Thursday, November 3, 2016

Education ~ A Homeschool Perspective

Thomas Jefferson once said, "I prefer dangerous freedom to comfortable slavery." This quote is the perfect representation of education. If you study the educational system throughout the centuries you will find a gradual shift in educating children. Education used to take place at home with tudors and experiencing education through life experiences. Children were free to cultivate their interests and learn the way that worked for them. Education today is a "one size fits all box" in which children are confined in a classroom for 8 hours, all learning one cookie cutter style of learning. Homeschooling gives parents and children the opportunity and freedom to explore and hone in on talents and interests.

Albert Einstein said, "Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." The public educational system is so wrapped around passing the state mandated tests that so much of the curriculum throughout the year is geared to studying and passing these tests. Call me crazy but I do not give my kiddos tests until middle school. Instead I choose to work through content in each subject and focus on mastery. I have my kiddos go back and redo what they got wrong to ensure that they understand why and how they got it wrong. I focus on elements throughout their education that they struggle with let they fly in subjects they excel in.

 Instead of using boring textbooks we use books to learn HISTORY. History cannot come alive when you are only getting snippets of history. By reading autobiographies, great literature, historical fiction, and books that go deep into historical subject matter ensure that my kiddos truly learn history instead of just facts about events, wars, and time periods.

Learning is an all day endeavor and shouldn't be confined to the schoolroom. John Dewey said, "Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself." Whether we are at home learning, at the park, with friends, or in the hospital (yes, we have several kiddos with chronic health issues) learning never stops. Often times it is through day to day experiences that ignite interest in subject matter that turns into further investigation and reading. Sibling helping younger siblings and younger sibling learning positive educational habits for the older siblings is priceless. 

 I will never forgot when my youngest daughter was in a private, university model school in her younger years. In math she used approaches to math that got her to the same answer but was scolding and received deductions. Why? Because she thought outside of the box. She used a process of thinking that was not in line with the textbook. I always encourage my kiddos to learn how the textbooks teach them but then never discourage them from adjusting or thinking outside of the box to come to the same answer or conclusion.

Oscar Wilde said, "Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." 

The above caption needs no explaining......

Education is not and cannot be a one size fits all method to learning. Children mature and learn is differing ways and it fit all kiddos into a box does not make for a positive educational experience. Over the 16 plus years of homeschooling I have learned that what works for one of my kiddos doesn't work for the next. One child can thrive on a certain curriculum and the next in line utterly face plants and fails using it. Some of my kiddos do their best work in the morning, while others work best in the afternoon, or evening. Some need no distractions and silence while others work best with music. Some of my kiddos require frequent breaks while another works best getting it all done in one sitting. Some of my kiddos are visual learners while others need to be more hands on.

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