Do We Get In the Way?

The last week of May I was blessed to attend LER’s Spring Awakening 2015. It was a morning spent as a student of the Truth Beauty Goodness community in Minnesota. It was a one day event that I drove many miles to attend. It was worth it. This post is my attempt to share something I learned that is paramount to educating.

As teachers, we must not get in the way of the student learning.

Do We Get in the Way? Allowing our Children to Learn Authentically

It’s tough, I know, for mothers and fathers who homeschool, as well as parents who choose public school. We all want what is best for our children. Even teachers in traditional school settings really want what’s best for the students. It really starts with how we perceive children.

Children are born persons. {Principle #1}

Of course- we think- they are little human beings with the same physical makings as adults, only smaller. But they are not miniature adults. Nor are they the genetic code that decides if they have red curly hair or straight black hair. Or that suggests a child will have a particular temperament.

generations

They are more than miniatures of their parents and inherited traits. They are persons in their own right.

The child’s mind is not a blank slate or vessel to be filled. It is a living thing, relying on knowledge to grow. {Principle #9}

The mind feeds and grows on ideas; it grows like the body grows through nourishment. The mind does not require training to learn, much as healthy lungs do not require external assistance to breathe in and out.

children learn

It is not our business to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid the ideas he holds as they match the experiences he encounters. {Principle #12}

They are capable of making their own connections with knowledge and experiences. They have ‘hooks’, as do we all, with which to hang ideas and notions based on past experiences and knowledge. When they encounter new situations or information, they take down the ideas from the hooks and analyze the new situation through them.

But they can be influenced. This is where it is important to not get in the way and make it more about us than them. If we believe them to be persons, capable of learning, we will be sure to not crush this. Here are some ways that we can get in the way.

  • Fear/love– Children trust and love their parents and teachers. It might be more obvious why we should not use fear to motivate our children to learn but love can be just as dangerous in this situation. When we push children to learn because of their love for us they do not learn for themselves. They can languish if there is not someone to learn for; if there is not someone to smile upon them when they do as they should. They become merely what those who love them wish them to be, or what the student thinks the teacher wishes them to be. Their personality is squashed and they live for the smiles, or languish at the averted eyes.
  • Suggestion/influence– I believe these are the two most often used tactics in public schools today. Educators hold the philosophy that the teacher is superior and an expert; the student cannot possibly know what to do without suggestion or influence. However, by using suggestion or influence, the student comes to depend on that for their every task. I have been quite guilty of both suggestion and influence. There have been times that, due to my previous overly suggestive or influential actions or comments, that my child could not make a decision or think clearly about a concept without suggestions or influence from me. This does not help the child, it hinders.
  • Emotions/desires– This is the tactic of enticing the child to achieve a grade or a status based on their learning. It could get them into a special group or allow them special privilege to do or not do a particular task. It is tied with ‘learning’ but it can be dangerous as well. This tactic can and often does produce children that are more concerned with attaining that reward, having that status, than to know. When they are presented with the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning, they will pass it by if there is no emotion or desire fulfilled.

Each of the above mentioned tactics to get the child to learn are actually hinderances because they present something other than actual learning as the goal.

Are there ways that you feel teachers, and by that I mean parents, get in the way of learning for their children? How do you think we can step back and help instead?

 

 

North Laurel (22 Posts)

Blossom- "North Laurel" to the online world- lives in Ohio with her husband and two teens, homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way with Ambleside Online. She is graciously allowed to be a moderator for the Ambleside Online Forum. North Laurel loves to read, be on the computer, and learn. You can read her blogging about homeschooling, book reviews and life in general at North Laurel Home & School.


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Groovy Lab in a Box: A Science Kit That Includes EVERYTHING!

My kids absolutely love doing science experiments – and so do I! What we don’t love is having to find all the needed supplies, and forgetting something, and then not actually doing the experiment because we didn’t pick up the last supply at the store.

That’s why I was SO excited to find out about Groovy Lab in a Box! They have everything – and I mean everything – you need to complete a science experiment, all in one convenient package!

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From the website…

“Groovy Lab in a Box includes everything you need to complete all activities, inquiry experiments, tests, and engineering design challenges. Including the basics. You never have to go looking for popsicle sticks or straws or pipe cleaners ever again. If the activity, experiment, test, challenge, or inquiry requires a specific tool or supply, it’s in the box!”

I love that! No more hunting the house trying to find something that will work – because it all magically arrives on your doorstep! Go here to read more about what’s inside each box.

Not only that, but you can choose to have one groovy lab box mailed to you (hurry, they’re going fast!) or you can sign up for a subscription plan!

GroovyLabBirdKit

{All-inclusive “For The Birds” science kit!}

I’m also thrilled to announce that Groovy Lab in a Box is giving away one science experiment kit to a Homeschool Blog Awards winner!

Here are the details:

  • One Prestigious Parents’ Choice® Award winner Groovy Lab in a Box – Lunar Launch Box
  • Engineering Design Challenge: Can you design, build, and launch a rocket which travels the farthest vertical distance?
  • Investigate Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy. Build Balloon Rockets, Paper Rockets, Foam Rockets, and a rocket that you engineer and design.
  • Emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
  • Extended learning through our exclusive online portal.
  • STEM•ist /stĕmʹĭst/ n. Expert in applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Explorer, creator, inventor…STEMist!
  • For STEMists ages 8 and up

Thank you, Groovy Lab in a Box!

To connect with Groovy Lab in a Box so you don’t miss information about deals, sales, new products, science tips, and fun ideas, you can visit their blog, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Pinterest.

And I’d love to know – if none of the science kits were sold out, which one would you choose?

 

Davonne (16 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”


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Four Great Television Shows that Allow Kids to Experience History

I shared before ways that our family brings history to life with our children.  We love to experience history through hands-on experiences, field trips, and co-ops. However, often times there is not a feasible way to accomplish this. When this is the case, we turn to television to bring history to life. Here are four great television shows that have helped our children experience history.

Experience Historyphoto credit: Funky64 (www.lucarossato.com) via photopin cc

Liberty’s Kids: This show is fantastic, really! My girls have learned so much through this show. It takes your children to the time period of the Revolutionary War. While watching it they will meet people from history like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Phyllis Wheatley and more. They will also be taken back into time and experience the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill, The First Independence Day, and many other occurrences during that time period.

Dear America: These videos are based on the Scholastic books and tell the fictional stories of girls living during various time periods in American History. The stories are told as if the girls were writing in their diaries about their experiences. Some of the time periods addressed include sailing on the Mayflower, the Mexican American War, and the Civil Rights Movement.

How The States Got Their Shapes:  My husband and I enjoy watching this show with our kids. It takes you through our country state by state. You learn interesting facts about each state and its borders in a fun way. It is a fun way to learn geography and state history at the same time!

Learn Our History: These DVDs were created by Mike Huckabee and take students back in time to see U. S. History in the making. There are 35 DVDs in the series and they include the Mayflower, World War II, The Cold War, Election Day information, Civil Rights, and many more great videos!

{I have watched many episodes from each of these shows, but use your own discretion when viewing with your children.}

What shows would you recommend to help children experience history?

 

Misty (9 Posts)

Misty Bailey is a wife to Roger and a homeschool mom to three beautiful blessings. She resides with her family in Southern Ohio. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a free Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.


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