Sunday, June 23, 2013

More thoughts on homeschooling

I haven't written about this in awhile.  We are still doing it though!  Which means I am still reading and thinking about it...

This article confirms what I heard from experienced homeschooling moms when I first started homeschooling myself.   "The kids will learn X when they are ready to learn X,"  and "The kids will learn Y when they need that knowledge/skill."

This bugged the living daylights out of me for a long time.  It was too laidback, too laissez-faire, too unschooling hippie-ish, too... right.  Over the last six years (figuring out that I have been doing this for six years about gave me a heart attack), I have learned that my children are NOTHING alike, that they learn what they like far better than what they hate, that they learn what they have a need for  ("I want to write a letter back to Grammu!"  "I guess you'll have to learn some handwriting then!"  "I want to write pretty like you do!"  "That's called cursive, and you can learn it..."  "I want to make dinner!"  "Here is how to read a recipe..." - Okay, I admit I'm the last person in the world who should be teaching anyone to follow a recipe, since I am constitutionally incapable of following one, but now the Princess' "handwriting practice" consists of copying one recipe each day from my cookbooks into hers - a recipe that she personally likes, with whatever changes I've made to it.  Eventually, she can practice typing the same way - just print it out add it to her book.  Maybe she can learn to do web searches by looking up recipes, too.  Her practice is now USEFUL to her, and she will have an end product worth keeping.

This is the difference between learning to use the library by being handed a worksheet and having to find everything on it whether one has any interest in any of those things or not, and simply being told to pick a topic one finds interesting, and locate one item related to that topic in every section of the library.  I daresay one will remember the second activity much better, and come home with a lot more books, audiobooks, DVDs, videogames, CDs, etc., than one would otherwise... thus learning how useful and fun a library can be, rather than finding it one more place where one is required to do busywork.

I think that rather than wasting children's time and energy with busywork, they should be put to tasks that will result in an end product they WANT.  They need some life experience to see the necessity for certain facts that are often memorized by rote, and too often forgotten before the child learns to apply them.  I've seen this with my youngest - math facts to her are just a bunch of numbers - I've put some thought into fixing this, and decided that we will be playing a lot of dice and card games this summer, because she needs to see how much more fun the game is when it goes quickly, and when she can win it...

Now I must go count the ducks and chickens and put them away for the night.  It is way easier to count the chickens by type than all together.  Then I can just add up the numbers at the end...

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