Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our 1 room home school at Maple Valley Farm...

Photo credit is a google image old postcard 

written in 2007 by HomemakerAng but it still holds true today - please do not use without permission

**LENGTHY but worth the read**

We use an eclectic learning method for our schooling here. I believe “school” starts the day a baby is born and it begins from the time children awake until their eyes close on the pillow at night. I believe children learn best in a free setting with some boundaries to peak their interest. Children today lack many life skills to live and lead a self-suffcient, productive, responsible and rewarding life. We start early, teaching life skills in our home. Children of all ages pitch in to help around the house with a variety of chores. From changing bedding to milking the goat, a child, whether boy or girl, should know a good amount of the basics of running a home by age 10. Learning is “caught” best when experienced firsthand in the trenches. It’s one thing to sit and watch someone teach you how to fold laundry or bake cookies, it’s an entire different experience when we are involved in the task and learn hands on, touching, feeling and experiencing the project.

We are doing our children a disservice when we do not allow them to fail at projects or chores around the house. We are dishonoring them when we do everything for them and not teach them how to do things. Children feel such a sense of accomplishment when they grasp and perfect a chore and they realize what a worthwhile contribution to the home they really are. Children feel important and therefore, respect the place they have put so much “spit-shine” into. They realize they are an important part of a bigger picture and that their home cannot function properly without them. Children will respect their surroundings that they have contributed to. If you see or find a child that is malicious or destructive of property they have not been taught the responsibility to properly care for their own property first; therefore they cannot and do not respect other’s property for they were not taught to be responsible for their own.

Daily, before we start our “table school time” we make sure the house is in some sort of order, not perfect, but orderly... Order in quiet, some sort of neatness to function at our full potential, a good protein breakfast for concentration, a short devotion to start us off on the right foot with some prayer and a mother who sits with the children to show that this time is a disciplined part of our day to stay focused and complete our table studies. Children do not function well in chaos. Phones should be turned off for the answering machine to pick up while we are focusing on our work. Children need mom to be focused on the learning time too. Without a sense of structure children can be easily distracted and many small uproars can happen if discipline is not accomplished, then real learning does not take place.

When learning about a certain subject or time period, we do our best to discover it hands on. Whether making tapioca pudding from the cassava root to learn better about the ancient civilization of the Olmec Indian tribe, or visting a local museum to enhance our local history project or a specific time period, children remember things more accurately when they experience it first-hand. It’s a lot more fun this way too!

We use a variety of “real” books for teaching. A lot of time is spent reading aloud to the children so that we may stop and discuss the subjects. We read a book specifically for that time period to learn history. We do not subscribe to the textbook theory of teaching. Text books water down real history and leave out a majority of important details of what really happened during a specific time period and to whom it happened to. We try to experience some real culture of the time period we are studying. For example, while studying Rome it is much more exciting when you add some 1,500 year old Roman coins to clean and chip away the dirt and see what Roman time period they were from.

A very important part of our day is having outdoor “play” time. Children these days do not seem to embrace outside play and fresh air much. I don't believe children are encouraged to play outside either. Many children sit in front of video games, computers or TV for quite some time and while doing this they never learn how to be creative and explore who they really are. While outside in the sun and fresh air, left without technologic vices, a stick can become a great friend to walk with and find nature. New games (homemade)can be discovered as no limits are placed by a “level”. We all need a place to find our creativity. I find we usually can discover more of our own creativity while taking a walk in nature and experiencing God’s creativity first hand. Making a camp outside is the most important “school” a child could ever experience. I find when children are not overindulged with technology they actually become more creative as they go back to the basics of learning what real play is and that is when their real creative juices start flowing. What good can a video game bring out in a child? What good things will come out of a child that built a fort in the woods and set up a trading post of objects they have created out of nature’s free gifts…?

During different times of the year or various travels throughout the U.S. we use nature notebooks to record our findings from the outdoors. These notebooks are treasures to us as we look back year after year to see what we have recorded. This time usually sparks conversations of “remember when we were on that one nature walk eating under the big oak tree and we saw a _________?” When I hear that dialogue beginning I cannot help but grin and know, “they really got it that time”…

We use some workbooks to enhance our skills in phonics and math. We start grammar in 7th grade. When a child is ready to grasp a subject you would be surprised at how quickly they pick it up. Rather than making a certain subject a frustrating experience, just for the sake of filling in a subject criteria at a certain age, it seems best to wait until a child can understand and retain a good portion of what they are trying to learn about.

Everything that I have written above could never be accomplished without committing my day to the Lord and remembering the real reason I am home teaching. That reason being: To equip my children with a love for Jesus that is more than a Christian-world view of life, but a personal relationship with Him. I think this would be hard, if not impossible for me if my children where in the main stream. If I did all of the above and at the end of the day did not teach my children about loving one another, respecting others, giving their hearts to Jesus, my home teaching would all be in vain… I am not raising, training or teaching my children to be great in the world’s eyes but raising them up to understand what true amplitude in God’s eyes really is. We are playing by a different set of rules than the world; we have the most important rule book as our guide, God’s word. We will make mistakes along the way, we have already. Teaching our children the beauty of forgiveness is one way for them to see how much God has forgiven us. By the grace of God, He will forgive us, He already has… I could do nothing without Him!

Angela Kuncaitis copyrights 2007-2099 


Anonymous said...

Beautiful Post! So many truths of the way life was meant to be...
~~Peace & Love & Joy & Blessings~~

Anonymous said...

loved this post! my sentiments exactly! i often wonder what the neighbors think when they hear my kids whooping it up on the trampoline at 10 in the morning lol
but like you said...... :)

all photos and writing on this blog ©Copyright Maple Valley Farms 2008-2011