Media Literacy: The How-Tos and Benefits of Starting a Podcast with Your Child

Podcasting is popular.  In a May 2023 article written by Courtney Kocak, founder and host of Podcast Bestie, 80% of Americans are familiar with podcasting.  

I bet that even your children have had a chance to listen to a podcast before.  

The Benefits of Starting a Podcast with Your Child

My kids first started listening to podcasts this school year, as we love Pam and Olivia Barnhill’s Wonder World Podcast. Another great one is Cindy West’s No Sweat Nature Study Podcast.  

We were really inspired though when we came across a poetry podcast put on by Grace Sloan (daughter of Amy Sloan of the Homeschool Conversations Podcast). In her Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Poems Podcast, Grace recites a great poem each week.  

After listening to one of Grace’s episodes, my daughter started asking me, “Can I do that, too?”

Well, if you’re like a lot of homeschool moms, you’d probably say “yes,” too.  

But how would I guide her through the process?

Can Anyone Start a Podcast?

After a few tries with my daughter, I discovered that podcasting is quite easy. In fact, it is a great method for teaching media literacy.

Yes, anyone can create a podcast if one has access to a smartphone or desktop computer, has a voice, and can follow intuitive podcast creator apps like Spotify for Podcasters

Podcasts can be for entertainment, education, or background noise. Anyone can put on a podcast.  

I wanted my daughter to be able to give some value to homeschooling moms and their students. This is why I decided, with my daughter, to create a poetry podcast that was based on the poems she enjoyed and wanted to recite. For both listeners and my daughter, I wanted the goal to be education.

In addition to reciting poetry, my daughter also recorded a couple of episodes that focused on defining a certain poetry term like meter, for example.  

Podcasting takes as much time as you want to allow. For my daughter, it took about 15-20 minutes per episode.  

With my help, she selected a seasonal poem each week, practiced a few times to get the words correct and the intonation smooth, then recorded.

We edited, and I wrote a description of the episode, which we either immediately published or scheduled for a future date.  

How-To Podcasting Basics

While you do not have to be the most media-literate person to begin a podcast, it does require understanding a few basics.

Before Recording

Make sure you have a podcast player already on your phone, like Spotify, YouTube Music, or iHeart Radio.  (I use Google Podcasts, but I will no longer be able to listen to podcasts there after April 2, 2024; I’m switching to YouTube Music.)

Listen to a few podcast episodes in the same genre that you’d like to create.  What do you like?  What do you dislike? Make a note of some of these things.

Next, find a podcast recording platform. We downloaded the Spotify for Podcasters application on my phone, and I opened an account, which can be accessed on my laptop computer, as well. 

Before you begin recording, teach your child about speaking with diction and fluency. You want him or her to be audible.  

Make sure you have a quiet room with good acoustics (ideally with carpet, which absorbs echoes).  

Open your podcast recording app. This can be done on your smartphone or on your desktop or laptop with headphones and a mic or just using the computer’s built-in microphone.

In Spotify for Podcasters, all you have to do is click on the + icon (Tools) to begin recording a new episode. Tap on the + sign again to get started with recording your episode.  

Media literacy is something that cannot be fully given to the child to learn on his own. An adult should be supervising the process.  

Give the child a tutorial on the icons at the bottom of the screen. On mobile view, there are three options at the bottom of Spotify’s page: Music, Record, and Library.

Search the Music library to decide if you want to include a song by a recording artist in your episode. The Record button is for recording your own new content. The Library button is where your previously recorded content is stored and can be retrieved for future episodes.  

If you drag your finger across these icons at the bottom of the page and swipe to the left, you’ll find two more options: Interludes and Sounds. The Interludes are for breaking up your episode into different segments. The Sounds add effect to your message.  

While Recording 

Smile as you speak. This has a great effect on the tone of your message.  

Ask your child to speak as if they are speaking to a friend or trusted teacher. It’s a great opportunity to teach public speaking.  

Lastly, if you hit Record and realize that you messed up, don’t worry! You can always delete anything before it gets published.  

Do not treat this as a performance. Rather, value the process and use it as a teaching opportunity. Of course, the performance skills are easily acquired with practice. However, the parent does not need to get anxious or take this too seriously. It should be a relaxing, fun time!

After Recording 

Once you record something, you can see the segments and rearrange them to fit your preferred order. This is done by placing a finger on the segment, holding it there for a moment, and dragging that segment to its preferred place.  

Save your work as you make changes. Lastly, hit publish and write a description of the episode. 

Make sure your title fits the episode and is not confusing.  

Benefits of Starting a Podcast With Your Child

There are many benefits, some measurable and some immeasurable, to starting a podcast with your own child in your homeschool.

First of all, podcasting counts as a subject in school. This should seem obvious since a student is learning a new skill that is transferable to the real world. 

Did I mention that the podcasting process involves:

  • Research
  • Reading
  • Recitation
  • Elocution (orating)
  • Communicating information
  • Practicing introductions
  • Audio editing
  • Writing

Of course, podcasting is not something that is intuitive, but it’s pretty close. The adult teacher can figure it out quickly and can relay that to the child. 

You might even consider using podcasting in your broader course of study. For example, if you have older students, it might be a good idea to create a podcast on a more challenging content area, such as chemistry or statistics, as a supplementary assignment.  Educators claim that one of the best ways to learn a subject is to teach it.  

Another great benefit to podcasting is the amount of skill acquisition a student experiences in a short time, as it relates to technology. My daughter is now capable of performing all podcasting tasks independently from start to finish, aside from typing a thorough description. She was able to acquire the technology skills pretty quickly, and the podcasting platform is conducive to quick learning.

One of the immeasurable benefits of podcasting is the bonding that takes place between me, my daughter, and the poems she recites. She has established a love for poetry and teaching others.

My daughter and I have bonded in trying a new endeavor alongside each other. She also gets a glimpse into my own creative projects, which have included audio and video podcasts.

Maybe the elephant in the room is the fact that starting a podcast with an eager student is fun! I hope she will always remember the good times we have had on this project. 

Here is a list of all the poems (and non-poems) my daughter recited over the fall semester of Poems for Kids Podcast:

Starting a podcast with your homeschooling student is feasible and has its benefits if you follow a few basic steps and have a goal of education and value process over product. The podcast recordings are a keepsake to hold onto for years to come!

Holly Lee

About the author

Holly Lee is a public school teacher turned home educator who enjoys living in her home state of North Carolina. She enjoys writing books, reading books, and going for outdoor adventures. One of her favorite places on the Internet is My Little Brick Schoolhouse, where she provides book lists and resources for other homeschooling moms. Look for her upcoming biography on the life of G.K. Chesterton, to be published in August 2024 by Blue Sky Daisies.

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