Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quote about Learning & Hands-on Homeschooling

"Education which is simply intellectual taxidermy -
 the scooping out of the mind and the stuffing in of facts - 
that kind of education is worthless. 
 The human mind is not a deep freeze for storage; 
the human mind is a forge for production."
~ Rabbi Benzion C. Kaganoff

I read this quote in a recent homeschool newsletter that I received. It was part of an article about alternative ways of learning (versus workbooks and memorizing facts); and how the opportunity to do hands-on, multi-sensory, interactive learning can be one of the many benefits of homeschooling.

Olivia Making Swedish Rolls
Olivia making Swedish rolls when studying about Sweden.
(This was taken in 2008 when Olivia was 5 years old.)

Fostering a love for learning and discovery is something that I’ve aimed to do for the seven years that I have been homeschooling. Some of the most memorable, fun – yet educational – activities were ones in which Sophia and Olivia had the opportunity to use a variety of their senses and actively do something. This type of education helped reinforce what they were learning,

Sophia Sewing a Rebozo
Sophia sewing a rebozo. 
This was part of a unit study using Josephina (one of the American Girl dolls). 
 The study included learning about New Mexico, Mexico, 
hispanic culture and arts, Native Americans who live in the SW U.S., 
Native American art and culture, cooking, music, 
deserts (animals, cacti), goats, clothing, and history.
(This was taken in 2008 when Sophia was 7 years old.)

As Nancy Manos, the author of the article I read, said, “There are no limits to what a child can become or achieve in this kind of environment. We can avoid the trap of being consumed with ‘doing school’ and instead focus on developing the love of learning in our children by incorporating hands-on learning in our daily home education enterprise.”

Sophia and Hannah Measuring a Worm
Sophia and a friend measuring an earthworm. 
They found some worms while in the garden and 
wanted to learn more about them. 
Notice the encyclopedia opened on the left side of the picture.
(This was taken in 2008 when Sophia was 7 years old.)

Ms. Manos stressed making learning multi-sensory. As she said, “We were created to experience the world around us through our senses. Look for ways to incorporate the five senses—touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight—whenever possible.”

Making a Circuit
Olivia showing a circuit she made.
She was thrilled when the circuit worked and
the light bulb turned on.
(This was taken in 2010 when Olivia was 7 years old.)

Incorporating hands-on learning activities into homeschooling ensures that Sophia and Olivia not only enjoy learning, but it gives them a deeper, broader understanding of the topics they are studying.

Nice and Comfortable Doing Homeschooling
The girls reading outdoors.
(This was taken in 2010 when the girls were 7 and 9 years old.)

As Ms. Manos states, “The act of reading a chapter and answering questions, for most children, is like being dipped in the information and then quickly removed. Minimal saturation occurs. If they read it, talk about it, re-tell it, paint illustrations of it, play a game about it, taste it, hear music associated with it, and demonstrate how it works, that knowledge becomes part of their being—useable and alive.”

Girls Fish Painting
Sophia and Olivia doing fish painting as part of a nature program at a state park.
The focus was on learning about Minnesota fish.
(This was taken in 2012 when the girls were 9 and 11 years old.)

There are many ideas for making learning more engaging and hands-on here: .

Measuring a Smaller Pine Tree
The girls measuring a pine tree.
(This was taken in 2011 when they were 8 and 10 years old.)

As I begin planning for the upcoming school year, I’m going to use the list of ideas to hopefully create even more active, meaningful, and memorable learning experiences for Sophia and Olivia.

1 comment:

Charlotte Mason in the City said...

Yes, an advantage of homeschooling (among many!) is that we can use all our senses as we learn. You photos make me want to work on a project today with the kids - thanks for the nudge!