Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tales of Learning

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to the Musician about her high school classes, and she mentioned that she was only one of two people in her physics class who knew what the definition of "work" was. I thought about it for a few seconds, then gave the definition. Then I laughed, and said the only way I knew the definition was because I remembered it from teaching the Musician science back when I was homeschooling. The Musician said that's how she knew it too, because she remembered our talking about it. A lot of homeschoolers dislike the style of teaching that I was using at the time, which was the usual public schooling method; I was using books that covered a lot of science topics (physics, biology, earth science) that became more complex in presentation each new school year. But obviously, some of it stuck with both her and me!

On the other hand, I tried Exploring Creation with Botany with the Dancer when she was in third grade or so. She didn't strictly remember a lot of what I read to her, but when she studied plant development in the fifth grade in public school, some of what we had talked about came back to her, and helped her digest what she was learning in fifth grade, better.

I used to read the education blog, D-Ed Reckoning, when it was still active, and many of my experiences as a mom of two students taught in various ways over the years reflect what he says in his last post. The kids who are easy to educate will learn. Find what works for you and go with it. In my case, my daughters have learned from a more traditional homeschooling style, from a more Charlotte Mason style, and from the regular public school approach. In fact, although my eldest daughter fought against the "school-at-home" method I tentatively started with as a new homeschooling mom, she told me only last week that she prefers the more rigid style of public school now.

Some of what I taught them didn't "take." They don't remember much from our course on Ancient Egypt besides learning to write their own names in hieroglyphics. I doubt they remember anything from our study of Ancient Israel besides making a model of an ancient Israeli house. Are you sensing a theme here? They also will never forget the carnation and food coloring experiment, and feel sorry for kids who never did that in school. On the other hand, I doubt they remember much of anything from the museums in Chicago to which I, as a dutiful mom, took them when Mr. BTEG was living there as a consultant. But they did learn things, and I think both of them are poised to do whatever they want with their futures.

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