View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Do your lessons include current events?

05-04-2011, 07:59 AM
This poll is inspired by the recent events. I am sure that I am one of many who were in total shock when it was splashed all over the internet about Osama Bin Laden being killed. Also probably all over the TV stations, which I no longer have as we axed cable and are a Netflix only family.

I was torn with exactly how much information do you tell a 9 and 14 year old boys without giving them too much of the details. SO I personally chose to go to a current events site that is geared towards keeping kids informed about what is going on in the world. I was relieved when I read the article about OBL on Youngzine news site, they just gave some key facts, who he was, background on 9/11, and the President's speech. As a mother of a soon to be high schooler, I have to be aware that even if I am not the most up to date person on current events that should I be including them into his daily lessons?

Just wondering how everyone else felt about current events, politics, etc. in your homeschooling day?

05-04-2011, 08:58 AM
We share some, but not everything. DS can get pretty obsessive so we try to keep that in mind. We don't want to shelter, but I'm not sure it's healthy for kids to know *too* much either, especially a kid like ours who can be very sensitive and have a hard time letting go of things.

I wouldn't have shared this week's big news with him because I just don't think it's necessary right now. Given his age, he doesn't really know about 9-11 (although we did have to explain to him why the twin towers that he'd seen in books weren't there when we visited NYC when he was 4), and I'm so disgusted and disturbed by the reaction that I would have rather waited. The murder of any human being is hardly cause for celebration IMO. Unfortunately he saw the headlines anyway so he and DH had to talk it through, though I'm not sure it made any impact.

He doesn't watch the news or spend any real time on the computer (other than looking over our shoulder) but we do talk all.day.long so naturally current events come up. He knows a lot more than I did at his age for sure which I think is great on one hand, on the other I want to preserve his childhood and not bog him down with stuff he shouldn't spend his energies worrying about. The trick for any parent, I guess, is finding that balance.

05-04-2011, 09:27 AM
My daughter is supposed to watch the CNN Student news every day, but she 'forgets' fairly often. Both kids listen in on our conversations, so they get some that way. With my son, I introduce current events that I think he will be interested in.
To be honest, I'm not even that great on keeping up with current events for me. I don't watch the news & don't read a lot of it, either. There's too much stupid celebrity crap and other dumb stories that just really shouldn't be considered news. I get tired of wading through the 'why the hell would I care about that' stories trying to find something that actually matters.

05-04-2011, 10:21 AM
Last year Orion was doing a daily news check, but i decided i didnt like the site and with our schedule re-org, it fell by the wayside. I usually blurt out big deals when I see them on the web - kids interact as much as they are interested. Raven is generally completely out of the loop, but Orion is showing some interest. I hated history and politics and news until at least 17 so i dont push it . . .

05-04-2011, 10:54 AM
No, but I should. I keep up with current events very little myself, and would like to do more.

05-04-2011, 11:19 AM
Sometimes I include current events, but not often. My son is 8-years-old, so we're not really in a place yet where I feel the need to talk much about what is going on in the world. It really depends on the topic. One of the things I definitely shared with him was the President's inauguration and I explained the historical importance of our new President when he was elected. I think that in the middle years, from roughly 9 or 10-years-old, onward, I will slowly add in more and more current events and news topics.

05-04-2011, 11:20 AM
My seven-year-old is blissfully ignorant of current events. My twins were the same way until this year. I felt at 11 they needed to become more aware of current events. They read an article everyday at Youngzine, and they listen to NPR with me.

05-04-2011, 11:36 AM
I don't do lesson plans for current events at all. We talk about some things of course. We followed and discussed the last presidential election. We watched coverage of and discussed the Japan earthquake/tsunami. I would not talk to them about something like terrorism and Bin Laden yet. We might talk about war but only in a general sense. I think they are too young to have the weight of the world placed on their shoulders. I can't state an age at which I would focus on current events more, it would have to be something I wait and watch to see when they are ready. Probably closer to 12-13ish.

My (almost) 8 year old likes to watch MSNBC with me, so he probably picks up on politics although again, I doubt he understands much and doesn't ask questions. He's probably just drawn to the TV like a moth to fire. :)

05-04-2011, 11:47 AM
We don't do current events as part of our homeschooling, no. But we leave NPR on and we discuss current events sometimes. I'll discuss anything with them - the *only* time I turn off the news if it's a story about sexual violence, which I feel like is way beyond their comprehension level. However, tragedies like the earthquake and violence like the war in Libya are things we've talked a little about. We talked a little about Bin Laden's death. They don't have a huge interest in current events. Mushroom is interested in weather disasters a little and also in environmental things (he was oddly obsessed about the oil spill last year). BalletBoy couldn't really care less, though sometimes he hears something on the radio and asks a couple of questions.

This reminds me of how there are all these things that you are supposed to cover as part of "homeschooling" that are really just things that ALL parents should cover - like health. My friends in MD all have to say that they do things like talk about brushing your teeth and eating your vegetables - stuff every parent should just do. I feel like current events is sort of similar. We might cover it as a special subject when the kids get older or as part of learning about political systems or something, but mostly I just think it should be a topic of conversation around the house.

Precious Few
05-04-2011, 12:50 PM
Yes but only in an informal way.

05-04-2011, 01:03 PM
Every day that we do schooling my DD looks at local, national, and international news and has to write about one from each area. It doesn't have to be much writing, just something quick about the story. She types it into T4L writing journal. Some of the stories she picks make me roll my eyes (those are the days when she picks articles like "new garden club president" but ignores the article about a 5 alarm fire). I feel it's important to know what's going on in the world and it helps her writing skills.

Sheltering a little is ok but I know way to many kids whose parents do not allow them to hear or see any type of news/current events stories. A good friend of mine has sheltered her children so much, her son in particular, he has no idea about what's going on in the world. The sad part is he's in Jr. High School and when he hears something disturbing from other kids he becomes all anxious and teary-eyed which makes other kids laugh at him. I'd much rather show my DD what is going on and be able to explain how some people are just not nice people, bad things happen, and not everyone gets what they want.

Funny enough the PS counselors suggested we withhold all current events, especially bad news from DD to ease her anxiety. Of course these are the same people who looked at me and said "what bullying problem?" so it's not like I'd take their advice since they had no problem lying to another staff member (me) with a straight face.

05-04-2011, 04:16 PM
See, i said not at all - because i dont plan it in to the curriculum - its more a part of parenting and co-living for me than part of school

05-04-2011, 04:19 PM
We watch the news, get national geographic, first things, local sunday newspaper, listen to NPR in the car...

So it might not be part of formal lessons unless it just happens to be a topic being covered anyways, but they certainly aren't in a bubble. Tho they are probably still rather oblivious bc life as we know it is just life as we know it. Adults know we are at war and that lots has changed security wise since 9/11, to to most of our kids - this is just e life they have always known.

05-04-2011, 04:24 PM
On occasion, yes. We discussed bin Laden, al Qaeda, 9/11 (which he already knew about), and Islam during all of this, but less formally than in a lesson plan, per se.

On the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, we did a unit about the shuttle and its successes and tragedies.

05-05-2011, 12:10 PM
I have almost the exact same answer as Farrar. My kids hear NPR all the time (so much so that they will comment when Diane Rehm is not on, they will ask about her. LOL)
We do not do lessons on current events. They are just part of our lives.
For this latest event, as soon as the kids got up Monday morning, I reviewed 9/11 with them (the 8 yr old and 10 yr old know about it, but the 9 yr old was a little fuzzy). I also talked about some of the other events that bin Laden was involved in (embassy attacks, first attack on WTC, bombing of the Cole). Then I let them watch the president's speech, which I recorded (although Hulu had it also).
Then we talked about how people were celebrating. I told them that we would not be celebrating his death because he was a person but that we do want to acknowledge that this is a huge blow to that terrorist organization.
Joseph did mention it to two of his friends the other day and neither of them knew anything about it. That shocked me because those are two parents that I thought would have definitely covered that.

The economy has also been a huge topic around here.

05-05-2011, 12:23 PM
We talk a lot about the economy (recession) quite a bit too, since it is directly affecting our current difficulty in moving back home.

I do question how much DS should know about what seem like "grown up" concerns and if we share too much with him, but I also wish I'd been aware of half of what he knows about at his age. It's clear to me that he knows a lot more about current events than he friends do and he's slowly figuring out what he can talk about with them and what to avoid (no, they don't know about pro cyclists and the latest race in Belgium; no, they don't know anything about black holes or that atoms live on virtually forever; and just as importantly no, you don't know as much as they do about the latest XBox game).

05-05-2011, 03:45 PM
Yep - watching CNN Student News is part of their daily school routine.

05-05-2011, 03:55 PM
I picked other. We don't study it as part of the lessons, but we do talk about current events from time to time. My kids are still really young, so it's mostly simple politics (president and family), war (daddy was in Iraq twice, so we can use that as a reference point), Natural disasters, some 9/11 stuff has been coming up recently and dd is really interested in that, economic problems (cost of gas and food). I'm kind of adding as I read some other posts... We listen to and watch Clark Howard, a finance guy on the radio/TV here and the kids really enjoy him.

Honestly with regards to the Osama take down, dd saw his picture on the news and asked if he was the one who crashed the planes into the towers. I just told her yes and didn't elaborate, but I was honestly surprised because we hadn't spoken to her about it. I think she was referencing a time we were at Applebees and we were put in a position to try and explain to a then 6 year old who the men on the TV were and why they were not good people, what they had done, but at the same time why we don't assume all people who look that way are bad people. Very confusing conversation, but it obviously had an impact. Or maybe she's just really smart and pays closer attention then I'd like to think?

05-05-2011, 04:12 PM
For the most part we don't censor anything from real life.

Stella M
05-05-2011, 08:10 PM
Youngzine, a show we have here called Behind the News, newspapers and radio, lots of informal discussion.

05-07-2011, 04:19 PM
This is a dinner time topic for us rather than a homeschooling subject. That way, my husband and my older son who attends public school can participate. My younger son (the homeschooled one) is only rarely is only rarely interested in current events.

05-07-2011, 07:29 PM
It's not in the lesson plans, but it is something that I'm always bringing up. Often I have my 13 yr old read an article and then discuss it with her. Not so much with my 10 yr olds, yet. This past week with bin Laden's death, we've had much to discuss. My younger ones hear what we're saying and sometimes chime in, but it's the older one that I will have read/watch something.

05-07-2011, 08:16 PM
So, keeping in mind this thread, I purchased a local paper this morning at Starbucks. While eating with the kids, I attempted to create a learning moment. "Oh, look this article discusses how the US caught a man who helped kill a few thousand American about ten years ago." Batman: "We're Americans. We're still alive." Me: "Yes, but there are lots and lots of Americans. Oh, look, here's another article. This one talks about how well the Indians are doing with their casinos. They have lots of jobs." Robin (loudly): Mom, are the Indians bad guys?" Batman: "Yeah, Mom, are they bad guys?" Me, floundering: "No, we like them. And Americans get along with lots of countries. But there are some people in a region of the world called the Middle East who don't like us." At this point a few people are smiling into their lattes. I realize that maybe we need to discuss current events more often.