Schoolhouse Teachers
July 20, 2016 Edition 
These Kids are Savvy, Computer Science/Tech Stars 
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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family
As I sit in a hotel room in Colorado this morning, I have been texting my 13-year-old, snap-chatting my 21-year-old, and watching my kids cook in California through a camera that is connected to my phone. I can send my boarding pass to my phone, find my way to the airport through a GPS system, and work on the TOS Magazine virtually.

Technology is allowing me to continue to stay productive and connected. It's a beautiful thing.

BUT . . . it can be extremely dangerous to children, and it can waste your own valuable time that you can never get back. 

This plugged-in generation has access to everything imaginable under the sun: good and bad. As the days grow more evil, so does the technology and the evil it produces. (Here are some guidelines our family has adopted.)

Technology is helpful and saves us time when we use it for research, education, work, and staying connected to family. But when it becomes an escape from those things that are waiting to be done, or children waiting to interact in real life with you, then it wastes precious time. Sometimes we just have to say, "No!" to the technology that beckons us in order to ensure the best and highest use of our time. We need to be good stewards of the hours in the day that God has given us.

Moms--set time limits, not only for your kids, but for yourself. Instead of interacting with a screen, put it down and look at your children. Listen to them. Teach them by example. We have kids who grow up with their faces stuck in front of screens because they have learned by our example, or we have failed to set limits or guidelines. 

It is super easy to check out of real life for the momentary pleasure of technology in all its forms. Tragically, we could let another day go by where we haven't done something for the spiritual life of the home. Before you pick up that phone, hand-held device, or get on that computer, ask yourself if you've done the most important thing of plugging yourself and your children into Jesus Christ and His Word.

Take control of the technology. Let's do what Ephesians 5:16 says and, "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  

Did you know you can see all our past Homeschool Minutes? Here are some archived Homeschool Minutes on the subject of technology:

Homeschooling and Technology, May 2013

Back to School Directory

Looking for fresh curriculum ideas for a new school year? You'll find them in the Back to School Directory in the summer issue of TOS magazineFind more inspiration in our 2016 Print Issue, which contains directories for preschool to high school, special learners, art and nature, and more!
Raising Real Men    
It's a joke that if you have trouble with technology, ask your teenager to help you. There's some truth to that! We realized the other day that our kids didn't know a time before the Internet, and most of them don't remember a time when your phone and your camera were two separate devices--and you didn't carry your phone everywhere you went.
Because kids are just naturally comfortable with tech, parents need to step up to the plate. There are some huge traps out there, and our kiddos can stumble into them so easily. We need to understand what they're facing, so we can help guide and protect them. Here are some action steps for staying ahead of the game in protecting your kids:
Don't assume your kids can't access your devices! Moms tell us their children don't have Internet access, but we once saw an 18-month-old toddler pick up her dad's iPhone and input his passcode. Better to assume that if they can reach a device, they can figure it out.
Protect your kids by preparing them. Tell your children that no one is allowed to see or take pictures of the parts of their bodies covered by their underwear . . . and they aren't allowed to look at those parts of anyone else's bodies until they're married! Kids run into things online and they need to know what to do.
Give them tools to cope with temptations from friends. Tell them what to do if someone tries to show them dirty pictures on their phone. Help them to know how to handle dares to do wrong. They need to know it's the coward who does something wrong because he's afraid of what his friends will think. The brave man does what's right no matter what anyone says.
Make sure someone's watching when you aren't. If you have Internet-capable devices in your home, you need some kind of accountability on those devices, even if your kids are young. When we first started talking about kids and purity, people told us their sixteen-year-olds were getting in trouble online. Now, it's seven- to nine-year-olds! We've used Covenant Eyes for many years. (That link supports our ministry.) Get that, or get something else, but get something.
Get out there in their community. If you have teens, you need to be active on the same kinds of social media they (or their friends) are. You can't guide them through a place if you know nothing about it. Take the time to be wherever your kids are! If you do that from the beginning, say, starting when they are pre-teens, they won't resent it.

Don't be afraid. If you use some forethought, and help your kids learn to act like Christians when they use technology, it can be a very good thing. One of our boys got a great job when he got out of college based on the web programming he'd learned to do to help us with our website. The Lord might be using this tech to prepare your kids for the future!
By the way, if you have teenage or twenty-something guys, we have a new book written to them! It's called  Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality. We think it'll be a great practical resource to encourage them to righteousness! We've also got a list of other resources for dealing with the challenges technology brings to our kids' purity on our website here:

Your friends,
Hal & Melanie Young 

Summer School for Homeschoolers_  
The Familyman 
I heard on the radio yesterday that Pokemon has released an App that will get the kids off the couch and outside. They advertise it's like getting them outside to play baseball, kick a ball, or ride bikes (like we used to), but what it really does is provide them with a more immersive video gaming experience where Pokemon characters become part of the world they live in.
Does this not sound "dastardly" to anyone besides me?!!?
Our kids don't need more immersive computer games . . . they need time where they are unplugged! I'm all for learning tools . . . and even like some of the learning, iPad thingamagigs and Facetube videos . . . but enough is enough.
You may feel the same as me. But you feel this way because you're OLD . . . like me. Your kids don't feel this way . . . MY kids don't feel this way. They're all about what's cool . . . awesome . . . sick . . . insane! They only see the possibilities and are blind to the pitfalls and dangers. But there are very real dangers for some, if not ALL, of our children.
I don't believe there is an easy answer to this place we find ourselves in, but I think there are some answers. That's why I created the Taming the Techno-Beast Student Workbook. I wanted to design a tool that parents could use to give their children some perspective, point out some of the dangers, and come up with some reasonable guidelines for using today's technology. So get the student workbook as well as the parent's version to start taming the techno-beasts (often disguised as savvy, computer science/tech stars).

Be real, and tame the Beast!


TOS Excellence Awards 
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Contest Corner 
For the month of July 2016  
Teach Your Kids to Code: A Parent-Friendly Guide to Python Programming, was written by Bryson Payne, and published by No Starch Press. Dr. Payne has been a computer science professor at the University of North Georgia for over fifteen years. In Teach Your Kids to Code, he has taken his thirty years of programming experience and helped make computer programming accessible to parents.
Obviously, you will need a computer to apply the coding lessons in this book. You will also need to download certain programs and modules onto your computer. The very first chapter instructs you to download Python so you can begin programming with the Python language in chapter two.
There are 308 pages divided into ten chapters, an introduction, three appendices, and a glossary. The appendices contain screen shots and step-by-step instructions for downloading and installing Python, Pygame, and other required modules on your computer. These downloads are all available free, so there isn't any additional cost. The instructions are individualized for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and are very clearly explained.
Teach Your Kids to Code isn't specifically intended for homeschool use, but it is well-suited for homeschooling families. Teenagers can manage to work through it on their own. A ten- to twelve-year-old would probably need more parental help. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under ten, unless you are ready to learn alongside the child.
My 14-year-old son is using Teach Your Kids to Code on his own, as part of his computer science credit for high school. It reminds me of the programming I learned in high school, creating simple games. With only ten chapters, this isn't really a semester's worth of work, unless the student spends extra time experimenting with the code to make changes to the original program after it's created. My son is using it in conjunction with another programming book, to make it worth a full credit--two semester's worth of work.
(Read the rest of the review.)
YOU can WIN this awesome book!
TO ENTER: Email Heather ( with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Teach Your Kids" for a chance to win* it for your family! 

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