that wouldn't solve the problem?  My initial impression is that I can put limitations on.  So, for example, if Class X and Class Y are only at website A and B, I can limit usage to those websites on a specific device.  Maybe I don't understand what you're asking?

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8 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:


I'm confused.  So, if Circle would prevent unwanted useage and unwanted sites (and I'm not sure precisely how it works yet  - it's new to us) that wouldn't solve the problem?  My initial impression is that I can put limitations on.  So, for example, if Class X and Class Y are only at website A and B, I can limit usage to those websites on a specific device.  Maybe I don't understand what you're asking?

No, I seem to have misunderstood you, as regards the need for online classes as part of one’s homeschool in the first place.

That circle you mention is exactly the sort of solution I would be looking for.

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On 7/13/2019 at 6:48 PM, madteaparty said:

@Farrar but how do you enforce the one window open rule? I mean we are back at @royspeed kitchen table, and even then you have to look closely to see what tabs are open and notifications aren’t coming in that someone commented on your video etc etc

 

I'm not Farrar, but want to add that there are now extensions to browsers (certainly to Firefox) that allow a tab limit to be set, including to 1 tab only. While a teenager who wanted to disable this probably could do so, it could simplify introducting the system Farrar has to teenagers who can be convinced the basic idea is good.

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I didn't have time to read all posts but I don't think its just homeschoolers, teens, etc. it is our culture and a problem for everyone.  You should check out the Shallows by Nicholas Carr it has been very enlightening!  What the internet and screens are doing to our brains!  🙂

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