April 2015 S M T W T F S « Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Many many many people/teachers/experts say that HANDS-ON learning is the best kind of learning for a child, or anyone for that matter. There’s even a really famous quote about it:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”~ Ben Franklin
So, naturally I had every intention of using hands-on learning at every opportunity possible in our homeschool environment. And, we’ve done lots: floating tea bags, electrical circuits, homemade headlamps, baking, cooking dinner, volcanoes and more! But, even with all that, I have finally accepted something, that’s actually kind of awesome.
We have always known of his love of reading. But, I have become very aware of just HOW MUCH he learns from books. Today he did a presentation on MARS. It was fantastic. The kid knows way more than I have ever known and probably will ever know about Mars. He read every book he could get his hands on and he told us about all kinds of stuff that I didn’t even know he knew! (Video coming on Friday!)
Anyway, he’s done this forever, but I think I am finally accepting, acknowledging and allowing myself to be OK with the idea that he learns best by reading, and if I give him opportunities to get his hands dirty, it will only help, but it isn’t as NECESSARY for him as the experts would make us all believe.
Too many friends moving away… Sometimes I think we should move away, so we can find a place where people don’t move away.
Right now, I can hear my boys playing in our driveway. They have boundaries. They know they can’t venture far, but they are out there playing together, without me. I know there are a lot of people these days who don’t think it’s appropriate for kids to play unsupervised, but I completely disagree, under the right circumstances.
My kids almost never fight when I am not in the picture, and they aren’t battling for my attention.
Here is what I heard just now:
“I’m going to ask momma.” (This almost always signals a disagreement, right?)
He comes in and asks the correct pronunciation of the word volleyball.
Upon hearing the answer, he goes back out and says, “You were right Brian. I was wrong.”
How awesome is that?
What is learning? How does it happen? Where does it come from? These are BIG questions, I know. But, it’s been on my brain for the past few days. Interestingly, I went to an education conference almost 10 years ago, called “What is Learning?” and I still have the t-shirt! It was a conference I flew across the country and spent my own money to attend! Clearly, this has been on my mind longer than just the last few days.
There’s no question that this is a BIG reason that I wanted to homeschool. This learning stuff just doesn’t need to be forced, inside brick walls, on a schedule.
Where do you learn? I learn everyday, but I don’t go to school.
How do you learn? I learn things that I happen upon, in the newspaper or online, or from other people. I learn things because I am curious about them and I seek information.
There are skills, I think, that are non-negotiable. That is, you have to learn them, like math facts and grammar conventions and reading. You need to know these things so that you can function in the world. These things come up naturally sometimes, but I do think we need to create opportunities for young children to learn these types of topics. But, once you have these basics down, the learning can come at a frenzied pace!
WE are blessed with very quick learners. For me this makes it just that much more important to not get in my kids’ way. If I step out of Brian’s way and just let him be, he learns all the time. He read every book he could get his hands on about the Revolutionary War, and ended up knowing so much about it that I couldn’t keep up. He would have crushed me if we’d had a Revolutionary War trivia match!
Brian doesn’t love writing, so I do have to push that a little bit, but he’s getting better at it everyday.
It seems that periodically, Brian puts up a fight about doing schoolwork. There are days that he just has his mind set that he’s doing other things and isn’t going to follow the schedule that I put forth. Those days ARE NOT fun; I won’t lie. And each time it happens, I question everything that I’m doing with him. It’s tough to try to have a schedule for homeschooling, but not “get in his way” of learning. Because I know that if left to his own devises, he’d read and play LEGOs all day long.
It’s funny. My husband and I have always fallen on both extremes as parents. We used cloth diapers, exclusively breast fed, infant potty trained, BUT we also used the BabyWise series! I know, crazy right? The balance of the two “extremes” has worked well for us, but it makes it hard to choose ONE path at times. I won’t just buy a curriculum and follow it, but at the same time, I expect our kiddo to follow a schedule and accomplish a list of varied activities throughout the day.
I think I’m rambling…
What is learning? In our house, we use the phrase, “Learning all the time.” We’ve started asking every night at the dinner table, “What did you learn today?” The answers vary, but we expect an answer every day. Everyone learns all the time, whether you notice it or not.
What did you learn today?