Summer Rules: Part Three

The insights presented in Outliers motivates us to action and provides the foundation of this summer's social experiment: Using Kindera to Continue Summertime Learning.

At Kindera, we believe the single greatest advantage our kids have, over our own youth, is that they are growing up in the 21st century. Our kids are surrounded by technology and have the entirety of human knowledge instantly available. To them, technology is ubiquitous and they'll never know a world where access to information was in anyway difficult to acquire. The power and influence of technology is strange and scary to us as parents because we remember a world before the Internet. We also tend to romanticize our simpler times and wish our children would willingly seek out the kinds of fun we enjoyed during our summer breaks.

It's a cognitive defect that on one hand we recognize the tremendous advantages our kids enjoy growing up in the digital age while lamenting the fact that our kids too readily exploit this benefit: Yay for Tech! Stop using that Tech!

As Kindera parents we already know that our goal is really about achieving a healthy balance. The fact that we use Kindera to teach and support our young kids is an acknowledgement that we want our kids use the Internet. We've already silenced the Luddite voice in our heads. We are helping our kids prepare for the world they'll inherit. The balance we seek is most often about replacing the mind numbing hours of YouTube video with more exercise and learning opportunities.

We know the danger of an idle summer vacation and the damage it does to our kids' future. If you haven't read the previous article, go read it now: Summer Vacation Considered Harmful

In the first part of this series we focused on outdoor play and we still believe there is great value in unstructured summertime activity in pursuit of outdoor fun. But we also know that summer vacations cause harm when learning stops for our children. So this summer we are Homeschooling our kids: Homeschooling with Kindera!

The three goals for this program: Encourage outdoor play and exercise, Teach responsibility, and Continue their education. And we have a trick up our sleeve. We will use their love of technology to our advantage.

Homeschooling in the digital age could not be simpler. Just as our kids enjoy living in the 21st century we too find that the world's knowledge is close at hand. There are many online self directed learning resources to choose from:

All we need to do is steer our kids to these sites and encourage a choice between using technology to learn, or play and exercise offline. It's a lesson in itself that we allow them to make this choice on their own, a lesson in responsibility.

Using Kindera, here's how it works:

  1. With the new Enhanced Rule Schedule we build up a set of rules that Block Internet distractions during our prime learning hours. On weekdays we Block YouTube from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Same for Instagram, Minecraft, Snapchat, Facebook. Any and all non-educational sites we know they frequent because Kindera allows us to monitor their activities online.
  2. We help each kid setup accounts and explore Khan Academy (or other) and set the ground rule expectation: 10 hours a week on any combination of subjects.
  3. We hint that their effort is best spent on topics which had the lowest grades on their report cards, but in balance we know that any time spent on any topic is creating the benefit we seek.

The important thing to see here is that we allow for balance. Summer vacations can be fun too. That's why we remove the restrictions on weekends and outside the learning hours. Kindera is a great productivity tool for focusing attention and granting rewards for hard work.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

Tell your friends:

There are many parents who would enjoy using Kindera in their home. It takes but a moment to share with your friends: