You probably decided to homeschool because you wanted to create a learning situation that would meet your children’s needs and reflect your values … a place where you can teach what you want – when you want to! It is a liberating venture and a daunting task.
As homeschoolers, we all have the common goal of creating in your children a life long love of learning, along with insatiable curiosity.
Many of us want to avoid the inflexibility in the public schools. This rigidity, though necessary for the control of the group, is contrary to developing the curiosity factor.
There are all types of homeschooling styles and curriculum to choose from. Explore the homeschool situation where there is a seamless flow between home life and learning, where every event from watching a movie to washing dishes involves valuable lessons. The clever homeschool parent can link the operation of the house with the wonders of the world to create their perfect school.
In this method the students does not merely sit at their desk and do busy work. It encourages the curiosity factor. The children might examine how the table is built the fulcrums, wedges, shims. What type of joints are necessary for the stability of the table. What types of bonding materials were used. What type of finish is on the top, sides, and legs. Why was it used. What type of heat can it take. What kind of wood it made of. Where did the wood come from. What our trade policy is with that country or state. Where the country is on the map. What the surrounding countries are. How the wood is delivered to the factory. And on and on.
There should be constant chatter, questioning, and research in books or on the Internet. No statement is left unverified. The grocery shopping trip can be lessons on stacking item in the cart; finding the best value in weight, servings, comparisons in nutritional value; how to plan a balanced a meal with spicy, bland, salty and sweet. All household chores can be accomplished in the context of learning. Cooking, measuring, washing, windows, hoses, nozzles all hold great lessons.
There are so many scenarios. Be creative, make living adventurous and stimulating.
When studying a country, investigate their culture, food, dress and traditions. Research how these are affected by the environment and location. When studying history, use maps and pictures. Do projects by making clothes or houses of the era. Make models out of clay or wood. Encourage the physical… hammer, glue, cut and paste.
A great resource is National Geographic documentaries (you can get through Net Flicks) to actually see what you are studying about. Experience the subject matter by watching, tasting and experiencing the culture or era in history. Plan a writing project or speech (age appropriate) and have a questions and answers at the conclusion to expand thinking.
When studying the oceans and tides, go to the beach (or some body of water) see the ebb and flow of the water, see how in reacts to sand rocks your hands.
You can construct learning scenarios without your children realizing it. And talk – talk and talk about what they have learned and how it relates to other things they know.
It’s a big exciting world out there, full of fascinating things. The clever homeschooling parent can make living and learning seamless.
Pam Connolly is a professional educator with the San Diego School District. She
has been teaching kids how to type for over 11 years. To teach your child typing,