Monday, July 2, 2012


One of the reasons we are unschooling is because we don't want to boys being forcefed a ton of facts for them to regurgitate on command. We want them to be able to think critically about facts and connect the dots to see the bigger picture.

One way to encourage and test this is to ask them what they think about things. Or to have them "teach" us something they have learned. Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts and explain ideas is SUCH a valuable life skill.

All this ranting to bring me to my real point. I LOVE TedEd! I mean, honestly, what an amazing resource for homeschooling! You can go to the website here and register for an account. They have thousands of videos which are recorded lectures from nominated teachers which have been animated by nominated animators. After each lesson there is an optional "Quick Quiz" of 5 multiple choice questions, a "Think" section of short answer questions, and a "Dig Deeper" section of links for supplemental information.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the short answer section. I'm not a big fan of multiple choice questions because that is exactly the fact regurgitation thing I was talking about earlier, but by having Josh answer the "Think" section questions I get real feedback about what he absorbed from the video, and what we should revisit or clarify.

The first video we watched today was about Speeding up Chemical Reactions (Josh's choice!). It totally went over his head, understandably. Next we watched one about Just How Small Is an Atom? He answered all the multiple choice easily (he wanted to, I didn't ask him to do that section) but he had to sit and gather his thoughts for the short answer. I LOVED seeing this. I typed out his answer exactly as he said it to me. Here it is-

Describe the size and scale of an atom. Explain the relative size of the nucleus in relation to the size of the entire atom.
"The atom is invisible so the nucleus, if they're both the same size then the nucleus would be invisible too. If you had a blueberry then blow it up to the size of a football stadium, and you can get inside of the blueberry and the nucleus would be as small as a marble compared to the blueberry."

He's getting it! I'm so proud! After answering the one question he felt like playing with Transformers instead of continuing, and that's just fine.

I can't wait to see what else he learns from this awesome resource. Heck, I can't wait to learn more myself!

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