Screen time and technology use can be a hot topic for homeschoolers. It doesn’t have to be. I can show you how to use the 7 learning styles to help balance screen time in your homeschool. As with any homeschool method, remember, there’s no wrong way to homeschool. I designed these tips to help you make decisions about screen time that work best for you.
PLEASE NOTE: This article is not medical or professional advice. If you feel your child should be evaluated for learning challenges, please seek the counsel of your family doctor.
Confession before we begin. I currently spend five or more hours a day in front of a screen. It’s kinda my job. When I was homeschooling actively from 2006 to 2018, we used screen technology at a level I was personally comfortable with. I cannot confirm nor deny my children learning about Magellan from the Animaniacs.
what are screens?
In a homeschool setting, when I refer to screens, screen time, or technology use I am talking about:
- social media (Facebook, Instagram,Snapchat)
I’m sure there are devices and/or platforms I have failed to mention due to my advanced age. Hopefully, this list will get the point across.
an important question
When technology is in use in our home, there is an important question to ask.
Is it a tool or is it a toy?
There is no wrong answer to that question.
Often screens become tools when we use them for creative/educational/work purposes. On the other hand, screen use defined as a toy may be when it is solely for entertainment or fun.
In my work as a Homeschool Consultant and Mindset Mentor, most of my clients become concerned when anything has a negative impact on the overall goal of home education. So when does screen time as a tool or as a toy have those negative impacts?
In order to address that it’s important to consider:
- Learning Style
Suggested Screen Time Limit by Age
MyVision.Org discusses the impacts of screen time on the vision and mental health of children in THIS ARTICLE. It includes the recommended screen time published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the problems screen time can cause.
UNDER 18 MONTHS
- Only video calls supervised by an adult
18 – 24 MONTHS
- Educational content supervised by an adult
- 1 hour of non-educational use on weekdays and up to 3 hours on weekends
- Find balance. Limit specific screen-based activities as needed (too much television or too many video games for example) versus setting an overall limit. Encourage creative, imaginative play that does not involve screen time.
Using your child’s learning style to assign screen time
Just as there is no wrong way to homeschool, there is no right or wrong learning style. Most people have a preferred way to learn. As you continue educating your own children, one of the many benefits is that you get to witness firsthand the development of their learning styles. You can then customize their education accordingly.
Using technology is no different. You can tailor technology use to your children based on their preferred learning style. You can also determine when and how long technology is used as a tool or as a toy.
introduction to learning styles
Life won’t always present information in our preferred learning styles, so it’s important to use them all and teach our children how to adapt and learn under each style. Below, I summarize the 7 learning styles and how they can help balance technology in your homeschool.
- Visual (spatial)
- Logical (mathematical)
- Physical kinesthetic
- Social interpersonal
- Solitary intraperitoneal
These children may dislike reading and prefer to receive information by being told. Auditory learners can grasp ideas through group discussions. This style likes to hear examples and solutions explained to them.
Screen activities that help auditory learners include: Video lessons, audiobooks
visual / spatial
A child who prefers to learn visually finds things easier when you present information in a diagram, chart, graph, or presentation. Color coding is a tool that helps visual learners. They may often doodle (even during a lesson) and like to plan things out.
Visual learners are *best* suited for screen activities. Encourage note taking to keep thoughts and information organized.
Visual learners may want to use photo editing apps or create their own visual aids for presentations.
This style of learner prefers to express themselves in writing or verbally. They often love to read and are adept at riddles, tongue twisters, and puzzles. They also have a large vocabulary and seek to expand their vocabulary with new words. The verbal/ linguistic child can be supreme storytellers.
The verbal/linguistic style often needs deeper study to know the additional learning styles that apply. (Such as social or solitary) There may also be a tendency to lean toward talking or writing vs a balance between the two. The verbal/linguistic child often needs a push outside their comfort zone.
Screen time can be very helpful when done together with an adult. Co-viewing allows parents to take part in storytelling and observe teachable moments. The verbal/linguistic child can benefit from speech-to-text technology.
Other recommended screen activities include starting their own blog.
Logical / Mathematical
You’ll notice the logical/mathematical child can easily recognize patterns and connect concepts that may seem meaningless to others. Logical learners may group information in order to help it make sense. They can often do math calculations without paper.. Anytime you can incorporate statistics, categories, and classifications, the logical-mathematical child will find it easier to absorb the learning.
Screen activities this learning style may find beneficial include, quiz games, fact memorization, math lessons, and coding.
Commonly called the hands-on learner, the physical, kinesthetic learner is learning when conducting physical activity rather than simply sitting and watching a demonstration or lecture. When you need to lecture or give a demonstration, it’s important to have a way to channel the energy of this type of child. Taking breaks or adding role play into the lecture is one way to be sure a physical/kinesthetic learner is engaged. Props are another way to keep kids involved.
Movement games like “Just Dance” or Wii Sports are a great way to use technology with this learning style. You can also have them complete their daily Yoga or other exercise routine and take “brain breaks” using available screens.
Physical/Kinesthetic learners may also enjoy scavenger hunt style apps such as Pokemon Go. A fun family activity is geocaching. For geocaching you use your smartphone to find little “treasures” left by other players. Learn more on the GEOCACHING WEBSITE.
Social and Solidary Learning Styles
While Social and Solidary are independent Learning Styles, these both work in conjunction with the 5 main styles versus acting as standalone styles. It is important as parents to be aware of the variations possible in depth and breadth as far as these two styles go.
Social learners can be visual, auditory, physical, verbal, or logical learners. These children are often classified as people persons. They communicate best both verbally and nonverbally and make great listeners. Group projects are a good way for these learners to use their skills.
Being a social learner doesn’t mean your child is also strong verbally. It simply means they like to be in social situations while learning. It’s important to know the other strengths of your child. Role-playing and collaboration on projects are great strategies for this style of learning.
Screen activities that are good for social development can include texting, group chats and shared video games.
Solitary learners can be visual, auditory, physical, verbal or logical learners. They classify this style as independent and introspective. These children often perform best when they can focus without distractions. They may prefer to work in their room where it is quiet and not at the family table.
Using Age and Learning Style to guide decisions
I think it is safe to agree there is a big difference between mindlessly playing video games for 2 hours and sitting down to watch a documentary on animal migration. By knowing your child’s personality and learning style you can be sure that the technology is serving your homeschool. It’s important that the screen is not the master.
Some things you can do if you feel screens are becoming a problem:
Read more about TEENS AND ONLINE SAFETY
Keep all screens in common family areas
Use a screen time contract like the one from KIDS ACTIVITIES BLOG
Some Screen Time Cautions
If you are feeling concerned about screen use in your home, some things you may notice in your kids include:
- weight gain and unhealthy food choices
- aggressive behavior and/or risky behavior
- problems sleeping
- possible ADD or ADHD
- screen addiction
Please reach out to your child’s doctor if placing limits and changing the screen use in your home does not help.
Thanks for stopping by Happy Hive Homeschooling for ways to balance screen time in your homeschool.
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