Teaching Basic Computer Skills to Your Homeschooler

September 7, 2022
Written by:
Guest Author

Education has changed a lot in the past decade. Digital skills are more important than ever before, and students that aren’t tech-savvy will be left behind by their digitally literate peers.

As a homeschooling educator, you must stay up to date with the latest pedagogical approaches toward teaching digital literacy and basic computer skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you create and deliver effective lesson plans — even if you aren’t tech-savvy yourself.

Digital Literacy

The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” This definition may sound complex but is quite straightforward in reality. If you can surf the web, download documents, send emails, and use social media, you are digitally literate.

Teaching children to become digitally literate requires you to set tasks for them that are achievable and researchable.

For example, if you want your homeschooled students to learn how to send professional emails, give them limited access to a Gmail or Hotmail account and your email address. If they have questions about how to send an email, encourage them to search for answers on the web. This teaches them foundational digital literacy skills to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information.

If the children you teach are a little older, you can give them an additional task like editing and sending a document. Give them a PDF and ask them to convert the PDF to a Word document to make minor edits. When they’ve completed the task, have them email it to you using a professional subject line, salutations, body text, and sign-off.

If you’re teaching very young children, stick to more simple tasks like opening and using apps on child-safe tablets. Learning how to navigate operating systems is important for young children, as this gives them future access to edutainment and the opportunity to learn independently.

Safety Online

The ALA definition of digital literacy does not include safety as a core tenant of digital literacy — but it should. Safely navigating the digital world is important for children and adults alike, as scammers, viruses, and misinformation run amok online.

You can practice and promote internet safety for homeschoolers by teaching children about online bullies, computer viruses, and other forms of fraud like phishing and scams. Teaching safe online behavior is important as you won’t always be there to ensure that they stay safe at home.

You can add an extra layer of security by installing internet safety apps on any devices that students may use. Some apps — like Finn Goes Online — teach children about the potential perils of the online world, while others — like Google Family Link — help educators and parents keep their children safe by monitoring usage.

Soft Skills Through Computing

Learning how to use computers is about more than searching the web and sending emails. Computing teaches students soft skills that will serve them well throughout their entire lives. Even gaming can be beneficial for today’s students, as eSports teach soft skills like critical thinking, communication, and complex problem-solving.Homeschool Computer Programming

If you have multiple children, you can use eSports to teach soft skills by setting your students up on age-appropriate multiplayer games. Older children may enjoy games like Operation Tango (rated E10+) and Minecraft. Make this fun experience into a lesson by debriefing your kids and asking them questions like:

  • What made communicating with your sibling easier?
  • What problems did you encounter? How did you solve them?
  • What did your sibling do well? What might you learn from that?
  • How can you apply what you learned playing games to other things?

These questions are designed to get children to think about what they learned from the game they played and create transferable soft skills. A lesson plan that involves gaming may also improve their engagement in other computing classes, as gaming promotes skills like basic programming.

Basic Programming

Programming is increasingly lucrative for tech-savvy young adults to follow. Learning basic coding languages like Python can be useful even if the children you teach show no interest in programming as a career. Learning to code is much like learning a new language and promotes the same logical thinking skills.

You don’t necessarily have to be able to code to teach coding. You can teach coding at home by working with developers that have all the resources and answers you need. Just reach out to support services if you and your students are stuck and use your digital literacy skills to find a way forward.


As a homeschool educator, you have to ensure that the children you teach have the skills they need to succeed later in life. You can help your children become digitally literate and promote soft skills through educational apps and eSports. If you think your kids are ready, you can teach coding at home by working with apps that guide students through basic coding skills.

More About the Author:

Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for the community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Additional Homeschool Resources

5 Ways Coding Encourages Critical Thinking

The Importance of Guarding Technology in Our Homeschool

Coding for Homeschoolers