Learning to type, that is touch typing, is an important skill in our family. In this technological age that our children live in it is imperative our children are conversant with computer skills.
When the children start their lessons we have a discussion on how we learn to type; it isn’t a subject where you sit down and work through lesson 1 to 60. Typing is pure practice, practice, practice; drill, drill, drill. We begin our typing lessons after the child can read (or simultaneously once the child has an understanding/recognition of letters). When I taught my kids to type we used a CD Rom but these days probably the best way to go is online: typing.com
My goal has been to teach them to touch type – that is to be able to type without looking at the keys. Because my kids learnt at such a young age by the time they reached highschool they were very proficient and had speed as well. This has served them well for highschool assignments which were typed and submitted online.
We set some parameters for the child at the beginning:
- I let them know that sitting upright, and not looking at the keys is very important. Though the children work independently with the lessons I do check on these things regularly. We discuss that their self-discipline in this area will ensure that they can continue with this course. If I have to correct them too often then we delay their typing lessons.
- They need to have their chair squarely in front of the keyboard and screen at a height where their elbows are close to vertical with their wrists, with their feet flat on the floor or a box. Their fingers need to be high (not flat) on the keyboard with their wrists not touching anything.
- They don’t move on to a new lesson till they have shown their statistics to me. I am more interested in her correct keystrokes than the speed. (Not interested in speed at all actually – but the kids are!)
- They don’t use the computer for writing tasks until they have completed the keyboard drills. When they get to the level of word exercises in the lessons they can use the keyboard for writing.
- Speed comes after you have mastered the finger positions. Once the lessons have been completed, with the focus on finger positions and correct keystrokes, then we redo the course with speed as the focus. Side note: I know this is not how I learnt (I learnt position and speed together) but I have found breaking down your focus helps the children succeed quicker. The whole process may take the same length of time, but the children feel successful earlier on.
- For some, typing may take a whole year to learn – no rushing, just daily practice. For others, it can be mastered in a much shorter time.
Because typing is both a priority and a skill that needs repetitive practice it is a part of the children’s Discipline Studies and it gets scheduled into our regular study days.
Many mums delay typing lessons because they know they are not that proficient at it themselves – all the more reason to encourage our children in this skill that is so necessary in this day and age. All the better if Mum starts typing practice herself!
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