My kids love books. It’s not uncommon for us to walk out of the library with 40-50 books, at least half of which are non-fiction. We live five minutes from the library, so this isn’t a once a month trip we’re talking about. But they also love their computers. I can’t say much as I spend at least half my day on the computer. Even before Facebook came on the scene.
For 4 1/2 years, we used an online virtual school for homeschooling. There were actual books involved as well, but most lessons were on the computer. We would still be using that if I hadn’t had serious issues with the policies of the school. Now we use Google and various computer-based learning programs that we get to try through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.
Currently, we’re still using IXL.com (math) and Reading Kingdom from last year’s reviews and Mango Languages, which I will feature in a review in a couple of weeks. We’re about to start Supercharged Science again, which we reviewed last year, and were fortunate enough to be chosen again for this year. As you can see, from just a few examples, pretty much any subject can be covered online.
Even if you don’t like formal curriculum or programs, the internet holds a wealth of information. Use wikipedia at your own risk, but sites like www.nationalgeographic.com and .gov and .edu sites are generally (relatively) reliable sources of information. Kahn Academy is a great free resource for learning math without a curriculum. If you have high school students (or even a bored adult sitting around…), Coursera will help you find free courses from universities around the country.
Books are fabulous, and we certainly haven’t abandoned them, but computers can give you instant feedback and interaction that you can’t get from books. If the internet disappeared tomorrow, we would definitely miss more than email.