Wednesday, October 6, 2010
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, we sometimes get products that are given over the internet. This time, I received a product called LanSchool Home which is a software program that was designed to provide help for parents in the protection and monitor of their homes. LanSchool Home has been based on another product called LanSchool which can be used in a classroom environment. However, with LanSchool Home you can only monitor three computers maximum.
In the 21st century, it is well known how social networks as well as cyber-bullying can be damaging for kids. Consequently, even in an homeschool environment you need to be aware of the influence and damage the internet can have on your kids. When your kids use the computer to do homework or research, you are not always next to them to supervise their use. And if you don’t have equipment or software that will block certain sites, your kids can be hurt in the process.
To install the program, you will need a parent computer to control all (up to three) the computers used by the members of the family. Now, in our household we have more than three computers – that’s the benefits of having an high-tech business… But in our homeschool room where all the PC used by the kids are located, there is three different PCs.
The user manuel is quite detailled and explicit in their explanation on how to install and use the program. From the various settings that can be done, the ones that could be very useful are the web limitations and the application limitations. Through these two setting, the parent has the possibility to block or allow websites and/or applications which can be used depending the age of the children in the house. Another fun setting would be the keystroke alerts. This setting allows you to specify a list of banned words and if a family member use such a word during their use of a computer, you will be immediately notified and know who used the banned words. Honestly, to “spy” on your kids in such a way, I feel like Big Brother and I am not sure I particularly like it. I prefer keeping an eye on their activity by going in the room where they are. No computers are located in the bedrooms so we don’t have a major problem on this issue.
The product can be used on Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 2003 and 2008 Terminal Server, Windows MultiPoint Server, Citrix, N Computing X, L and U Series, Mac OX 10.4 and higher, iOS3 and iOS4 on iPads, iPods and iPhones. - Let just say that it covers almost every possible situation in a home…
Wondering about the price of such a program? LanSchool Home is only $99 for a home license but free to educators. Now this information got me wondering. Since we are homeschoolers and I am the educator would this means that I could get the copy of LanSchool Home for free? I would assume so but I didn’t contact the vendor on this question.
Would I use it? I don’t think I would purchase such a program for an homeschool environment. All the computers used by the kids are located in the same room. The other computers (mine and my husband) are password protected. Besides, our kids are currently young and they are not on any social network for the time being. Another reason is simply because we already have a system in place to protect our family against bad websites. At this time, our family doesn’t have the need to expand this protection to software and such since the access of the PCs are limited to specific time period during the week. Maybe in the future a program such as LanSchool Home will be necessary and I appreciate the fact that I had access to this program and discover it’s potential.
If LanSchool Home is a product that would be a any help for your family, go to http://www.lanschool.com/ to purchase it.
This review was possible because I have received access to the LanSchool Home for a period of time as part of my participation to the TOS Homeschool Crew.