Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review: Christian Keyboarding

There is one skill I obtained in high school that I can't imagine not having today – typing. It is a skill I used through college and continue to use every day. It escapes me how anyone can efficiently use today's technology with the hunt-and-peck method. Typing continues to grow as an essential skill for today's student. Rather than wait until high school, many children now learn to type in the elementary years.

Christian Keyboarding
is a supplier of keyboarding and word processing programs using the touch-typing method. For review, I was supplied with the e-book Keyboarding for the Christian School in both the elementary version and the middle school/high school version. The general structure of each version is the same, with the middle school/high school title containing extra lessons.

The lessons can be used either in a classroom or by individual homeschooling students. By the end of the program, the student will have learned all the characters of the keyboard as well as general formatting of word processing documents. Keyboard characters are introduced just two at time and learned through repetition. Regular review is built within the lessons.
Once the student has mastered enough characters, they further practice by typing timed Bible verses.

This is not a program that is meant to entertain. There are no cartoon characters, no games and no flashing screens. The method used is exactly how I learned in high school – through repetition and practice. While it may not be very entertaining, it is efficient, which is more important.

The main lessons are nearly identical for each version. The elementary version has more spacing and younger graphics (a keyboard and ladybug). If you have an older elementary student that will be ready to write reports soon, the older version will be a better value for you. The main differences are included below:

Keyboarding for the Christian School, Elementary
87 pages
32 lessons
Includes lessons for all characters of the keyboard and timed tests. Word processing lessons on centering and enumerated lists are also included.

Keyboarding for the Christian School, Grades 6 and up
107 pages
43 lessons
Includes lessons for all characters of the keyboard and timed tests. Also included are formatting and word processing lessons for the following: centering, enumerated lists, tab key, MLA reports, APA reports, cover page, works cited, bibliography, personal business letters, business letters, envelopes, proofreaders marks, and tables.

Both of my kids can type already, but they learned in very different ways. My oldest learned quickly and is an excellent typist. I think she could have learned to type with any program, this one included. This hasn't been the case with my youngest. My initial instinct was to use the popular typing software that worked for my daughter. She absolutely loved the program. However, it had zero appeal to my son; a true example of what works for one may not work for another. I then moved to a computer program that was geared more toward younger children. While he liked the games and enjoyed all the kid appeal, he wasn't learning to type.

I finally discovered that all the options, games, and animations of the computer-based programs were simply too distracting for my son to learn to type. My high school typing instructor didn't dance around the classroom and teach us games, so it obviously wasn't a necessary component to learning to type. In my son's case, it was actually a barrier. He needed a very systematic and repetitious program without any extras. I ended up seeking a traditional program similar to those provided by Christian Keyboarding. It worked! While still slow, he is now typing. I was not aware of Keyboarding for Christian Schools at the time of my search, but I imagine it would have been just as effective.

One advantage of this program over others of a similar format is the passages used for practice and timed tests. While “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," is great for practice, why not work on spiritual development at the same time? Verses are used in the lessons and both versions use passages from Psalms in the timed test section. I would have preferred that the Bible location would have been included with the scripture though. I also like that the program teaches basic word processing as well, rather than strictly typing.

If you are looking for a no-frills, Christian, and inexpensive typing program, Keyboarding for Christian Schools may fit your needs. Visit the Christian Keyboarding website for more information or to purchase. You will also find information on where to purchase a softcover text if that is your preference as well as sample lessons and freebies. Through February 28th, you can also get an additional $5 off your purchase of $12.95 with the code NewYear5.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew's blog to read more reviews on this product and others.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result in my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew, a team of 100+ homeschooling parents. While the product was provided at no expense to me in order to provide this review, I have not received any other compensation. Furthermore, receipt of the product does not guarantee a positive review. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool.

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