When people register for homeschooling with the HEU, they often forget to mention the subject ”Technology and Design’ or they consider it to be just ‘using the computer’. The HEU seem to have a real bug bear about it. I’ve helped a bunch of people register and almost all of them have been asked to review and add more to this subject area.
It’s not because ‘Technology and Design’ doesn’t happen in their homes, they just don’t think of it as school. As kids we certainly didn’t study it at school. So it’s relatively new in the curriculum, if ten years or so can be called new. 🙂
So what is “Technology and Design”? Well it is computery, technology stuff –
using digital cameras (downloading images too and editing them)
using the internet for research
Word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentations using Office programs
using educational CD roms, online games and various online learning as part of other subject learning
using scanners, printers, ipods, ipads and all those gadgets
dabbling in computer programming (or jumping right in the deep end and thriving on it – that’s my son!)
creating their own websites and blogs
using ATMs and self-service devices (at the shops and libraries)
But “Technology and Design” is also about planning, designing, creating and executing a plan –
using materials (as simple as your recyclables or as complex as fabric or wood) to create something
considering how to fix or improve something
following someone else’s instructions to create something (Lego or other kits)
learning carpentry, sewing, cooking or other hobby and crafts
planning and creating a cubby, item to sell at a fair or homemade gifts for christmas
planning and helping execute a birthday party or holiday
marketing and sale type planning and executing
discussions about the properties of materials or how best to join or cut materials
discussions about safety, perhaps informal safety evaluations
using a range of tools (not just tools from the toolbox)
different planning processes like mindmapping and brainstorming
all sorts of different things!
Most of the time I don’t formally plan these sorts of activity. They happen all of the time in children’s play and the world around them so I consider my role in this subject as the role of a mentor and resource person. I encourage them to design and create, I provide the materials and tools and am available for advice (solicited and unsolicited) and assistance of course. I’m also a great guinea pig for their creations and plans. It’s really not hard – hmmm well that kind of depends on the ‘guinea pig’ phase of things – but generally it’s a breeze.
Here’s just two examples, of the design component of the subject, from our week. Neither were planned and yet both were wonderful examples of the possibilities.
‘Technology and Design” is something that homeschoolers can do really well. We have the space, the time and the materials to properly explore the subject.
So don’t consider it too much of a pain when the HEU asks you to add more to this subject area. Thank them for enriching your homeschool and reminding you of the great opportunities available to homeschoolers!
Then let your inventors (and aspiring ‘Steve Jobs’s) set to work on their next masterpiece! It could be a millionaire dollar idea!!…just make sure, before they make an unearthly mess on the floor, that they agree to look after you in your old age, once they are rich and famous.