Sunday, November 16, 2008

Progressivism - A philosophy

This 8-wk. unit, I'm studying philosophy and education. One of these classes I'm just loving! The other..... well, not so much. ;) A funny thing happened this week when the two mixed! We studied and developed our own philosophy of education. Here's what I posted this week on my class discussion board:


I was surprised to see that the educational philosophy that is most closely related to mine is progressivism, the fad philosophy that is severely criticized. I never would have guessed it. The other homeschool moms in my area do lovingly call me a rebel, but I still haven’t figured out exactly why!

What speaks to me from this philosophy is the emphasis on activity-oriented and learner-directed education. Those are two topics that are near and dear to my heart. I believe that a child can learn so much more by experiencing a concept rather than listening to a lecture or doing worksheets. For instance, one day the lesson plans for my 2nd grade son's math lesson called for counting the coins printed on the worksheet while listening quietly to the teacher explain the concept and value of money. Instead of this, my son got to experience math concepts by getting a handful of change and pretending to purchase items for a specific amount of money while learning about money concepts. He added, subtracted, and reviewed the value of the different coins. Obviously, it is more enjoyable to play with real money. However, I believe his experience with real things enabled him to truly understand what he was being taught. I’ve seen children yawn during history lessons but be able to give detailed descriptions of historical events and people they read about in a thrilling biography. I’ve seen a child completely overwhelmed at the thought of writing, start writing notes on a book he was reading because he didn’t want to forget anything. The same student later easily wrote an instructional report on how to play a new game because he enjoyed the topic he was writing about and learned writing skills in an environment that encouraged his ability instead of devastating his self esteem and just requiring that he "do what is required." I could include many more examples and write a book with all that is in my heart on this topic. Important academic skills need to be learned, but I just don’t believe they can truly be learned by half-listening to mind numbing lectures that don’t engage the child. Draw your students in! Make them “want” to know what they need to know.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs - Favorite snacks

Honestly, mine isn't the healthiest list in the bunch, but this is what we eat for snack. Sometimes, I think I hear "Can I have a snack?" all day long!!! It helps to be prepared and already have something that I can just point to, because you KNOW they ask for a snack when I'm on the phone or in the middle of a great big project!! I can't be the only one!!

Kid's Favorites
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal
  • Popcorn
  • Apples
  • Homemade Muffins
  • Cheese
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Cinnamon Toast

Mom's Favorites

  • Pretzel Braids
  • Chex Mix
  • Granola Bars
  • Grapes
  • Muffins
  • Nuts

Lessons Learned from Ma Ingalls

For breakfast there were pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs and the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle. When it was done, she put it smoking hot on the plate. ~Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Do you think Ma Ingalls didn't have anything more pressing to do? She had some serious chores to do. When it was laundry day, she didn't switch the washer and dryer. When she baked, she baked for the entire week. Lots and lots of hard work had to be done. Still, she took the time to make pancake men for her girls that day.

My boys were fascinated with the idea of a pancake man. We have pancakes often but never in a shape other than round. Today, that changed. I whipped up their favorite pancake batter and got the griddle nice and hot. When I called the boys to the kitchen to see, they came running. I put a circle of batter down on the hot pan, then managed to make a head, arms, and legs for the little man. Nervously, I flipped the pancake man over..... YES!! He made it in one piece!!

Ma Ingalls just really inspired me that no matter what all you have to check off your to do list, there is still time for the little details that make life a treat for those around us.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Erica's Chore Charts

My friend Erica posted these adorable pictures of the
chore charts she made for her kids.
I haven't seen anything as detailed and cute for chores!!

Here's a close up look.

Just wanted to share Erica's neato-crafty boards.
Looks motivating to me!
I would sure want all my rings on the smiley face! :)

John Tesh Concert

You mean, I never uploaded pictures of my special Day??

Robby took me to see John Tesh live in concert.

On the FRONT ROW!!!!

I had such an amazing time!

Several times I was moved to tears and just SO happy to be there. :)