Monday, December 14, 2009

Learning or Work Processing?

When I was in High School I attended a
small Christian School where I got quite
behind. In the 11th grade I transferred
to another Christian School where the standards
were much stricter. In order to graduate I
had to cram three years worth of work into

I am sure this had its benefits in my life.
I definitely learned goal setting.
I excelled at memorization,
which helped me pass fact filled tests.

The down side was that there is very little
from those years that impacted me or made a
long term difference in my life.

As we have homeschooled for many years I have
come through many phases. This means my children
have been subjected to many phases...poor things!

Initially, there was the attempt to be a
"School" at home. We were very, very structured
and I was very demanding.
Mikey still bears some of the ill effects of this
approach. Chelsea thrived with it.

Important lesson learned....
Know your child's learning style.
Embrace the differences whenever possible
and use them to your advantage.

Then I went through the many, many
field trip phase. We were so busy
and put so many miles on the car.
Of course, my fear of school district
intervention had us doing stacks and stacks of
paperwork during these years as well
so that our portfolios could be thick
and impressive.
Again, poor kids!

Finally, we have reached the High School
Years. What an eclectic blend of learning
styles in our homeschool.

I have one artistic and creative learner.
One busy, active and practical learner.
And one work processor with a creative bent.

Before school began this year I purchased
expensive Accounting curriculum for the two
youngest. We learned the terms and tried
valiantly to go farther. I am not totally
giving up yet...however, for the months
of January through April we are using the
concepts in a very practical manner.

Each child will run their own "financial
household", so to speak. They will maintain
their own checkbooks, pay their own "bills"
and "repair their own vehicles"...all on paper.

They have already estimated the expense of
living on their they will experience
the time consumed in being a responsible
budgeter and billpayer.

Each of these months will find "bills" in their
"mailboxes", "medical emergencies", "company for
dinner" to drive up their expected grocery bills, etc.

Will they learn accounting?
Not in the most formal sense of the subject.
Will they learn something of value?
I'll let you know!
Based on our first couple of sessions on the
subject, I would have to predict - definitely!

I hope that you will always keep in the front
of your mind..."Are my children learning today
or are they busy processing work?"

Every subject can be approached from many sides.
Not all are as effective.
Always seek the most effective for the giftings
and skills of your students.

Happy Homeschooling!


Mrs.Rabe said...

As you know I am not one for "busy work" I would rather have them busy with real work! (play, art, reading, dishes, etc)

I think the key to effective learning is what you stated - "know your child's learning style."

Beth said...

Thank you so much for your very insightful blog! I am REALLY struggling with homeschooling my sophomore. This is the first time I have ever attempted schooling a highschooler. She is frustrated as well, with me, I think. I simply don't know all that is in her high school curriculum! I just need her to read the information and then I quiz her but she feels like she is doing it on her own. Do you have any suggestions? (We had tried to do the video school and everyone here really disliked it.) My 7th grade daughter is doing just fine and we have had to "catch up" on a few things since I've gone through a fierce battle with a virus for WEEKS! I just don't want to fail my children. I want our homeschooling to be fun but I do feel pressure with the high school requirements.
Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Becky K. said...

Hi Beth!

Thanks for being so honest and open. I pondered whether I should post your comment as it is so personal but I hope that you get some encouragement from others too.

First off, RELAX! Take a deep breath and realize that you are teaching your daughter every day whether she works on her "curriculum" or not. Real life...that she will live everyday for the rest of her life is not a controlled experience. Things happen. People get sick, they need our help. Sometimes opportunities arise that are unexpected and plans change for good things. I guess what I am saying is that teaching our students to be flexible and helpful to others is often more valuable than how to diagram a sentence.

Having said that, I will say that we have a responsibility to our children and their education.

In most cases, because she is working independently and is not waiting for a whole class to settle down and not being interrupted by the many things that go along with being in a classroom I suspect your daughter is covering a lot more material in short amounts of time than you might guess. In most cases our homeschooled high schoolers cover significantly more material than their classroom counterparts. Our evaluator has told us nearly every year how she is amazed by the work we have done. To be honest, to me it seems like we

don't spend huge amounts of time at it. We are just very efficient and so many things we do are geared toward our goals for the school year. Learning is just a way of life at our house and I suspect yours, as well.

I would love to hear back from you as to whether you have more specific questions.

Keep at it!

It is so worth it!!!


Becky K. said...

I have to say a couple of more things...It sounds to me like you are having your daughter work through textbooks. I would recommend reviewing her textbooks for material she needs to cover and then heading to the library to find some biographies or historical fiction to draw her into the material. Textbooks are great for times, dates and facts but are notoriously dry. They will not hold the average student's attention as the sole input of material.

Secondly, ask your daughter what would make her days go better. Listen to what she says. Would she like to do a more unit approach?

For example...if she is studying American History...Are there ways you can tie her English, History, Art and Music together in projects and reading while listening to music from that period?

That is just an example but I have found that many of our students will learn faster and better when engaged and not bored!

Hope this helps.
I so want both of you to succeed.