In our Web 2.0 class at our homeschool co-op a few years back, I taught the students to open an account with Google Reader and begin using it to research their own interests.
Today Google Reader is no longer active (sadly). However, there is a great alternative, which is FREE. And I love it.
As tweens and teens begin to become tech-savvy and surf the web frequently, the best thing we can do as parents (besides instructing them on internet safety!) is to prepare them with an onslaught of information conducive to what they want to learn.
Enter Feedly for homeschoolers (or at least, that is my personal term for introducing RSS feeds to our kids).
Rather than fighting technology, we can be teaching them to use the web to their advantage (all while keeping them safe, of course.)
There are plenty of research-based tools available. Kids want to learn more about their interests.
If you have a child interested in photography, how much fun would it be to find websites, blogs, and online info on photography- tutorials and instructional videos, for example.
The cool thing about Feedly is that when your student subscribes to blogs, they end up feeling more connected to a community of like-minded folks.
If you have a gamer, let your gamer guy or gal subscribe to gaming blogs. If you have a chef on your hands, your student might like to subscribe to cooking blogs. This is a wonderful way to integrate following your child’s interests in your homeschool and set new homeschool goals for the year.
Feedly is a great tool in that it allows you to subscribe to blogs (we talked about the difference between reading a blog and subscribing to blogs at our co-op class). When you subscribe, the blog updates come to you.
For most of you blog-savvy individuals, you know what I’m talking about. If your Feedly has more than 5 subscriptions, you’re most likely the bloggy type that stays online a good bit. Your kids are already online and already have great interests that they want to pursue.
A great way to have them do research projects (without really knowing it’s research), is to have them subscribe to blogs of their interest and write up a report on their findings.
So, for example, if their topic of interest is vegetarianism, have them subscribe to vegetarian bloggers.
Once they subscribe, they only have to check their Feedly (or another feed aggregator) account for updates on ALL of their subscriptions at once (rather than visiting each blog, URL by URL, one at a time. It sure makes life quicker – all their updates on one page and in one spot.
Teach them about RSS feeds and how it all works to get them the subscriptions they need right at their fingertips (like little electronic newspapers delivered right to their doorstep).
And don’t forget to slip in the whole research project. Maybe it will be so fun no one will notice how much work has gone into it, or how much they’ve actually learned.
Isn’t that what we want in homeschooling after all?