Tag: natural learning

More Lazy, Carefree Days (2)

by Debra Bell Seems many of us are struggling with the tension between cracking the books with our kids and making time for the laid-back days of childhood. I heard from a record number of readers who appreciated the sentiment of last week's article. But I got a lot of questions, too. Here are my comments to a couple of them. Question: How do we strike a balance (assuming there is one) between "carefree" and "not making any progress"? My fourth-grader has never even seen a multiplication problem. (Too much changing of curriculum on my part) I'm quite burned out on planning my own curriculum, but this kid's curiosity and love for learning would be crushed under a stack of textbooks or paces. He LOVES to read! Answer: As per your guilt: That's definitely a tension I feel as well. I think it is a matter of balance. I do try to have math on a consistent basis during elementary grades — but on average it is often only three times a week. We were involved with Math Olympiad and Math Count competition, which my kids loved and still mention as a key reason they've scored well on their college boards in math. We also used a very inexpensive but powerful little series called Figure It Out (available from pahomeschoolers.com) to learn how to solve multi-step word problems strategically....

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Those Lazy, Carefree Days (1)

Debra Bell Right now, the school days of our three teens consists largely of challenging courses; such as,  pre-calculus, French III, molecular biology, advanced placement history. For the most part, they are cracking the books from early in the morning to sometimes late at night. College-level texts, highlighted extensively; notebooks scrawled with study notes and lengthy math problems; graphing calculators, reams of analytical essays-in-progress, stacks of lecture videos: the evidences of their learning are scattered about almost every room of our house. How do they stay motivated and focused (for the most part) and not buckle under pressure nor revolt? Let me roll back the clock for you. Here’s what the early elementary days looked like at our house… Flashback Leisurely mornings; frequent field trips to nature parks, museums, and science centers; long afternoons curled up in a favorite chair with a book; uninterrupted time for puppet shows, imaginative play and art projects. Lots of trips to the library, lots of time for thinking, lots of time in the backyard. In short, I believe the prolonged season of carefree, open-ended learning when our children were young laid the foundation for diligent and directed studies during high school. Why? Because they weren’t burned out by years and years of formalized, structured learning already. When it came time to confine much of the day to seatwork, to evaluate learning with tests...

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Unschooling

Unschooling Families who are comfortable throwing away the textbooks and not inflicting any sort of lesson plan or agenda upon their child’s education might want to try unschooling. Unschooled children are free to learn (or not) according to their own whims and aren’t directed to working from workbooks or textbooks. Learning for an unschooler is the result of pursuing an interest and self-studying it until the interest is satisfied. The term unschooling originated in the 1960s in the teachings of a Boston public educator named John Holt. He did not agree with the way children were being forced to learn through teacher dictation. Holt believed that children learn best through free or child-led education, where the child is free to learn at his own pace, in his own unique way, guided by his interests. Holt often lectured on his view of free education, hoping to change the public education methods. After becoming disillusioned with the public schools’ resistance to change, Holt began to encourage disheartened parents to try unschooling or schooling in the home. His basic message was to “unschool” their children, a parent only needs to allow the child to direct his own learning through his interests and provide the child with educational experiences and materials. If the child asks questions, simply answer him; if you don’t know the answer, show the child the direction needed to discover...

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Recording with Natural Learning

The Value of Recording a Learning Naturally Approach to Home Education © Beverley Paine "Natural Learning sounds considerably more involved than the average curriculum and might be difficult for many parents to do well. " Sharon   Which is why most of us begin with the average or traditional curriculum and move to more learning naturally methods as time passes and we gain confidence and experience. I get worried I am neglecting my children's education from time to time with our approach, but I as I record our daily activities it's easy to see how filled with learning they are. As I record I convert our daily activities into educational jargon – this trick especially reassures me. If I couldn't see that playing postman and dress-ups was essentially covering language learning, social studies, personal development, drama I'd feel very insecure about our 'play curriculum'. Likewise with Lego – I've learned to recognise the traditional curriculum in everyday Lego play (classifying, sorting, patterns, symmetry, levers, pulleys, planning, design – all elements of the mathematics and technology curriculum learning areas). It is by doing this consistently over many years that I was able to see how closely our non-curriculum followed the school curriculum, which led me to believe that the school curriculum is based on a child's natural developmental progress as well as society's requirements (employment training based aspect of all...

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