Did you see that title? The Perks of YouTube?! Yes, you heard me right. YouTube has perks for homeschooling. While many families don’t like the use of this popular social media site (and of course this is totally fine too), others have discovered that many interesting and educational things can be learned from videos hosted on YouTube.
My kids love for this site first came about while watching me pull up videos for dinner recipes off my iPad in the kitchen. After a few weeks, the kids were pulling up their own cooking videos.
There is nothing more convenient than a video on making the perfect roast, according to Gordon Ramsey, or learning from a stranger to make her mom’s best banana bread from the safety of your kitchen. Cooking and baking videos were just the beginning of our educational experience.
It turns out, YouTube is a smorgasbord of educational videos for both kids and adults. Some of these highlights include how to create large and expansive Minecraft cities, how to write argument papers, how to fix your binder, how to change a bike tire, and what chemical balance a pool should be. The skills and knowledge that my kids have gained from these YouTube videos is astounding. When someone mentions how smart my son is because he can*explain magnetic polarity or how it is so interesting that my daughter can describe what Utah Raptors ate for a living—I just smile and nod (can I take credit for this?).
Just this last week my son (14) asked us to buy Pink Lady Apples so he could use them, not eat them. We bought the apples and he created, on his own, an apple swan for each of us. He did this from memory after watching a YouTube video on the subject. His first swans were a little rough- shown here, but after practice he is now knocking out apple swans like he is trying to impress the court of Henry the Eighth!
Of course, we use an app to monitor the YouTube videos because there are things on the site that are questionable. We have talked to them about the rules and what they should be watching to ensure their safety. I do love the site myself, though, and can’t believe how lucky we are in this day and age to have such access to information. I think of that meme where the college graduate is standing at the podium giving his heartfelt thanks to his mom, dad, and Google for his success—only in our case, it will be mom, dad, and YouTube.
Amy teaches college English and literature full time. She recently self published a book of poems, and her novel is currently with an editor. Amy started homeschooling her oldest when he was in first grade and now he is a junior in high school. Her other two are 9 and 12. They are eclectic and Amy has dived into several curricula. Her middle son is dyslexic so that’s a challenge in itself. They have done umbrella schools, groups and even online curriculum.