Anna Dusseau | 3rd March 2020
We hear it all the time. Kids have too much screen time and are too dependent on Google and YouTube videos for their sources of information. It’s so true and such an easy pattern to fall into, especially when homeschooling, as curious kids naturally want to explore their interests independently. All kudos to you if your kids fall into this category. Even more kudos if you have a battered encyclopaedia kicking around which you encourage your children to go to first, when looking for answers to their seemingly endless stream of ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ But for a happy medium – not to mention a great way to create purposeful learning moments out of breakfast, colouring, or even car time – here is my round up of 10 fantastic educational podcasts which your homeschool babies are going to love!
1.Wow in the World
These guys are brilliant and cover a huge range of scientific topics, from the secret behind super-hot chilli peppers to black holes and more. Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz keep everyone entertained with a comedy sketch-show structure which has everyone laughing and makes the ‘science bit’ feel digestible and memorable. Be sure to get your curious homeschoolers calling in with their personal ‘wow in the world’ and they might just get on the show!
2.Everything Under the Sun
A very different kind of scientific podcast, but my kids absolutely love this show. Shorter and more succinct than Wow in the World, Molly Oldfield tells it like it is, responding in detail to 3 questions from her listeners each week. Sounds a bit too simple, right? I get you. But this show is so popular that there’s now the book with a question (and answer) for every day of the year, which I’ve made a mental note of as the perfect gift for those homeschool friends who aren’t so fond of Hatchimals.
This is the Marmite of podcasts in our family and more likely to cause catastrophic conflict than a game of Monopoly. Noodle Loaf is an interactive music-based show aimed at younger children which encourages participation in a range of clapping, echo-back and game-style musical activities. My middle son adores it and is genuinely interested in the different styles of music which Noodle Loaf’s music-ed specialist dad introduces. My daughter rolls her eyes and pulls a face. I mean, try it for yourself.
Oh my goodness, we love these guys so much! If you have an Amazon Alexa (or equivalent) go ahead and ask for the song ‘Grapes’ by Andrew and Polly. If everyone isn’t at least tapping their foot along by the end, then something’s wrong! This creative podcast considers music, science, art and culture from an original and _ I would argue – rather mature perspective, which means it can hook your teenager as well as your four-year-old. Score! ‘Now I’m gonna eat some grapes! La la la la grapes..‘
5.Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl
Ooh, another contentious one! This original show provides a 2 hour soundtrack for families who are looking for something other than cheesy pop or Radio 4. It’s definitely a bit different and, once again, my daughter will fix me with a very stern look when I put this on (she likes Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish and other musical homeschool alumni, whose parents must all be thinking ‘wow, that paid off!’) Joking aside though, this is the ideal chilled-out soundtrack for lazy weekend breakfasts or epic car journeys.
6.The Short and Curly Guide to Life
A punchy, pacy, ethics-filled podcast with questions like ‘Do You Want to Become a Vampire?’ and ‘Should Families Be Banned?’ Surprisingly addictive, this compact podcast is crammed with the questions kids really care about, from mythology to Pokemon, and provides an education for kids and parents alike. Don’t be put off by the faux-dumb titles; the content is rich and researched.
7.Stuff You Should Know
So this is definitely a shout out to your older homeschoolers, as the tone and topics are far more adult (‘Your Limb Is Torn Off – Now What?’) and hosts Josh Clark and Charles Bryant adopt a discursive, seminar-style delivery, similar to that of their previous podcast series ‘How Stuff Works.’ It is compelling though and well worth encouraging your big ones to tune into. You might even find yourself tagging topics to enjoy while cooking dinner – wait, no! – while having a glass of wine. The kids cook dinner, right?
8.The Two Princes
Beautifully scripted and with a superb cast of well-known voices, this fantasy adventure is sheer genius as it appeals to boys and girls alike. I know, I know, gender is a construct and all, but the reality is that when my boys are asking for Story Pirates and my daughter demands Curlee Girlee’s Cracking’ the Girl Code, this is the only thing they can all agree on. Join the two princes as they take an epic adventure into the forbidden forest and take a modern, often very funny, twist on the classic fairytale recipe.
What is bedtime like in your house? I guess it depends on the ages of your children, but in my home (where the median age is three and this can also feel like my mental age by 7pm) it’s sometimes shouty, stressful and altogether not-very-homeschooly. Enter Peace Out bedtime podcasts, with their short, guided meditations for children voiced by the fantastic Jaime, who we all know from the brilliant Cosmic Kids yoga series. Check it out and banish disastrous bedtimes for good.
This is a classic and one for all the family. Hypnotic host Elise Parisian provides a family-friendly look at the histories and mysteries behind your favourite scary stories, myths and urban legends. Professionally crafted and brimful of brilliant special effects, this is a great one to test out on your wolf-pack to gives them a healthy dose of adrenaline without actually scaring the pants off them!
That’s all, folks! Happy ear candy and screen-free learning for the whole family! I hope you enjoy and, if you want more regular tips and tricks for all things homeschool, don’t forget to follow me and subscribe to Homeschool Guru’s FREE weekly newsletter which comes with FREE video tutorials on helpful topics.
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