Coming up with that idea is one of the coolest feelings in the world. It makes you daydream during the day and keeps you awake at night.
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This brought back fond memories, since two of my three sons undertook this same project during their teen years, and my oldest actually did the same after he graduated. In our case, each son saved his own money for parts and was driven by the desire to have a PC optimized for his specific purposes, rather than sharing the older, slower, family computer.
However, I was able to make an arrangement with the owner of a computer Teen writing jobs. As it turned out, we hit the jackpot in finding a mentor.
He was careful not to give our son easy answers, but sent him to research which parts would be compatible and best for his end use. He asked leading questions to get him on the right track. He then donated time and space in his shop for the actual assembly, leading our son through best practices, including avoiding the dreaded static electricity.
The years around our kitchen table have been full of talk about processors and graphics cards and motherboards, and our family computing power has been boosted multiple times by boy-bought, boy-built computers. Not only did they learn a lot about computer hardware, but they also had to read deeply to understand specs, and they had to think critically to compare the attributes of various parts.
Then they had to put their own money on the line, meaning their decisions were financially important. Thinking back on this teen homeschool technology project, I realize that it demonstrates a lot about homeschooling in our family: My job, especially with teens, is often to be a facilitator.
Kids who have a lot of autonomy will often choose cool things to do that are indicators of future direction. My kids have often found ways to pay for projects we could not have afforded in the family budget.
My kids will often successfully complete a project that is bigger than I think they should bite off. An interest in video games really did turn into an interest in hardware and software which really is turning into a computer science degree and the ability to write good code — and job offers!
When they were younger, I worried a bit about the kids spending so much time playing with Lego bricks, creating tree houses, and building circuits with a kit over and over and over again. Would they ever gravitate toward something that other people saw as academic?
Today, the first computer builder in our family is long past being a homeschool graduate and has nearly finished his computer science degree at a state university. If authentic engagement represents your homeschool philosophy, read more about how to engage your children in these posts from our contributor Living Education by Oak Meadow covering topics like nature-based learning, creativity, handwriting, homeschooling multiple grades, authentic engagement, and more.
I told my computer science major son about it.
Now, years later, I can connect the dots between their play, their curiosity, their autonomy, their evolving interests, their self-motivation, their research skills, their reading, and their pursuits as young adults.
That teen tech project, building a computer, turned out to have a much bigger educational payoff than I ever imagined.From career advice to employment news, discover all of the information you need to know about your job search and career. I am starting a job board/blog to help teens find jobs.
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