Monday, March 28, 2022

Technology Education for Homeschoolers

The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with MYTEK LAB and MommyMaestra. All opinions are my own.

I was looking over the Education Commission of the States' website the other day. They have posted a 50-state comparison for high school graduation requirements of technology, career/tech, and oral communications. I was so surprised about how all over the place the states are regarding technology education.

Technology Education as a High School Requirement

In my opinion, technology education should be one of the core subjects being taught and a requirement for high school graduation. 

At present, college-bound students should have something like this (Note: Years and credits can be used interchangeably):

  • MATH:  4 years
  • SCIENCE: 3 years, plus a Lab 
  • ENGLISH: 4 years
  • HISTORY: 3-4 years
  • WORLD LANGUAGE: 2-3 years of one language
  • FINE ARTS: 1+ year
  • PE: 2 years
  • ELECTIVES: Enough to bring the overall number of credits to 24+

Now, some states allow for computer science to be considered a world language. But this isn't always the case. 

Given our current global situation, EVERYONE is impacted by technology. And because tech is so ubiquitous and has such a profound effect on our lives, our kids need to be sufficiently taught about it.

What's Included In a Technology Curriculum?

But as a homeschool parent, I wonder about not just how to teach it, but WHAT to teach. Coding, 3D modeling, forms, HTML, CSS, themes, responsiveness....these are all vague technology terms that are jumbled around in my head. I know my kid would really benefit from learning some - probably ALL - of them and their applications, but I certainly haven't the slightest clue how to teach them when I'm still learning them myself.

However, I'm a great champion of getting help when I need it and leaving specific subjects to the experts when I can. 

Since I have a 4-year-old, I'm starting from scratch (pun intended), and my plan for his technology curriculum looks something like this:

  1. Typing (Elementary & Middle School)
  2. Digital Literacy (Middle School)
  3. Computer Science (Middle and High School)
  4. Cybersecurity (High School)

Online Tech Courses

Now I also have a 15yo. I didn't have a technology plan for him - it's been piece meal over the years. At least it was until we hit high school. And then I was introduced to MYTEK LAB, and I have signed him up for classes the last two years. Right now, he's finishing up his fourth semester with them. And what he has learned has blown my mind!

Last year, my freshman took Technology Lab level 1. You can read my review of their course here. He learned about programming fundamentals, web design tools, and general tech concepts. 

This year, they are diving deeper and some of what they are learning about includes:
  • Web Design II
  • JavaScript Programming I
  • VR Development II
  • 3D Modeling for 3D Printing II
  • 2D Game art II
  • 3D Game Development I
  • Linux Introduction I
  • Robotics II
Last semester, my son who is really into crafting, miniatures, etc., was wanting to create a physical object. It was totally unrelated to his class, BUT one of the tools he learned about in the course for 3D modeling led to him actually creating what he wanted because we contacted a 3D printer in town and sent them the file and they were able to create it in a day or so. 

(In case you are wondering, my son is very into Dr. Who and wanted to create his own miniature supersonic screwdriver. He needed a specific part that he couldn't create himself, so he designed it and we had it made!)

Anyway, the point it that these are not skills or concepts that I could teach myself. But having an online program that is professional and personal with easy access is a blessing for homeschool families like ours. 

MYTEK LAB Online Classes

The classes are live, but when you have a crazy schedule like we do, the great part is that you can also do them at your own pace because they are all recorded.  The pro of a live class, obviously, is that you can ask questions on the spot as you are doing the assignment. BUT for those of us whose kids are watching the recording while they do the activity, the company offers help classes on certain days. During these times, you can hop on Zoom and they get to questions in the order that they log in.

My son loves the classes and his teacher, Stephen Souders, who is great with kids. He is so laid back and teaches in a way that the students can understand. But what my son loves best is the assignments. Souders teaches concepts by having the student actually do it themselves. Some of the activities are things that the kids are familiar with - for example, Minecraft - so the students are really intrigued and engaged throughout the process.

Gradebook comments

And I love that we are able to create both a student account AND a parent account so that I can pop in and check the gradebook, which I'll need for my son's high school transcript. I can also see what the topic of the lesson was and any comments that my son and his teacher leave for each other.

To be fair, we have not done any other online computer programs, but we are really happy with everything my son is learning at MYTEK LAB. So it's the only experience I can speak about - and I'm doing it with pleasure. 

Try a Course this Summer!

If you'd like to try one of their courses, check them out this summer! They are offering a Summer Session: 3D Modeling and Animation during the month of July. They have two classes; one for ages 8 to 12, and the other for kids 13 and older. We're planning to do it if our schedule allows. It is absolutely worth the time and money spent!

Parents, you can also register for their semester courses here.

Want to find this post again? Pin it!

Technology education for homeschoolers