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How to use homeschooler’s questions to plan lessons

Google the questions homeschoolers ask! It takes seconds and can send them (and you) down rabbit holes of learning.

Learning how to research traditionally, using reference books and talking to real people is an important skill set and we try wherever possible to keep research and lessons offline..But! It’s 2023 and to ignore the internet and not ensure our pupils are confident using the internet as a tool would be a mistake.

Using the internet makes it easier to add more depth to the answers to innocuous questions and doing it together passively teaches them how to safely research online.

‘I’ll Google-it’ is where most of us start – homeschoolers need to learn how to do that!

assorted notepads
  • Keep a list of random questions home learners ask throughout the day…as a post-it note wall, on the fridge, in a notebook. Whenever there is free time in the homeschool day, search for the answers online.
  • What resources appear? How do you choose which link to ‘click’? How do you read a website?

If they’re genuinely interested in the topic around the question, the answers to the question will send them down rabbit holes of learning; if they just want the answer to the question, they’ll be satisfied.

Additionally, you’ll have reassured them that every question is valuable. “Being willing to ask ‘dumb’ questions is, ironically, one of the smartest things you can do.”(Allen Gannett – The Creative Curve)

Harvard Business Review found that where on average childrens’ dialogue includes 70-80% questions, in adults that drops to 15-25%; as adults we presume we’re meant to have the answers and feel silly admitting we don’t. Home education allows you to change that mentality – we don’t need to know the all the answers, we just need to know how to find them.

N.B. Until you’re confident your homeschoolers are safe online, always search together. Surfing the net together is a good way to slot in a passive ‘safe surfing’ lesson. If you’re just starting to give your kids unsupervised access to the internet, Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship course is a great place to start teaching internet safety.