Singing the technology upgrade blues
A half dozen years ago, we loaded our van with children and set off on an adventure. I had my brand new laptop along to document our travels, and we lamented the scarcity of Internet availability across the miles. We wondered if the day would ever come where we could stay connected on the road. When technological geniuses came up the idea of wireless hot spots that could travel with you, I silently told myself that I'd thought of it first.
When a friend marveled at the wonder that was her BlackBerry, I wasted no time in getting one. Briefly, I was cutting edge. Friends and I traded voice notes, pictures and videos across the miles. Then, without warning, the tech world passed me by. My BlackBerry couldn't keep up, and soon I found myself as one of the handful of people who still have one. My smartphone, as it turns out, isn't.
My phone is not the only gadget to betray my loyalty. My laptop, so faithful on our journey in 2006, finally gave it up altogether. The repairman – yes, I attempted to resurrect my antique laptop – peered out from the security of computer geekdom to declare that the laptop was simply too old to upgrade. Since my desktop was vintage 2005 and still humming along, I promptly decided that the repair guy was just too lazy to give it a try. I muttered that things could not have changed so much.
Full insurrection was upon us as the aging desktop pulled up the blue screen of death three times in one month. I started to think that maybe there was something to this concept of upgrading.
For my husband, it was the opportunity to do some research and start dreaming about the fastest devices out there. The kids were just happy to get a break from the computer programs that make up the formal part of our homeschool. My children were begging to go back to workbooks. I thought that was a little strange, but I am willing to try any method that keeps them focused and learning. For now, workbooks work.
We chose a laptop as our first upgrade. I would use it for writing, get comfortable with a mid-range model and then pass it on to the children who would, we imagined, be ready for a break from workbook pages soon enough. Brian could continue researching and dreaming until it was time for one more laptop that would become the main family computer. It would be quick and lightweight, the perfect computer to serve us on our upcoming trip across the country in a motor home.
Brian advised getting a computer with Windows 8. Might as well get back on the cutting edge. It seemed like a good idea. But as I am trying to wrap my aging brain around this new operating system, I am reminded that the two of us, over the years, thought it was a good idea to buy a Renault Alliance, a Dodge Neon and the aforementioned BlackBerry.
My learning curve alternates between sullen and surly. In my more introspective moments, I ask myself what sort of example I am setting for my children. As the teacher in this homeschool arrangement, I encourage them to embrace new experiences and persevere when learning new concepts.
"Just figure it out," I tell them. "You can do it." I have become exactly the student I don't want to deal with.
My advice is supposed to be for other people. "Just figure it out," I tell myself. It is a bitter pill, but I swallow hard, force a smile and keep going. The kids are watching. Meanwhile, I'm looking for the receipt.
Rose Godfrey is a speech pathologist and homeschooling mom in Yuba County. Her homeschool blog can be found on the Appeal-Democrat website at appealdemocrat.com.