Here are my kids homeschooling from books at our dining room table.
Angelina is learning about habitats, and Daniel learns about adaptation. We are reading the paragraph and they copy the answer into the space. 5 minutes later I ask, what they learned. It just doesn’t stick. It is stressful for everyone, not much fun, and is very boring.
I decided to do something about it!
We went to Tropicarium!! A tropical paradise full of reptiles, fish, sharks, sting rays, monkeys and birds. Here we learned all sorts of things about animals and their habitats.
Now this is fun learning.
Another bonus about homeschooling is we had the whole Tropicarium to ourselves! With the children of Hungary in school, places like these are ghost towns and tourist attractions have no one at all. We can take them in with no line-ups and learn at our leisure.
Alfonz and I take in all the tourist attractions we can, and the kids learn so much about the area we are in. At the lake we saw frogs and water snakes, swans and birds. At the zoo we saw hundreds of animals and they knew were they were from, their natural habitat, as well as what they like to eat.
I find kids are sponges, and their natural desire for learning is always on. Except when we sit down to learn from the curriculum books. Then my kids seem to shut down as if it were a chore or punishment. Why can’t someone figure out how to make school so much fun, that it holds their interest for the duration of the lesson from the book? Maybe it’s time to do video game style classes, where they get points per level, and the action keeps them interested. They would strive towards the next level, and in direct competition with their last score. And it should be self correcting so the information they learn is only the right answer.
Today is math, and Daniel is helping Angelina with her lesson, while he does his at the same time. I am proud that Daniel learned leadership skills through Montessori, and takes the roll naturally whenever we are not near. I see it carrying over into their play too. They make up games and Daniel offers words of encouragement when she does a good job. If all else fails until January when they start up in French elementary school, at least they are learning to count on each other. They are getting closer.
We went to the theatre after our road schooling class to see the Smurf’s movie in 3D. It wasn’t the best 3D movie and if you watch it I would save the extra $10 and see it in 2D. I found the movie itself was just okay although the kids loved it! It had a nice little lesson about being ourself. We had a private viewing of the movie, with the 4 of us in the whole place! 🙂
I would love to hear what other parents are doing to accommodate their hands on learners. Do you have a suggestion for us?
Thank you Michelle for your comments. You give me hope! Our kids spent hours yesterday practicing, and then in the evening put on a show for us. They danced and sang to different music they learned during the day. I was surprised how good they were for 5 and 7! I struggle with stopping the play and getting them to do their ‘homework’. Math is a tough one for my boy. I feel as long as they read and learn math, the rest they will absorb. No one told us parenting would be so hard! Cross our fingers hope they will learn the basics, and maybe discover a love of learning. What more can we ask for?
We do a mix of hands-on learning and some book work. We just graduated our first–he was very hands-on. The best thing we ever did was join a FIRST Lego League team. We did hands on robotics until 8th grade, then he did a high school robotics team via FIRST Robotics. Now, he’s at the #1 mechanical engineering program in the U.S. We did do 4 years of textbook high school science–but that was to fulfill graduation and college requirements. He did it–liked it, but his love was the hands-on application. You just have to find the right stride for your children. We never did a history “text book” until high school–again to fulfill requirements. We always did projects–acted out historical plays, mummified apples, built models of different bridges from around the world using toothpicks and gum drops, etc. You may find for certain subjects you do use a text (i.e. math), but for other subjects lots of great books, field trips, and hands on projects. I used to teach a science co-op and the favorite unit was electricity. We would go to Goodwill and buy small appliances and then take them apart–you have to be careful with some of them, but we took apart doorbells, a toaster oven, a hand mixer. Anyhow, you get the idea–relax, make it so your children want to learn and discover for the rest of their lives! Oh, and one last thing–follow your child’s interest. If they have an interest in animals–read lots of books, have them make their own illustrated book about the animals of their choosing, when they’re old enough see if they can be a junior curator at a local science museum. But, ask them what they want to learn about–it really can make a difference in what they do with their lives after “graduation”. I look back and one foray into a Lego team has led our son to incredible opportunities–you just never know!
Thank you very much for your comment Rob, it has been helpful! I didn’t realize homeschooling would be so hard, unschooling might be the answer!
Read John Holt’s books (Teach Your Own, How Children Learn, among others) and it will change the way you teach your children, don’t home school, Unschool (Google the term).
You already have the answer “I find kids are sponges, and their natural desire for learning is always on. Except when we sit down to learn from the curriculum books. Then my kids seem to shut down as if it were a chore or punishment.”
Stop using the books and truly let them learn, it will be the best favor you could ever give them.
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