Teaching current events in my homeschool was something that I actually wanted to avoid.
To be completely honest…I wanted to put earmuffs on my kids and march them through their childhood without ever having to engage with all of the horrible things going on around them.
I wanted to preserve their innocence as long as possible.
I know I sound like the classic, overprotective homeschool mom, but keep in mind that my oldest daughter was three when ISIS started videotaping themselves beheading people.
It seemed like I couldn’t turn the news on – ever – without horrifying pictures and reporting. So I transitioned to reading the news during the day instead of watching it, and my children stayed in the dark about the world around them.
The Importance of Teaching Current Events
I was completely fine with this “no news set up” for years but started to realize that my kids were getting to the age where they needed to know what was going on around them.
1. They need to know what kind of world they are walking into when they leave my house.
When my oldest was around 6 or 7, she asked me with fascination, “Are there really robbers? Are there people who actually steal?”
In her sheltered bubble, it was unthinkable that a responsible adult would ever do anything like that.
But it was definitely a sign to me that I needed to start educating my kids soon on what the world is really like. I didn’t want them to get a bucket of cold water in the face when they left my house.
I also didn’t want them to hear news stories from other sources and feel confused, embarrassed, or clueless about what is going on around them.
2. They need to be called to pray for those who are suffering.
As you know, there is great suffering in our world.
Just in our current events this week, we have seen war, devastating weather, poverty, and babies going without formula due to a shortage.
When my kids are educated on current events, they can pray for these situations and people – which is something the Bible calls us to do and something I want them to do as adults.
The current events also help me to show my kids how richly blessed they truly are. It is easier to show them how thankful we should be for things like food in the pantry and a peaceful neighborhood to live in when they see the hardships that others are enduring.
3. They need to witness history as it is happening.
My dad told me a year or so ago to make sure my kids saw a historic space launch on TV, and I thought to myself, “I don’t have time to sit down and watch that with my kids. We have math, reading, writing, history, spelling, and a playdate to get to today!”
But the truth is, seeing history in the making is just as important as all of those things!
Regularly keeping up with current events helps my kids to see not only the sad things but also the exciting things that are going on around them.
Just in the past week or so, we’ve learned about amazing advancements in robotics, a record setting marathon running amputee, and a baby giraffe receiving leg braces to correct its legs and prevent it from being put down.
Skipping past current events could keep kids from seeing all the GOOD that is in the world!
4. I need to teach them how to engage and interpret the news with our family values.
Learning about current events is a wonderful time to instill family values and worldview.
Instead of shielding them from things, take the time to talk through them!
For example, my family has spent a lot of time talking about the current war in Ukraine. Before I would have wanted to hide that ugliness from them, but talking about it has opened up discussion about good vs. evil, the role of dictators, different styles of government, the sacrifices of the brave Ukrainians, how much we should love our American freedoms, and where we should truly put our faith and trust – God.
Choosing not to talk about current events on a regular basis is a huge missed opportunity for homeschool families.
Why Teaching Current Events Is So Challenging Today
Many of you may totally agree with everything I’ve said so far…but there are a lot of things that are holding you back from regularly teaching current events in your homeschool…
The news takes too long to watch…an hour only covers maybe 5 stories!
The news is often super boring or depressing for kids
Nobody reads newspapers anymore
I have no idea what is going to come on the news and I don’t want to terrify my kids
I hate listening to pundits give their opinions – doesn’t anyone just give the straight news anymore??
I don’t have time to put together appropriate news stories every day. We have school to get to!
I hear you, Homeschool Mama!
Below, I will solve all those problems for you and get your homeschool set up with regular, easy current events in no time!
How To Teach Current Events In Your Homeschool
1. Find a Current Events Medium You Love
My kids and I absolutely love using WorldWatch.
Worldwatch is a daily newscast that is only 10 minutes long and covers 5-6 of the top news stories. They usually do not cover mass shootings and things of that nature, but if there is a sensitive subject, they will notify you at the beginning of the newscast.
****Since the newscast is only 10 minutes, you can watch it in the morning before your kids if you have concerns.
There are usually 2-3 “hard news” stories. I almost always pause the TV to talk to my kids about what they heard, explain it further, and answer questions. I like that the news is just reported – there are no pundits to offer their opinions.
Then there are about 2-3 “light news” stories that usually center around happier, easier topics.
FYI – Worldwatch is run by a Christian company, so there are occasional mentions of God and the last line of every newscast is, “Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand.”
The newscast is meant for high school-age kids, but my 10, 8, and 6 year old really enjoy it.
2. Make It A Regular Thing
If you want to raise well-informed citizens who actually care, doing current events a couple of times a year is not going to get you there.
We do current events 3-4 times a week as part of our morning routine. My kids love starting their day learning about what’s going on around them, and I hope that turns into a lifelong habit.
3. Don’t Make It Lame
Remember that this is homeschool, not public school.
You may be tempted to make your kids take notes, write out worksheets with “who, what, when, where, why,” or write out summaries.
Don’t do that.
You are a homeschool, so you don’t need those things to know if your child understood or was paying attention.
4. Discuss, Discuss, Discuss
Instead of lame worksheets, talk to your kids!
Ask them questions, let them ask you questions, and talk about what you learned. Some days you will have amazing talks about deep issues, and other days you won’t.
Just make sure to set aside time to discuss (not rapid-fire quiz) the issues. You may also like to bring it up again at the dinner table. Ask your kids to share what they learned that morning.
That’s an easy way to keep the discussion going and help them remember what they learned.
Recap How to Teach Current Events
One of my biggest joys as a homeschool parent is sitting with my kids in the morning and watching Worldwatch after breakfast.
It is the perfect way to kickstart our day and prime their brains for the learning to come.
I love teaching them about what we believe as a family and helping them to think through their own opinions too!
Could your kids use some current events time?? Just dive in, Homeschool Mama!
They may be a little resistant at first, but it will be so rewarding as the news becomes a part of your routine.