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;

8th grade

Sin and salvation
Attributes of God
Early Church Leaders
Early Church History
The Early Churches
The Book of Proverbs
Understanding Today's Problems
Understanding Parents
Walking with God

Saxon Math

English Grammar and Composition


American History and American Literature

Earth Science

Music Theory

History of Art

Beautiful Girlhood


Physical Education

11th grade;

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)


Spanish 3

Home Ec

History of Art

The Christian Home

Physical Education

Driver's Ed


Joe Gringo said...

even though you are a're the man!

Great work!

jennifer said...

I love this, we are very similar in course descriptions!!!

I am going to put my link list back up, but had issues which is why it is not up yet...


Check again manana and I hope all will be fixed.

As to backing up your blog...write it in something like microsoft word, save it in a folder, then paste it to the blog...and open up an email account to use just for saving blog is free and has no space capacity.

When you change the html or the template there is a place near the top to backup your blog, I recommend doing so!!!I have read several bloggers that lost everything, and you especially have so much to preserve for us all.

Anyhow if you travel in New Mexico or west texas(el paso) let us know. As a home school family this would be an incredible opportunity to meet missionaries that spent so much time in Venezuela! penofjen(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Sorry for the missing blogroll, I will successfully replace it:)

Susan said...

I loved reading your homeschool plans. You far exceed me, and my hat's off to you!

Elízabeth said...

Oh, I would love to send you my 'student"!

Seriously now, this is one thing I couldn't do. I cannot teach, I'm the worst at it. I feel envy... good envy (eso existe?)

I agree with you on the reading. My husband does nor like to read and he was used to ask why did I buy books for our boy when he was an infant. "So, he will begin to love reading" I'd say.

Thankfully, my plan worked ;D
but I cannot teach him math or science. As you can imagine his good scores are in english, spanish, literature, comprehension and writing. Still I'd wish to do more.

With regard to Bible studies.. he's just hungry about it. Knows more by self investigation than his mom at his age.

Thanks for this post! looking forward for more info about it.

I'm taking a few days off Rita, in case you miss me (hope so) I'll be under a palm tree.


Jungle Mom said...

liz, que disfrutes la playa!! Nothing like the Caribbean!
There are some online Bible studies your son might enjoy.
If he is reading literature and learning English, he will be able to do so much!
By the way, my husband teaches the upper level math for me.;)

Elízabeth said...

Be a doll and e-mail me the links, this way I won't forget where I filed the info, sí?


Jungle Mom said...

Liz, si como no!

Gayle said...

Hon, I would have loved to have you as a teacher! I hated having to regurgitate things back that I had resolved to memory, just in order to pass a test. BORING! I detested History in school because of it, but discovered I loved it as an adult. Teachers are so very important and good ones are so very rare. Congratulations!

redneck preacher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jungle Mom said...

redneck preacher, I sent the email, did you get it?

MissKris said...

Oh, Rita! I'm so glad you stopped by tonite and left a comment! I finally got DSL so that means I can come and visit some of the Blogger sites I've always enjoyed -- like YOURS -- but always had such a hard, frustrating time getting them to load up!! The Geek Squad guy who hooked everything up said my system is SO lacking in memory it's almost prehistoric, but the DSL has sped it up considerably and I purchased a new memory card my daughter will be installing that the Geek Guy said will have it moving right along. I'll believe it when I see's moved at a slug-pace for so long, haha! So nice of you to stop by again...take care! And I WILL be back!!!

Glenn Bartley said...

Sounds intense, and maybe a little pointed in one particular direction but that is the direction you have chosen to go, so all I can say is: You Go Girl!

All the best,

Mishel said...

Great post! I always enjoy reading what other homeschoolers are doing. And I have an encyclopedia reader in my home too! : )

Jungle Mom said...

glen, yes we are heavy on the Bible in HS. But each topic I listed under Bible is roughly a 3-4 week study.

Jungle Mom said...

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

Harry said...

You'd never make it as a public school teacher (which is to your credit). You have the high expectations that public schools only talk about. All schools should be like yours.

Not that I'm condemning all public school teachers. There are some who try to beat the system and actually teach children.

Krista said...

I dream of homeschooling my children. Even though I am wanting to teach in the public school, I have to agree with the literature part. There is way too much emphasis placed on testing and not on the child. We try to read everyday to our girls. I never took on reading, and I want my girls to READ!!! Have a good day.

Brenda said...

Judging by the way Jackie turned out, I'd say you are pretty good at home schooling. I did it on and off with my kids but always supplemented their Spanish education with English literature and writing. In todays information age, its doubly important.

Bob said...

I am just homeschooling my first grader this fall. I enjoy doing it, and he responds very well.

Kris said...

This is my 4th yr to home school. My 1st is in 3rd grade and I have a 4 yr old.

I pick and choose various curriculum also. I love Saxon math and i use Varitas Press for history. We are doing OT and Ancient Egypt this yr. A trip to the museum for a special class on mummies is coming up in Oct. I did post on what this year looks like entitled :'Tomorrow I become a third grade teacher..."

Keep the home school post coming. they are inspiring to us newbies.