YouTube plays a big role in homeschooling. However, there are a few pitfalls that should have you considering whether YouTube is the best thing for your home education. Read to find out more.

The Pitfalls of Using YouTube for Homeschooling

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I read on Brandwatch.com's article “36 Fascinating YouTube Statistics for 2016”  that 3.25 billion hours of YouTube videos are watched each month. 3.25 billion hours!  And that the average viewing session lasts 40 minutes. That's a lot of YouTube, my friend.

Admittedly, YouTube is my family’s go-to when we want to learn a quick something. You know, in answer to those “How do they….?” questions. My children learn much more from watching videos than from reading a book or website, and YouTube is a one-stop shop.

But, there are a few problems with using YouTube for homeschooling.

YouTube plays a big role in homeschooling. However, there are a few pitfalls that should have you considering whether YouTube is the best thing for your home education. Read to find out more.

 

  • We need to stay focused on the task at hand when we search. YouTube can be pretty distracting. Right when they open it, my kids see the newest uploads from our subscribed channels. And the recommended videos may not be relevant and appropriate. With so many choices, we end up feeling like we need to watch multiple videos (and contribute to the 3.25 billion hours).
  • You never know what you will stumble upon as you search on YouTube. Yes, you have a little bit of a safeguard if you view in restricted mode, but there is really no way to limit what ads pop-up. You need to supervise your child's YouTube searching.
  • We need to be discerning about the source of the video. When I search by a topic, I consider whether the producer is a branded high-quality channel or just someone sitting in their bedroom. Does the channel have many subscribers? Is it a name I already know and trust (such as “Smithsonian”)? Can I tell the quality of the videos from their thumbnails? Does it seem like a source I can trust to be age appropriate?
  • We sometimes need to supplement a video with more to get “the rest of the story”. Or to find a missing step. Ever try to learn something on YouTube, only to find that the instruction wasn’t thorough enough (especially when you’re trying to learn how to do something)? You end up needing to watch multiple videos to find someone who can actually teach effectively.

These YouTube pitfalls are the reason I’ve started investing in online courses for my kids.

 

Sure, YouTube works for the one-off (or two-off or even ten-off) curiosities. But when a child wants to thoroughly learn a skill or delve deeply into a topic, I’m going to find an online course for them. This is what I’ve figured out.

Preview 5 homeschool lessons from Online Unit Studies  

With an online course….

  • The instructor is an expert
  • The instruction is sequential and thorough
  • You (generally) have access to the instructor to ask questions

That's valuable stuff, especially when your child is learning something that you don’t know anything about.Now, if you know me, you know that we’re into interest-led, purpose-focused, hands-on learning, often emphasizing skills training over head knowledge. So, when a child wants in-depth training, taught by an expert, buying a course is worth it.   [Related: 100 Online Courses for Delight-Directed Homeschooling]

My family has taken online courses for music theory, songwriting, screenwriting, comic book coloring, social media management, botany, crimial law or more. I've got quite a few go-to websites for finding courses. Check them out and see if you can find a class for your homeschoolers. And be sure to sign up for their email lists so you're notified when they have sales.

UDEMY

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CREATIVE LIVE

CRAFTSY

Craftsy

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COURSERA

Coursera - Hundreds of Specializations and courses in business, computer science, data science, and more

How about you? What online courses have you used for homeschooling? 

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  • Enroll in the All About Elections Online Unit Study. With this online homeschool course, elementary and middle school students will discover the importance of voting. Read for more details and a preview lesson.
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  • I was concerned that my teen daughter was spending too much time on Pinterest. Then I checked out her boards and I was surprised. Find out what I discovered.
    What I Discovered on My Teen Daughter's Pinterest
  • Meet Sarai, a techie homeschool mom, and be inspired to add more digital learning to your homeschool.
    Meet a Techie Homeschool Mom: Sarai
  • Enroll in the All About Elections Online Unit Study. With this online homeschool course, elementary and middle school students will discover the importance of voting. Read for more details and a preview lesson.
    Free Lesson: "Why Do We Have Elections?"
  • I got this radical idea about summer screen time. Instead of figuring out how to keep the kids off the computer, what if we intentionally put our our kids on electronics? Find out how.
    An End to the Summer Screen Time Battle
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