Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

4KookieKids

Making the transition away from screen learning

Recommended Posts

By summer, my ds10 will most likely be finishing up his tenth level of Barton (whoot!), his middle school uzinggo (all three courses), and the alcumus preA to blue. Right now, he is also learning Spanish and German grammar online with DuoLingo (he already speaks German fluently) by his own choice, despite me not requiring a 2nd language because I know it's typically difficult for dyslexics. In general, I like the online stuff because 1) it doesn't require a ton of hand-holding by me, and 2) it's high input, low output, which is perfect for my 2E kiddo!

I feel like we have a great rhythm with him this year, but I've had a growing uneasiness about the amount of time he spends hooked to the computer for school work. (In addition to the above, he also does typing and coding programs and drawing videos online.) He is very much 2E (AL but dyslexic, dysgraphic, adhd, and autistic) and struggles with a lot of EF skills. Although he gets enough problems on alcumus correct to pass his sections, he gets a lot of them wrong initially as well, learns from the solutions, and is then able to pass the next questions (he sometimes tells me he's reading the book, but I don't really think he is, and I've been busy enough with other kids that I haven't really pressed the issue, since he's able to eventually pass the sections...)

I have three younger kids that also need a lot of hand-holding for their 2E issues, and just don't have the time to sit with the oldest for 3-4 hours a day of one-on-one, which is how we ended up doing SO much online. I'm embarrassed to write that, lest someone judge me or suggest he should just go to school. 

Any advice on curricula, routine, organizational tips, etc. that would help me get him off the screen so much? I can sit him at the table when my girls do math and just insist he read the Algebra book and work the problems out at the table; I feel like math is probably the easiest one to tackle. I speak German fluently and enough Spanish to be able to teach it, but don't know what to use that has high input/pace paired with relatively low output (again, the dysgraphia and EF issues) and isn't *too* teacher intensive (I would be happy if I could teach him new stuff and do oral practice with him for 10-15 minutes per language, per day, and then he could work on other components of language learning on his own -- just don't know if there's anything like this out there?) He started DuoLingo three months ago, and has already gotten an initial pass on almost all sections (he does use voice typing), and so is going back to start "leveling up" those sections, so I just don't feel like that's gonna cut it for another 12 months anyway.

Given his love for audiobooks, any thoughts on doing a science program that is based on great courses, and then oral narrations after he listens each day? Do the great courses come with "cliff notes" of some sort that I could read so that I can help him with his narration and ensure comprehension? I think that would allow him to maintain some of his independence without putting unnecessary burden on him to write. (We'll be starting IEW over the summer, once he finishes Barton, and I think that will be plenty of writing for him - I just don't have it in me to start right now with the end of Barton so near in sight! lol.)

I expect t I'll try to find an art book to replace the screens for learning to draw, but haven't spent much time looking yet.

To be clear, I'm fine with a little screens for fun or education, so it's ok if I can't move *everything* to screen-free learning. I would just rather not have a screen be a requirement for the vast majority of his actual school time. 

Is it pointless to even try, given that I expect we'll start taking online courses through a CC before too much longer? Give it to me straight! lol.

Edited by 4KookieKids

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t have a 2E so can’t give my opinion on options. My kids reduced screen time by using books instead for math and language. DS15’s dual enrollment math and Japanese classes use textbooks, workbooks and are quite writing intensive. I would check what services CC would provide if your son decides to take a CC class that is not online. Great Courses have “cliff notes” in their DVD sets but I don’t know if every great course dvd set has them.

Edited by Arcadia
Typing error
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes you have to do what works. Uzinggo, for example, is a lot more 2e friendly for kids with reading/writing/motor issues (or just plain asynchronous development) but who need higher science content than middle and high school texts with physical labs are, unless there is an active adult willing to be the reader and scribe.One reason why I recommend it so often is exactly that-it worked for my DD as an older elementary student and gave her a foundation when she wasn't yet ready to do a more typical class. The AoPS books are just plain wordy and intimidating, so if Alumcus works for now, while it's available, I'm reluctant to say "throw it out and do the book", even though my DD never really used Alumcus (she found it frustrating, and preferred to go at her own pace. However, she has really never had an online math program that she more than tolerated, so I think it's just that she prefers paper for math).

 

For Spanish, what my DD has been doing with Homeschool Spanish academy, since she had good textbook Spanish, but struggled to speak it, is just to basically log in and talk to her instructor for a couple of hours a week, with a goal of building vocabulary and conversational fluency. She occasionally has written assignments, but the focus is conversation. That might be a direction you can go at home. Maybe listening to Audiobooks in Spanish or German, and then discussing them in Spanish or German. You could do the same for history or literature pretty easily.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate the honesty, and I agree that sometimes you just have to do what works. I've been thinking that maybe this summer, I'll give the AoPS books a try (perhaps just alternating days, one day of book work, one day of alcumus and see how it goes).

Part of me wonders if I'm (unconsciously) trying to have a "perfect little homeschool," you know, when your ideal of how you thought things would look clash with your reality (four 2E kiddos, in my case). I wonder if I'm being foolish even considering rocking the boat, when I've felt like I was fighting a losing battle just to keep my head above water the last 2-3 years. The rational part of me agrees that I should just do what works, and if we have a good rhythm that's working, then I shouldn't change it. But there's just this other part of me that's difficult to squash that still wishes things didn't look the way they do right now. (Maybe this is similar to my feelings/grief over being much more of an unschooler by heart, and then having three autistic kids who do awfully without pretty intense structure... parenting just really doesn't look like you plan before hand! lol.) 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 4KookieKids said:

But there's just this other part of me that's difficult to squash that still wishes things didn't look the way they do right now. (Maybe this is similar to my feelings/grief over being much more of an unschooler by heart, and then having three autistic kids who do awfully without pretty intense structure... parenting just really doesn't look like you plan before hand! lol.) 


I can empathize. My family relocated when my oldest was a baby. Our plans before having kids was that our kids would go to public schools in our country of origin, my parents could keep an eye on them after school and I could work. 
Then preschool here didn’t work out so I couldn’t get back into the workforce even when DS15 started kindergarten. Then public school didn’t work out and we couldn’t find a suitable private school. 

So we have to accept the financial loss from me not being able to work which is a lot (>$100k per year over probably 14 years, not including potential 401k employer contribution) and that some things that we have hope to offer our kids just wasn’t feasible but was easily done in a brick and mortar school environment.

DS15 would have preferred a brick and mortar dual enrollment programming class but they are all online at the community college he picked. 
 

Besides audiobooks, check out podcasts. My husband learns stuff through audio pretty well so listening to stuff in the car works for him. I fall asleep on language CDs but he absorbs. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does sound like you have something that works, so probably best not to mess with it too much :-). 

Could you do something light one on one to start with, just to see how it goes? You could do something simply like conversational Spanish with him, or do some easy math contest questions or brain teasers, or play Mad Libs... really anything educational but fun. I feel like it might give you a feel about how easy he'd be to incorporate into your other kids' day, and then you could think further. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is our experience, in case any of it rings true at all for you...

For us the most problematic screens are those that blur the line between school and play.  So, on one hand, I have very strict limits about video games of any type.  My kids' non-neurotypical brains just do not handle that type of stimulation well at all.  And on the other hand, I have no problem using many "boring" school screens like alcumus, Duolingo, Coursera, etc.  But it is the in-between things, like Prodigy, that are troublesome.  It's math, and on one level I really do think it is good for them, but it is also very like a video game and the kids start to crave it, get whiny and ornery, lie in order to play more, neglect their school work, etc.  I've never used uzinggo because every time I have looked at it I've drooled over the content, but ultimately concluded that it would cause too much conflict, strife and stress.

Ultimately, this is how it shakes out for Peter who is almost 11.  He uses the computer for a little bit of word processing, to record oral narrations, occasionally for Alcumus or to watch a Khan academy video on a math topic he is needs more help on, for online piano and typing lessons, for a Coursera programming class, for Duolingo, and for RAZ kids where he reads leveled books in Spanish and answers comprehension questions.

Everything else is done through books, mostly read aloud by me.

Wendy

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read the other responses, but we did math with a book/ white board for years, into the beginning Algebra 2. We had a large board and dd sat on the floor and I would check and snap a picture of it with my phone. This could be a good transition. I used to work in a tutoring center that had mobile white boards on wheels around.

There are typing computers with kindle like screens that don't do anything else. We've always restricted non educational screen use with all of our kids.

Audio is a good idea.

Timberdoodle has a lot of products that are multi-sensory or are more user-friendly (like the PAC science, which would be another option to look at- aimed at high school input with lower level of out put/ reading). Most of their products are available from other vendors.

https://timberdoodle.com/collections/high-school

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...