current events

Unit Study Idea: The African-American Struggle for Civil Rights, Past and Present

Unit Study Idea: The African-American Struggle for Civil Rights, Past and Present

Carrie’s family wanted to study the history of civil rights in the United States, and they found the project incredibly rewarding. These were some of their favorite resources.

Q&A: Teaching Current Events in Your Homeschool

Great resources for 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.


Stuff We Like :: 6.5.15

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

At Home

Perhaps the best part of this time of year is seeing all the critters around our house make homes and raise families of their own.

Right now we have a cardinal mama sitting in a nest right outside our living room window! When my eight-year-old discovered her making the nest, we got all giddy! I'm going to post whatever pictures I can on our Facebook page, so be sure to follow us there for updates.

 

Around the Web

My husband is always finding cool music videos for us to watch, and this week the boys especially liked this Star Wars spoof by the Piano Guys. After all, they are Star Wars geeks.

Speaking of music, my husband has been talking up the Songza app, and I think it's pretty cool too. It has some ready-made playlists for all your listening preferences! I only wish I had more time to listen.

My five-year-old loves dinosaurs. Does that surprise you? My husband has been telling him stories about Dig Dig the Dinosaur every night for about two years, but lately he has found some relief by showing my son these funny dino comics instead. (Only one year and 360 days of reading these every night to go!)

 

Documentaries

As I've written before, everyone in my family is a documentary junkie. These past few weeks we have been enjoying watching a wonderful set of documentaries on Netflix that are produced by Off The Fence Distribution. We have enjoyed Wildest India, Wildest Indochina, Wildest Middle East, and Wildest Islands, just to name a few! They focus on the wildlife of each region, but the shows also touch on history and the intersection where humans and animals meet. They are very unique and have shown us places that we have never seen before!

Also on Netflix, we've been loving Modern Marvels. Who would have thought that learning about food trucks could be so interesting?!

 

Homeschool

For a long time, I was wanting to find a way to introduce current events to my eight-year-old in a way that he would find engaging. Luckily, I found News-O-Matic in Apple's app store (it's also available in Google Play and on the Kindle). We have been experimenting with the free trial version, and it took awhile for it to become habit, but finally I found it worth it to purchase the unlimited version. ($19.99) The best part of News-O-Matic is that kids have the choice of reading articles or having it read to them. There are also slideshows and videos attached to some stories, and plenty of other ways to interact! The articles are kid-friendly while also covering important topics of the day.

 

Reading

A friend of mine loaned me I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and this book captured my heart! (You are probably familiar with Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians.)

I just finished reading The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash to my eight-year-old, and he and I loved it. It does have some issues, though, so be sure to read my (forthcoming) book review before you buy it for your children .