P31 Wannabe

Helping Your Child Love Learning October 18, 2011

Filed under: Books,Homeschooling — Lacey @ 3:03 pm

The other night I started reading this book, “The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas” by Linda Dobson.  I’m impressed so far with the first couple chapters I’ve read that are detailing her educational approach and how to change our ingrained ideas about “schooling.”  There’s a big difference between “schooling” and “education.”  It’s going to take me a while to get this concept applied in my own mind, daily activities, and homeschooling, but I’m confident I’ll see a big difference once I do.  Here are the highlights (aka what I literally highlighted) in Chapter 1 of this book, entitled “Helping Your Child Love Learning,” : (Italics are direct quotes, Bold is my emphasis)

School Mind (school institution):

  • The school system, then exists to apply artificial order where none naturally resides
  • The more order and regularity accomplished, the smoother sailing for the system itself.
  • Compulsory attendance: This demands, by force of law, that children spend large amounts of their time in the institution and away from the realities of life.
  • Curriculum: A course of study laid out ahead of time for everyone, chosen by people who are strangers to the children, who lack personal involvement in the children’s interests in the subject matter, and who are not affected by their success or failure.  (Ok, I really wanted to highlight this entire quote here! When you present it this way, it really does make you step by and question the cookie cutter approach to education,)
  • A focus on the children’s inability to meet existing standards: Children need to be tested, then measured against other children to determine, among other things, if they need to be “fixed” to become part of the desired “regularity.”
  • We can no longer afford, however, to believe that being schooled is synonymous with receiving an education.
Education Mind 
  • Purpose: When children are curious about (interested in) something, they can see a purpose to learn about it.  Interest creates intrinsic motivation to learn.  This leads to a quicker grasp of information, concepts, or skills desired.  Because interest leads children to apply the knowledge once acquired, they retain in.
  • Learning that begins in freedom, that is guided by curiosity, and that is conducted without a need for external rewards and punishments gives children an understanding that life is learning.
Real Learning is Messy
  • School mind asks, “What should my child know at grade level X?” Education mind asks children what they are interested in and further observes active children to gather its own clues.  
  • School mind asks “Do they need to know this for a test?” Education mind asks “Do they need to know this to improve their lives in some way?”  
  • School mind asks, “What can I teach them?”  Education mind asks “What can they learn?”  
  • School mind asks, “What answers have they retained?”  Education mind asks, “Have they learned how to learn?”  
  • With just a little practice, you’ll be turning around similar questions to yourself in no time.
Children Need Touch and Attention
Parents with Education Mind Know: 
  • People criticize them for being “overly protective.”
  • Their children often appear less stressed than their peers.
  • The reassurance of their presence and attention builds a firm foundation of security from which their children venture into the world.
  • Others who meet their children after a period of homeschooling notice how warm, caring, and independent they have become.
  • As a parent your participation in activities is essential so that the necessary social and emotional growth occurs along with the academic enrichment.
Play it Again, Children
  • Repetition, alternatively called practice, makes neural networks more efficient to the point that regions of the cortex are free for still other uses.
Parents with Education Mind Know:
  • Children with the time available to do so will naturally gravitate toward practice, alternatively viewed as repetitive play with regard to children.
  • Children have the perseverance to immerse themselves in repetition if free to do so.
  • Play is a child’s most important work.
Age Integration
  • An analysis of fifty-seven studies from 1968 to 1990 revealed that 52 percent of multiage classrooms outscored single-grade ones…Multiage classroom group together two or three grades, and the teacher stays with the children for more than a year.  Some research indicates that such grouping reduces bullying, aggression, and discipline problems and increases self-esteem, cooperation, and social skills.
  • According to the article, advocates report that “multiage classrooms feel more like families.”  “Veterans nurture younger students, teach them the classroom rules and routines, and help them with academic tasks that solidify their own understanding.”  Test scores in many schools rose, even as some parents complained that “it didn’t look like learning was going on. It looked like kids were having a ball.” (Now is that school mind or what? Can’t have fun and learn at the same time!)
  • Younger children listen and pick up knowledge seemingly by osmosis when older children are learning in the vicinity.
  • Interaction between children of mixed ages mirrors the real world

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