The equation is difficult, one of the hardest math problems I’ve had to solve. Take 2020 programming, add COVID, subtract in-person options, and you get….??? Correct: you get a lot of questions. After puzzling over programming for our homeschoolers, I think I landed on a good solution to start the year off right.
I knew I wanted something captivating, something unique, and ultimately something featuring the students themselves to help them get to know each other. In the Before Times, we ran a series where we brought people in to talk to our homeschoolers about their careers. The students had enjoyed that, so I decided to change that up a bit and offer it as the 2020 version: over Zoom!
First things first, I thought of friends with fascinating careers or interests. Then I reached out to colleagues to see if they had friends with the same. Finally, I turned to social media and connected with a famous picture book author/illustrator and a NASA Martian geologist…and they both said yes! (I’m pretty sure you could hear me screaming with delight from a mile away.)
I began each interview with the same question: “What about you as a kid made you realize you wanted to do this as an adult?” We also chatted about what schooling is required, what they find fascinating about their jobs, and other topics related to their specific careers. Some interviews lasted about 10 minutes; others were 30 minutes long. From a metalsmith to a dog musher, from a commercial pilot to that picture book author, from a museum exhibits designer to the Martian geologist for NASA, the conversations were wide-ranging and fascinating.
I’ve been using iMovie for editing storytime videos, and I really appreciate its simplicity. During this editing process, I included photographs that the interviewees had graciously shared with me. Inserting those as cutaways made the videos more interesting than just watching two people talking. I created a flyer in Canva with a movie theme; below each ticket was the name of the person and a clickable link to the video via Google Drive.
The interactive aspect of this series will come after the homeschoolers watch the videos. I’ve asked them to…
- Think about what their passions or interests are.
- Have a cool hobby?
- Love a certain sport or a particular animal?
- Can’t stop talking about your favorite book?
- Create a video between 2-5 minutes in length talking about their passion! (Either on their own or with my help over Zoom.)
I’m excited about this start to our 2020-21 year of homeschool programming. I think it’s a nice balance of information and getting-to-know-you for the students. That’s one equation solved…quite a few more to figure out!
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.