Like many homeschooling parents, we struggle with the best methods to engage our youngsters in learning. Notice I didn’t say “teach.” I have to say that at first (and until recently), we started out with a very traditional “schooling” style that pretty much echoed the school system. It failed miserably. And, I didn’t have to ask “why?”
The whole point to home schooling isn’t to bring the school system home, it is to encourage a lifelong desire to explore, experiment, and study; and for them absorb as much as humanly possible from all of their experiences. I think that there is value too, in showing how everything is interrelated and how we humans impact it all.
One of the things we have noticed is how focused and intent the children can get when studying something. In a system where you have, say, history from 10-11AM and then switch to something else, it can be very distracting and crushes the desire and ability to explore a topic further. As we have gone along and experimented ourselves, My husband and I have begun using their learning styles as a basis for a new education system for them (perhaps old to some of our homeschooling friends). Instead of studying a number subjects a day, based on the established school system, we are instead focusing on one topic each day – with the exception of music and math which they get a bit of all along.
Today (Monday) is geography and social studies. In my research to develop a geography learning module, I’ve been amazed at the number of sub-divisions that occur just under this topic – many, of course relate to the human interaction and impact, climatology, geology, paleontology and so much more!
Our first geographic studies will focus on Alaska and the bearing sea which relate directly to our new historical studies based on Joy Hakim’s book “A History of US, The First Americans” as well as early primitive art for art day. Of course, you cannot cover the topic of land bridges and Alaska without learning about rising sea levels, volcanoes, glacier movement and other earth sciences.
So far, this one’s been promising. The kids are charging ahead. We’ll keep you posted on progress…