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Homeschool Connections

{I have a lot of content on my old Typepad blog and I have decided to share a post a week on Saturday. It’s fun to see how some things change and some stay the same. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!}

Originally posted in March 8, 2008

Post contains affilate links

Homeschooling connections: How children learn and make connection when given the freedom to follow their passions.

I’ve made a discovery. The more you know, the more you know. On of the greatest thrills of homeschooling for me is seeing the way my children make connections…all on their own. Chuck and I are avid readers. We are always reading at least on book and often several at a time. Our children are also avid readers. Last year I had to make the rule “No reading before lunch” because otherwise my little darlings would get so wrapped up in a book they would not do their work, or be grumpy when I asked them to do a job.

I read aloud to the children every day. Picture books in the morning (and yes, every one of my children loves this from my two year olds right up to my teenagers) and chapter books before bed. We finished Little House in the Big Woods in February and were going to move on to Little House on the Prairie, but made a slight detour to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. And here is just one example of the “connections” I am talking about.

In Story of the World, we have just hit the point in history when Copernicus and Galileo have rocked the world with their new theories. A couple of months ago we watched Apollo 13 and I bought a star map. We have delved into Astronomy, hung the Solar System from our dining room and made posters. We have read stacks of books, watched a DVD on the Solar System, listened to story CDs about historical astronomers, and the boys visited a planetarium at the Science Center.

We call all locate Orion, the Big Dipper, Mars (which is now visible) and are working on the North Star. Then we read chapter one of an incredible silly book, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. And what do they do, but travel up too far and suddenly begin floating. “They’ve just broken through the atmosphere” one of my children yells. “They’re now in orbit around the earth” another says. Two months ago, this would have just been a fun book to read. Now it has meaning to my children and they can follow what’s happening even better.

Now, I am not suggesting Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator as a science textbook, but it is fun to see them make the connections. Just before learning about Galileo, we learned about Martin Luther and the Reformation. So last week in church when our pastor mentioned Luther, I saw at least six of my children perk up at the sound of his name. This happens continually. We learn about something (anything) and suddenly we are surrounded by references to whatever it is. Things that would have formerly gone over our children’s heads, now make perfect sense. It’s kind of like when you get pregnant, and all of a sudden you notice babies every where you go. They were always there, you just never noticed them. I see this happen all the time with homeschooling. Maybe it’s because I’m with my kids all the time, so I know what they’re reading, thinking about and interested in. I don’t know, but I love to see how the more they learn the more they are able to learn.

You know, the more you know, the more you know.

4 Comments

  1. bemis

    Wow, I love this post. It’s so true. My kids are still really little but they make some amazing connections. We’re reading Little House in the Big Woods right now and have been reading picture books Katy and the Big Snow and Storm in the Night (about a kid whose grandfather tells him a story of being young and afraid of storms), and have started up our syruping operation at the same time. We’re measuring temperatures and gallons, and depth of snow, and we’re also learning a lot about weather. The conversations and connections we’ve had about weather and temperature and measurement and fears have been amazing. I never thought of the connection between bears in the Big Woods and thunderstorms, but both have helped one of our children very much with sudden fear of certain things.

    My kids aren’t even public school age (okay, maybe preschool), so it doesn’t have to be just a homeschool thing, but I’m sure excited for the next several years of making bigger and deeper connections and getting to see them happen first hand.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Yes, I wrote this from a homeschool perspective because that was all I knew in 2008. I think if you are aware and present, you will be able to help your kids along with these connections and learning.

      • bemis

        We are planning on homeschooling and basically are doing preschool–by “doing preschool” I mean that I am paying a lot of attention to the specific things my preschoooler is doing and learning–from how to do certain chores and self hygeine to learning skills like peeling carrots and threading a needle to counting and letter recognition (my paying attention to those things and offering opportunities to learn and reinforce, and not so much my scheduling and “teaching” certain things). I’ve been thinking a lot recently about whether my focus and attention on what he’s learning and connections he’s making would be as great if I weren’t planning to homeschool. I’d like to think so. This morning I realized that the difference probably lies primarily in whether a parent considers a child’s education to be their (the parents’) responsibility, whether the child is home-schooled or not. I think we do a great disservice to our children if we place the responsibility for their education in the hands of someone else. If the responsibility for their education is first and foremost ours, it doesn’t matter so much if they’re home-schooled, public or private schooled, because we’re the ones ultimately paying attention to learning and connections that are happening (or not).

        Sorry, I wasn’t trying to get preachy, just saying that I agree with you and fleshing out in my own words where my thoughts have been recently. How is it for you not seeing firsthand many of the connections your younger kids are making in school when you were able to see so many of them with your older kids?

        • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

          Interesting thoughts…thanks for sharing. I definitely believe peeling carrots and threading a needle are more important (in the preschool ages) than reading and math.

          It is weird to hear Apollo talk about things that he has heard and learned that I am not there for. I certainly miss our homeschooling days, but realize it is simply not possible right now, so I try not to drive myself crazy over it. I am looking forward to summer vacation when we spend our days learning and exploring together.

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