This post is the third in my series on homeschooling. The first post covered our homeschooling philosophy and the second covered what it looks like for young children. If you haven’t read those, I would encourage you to take the time before reading this post. Here is what we envision for when our children are older.
What we would like to do is teach everything in a way that it is all connected in the minds of our children. As I said in the first post, isolated facts are meaningless. We plan to connect everything through the history of the world.
This doesn’t mean that history is more important than any of the other subjects (especially not God!), just that it provides a logical organization for all subjects. We will start with a period of history and branch out to the other subjects. For example, Creation and ancient history would first be studied through what the Bible has to say. Then, we would break it down by continent. For each continent, we would study each culture during that time period. We would learn about their religions, politics, art, food, language, science and math discoveries, as well as their landscape, flora and fauna.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
We plan to be very flexible about how in-depth we go, allowing plenty of time to delve into any topic they are curious about. There will be no set timetable. If it takes six months to get through it, that’s fine. If it takes three years, that’s fine. When we get all the way through to current history, we’ll start over, focusing on new aspects. Remember, the goal is to teach them to love to learn and to teach them how to learn.
Don’t Waste the Teen Years!
The teen years are a golden opportunity. I know, most homeschooling parents see it as a hopeless battle to try to get their kids to “learn” (memorize tons of random facts so they will score high on tests). I see years that can be devoted to giving them the opportunity to explore their interests and find what they are passionate about! Think about it. How much time and energy does a teen really have to figure out what gifts and talents God gave them if they are spending all their time trying to plow through a rigid curriculum? Giving them the freedom to dig deeper into something may bring out a side of them we’ve never seen. They have a much higher chance of discovering what they love if they are encouraged to nurture their interests.This is the perfect time for apprenticeships! They can try out a possible career choice without having the responsibility of a family depending on them. If they discover they don’t like it, it’s no big deal. They can try something else. If they discover they love it, they have the chance to focus the remainder of their education, rather than wandering aimlessly.
Keep On Learning
For balance, they also need to be stretched. We all need to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. If one of our kids is passionate and talented in music, that doesn’t mean they get to spend all of their time on music. It means we will make special time for it. They will still spend plenty of time learning and experiencing other new things.
There will be lots of hands-on activities, just like with younger children. They will have the opportunity to experience cultures through creating art and foods the way the people did in that time and place. We will conduct science experiments and include words from other languages into daily speech. We will listen to (and maybe learn to play) music from different cultures. We might chart the stars, build a teepee, weave a rug, make homemade dyes, make and paint pottery… there are countless ways to make it fascinating and unforgettable!
One key element we plan to incorporate is to read literature from or about the time and place we are studying. To experience a culture through somebody else’s eyes by reading is one of the best ways to learn about that culture.
We don’t plan to use a set curriculum, but we do plan to have plenty of interesting and educational books in our own library. We also hope to have a good local library to borrow from. The internet, with proper supervision, is an excellent source of information.
Of course, we will also continue to focus on learning in real life. Older children can create a food budget (math and finances), do building projects (geometry and the algebra that goes with it), garden (science- PH, minerals, nutrition, biology) and cook (chemistry, nutrition, math and culture). Those are just a few examples off the top of my head. Everyday life is full of opportunities to learn!
Although I have shared our plans, they aren’t set in stone. I love to learn, so if I happen to learn something that I think would make our children’s education even better, I will be eager to incorporate it.
Next week, I plan to share websites (and maybe some books) that would make good homeschooling resources.