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Connor is raring to get on social media! And who can blame him? It’s a huge part of our culture today.
I remember when I joined Facebook. I missed the MySpace frenzy because I grew up out in the boondocks (I remember when the county paved my road, too, ya’ll). But Connor has never known a day without social media, cell phones, or the internet.
I know many people in the homeschool community avoid technology. We don’t. We all enjoy video games, movies, and feel like this without internet:
Connor is also getting to the point where he is literate and needs to start learning some geography, civics, history, logic,focus more on writing, and go through the sciences in a more systematic way.
Well, I think I have found a way to meld the two.
All of our research projects are going to start on social media this year! Social media is a great way to create situational interest in Connor. Educators use situational interest to teach a skill. For example, teaching a child their letters through bingo. Kids love games and will practice just about any skill to do
And people talk about just about everything on social media. It’s a great place to get in touch with experts.
It’s easy to search hashtags about the subject and find all sorts of things to explore.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not going to be the only resource we use. There is a lot of misinformation out there. People are sarcastic with hashtags, too, so I will have to be careful with the hashtags we use.
Let me give you an example. If we are studying China, the first hashtags I would search would be #chinesefood. This screenshot is from Instagram.
You can see the video squid being boiled and moving. This is a rich photo for learning, besides just being interesting. You just have to ask yourself the elementary school w/h critical thinking questions we all learned.
Critical Thinking Questions
What dishes use squid? What other cultures eat squid?
Why do they eat squid? This leads you into the social studies lesson on geography and diet.
Is it considered a Chinese delicacy or just something people near the coasts enjoy?
Are there special holidays where people traditionally make it? Is it considered breakfast lunch dinner?
Is there a famous chef who specializes in cooking squid? Is this available at street vendors, in home cooking, and nice restaurants?
What cooking methods do they use? This is the point where I would look up recipes.
After finding questions to answer, how do you actually answer them?
Summarize and Move on to More Credible Sources
Well, this is the point that I would leave social media and go to google. Think carefully about the keywords you use to search because these will affect the accuracy of the results.
To find the perfect search phrase:
Go back to your list and ask yourself to summarize the list in one sentence.
My summary would be: “What role does the squid play in food in Chinese culture?”
The next step in this home learning adventure would be to hop on Google. Take your summary and remove all the filler words like articles, prepositions, etc. Then type those keywords into the search bar.
This screenshot is what came up for me when I searched “squid Chinese food culture”. You better bet that I am going to tap on that Wikipedia article. This is a good starting place. You can then scroll to the bottom and go through their sources for more reading.
This article has a link to a page about Chinese cuisine with its own information on Chinese food that gives a fuller picture of Chinese food beyond squid.
After looking at all this, you can then go back to your original Google search (“squid chinese food culture”) and look at everything that came up.
Twitter and Contacting Experts
So that is a simple explanation on how to start learning on Instagram. But what about Twitter? The same process we used on Instagram can be used on Twitter, but Twitter is important for another reason. Contacting experts directly.
Continuing our example of cooking squid. I searched for “chinese chefs” and several different websites came up with lists of famous chefs. Look through the lists, find one on Twitter, and ask them questions! See if they have book or show recommendations! Ask for easy recipes you can cook with your kids at home! They may or may not answer you. Being ignored is always a risk.
It’s August and back to school time. This is also the time of year my family starts the new grade level. We all want our kids to experience school as this fun, enriching part of their day. Not a chore, but after while, we get tired and so do our kids.
That’s why I am excited to attend the Back to School Summit where we will be talking about the best ways to start of on the right foot and keep the fun going all year long. Find more information through my link. This virtual summit is happening Sept 4-6, 2018, so reserve your place now!
I am also currently working with Evan-Moor Publishers who make educational materials for PreK -Grade 8. Read my review of their Writing Fabulous Sentences and Paragraphs. You can also get 10% off sitewide through September 30, 2018, using this link and the code: “SUMMER10”!
Homeschooling is lonely and heart wrenching at times. It’s crucial to have someone cheering you on and showing you hacks to make your life easier, your relationship with your kids better, and your doubters jealous (petty, I know). Check this out to find the support you need to show yourself and your haters that you got this, whether they think you do or not!
Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook to keep up with This Addictive Mess.
Even if they do, scroll through their feed. There will be lots of links and ideas you can look into using the W/H questions (seriously, do these questions have a name? Let me know if the comments if they do!) we talked about earlier.
Now, you can use social media as a starting point for research. It’s fun. It adds a personal element. If you liked this idea, I have a free thought organizer and research planner for you to download and follow during your own adventures, when you sign up for my email newsletter.