Learning online and with computers has become very popular in the last decade. Learning via computer is everywhere and programs are available from tiny tots to all the way through the doctoral level. As a homeschool mom, you’ll be encouraged to sign up and have your children learn in this way.
We know that children find tablets and computers fascinating and are instantly drawn to the screens. The exciting and entertaining learning programs are being offered to you at cheaper prices than ever before. But, is this the way you want to educate your children?
Studies have shown that we learn as well online as we do in traditional settings. These studies can prove their claims with all types of test results. Cheap and even free education can be found online. But, there are reasons to review the computer-learning option.
When babies are born they have the most neurons and they are needed to develop their minds. As the child grows, connections must be made. Research shows that human interaction causes strong connections to be made, that will last over the lifetime. Seldom-used connections are lost, but the strong ones are strengthened in order to develop higher-level thinking/processing.
Interacting with language activity helps the child’s brain to develop and be ready for more complex concepts.
Interacting with computers at too young of an age can cause problems with brain development. At a young age, a child’s brain develops attention ability. Computer use can cause over-stimulation and children may not develop the ability to use their brain to focus attention on just one thing. Using a computer, the computer takes the child on a narrow focus where the computer controls what they give attention to.
Computer screens cause an emotional reaction to images and a dopamine release can enable a computer “addiction”. The child then desires this type of stimulation/adrenalin when learning. Their brains could become lazy about complex thoughts and problem solving.
And, we have the usual objections to screen use: Too much screen time leads to health concerns, such as: eyestrain, obesity, and repetitive injuries. No one thinks screens should be used to babysit, but we should also rethink the educational use of computers with children.
Children need to experience hands-on learning, nature, physical activity and interactions of many kinds. One important point, established by the Alliance for Childhood states:
A refocusing in education, at home and school, on the essentials of a healthy childhood: strong bonds with caring adults; time for spontaneous, creative play; a curriculum rich in music and the other arts; reading books aloud; storytelling and poetry; rhythm and movement; cooking, building things, and other handcrafts; and gardening and other hands-on experiences of nature and the physical world. (Alliance for Childhood, 2000).
@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman