No two learners will learn, or want to learn, in the exact same way. This is why I love to incorporate media into my homeschooling model. Media in homeschooling can be as flexible as your learners needs. Here are my best tips for making media work in your homeschool.
Media in Homeschooling
Tackle your least liked activities first.
Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Go ahead and eat all your frogs first so you can look forward to the rest of your day. This is not just a great way to avoid procrastination, it also helps your learner to focus better on the things he or she enjoys.
My daughter HATED botany. I have never understood her hatred for botany, but her lowest scores were always in botany. If she tried to do botany last, she spent her whole day dreading the botany that was to come which meant that she wasn’t getting as much out of her favorite subjects either. When she tackled botany first, all the dread of botany could be left behind allowing her to focus on those things that were more meaningful to her. One of the greatest advantages of homeschooling is focusing on those things that are more meaningful.
Reenacting scenes or passages can contribute to higher retention.
I was just explaining this to my teen son a few days ago. The brain is like a huge chest of drawers. Visually, those things that we see go into one drawer. Auditorily, those things that we hear go into another drawer. Things that we experience go into a third drawer, and things that we perform go into a fourth drawer. Writing and reading are drawers all on their own. When there is important information that we want to remember, the more drawers that information is stored inside, the easier it is to retrieve that information when we need it.
If our learner watches a lion take down a gazelle, he or she will store that away in the visual drawer. However, if our learner reenacts a lion taking down a gazelle with a stuffed animal (or balled up piece of paper), the information gets stored in more than one location making it that much more accessible.
History, science, and literature are just ripe with opportunities to reenact scenes, passages, or events.
Encourage active viewing of videos using journals or simple scavenger hunts.
If my daughter is watching a documentary on animals, she can recount details with amazing accuracy. However, if she watches a botany documentary… well, you know her hatred for botany… let’s just say her mind tends to wander.
A video scavenger hunt can be as simple as having a learner write down all dates and events mentioned in a historical documentary. They can be looking for the answers to questions or listing their Top 10 facts. You can even challenge your learners to compete to see who gets the most dates listed (or food sources, people’s names, facts about, etc.), or you can preview the video to see if they can find as many as you did. Just be careful that your challenge doesn’t interfere with learning. Counting the number of times that the announcer says a specific word might distract your learner more than it helps.
Journaling can also be extremely valuable for encouraging active viewing. The learner can write a story map about the events in the video, outline the video, or simply take notes. Perhaps your learner is an artist. While I was teaching Sunday School, I would pass out blank pieces of paper and allow the children to draw while I was telling the Bible story. When I was done, I allowed them to tell me about their drawings. They each retold the Bible story in their own words. They always retained so much more when I allowed them to draw.
I hope my tips have helped you to look at media within homeschooling as more than just watching a video. Be sure to check out the infographic below. The lovely people at PureFlix.com, a Christian movie resource, have graciously allowed me to share it with all of you. They have a FREE 4-week curriculum for homeschooling parents so be sure to check that out.