While I did use the computer for a lot of my school in high school, I also relied on textbooks. There’s just something about old-fashioned textbooks that’s hard to get away from – and I think it’s a good thing!
–You can take the book with you anywhere. In the car, at the doctor’s office, at your dad’s work – wherever. You don’t have to worry about plugging it in, connecting to WiFi, or anything. Just open it, and voila! Classroom away from home. Also, you can walk around the house with it. Oftentimes, I would pace my room while reading my history book. I didn’t have the time to stop and take a break, so I’d just take my book with me. It worked out very well!
–Easier to read outside. We all know that one of the best advantages of homeschooling is taking the classroom outside on a beautiful day. Well, it’s kind of hard to read a computer screen with the bright sun – this is where textbooks come in. As long as the pages aren’t blindingly white, it should be fairly easy to stretch out on the grass and study.
–No installation needed. With computer programs, you need to install it or download it and set it all up. While you still need to figure out grading sheets and schedules with textbooks, all you have to do is open the cover and you’re set.
–Easier to study for tests. With textbooks, it is much easier to go back and study. Just flip through the pages, and you’re ready to highlight, underline, write notes, copy the pages – whatever. It takes much less time than clicking through lessons on a computer.
–Sharing with siblings. While many computer programs are individualized and cannot be reused for other students, textbooks can be passed down to each student for years of use.
–The internet isn’t just a click away. This can be SO helpful in minimizing distractions while trying to study. Seriously.
–No automatic grading. You’ll have to do it yourself, Moms.
–The internet ISN’T just a click away. While that fact definitely minimizes distractions, it can also be a downer for quick research.
–Takes up more space on bookshelves.
–An average textbook is heavier than the average laptop or tablet. Obviously, this con doesn’t apply to those whose school is on a regular tower + monitor PC.
–Possibly less accountability. If the tests are located in the book (and aren’t copied out and the book isn’t removed) there is a higher possibility of cheating.
–Possible paper cuts (ouch!)
–Can easily lose your place if your bookmark falls out.
–Can’t erase accidental highlighter/pen marks.
All in all, for me, the cons don’t outweigh the pros, or vice versa. I like using both the computer and textbooks. You just have to adapt to each style.
-For tests, copy them out of the book and put the book out of reach, in another room if necessary, while taking the tests. This will keep everyone accountable and happy.
-Consider using a paperclip with a design on one side as your bookmark. This will help prevent your bookmark from falling out. Clipping the design side to the page you are on will help make sure you start on the right page.
-If you will be sharing with siblings, make copies of pages you need to study for tests, and then highlight/underline to your heart’s content.
-If copying the pages isn’t an option, take notes on index cards.
-Read your lessons out loud. This is obviously subjective, but reading my lessons out loud always helped keep me focused.
I hope this post helped you in choosing between textbook and computer schooling. If you have any questions, be sure to Ask A Homeschooler!