a quote and a question

lookin' pretty

“The sole end of education is simply this: to teach [humans] how to learn for themselves; whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”

Dorothy Sayers

How do you go about making your homeschool a toolbox rather than a list of facts?  How do you prioritize?  What methods/subjects do you choose?


2 thoughts on “a quote and a question

  1. Ann says:

    Love this quote. This idea has been the goal of our homeschool. My oldest, now a freshman in college, has shown us how well this works, even so early in his college career.

    We prioritize by covering the basic subjects, but focusing on those that will be of most utility to the way my kids think and what their interests/future career goals are. My oldest wants to be a research scientist; we focused on developing his thinking skills with logic classes, philosophy, advanced math. Lots of meta type discussions where I asked “how did you figure that out? What makes you think that is true? Where is the flaw in this argument? What are other ways to think about this that come up with the same answer? Why did you get the wrong answer?” etc–all with the goal of helping them figure out how their minds work and where they get tripped up.

    My older son was doing all his schoolwork independently by the middle of 8th grade. He initiated this and figured out what he needed to study (with our final approval) to accomplish his life goals.

    My younger son (11), has some learning disabilities. He has been slow to learn to read and has difficulty with many on-paper language and writing skills. He is a fabulous audio learner, though, and thanks to the gifts of probable (though undiagnosed) ADD, is also very good at multi-tasking and is very creative. His goal has always been to be a chef. With him, we have to focus on things he finds interesting or he can’t attend for more than a few minutes. I try to funnel as much of his learning as I can through the kitchen. We still ask all the meta questions to help him figure out how he thinks. I try to make all his subjects as active as possible, and we do short lessons for each subject with lots of variety. We incorporate the skills he needs in his extra-curricular activities into our schoolwork–Boy Scouts, music notation, 4-H projects. I find schooling him exhausting and sometimes discouraging, but he is happy and learning and when I feel down about his lack of progress on some basic skills (spelling, for example), I try to focus on the things he knows far more about than his peers (cooking, electronics, life skills, woodworking). I’m hearing him tell me how he figures everything out and also hearing him tell me he notices his public schooled peers can’t figure out things unless someone shows them how first. Hmmm.

    • godmadeknown says:

      Love Dorothy Sayers! Amazing how kids from the same gene pool and family environment can have such different learning styles. I have 4 boys and none of them think alike and none of them think like I do so I have to ask a lot of questions, too, just to hone in on their thought processes. Doing everything I can to teach them how to learn and why to learn, not just what to learn. Want to give them all the freedom I can to let them explore their own natural curiosity, but also have to keep in mind we do have to work at learning things we don’t want to in life. That’s the challenging part for me. Those subjects that you have to insist upon just because it’s stuff everyone has to know.

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