There has been a lot of talk lately about AI-driven language processing tools such as ChatGPT and Khanmigo. Many people are voicing concerns about how they will disrupt jobs and how students are using them to complete their work. But have you stopped and thought about how AI could make homeschooling easy?
Below are five tasks homechool parents often do during the homeschool year. AI can help with each of these tasks. For each task, I show you how you can prompt ChatGPT and the type of responses you will receive.
A prompt simply refers to the question or command that you type in the message bar to ask the AI platform to respond to you. The more specific your prompt, the more likely you are to receive back the information you are looking for.
As you practice writing prompts, you will learn to add grade levels, specific activities you would like, numbers of responses you would like the AI platform to return, and more to help it best meet your needs. And as you learn, you will be able to help your children develop this skill, which is becoming an important 21st-century skill.
To play around with the ideas in this post, you will need to sign-up for the free version of Chat GPT or another AI platform. Then you can type the prompts below directly into the message bar and see the response.
Plan Your Schedule
It is helpful at the beginning of the school year to come up with a plan of how you will schedule your lessons during the year. AI can help!
You may have a math curriculum with 130 lessons, a grammar book with 105 lessons, and a book with 52 science labs. And you would like to have a rough idea of how to spread them out throughout the year.
While you can figure this out on your own, AI can speed up the process.
For example, I typed in the prompt, “I have a grammar book with 105 lessons. Can you create a schedule spreading the lessons out evenly over 36 weeks?”
Here is the beginning of what it gave me:
I like how it broke the lessons up into three-week chunks. So, if one week is busier than others, you still have an idea of how to move through the lessons without getting off track by scheduling an extra lesson the other weeks.
While you are planning your school year, you may wonder how many read-alouds you will have time for. This is another task that AI can help with.
I typed in the prompt, “If we read 100 pages a week in a book, about how many middle-grade books could we read over 36 weeks?”
ChatGPT told me that we could read approximately 18 books based on the idea of middle-grade books averaging about 200 pages each.
Plan a Book Study
Once you learn that you could read about 18 books during the school year, you might need help picking out those books and making some plans around them! This is another way AI can make homeschooling easy.
You may just want to ask a general question like “Can you give me some ideas for good middle-grade books?” or “Can you give me some ideas for good middle-grade books we can read aloud as a family?” Interestingly, these two different prompts generated two different lists of books. Each list contained a couple of book series plus 8-10 other books.
You could also narrow your book list down by asking something like, “Can you give me some ideas for good middle-grade books that cover American history?” Again, this generated a list with a few series plus seven other books. To learn more about a book, you can easily copy the title and author from ChatGPT and paste it into Amazon.
I chose the book Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson from the American history list and wrote the prompt, “Can you write a few comprehension questions for each chapter of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanon?”
Here is the beginning of its response:
Finally, I asked ChatGPT to give me some vocabulary words related to the book. It gave me twenty words such as assassination, fugitive, manhunt, conspiracy, and accomplice. It also provided a short definition for each word. These could be used in various ways as part of reading the book.
Plan a Unit Study
You could take a book study like the American History one above and turn it into a full unit study. Unit studies are a great way to help our children learn about topics that interest them. Sometimes you can find unit studies already made for you. Other times, you may have to create the unit study yourself!
AI can help you create an outline for a unit study, suggest some books and hands-on activities, and even make a test for you.
To continue with the American history example, I asked ChatGPT, “Create a lesson plan about the assassination of President Lincoln.”
Here is a section of the plan it gave me:
It even included assessment ideas and extension activities.
Since hands-on projects can be another great way to learn in our homeschools, I asked ChatGPT, “Are there some hands-on projects that could go with this lesson?”
It gave ten more projects that went with the lesson. I would not categorize all of the activities as ‘hands-on,’ but they were all interesting projects that would be great for students.
Think of a topic your children would be interested in and start to play around with ChatGPT to see how it helps you build some lessons around that topic. For more guidance, read Create A Homeschool Unit Study with AI Technology.
Help With Writing
ChatGPT is great for creating writing prompts for our kids. You can ask for writing prompts for a particular topic.
To continue the Lincoln assassination topic, I asked, “Can you create ten writing prompts for 4th-8th graders about Lincoln’s assassination?” It gave me ten great prompts. Some were creative such as writing a diary entry for John Wilkes Booth. Some were research-based, such as researching conspiracy theories around the assassination and writing an essay about one of them.
You can also ask ChatGPT to create daily writing prompts for your children. I asked, “Can you create fun, creative writing prompts for each day of September that could be used with 2nd to 8th graders?” It gave a prompt for each day with a title and a two-sentence prompt. Here is the first one:
“September 1: Start of a New Adventure: Imagine you find a magical key that can unlock any door. Write a story about the door you choose to unlock and the adventure that awaits you on the other side.”
You can also ask ChatGPT to help you provide feedback on your children’s writing assignments. I found a past assignment completed by my son in sixth grade and asked it: “Can you grade this writing assignment for a 6th grader? He was asked to create a constitution for a pretend country.”
Chat GPT provided a list of Strengths and a list of Areas for Improvement. It pointed out spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors that needed correction, as well as sentences that needed clarification. It also stated that there was an “excessive use of emojis”…LOL!
Adapt Reading Levels
A final way that I will share today that ChatGPT can make your homeschool life easy is by adapting a reading passage to different reading levels.
This is great if you have a curriculum or study you are using as a group activity with all your children, and you want each of them to read information independently.
Just write, “Can you rewrite this passage for a ______ grade reading level:” Fill in the appropriate grade and copy and paste the passage in the message bar.
Once ChatGPT has rewritten the passage, you can copy it and paste it into MS Word or a similar app to print it out for your child.
We have discussed five different ways AI platforms like ChatGPT can make homeschooling easy. These are just a few examples. Once you start playing around with AI, I am sure you will discover many new ways you can use it in your homeschool and in everyday life.