Category: Ages & Stages

Demystifying Education (the ABC’s of Real Learning)

Demystifying Education Or, the ABC’s of Real Learning By Diana Waring When I started on the path of homeschooling twenty-five years ago, teaching a child to read (or anything else for that matter) seemed like a terrifying, somewhat unnatural activity for a parent without a degree in education. So, naturally, I clung like a drowning rat to any floating book, curriculum, or homeschool wives’ tale that came my way—anything that looked like it might support me in the mysterious realm of teaching. Subsequently, I ended up spending far more money than I could afford for curriculum that did not...

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Will My Homeschooled Child Be Able to go to University?

© Beverley Paine The other day I was asked: “One of my concerns is that if I decide not to register and my children decide to want to pursue tertiary studies, can that still happen?” This is a slightly different version of a question that comes up frequently in the Homeschool Australia online support group. Homeschool registration during the primary and/or high school years is not a prerequisite to entering any kind of tertiary educational institution. Unregistered homeschoolers have gained entrance to courses of their choice at universities across Australia, as well as at TAFE or other colleges. And homeschooled students as young as eleven are enrolled in Open Learning University subjects, with or without registration as homeschoolers. It is worth remembering that tertiary entrance selection criteria may change considerably between now and when your six year old will be ready for university. I know the wheels of change turn slowly, even in this electronically aided world and that not a lot has changed in the last couple of decades, except perhaps that more universities are open to the idea of accepting home educated students, and some overseas institutions actually advertise for them… There is already a private university based in Sydney actively seeking homeschooled graduates. Homeschooled students who wish to gain entrance to tertiary studies at the moment consider the options available to them and take the path...

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Laid-back Learning for Non-Readers (3)

Most of the learning my children have acquired over the years has come from their own self-initiated, independent reading. But what do you do while you're waiting for that magic moment of independence to arrive? You plot. Set up an environment that invites inquiry and discovery — even if a child can't read the fine print. I think the Montessori model comes closest to what I imagine, but her theory incorporates neatly organized stations for exploration strategically located about the room. It's at the "neatly organized" level that my model falls apart. I'm more of a "randomly scattered" kind of mom. "Yes, that science microscope you just tripped over in the center of the living room could very well have been intentionally placed there for your discovery, but I doubt it." Anyway, do fill up the environment wherever possible with interesting bits and pieces for discovery: National Geographic maps taped to the walls; aquariums, terrariums, cocoons; seedbeds for the spring garden; postcard art prints; lots of music; lots of paints; clay; beads and buttons for counting and sorting; puppets; a makeshift theater from a refrigerator box found in an alley way, etc. All these were part of the daily environment my children explored freely when young. The Purpose of Structured Learning The first goal of structured learning should be to teach a child to read. But the purpose of...

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The Beauty of Reading Aloud

THE BEAUTY OF READING ALOUD by Virgina Knowles Reading aloud is a child’s first introduction to good literature. Why is this so important? Reading aloud connects parent and child. It links you together in a personal way around interesting ideas and words. Young ones are soothed by the sound of our voices. I tend to be so much more calm when I am snuggled up on the couch enjoying a great book with them, rather than chasing them around the house trying to keep them out of mischief. Reading aloud builds warm memories, too! What will they fondly remember looking back to their childhoods — pages upon pages of worksheets or the great stories they read with Mom? Reading aloud gives your child a splendid vocabulary. Good literature is rich in descriptive vocabulary. Your child can gain an impressive arsenal of new words to use in speaking and writing. A child can encounter a word in print, and even know what it means, but not know how to pronounce it. Is the word charade pronounced CHAIR-ray-dee or shuh-RAID? If he hears you say it while he is looking at it, he can make the connection and hopefully remember it the next time. Reading aloud prepares a child for learning to read. Study after study has shown that being read to often as a young child is one of the...

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