(Farm foreclosure circa 1933)
A large part of the homeschooling mentality and lifestyle is to be constantly aware of real life happenings and events that we can use to immerse our children in a real-life learning atmosphere.
This enhances understanding so that children can relate. This sparks connections that ignites their curiosity. This provokes emotions that builds their sensitivity. This requires participation that activates all five of their senses rather than passive lecturing that reaches only their ears.
I think...and I might be wrong...that I'm best at teaching in this style. My Mosaic series gives you an idea of how I teach. I love books and I love to read, but I don't teach strictly from the book because not all children learn from the book. The book serves as our capsule and, in my case, as my trolling motor. Nothing more.
And I share this after years of homeschooling my own children and teaching various co-op classes as well as teaching a 4th grade CCD class. Seems when I start to read to a class, it dulls them. Somehow. Someway. Truthfully.
I've learned in my Louisiana History class (30 junior high/high school students when everone is present), that my class responds best when I jump into the book at home but fly out of the book in the classroom.
(Photo: Russell Lee 1939 Migrant Camp)
I can sit on the sofa with my children and read and they love it. They love it because they have mommy's attention. They love it because they can feel the warmth of my arm and entertain themselves with popping the veins on my hands. They love it because my voice is the same one they've heard from the womb and from their early years. They love it because this is what mothers are suppose to be: fully present, fully physical, fully comforting, fully there.
This is time always welcome and always well invested.
But, if I want my children and/or my classes to learn the material well, I have to take an opportunist approach towards educating them.
(Okies on Route 66 circa 1935)
First I have to load up my old jalopy with lots of books to read, then get a highlighter on the map to plan my route, then tank up with whatever fuel I can find that will get us to where I want us to go. I must know the book information then make it interesting enough that the child wants to pick-up the book and learn it with me.
This week my children will do their regular Seton and CHC workbooks, work on their Teaching Textbooks math programs, and observe their regular reading assignments. This is my "panhandler" style of teaching for when we have too many outside activities, too much housecleaning, and too much family drama.
It's my lame way of making sure their education is duly accounted for and recorded...even if it's in the dullest sense of the word. It gets the egg into the frying pan but that's about it.
The opportunist approach---on the other side of the desk---fries the egg, butters the toast, brings home the bacon and presents it to the child on a pretty plate in an appetizing manner.
This week I will be
having fun cooking breakfast prepping a teacher's in-service for a real life learning experience of The Great Depression
(Photo: Dorothea Lange 1935; Resettled Farm Child)
I will be using our very real life situation with the current economy as the blackboard to immerse my children in history---both past and present. My planning will engage them and make them aware of what our nation is facing...today.
I am taking advantage of this time in our lives to make, not a depressing or worrisome time and certainly not a nostalgic view of the past but, an opportunist approach to teach a very real current situation to my 21st century children who would otherwise consider the Great Depression to be as dead as the dinosaurs.
I will load up the old jalopy:
- pull out the American Girls Kit book series,
- watch the American Girls Kit DVD,
- read Depression-themed picture books (those of you with my book A Picture Perfect Childhood will find a listing already in there),
- inspect this new site that is cooking up lots of interest nationwide: Depression Cooking with Clara ,
- follow Clara's blog and these news reels,
- watch her Depression Cooking on YouTube and, for sure, try out some of these "cooking on less than 50 cents" meals,
- get with our own MawMaw Red, who was born in 1924, and record some of her personal Depression memories, insights, and, perhaps even, a few Depression-Cajun recipes,
- get with Opa who was born in 1931 and see what life was like as a young boy growing up in the 30's,
- Pick-up our nature notebooks for spring and begin recording the new plant life that is springing up so richly in our new vegetable garden. That's one kind of green that you can only use if you have it. You can't borrow it, print it, or recycle it. You have what you have and no more, no less.
And when my children and I get back from Nationals we will take the last few weeks of Lent to experience the Great Depression...while praying for all those affected by it.
If anyone has some interesting books, artwork, movies, or websites; please share them in the comment's section. The children and I would love to add them to our study.