Have you ever considered using zines in your homeschool? Zines can be a great teaching tool. In this post, I’ll go over why you should use zines in your homeschool and give you some subject by subject zine ideas.
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What is a Zine?
A zine, pronounced like the end of magazine, is kind of like a micro-magazine. Zines are very small-batch magazines, often hand drawn and photocopied. They can be made by anyone – the advantage of zines is that you don’t need to go the traditional publishing route and can make it solely a creation that you control. They are often made by artists and comic book creators and usually are the work of one person or a very small group of people.
Why Create Zines?
As part of what they learn, your kids are absorbing information all the time. Creating a zine about something they have learned or are passionate about is a way to put what they’ve learned into action. Putting the information down onto paper is an important skill to help them communicate what they’ve learned. It also helps them practice the important skill of condensing information. Since zines are often short, it helps give kids practice distilling what are the most important things to include – a hard skill to learn but an important soft skill. Plus, it can benefit their art and writing skills as well!
Not only does it practice all these great skills, but it can give them a chance to share things that they have learned with others. Zines can be easily reproduced and shared with others – friends or relatives – to share your enthusiasm for a certain topic!
What Should My Zine Be About?
Zines can be about literally anything you want! If you want to see some examples of zines, you can check out these Math Zines from Public Math.
You can make any kind of zine. There are no rules when it comes to zines – what they look like, how they are made, what they are about, etc – so you can feel free to have so much fun!
Sometimes it’s helpful to narrow your topic. Depending on how you create your zine, you may have limited pages – so thinking about how much information you can reasonably convey is helpful. Maybe, for example, a zine about all 50 states is too much – you could choose to focus in on one specific state or states from a certain region. Narrowing your focus can help you make a stronger, more interesting zine.
Note: While some zines are family friendly and even created by children, many zines are created for adults. So if you go looking for zines or see a zine in the wild, you may want to check and make sure it is appropriate. If you want to find zines, you can find them all over the web, including on Etsy, but if you ever have concerns about their content, asking the creator is the way to go.
Still stumped on what you zine should be about? Here are some ideas organized by topic.
- Literature – Make a zine about a book you read, about a current story you’re reading. You can make the zine about the plot or you could make a little page for each of the main characters. You could also create a zine where every page is a major details about the story – setting, plot, characters, theme, etc.
- Language Arts – Make a zine of your spelling words, providing a drawing of their definition or using them in a sentence. Create a zine for someone else to solve – introducing errors on purpose for someone else to correct with proofreading. Illustrate a poem you are reading.
- Math – You can see the above math zines from Public Math for some ideas of math zines, but you could also illustrate word problems or illustrate concepts (like some of our favorite books do).
- Geography – You could make all sorts of zines about different countries. Some ideas include a zine of the biggest cities in the country, what products a country is most known for, holidays they celebrate in this country, major bodies of water, major landmarks, and so on!
- History – For history zines, you can focus on people or events. You can make mini-biography zines, like the one I made on Amelia Earhart. You can also make a zine of events – explaining what happened or for bigger events that spanned years, you could highlight some important moments. For example, if you were thinking about making a zine about the American Revolution, you could narrow it to significant battles of the American Revolution or famous people involved in the American Revolution.
- Current Events – You could choose to make a zine highlighting the biggest current events of the moment or you could narrow it down to one event and explain it.
- Science – You could create a zine about virtually any science topic! You could create one all about the characteristics of mammals or who discovered DNA or how honeybees communicate. This is a great way to check understanding of science. When you see how they explain the science, you will know whether they understand it or not.
- Health – Making a zine is a great way to check if your child is understanding the health information you are teaching them. You could make one about how a different system of the body works, one about foods that are good sources of a certain nutrition, for older kids, you could make one on myth busting a certain health topic.
- Art – You could make a zine about a certain style of art – making micro-examples of that style inside and talking about some people who made it famous. You could also make biographies of famous artists.
- Music – It’s hard to include sound in your zine, but you could include music notes or names of songs. You could talk about certain styles or genres and some examples of songs in those styles as well as a history of how the genre came to exist. You could also do biographies of musicians or famous songs of a certain time period. You could also make one about the music of a favorite movie, talking about themes or style.
You are not limited to these options, but hopefully these give you some ideas of the many many ways you can use zines in your homeschool!
If you want more detailed instructions about how to create zines in your homeschool, check out my Zine Creation Guide. This includes an easy zine template, step by step instructions, and a brainstorm, to help you pre-plan your zine ideas before you get started. You can purchase it separately or you can purchase it as part of the Creative Writing Mini Bundle.