Monday, January 16, 2012

Homeschooling and the Possibilities of Pinterest

I'm ba-a-ack! 

So I discovered Pinterest a week or so ago. At first it left me with furrowed brow. What is the point of "pinning" and "re-pinning" stuff found on the Internet? Wondering, why all the hoopla? Why the obsession? What made this online "thing" so addicting for some people? 

What is Pinterest? According to the website, Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. 

My Christmas Ideas Pinboard
Okay, so that's mildly interesting, but I still didn't see what all the fuss was about. And you have to be invited to join! Or else request an invitation and twiddle your thumbs while you wait. The only way to get firsthand knowledge was to ask a friend to invite me, and that's what I did, and ta-dah! I was on Pinterest. I started poking around and teaching myself about pinning pictures to my ready-made pinboards. (They are like bulletin boards.) I discovered that I could edit them and create my own little groupings. I could go crazy finding and pinning Christmas craft ideas! Later, I could click on the picture, and I would end up at the website where the picture and craft originated. That was my first clue that Pinterest could be very useful.

By the way, I've heard that bookmarking pages does the same thing, and while that is true, bookmarking doesn't give you a photo reminder. I have a long, long list of bookmarked pages that I can scroll through and not remember why I bookmarked those pages in the first place. I don't often visit my bookmarked pages; out of sight, out of mind. With Pinterest, I see my pinboards, and I see the items that interested me, and I KNOW why I pinned those things! This makes organizing pages so much easier! 

Then I realized something else. Pinterest could be used by homeschooling families! Think of the possibilities! You create a pinboard in your account for each of your children and use time on Pinterest as a reward for getting their lessons done or their chores done. You can search for crafts together, search for recipes together, search for fun family games together! Each child's choices would go on his or her virtual pinboard. Or, you could create those pinboards in advance with activity ideas you think your child would like. As an incentive to get work done, the reward would be to pull up the pinboard and have the child choose one of the pictures you pinned; then you could do that activity/craft/story. 

Another possibility: use Pinterest as a fun teaching tool. Are you teaching your little ones their colors? Create pinboards for each color and as you surf the Internet (or the Pinterest boards), have your children choose colorful items to pin to their boards. For older kids, you could create boards for animal classification. As you study geography, you could create boards for different countries or different states. If your student is writing a story—fiction, for example—pinning ideas for characters and settings to a story pinboard would save time and reduce clutter caused by going through magazines, cutting pictures out, and gluing them to a page like we did back in "the old days."

Of course, you can create boards for each subject you teach and add curricula that interests you, experiments, and so forth. You could even find ideas for organizing your classroom area from other homeschoolers on the site!

Pinterest is free, so check it out for yourself! And if you already have a Pinterest account, what do you like to use it for?

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