Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Priorities

When I took my oldest two children out of school eleven years ago, it was for a very simple reason...

 I was convinced I could do it better.  I had substituted in their school for a year, and even though I was impressed with the school,  I realized just how little they were learning in their eight hours of education.

When I brought them home we were very structured and I orchestrated the lessons and determined what we would study, and therefore learn.  This summer I read a few books that challenged this approach, and encouraged me to let the children decide what they wanted to learn.  I am not a radical and I tend to avoid extreme beliefs in anything.  I am not willing to let them direct all of their learning.  The fact is I want them to do their math, grammar, Bible, memory work and learn to read phonetically. 

I lead when we cover these topics.  I just cannot relinquish teaching the basics.  I am sure that a case could be made that I am wrong and that eventually they will want to be taught Algebra, but I just don't trust it.  

When we have completed these fundamental subjects they lead.  We can do a science experiment, bake a cake, read our history assignment, read a novel, play a game, build a K'nex structure, watch a documentary, play a spelling computer game or scrabble.

I am finding that we are getting more done with less struggles and we are learning.   I am more relaxed and they seem to be flowing through school and enjoying their studies.

Next week I plan to encourage them to plant our fall garden and finish a unit on the Prussian Empire.  Today we created royal seals out of play dough and we will send some letters with the wax seal impressions.

This is my new learning approach and my only regret is that I didn't allow it to surface sooner.

My priorities have changed and although it isn't easy for me to articulate them, I feel Charlotte Mason summarized them with these words...

"Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature." 

With that in mind my hope is that my princess and her siblings will enjoy their childhood, grow and mature and face their adult world with a strong desire to keep learning throughout  the rest of their lives.

To read the priorities of other home schooling families click here.

This post is linked here, too.


Debbie said...

Great post! I think we all struggle in the beginning thinking we just have to get in and rule the learning process.

Theresa said...

Great post! Thank you for linking up!

Like you, I am not a radical, we have our curriculum and I lead, but we also have time for exploration in which they lead.

My priority is to instill a life-long love of learning.

I have a question about K'nex...I am going to buy my girls some K'new kits for Christmas, I already bought a 400 piece kit...what other kit would be a good one to get started with?

Savannah McQueen said...

OH Theresa I wish I could help you but I haven't bought a simpler set since my oldest (21 yrs) was little. If you are ever looking for a complex set I can recommend the roller coaster.

marymakesmusic said...

Hi Savannah! Thanks for linking up with us... love your post!

Theresa said...

Thanks, Savannah, I will look at the rollercoaster!

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