Q&A: Teaching Current Events in Your Homeschool
One of the things I want to be sure to do as a homeschooler is to keep my kids plugged into what’s happening to the world at large. Are there any great current events resources you recommend?
You’re wise to introduce current events early in your homeschool. Students who participate in elementary and middle school current events classes are more than twice as likely as their non-news-informed friends to follow politics and world news as teens and young adults. Finding the right resources is just part of the plan, though. To really engage kids in current events, you need to find opportunities for them to interact with the news, says Thomas Turner, Ph.D., a professor of education at Tennessee State University. Let your student come up with opening and closing arguments for a controversial news case, engage in family debates, or put together your own newscast of the week’s most important stories. Older kids can follow a story across different media to see how the news changes depending on the outlet and whether it’s in a newspaper, magazine, or television broadcast. You can certainly use your regular newspaper and nightly news programs to study current events, but if you’re looking for a kid-friendly introduction to the news, these resources (most of which take summers off) fit the bill:
CNN Student News :: A 10-minute daily newscast covers the day’s top stories. Maps, background-information articles, and discussion questions help put the news in context.
Student News Daily :: Thoughtful discussion questions help kids make sense of the day’s news. This is a good resource for introducing the idea of media bias and helping students recognize bias in reporting.
PBS NewsHour Extra :: Get current news stories organized by subject. Smartly compiled lesson plans help kids build an understanding of how news affects history, geography, society, and more.
Scholastic News :: Age- appropriate current events are pulled from Scholastic’s print magazines.
Time for Kids :: The pop culture vibe of this magazine-related news website may appeal to news-reluctant tweens.
The New York Times Learning Network :: In-depth analysis of recent news stories teaches kids how to approach news. The site also taps into the Times' extensive archives to illuminate historical events.
Tween Tribune :: The editors of this middle school news resource have a knack for choosing news stories that appeal to younger readers.
Originally published in the summer 2014 issue of home/school/life magazine. Do you have a question about homeschooling? Email us, and we’ll try to help you find an answer. Questions may be published in future issues of home/school/life.