Thursday, June 19, 2008

Using Photography in Your Homeschool

Bugs are really popular at my house right now...but thankfully they're the digital image kind, not the real creepy-crawlies under the sink! My two youngest kids spend their afternoon hunting little creatures and bringing photographic trophies into the house.

My husband is a photojournalist, so practically every room in our house has its own camera! Two of my sons are shutterbugs, and even our seven-year-old daughter has a small, inexpensive little digital camera. We use these in our school for art, but also for enhancing science, geography and history lessons.

Film cameras are nice, but developing gets very expensive very quickly. Digital cameras allow children to take many, many pictures and to experiment with various settings on their cameras and treatments on their photos. A really good free photo program that allows anyone to upload digital pictures and crop, change or redesign pictures is Google's Picasa, which comes with the free Google pack.

Our main rule: wear the camera strap around your neck at all times!!!

Crop, sharpen, make pictures pop. Get the free Google Pack.

General Home School Photography Projects

Take photos on field trips. This will give you not only a remembrance of the event, but also a way to remember academic facts that go with the trip.

Use family photos or assign children to take new pictures to use to make books with simple sentences for beginning readers. This is a good project for children who are a eight or older to make for a younger sibling, friend or relative who's learning to read.

Send kids on an educational scavenger hunt. Have them photograph arachnids, mammals, things that are alive, things that photosynthesize....

Use photos to document how things are made. For instance, show the steps in breadmaking, or water purification, or training for a race.

Write a family newsletter or Christmas letter to be sent to relatives and friends near and far. Illustrate it with your own photos.

Make an I Spy photo.

Make a memory book of the school year.

Add photos to your yearly evaluation folder.

Language Arts Photo Projects

Write photoessays for creative writing.

For a book report, assign kids to make several photos to represent various parts of the story. They might choose to show a scene acted by friends or siblings, or use symbolic objects.

Take a special photo for use as a story starter...or trade photos with a sibling or friend.

Illustrate emails to send to relatives or faraway friends.

Use photos to illustrate an autobiography.

Make an ABC or numbers book.

Science Photo Projects

Take photos of flowers or insects instead of killing the bugs or picking the flowers. In some parks, taking living things or picking flowers is illegal., but photos are usually encouraged.

Document experiments and put the photoessay on your website. Have the children write captions for the pictures explaining each step and the results. This is a report of sorts, but much more fun to write that a paper that few will ever read. If it's a video of their experiment, it might even become the Next Big Thing on Youtube! You'll contribute to the education of millions!

Have kids take photos of butterflies or other insects at different stages of their development, then make a poster or webpage about it.

Use pictures of an animal on your Treehouse of Life page.

Document the growth of a plant or a baby sibling!

Take a picture of the same tree every two weeks or so for a year.

Create your own field guide to the flora and fauna of your neighborhood.

Social Studies Photo Projects

Make a website about your home town, or submit photos to your town's site.

Document the building of a house in your neighborhood, or a building nearby, or the creation of a new park.

Make a historical event come alive by costuming everyone and re-enacting it.

Math Photo Projects

Send kids on a geometric scavenger hunt, searching for things in the neighborhood that are square, spherical, trapezoidal, dodecahedrons, etc

Make a time-telling book that has photos of what your child does at various hours of the day.

Adobe Digital Kids Club

BetterPhoto for Kids and Teens

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