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I am a home schooling mom to three amazing kiddos.  We primarily use the Montessori pedagogy to guide our journey.  We also enjoy aspects of classical education and are part of Classical Conversations community. 

I write a Montessori column for Practical Homeschooling Magazine.

I am still a geek at heart and at times miss my former career as an Information Architect/SharePoint Specialist.  I don't have much free time but if I do, it is spent on comic books and video games.
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Introducing Email for Elementary Practical Life

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As my oldest is approaching the upper elementary range, she has been asking to use email.  I realize that electronic use in the realms of Montessori can be a hot topic.  We have made the decision to utilize it carefully in our family but obviously, this is a decision that each family should make for themselves.  If you'd like more information from a Montessori perspective, you can read the AMS position statement on technology.



One of my main concerns was finding a platform that was age appropriate.  Most of the common options such as Gmail and Yahoo have age usage requirements and offer far too much freedom for my taste.  After looking through a few options, I settled on KidsEmail.org.  There is a cost of $2.99 per month which allows up to 6 email addresses.  If you want to give it a try, they give you a no obligation 30 day trial.  And no, I am not affiliated with KidsEmail.org in any way.

You begin by setting up a parent account which allows you to control all the settings for your children's accounts.  One of the key features I appreciate is the ability to restrict all incoming and outgoing emails to a set list of contacts.  You also have the ability to get a copy of every outgoing and incoming email.  I've come to enjoy seeing what my children send to family members.



I'm able to add photos to the custom contact list.



There are different versions of the interface depending on the age and skill level of your child.  To my daughter's delight, it includes a simple paint program that allows you to attach drawings.



There's an app version as well including one for her Fire.



I used this as an opportunity to discuss proper email etiquette.  Some topics you can include are:
1.  How to create a relevant subject line
2.  What is appropriate to discuss in an email
3.  Proofreading before sending
4.  Using correct grammar and punctuation

This might also be a good time to begin the broader discussion on online safety in general.

While this is a fantastic practical life exercise, it has been extremely helpful with language studies as well.  I find that my children are enthusiastic about getting to contact friends and family members.  This gives a practical approach to all key aspects of reading and writing including grammar and punctuation.  I have been surprised by how quickly this has had an effect in that area.

Since this has been so successful, the next item on the agenda will by a typing program.

Bess
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This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori series.  I am honored to take part in it.  If you'd like to see moreon practical life, please visit the links below:


What is “Montessori Independence?” | Sugar, Spice & Glitter






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