Computers Networked in the Homeschool Classroom

We use computers for just about everything.  This week I had a mom over who wondered if I had borrowed a couple for the class that was going on that day in Robotic Engineering (First Lego League).  I sheepishly shrugged – “Nope, we homeschool an rely on computer networks.”

I have a computer that I move from quiet spot to quiet spot, office in the garage, my room, my chair, dining room table, kitchen counter. . . . .Yep, Its a leap frog stealth game at times. 🙂

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My oldest son bought a netbook with the monies he saved over the winter. It has been by far the best electronic gadget he has purchased. Neither of the boys have ever been into the game systems.  They play them at other peoples homes, or when someone is here, but in between visitors they get dusty. Nate had sold his systems when we moved in hopes of buying  canoe and it never panned out.  Enter the Netbook. Trouble is – its a one person computer. He likes it that way- but to be honest – a preteen boy with a personal portal to the web is not my idea of a stress free time. 🙂 He keeps it upstairs in full view. We have had times in the past where a research project has taken him to the places you wish he had not seen – so we are a bit vigilant with closed door research projects. 🙂

We hooked his computer up to a larger monitor, he browses in the living room, and at times uses my laptop when I need to look over his shoulder.

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Now, we are thrilled to incorporate a product called the LanSchool – think old time LAN (Networking) and School combined!  This downloadable software product can be used on up to 3 computers for under a hundred dollars. (They offer more computers at a higher price).

We have had the computers networked before – but it seems to always have  bug in the networking.  Lanschool downloaded and created two files – Teacher and Student.  I put the files on a zip drive and clicked Teacher on mine and Student on the others – and faster than I could get back to my seat (well, I did refill my coffee, switch the laundry and yell at Lovingly Remind the boys to empty the dishwasher) Lanschool had used my WiFi box to find all the computers and show them on my Teacher consule. 🙂

DSCN4655The first thing we did was bring the computers into the classroom. Nathan was taking an online English paragraph writing course at the time. The Lanschool helped him to work independently, while I watched his progress.  A couple of times I took control of his mouse with my Laptop to show him what to do . I didn’t need to drape myself over his shoulders to use his keyboard.

Even though we have an open dialog of trust for what goes on while on the internet – I still have a twinge of worry. I also get annoyed when the morning has been spent playing Roblox instead of Time4Writing or America’s Math Teacher. I could keep casually sneaking over his shoulder – or I could take a look at the teacher console to see.  The first shot below was taken this summer – the second shot is the screen print from right now. Nathan’s computer is not turned on, and Jonathan is in my room playing WildOnes on his dad’s facebook account. 🙂

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Personally – the boys have both said that the network through Lanschool has been a help rather than an invasion. It has helped them to be accountable personally – and – the neighbor boy that kept coming over to use our computers no longer does since we got Lanschool. Guess he didn’t like me watching him play his games.

The accountability with the screen snapshots and keystroke recording is great. Even if they do get into trouble – I can see where it went wrong. I can see their school work and their play work. I can read what they are typing in to the chats on Roblox. I can see what programs they have loaded. It is a safety net for all of us.

I can force their computers to see what my screen sees – I can draw on the screen to show them where to look. It has helped me to show them a topic, when we are all hunkered down in three parts of the house.

The other day hubby was on the computer hoooked up to the TV trying to choose a Netflix movie, and I could see his choices while I was in the office in the garage. I sent him little notes to give my votes while I helped Nate finish his math. I like the option of sending notes to each computer. 🙂

The other day I woke up and my youngest son, Jon, had an update to perform on his computer. Instead of his frustration at his “broken” computer, I was able to take control of his computer from the kitchen and update the apple app for him. No error screens when he woke up! Oh how many times have I had to walk across the house just to push one button for him! Now I have more time for the exercise I like – Kayaking and Walking in the Woods!

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There are a list of options that Lanschool has on their website – My faves are blanking out their screen, controling their applications, turning off the internet, able to shut down their computers, sending them a note, and seeing what they are doing on line. We can take a poll for dinner, send a test to both boys and bunch of other technical “stuff”. Jon says its a computer program to drive boys crazy blanking out their screens while the moms giggle.. . . . Ya. It’s fun. 🙂

We use our computers for just about every part of our day. Helping fix other computers – helping us learn – helping us be entertained – helping us grow. You can find inexpensive netbooks for under 200 dollars on line – and maybe through the holidays this winter. With a programs out there like Lanschool , it should help the peace of mind of being able to use them for good.

Instead of having 3-4 people off on their own, Lanschool brings us back together. And I like that. 🙂

(Disclaimer – I received my copy of Lanschool for three years for my honest opinion after using it in my home for free. I can’t tell you enough how much how much I use this product every day. It may be on my top 3 list of things every home with computer user aged kiddos needs, right up there with The Word, Computers, and Lanschool. Seriously oh and it works on Mac’s IPads and IPods!!!!)

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Hmmm. Looks like I need to go put an end to Penguin Killing and go do some math this morning. . . . . . .and wake up Nate.

You can read other reviews on the Homeschool Blogger Review Crew site – http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783135/

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About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
This entry was posted in Lego, Science, Some Schooling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Computers Networked in the Homeschool Classroom

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Computers Networked in the Homeschool Classroom « Petra School -- Topsy.com

  2. Great review and I love the pictures!

  3. Catherine says:

    The pictures make this great review even better!

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