Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homeschool Typing Class

Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, DING! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. Remember manual typewriters? And remember Typing Class where a whole chorus of plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, DING! Zzzzzzzzzzzts would echo through the classroom? And remember how there would be one or two of your classmates who were fortunate enough to have an electric typewriter? You'd be all settled at your desk, typewriter out, paper loaded, and you'd look up to see one of them standing there with their fancy case. "Could we trade seats? I need to be by the outlet," one would ask. What. Ever. you'd think as you picked up your behemoth machine and moved to another desk. Away from the window, the one thing that would keep you sane during the endless keying of ssssss, llllll, slslslsl, lslsls. Home Row. Fingers on Home Row. And you'd watch with envy as the kid-with-the-electric-typewriter's fingers skimmed lightly over the keys, which jumped in response to the touch. And a simple button push returned the carriage to home, whereas you had to hold on one side with one hand while pushing the carriage over with the other to prevent sliding the entire machine across the desk and on to the floor.

Yes, those were the good ol' days. And now? Well, now, it is keyboarding, not typing. And there is less appreciation for the keyboard than for the typewriter. You know how I know that? Because these days, kids use U for you and ur for your and IMHO for in my humble opinion. Seriously, you would think we would have thought of shortcuts like that back in our typewriter days when we nursed our sore fingers for days after typing a 5-page paper.

And of course our typewriters did not autofill the word we were typing or autocorrect misspellings. No, we had to actually think for ourselves. But it must be a better world, though, right? I do know one thing: Learning to type was one of the most useful skills I ever learned. So I am determined that my children will learn to type and learn to type right.

Years ago, I bought a typing book, I mean a real typing book. Like the one I learned from, only I failed to get the one that can be propped up by its own cover. However, it is the same...you start at Home Row and you spend tedious amounts of time typing things that don't make sense like aaaaaa ;;;;;;; a;a;a;a; ;a;a;a;a. I smiled when I looked through it because it brought be back to my high school days.

But of course it is the 21st century now, so I cannot expect my children to learn from such an archaic training manual. So I also got them some typing software. It fits right into the 21st century with its flashy graphics and interactive elements. The children travel through different adventures as they type themselves from one island to the next using real words. And it grades their accuracy and speed. Really, it does it all.

Two of my kids have finished the whole program. Alex is a pretty good typist or keyboardist or whatever now. And Jacob has also finished. However, when I noticed him still hunting and pecking as he typed an email to a friend, I asked him why his fingers weren't on Home Row. "It's faster this way," he replied.

Obviously, he doesn't see the big picture. He's only 8. What should I expect? If he would just stick to the program and practice it that way, he would get better. But, no, he'd rather hunt and peck his way through school papers and business reports. That will not do. So I gleefully got out my tried and true typing book. He is not all that happy about typing things like, asas asas asas ddd ddd asd asd, but sometimes doing it the old fashioned way just gets it done.

One last thing: Did you know that the sentence The quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog contains every letter in the alphabet? Great for practicing your typing skills. I still remember that one from Typing Class.


Marianna said...

Wow...memories! I am thankful I missed the days before the manual typewriters. Our school had electric but you still had to have those blasted little sheets of white out. And, oh man, if you missed a mistake or had to rework a section...oh...how I love Word! I have two stubborn hunt-and-peck kiddos here. They insist it is too much trouble to learn to type properly. I gave up for a while. I think it is time to bring that program back out.

Bunch of Barrons said...

I remember taking typing classes. I loved it!

Arby said...

Can U send me the name of the software? Better yet, can I send U my 14 YO? U can send him back when he can type. He'll do yard work and babysit and stuff. Especially the stuff. IMHO.

tsinclair said...

Mine finished the programs and tell me about how fast they are...then I walk in and see them pecking.

Familiar cue words in our house - "shoulders up", and "home row keys".


dclouser said...

I love this post! Don't you think your boys are a little young to learn to type, though? My kids were all taught in the 6th grade. I think there are other areas that need to mature before they can really master it. But I agree - it's a crucial skill to have!

CrossView said...

Good for you! Let 'em learn it correctly!

My 21-yr old is a typing demon! LOL! That clicking on the keyboard drives me crazy when the house is quiet.... So when I need something typed, I call her. She learned the old-fashioned way! ;O)

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

I took typing in high school. I had a lot of fun in that class but never learned to type correctly there (despite what my high grades showed). I learned to type on the job as a transcriptionist in a dermatologist's office while simultaneously learning terms such as "seborrheic keratoses" and "debridement," words that Spell Check does not know. I stayed with that job for about 8 years and eventually stopped kicking myself for not learning to type correctly in high school...and 100 years later, I can still type well. ;)

CrossView said...

I'm slow but I finally figured it out! We didn't NEED typing skills till we were older because we didn't have the technology that we do now. Because of computers, they HAVE to have it at a younger age. Like, when they're actually doing typing on the computer so they can learn it correctly. That would be two nowadays??!! LOL!