Tag Archives: learning

Always More to Learn

Child Learning

Education is not quite as mysterious as it sometimes seems.  The truth is that education is a line upon line, precept upon precept project that never ends.  Homeschooling recognizes that all of life is learning, and we seek to create life-long learners.  Education is not confined to a classroom; it is life itself.  While that sounds like an intimidating reality, it is a comforting one.  As the homeschool journey unfolds, we realize that each year simply allows us to build on knowledge gained previously.  It is an exciting journey.  It reminds us why the foundation is critical.

Math is the simple example.  Basic math facts develop into complicated algebraic equations over the years.  But every subject shows us the exciting truth of learning’s progression.  In elementary school we learn there was a deadly plague that devastated Europe in the 1300s.  In high school we learn how the disease spread and begin to understand its impact on art, public policy and even the psyche.  In Science our primary age children learn that some foods are healthier than others.  In High School, nutritional complexities deepen to unveil nutrient transport to cells and healing potential within foods.  Each layer of knowledge adds to the earlier layers and opens the door to exciting applications.

Keeping the progressive nature of education in mind quiets the fears when the process stalls.  It helps us remember building takes time.  Sometimes new facts pile up too rapidly and review is needed to reset the foundation.  Other times minds grab facts too quickly and erroneous conclusions are jumped to because knowledge pieces are missing.   Helping children hook new materials onto existing knowledge is a key to progress.  In fact, that is the goal of an educator:  find a place of understanding a child can put information upon and build a higher structure.   The process is the destination! 

-Billie Jo

Beyond the Lesson Book: Pets

Pets with Homeschooler

One of the best things about home education is that it opens opportunities for learning that simply can not fit more traditional schedules.  We will take a regular look at some irregular ways to maximize learning opportunities.   Pets are a great place to start.  Certainly I understand that children in public school have pets.  I also understand that time shortages exist.  Our lifestyle lends itself to getting the most out of every experience!

In a homeschool setting, the responsibility for caring for a pet covers a much broader spectrum than simply seeing him a few hours a day.  Housetraining a puppy is an all-day proposition and waiting is not an option for a puppy.  Both necessary tasks (I.e. English) and fun times (I.e. TV shows) alike bow to the needs of a puppy.  Managing interruptions, sacrificing time, putting another (even if it is a four-legged other) are critical character concerns a puppy can teach.  As a child ages, even night-time needs can become their challenge…a slow start in the morning will not upset the entire day!

The freedom to delve deeper into a topic offers great education possibilities.  Over the years, the additions of new pets to our home have initiated many school projects.  Researching breed characteristics (of dogs, horses, rabbits and even chickens) honed research and report skills.  Persuasive writing techniques blossomed with a disagreement on which breed of dog we should purchase.  Lessons on compromise presented themselves as well.  Biology understanding deepened with a look at horse genetics.  Catching a love of learning involves being interested in what you are learning.  Pets are a terrific tool for planting seeds of learning excitement.

Even physical fitness requirements can flow into and out of a pet.  Building dog agility or horse-back riding into the school day accomplishes much more than just meeting state mandates for physical education.  The homeschool lifestyle is a course study in flexibility, individual passion and creativity.  Enjoy the uniqueness of your children and your family as you accomplish the over-arching goal of education. 

-Billie Jo