We've always been a very tech-friendly family. Bought our first computer in 1991, on the web since 1993, are big into digital media, scripting, website building, etc. etc.. But it seems like the wave of tech tools for kids swept past us when we weren't looking. We bought a laptop for ds a year ago when he started school in 10th grade, because he's dysgraphic and it was going to take months to get him an assessment to qualify him for a school district laptop.
So ds has his laptop, but the rest of us are still sharing two desktop computers. It seems like most of the reasonably well-off homeschooling families we know have purchased a laptop or an iPad for each of their kids over age 9 or 10. And most of the high school kids my middle dd goes to school with have laptops of their own. I'm taking on more out-of-home work this fall, and as a result dd9 will be needing to amuse herself for an additional 7-8 hours a week. She also travels a fair bit, because of her older siblings' extra-curriculars and would love to be able to have a computer in the minivan. She's very computer-savvy, and academically at about a 7th grade level. She's been saving her money for a laptop for a couple of years. We're considering sharing the cost of laptop purchases for both her and her older sister.
Does your homeschooler have a laptop? Do you find it helpful if they do? What sort of machine do they have? What do you think it's important to have in a laptop for a homeschooler? Do you think laptops are becoming, or are on their way to becoming, standard equipment for homeschoolers? Or for high school students, whether they attend school or not?
I'm starting to think our frugality has got in the way of use keeping up with the technology curve in education. My kids use computers a lot. But always sharing.
We're looking at getting a couple of ultraportable units. My kids are small (dd9 is just 51 pounds) and they will have to carry their laptops, along with other stuff, when travelling or walking to friends or to my work. Not ultrabooks, something without a ton of power, but small and light.