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what laptop for starting secondary

(16 Posts)
jellymaker Wed 17-Jun-15 16:42:32

I am after some advice about what kind of laptop if any to get our 11 year old starting secondary in september. Is a lot of homework done on PCs? Does your DS/DD need one from day one.
Chromebooks vs laptops?
any advice gratefully received.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 17-Jun-15 17:04:14

Yes, a lot of homework is done online at DD1's secondary - and even if the homework is not set online, they will need to type stuff and search for information. We didn't get DD one at the beginning of year 7, but I soon got fed up of not being able to use mine. We got her one for the Christmas of Year 8.

The main issue for us was internet safety and we liked the idea of her working in a family room. But in reality, she normally works on the sofa, using her laptop.

Think about screen size. There's a lot of leaflet-designing and poster-making which is a pain on a tiny screen.

And obviously talk as much as possible about safe use of internet, make sure you have appropriate software in place, monitor browsing history etc etc.

TeenAndTween Wed 17-Jun-15 17:16:01

DD needed Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Publisher, plus Internet access / Google. Word was by far the most used, but the others were very useful.

She had a laptop in her bedroom for schoolwork where we blocked social media, youtube, emails, so we knew when she was doing homework she wasn't wasting time on other stuff. Occasionally she needed access to youtube, but then we logged in to one of ours and she looked at the clip from there. We also had time controls on it so she couldn't use it out of homework hours ifysim
We had to open up parental controls more than we would have liked otherwise research homeworks were impossible (which is why we explicitly blocked specific sites).

DD also had access to shared family laptops downstairs for fun stuff.

newstart15 Wed 17-Jun-15 17:28:10

Consider a Chromebook - online browser with keyboard which has access to google docs (like word) etc. Looks like a normal PC but doesn't run an operating system. You can download documents and store on drive which is part of the Chromebook. It makes accessing documents from your phone so easy as well. Printing is via a cloud printer which is about £45 but again you can print from your phone.

In summary it's much cheaper, you don't have worries over antivirus and has long lasting power. The PCs we bought our dc's in the past didn't tend to last as the storage requirements for new Windows versions just make the PCs run so slow. Our DC now have chromebooks and they can write documents and do all the stuff you would do with word. Have a look on Amazon for the HP Chromebook the reviews summarise the pro's and con's.

jellymaker Wed 17-Jun-15 17:40:38

Thanks for all this advice - really useful. Just been to look and I hadn't realised how pricey laptops are when you have bought windows on top compared to chromebooks.
Does it matter with a chromebook if the school is mainly using word?

MuddlingMackem Wed 17-Jun-15 22:21:20

Do you need to get Windows office? Can you not just use Open Office?

Kuppenbender Thu 18-Jun-15 07:50:32

Google around for 'i3 4gb 1TB'. You should find something for around £250. If you can hold on till the end of November, you'll either find cheaper or better (i5 8gb etc..) on a Black Friday deal.

MilkRunningOutAgain Thu 18-Jun-15 21:58:08

Laptop really not needed for my DS's secondary. A bit of research, but not much else required and family iPad has been fine. No typing whatsoever has been required to-date. Schools vary, in yr 7 at least pen and paper rule at DS's school, why not ask around a few parents with older siblings and see if it's really necessary straight away, or wait til autumn term and see what the rest of his class use.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 18-Jun-15 22:04:57

Mine have needed access to a computer several times a week, but have not yet needed their own personal laptop (eldest is nearing the end of Y10). A good keyboard is helpful when they are typing a 2000 word essay. The school uses Microsoft Office software and they sometimes bring home half-completed work on a USB stick and finish it for homework. A reliable printer is essential.

TigerFeat Thu 18-Jun-15 22:07:59

My dd also starts secondary in September and I hadn't even thought about this!

Surely the school would have informed us if one was needed?

Seeline Fri 19-Jun-15 08:06:48

My DS uses the family PC in the dining room. He uses it a lot - most nights, even if it's just logging onto the school system to check what his homework is. A lot of homework requires online facilities, eg interactive maths and language sites. Also needs Word, publisher and power point for assignments.
We do have a lap top if someone else needs access at the same time, bit I prefer to have him where I can see him wink
Things may get more complicated with DD starting secondary in September, but so far I haven't seen the need for him to have his own laptop. He is just finishing Y8.

Wittynewnameifonly Fri 19-Jun-15 08:11:31

tigerfeet I think it is rare that it is required more the case that it can be convenient.

DS yr 9 has never needed his own PC. He uses one of ours when he needs. I won't be buying ds2 one when he starts in September either.

I think perception of 'need' can be quite varied. I would talk to parents at the school your DC is going to.

Cloud2 Fri 19-Jun-15 13:58:48

I think it's better to wait till the school start unless school has asked it. DS1 didn't need much computer time when started, but then were required to have an 32G ipad. He now use ipad a lot during school time and homework.

EllenJanethickerknickers Fri 19-Jun-15 15:43:47

The 'family PC' in the dining room has been sufficient until DS3 started secondary school when I finally caved and got DS1 (Y11) a laptop.

BabyGanoush Sat 20-Jun-15 11:54:38

DS1 in y7 is fine with the occasionsl stint on my laptop.

They don't need threir own at all, IMO

Maybe further down the line.

mumsneedwine Sat 20-Jun-15 12:27:16

Check with school about buying Windows pack as ours gives it to kids (& staff) for free. For 3 devices. At one stage we were entitled to 15 !!

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