I still remember my typing class in the 7th grade. Electric typewriters. Do they still make those? They were old when I used them, but they got the job done. The important thing was I learned touch typing skills that I’ve used my whole life. Now that so much in life and work revolves around using keyboards, those skills are even more important than they used to be.
So what about touch typing skills for kids? When and how do you introduce typing lessons in your homeschool?
Why Touch Typing Skills are Important
The truth is, our kids are digital natives. They begin using technology from an early age. My daughters began using Kindles around age 4-5 to practice reading and math skills. They moved to the computer from there, where they quickly discovered that using a keyboard takes practice.
Obviously, it’s unlikely that we’ll go back to a time when technology isn’t a part of our everyday lives. That makes teaching our kids how to make the most of it an important life skill.
My oldest daughter (16) learned how to type fluently by age 12. Part of the reason for this is because she had a great incentive to learn — she wanted to become a web developer and 3D game designer. Of course these careers require a certain confidence and comfort level with the computer and typing skills. With more and more careers that require keyboarding skills, teaching touch typing skills in our homeschool is essential.
Touch typing skills can also help with other subjects in your homeschool, such as writing. All three of my daughters enjoy creative writing. They are learning how to use Word and Google Drive to write their stories, essays, and reports. Learning to type with more accuracy and speed not only helps them complete their assignments, it relieves some of the frustration of “hunting and pecking” over the keyboard.
Touch typing skills can help our kids throughout their whole lives — with their education, communication, job skills, and navigation through a digital world.
How to Teach Touch Typing Skills
Ordinary typing practice can be boring. That’s just the truth of the matter. I remember my typing class in school was just repetitious exercises on the typewriter. Yawn! Game-ifying typing practice gives kids some built-in motivation to learn and stick with it.
What’s the best age to start? That depends on your kids, but I personally found that the 8-12 age range can be ideal. If kids are too young, they may get frustrated when their fingers can’t reach the keys properly or they may lose interest altogether.
My youngest daughter (9) has been saying that she wants to “type fast” like her big sister and I do. Since she expressed an interest, I figured it’s a good time to learn!
We’re using TypeKids, an online typing course for kids. It was created to teach touch typing skills in a fun way with incentives for making progress in the form of games. Kids type along with Captain Forty, a friendly pirate, as they collect gold coin treasures. Gold coins can unlock games. Accuracy counts and emphasis is put on proper hand placement and typing without looking at the keyboard. Students improve both speed and accuracy in the lessons and games.
Lessons are presented in slideshow format, beginning with a chart showing the proper placement of your hands on the keyboard and why it is important. An instructor’s voice describes the proper placement as well. Standard lessons are presented for the home row, numbers, punctuation, and more for the QWERTY keyboard.
TypeKids also has a fun storyline, which motivates kids to move through the lessons. You don’t know what happens next in the story if you don’t complete the lessons. My kids love a good story, so this helps move them along.
I appreciate the fact that I can get progress reports on the site or even emailed to me. Since I keep records for our homeschooling, this helps with documentation. This feature, as well as the charts and emphasis on proper hand placement and incremental lessons, takes TypeKids above other online typing games. It is real instruction in touch typing skills.
My daughter likes the sense of accomplishment as she progresses through the lessons, which is also different than typing games that don’t save progress. Typing is one of those skills where practice makes perfect (or improved) so TypeKids gives her a good chance to get that practice.
If you’re looking for a touch typing course for kids, head over to TypeKids and check it out. You can start a free trial today before committing to the year-long subscription so there is no risk. It might be just the incentive your kids need to learn those important touch typing skills.
Are you teaching your kids basic typing skills?
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