We are coming up on a new school year and I can honestly say I am looking forward to it! Not for the reasons you might think. We are homeschoolers (here is why we started homeschooling). I don’t have that day when I send my boys off to school and then get accomplish a huge list of to do’s. I am actually furiously trying to get my to do list done, before school starts. There are many reasons I am excited! I am excited for the beginning of a new adventure and a new focus. We have so many new things to learn and I am looking forward to 1 on 1 time with my boys! Another plus is the sun is beginning to set earlier, and bedtime is starting to happen at a decent hour. (YAY!!!!)
I want to share a very important tip that I have discovered in my last 2 years of homeschooling my boys. Before I homeschooled I cleaned, I cooked and I chauffeured (the 3 C’s). I don’t feel like I really knew my kids and their strengths and weakness. I knew very little of what they were ACTUALLY learning in school and how they learned best. Homeschooling has completely changed my outlook toward life, toward my children and towards myself as mother.
One thing I have discovered with my boys is that they learn best by DOING! It’s actually fascinating to watch. When I take the time to have my boys do something active while they are learning, they retain so much more information.
Here is an example:
My boys and I had been going over a spelling list by writing and repeating the words out loud. We were in our “school room” sitting at a desk. Each day we would pull them out, but each day was a struggle to remember the words we went over the previous day. It was frustrating for both of us. I began pondering and praying about this and had some ideas come to my mind.
The next day, I had my boys go grab their bikes and told them to meet me outside. I began by having them spell a word until they got it right. They were then able to take their bike and go off of a jump down our driveway and ride back ready for their next word. The result was AMAZING! The next day, they spelled almost every word correct, all by just adding physical activity to their learning.
I recently read a fascinating book called, BOYS ADRIFT. It focuses on “5 factors driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men.” The first factor this book discusses for this growing epidemic is changes at school and teaching methods. Schools now a days are not tailored for boys. We all know boys and girls are different, and it has been proven that the brains of young boys are different than that of young girls.
One fascinating thing I found in this book that I never really thought about is that there are 2 definitions for the word knowledge. Here is an excerpt from this book to explain this,
In English, the verb to know can have two very different meanings, reflecting two different kinds of knowledge. Consider these two sentences:
I know Sarah
I know pediatrics
We English speakers use the same word, know, in both sentences. As a result, English speakers may not fully appreciate just how different these two meanings are.
One type of knowledge is the sense of book learning and the other is the sense of experimental learning. Both are equally important! Did you know that most European languages use two different words for these two kinds of knowledge?
In German, knowledge about a person or place that you have actually experienced is called Kenntnis, while knowledge learned from books is Wissenschaft. To develop a love of learning and passion for life, it is so important to have balance in these 2 different types of knowledge. Unfortunately, American schools have lost a lot of the Kenntnis and focus too much on Wissenschaft. Field trips occur less and less, and recess is shortened.
As we have began our homeschooling journey I have found this to be very important. I have seen first hand the benefits of each type of knowledge. I have one son who is always standing. He stands while he eats and stands while he is writing. It drives me crazy, but since reading this book it has helped me understand just how differently boys are wired. I am slowly learning that going slower and keeping my boys active and loving to learn is SOOOOO much more important than getting through the curriculum as fast as we can!
For boys, in particular, emphasizing Wissenschaft while ignoring Kenntnis may seriously impair development — not cognitive development, but the development of a lively and passionate curiosity.
My goal is to teach my boys to love to learn! I want them to understand who they are and their potential. I want them to always be curious about the the world around them. God has blessed us with so much, and I want them to appreciate the blessing to live in such a day with endless amount of knowledge right at our fingertips. I want them to be leaders and contributors in their community.
I have come to see how many kids don’t like school and it is hard to see. If you homeschool, I am going to be posting many of the different activities we use while learning. Many of the activities my boys have created! Even if you don’t homeschool, you can use these activities for homework. You can be involved in your child’s class and share with your child’s teacher how important it is for both kinds of knowledge. To learn more in depth of why boys are becoming more and more unmotivated I strongly suggest reading Boys Adrift! It is a great read!
What have you found that has helped your kids learn better??