As COVID-19 continues to blow through the Greek alphabet, more families are turning to homeschool. Whether by choice or not, you may be educating your kids at home these days. Some parents have fully pulled their students out of traditional school environments, and others are long-time homeschoolers who are relieved to not have to make a major change right now.
Either way, homeschoolers can be some rad people who give their kids an awesome at-home education while allowing them to pursue their interests.
In case you need convincing, some of the greatest STEM thinkers of our time were homeschooled:
- Francis Collins, who is the Director of the National Institutes of Health, was homeschooled until sixth grade. He is famous for leading the Human Genome Project and received the National Medal of Science, among other noteworthy achievements.
- Erik Demaine, an MIT professor and leader in theoretical computer science was homeschooled until he went to college.
- Samuel Chao Chung Ting, an American physicist and Nobel Prize winner discovered the subatomic J/ψ particle, and was mostly homeschooled throughout grade school.
- Aaron Swartz was a computer programmer who was instrumental in developing the web feed format RSS, Reddit, and Creative Commons, and he was unschooled starting in ninth grade.
Homeschoolers, just like kids in any other type of school, can do anything: they’re legends in the making!
Now, we are still wholeheartedly supportive of public school systems, and think teachers are actual heroes who deserve the world.
Whether you teach in class or teach at home, drones can be a great way to facilitate hands-on learning to your kids. STEM concepts are all wrapped up in drones, and we love how they engage kids in sneakily academic endeavors.
At Drone Legends, our Fundamentals Curriculum is set up in drone missions, which are awesome for a homeschool pod, homeschool group, or just homeschool family. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s talk about what it takes to do drone learning at home.
Drone Learning at Home
The first thing you might think if your homeschooled kid asks to learn about drones at home is, “I’m not a tech person.” As a homeschool parent, you probably already teach a lot of subjects that “aren’t your thing,” so you actually may be comfortable with new territory. What you should remember is that you don’t have to be a drone expert to learn about drones. To fly them professionally, sure. But to fly them around the living room and then learn the basics of pitch, yaw, and coding basic directions: nah. You can be a total novice and still learn alongside your homeschool student.
Here’s all you need:
- A drone — we recommend an ultra-lightweight, kid-friendly (read: durable) drone. In our Drone Legends program, we use the Tello.
- A plan — for homeschool groups, licensing the Drone Legends curriculum may be the ticket. It is turnkey, so it adds nothing to your prep time, and can be used by multi-age groups in indoor settings. Whatever you choose, make sure you have some reference materials handy to support real learning.
Want answers to the basic questions about starting a drone program? Our recent Facebook Live answered questions from teachers, and as a homeschool teacher, a lot of the answers are relevant to you! Similar to a classroom setting, flying a drone at home has physical constraints, safety protocols, and learning objectives. Unlike a classroom setting, you can benefit from giving your student one on one (or one on a couple) attention, which maximizes the experience and gives them tons of flying time.
(Safely) Fly a Drone Indoors
When you’re dealing with in-home drone use, you may think you don’t have the space. Let us assure you: you have plenty of space to fly a drone indoors. The little Tellos we use in our drone programs are ultra-lightweight. The worst thing that will happen is a propeller pops off (and you can replace them). That said, of course there are some safety measures to take.
Here’s our blog on classroom drone safety, FYI, which will give you all of the little tips you need.
What you don’t have to worry about is a drone wrecking your house. As long as you have some simple rules, you’ll be able to stay right with your kid while they fly the drone inside, which means you can stay in control of the situation.
Drone Racing and Games at Home
One way you might have learned about drones for education (or fun) is drone wars, drone racing, or online drone game competitions. Drone racing (and some of the games) are intense: they range from little chicken races to synchronized drone flights. We pretty much never recommend steep competition in the classroom, because there isn’t a ton of academic value and it can be polarizing. At home, however, doing drone wars, drone competitions, drone races, drone flying challenges, and more can be a fun way to augment learning and engage children of all ages.
Of course, we suggest you still keep it simple and don’t go overboard or take any risks, but you may be able to stage more intricate scenarios, or spend a lot more time with a drone while homeschooling than a traditional classroom. It’s a perk.
Drones for Homeschool Groups
One of the ways we hear about drones in homeschooling is when homeschool groups reach out to us. There are a ton of these, and if you homeschool, you may be a part of a homeschool association or homeschool group in your area. Homeschool groups are a great way to socialize and let kids have a group-based learning experience in addition to their individual homeschool studies.
A lot of times, homeschool groups form drone clubs. This is so fun and can be a great way to challenge your kid to move into deeper realms of drone-related STEM knowledge and learning.
Drone Curriculum for Homeschool
Of course, to ensure the learning is happening, a drone STEM curriculum goes a long way. Any drone program that offers multiple resources will work great (teacher planning, a student guide, some kind of resource or technical manual). Ours is the best we’ve seen, and if you browse our DL curriculum page, you can see all of the different things in our drone curriculum packages.
Drones are homeschool-friendly. They let kids pursue their interests, and even introduce non-techie parents and kids to a whole new kind of hands-on learning.
Here’s what Drone Legends parents have to say:
“We got the drone and almost instantly my elementary age homeschool son figured out how to use it. It was very easy to get it off the ground, but we had to research to get started on the drone missions, which kept it from just being fun and games. I have to meet STEM learning criteria for homeschool, and the Drone Legends missions are the perfect portfolio addition – we took pictures as we went to add there, along with written summaries my son did himself on what it was like and what he learned. We just mastered the roll, which was super exciting to all of us. Especially with limited ‘new’ learning or group learning stuff during the pandemic, the drone has been the perfect, engaging, non-paper-based addition to our homeschool curriculum this year.” Chris, Parent
The good news is that we have a FREE lesson that you can check out. If you’re interested in previewing drones for homeschooling, or learning more about Drone Legends for a homeschool group, connect with us today!