Computer skills, Typing/Keyboarding

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Computer skills, Typing/Keyboarding

Unread post by jasntas »

Computer Skills
mmwifeandmom wrote:What type of computer skills are being taught to children at different grade levels now? I've heard other parents talk about their children learning things from typing and research to webdesign and more. These are parents that have their children in public, private, or cooperatives. I have yet to meet anther homeschooling family doing these things nor have I seen a curriculum out there that tells us what to teach, how to teach, and when on this topic. Anybody know? Thanks.
Well, I think these skills can be taught at any age and/or when they are ready.

My 9 yo ds recently started learning to type with a typing program called "Typing Instructor for Kids". He does a lesson while I work with his sis on her school work. He also knows how to use a search engine to find things he wants to find on the internet. Although I don't give him the password to our account so he can't sign on without permission or without my watchful eye. He would prefer I look for him anyway. He and his 6 yo sis are into those crazy stuffed animals called Webkinz. They set up an online account and play games, manage (fake) money, take 'classes', etc. in a 'safe' environment and at the same time are learning how to navigate on the internet.

There are specific ways these things can be taught. For instance with a typing program or a web design program. But there are also all kinds of ways these skills can be taught without a specific program. It's just whatever you may be looking for.

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Re: Computer skills

Unread post by Julie in MN »

jasntas wrote:There are specific ways these things can be taught. For instance with a typing program or a web design program. But there are also all kinds of ways these skills can be taught without a specific program. It's just whatever you may be looking for.
I'm agreeing with Tammie.

It's the big rage these days to have "computer classes" in schools, but many of our kids already know those things. If not, then it's good to start looking at developing them.

Many of the computer classes will teach things like typing and how to use Microsoft Word and Windows. I took a computer class at the VA when I worked there and they taught me how to use a mouse, of all things :~ Now, I can learn a little something from anything, but it was very little that time!

Some things we've just done in the natural course of things (while using MFW):
- use Power Point for one of ds's PLL or ILL assignments
- create notebook pages in Word, complete with unusual fonts, colorful images, and headings
- ds (14) has recently figured out how to connect pieces of his old computer hard drive together with the new pieces he was able to purchase
- tried a typing program but convinced me via an online typing speed calculator that he could type the alphabet faster than his mom, who typed for a living for over 20 years
- had his own web page for a while

Some things I am considering for high school electives:
- computer classes at the local public school or homeschool co-op
- computer programming courses that can be done at home, such as things HSDLA [used to have] on their lists:
  • Computer Skills
    * Computer Basics, from Christian Light Education
    * Computer Service and Repair, from Christian Light Education
    * Essential Computer Skills
    * Internet4Classrooms, Free online tutorials for a number of computer applications
    * Keyboarding & Information Processing, from Christian Light Education
    Computer Science
    * Computer Science For Kids Homeschool Curriculum
    * Computer Science: Pure and Simple, from Motherboard Books homeschool publisher
    * Homegrown Programmers
    * HSCompSci
    * New Perspective Series, from National Academy of Engineering
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Re: Computer skills

Unread post by sixtimemom »

My oldest daughter went to public school in the 7th grade. They had computer classes in middle school where they learned Word, basic power point, and basic excel, along with typing.

My other children have all been home schooled. My oldest son has not had any formal training on the computer but he is able to do things on here that even I can't do [and I can do a lot] :) . He amazes me with his computer ability which he learned on his own.

Actually all my children have picked up computer know how with very little "class time". I do have them doing a typing program just so they will be more proficient when typing. My 12 year old is now learning how to use Word because I am having him type his Writing Strands assignment in Word and he loves it. He's only done this three times but this last time he barely needed any assistance from me.

This coming year I've already told my high school girls that I want them to take one of their writing assignments and turn it into a power point... just because I want them to know how to do it and I thought it would be "fun" for them.

For what it's worth I have never had any formal classes on using the computer and have figured out how to do Word, power point, a little bit of excel, blogging, and photo shop all on my own. Now, I'd like to take an excel class just cause there is soooo much you can do and it is a little challenging trying to figure it out on your own. But there are classes available if one really wants to learn.

Teaching our children how to use the computer doesn't need to be a formal class. I find teaching them a little here and there as they need it works just fine. Now if you don't feel comfortable teaching them how to use Word or make a power point then call your library and ask if they know anyone offering classes. Our library is always offering computer classes.
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Re: Computer skills

Unread post by mom2boys »

Here are a couple we are considering for High School.
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Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

samandsawyersmom wrote:How do you all incorporate technolgy within the homeschooling yrs? Where do you start? Where do you fit it in? How do you know what to use? Just looking for ideas and when to bring them on. :~ Thanks for your help! :)
I used to be a high school technology teacher, and even in public schools (at least where I taught) we had students who were just taking their first keyboarding class in high school, so I don't see a need to rush anything.

In our house, dd7 is learning her keyboard this year, but the only reason we're introducing it now is because I sometimes put her spelling words in Spelling City, and it was taking her forever to type them! She literally had to search for every single letter, and it got a little long! ;)

We're using Typing Instructor for Kids Platinum for keyboarding, and it seems to be a lot of fun for dd so far. The kids work their way through Typer Island and play various games as they go. Accuracy is emphasized over speed at this point, which I couldn't agree with more! I think her goal at this point is 8 wpm or something like that.

Other than that, she knows from listening to me that Google will answer just about anything! :-) The other day she came inside, ran to the computer, went straight to Google, and typed in "What do June bugs like to eat?" Apparently she caught one and wanted to keep it as a pet. (Didn't end up working out so well for the bug, by the way! :( )

I think back in Kindergarten one of the assignments was to make a fruit collage, and we ended up googling pictures of fruit and making a computer collage instead of a scissors and glue one.

And at one of our co-ops, we have group learning time where each child gives an oral presentation over a topic of his or her choice. We have made PowerPoint presentations a couple of times to help dd remember what to talk about next. So she has learned how to work with computer graphics and such.

So aside from keyboarding, I think we just work it in naturally when a lesson lends itself to it. :)
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Typing? Critical thinking?

Unread post by jasntas »

RB wrote:Curious if anyone has any recommendations for a typing program? Other resources to use to teach computer skills? I just realized that this is required by our state &) and we've not done much.

Also, do you use any sort of book for critical thinking? I'm kind of thinking of a fun puzzle type book for elementary/middle school ages that my kids could use for fun if they are waiting for me to help them with something and have completed all their independent work.

All the BIG curriculum decisions are made. Just time for the last few "extras" :)
We use Typing Instructor for Kids. It has some fun games that my boy loves playing. He doesn't care for the lessons, of course but loves to pass so he can get to the games. If I remember correctly, Mavis Beacon is geared more to adults with the games and has a higher wpm passing score. I think it's 20 wpm. Typing Instructor for Kids is 5 wpm. Much more kid friendly, I think.

HTH :)
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Re: Typing? Critical thinking?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I really like workbooks from The Critical Thinking Co. If you get anything other than puzzle books, you'll want to preview thoroughly. (Such as Reading Detective, etc.) Mind Benders are their really good logic puzzle books. The high school ones are fun for me! :-) I can be such a nerd.

Sudoku is also good and can be found anywhere! I've picked up kids' sudoku books at Michael's for $1.

We (obviously) use a game approach to Critical Thinking and don't think of it as part of "school" at 4th grade. HTH. I'm curious what others have to say.
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Re: Typing? Critical thinking?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We used a book called Computer Typing Curriculum, because it was recommended by Inge Cannon (at her high school seminar, but I used it with Reid in about 3rd-4th grade). I looked for it and see it's now called Bible Type. This sample is at Exodus Books:

The programs at Christian look similar.

You can also work on these skills by just opening a word document and having your child type and play with the features like font size, highlight, cut-n-paste, etc. Those would be "computer skills" :)

For critical thinking, like Cyndi we've used Critical Thinking Co. My older dd used their Building Thinking Skills one year, but ds really wouldn't like those thick workbooks. He did a bit of Mind Benders and such, but preferred the CD-ROMs. They are usually more education than fluff. In about 8th grade, his book club used their Critical Thinking books. It's the kind of logic that drives me crazy sometimes but is probably useful IRL.

Another thinking workbook ds did was where you "change a letter" one at a time. Interestingly, a search came up with this free booklet of letter games -- it's a pdf from a "gov" site so it must be okay. Looks like some "thinking" is involved: ... -games.pdf

Critical thinking skills are also inherent in math drill type things, I think. CTC has Math Blockout, and another company makes Quarter Mile Math. As kids get into older elementary, there are math puzzles from past math competitions that can be done at home, such as American Mathematics Contest and MathCounts.

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Looking for how to teach typing

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

pjssully wrote:Looking for how to teach typing. I will be starting ECC with a 7th grader and two 4 graders. I have tried a few typing programs last year to teach typing to my 4th grade boys. They might have been too young-? Anyways, i am wondering if anyone has a recommendation for a program that would hold the attention of 9 year old boys. My older daughters did fine with Mavis Teaches Typing. I think one of the ones we tried was Jump Start Typing. Thanks for any suggestions!!
Postby rebeccal2002 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:29 pm
We use Typing Instructor for Kids also. My girls, 11 and 9 are very good at it. They've gone thru all the lessons multiple times and they keep raising their goal words per minute. They love to play the games. They play them on non-lesson days too, just because they are fun. HTH.

Postby 1974girl » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:41 pm
My girls love Dance Mat Typing. They do it just for fun! It is for kids ages 7-11. It's free so it wouldn't hurt to try. We actually have a co-op class that uses this, too.

Postby Chrystal in TX » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:47 am
We use Mavis Beacon Typing for Kids. My kids love it. They always want to do more and I really like how they are progessing. My boys are 8 and 6.

Postby momma2boys » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:46 pm
My sons both disliked Typing Instructor for Kids. A lot. This year we switched to the regular Typing Instructor and they LOVE it. You can visit different countries as you are typing and the program will play different types of music for you as well. This would go along great with ECC!

Postby momofsix » Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:26 pm

I have one that prefers Mavis Beacon. We also use & like typing instructor for kids. Good for ages 7 or 8+
I also purchased Writing Skills Keyboarding. It seems very basic but thorough. Just use Microsoft word or whatever and type away. It is rather boring, but if you want something other than noisy computer games you may like it.
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Looking for a good Typing/Keyboarding program

Unread post by ilovemy4kids »

mom2h wrote:Have you tried out any of the typing/keyboarding programs out there?
Let me know if you have one you like or dislike. We are in the research stage for this. it will be for ds who is 10
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One of ours used Mavis Beacon, the other preferred Typing Instructor form timberdoodle. Ours was an older version they used to carry, but here is the new one...
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Re: Looking for a good Typing/Keyboarding program

Unread post by TriciaMR »

We have used the online BBC Dance Mat Typing.
We are currently using Typing Instructor Platinum. Platinum Typing Instructor has games.
Way back when (high school - a long time ago), I used Mavis Beacon...

Dance Mat Typing will get them started, but I think either Typing Instructor or Mavis Beacon is best for getting the skills up to par.

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Learning to type

Unread post by thelapps »

Rox wrote:Can anyone suggest a typing program for my 11 year old son? He'd like one that includes games. Any advice about typing appreciated.
Thanks, Roxanne
We have been using typing web dot com. I think it's a good program.
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Re: Learning to type

Unread post by hsm »

My girls love Typing Instructor for Kids. They have learned a lot with this program. I purchased the download version from Amazon. They also do a free online typing game called Dance mat typing.
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Unread post by MelissaB »

jenniferlisk wrote:What does MFW recommend for teaching middle and high school students how to type?
If you can teach them the proper finger positioning, there are some fun - and free(!) :-) - online games to practice typing skills. One site you can search for is called "free typing game"... with a "net" at the end. ;) If you click on "Lessons," it teaches finger placement using a color code and has practice sessions. Then you can click on "Games", and choose your level.

Have fun!
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Re: Typing?

Unread post by Poohbee »

I'm not sure what MFW recommends, either. We used Typing Instructor for Kids starting in 4th grade, and my daughter did that a couple of times a week during her 4th through 6th grade years. After learning cursive in 3rd grade, we kind of replace handwriting with typing in 4th grade. Of course, we still worked on handwriting in her day-to-day work, but we didn't focus specifically on handwriting as a subject anymore. My dd learned the proper positioning and was getting pretty good with speed.

We stopped doing it this year in 7th grade, because it was quite a transition for her getting used to her new science and math. I was thinking, though, that it might be good for her to take a refresher course in typing, so maybe we'll do that next year in 8th grade, before she starts high school. I've always liked Mavis Beacon typing programs, so we might use that for her. You'll have to do some research and exploration of typing programs, but I do like both Typing Instructor and Mavis Beacon.
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Keyboard program suggestion?

Unread post by hsm »

schisholm wrote:Anyone have a keyboard program they would recommend?
We use and like Typing Instructor for Kids.

There are also several free online sites....Dance Mat typing, Typing Web- a free online tutorial, Slime kids-typing games, to name a few. Maybe do a search for a free typing program online.

I found a bunch of links by looking at the local school district website under the technology tab.
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Re: Keyboard program suggestion?

Unread post by gratefulmom »

My children are LOVING Mavis Beacon.
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Re: Keyboard program suggestion?

Unread post by klewfor3 »

I just got an email stating that the company that developed Handwriting Without Tears has now released Keyboarding Without Tears. It is geared for K-5th and looks very easy to use and seems to be affordable. I am going to use it this year for my kids!

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Computer science?

Unread post by dhudson »

ruthamelia wrote:I'm curious to know if anyone does computer science with kids anywhere K-8th? Not typing, but other technology and programming type skills? I've found a few scattered resources here and there, like Khan for programming, but I would like to know what others are using. I would rather not start from scratch with things like word processing, internet research, etc if something good already exists! Thanks!

The best thing we ever did for Comp Sci was to introduce our kids to Scratch from MIT. My ds now teaches Scratch to under privileged kids as well as being a curator and developer for a program called SNAP ! which is the next step after Scratch. Once mine are in Middle School then we introduce them to Code Academy.
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