Friday, August 17, 2007
Free to Learn
My home school curriculum has arrived and I am spending these next two weeks organizing and making my lesson plans. It is much easier now that I have only two students and that both of the students are able to do much of their work without constant supervision.
I have never been able to use a "packaged" curriculum . There are some great ones available, but I find them all, a little ...stale. Exciting as eating chalk! I have used syllabi of publishers to see if I was on track with my children, but, until High School , it is pointless.
One day I realized that I have taught my way through High School 4 times, nearly 5, and I might know a thing or two about it myself! What freedom! It seems to me that if a student graduates and has a love of learning, can read with discernment, write something that another person is willing to read...he's a success! No packaged books , no boring texts! Real books about real life!!! And there was my son who read his way through the encyclopedias...
I have home schooled six, including my two Ye'kwana children, I have tried to set up my goals in such a way that the child will become a "student for life". I don't want to spoon feed information to the child and have the student regurgitate it back to me. In real life we are rarely given the answers to problems but must spend time and thought to figure our for ourselves the answers. So... if you want to see a teacher who stands up and lectures all day, don't come to my house!!! Nor do I enjoy work books, although they have their place.
Certain subjects require the," line upon line, precept upon precept" approach, such as Mathematics and the upper level sciences. In most cases, once the basics are down, the student can apply knowledge learned towards understanding new concepts and rarely needs input but rather a sounding board to listen to ideas and give feed back.
All students need to know they are being held accountable and that their work will be seen and judged!!! I can tell very quickly, usually just at a glance, whether the student has given me something done lazily or if time and thought went into the work. Content is not all that matters. Many bright students learn early on that since things come easily to them, they need not apply them self to get a good grade. Grades are not the point or purpose of learning. The student must apply his self and present to me a knowledgeable presentation of what they have learned. Being a home school mom allows me to "push" each child according to his ability and not be tied down to the restraints of "the class" as a whole.
I usually give my child a book to read, or when younger I would read to them, then we discuss it informally. Depending on the age of the child, I will ask for a project or paper. This has worked well. Four of my children have gone on to higher education without any problems. (Roel, Ingrid, Jackie, and Josh. We raised two ye'kwana indians and both went to college in the US.)
Literature can not be left out of the students life. I am amazed at the lack of quality literature in most High School curriculum. Our children are being raised with out the wonderful advantage of all the learning available to us on the written page. Pages written by great minds! What a waste of time for the student to be studying "fluff" when there is so much more to delve into!
My children are all avid readers. I am as well, so is their father. From a very early age, I began reading aloud to the children and carry on to this day. Their father also read aloud to them. My children each have a book for "pleasure reading" on their own time and a list of required reading for school. No one has ever complained about the reading. Some of my children have a book for each room of the house! We often share with each other what we are reading.
It is good mental stimulation to have several books going on at the same time. You learn to "store" information and will find your self comparing ideas from one book, to another that perhaps are not seen as related, but you will begin to see that so much in the world is connected! Cause and effect. History repeating. Think outside of the box! Or as my daughter says, "Box!? What box?"
It is important to realize that when reading aloud to a child, make sure you are choosing books above their own reading ability. Children can comprehend much more than they are able to read for themselves. Choose classics, choose books you can make come alive for them and leave them wanting more!!
The child who reads will learn to compare information to related concepts in his memory. This will give him the mental flexibility to come up with new possibilities. By seeing these patterns of information, the child will then be able to ask questions , develop mental schemes, and realize there is often more than one correct answer to many problems. This child will be a THINKER! That is my goal.
This year, I have an 11th grader and an 8th grader. My emphasis for the 8th grader is on AMERICAN history. Being here in the states and traveling so much, this is a perfect time to explore the US of A. She will also be reading a lot of American Literature. Both girls will have a heavy load in the area of Bible.
This is our course of study;
Sin and salvation
Attributes of God
Early Church Leaders
Early Church History
The Early Churches
The Book of Proverbs
Understanding Today's Problems
Walking with God
English Grammar and Composition
American History and American Literature
History of Art
The Faithfulness of God
The Doctrine of Jesus Christ
The Nation of Israel
History of the Canon
Friendship, Dating, and Marriage
The Pursuit of Happiness
Answers for Apologetics
God, His Word and the Christian Life
Saxon math, Algebra 2
American Literature and Composition ( thesis)
World History ( Streams of Civilization)
History of Art
The Christian Home