Monday, January 12, 2009

Stealth education

Much of my time in public schools was boring. Hour after hour was spent listening to teachers talk, and talk, and talk. Some times the lectures were a bit interesting and even entertaining. If the subject was one I wasn't interested in, more often the lectures were boring.

Our society seems to have an attitude that education must be boring. One of the criticisms by the "professionals" is that if we don't have lesson plans our children can't be learning. Many politicians and public school officials want homeschoolers to replicate school at home.

The fallacy with this approach is that we can learn outside the classroom environment. Learning can be fun. This was driven home last week.

My mother came over Thursday to play with her grand children while I was at work and Janine was with Baby Bop. My mother and my youngest daughter played Take Off! My mother later raved about how much geography was taught.

I've played the game dozens of times with my daughters. It is a simple race around the world. You move your jets from one country to another. If you roll the right dice you can race ahead. But if you draw the wrong card you can be set back pretty dramatically.

At eight-years-old my daughter doesn't know all the countries in the world, but she has a sense of where twenty to thirty of them are located. When some country is mentioned we can always put it in relation to countries she knows.

Homeschooling is more than merely putting some books in front of a child and asking them to learn. It is an attitude that learning can be fun, as well as educational.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Kim said...

I think it's great to have fun games to take the drudgery out of almost pure memorization topics like georgraphy. I do not think that necessarily applies to science, history, literature, or math concepts. It seems those subjects need to be taught conceptually, which means that we need to walk the kids through understanding by presenting ideas that are lower level to higher level and help them draw the connections.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with Kim: I think that it's possible to find a "higher level" piece of something in a game, movie, conversation, etc. and then fit it into the whole picture oneself at a later date. I don't think "subjects" go from low to high: I think they're more like mazes or circles or cornfields. Just my humble opinion.