Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pursuing Academic Excellence Away From the Desk

away desk

Most of my friends do not homeschool their children. At my church, there is only one other family that homeschools. I know most families that have never looked into homeschooling have a very limited idea of what it entails. The assumption is that we are emulating what the public schools do. The child has a stack of textbooks, sits at a desk (or maybe the kitchen table) all day, reading and answering questions (on paper, of course.) And of course, we give tests, because otherwise, how in the world would we know if our child was “keeping up?”

Well, some homeschool homes do look like this. Others bear little resemblance to this scene. Children may be found curled up on the couch with a good book. Or building a Lego recreation of the Egyptian pyramids. They may be constructing lapbooks or crawling across the lawn with a magnifying glass looking for insects.

So what is the best way to homeschool? The way that works best for you and your children! When I think back to my childhood and think about what I learned (and still remember), textbooks are not what comes to mind.

  • I remember a few hands-on activities from elementary school.
  • I remember a great high school history teacher who made the past come to life by telling stories.
  • I remember reading fiction that taught me about far away times and places or animals and nature (the Thornton Burgess books, Happy Hollisters series, Little House Books, mysteries with exotic settings.)
  • I remember the vacations my family took to visit historical and natural sites—seeing sea lions on the northern California coast, the petrified forest in Arizona, historical sites in Boston and Philadelphia.
  • I remember my experiences as a Girl Scout—building and cooking over fires, setting up tents, and learning first aid skills.

I challenge you to think about how you learn best? What intrigued you as a child? What do you remember from your own education years ago?  Then take a break from the books. Pick a hour or a day or even a week to get outside or out of town. Find something to do that will make memories for your child and allow him to learn in a different environment. It may turn out to be the best academic choice of all!

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  1. What a great post! It's taken me a while to get my family to see that homeschool doesn't look like school. That's one of the great things about it!

  2. Great post! Thank you for the inspiration as I prepare for our 4th year of homeschooling!

  3. Really interesting. I sat down and thought about where I learnt as a child and as a student. Yes, much of that learning was not conventional classroom learning: from many, many books, family trips to historical sites, the daily newspaper, talking to older people and the way that I learnt as a student, mainly, from real patients.


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