Purpose of education II

Recently, I read a book on writing fiction just after watching curriculum discussions on an email list.  As I read the author’s opinion on plotting, I made a connection to curriculum and to “education” in general: “You can package plot any number of ways, and the way you package it decides what number [of plots] you’ll end up with.  There is no magic number, one or one million.  … any enterprising person can find more, or find another way to package the concept and come out with a different number.”

That’s what I’ve been seeing on those email lists, I thought, a million ways of packaging.

No matter where we go, “education” is on people’s minds. You can’t get away from it. New homeschooling parents work to find the “best” program, while veteran homeschooling parents assemble next year’s schedule. Seriously-independent homeschooling parents keep a weather eye on government plans for “core” standards, while newspaper reporters and columnists write about test scores and their meaning, and the mystery of mastery.  We hear about meeting benchmarks, raising bars, and holding students and teachers accountable as politicians make their fingers wag.

But, in all those educational haystacks where is the needle we all worry about?  In my light-bulb moment while reading about plot, I scribbled a list of what I think “education” means in relation to teaching children.

Read full article here.

Copyright 2010, Valerie Bonham Moon

Military homeschooling in Europe

I originally wrote the following booklet in 1996 to answer questions about homeschooling, and about homeschooling in the milieu of the overseas American Army in Europe, also known as USAREUR (United States Army Europe).  Many people, command staff as well as family members and sponsors, often did not have the time or the deep interest to delve deeply into just how homeschooling fit into the educational picture for children whose parents were assigned to a military unit in USAREUR.

Some of the specific references in the booklet are obsolete, rewritten or canceled, but the general structure remains the same.

This was my first book(let).  I still like it a lot, but I’d use more commas now.

Copyright 1996, 2010 Valerie Bonham Moon

Finding curriculum

One of the first questions parents new to homeschooling ask is about curriculum.  They want to know which one is best, and if there is no ‘best’ curriculum, what then?

The topic of curriculum often depends on the purpose the parent sees in education.  That purpose may range from ensuring my child has good job opportunities as an adult, to transmission of culture or religion, to my own preference for giving my children well-furnished minds that are pleasant places to live.

For the purpose of this post, though, I’ll cut to the chase:  Where do I find curriculum?

Homeschooling Over the Holidays

Homeschooling Over the Holidays  (as in the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year)

Whatever your cultural background, each year contains holidays, some longer, some shorter, some with lots of work, some with less work.[1], [2], [3], [4] And, as usual with the more complicated holidays, the kids are excited and Mom’s nerves are frayed (because Mom is usually the Holiday Fairy who makes it happen, and Mom is only one person, and if anyone else asks her how many more days there are until the Holiday – not nearly enough – she is just going to cancel the whole thing). There is too much to do and, with homeschooling, no getting away from the kids to have enough quiet time to either sort things out, or do whatever it is that needs doing. How do veteran homeschoolers concentrate on lessons while the clock is ticking and the children are licking (the beaters)?   In busy years, thoughts may arise such as,

  • “Maybe I’m not cut out to be a homeschooler?”
  • “Do any schools that take enrollments only between the end of November and the beginning of January?”
  • “What about a boarding school?”

Many homeschooling parents (who want to remain homeschooling parents) amend their schedules when seasonal demands increase. If scheduled lessons are a feature of homeschooling life then Mom decreases the lessons or puts them on hold. Shifting the family curriculum to ‘Seasonal Independent Living’ or ‘Home Ec for the Holidays’ can take the pressure off. Even at the high school level, there is no universal law that says, “It is hereby mandated by the Great State of Confusion that each and every homeschooling day will consist of each and every subject being studied.”  To keep burnout at bay during The Holidays, you can shift focus and zero in on Home Ec and Art with perhaps Religion and Community Service time increasing as well.

Home Ec:  Cleaning the halls

In a homeschooling family, Mom does not have to be the only Holiday Fairy making the magic happen. From laundering that special tablecloth, to putting away the extra groceries, to cooking special treats, the children can lend a hand.  The children’s increased holiday energy can be channeled into chores that may not be done as often as you would like:

  • vacuuming every corner of the house (if only in your dreams)
  • rearranging the furniture to accommodate card tables and chairs for guests
  • getting one of those nifty fuzzy duster gizmos and at least getting all the obvious dust removed, even if the furniture polishing doesn’t quite get finished
  • raking leaves before the first snowstorm arrives (if you’re in a temperate area)
  • cutting the grass (if you’re in a semi-tropical area)
  • tidying wood chips where the lawn would (if you’re in a Pacific-northwest maritime area)
  • sweeping the sand off the sidewalk and back into the ‘lawn’ (if you are in the Southwest).

Home Ec is as important as learning math, handwriting or pronouns — no one lives at a school with house elves.  Some children may stay at school if their parents can afford boarding school or they stay in dorms later on in college, but still no one lives-lives there unlike the Home that where, if you show up, they have to take you in — and a home must be maintained.[5]

Home Ec:  Decking the Halls

Decorating for complicated holidays is probably fun the first ten times you do it on your own, but after that it is not quite the thrill that, when we were children, we imagined it would always be.  One way to ease the job is to employ the children in the hall decking adventure.  Crafts that add to the holiday fun, but yet are kid friendly might be:

  • making paper snowflakes[6]
  • popcorn strings[7]
  • popcorn and cranberry strings
  • a card star from old greeting cards[8]
  • a string of brown paper bag gingerbread people
  • folded or cut German paper stars[9], [10], [11], [12]
  • home made candles [13]

Take your time over the holidays and make your home. Repeat the traditions of your own childhood and your husband’s and tell the children stories from when you were little. Make decorations that are kid-friendly.

Art:  Useful crafts

Many families send winter holiday cards and like doing so because, especially in the military, it is nice to stay in touch with old friends who are far away by sending them a special card. Special paper and Italic calligraphy (learned from the Getty-Dubay handwriting books[14])  make charming greeting cards. A more involved family project is extra-special cards for close friends or relatives using the instructions from books specializing in pop-ups[15].

Art:  A flair for the dramatic

The Holidays are a time of rich dramatic offering.  Many group stage special holiday performances tailored to the seasonal theme and attending a production counts as time for subject areas such as literature, drama or religion.  If the performance is culturally different from your own cultural outlook, you can enter the time under social studies.

Community Service:  Volunteering

On military installations, the entire community is often involved in various holiday celebrations. These activities can be good learning experiences outside the family circle. Chapels have an extended schedule of services or provide seasonal programs. Community theaters and choral groups produce holiday programs. Teens, who are collecting specific credits for high school graduation, might include:

  • ‘Office experience’ for collating and folding bulletins (and the attendant chore of keeping them in a useful place where others can find them later)
  • ‘drama’ for a holiday pageant
  • ‘literature’ for participating in special readings
  • ‘music’ for choral presentations
  • ‘religion’ for in-depth  research of traditions

Military installations may have food pantries for families who cannot afford all the Holiday trimmings, or may conduct clothing drives. These activities take the focus away from the commercial side of major American holidays and provide more memories than just the ‘what I got’ variety.

Social Studies:  Holiday differences overseas

Cultural differences between the U.S. and the host nation can provide learning opportunities. How, if it is a part of the culture, does the host nation celebrate the winter holiday? What are the differences between how the host nation celebrates and how the children remember celebrating in the United States?

Children can make unique souvenirs of the overseas tour with illustrated and captioned booklets of the differences they see and/or how your family celebrates. Small booklets are easily made with rubber cement, cereal box cardboard, scraps of fabric and manila paper, or typing paper that has been folded in half and sewn into a ‘signature.’[16]

Math:  Budgeting and baking

If gifts are a part of your holiday celebration, the children can practice their money math skills through buying gifts for the family.  Children use basic math skills if they have a specific amount of money already saved throughout the year (perhaps a dollar per week for the younger children, and more for older children), and then must divide the total either among the immediate family, or for extended family members if that is your practice.  Dividing a limited amount of money for the purchases of multiple people, and perhaps the gift wrapping materials, is a primary lesson in budgeting.

Holiday baking also provides math practice with the usual half cups of this, three-quarter teaspoons of that, and either halving or doubling recipes.  The children can confirm their pencil and paper exercises for increasing or decreasing recipes with actual measurements.

History:  Why do we do what we do?

Holiday observances did not spring out of nowhere.  Someone, at some point, found relevance in choosing to include a certain decoration, cook a specific food, or follow a particular schedule.  What was the relevance?  Does it still apply?  If not, why not?  Children can complete a unit study on the cultural significance of the holiday celebrated by the family.

Life isn’t all academics. Life is about relationships, discovery, harmony and love. So recapture the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day by taking time to relate to your family. Discover the tender joy of being in harmony with the natural rhythms of family life.


[1] Muslim Families Activities
http://ourseeds.tripod.com/activities.html

[2] Christmas lesson ideas, A to Z’s Home’s Cool
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/120998.htm

[3] Naaseh Venilmad
http://naasehvenilmad.blogspot.com/

[4] Pagan homeschooling, A to Z Home’s Cool
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/religion/pagan.htm

[5] Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House

[6] Easy-to-Make Decorative Paper Snowflakes
http://store.doverpublications.com/0486254089.html

[7] How to string popcorn  (includes warning about pets trying to eat the popcorn while it is on the tree)
http://www.wikihow.com/String-Popcorn-on-a-Christmas-Tree

[8] How to make a Christmas card star
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Christmas-Card-Star

[9] How to make stars
http://www.howtomakestars.com/instructions.html

[10] Froebel star
http://www.howtomakestars.com/instructions.html

[11] 3-D stars
http://highhopes.com/3dstar.html

[12] Paper stars (German language; included for illustrations of colored stars)
http://www.blinde-kuh.de/weihnachten/basteleien/sterne/

[13] Beeswax rolled candles
http://www.magiccabin.com/magiccabin/product.do?section_id=0&bc=1004&pgc=200

[14] Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting instruction books

Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting

Italic Handwriting Series Book A

Italic Handwriting Series Book B

Italic Handwriting Series Book C

Italic Handwriting Series Book D

Italic Handwriting Series Book E

[15] “Joan Irvine: the Pop-up Lady” http://makersgallery.com/joanirvine/

[16] Bookbinding 101:  Your first book
http://www.diyplanner.com/node/442

Homeschooling styles and methods: Waldorf schooling

Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and founder of the “science of the spirit,” to which he gave the name Anthroposophy, also developed a school for the children of the workers of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette company in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919 [1].   The name of the cigarette company gave its name to Steiner’s style of schooling.

For young children Waldorf schooling emphasizes art, music, handicrafts and physical movement (Eurythmy). The schooling philosophy divides children’s developmental ages into three stages of about seven years each: birth to change of teeth, change of teeth to puberty, and adolescence.  Waldorf schools teach from an Anthroposophist viewpoint, a viewpoint that has its critics, but the homeschooling parent, as always, can choose only those aspects that best fit her talents, philosophy and disposition.[2]

A distinctive aspect of Waldorf schooling is an emphasis on the children making their own books rather than reading only from textbooks. These books can be handmade using Manila paper, cloth, glue and cardboard, or the book can be an art sketchbook from the store. Either way, they are individualized records of the child’s interests and work and make excellent ‘souvenirs’ of the homeschooling adventure.

Links:


[1] Soul Economy:  Body, Soul and Spirit in Waldorf Education, Rudolf Steiner, 1977, 2003
http://books.google.com/books?id=NVG7-E6uT3gC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA9,M1

[2] Foreword, R.A. Jarman, The spiritual basis of Steiner education, Roy Wilkinson, 1996
http://books.google.com/books?id=WpjLkeNwtGsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA9,M1

.

Copyright 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

Homeschooling styles and methods: unschooling

John Holt[1] was the first writer to use the existing word, “unschooled.” Holt used the word to mean children who learned outside of school, instead of the word’s meaning of people who have never been to school.

Holt was an elementary schoolteacher before he wrote his first book, How Children Fail.[2], [3] During his teaching years, Holt found flaws in classroom style instruction and worked to reform public schools, going so far as to propose an underground railroad to help children escape from the effects of compulsory schooling laws.[4] After he discovered homeschooling, Holt changed his focus from school reform and started the magazine Growing Without Schooling [5]. He initially used the term ‘unschooling’ as a synonym for homeschooling but the word has come to mean a separate form of self-directed learning.  This use of ‘unschooling’ contrasts with the various styles of school-at-home teaching that usually characterize homeschooling.

Like homeschooling, unschooling has also experienced a fractalization similar to that in homeschooling:  the greater the number of people who participate, the greater the number of styles that develop.

Perhaps the ‘eclectic’ style of homeschooling could be thought of as a middle-of-the-homeschooling-road style of unschooling:  no set curriculum, no set list of materials, and no set style of learning.  Eclectic homeschooling though, can still include formal lessons (depending on what each family chooses), so it could probably be categorized more as possibly ‘unschoolish’ than actual ‘unschooling.’

The practice of unschooling is raising children with parental encouragement, conversation and support.  An everyday example of the unschool style is the time of life of small stay-at-home-children between birth and whatever point they are assumed to be educable and are sent off to school.

At the far end of unschooling lies ‘radical unschooling.’  Radical unschooling does not mean unschooling by politically radical parents, although that would not be surprising.  Radical unschooling is allowing children to grow up ‘just living’ and making their own decisions about many aspects of life usually controlled by parents, such as mealtimes or bedtimes.[6]

Regardless of whether a family’s unschooling style is more eclectic or more radical, the intent of unschooling is not to ignore the children and allow them to age without direction.  The intent of unschooling is attentive, engaged parenting that supports the children in their interests and activities:  life as learning, rather than learning separated from living.[7]

Link:

Interview with Canadian publisher, Wendy Priesnitz


[1] John Holt http://www.holtgws.com/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Children_Fail

[3] Google Books version http://books.google.com/books?id=n43EjP2iLGgC&dq=how+children+fail&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=LhAoSsi_KNXelQfw7qjmBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

[4] John Holt and the origins of contemporary homeschooling, Patrick Farenga, 1999
http://www.pathsoflearning.org/Paths01-Farenga.pdf

[5] Growing Without Schooling http://www.holtgws.com/gws

[6] “Is there a difference between a Radical Unschooler and just an Unschooler?”
http://sandradodd.com/unschool/radical

[7] Wikipedia article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling

Copyright 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

Homeschooling Styles and Methods: Unit study

What are unit studies?

Homeschoolers usually think of the unit study method as a group of lessons that use a variety of approaches.  These approaches can work together to focus on a smaller part of a larger subject (perhaps a multi-media report on the “Lost Battalion” of WWI[1]), or may spread out to look at many aspects of a single subject (George Washington’s political path plus the kind of house he lived in, what he ate, the popular music of the time, etc.).  All the children in a family can take part with each one working at his or her level.  Unit studies can be the main style of the family’s homeschooling (as with the Konos[2] program), a part of each new subject, or a special treat.

Parents can allow the unit study to be as wide or narrow as they or their children wish.  Parents can set aside an amount of time for the project – usually a week or two – or they may allow it to continue until the kids run out of steam.  As with any homeschooling method, no single unit study style is t.h.e. official way of spending time with any material.

The goals people have for a unit study are as varied as there are people using the style.  Pieces of music have different aims; few trendy dance club managers invite polka disc jockeys to perform, even though composers of polka and techno music may all mean to get people dancing.  Likewise, painting the nursery walls using Jackson Pollock’s style could be a workable way to camouflage dirt in a toddler’s room, but most parents prefer room decorations with more structure, such as blocks of color arranged in a design, or nursery pictures.  In the same way, the result of a unit study could be anything from journal entries tracking the study, a completed Lap Book®[3], [4] or a 4H project or Scout badge.

Commercial unit study programs often work ‘across the curriculum.’  A ‘store bought’ program may include writing assignments for English, worksheet activities for handwriting, illustrations for art, physical information for science, and different levels of information for working with children of different ages.

As with most things, people of different levels of creativity and skill put together commercial unit study programs.  Some programs are original, but some are plagiarized information from books whose copyrights have expired and are now in the public domain.  This is a problem within the commercial sphere of homeschooling, not just unit studies. The practice of ‘buyer be aware’ coupled with making only a small first-time purchase after asking around may keep any poor choices, such as ‘unit studies’ that are little more than elaborate worksheet exercises that children paste onto construction paper, from knocking a big hole in a budget or ruining a long stretch of school year as the shortcomings show up.

Where do I find unit study materials?

For homemade unit studies, idea starters might be:

  • the calendar, for notable days, holidays or the birthdays of famous people[5]
  • a history book for pinpointing ‘little known facts’ that hide behind the larger events of history
  • a science project book, for interesting experiments that can be researched as to whether the experiment was famous or significant, such as Galileo’s insight into freely falling bodies
  • children’s interests

Parents can think of any focused area of study as a unit study.

Parents who prefer prepared programs can find unit study suppliers using a search engine.


[1] Blood in the Argonne:  The “Lost Battalion” of WWI, April 2006 review in The Journal of Military History
http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_military_history/v070/70.2yockelson.html

[2] Konos program http://www.konos.com/index.html

[3] Lap book trademark  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lap_book

[4] “Winter Vacation Book”
http://ourlapbooks.blogspot.com/2008/01/winter-vacation-book.html

[5] “A Birthday a Day,” Rebecca Rupp, Sep/Oct 1997,  Home Education Magazine
http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/HEM145.97/145.97_clmn_gs.html



Copyright 2006, 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

Homeschooling Styles and Methods: Umbrella schools

What is an umbrella school?

An umbrella school is a type of home education support with which parents can register/enroll the children so that the school keeps a record of the children’s progress for the family.

“Umbrella schools” also overlap with correspondence schools, and distance-learning providers.  Any of these providers may use scripted lessons, tests and a log of daily reports, or may just give an outline of recommended studies, but let the families choose how the children will complete their studies, and if that work was satisfactory.  The common function among all the services is record keeping.

Are umbrella schools a homeschooling requirement?

No, although the church school requirement in Alabama[1] comes close.  Umbrella schools are a service available to homeschooling parents.  Fees, the services from the school, and the requirements of the families vary among the providers.

Umbrella schools are useful if you live in a state with cumbersome requirements although Pennsylvania takes exception to the practice.[2]

How do umbrella schools work?

Some schools provide books and workbooks; others let the family choose what to use for the children’s learning.  Usually the family provides agreed upon information so the school can construct records for the children:  hours of study/schoolwork, subjects, and perhaps evaluations.

Umbrella schools can also be a way of coping with a teen’s high school records for those of us who, in Cafi Cohen’s words, “. . . say, ‘I would rather walk ten miles in a snowstorm than write a transcript,’ and happily delegate the paperwork.”[3]


[1] The Code of Alabama 1975, Title 16, Chapter 28 School Attendance
http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeofAlabama/1975/128393.htm

See:  Definitions

[2] Pennsylvania legal attitude towards umbrella schools
http://web.archive.org/web/20031218061928/http://www.geocities.com/hardingpj/homeschoollawalternatives.html

[3] “Independent Study/Umbrella Schools.” Cafi Cohen’s Homeschool Teens and College
http://web.archive.org/web/20000826220008/http://www.homeschoolteenscollege.net/articles/article4.htm



Copyright 2006, 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

Homeschooling for continuity

Homeschooling for continuity

During a servicemember’s career, transfers between duty stations interfere in the schooling of his or her children if they are enrolled in public or private schools.  With home education, the children’s schooling is usually upset less by PCSes.  Although the total learning environment of homeschooled children changes after a PCS, just as it does for children enrolled in schools – the house is different, local ‘attractions’ change, the children are the new kids on the block – homeschooled children can pick up their studies more quickly than their schooled neighbors by continuing with their familiar books and methods of instruction.

‘Supporting children,’ in contrast to ‘Get used to it’

In the contexts of PCSing and schooling, military parents thinking about homeschooling may want to consider the different effects of continuing with the lessons the children already started, compared to the value of overcoming adversity.  Is it more important for children to have a stable learning continuum, or is the adjustment to a new learning environment the more part of coping with change?

Among the many outlooks that parents hold while their children are growing up may be either the choice of working to limit the stress of negative experiences, or the viewpoint that coddling children is counter-productive.  Some parents may work to minimize the ‘nails in the fence’[1] of childhood, while others believe that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

Years ago, I was in a passing-the-time kind of conversation that illustrates the difference of opinion.  When my children were infants and I changed their diapers on cold days, I’d sandwich a wet diaper wipe between my hands for a few moments to try to take away some of the room-temperature wet-chill before laying the wipe on the skin that was so recently damply warm under layers of diaper.  To me it was a kindness because I would not have enjoyed regular chillings.  Do unto others, and all that, although I did not formally state that during the mom-talk.  In the normal give and take of conversations, one of the other mothers replied, “I just slapped on the wipe.  Life’s tough, kid.  Get used to it.”  The mother was a nurse.  Her comment made me glad she had never been my nurse.

Military children and school adjustment

Children who move from school to school have the senior level ‘life’s tough’ lesson included in their unofficial course of study.  This applies whether the children’s parents are military, corporate, or just stricken with wanderlust.  Change is change regardless of why the change happens.

When I was in seventh grade, my Air Force dad transferred overseas, and the family went with him. My science class changed from featuring astronomy to a science class about vitamins.  Both subjects include interesting names – Betelgeuse and beri beri – but they hardly have much in common, other than both apparently being suitable for teaching to seventh graders.  I had to try to play catch-up in order to write a report on vitamins that the teacher had assigned to my new class.  Although the report was not a major trauma, maybe I earned a C on it?, the process did leave a recognizable memory with no warm or fuzzy overtones.  Time passed, I didn’t agonize about the report, about school, or about moving, but the experience roughly repeated itself three years later.  That time, my dad PCSed back to the States, and in my move from school to school, I found that writers of high school geometry texts did not all write the same way.  I went from a class using a book that had not yet presented theorems, to dropping into the middle a class whose students could already prove them.  I was lost. The rest of that year seemed to take longer than usual for me, and probably also for my geometry teacher.

The sum total of the geometry knowledge that stuck with me after the final exam is that, a triangle of three dots means “therefore,” and that A2 + B2 = C2.  The other important thing I learned from the vitamin episode is how to spell ‘pellagra.’  In personal comparative terms, geometry and vitamins are to PCSes, as dragons, and rain dripping off hoods, are to Bilbo, ponies and dwarves.

The Executive Summary of the 2001 Survey of Army Families IV[2] shows that these kinds of experiences still affect contemporary military children.

Q95. Spouses with high school-aged children who accompanied them on PCS moves reported their child(ren) experienced the following problems because of changing schools:

– Difficulty making social adjustments (make new friends, etc.) in the new school (44.0%)

– Timing of move had a negative effect on participation in school-sponsored activities  (29.1%)

– Fell behind in coursework because of moving (28.7%)

– Felt under-challenged because of quality of education at the new school (27.1%)

– Lost credit (no credit given) for a course completed (24.9%)

– Felt over-challenged because of quality of education at new school (17.1%)

– Lost credit because the course was not offered at the new school (and thus could not be completed) (15.1%)

This survey results show that, for some people, the effect of the ‘life’s tough, get used to it’ strategy can be setbacks that have a real effect other than just learning to cope.  Staying strong in the face of life’s problems can be admirable, but bouts of involuntary ‘catch up’ every two or three years can be trials for young people.

How does homeschooling smooth children’s paths?

Homeschooling is not a cure-all for the difficulties of PCSing with children.  The new kid situation attaches itself to a newcomer without regard to where, or even whether, you attend a group school, and homesickness may rise to the intensity of grief. Fitting in to a new community might go more smoothly if the new kid is not juggling neighborhood and school together, which might be why military parents often like moving over the summer.

For homeschooling families the benefits of homeschooling in relation to PCSing could be:

  • a flexible schedule for stopping or starting lessons so that the PCS interruption is not in the middle of a complicated piece of learning
  • less rush during travel in the hope of keeping ‘lost school days’ to a minimum
  • making the travel a part of the children’s studies with planned stops along the way (if Mom can get Dad to allow his foot to push on the brake pedal during the cross-country dash)
  • after they arrive at their new home, the children can keep learning the subjects ‘already in progress’ without the worry of missing an important part of the process
  • the children will keep learning using the methods and outlooks with which they are already familiar*

* Some education authorities are not in favor of homeschooling because of the lack they see in the variety of teachers and materials[3].  Even though learning about subjects from different viewpoints can broaden the mind, the time for changing viewpoints to show different perspectives is not in the middle of learning the first viewpoint.  I understand that the experts who object to homeschooling do not use moving from place to place as the way to provide the changes-in-viewpoint, but for military families the changes caused by moving are just part of the scenery that rolls by as one transfer succeeds another.  What can be helpful for some military children is more continuity in schooling to make up for the gaps caused by a nomadic type of life.

New cultures, new customs and new people broaden the minds of military children as they accompany their parents to various assignments, but children can miss important steps in learning if the family is dependent on schools with differing teaching schedules.  Homeschooling can minimize the gaps in learning caused by the differences in lesson schedules among the various school systems around the country and around the world.[4]


[1] “Nails in the fence” fable about anger, which can also apply to other psychic scars
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22nails+in+the+fence%22&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7TSHB_en

[2] Page 31, Survey of Army Families IV,
http://www.armymwr.com/corporate/docs/planning/SAFIVExecutiveSummary.pdf

[3] “Through the Lens of Homeschooling:  A Response to Michael Apple and Rob Reich,” 2004, Nicky Hardenbergh
http://otherwiseinstructed.com/docs/throughthelensSept2004.pdf

1st footnote:  Rob Reich’s article entitled “The Civic Perils of Homeschooling” (2002) contains his assertion that:  Customizing education may permit schooling to be tailored for each individual student, but total customization also threatens to insulate students from exposure to diverse ideas and people and thereby to shield them from the vibrancy of a pluralistic democracy. These risks are perhaps greatest for homeschoolers (p. 56)

[4] Identities Blur for ‘Third-Culture Kids,’ 9 May 2001, Darcia Harris Bowman, Education Week
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2001/05/09/34tck.h20.html

“Ms. Carmine said one teacher was concerned about Kent’s math skills, for example, because he was unfamiliar with feet, inches, and pounds. Kent had been taught the metric system.”

Copyright 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

Homeschooling styles and methods: Montessori schooling

Montessori education 

Maria Montessori was an Italian teacher who started work as a medical doctor and then changed to childhood learning after studying psychology and philosophy.  She worked from the early 1900s almost until her death in 1952. Dr. Montessori’s schooling style focuses on children working at learning in a prepared setting, and using small tools and materials that fit a child’s size.

Montessori homeschooling is not a specific curriculum sold to parents.  The Association Montessori Intenationale[i] grants teaching credentials for Infancy, Primary or Elementary level training, and those teachers work in Montessori schools.   Parents, though, can learn about the work and philosophy of Maria Montessori and use this information at home.


[i] Association Montessori Intenationale http://www.montessori-ami.org/

 

 Links

International Montessori Society:  What is Montessori?http://imsmontessori.org/what-is-montessori.htm

Montessori homeschooling http://www.montessori.edu/homeschooling.html

Home Ed Montessori Homeschooling http://groups.yahoo.com/group/playschool6/

 

Copyright 2006, 2009 Valerie Bonham Moon

This work may be copied and freely distributed as long as the copyright and this notice are included.

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