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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Our Wired Home

January 14, 2009

This month's Wired Classroom theme on Reading Rockets got me thinking about our wired home, and how our kids use technology. I know I'm not alone in my conflicted feelings about the role of media in my kids' lives.

Here's a rundown of our Wired Home, what's yours like?

E-mail: The girls don't have their own e-mail address, although they do like to type with the keyboard. When they type e-mails to aunts and Grandma, they use our account, which works just fine.

Websites: Both girls are obsessed with Poptropica, a site they learned about at school. At first I thought it was an okay site because it seemed to encourage some strategic planning, but now I'm wondering just how "educational" it is. Plus I'm terrible at it! No help at all.

I've introduced Molly and Anna to a thousand "educational" game sites, but none of them stick for too long. It's like they can smell "skill and drill" a mile away!

One book site caught their attention for quite awhile. When Molly was into the Magic Tree House series, she really loved the activities on the Magic Tree House site. Her enthusiasm spread to Anna, and we had two MTH passports laying around for quite awhile!

iPod: I mentioned that Molly wanted an iPod for Christmas, and she did get one. So far, she has kept the volume low, and hasn't been tuning us out (as we feared). Both girls really enjoy listening to audiobooks. I'm contemplating a subscription to Audible, but I can't decide!

Software: The girls LOVE Encarta Kids! I've wondered if we should get a set of encyclopedias for our house; Molly always wants to know the background on things. Why do we use Christmas trees? Does Shay (our kitten) see in color? For now, Encarta Kids is a great place to turn for all kinds of answers. But the old-school Mom in me would love for her to have some real encyclopedias to leaf through.

Looking over this list, I can see that more and different types of media are seeping into our lives. I'll be "staying tuned" to our overall use for awhile to try to keep it all in balance. Any ideas for doing that?

Comments

About Audible.com: I have had a subscription now for 4 months and absolutely love it. I hadn't considered it for kids, but there's plenty of children's books on the site, so I'm sure it would be great.Thanks, too, for all the links. I plan to use some of them in the homeschooling unit studies that I create and distribute freely every Monday at www.homeschoolingADDkids.com

Thanks for sharing about Audible. I have another friend who loves her subscription too. I checked out your site too - looks like a good resource!

I really like online encyclopedias; they're timely and I think broaden they way we think things link together....but I do understand your reluctance as a mom to leave the hardcopy behind!

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox