If the past year has taught me anything as a homeschool mom, it’s that current events are an essential part of how I help my boys learn. Not only are they naturally concerned about and interested in the world around them, I also value our practice of critical thinking around world events.
The first time my son saw a news broadcast, he was terrified.
When my children were younger, we were always careful to keep the news for adults only, worried that the nightly stories of war and murder would be too much for young brains. So, it wasn’t until he was visiting a relative that he even saw a news broadcast.
He had trouble sleeping for weeks.
Because we had such a negative experience, I avoided most difficult current event topics in our homeschool for many years. Looking back, I know I was doing the best I could, but the truth is, I regret it.
As the years have passed, the value of current events in our homeschool has become evident. My boys have practiced critical thinking and even debate skills, all within the context of our learning together.
As my children have grown into young men, one of the greatest gifts has been being able to engage in real conversations with them about real, life events. It’s a pleasure to see them owning their own opinions and engaging in meaningful discussion.
I wish I had figured out a way to help them access current events (and me for that matter!) in a way that was age appropriate, long ago.
How To Easily Make Current Events An Important Part Of Your Homeschool
Because this has been so important to our learning this past year, I was immediately interested when I learned about The Juice, from The Juice Learning Company.
The Juice is an online learning tool designed to deliver age-appropriate, carefully curated news directly to your child, and teach them to think critically about what they are learning.
In 10-20 minutes, students read news stories, interact with informational text, practice digital media literacy skills, and answer standards-based questions as they sharpen their critical thinking skills and become smarter about our world.
This learning platform includes topical stories, supplements (extra juice) to better understand a particular topic, interactive quizzes and even STEAM videos. It is literally a one stop-shop for all things current events and critical thinking.
What’s Included Each Day With The Juice?
Creating Media Literacy For Kids In Accessible Formats
One of the things my boys were most excited about was the opportunity to engage with the platform on their phone and/or tablet. Both of them prefer the independance that a mobile device provides, so The Juice was an easy addition to their learning.
In addition, the information is available in both written and audio formats.
For my youngest son, who still struggles to read fluently, this allowed him to not only access the learning, but do so completely independently. If you have an older struggling reader, you know how valuable this is! His self-confidence in learning on his own is soaring.
The Educational Advantages Of Adding Current Events To Your Homeschool
The obvious advantage is an informed and critical thinking person, but the truth is, there are many other benefits in additional subjects as well!
- Age Appropriate Reading Practice: As I mentioned, my son can both listen and read the written text simultaneously. This has been wonderful for his reading practice because it is so natural and age appropriate. The interactive quizzes help confirm his understanding of the material and his overall retention.
- Mathematics and STEAM: The Juice provides access to real-life data in interactive custom infographics. This increases visual and numeric literacy.
- Social Studies: In addition to more obvious study of current events, The Juice also provides historical content and supplemental materials to explain cultural and historic relevancy in our current news.
Avoiding Bias In Studying Current Events
One aspect of The Juice that I find to be invaluable, is their commitment to avoiding bias in how they present and discuss the news.
They take the issue of bias very seriously. A diverse set of editors (geographically, politically, ethnically, and by age group) debate and deliberate over the stories that are most important for the learner.
Once the stories are selected and written, they are then reviewed by four more editors, all of whom are focused on avoiding bias.
Easily Incorporate Current Events Into Your Homeschool
Because I see so much value in this, I am excited to share that The Juice Learning Company is offering a special discount specifically for my readers! Right now, with the promo code JuiceDBDL you will save 25% off ! Get all the details —> HERE.
It’s a perfect time to add this level of learning to your homeschool.
For More Homeschool Resources And Support:
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.